Spanish Pyrenees, Zaragoza Plains and the Picos de Europa

This triple destination tour gives you the opportunity to see a wide variety of speices and to admire some vastly contrasting landscapes.

The 'steppe' to the east of the town of Belchite is our first destination and is a prime location for Dupont’s Lark, at this time of the year you have a slim chance of seeing this elusive species, nevertheless we will try to find it.

In the meantime, there are also six other Lark species to look for:-

The Greater and the Lesser Short-toed Larks are usually seen running along the tracks, whilst  Crested, Calandra and Skylarks can be seen anywhere, whereas, the Thekla Larks can be seen on the rockier, sloping terrain. It is possible to see small groups of both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sangrouse, they can usually be found near water or flying over in small groups. 

As we make our way along the road and dirt tracks, we will be looking out for Little Owl on any farm buildings or stony ruins, Stone Curlew and Eurasian Hoopoe, and both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse in the surrounding fields. Other species likely to be seen are Spectacled Warbler, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture and sometimes Egyptian Vulture.

Then we move onto the Hecho valley, the quietest and most accessible of the four major high valleys in the Aragonese section of the Pyrenees and one of the best places to find Wallcreeper.

Lastly we spend a few days in the Picos de Europa, a small but spectacular range of jagged limestone mountains with an incredibly diverse flora and fauna. We look for Alpine Accentor and Snow Finch on the peaks near Fuente De.

Stage 1 - The Zaragosa Plains near Belchite

We fly into Madrid arriving late morning and transfer to our hotel just outside of Zaragoza in time for some late afternoon birding around the hotel. In recent years we have found a number of exciting species within easy walking distance of the hotel. Golden Oriole, Orphean Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear, Stone Curlew, Red-billed Chough and Cirl Bunting to name but a few. 

Stage 2. - The High Pyrenees

We spend all day birding as we travel to our next Hotel found deep in the Hecho Valley in the central Pyrenees where we spend the next four nights.

After breakfast we set off towards the Pyrenees passing through some ever-changing habitat.

Our first morning will include a visit to the Psuedo-Steppe area of El Planeron followed by a visit to a section of the Ebro River, at Quinto de Ebro, where we visit an interesting and bird-rich meander close to the town. Species that are found here include: Purple Heron, Night Heron, Black Kite, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Bee-eater, Kingfisher, Wryneck, Zitting Cisticola, Cetti's Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole and Tree Sparrow.

A Bird

We take the scenic route via Los Monegros, a vast expanse of psuedo-steppe with a full compliment of breeding steppe birds. There are also large areas of mediterranean scrubland, home to Dartford Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear and very often we find Golden Eagle in this area. We also stop at the large reservoir of Sotonegro where a large selection of birds are found. In the tamarisk scrub we will look for Penduline Tit, on the shore line we may find several species of waders which may include; Little Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Green and Common Sandpipers, Black-winged Stilt and Avocet. There will also be Cattle and Little Egrets, Purple and Grey Herons, Whiskered and Gull-billed Terns. Raptors on show may include Osprey, Montagu’s and Marsh Harriers, Short-toed and Booted Eagles.

We arrive ealry evening at our hotel in the Hecho Valley, after we have checked-in, there will be ample time for a stroll before dinner. There are not many places that can boast such a terrific garden bird list. Try this: Common Crossbill, Crested Tit, Red-backed Shrike, Serin, Cirl Bunting, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Jay, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Coal Tit, Firecrest, Tawny Owl and many other common garden species! Birds seen flying overhead may include, Red Kite, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Raven and Peregrine Falcon!

Over the next five days you will visit many areas in this wonderful place, the scenery is absolutely fascinating, the flowers are superb and the butterflies are amazing.

Stage 3 - Picos de Europa

Another BirdAfter spending four incredible days and five nights in the Pyrenees we make our way north/west for the last stage of our journey. We set off mid-morning and eat our picnic lunch along the way arriving mid-afternoon at our hotel near Potes in the Picos de Europa. We check-in for a two night stay.

The weather will be the key factor when deciding our birding strategy, if the afternoon is clear with light winds we will set off immediately to take the chair lift at Fuenta De. At the mountain top we will search a well known site for Wallcreeper and then areas of scree for Alpine Accentor and Snowfinch. There will also be Water Pipit, Red-billed and Alpine Chough to look for.

Overcast conditions will keep us in the lower valleys or searching local woodland for woodpeckers. The species that are we are likely to encounter are Common Redstart, Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher, Black Woodpecker and Middle Spotted Woodpecker. Over the next two days we visit many sites of ornithological interest looking for many species found in the area. Wryneck can be easier here than most other places in Spain, there is also a good site for Black Woodpecker, if we have not already logged it in the Pyrenees we will make a special effort to find it.

Our last day will spent with a morning birding eaxcursion before driving back to Madrid to take our early evening flight home.

What’s included in this tour?

  • 5 nights full-board accommodation & 3 nights half-board
  • All ground transport including airport transfers
  • The services of the guide
  • A ‘Wingspan’ species checklist

What’s not included?

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights (Cheap flights are available with budget airlines from the UK, in June 2017 the prices were at low as £120 return - inclusive of taxes!)
  • Drinks, Telephone calls and purchases of a personal nature

Check for Availability Here
 

Latest Trip Reports

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