A fine start to our Pyrenees Tours as we made our way to the Zaragoza Plains from Madrid. It was just lovely weather as we started to list our first birds.............

MADRID TO ZARAGOZA PLAINS with stops at Almunia, Villaueva de Huerva and Fuendetodos             

I arrived in Madrid last night by road so I was nice and fresh and raring to go when I collected Mike from Terminal 2 at Barajas Airport at 11am this morning. Unfortunately David and Catriona were arriving at Terminal 4, located at the other side of the airport some 30 minutes’ drive away. Luckily we had a couple of hours in which to do it.

Mike and I sat in the main square at Barajas drinking a nice cup of caffeine, the weather was glorious if not a little too hot. We watched a family party of White Storks on the nest, the 3 chicks were regularly exercising their wings in preparation for fledging. Plenty of Common and Pallid Swifts were zooming around and we also saw several Monk  Parakeets.

David and Catriona arrived on time and by 1:30pm we were on our way to Fuendetodos, near Zaragoza, a 3 hour drive along the autovia. We stopped for a bite to eat along the autovia and not again until we turned off at Almunia some 270km from Madrid . We saw Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Common Magpie, Wood Pigeon and Cattle Egret during the first part of the journey. At Almunia we stopped to watch Egyptian Vulture, Common Kestrel and Turtle Dove.

Our last stop was at a village called Villanueva de Huerva where we spent an hour walking near the river and some small cultivated fields. Our best sightings included: Wryneck, Golden Oriole, Blue Rock Thrush, Zitting Cisticola, Griffon Vulture and lots of Serins, we also saw Long-tailed Tit, Common Swift, White Wagtail and a second stop just further along the road produced Black-eared Wheatear, Corn Bunting and lots of Eurasian Linnets.

A very last stop just outside Fuendetodos, the village where we were staying for the night, produced Crested Lark and Northern Wheatear, not a bad start to our Pyrenees Tour. It was 28C when we arrived so a nice cold beer was called for and duly despatched on the hotel terrace, lovely.