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Aragon

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris ©Joël Bruezière Website

Birding Aragon

Aragon is an ornithological destination par excellence. This amazing region gives you the opportunity to observe most of Spain's avifauna in the four most characteristic habitats of the Iberian Peninsula; Alpine peaks and meadows, Mediterranean forest mixed with spectacular limestone rock cliffs , semi-arid steppes and inland lakes, all of them in a relative short distance from each other.

Entering the untamed Pyrenees; the high valleys as Ordesa, Hecho or Benasque, allows visitors to spot the difficult alpine specialities such as Alpine Accentor, Snow Finch & Wallcreeper whilst enjoying the magnificent forest of beech and fir trees surrounded by spectacular rock cliffs.

The exciting pre-Pyrenees of Aragon: Sierra de Guara, Riglos, or San Juan de la Peña are wild and sparsely populated with humans. However, they densely populated with birds of prey and Mediterranean birds such as wheatears, thrushes, buntings, warblers, bee-eaters and many more. The famous Sierra de Guara is a real Lammergeier sanctuary holding the highest known density of this magnificent bird, as well as Egyptian Vulture and Griffon Vulture. Here, too alpine birds such as Wallcreeper or Alpine Accentor are easy to observe at close range from late autumn to early spring.

Inland the steppes of the Monegros and Belchite dotted here and there with saltlakes, are an arid but fascinating contrast. They are home to perhaps the most Spanish avifauna: raptors, bustards, sandgrouse and larks.

Top Sites

Monegros

Satellite View

This is a semi-desert area occupying an extensive plain of around 70,000 hectares, with some seasonal lagoons. It is covered with an interesting steppe vegetation. It is an excellent area to observe Great Bustard (32 individuals). There is also a big population of other species, like Stone Curlew, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Dupont's Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark.

Spanish Pyrenees

Satellite View

This mountainous barrier, that separates France from Spain, is made up of high mountains, extensive pine forests, streams, and green mountain meadows, and is especially recommended for its abundance of birds of prey. One can see Golden, Short-toed, Booted and Bonelli's Eagles; Montagu's Harrier; Red & Black kites, Peregrine and Hobby; and the magnificent Lammergeier, which here has one of its two last strongholds in the entire continent. Other interesting avian species are: Ptarmigan, Capercaille, Dotterel, Tengmalm's Owl, Black Woodpecker, Crag Martin, Water Pipit and Dipper. Apart from bird species, it is remarkable for the presence of Pyrenean Chamois and Red Deer. This area is probably one of the last refuges in Europe of the Boreal Linx and the Brown Bear.

Contributor

Josele J. Saiz

Boletas Birdwatching Centre

HUESCA - Spain

jjsv@boletas.org

http://www.boletas.org

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 384

(As at August 2018)

Useful Reading

A Birdwatching Guide to The Pyrenees

By Jacquie Crozier | Arlequin Press | 1998 | Paperback | 87 pages, 8 colour plates, illustrations, maps |

ISBN: 1900159759

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guía de Aves de Aragón [Guide to the Birds of Aragon]

By Javier Blasco Zumeta | Editorial Prames | 2014 | Paperback | 319 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations | (Text is Spanish)

ISBN: 9788483214237

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where the Birds are in Northeast Spain

by Steve West Illustrated by Ernest Leahy | Steve West | 2004 | Paperback | 269 pages, Colour photos, colour illustrations, maps |

ISBN: 8460915999

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Northern & Eastern Spain

By Ernest FJ Garcia & Michael Rebane | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 384 pages, 30 b/w illustrations, 125 b/w maps |

ISBN: 9781472936752

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Amigos de los Monegros

Website

AMIGOS DE LOS MONEGROS es una asociación cultural sin ánimo de lucro que quiere aglutinar a todas las personas con un mínimo de inquietud por el patrimonio natural, artístico y antropológico de Los Monegros. Se trata de trabajar hoy por conservar y recuperar unos valores que tienen que llegar hasta el futuro.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

