Thursday, 15 June 2017

Northern Spain

8-15 June - An excellent 3 centre tour through very scenic Northern Spain, full of scenery, historic towns and villages, and lots of wildlife. Picos de Europa is west of the Pyrenees and extremely scenic, heavily forested but with dramatic crags and peaks - and an extremely scary cable car at Fuente De which I could not face going on. Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, Short-toed Eagle and Black Kites were obvious, and mountain species such as Firecrest, Black Redstart, Crag Martin and Alpine Chough. Stunning mountain villages and the very attractive town of Potes was the local base. Our intermediate stop was LaGuardia in Alava province - conveniently, with local Rioja vineyards, beautiful rolling valleys, many singing Nightingales - and the lakes, reed-fringed and excellent for warblers including Great Reed, Bearded Tits, and a few smart Purple Herons. The walled town here was fascinating and characterful. A further drive on very quiet and good roads ( a novel experience) took us to the Spanish side of the Pyrenees, stunning, with forest, crags and snow-flecked tops despite the exceptional temperatures during our visit. The bird life is very impressive - Vultures, Eagles, Swifts including Alpine, Crag Martins, high altitude species including Wheatear and Water Pipits - plus, after much looking and with the help of Ricardo Perez, superb views and some photo opportunities for Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, my most-wanted species on this trip - memorable views of the male perched up in the early morning sun. Altogether a most enjoyable few days, I'd like to go back there again.......

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