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|

Christmas Day stroll by the River Ebro

This afternoon I went for a stroll by the River Ebro despite it being rather a dull day and found this Little Egret hunting for its lunch.

Egretta garzetta
Egretta garzetta
Egretta garzetta

Egretta garzetta, Little Egret, Garceta Común. River Ebro, Zaragoza (Photos courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

A number of Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus cachinnans) flew overhead followed by about fifty Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus). Some twenty Great Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo) were scattered up and down the river between El Puente de Pilar and El Puente de Santiago, diving beneath the swiftly flowing water or perched, wings outstretched, in the trees on the riverbank.

By |December 25th, 2013|Sightings|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|

Great White Egret (Egretta alba) feeding below El Puente de Santiago, Zaragoza

Walking back from the town centre this afternoon I spotted this Great White Egret feeding alongside a Little Egret below the Puente de Santiago. Despite the cold and fog, I shot home and grabbed the camera hoping it was still there. Sure enough it was and I got some close shots before it disappeared under the bridge.

Egretta alba

Egretta alba, Great White Egret, Garceta Grande

Egretta alba

Egretta alba, Great White Egret, Garceta Grande. River Ebro, Zaragoza (Photos courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |December 10th, 2013|Sightings|0 Comments|

Flocking White Wagtails (Motacilla alba) at El Puente de Piedra, Zaragoza

Walking home at dusk this week over El Puente de Piedra, I noticed a large flock of White Wagtails flying around below. With the cold weather here at last, these birds form flocks of twenty or more and frequent the small islands that are exposed in the river when the water level is not too high.

Motacilla alba

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

By |December 7th, 2013|Sightings|0 Comments|

Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) still present in Zaragoza

The Long-tailed Duck was still present this morning (first sighted 22 November) at El Lago de Casablanca, Zaragoza. This is the third recorded sighting for this species in Aragon and combined with seeing the Grey Phalarope made a really worthwhile morning out.

Clangula hyemalis

Clangula hyemalis

Clangula hyemalis

Clangula hyemalis, Long-tailed Duck, Pato Havelda, El Lago de Casablanca, Zaragoza (Photos courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |November 23rd, 2013|Sightings|4 Comments|

Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) still present in Zaragoza

The Grey Phalarope was still present this morning (first sighted on 11 November) at El Lago de Casablanca, Zaragoza. I went over there expecting to have to do some digiscoping despite the high winds and cold temperatures. However, no sooner had I got there it popped up right in front of me, so I had a mad rush trying to get the camera out of the bag whilst trying to get the digiscoping stuff back in. The bird was very obliging and hung around for a few minutes longer enabling me to get some shots at close range.

Phalaropus fulicarius

Phalaropus fulicarius

Phalaropus fulicarius

Phalaropus fulicarius, Grey Phalarope, Falaropo Picogrueso, El Lago de Casablanca, Zaragoza (Photos courtesy of David Bowyer, Aragon Birding)

By |November 23rd, 2013|Sightings|0 Comments|