Birding trip report NE Spain (+ France) June 1999
publication of the bird atlas of the North-Spanish province of Huesca (by Kees Woutersen, ISBN 84-605-7422-9) made us visit NE Spain for the first time. We went there for three main areas: Pyrenees (high and low), Ebro plains (steppe and riverine habitats), and Ebro Delta. On the way down and back through France we also made short visits to the limestone Causses on the Massif Central, the Atlantic bay of Arcachon in Les Landes, and the highly varied Brenne lowlands 50 km NE of Poitiers in Central France. The itinerary of this 10-day trip, all in fine weather, was as follows:
Fri. 10 June drive via Lille, where we picked up two british birder-friends, to La Canourgue in the Massif Central, France, hotel Commerce, phone +33 466 328018, fax +33 266 329479.
Sat. 12 June morning birding on the limestone Plateau de Sauveterre (photo above) to Point Sublime for overlook at Gorges du Tarn, back along Le Massegros to highway again. Afternoon on to Spain, short visit to Rosas wetland reserve on Mediterranean coast at Figueras just across Spanish border (behind visitor centre along road from Castello d'Empuries to St Pere Pescador). Then on to Sant Carles de la Rapita in Ebro Delta, hotel Miami Park in town centre, with garage and good restaurant, phone +34 977 740351, fax +34 977 741166 (for 2 nights). They provide a good road map of the delta, with hides etc.
Sun. 13 June birding in Ebro Delta, mainly in Southern part: rice fields directly NE of Sant Carles, Encanissada lagoon, salinas E of that, sandspit to Banya, ferry crossing to Deltebre, lagoon N of Riumar (photo above; with flamingo's).
Mon. 14 June drive along Ebro to lower Cinca valley NW of Fraga, for riverine habitat between Ballobar and Alcolea de Cinca (photo above), and for good steppe between Alcolea de Cinca and Ontinena. Drive on to Monegros steppe, esp. along A2105 S of Bujaraloz and along minor road that splits off from this to W (both less good birding than expected) . Night in Casino hotel, along busy N11 but on quiet hill about 23 km E of Zaragoza. Very good value for money (restaurant also), at least as long as you keep off from the gambling tables.
Tue. 15 June birding in steppe area N of Belchite (40 km SE of Zaragoza), mainly at La Planera reserve along road from Quinto (at N323) to Belchite (photo above) and along unsurfaced side road that splits off N of Codo (to W side of same reserve, where Dupont's Lark was present to the left of the first trail to the right, at 41 degrees and 22.178 minutes North by 0 degrees and 37.724 minutes West; see map). Afternoon drive to Huesca (hotel in town, many there). Evening drive to hilly woodland/fields S of Huesca, mainly at Tramaced canyon area along side road from A131 to Piraces.
Wed. 16 June birding around Riglos in pre-Pyrenees mountains 30 km NW of Huesca: road to Aguero (both photos above), base of cliffs to the right of Riglos village (both photos below), lake Embalse de la Pena N of Riglos mountains. Short late afternoon visit to Monasterio de San Juan de la Pena: pine forest at parking place of new monastery, and lookout point slightly below new monastery. Hotel Anaya in Puente la Reina de Jaca, phone +34 974 377411, fax +34 974 377397, for three nights (central location for Pyrenees valleys).
Thu. 17 June upper Hecho valley, via Anso valley because of (announced) road block in middle Hecho valley.
Made a walk from last unpaved dead-end part of uppermost road (photo below).
Fri. 18 June first upper Anso valley, including walk at treeline (many beeches) E of Zuriza (photo below).
Also a nice stay at middle Anso valley (see photo below), near Anso.
Sat. 19 June drive via Jaca and Pau (France) to Arcachon bay SW of Bordeaux, walk trail in coastal reserve Domaine de Certes just NW of
Audenge. Drive on to near the Brenne region, hotel La Promenade in
Yzeures-sur-Creuse, phone +33 247 914900, fax +33 247 944612, to be recommended for style, hospitality and food. The lady speaks English.
