Daily distance: 34.3km / 21.3mi
Weather: 17 degrees, cloud with prolonged sunny spells, 15 mph easterlies
Dove Step 3 bird list: 97 species
Best birds: Spanish Sparrow, Coot and Southern Grey Shrike
Cumulative Dove Step 3 distance: 297.9miles
Teetering on 300 miles walked – indeed within an hour of tomorrow’s effort the three-ton will be broken. On Dove Step 1 Sir Robert Yaxley and myself walked 300 miles in 13 days. Tomorrow is day 12 of this epic and that personal best will be broken. I am looking forward to it and to 400 and 500 and so on…
Today was almost an active recovery day despite the 20+ miles in the legs I slowed the pace and even stopped for a lunch break! I also allowed myself time to look at birds and take in the landscape. All of which were superb. Almost upon leaving last nights hostal I turned a corner and was presented with an incredible spectacle – remains of a roman viaduct complete with White Stork colony!
Beneath which were Little Egrets and Cetti’s Warbler – literally within the city centre of Mérida! Awesome.
A few km climb and I then dropped onto Embaise de Prosperpina – a reservoir which looks like it’ll be popular in the summer but was basically deserted today. It added Coot and Spanish Sparrow to the trip bird list and also a nice change of scenery.
Thereafter, aside from nipping into a cafe for coffee and ice cream it was miles and miles of Cornalvo National Park.
This was a mix of Cork Oak woodlands and more open sections, hosting masses of Woodlark and a few Azure-winged Magpie. But the stars of the show were Southern Grey Shrike. I had at least two singing males – both of which obliged for photos too! Awesome. A new life bird for me and another sweetener on a really pleasant day.
The day was thoroughly enjoyable, having had the snot hammered out of me for the last few days it was a super welcome change of pace! Onwards through the 300 tomorrow…