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Pyrenees around Jaca/Hecho valley/Astun

15 May 2013 We found the Roncal Valley to be particularly productive. Long searched-for species,  Ring Ouzel and Citril Finch were easily found with help from friend Graham Critchell who has thoroughly researched the area. Ortolan Bunting was another species we were keen to catch up on and again Graham was able to pinpoint a reliable site, in the lower Tena Valley. Here, we also found Quail, Orphean Warbler, Golden Oriel, Melodious Warbler, Red-backed Shrike along with Tawny Pipit, Nightingale amongst other species. 


August 2014 We spent a whole week with an enthusiast group of bird watchers looking for migration in the Pyrenees. Our base accommodation was in Isaba (Roncal Valley). we stayed at Metsola Apartments ( We visited the passes of Lindus, Organbidexka, Urdaite and Eraize. The most interesting birds we saw are: black kites red kites honey buzzards booted eagles  short toed eagles common and lesser kestrels hobbys merlin sparrow hawks goshawks ospreys common buzzards hen harriers montagu's harrier marsh harriers black wingered kites golden eagles lammergeier Egyptian vultures griffon vultures juvenile cinereous vulture Black storks.  We are preparing a second "migration on the Pyrenees Tour" for 2015.  More information in  (Julian Gayarre)

6th/7th May 2016 At San Juan de la Pena, no Black Woodpeckers observed at site 2 but heard calling and drumming near to the old monastery; great views of Egyptian and Griffon vultures at site 4 along with Subalpine warblers. At Gabardito, site 2 had a pair of Wallcreepers easily observed within 5 minutes of arriving at the rock face and site 3 had several Citril Finches. In the Hecho Valley, the meadow area by site 4 had great views of Griffon Vultures and a Lammergeier flew overhead. (Jeff Baker)

Zaragoza plains

Feb 2012 Access to the Lomazas reserve (page 30 site 4) is restricted to the path from the north-east corner of the car park. The wardens would be very unimpressed if you wander elsewhere. (Keith Betton)

3rd May 2016 Site 6 had 2 singing Duponts lark and one seen briefly during the day time (running across the track described in the guide as the best spot for DL and then briefly flying and singing before dropping down immediately at about 13.00) as well as several other species of lark. (Jeff Baker)

May 2018 Ivan Davison writes ‘Your advice about the best time to see Dupont's Lark is bang on the mark. We spent 2 full days and an afternoon at site 5 and had our best views of the species between 4 and 5pm. The wind was a contra feature of our visits with a low of about 7-10 knots and a high on the second day of near gale force (it was difficult standing up). However on all 3 occasions the wind slackened from about 3pm and allowed song from close to the junction of the tracks to be followed up both on foot along the tracks and using the car as a hide as suggested. Superb views at a distance of 5-7 metres were achieved of singing from the ground and brief but close song flight - Thanks.’

2019 We found Dupont's easily at site 5; at least 4 sightings, though even if they were singing near the road, as they must have been, they were still a b****r to see! PT Sandgrouse, BB Sandgrouse were constantly around us there in the morning, plus lots of singing Calandra, Thekla's and Lesser Short-toed Larks (Matt Mellor).

2019 Magnificent Golden Eagle and both bustards at site 1 (Matt Mellor).

Picos de Europa

June 2013 Steve Dudley reports that the Puerto San Gloria(the pass half-way between Portilla de la Reina and Potes) is a reliable site for Citril Finch. Birds regularly come to feed/collect grit beside the car park. He also had a pair of Rock Buntings here. He also found Middle Spotted Woodpecker at a site described by Tony Moverley, the Puerto de Pembes. Pembes is a village on the right as you climb from Potes to Fuente de; the woodpeckers (and Bonelli’s Warblers) were found by walking steeply beyond the village for about 45 minutes to the treeline. He successfully found a Wallcreeper at site 3 (although it then disappeared for 90 minutes) and a breeding pair at La Vueltona, about an hours walk past site 4.

May 2018 Ivan Davison writes ‘The track you show as "apparently driveable with care" to the Refugio de Aliva above Fuente De is truly not difficult- my wife's Mazda 2 did it in about 25 minutes to about 2km short of the Refugio (due to blockage by snow) and we got Middle spotted Woodpecker on the way down! The track starts in the village of Espinama. just a few km down the road from Fuente De.’

Lleida plains

A local birder told me there was expected to be a returning pair of Lesser Grey Shrikes back at site 1 between 10-15 May (I was there on May 4th 2016) along with some released at the same time from the reintroduction project based in Alfes. The same birder told me that site 2 now has several singing male Duponts larks. When I visited this site on May 4th 2016 there were many Calandra Larks, 2 calling Little Bustards and several Greater Spotted Cuckoo's present. (Jeff Baker)

2019 There are several pairs of Dupont's Larks at the Alfes aerodrome now. We saw at least one as well as a flock of 68 Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and 38 Little Bustard .(Matt Mellor)

Selva de Irati

August 2016 Nigel Jarman successfully found White-backed Woodpeckers at two spots, even in August, at the EAST end of the Selva de Irati. To get there, take the NA-2012 from Ochagavia, following signs to Irati and Valle de Salazar. This tarmac road twists and winds for 24 km and ends at a car park (42.9886N, 1.1059W) by a river (with Dipper). From there, the SLNA-63A footpath leads towards the reservoir and soon forks. The woodpeckers were seen from either fork - on the right-hand fork (uphill) after about 1 km, where the trees open out (approx 42.9851N, 1.1179W) and a cliff face becomes visible on the other side of the river and on the left-hand fork (along the river) within 500 metres of the car park, looking down towards the river (approx 42.9853N, 1.1112W). Black Woodpecker was found in the area too.


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