The Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar is located in the centre of the city of Zaragoza. It is the top tourist attraction for the city as well as being a destination for pilgrims from all over the world, particularly in the month of October when a whole week is declared a fiesta. Its four towers rise ninety meters above the Plaza de Pilar to the south and the River Ebro to the north, the north-west tower has a lift installed to a viewing gallery at the top. From this lofty perch one can look back over the city below and out to The Pyrenees a hundred miles away to the north. Depending on the time of year, the rooftop, the four towers and eleven cupulas are frequented by a surprising number of bird species. Peregrine Falcon, Common Kestrel, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, Starling, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, House Martin and White Stork to name but a few. If the wind is right Common Cranes in their thousands pass overhead on migration whilst in summer the occasional Griffon Vulture drifts lazily over the city. Before 2008, a pair of Peregrine Falcons nested on the north-east tower, sadly the nestsite was destroyed when the towers were cleaned and they have not returned to breed having chosen another site in the city. One rainy day I was looking out of my window and spotted this Peregrine Falcon tearing apart a freshly caught meal. Digiscoped from five hundred meters through the rain, the image is not exactly David Attenborough material but given the circumstances it is not too bad.

La Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar, Zaragoza

Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar, Zaragoza (Photo and video courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)