|The burst banks of the Guadiana, where I sat for my interview.|
Approximately 40km west of Ciudad Real on the “road to Portugal” lies Luciana at the point where the Rivers Bullaque and Guadiana meet. It’s a picturesque spot, popular with families who like to go there for a picnic even though I’ve never seen anyone swim there. Kids have fun fishing for freshwater crawfish and there is an outdoor bar if you need some extra refreshment or a ración to keep away the hunger if you don’t have your own picnic. Well, we did bring a picnic and myself and Mrs. HM thought we’d bring my mother and our new son to the spot where I did the interview for the documentary on Montes Norte, but the river had washed away a lot of the road and there was nowhere to lay a rug. It was impressive, however, to see the amount of water flowing after the rains.
|The Guadiana by the old mill.|
So we went back to the picnic area where people normally go. This is right next to where the two rivers meet as can be seen in the photo below. The river to the left is the Bullaque and the Guadiana enters from the right. Interestingly the Guadiana is all silted up and brown whilst the Bullaque is quite clear, probably due to it’s mountainous origin in the Torre de Abraham reservoir near Cabañeros National Park whilst the Guadiana traverses a lot of flat farmland.
|The meeting of the Bullaque and Guadiana in Luciana|
In any case, the water levels are spectacular and some of the trees are getting more refreshment than ever, whether they like it or not.
|Trees caught by the high flow.|
After our picnic in the shade surrounded by wildflowers, I took a quick stroll to see what birds there were about. Down the river were Grey and Purple Heron, a female Hen or Montagu’s Harrier, it was a bit distant to properly identify, was hunting in the fields across the river, Moorhens were calling from the banks and a Kingfisher flew downstream whilst swallows and martins chased insects. It was however in the trees, and not the river, that a more frenzied action of feeding was going on. Two pairs of Siskins were feasting on elm seeds right next to the river bank, nimbly clambering about the branches.
|Eurasian Siskin – male (Carduelis spinus)|
|Eurasian Siskin – female (Carduelis spinus)|
A little further in to the trees, away from the river, a dozen or so Hawfinches were feeding in some more elms. These birds always impress me with the size of their beak and big muscular cheeks.
|Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)|
So you see, it wasn’t just three generations of HibernoManchegos snacking in Luciana. Everybody was having a fine feed.
Contact Oretani Wildlife for guided birding, wildlife and flora tours in Montes Norte and Castilla La Mancha, in central Spain.