Locations

Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar, Zaragoza

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, [...]

By |January 8th, 2014|Locations|0 Comments|

Balsa Fortiz, Monegrillo, Los Monegros

Balsa Fortiz (Alt. 325m) is one of the largest balsas in the Monegrillo area. Whilst it is always worth a look, the total lack of cover for birds works against it and its shallowness means it quickly dries out in the summer. Having said that it is a useful waypoint for finding the track leading to Balsa de Borau.

Balsa Fortiz

Balsa Fortiz, Monegrillo, Los Monegros (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |January 5th, 2014|Locations|0 Comments|

Balsa del Raso, Monegrillo, Los Monegros

Balsa del Raso (Alt. 650m) is another one of my favourite sites in the Monegrillo area. It is situated on the top of an escarpment overlooking the steppe a thousand feet below and although it has none of the steppe species that the balsas of Borau, Peralta, Pina or Fortiz have, time spent here can be very rewarding.

Balsa del Raso, Monegrillo, Los Monegros

Balsa del Raso, Monegrillo, Los Monegros (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |January 3rd, 2014|Locations|0 Comments|

Balsa de Borau, Monegrillo, Los Monegros

Balsa de Borau (Alt. 325m) is one of my favourite sites in the Monegrillo area. Surrounded by featureless steppe broken only by parcels of arable land, it is difficult to locate even if you have been there before. Last year it was excavated to a greater depth to provide for the flocks of sheep which graze on the rosemary, thyme and other herbs and grasses which grow in the area. It’s a true oasis for birds, providing refuge at all times of the year as long as it has not dried up.

Balsa de Borau

Balsa de Borau, Monegrillo, Los Monegros (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |January 2nd, 2014|Locations|0 Comments|

Birdwatching in Aragon – Teruel

One of the best regions for birdwatching in Northern Spain is Aragon with over 360 species of birds recorded to date. Aragon covers an area of some 30,000 square miles and consists of three provinces; Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza. Each province has its own special characteristics determined by its location, geology, water resources, topography, climate and vegetation. These combine to provide Aragon with a great diversity of habitats giving rise to a wide variety of fauna and flora.

In the south (Teruel) lie more mountains, sierras and forests, which are almost totally unknown to outsiders. Apart from the sight of tens of thousands of Common Cranes (Grus grus) every winter at Laguna Gallocanta, there are many secrets waiting to be discovered by the patient birder here. The rare Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) can be found gliding over crystal clear rivers, where otters hunt for brown trout, Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica) nest and deer and wild boar pass their time foraging in the undergrowth deep in the forest.

Grus grus

Grus grus, Common Crane, Grulla Común (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

Aegypius monachus

Aegypius monachus, Black Vulture, Buitre Negro (Photo courtesy of the vulture feeding station at Santa Cilia de Panzano)

Luscinia svecica

Luscinia svecica, Bluethroat, Ruiseñor Pechiazul (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |December 15th, 2013|Locations|0 Comments|

Birdwatching in Aragon – Zaragoza

One of the best regions for birdwatching in Northern Spain is Aragon with over 360 species of birds recorded to date. Aragon covers an area of some 30,000 square miles and consists of three provinces; Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza. Each province has its own special characteristics determined by its location, geology, water resources, topography, climate and vegetation. These combine to provide Aragon with a great diversity of habitats giving rise to a wide variety of fauna and flora.

In the centre (Zaragoza) the River Ebro runs roughly northwest to southeast, meandering across the Ebro Basin, which in turn is bounded to the north by the Pre-Pyrenees, and to the south by the Iberian System of mountains and high sierras. Between these two natural obstacles lie great open areas with just a few sparsely populated towns and villages. Great (Otis tarda) and Little (Tetrax tetrax) Bustards wander these steppes and Pin-tailed (Pterocles alchata) and Black-bellied (Pterocles orientalis) Sandgrouse are to be found in the early morning and late evening drinking from hidden dewponds.

Sierra de Alcubierre from Mirador de la Gabardera, Monegrillo

Sierra de Alcubierre from Mirador de la Gabardera, Monegrillo, Los Monegros (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

River Ebro from El Galacho de Juslibol, Zaragoza

River Ebro from El Galacho de Juslibol, Zaragoza (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

Balsa Fortiz

Balsa de Fortiz, Monegrillo, Los Monegros (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |December 15th, 2013|Locations|0 Comments|

Birdwatching in Aragon – Huesca

One of the best regions for birdwatching in Northern Spain is Aragon with over 360 species of birds recorded to date. Aragon covers an area of some 30,000 square miles and consists of three provinces; Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza. Each province has its own special characteristics determined by its location, geology, water resources, topography, climate and vegetation. These combine to provide Aragon with a great diversity of habitats giving rise to a wide variety of fauna and flora.

In the north  (Huesca) lie the High Pyrenees with deep valleys, spectacular gorges and lofty peaks rising beyond 3,000 metres. Soaring between them, Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) patrol their territories, Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) call mournfully from pine-clad valley sides and Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria) flit across sheer limestone faces in their search for food.

Gypaetus barbatus

Gypaetus barbatus, Lammergeier, Quebrantahuesos (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

Garganta de Bujaruelo, P.N. de Ordesa y Monte Perdido

Garganta de Bujaruelo, P.N. de Ordesa y Monte Perdido (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

Mondarruego, P.N. de Ordesa y Monte Perdido

Mondarruego, P.N. de Ordesa y Monte Perdido (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |December 15th, 2013|Locations|0 Comments|