Monday 25 June 2018

Anso Valley and Road up to the border above Canfranc

25 June 2018

Given that I had to move my car before 9.30 and hat Estacion Canfranc was only fifteen miles up the valley from Jaca, I decided after all to make the twenty minute journey along the N220 to Berdun and the valley up to Anso.  Hoping that the earlier arrival might prove worthwhile, my intention was only to travel the first ten kilometres up the valley to the far end of the magnificent and narrow, steep gorge (the Foz de Binies).  What a good job I did and an hour well spent!

Lots of magpies as I left Jaca and once off the main road and travelling away from Berdun I soon added House Sparrows and Spoltess Starlings near the farm and then a resting Buzzard on the wires opposite.  Crested Lark and Collared Doves also added and then I reached the gorge and its narrow , twisting roads with short tunnels.  A number of stops to check the area (hearing aids turned up to full blast!) and picked up both Serin and Blackbird.  A pair of Crag Martins exited as I drive in to the longer tunnel and looking up I was able to see the resting Griffon Vulture high on the cliff edge.  lots of singing Blackcaps and a stop at the far end of the gorge to check out the opposite cliffs revealed a couple of silhouettes in a bare tree on the opposite summit.  Bins then scope to confirm and, yes, a pair of Egyptian Vultures.  One of the five target birds for the area confirmed.

Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus
Working my way back I was able to add both Goldfinch and Chaffinch and once near the farms before Berdun added a trio of Raven, a similar number of Black Kites and, finally, a single Red Kite just after returning to the N220.  However, as i joined the main road back to Jaca at Berdun I stopped to take a photograph of a Common Buzzard resting on the wires immediately in front of me.  Strange that the bird not, as usually happens, fly off the minute I lowered the window and it looked some what different from your usual Common Buzzard.  However, once back in the UK I had time to tale a closer look at the bird and, noting the classic identifier, was able to establish that the bird was in fact a Long-legged Buzzard.

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
With a smile on my face I returned to Jaca and carried on up the N330 towards the Spanish/French border for my intended visit to the remains of the old International Station at Estacion Canfranc. Nevermind the on-going fiesta in Jaca, the Tourist Office does not open on a Monday and the station itself is open to visitors at 5pm every day except Mondays!  By 5pm tomorrow I would hope to be at or very near to my final resting place in Poitiers prior to the ferry crossing from Le Havre to Portsmouth on Wednesday evening!  Having already seen more Magpies and also added Carrion Crows, I checked out the channelled river for the local Dippers but without success.  A numbed of Black Redstarts and also White Wagtail with feeding House Martins overhead.  Time for a break and a coffee in a local bar.  before continuing on p to the summit a quick visit across the road for a final check of the river and not only Black Redstarts present but, at last, my Dipper happily feeding in the shade quite close to my viewing point above.  Back to the car to fetch the camera and now, fingers crossed, that I have a half-decent shot to add once back in Stamford.

Dipper Cinclus cinclus
So, two out of five target birds as no sign of a Lammergeier, Alpine Chough (keep my eyes peeled tomorrows as I drive up to the border to cross the Pyrenees) or Red-backed shrike.

Birds seen:
Red Kite, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Common Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Barn Swallow, House Martin, White Wagtail, Dipper, Black Redstart, Blackbird, Blackcap, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Goldfinch, Corn Bunting.

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