X = from the car on the way down through France CA = Causse de Sauveterre RO = Rosas coastal reserve DE = Ebro Delta LC = Lower Cinca valley MB = Monegros and Belchite steppes ST = Serrania de Tramaced RI = Riglos PE = San Juan de la Pena AH = Anso and Hecho valleys Pyrenees DC = Domaine de Certes (Arcachon bay) BR = the Brenne, C. France X CA RO DE LC MB ST RI PE AH DC BR Little Grebe RO DE BR Great Crested Grebe DE BR Black-necked Grebe BR Cormorant DE DC Little Bittern DE Night Heron DE BR Squacco Heron DE Cattle Egret RO DE Little Egret DE DC BR Grey Heron RO DE AH DC BR Purple Heron RO DE LC BR White Stork RO LC DC Greater Flamingo DE Mute Swan RO DC BR Grey-lag Goose DC Shelduck DE DC Gadwall RO DE DC Mallard RO DE BR Shoveler DC Red-crested Pochard DE Pochard BR Tufted Duck BR Black Kite X LC RI PE AH DC Red Kite CA AH Lammergeier PE AH Egyptian Vulture LC ST RI AH Griffon Vulture CA LC RI AH Short-toed Eagle ST RI AH Marsh Harrier RO MB RI Hen Harrier X CA Montagu's Harrier MB Goshawk AH Sparrowhawk Buzzard X CA LC AH BR Booted Eagle RI Kestrel X CA RO AH BR Peregrine RI Red-legged Partridge MB RI Quail CA RI Moorhen RO Purple Gallinule Coot RO DE DC BR Little Bustard MB Oystercatcher DE Black-winged Stilt RO DE BR Avocet DE Stone Curlew RO MB Collared Pratincole DE Little Ringed Plover LC BR Kentish Plover DE Lapwing BR Redshank DE DC Common Sandpiper AH Black-headed Gull X RO DE BR Slender-billed Gull DE Audouin's Gull DE Lesser Black-backed Gull DE Greater Black-backed Gull DC Herring Gull PE AH DC Mediterrean Yellow-legged GuDE DC Gull-billed Tern DE DC Sandwich Tern DE Common Tern DE Little Tern DE Whiskered Tern DE BR Black Tern BR Black-bellied Sandgrouse MB Pin-tailed Sandgrouse MB Stock dove LC Wood Pigeon X CA AH BR Collared Dove CA Turtle Dove LC RI AH BR Great Spotted Cuckoo RO Cuckoo CA RO DE AH BR Little Owl MB Swift CA RO DE AH BR Alpine Swift CA Kingfisher LC Bee-eater RO MB ST Roller LC Hoopoe RO DE MB DC BR Green Woodpecker AH DC BR Black Woodpecker AH Great Spotted Woodpecker PE AH BR Dupont's Lark MB Calandra Lark MB Short-toed Lark DE MB Lesser Short-toed Lark MB Crested Lark DE LC MB Thekla Lark MB Wood Lark CA Sky Lark CA DE BR Sand Martin LC Crag Martin ST RI AH Barn Swallow CA AH DC BR House Martin CA LC Tawny Pipit ST RI AH Tree Pipit CA AH DC BR Water Pipit AH Yellow Wagtail RO DE DC Grey Wagtail CA AH White Wagtail CA AH DC BR Dipper AH Wren CA DC BR Dunnock BR Alpine Accentor AH Robin CA PE BR Nightingale CA RO LC RI AH Black Redstart CA MB RI AH DC Redstart PE Stonechat CA RO BR Wheatear MB AH Western Black-eared Wheatear MB Black Wheatear RI Blue Rock Thrush RI AH Ring Ouzel Blackbird CA AH BR Song Thrush CA Mistle Thrush AH Cetti's Warbler RO DC Fan-tailed Warbler RO DE DC Grasshopper Warbler BR Savi's Warbler DE BR Reed Warbler DE DC BR Great Reed Warbler RO DE Olivaceous Warbler AH Melodious Warbler CA MB DC BR Dartford Warbler ST RI Spectacled Warbler MB Sardinian Warbler RI Whitethroat CA DC BR Garden Warbler RI Blackcap CA RI AH BR Bonelli's Warbler CA Chiffchaff CA BR Firecrest AH Spotted Flycatcher RI AH Long-tailed Tit AH Marsh Tit AH Willow Tit BR Crested Tit PE AH Coal Tit PE AH Blue Tit AH DC Great Tit CA Nuthatch PE DC Short-toed Treecreeper DC Penduline Tit LC Golden Oriole LC BR Red-backed Shrike AH BR Great Grey Shrike MB Woodchat Shrike MB RI AH Jay CA PE AH Magpie CA RO DE AH Alpine (Yellow-billed) Chough AH Red-billed Chough CA LC RI AH Jackdaw CA AH Rook X Carrion Crow X BR Raven CA RI AH Starling CA AH DC BR Spotless Starling DE House Sparrow CA RO DE LC MB ST RI PE AH DC BR Tree Sparrow DE Rock Sparrow ST Chaffinch CA AH DC BR Serin CA LC AH BR Citril Finch AH? Greenfinch CA DE AH DC BR Goldfinch CA RO AH DC BR Linnet RO AH BR Crossbill CA Bullfinch AH Yellowhammer CA AH Cirl Bunting CA LC ST RI AH BR Reed Bunting BR Corn Bunting CA RO MB RI AH BR