NR Reserva Natural de los Galachos de La Alfranca de Pastriz

Information

Satellite View

…nesting colony of Black-crowned Night Heron etc…

Guides & Tour Operators

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Birding in North East Spain

Tour Operator

BOLETAS (Egyptian Vulture in the local language) was formed in 1994, a stroke of luck enables us to live our long-awaited dream; install ourselves in the peaceful rural village of Loporzano, in the midst of one of the best birding areas in the Iberian Peninsula dedicating ourselves exclusively to our interest in birds…

Birding in Spain

Tour Operator

Plan your Birding trip to Catalonia, Aragon and Navarra...

Birdwatching Spain (Pyrenees)

Tour Operator

In this birding tour Pyrenees we will go in search of one of the rarest and most amazing birds in the entire world, the Lammergeier. Before that, we try to find one of the most elusive birds, the Dupont’s Lark in one of the best preserve steppe habitat of Europe. Other targets are Alpine Accentor, Ring Ouzel, Citril Finch, Yellow and Red-billed Chough, Dipper, Water Pipit, Marsh Tit, Black and Iberian Green Woodpecker, Egyptian and Griffon Vulture and mammals such as the Chamois and Marmot. We will visit amazing landscapes, deep gorges in search of great number of birds.

Iberian Wildlife Tours

Tour Operator

John Muddeman, Teresa Farino and Mike Lockwood are British natural history tour guides who have been living in their respective regions of Spain for many years Together, they operate as Iberian Wildlife Tours, offering guided natural history holidays that will take you in search of birds, butterflies and wildflowers in the stunningly beautiful surroundings of Andalusia (Andalucía), the Picos de Europa, the Spanish Pyrenees, Extremadura, Catalonia (Catalunya) and western Portugal, to name but a few of our carefully selected Spanish and Portuguese destinations.

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2008 [05 May] - Honeyguide

PDF Report

A r ed kite floated around as we spotted the spotless s tarlings in the churchyard, and the twittering of house sparrow s (not Spanish, just ‘ordinary’ house, although alt ogether more smart than many of our grime-encrusted city bi rds) mingled with the screams of newly-arrived swif ts. From the northern slopes, nightingales, melodious w arblers and a subalpine warbler were in fine song, as we made our way down onto the Badlands, a skeletal, er oded marl landscape, at first glance lifeless but f ar from the case in reality.

2009 [06 June] - David Cottridge

PDF Report

…We had more views of Red-backed Shrike but this time supported by a pair of Woodchat Shrikes, as well as Cirl Bunting, Melodious Warbler, several Pairs of Stonechats, a Honey Buzzard drifting overhead and in the distance an Ortolan Bunting could be heard singing. Alongside the road were good numbers of Pyramidal orchids growing and a Great Green Bush Cricket decided to show itself…

2010 [06 June] - Steve Bird

PDF Report

…views of several Calandra Larks as well as Hoopoes, Bee-eaters, Red Kite, Black Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Crested Lark, and Red-legged Partridge. Near one canal, we encountered a Golden Eagle …

2011 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Spanish Pyrenees

PDF Report

…and a short-toed eagle which drifted over us was followed even more leisurely by an adult lammergeier, barely flicking its wing-tips as it traversed the valley…

2012 [02 February] - Chris Hall

Report

…It’s 20th February at the Boletas Birdwatching Centre near Huesca, and the crisp dry early morning air is stirred by the whistles of Spotless Starlings and the bill clapping of White Storks, nesting on the church tower. After breakfast, Josele announces that he has received a call to say that we have an appointment with a Wallcreeper at 10.30am! By 10, we are starring up at the spectacular towering salmon pink and grey conglomerate cliffs above Riglos, watching a pair of shrieking Peregrines gliding on a perfectly clear deep blue sky, while numerous Griffon Vultures soar silently by. Next, we find the Wallcreeper, at 10.27am precisely! I don’t know how Josele did that, but as this charismatic bird busily flicks its moth like wings, while probing the cracks along the base of the cliffs for insects, with a delicately decurved beak, we lie back and enjoy the show for almost an hour…

