“Rain is also very difficult to film, particularly in Ireland because it’s quite fine, so fine that the Irish don’t even acknowledge that it exists.”
– Alan Parker
Not an easy August in Soria from a naturalistic point of view. The drought that devastates the region since the spring is the main cause. Most of the fields have not been harvested since the cost of the gas was much more than the price of the crop. The irrigation channels were almost dry and the trees started to loose their leaves as soon as late july. Of course, neither butterflies nor dragonflies have had his best season.
The Ringing in the gardens around my house revealed an extremely low breeding success. The 60% of the captures of local species were adults and only the early influx of Pied flycatchers have offset the breeding failure in the total number of captures, keeping it at a considerable values. However, I managed to catch some interesting species such as Western orphean warbler, golden oriole, Iberian chiffchaff… most of them adults.
How can I pass my time? A good alternative to ringing could had been the Monteagudo pond. It’s not a perfect wetland, there’s an almost total lack of vegetation in the marshes and the carps have proliferated til alarming levels, but it still has some interest since it’s the only water point within a 100km radius. A couple of Pied avocets, a nice adult Curlew sandpiper and 2 Black storks have been the best in the pond.
The track that links the villages of Utrilla and Monteagudo is also interesting. Large amounts of Lesser kestrels coming from the south do concentrate in late summer, pursuing the wave of grasshoppers. This year there has been many of them, but they leave Andalucia to reach a wetter area and I guess Soria was not what they had expected. I saw 12 of them in a typical place, sat in the electric towers, but just for a week.
The only thing I could do, apart from going to most of traditional festivities that every village organize during all the weekends in august, was to go north, looking for something interesting. Juan Luis and Jesús had found some Aquatic warblers in Fuentecantos wet meadows. Sylvia and me went to see them and we managed to see at least 3 of them. The place must be a regular stopover point during post-nuptial migration and 14 birds had been already ringed this year by Victor Salvador and Jesús Ruiz. It would be interesting to develop a ringing campaign in that place to quantify its true importance.