The birds and beasts of the field.

Wednesday 11.5.16 Castuera to Campanario. 15 miles pretty flat.
The forecast for today is a Ralph. Tony’s son can forecast weather with 70% accuracy. “Same as yesterday”. It does seem that weather comes in blocks, yesterday was dry in the morning, raining by late afternoon. Today may be the same. But we head off into sunshine. We hand the keys to the albergue back to the policia locale thanking the bright alert young policeman on duty. We must have been unlucky yesterday! Spirits are high an average distance planned, accommodation at least possible, just outside town on route. Flowers are singing birds blooming as we scurry along. Landscape is dehesa with cereal field mainly, some have large piles of stones removed we presume by generations of farmers. Occasional large granite boulders still provide a good place to eat mid morning oranges.
At one point a large bird takes brief flight. A stork maybe it settles and flies again as we approach. It is huge. An eagle disturbed from its night roost. It is most probably a Golden Eagle possibly a first year juvenile with prominent black and white under wings fooled us for a moment. Betsy wonders if it will return to eat her or if it takes lambs, a really big bird. We are passed, off in the pasture around the verana by a herd of sheep two shepherds and a dog. Plenty of lambs about.
Later we see increasing numbers of storks and then Tony spots the reason, a tree or two are covered in active stork nests. The multiple small fords we cross on the grit road are full of small frogs providing a ready source of food. As close to stork heaven as it gets we reckon.
Just before we enter town we are crossing an area of multiple pools when we see the bodies of two enormous tadpoles. Looking more like jellyfish than amphipian precursors they are two or three inches long. Some net research suggests they may be the tadpole stage of the Iberian Ribbed Newt a large primitive looking creature one of which we may have seen flattened at the side of the road. The dirt track is used by fairly large lorries against which these beasts stand little chance.
Another rare sighting is a man riding on a donkey. It is only the second donkey we have seen being ridden in Spain there are also two dogs one of whom is having difficulty keeping up with a front leg injury. The last ridden donkey we saw was also in Estramadura on the Via de la Plata four years ago.
We get contact with the ladies running the alburgue through the Ajuntamiento and are intercepted by one as we leave town. Well it is not a big place, she suggests we eat and ring her when we are ready to set off the remaining kilometre to the railway station. Most of us are on the ball and realise that the old railway station is our accommodation for the night. It is very well refurbished and a very comfortable lodging. We are followed in by two Irish women who are also looking for the alburgue but are a little less organised and have not yet had lunch.
A washing machine seduces us into a major wash even though the Ralph forecast promises rain before it finishes its cycle.

Link to where we are on Google Maps