To Miajadas - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

April 19, 2024

To Miajadas


Before we leave town, let’s stop and look at Janos’ video and the aerial view it gives us of the castle and amphitheater:

We’re on our own again today on another short, easy affair without much to say about for some reason.  I’m surprised to look back and see how few photographs we came away with, and there’s not even a video for some reason.  A pleasant ride though, and the storks definitely livened things up.  We were especially enthralled to bike through a village with storks nesting everywhere, some calling to their mates by loudly clapping their bills together.

Or may be that was yesterday on the way to Medellín?  I’m not sure now.  I’ve gotten behind, and I get these two days mixed up when I look back on them.  I’d better get serious about catching up.  With that in mind, I’ll just stop here.  Bye for now!

Oh, wait.  There is something else to say about the ride.  We’ve been biking through a surprisingly interesting area for birding these last two days.  Yesterday I saw three hoopoes, and today I must have seen fifteen bee-eaters in four different groups - more than I’ve seen in total before today.

Leaving Medellín.
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Several miles into the ride, Medellín‘s castle is still the most prominent feature on the skyline.
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#211: Common waxbill, the bird on the left, caught fraternizing with a bird of a different feather that you might recognize by now.
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Steve Miller/Grampies1. Nope, don't recognize bird 2. What is it? and 2. How do you go up the bird count so fast? 200's to 419 !!!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesEasy - it’s the new math. Bird on the right is a female stonechat.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesOh. I get it now. 419 is the date, not the bird number.
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonAha! It is so simple when you know how it's done.
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1 month ago
Stork hotel. I count at least seven occupied nests on this wreck.
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Four storklets!!!! Actually, it could easily be five but I was happy to catch four exposed little bills at the same time.
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Approaching Miajadas. Rachael’s been waiting in the shade for the slower half of the team to finally catch up so we can go get lunch.
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Oh, wait.  We can’t move on yet because there’s more to the day.  It was a short, easy ride and there are no obvious attractions in Miajadas to hold our attention, so after digesting lunch we leave for another hike and bike.  Rachael walks to the neighboring village, Escurial, and is totally enraptured by the small park there, its pond teeming with ducks, geese, and their endearing newborns.  She was so excited that she called me up from there recommending that I head that way myself.  It was a little difficult piecing together what she was saying because she kept breaking off to talk to a duck that had apparently imprinted on her and was following along behind.

Rachael’s pond really is a pretty little place. I was sure I had taken a shot of her pointing at the ducks, but it must have fallen out of the camera.
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Karen PoretAre those stairmasters on the railing? The two ladies in your photo are doing what those machines lack ..moving!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretNo, hardly. It’s a very nice walking path around the lake. They’re just out enjoying the ducklings.
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Scott AndersonScott.. you misunderstood my comment.. I was asking about the blue metal equipment posed alongside the rail nearby the women who were walking…
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretOh, that. No, that’s just a metal railing.
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Karen PoretNot the brown railing.. the blue objects to the left of it.. sorry!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Karen PoretYes, I understand. That is also a railing, metal of some kind.
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1 month ago
Karen PoretTo Scott AndersonI’ve really stepped in it, haven’t I?
My apologies for being a pain..
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1 month ago

For myself, I plotted out a seven or eight mile loop through the small farming roads along town, thinking I might pick up a new bird or two.  This seemed like a possibility because we saw so many birds on utility wires or the rim of irrigation conduits.

It didn’t turn out like that though, because I found myself on a road I fell in love with - a paved service road following an irrigation canal that was a delight to ride: shaded by oaks and pines, absolutely traffic-free except for two other bikers, and good for birds.  The big surprise was the Iberian magpies, a bird I was hoping to see before leaving Spain.  I’ve never knowingly seen one before, but it’s no exaggeration to say I saw fifty of them this evening to.  They were constantly flushing out of the woods and flying back into them again.

I kept following this road for several miles hoping for a better magpie shot, but eventually stopped to check the map to see if it would ever connect up to anything or if I should turn back.  It did connect in what looked like a reasonable distance, so I continued forward.  I ended up putting 23 miles in, not making it back to town until the few cars on the road had their headlights on.

One of the backroads around Miajadas. Some are paved, some not. I wasn’t on this one for long.
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This is a really small pond, not much more than a puddle - just large enough for the single bird on it.
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An uncertain sky, makes me wonder but not deeply enough to change my plans.
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#212: an Iberian magpie! I must have stopped for twenty of these birds, hoping for a shot - but all but this one immediately disappeared into the trees.
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I was surprised to find myself cycling beside this canal - a long one, from the kilometer marker.
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It looks like a pretty significant waterway, an important investment. The paved road I’m cycling on is its service road. I wonder if it ever runs anywhere near full?
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Keith AdamsWith the water at its current level it doesn't look to be much use for navigation. I'm guessing the white lines a bit more than halfway up mark the typical water level when it's closer to full, but of course that's just a guess.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsI think that’s right, and that in the past the water level was kept substantially higher. It’s a managed flow of course, and I think they’ve cut it off.
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2 weeks ago
It’s this canal, sourced by the damming of the Guadiana at Orellana. I read up on this as much as I could make sense of, enough to see it supports farmland irrigation and to find photos of the canal brimmed full. It looks like though like last year may have been its final one in use, and it’s being replaced by improved irrigation practices.
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#213: Common linnet.
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We’re starting to get into sheep country.
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Looks far enough away. I’m sure I’ll be fine.
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Keith AdamsThe mood here is strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite paintings: "Gray and Gold" by John Roberts Cox.

https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1943.60

My father, who was raised as a Kansas farmer during the Depression, had a real appreciation for that painting, and it hung proudly over my parent's sofa until they passed away. I have a small copy of it in my office, just to the left of where I'm sitting now.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Keith AdamsThat looks like a real Midwest sky alright. I think that’s really one of the best features of country like this. I was really pleased with how this shot came out - it feels like it really captured the moment.
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2 weeks ago
Keith AdamsOops the artist's correct name is John *Rogers* Cox, not Roberts. I'd have known that, had I troubled to read the text of the page whose link I posted...
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2 weeks ago
A bee-eater! I’ve never seen so many as I have in these last two days. I suspect though that I’ve been seeing them all along without realizing how to recognize them in the distance, before you can see their colors.
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#214: Zitting cisticola. No doubt you were just thinking the same thing yourself.
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A black kite, the best shot yet I’ve gotten of one.
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I was surprised by this concentration of storks, maybe a fourth of the whole group. They’re following along behind a tractor like egrets will do, foraging the freshly plowed earth.
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Xxx

Videos of Rachael’s walk around the pond.  What a delightful experience!

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Today's ride: 49 miles (79 km)
Total: 1,022 miles (1,645 km)

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