Thursday, 29 September 2011

Zaragoza birding Sunday 25th September

Got up early in Loporzano had breakfast 07.30hrs then a village walk in this small village in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
Of note a Sardinian warbler obliged as did two Whitethroats,Alberto arrived and we left the village stopping briefly to observe Cirl Buntings just outside town.
Then it was on to Vadiello where at the reservoir a Pied Flycatcher showed briefly in the Pines.
I photographed the dam and the surrounding mountain side as we waited for the vultures to start
using the thermals.The Griffon vultures took off giving distant views as did a party of feral Rock Doves,Paul heard a Goldcrest and on leaving a Grey Wagtail put in an appearance.
We were now in the Parque Natural de Guarra moving on we made our way to Santa Cecillia where
there was  a vulture feeding station,food had been put out and we were soon viewingup to 5 Lammergeier and at least 200 Griffon vultures.
At one time we could see the Lammergeier at rest near a carcasse but we did not see the specialitie
of Quebrantahuesos , the breaker of bones dropping them to extract the marrow.Next port of call
was Castell de  Monte Aragon, the Castille high on a rocky promontory came in to view as we made
our way there for packed lunch. While eating lunch in temperatures of 80c we were entertained by
Blue Rock Thrush and the superb Black Wheatear,3 males paraded around us.On leaving a brief view
of Zitting Cisticola then it was down to a river tributary in search of Penduline  tit alas no but I got a view of Rufous Bushchat which is a rarity in Aragon,other birds of note here were 5 Pied Flycatchers,Cetti's Warbler,Kingfisher and possibly Golden Oriole.Also a large snake skin had been
shed possibly Montpellier's.
Next it was the Aragon rubbish dump where a single Griffon was being mobbed by a Raven and up to 44 White Storks showed in the scrub a Phylloscopus warbler was identified as Willow Warbler and up to 50 Serin fed noisly in the trees. Onwards and upwards we made our way to San Miguel de Pena on the road up we had a raptor feast overhead a single Lammergeier,2 Golden Eagle and a Sparrowhawk.

On arrival at San Miguel de Pena or Salto de Roldan this rocky point gave great views.
Here at eye level Griffon Vultures soared past ,it was a bit hairy along the rock face my dodgy knee
became a hindrance but I still managed a few good shots in the searing heat. One individual did an eyes right as Alberto and Paul returned to my niche.
Our time was running out as we returned to the car park where a Grayling butterfly was superbly camouflaged against the ground.
We left for a steppe area nearer Zaragoza too look for Pin Tailed Sandgouse a major dip ensued,we can't have everything Alberto was superb and the raptors were a significant success.
Our last bird was another raptor hunting from an out building for rabbits over the Steppe it was a
Goshawk would you believe it not many trees here.
Alberto drove us to the airport we said our farewells and so ended our weekend in Zaragoza.
Muchas gracias estependo and vaya con dios.

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