Joined: Feb. 2006
Well, walking from my girlfriend's flat, out towards the Royal Preserve that surrounds the palace at El Pardo (Madrid area), saw a short-toed eagle today. Very cool.
But it was soaring overhead and I didn't see its short toes. Oh well.
It was carrying something fairly large and furry in its mouth, and young rabbits are quite noticable in the area, I'm guessing less noticable by a count of one as of this morning. Perhaps its toes are so short it has to carry it's prey in its mouth!
The edge of the suburb where my girlfriend lives, Las Rozas, has open fields and slightly shrubby grassland, good raptor country. Common buzzard, hen harrier (why, oh why, have I only seen the species that exists back home in north america?), red kite, eurasian kestrel ...
While hiking along the glorified stream (they call it a river) that the palace of El Pardo was built on, I've seen large kettles of griffon and a couple of spanish imperial eagles.
And each once while talking my morning bird walk outside Las Rozas. And the other morning, while walking through the central plaza right in town, happened to look up as a griffon soared right overhead about 50 meters up. Startled me.
The dickey birds on these morning walks aren't particularly special for Europe, i.e. serin, melodious warbler, goldfinch, house-but-never-spanish sparrow, crested lark, red-legged partridge, wood pigeon (never in the woods, though, except in the botanical garden next to El Prado, not to be confused with El Pardo), several other species I'm forgetting at the moment. Oh, black redstart, that's a nice bird.
Not bad birding for 10km morning walks in a suburb in sight of downtown Madrid.