2013 [04 April] - Chris Gibson - Spanish Pyrenees

PDF Report

A clear dawn saw the early morning crew walking around the hill to the Badlands, taking in excellent views of rock sparrows and an Egyptian vulture low overhead. But the big news was the arrival of nightingales, at least four birds were heard and seen, indicating a substantial overnight arrival – the magic of migration unfolding before our eyes…

2013 [05 May] - Kathie Claydon

Report

…At Gabardito we saw Citril Finch, Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle and Alpine Chough. At Lizara, Rock Bunting and a huge flock of about 200 Alpine Choughs were of note. However, birds were often few and far between and we spent a lot of time photographing frozen or very wet plants - including a good range of orchids, hyacinths, wild daffodils and hellebores…

2014 [05 May] - Chris Gibson - Spanish Pyrenees

PDF Report

...the sun came out. The results were almost instantaneous with griffons appearing from nowhere, red and black kites, and then single booted and short-toed eagles for good measure. A singing male cirl bunting posed well and parties of migrating alpine swifts started to hurtle through every few minutes...

2016 [06 June] - Chris Gibson

PDF Report

Red and black kites, and before long a few Egyptian and griffon vultures and a hobby, kept us looking up, while the carpets of blue beautiful flax, pink shrubby rest-harrow, and both purple and yellow Jerusalem sages were quite stunning.

2017 [06 June] - Bob Buckler

PDF Report

...the Zaragoza Plains were boiling, the Pyrenees foothills were sweltering and even up on the high plateau in the Picosit was very hot. Nevertheless, we saw all of the most wanted specialities: Lammergeier, Wallcreeper, Citril Finch, Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Alpine Cough, Alpine Accentor, Snowfinch, Black Woodpecker...

2017 [10 October] - John Willsher

PDF Report

Our two full days in the northern part of our two - centre tour gave us a spectacular close encounter with at least 400 Griffon Vultures and very good Bearded Vulture sightings. Perhaps due to the previous very hot weather , we only had one all - too - brief view of Wallcreeper.

2017 [11 November] - John Willsher

PDF Report

...We enjoyed several sightings of Wallcreepers plus spectacular views of feeding Vultures. The mostly beautiful warm sunny weather enhanced the ma ny wonderful bird sightings and highlighted the gorgeous, colourful , autumn foliage provided by stands of bright yellow poplar trees , and the various shades of green, yellow and russet - red foliage of the vineyards...

Places to Stay

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Boletus Birdwatching Centre - Pyrenees

Accommodation

Birdwatching Centre in the Spanish Pyrenees, we inform birders where to go and we organize tours in the northeast of Spain…

Hospedería Villa Pintano

Accommodation

Hospedería Villa Pintano is a nice rural house located in a small medieval village into the mountains of Aragón (Prepirineos) with a population of 30 where you will find total peace and quiet in a natural setting, surrounded by rich natural contrasts, living proof of the pastoral way of life which is still preserved today and where you are sure to be received with plenty of hospitality. …

Blogs

Héctor Bintanel - Blog de ornitología y observaciones en la naturaleza

BLOG

…aficionado a la ornitología a Zaragoza. Observaciones de aves en la naturaleza….

S Hortensis - Blog De Anillamiento En Tj Y Alcañiz

BLOG

Bird ringing in Aragon… Blog de un chico español de 16 años aficionado a las aves y al anillamiento…

Other Links

Birding Aragon

Website

Más de 300 especies diferentes en un territorio cruce de rutas migratorias, donde se pueden observar a lo largo de la primavera y el verano las migradoras llegadas desde África, mientras que en otoño e invierno nos acompañan las procedentes del Norte de Europa. (Species, locations, observations excursions and news all about birding in Aragon)

Los Monegros

Website

Without a doubt the barren landscape of the Monegros is very beautiful. The conjunction of ochres and greys are lost in the horizon…