|Lots of Red Kites Milano Real Milvus milvus to be seen|
Along with Steve and Elena Powell (Jenny was unwell so did not travel) I took the AVE high-speed train from Malaga to Zaragoza last Tuesday (11th) to spend a week visiting birding sites both south and north of the city. Good weather and absolutely fabulous scenery as the leaves changed from red to goldens with the coming of autumn whilst, in the Pyrenees we had magnificent gorges and rushing rivers to accompany the colours of autumn, Truly "gorgeous" as you might say. Birds? Not as many as we expected but, nevertheless, some wonderful sites and, I think, we managed to record six of our targeted eight species, the exceptions being Duppont's Lark and the illusive Wallcreeper. I think that definitely calls for a return next June! Great Bustard, Alpine Chough, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Lesser Short-toed Lark and the magnificent Lammergeier; all were seen.
|One of three Lammergeier Quebrantahuesos Gypaetus barbatus appearing out of the clouds above|
|Cranes Grulla Comun Grus grus by the thousands at Gallocanta|
|Then the first of the Great Bustards Avutarda Comun Otis tarda arrived in front of us|
|A few of the Griffon Vultures Buitre Leonado Gyps fulvus at rest on the Belchite steppes|
|The upper reaches of the beautiful Hecho Valley|
Sunday was very strange as, on arriving, we found little water if any at the ox-bow lakes west of Zaragoza so drove up to the lake at Sarinena. Skylark, Kingfisher and Penduline Tits plus a very late Barn Swallow, but just the one. On the water itself Mallards and Teals plus a couple of Shelduck and a pair of Pintails with a number of Cormorants and Grey Herons. In addition, both Little and Great Crested Grebes were sighted but not the resident Water Rails. Other good sightings included a number of Marsh Harriers, a small number of Greylag Geese, Hoopoe and a rather close Reed Bunting.
Monday was spent sight-seeing in Zaragoza itself and then it was the Tuesday morning high-speed train back to Malaga where we discovered the heat once again! All I have to do now is find the suitable photographs to add to the blog so readers may need to be a little patient! Do I add the Azure-winged Magpies seen from the train in the north of Cordoba or leave the visit total at a reasonable 76 species?
|There seemed to be Hen Harriers Aguilucho Palido Circus cyaneus (mainly females) everywhere|
Birds seen during the five birding days:
Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Mallard, Pintail, Teal, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Cattle Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, White Stork, Red Kite, Lammergeier, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Coot, Crane, Great Bustard, Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gull, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Calandra lark, Short-toed lark, Lesser Short-toed lark, Crested Lark, Thekla Lark, Shy Lark, Crag martin, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Penduline Tit, Southern Grey Shrike, Magpie, Chough, Alpine Chough, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Common Starling, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.