Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spain - Pyrenees to Barcelona - Another Adventure Over!


Sunday turned out to be a very pleasant day with much of the snow in Jaca and surrounding lowlands disappearing overnight. The plan for the day was to visit the areas that were previously snowbound and if conditions had improved then a second visit was on the cards.


The raptors were definitely taking advantage of the conditions and had us with eyes about between two Pyrenees peaks. Lammergeier were to be the days prize with a couple of adults making infrequent but spectacular appearances. I never tire of seeing this species and Ed was very excited to add this species to his life list. Short Toed Eagle, Migrating Kites, Egyptian Vulture, corvids including Chough kept us busy during a very impressive vigil!

Amongst our other stops we made two visits to the Astun Ski resort first thing and last thing before returning to Jaca . The conditions had bought out every skier this side of the Pyrenees with coaches and cars stacked everywhere there was space. There were a few more birds and an Alpine Accentor was spied by Ed but sadly I did not pick it up as it flew across the car-park only getting a rear end view of the bird as it flew up the slopes. Fortunately the place was almost deserted when we returned and another Alpine Accentor obliged with a fly past! Whew!
Water Pipit and Dipper were added to my trip list and a small group of Chamois deer that had been forced down from the top of the slopes to graze. There was certainly more available grazing area at the end of the day.
The Monastery produced a quite surprising the number of birds that were foraging in the pines. Crossbill, Coal Tit, Firecrest and a host of other woodland species were busy as the snow fell from the trees. There was also a steady flow of Vultures with a Goshawk the pick of the raptors that joined then. Another site for Citril Finch was checked but amongst regular species Marsh Warbler was seen and a Black Woodpecker heard. A Garden Warbler was also very vocal further down the slopes.

Monday was essentially a travel day back to Barcelona but any chance of a birding stop before the city was thwarted by sometimes torrential rain. We did however make a stop at a known site for  Red Billed Leiothrix which were heard and then seen in flight over a small pond.

My Spanish journey is now complete with approximately seven thousand kilometres covered of this spectacular country. Ed continues his Spanish adventure before flying to Morocco. I think we will both be sleeping well tonight enabling me to dream of my next adventure! Woo Hoo!