Egretta alba, Great White Egret, Garceta Grande

Egretta alba, Great White Egret, Garceta Grande. Sightings of this species have been on the increase for many years now. Numbers are present all year round with increases in autumn and winter. Found almost anywhere along the banks of the River Ebro including the centre of Zaragoza as well as the wetlands and rice fields of the Ebro Valley.

Egretta alba

Egretta alba, Great White Egret, Garceta Grande (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |February 7th, 2014|Species|0 Comments|

Calidris ferruginea, Curlew Sandpiper, Correlimos Zarapitín

Calidris ferruginea, Curlew Sandpiper, Correlimos Zarapitín. A spring and autumn visitor to Aragon. Generally in small groups frequenting lagoons and ricefields. Larger concentrations seen at La Laguna de Gallocanta (up to 50  present in September of 1991 and May of 1992).

Calidris ferruginea

Calidris ferruginea, Curlew Sandpiper, Correlimos Zarapitín (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |February 7th, 2014|Species|0 Comments|

Motacilla alba, White Wagtail, Lavandera Blanca

Motacilla alba, White Wagtail, Lavandera Blanca. An abundant resident in Aragon distributed all over the region below altitudes of 1500m in the north and 1800m in the south. Numbers are boosted by wintering birds and by birds on migration in spring and autumn.

Motacilla alba

Motacilla alba, White Wagtail, Lavandera Blanca (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |January 9th, 2014|Species|0 Comments|

Clangula hyemalis, Long-tailed Duck, Pato Havelda

Clangula hyemalis, Long-tailed Duck, Pato Havelda. A rare visitor to Aragon with only three sightings to date. La Laguna de Gallocanta in 1989 and 1992 and at El Lago de Casablanca, Zaragoza in November 2013.

Clangula hyemalis

Clangula hyemalis, Long-tailed Duck, Pato Havelda (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

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

River Ebro, City Centre, Zaragoza

This is an easy though interesting route along the riverbank of the River Ebro in the city centre of Zaragoza. In 2008 there was a restoration of the riverbank, creating new footpaths either side of the Ebro which provide a five mile circular route to watch birds. Many species can be seen either on the river, feeding over it or in the trees and parks alongside. Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Night Heron, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Little-ringed Plover, Yellow-legged Gull, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Great Cormorant, Sand Martin, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Hoopoe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Wryneck, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Redstart, Black Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Firecrest, all these and more can be seen depending on the time of year and the time of day.

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

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|

Phalaropus fulicarius, Grey Phalarope, Falaropo Picogrueso

Phalaropus fulicarius, Grey Phalarope, Falaropo Picogrueso. An occasional  visitor to Aragon with a number of sightings at La Laguna de Gallocanta, La Laguna de Sarinena, La Alberca de Loreto, La Balsa de Monreal and at El Lago de Casablanca, Zaragoza in November 2013.

Phalaropus fulicarius

Phalaropus fulicarius, Grey Phalarope, Falaropo Picogrueso (Photo courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |January 7th, 2014|Species|0 Comments|

Close encounters of the Phoenicurus ochruros kind

I went out an hour or so ago and found this adult male Black Redstart perched right in front of me on the trunk of one of the pines outside my front door. I went back up to the flat and grabbed my camera hoping to get a few shots. The bird was still there and very obligingly posed for several minutes just a few feet away.

Phoenicurus ochruros
Phoenicurus ochruros
Phoenicurus ochruros

Phoenicurus ochruros, Black Redstart Colirrojo Tizón. Arboleda de Macanaz, Zaragoza (Photos courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |January 6th, 2014|Sightings|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|