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Castilla y León

Hoopoe Upupa epops ©Joël Bruezière Website

Castilla y Leon is the largest region of Spain covering 9 provinces from Leon in the northwest, next to Galicia, to Segovia in the southwest only 50 miles from Madrid. Both were important centres of power in medieval history, and have many fine old cities, castles and palaces.

The dominating geographical feature of Castilla y Leon is the high central plain around the regional capital Valladolid, and rising from the plains on all sides are high mountain ranges, except to the west where the Duero river valley runs toward Portugal. But even among the cereal prairies can be found a surprising amount of wildlife – we have even seen a pack of wolves within 500 yards of a combine at work!

Then in the many sparsely inhabited areas you can find graceful beach woods, pine forests, and marginal farming lands now reverting to birch and pine that are being recolonised by both Roedeer and raptor. In the west are the Lagunas of Sanabria and Villafafila, important winter wetlands for migrating and wintering wildfowl, and moreover the Villafafila National Reserve also contains the steppes that are an important world site for Great Bustard.

To the north are the Cantabrian Mountains and the Picos de Europa whose stunning rugged scenery attracts many walkers, including those who follow the pilgrimage route toward Santiago de Compostello. The Picos, with their stunning rugged scenery form a part of one of Spain nine National Parks, Montana de Covadonga, with the largest chamois population in Europe, and home to Black Woodpecker, Wallcreeper, and Capercaillie.

In the south is the Cordillera Central including the Guadarama and Gredos Mountains. These wild crags rise to 8,900 feet at Pico Almanzor, and here it is easy to find Ibex, Black Vulture, Golden and Bonelli's Eagles, and also White-spotted Bluethroat, Rock Thrush and Rock Bunting. To the south these mountains give way to the cork oak woodlands of Extremadura and beyond with their Azure-winged Magpies, Black-shouldered Kite, Citril Finch and Golden Oriole.

Contributor

Julia Kemp

La Lagunilla Cottage - Candeleda, Avila

lagunilla@tiscali.co.uk

http://web.onetel.com/~richardkemp/

Useful Reading

Where to Watch Birds in North and East Spain

Michael Rebane, Stephen Message (Illustrator) Paperback - 295 pages (20 May, 1999) Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713647000

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding in Spain’s Wild West

Tour Operator

Birding in Spain’s Wild West is a small locally based company offering guided bird watching around the province of Salamanca, half-way between Madrid and Portugal. We arrange accommodation at friendly rural hotels or at self-catering cottages, and can either organize holidays or just offer guided birding if you want to do your own thing. Our privileged position means that close by we have five different habitats: the mountains of Gredos and Bejar; the cereal plains of Campo de Alba; the atlantic forests of Sierra de Francia; the deep Mediterranean valleys of the Arribes natural park, and, in between, the hilly open woodland ‘Dehesas’ of ancient Holm Oaks, granite tors, and the River Tormes with a vast lake-like reservoir: a wealth of birdlife all year round. We are both trained ornithological ecotourism guides, and speak English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese between us.

Trip Reports

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.

Places to Stay

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La Casa de la Abuela Petra

Accommodation

Situada en Solarana, Comarca de Arlanza Burgos - La Casa de la Abuela Petra se encuentra en un enclave ideal. En un cruce de caminos milenarios entre Santo Domingo de Silos, Lerma y Covarrubias…

Molino del Canto - Barrio la Cuesta

Accommodation

We found this exceptional spot in the Merindades region some years ago. It is hidden between the Ebro River and the mountains, and was formerly a flour mill and the millers' house. Both buildings have been restored with traditional local materials, and the inn has been perfectly adapted as accommodation, even in the coldest days of winter. We are outside the town, so just by going outdoors you find yourself in the middle of the countryside. The natural landscape is a delight to the senses; you can hear the sound of the river, you can see the griffon vultures wheeling on the wind, you can breath all that pure air with its fragrances, and feel the bark of the old trees, rooted to the ground since ancient times…

Rincón de Doña Inés Rincón de Doña Inés

Website

Rincón de Doña Inés has everything you have been looking for in a traditional Spanish hotel - tranquillity, sublime comfort, exceptional food and some of the most beautiful landscape and sightseeing in Spain right on our doorstep…

Organisations

Ornithology of Bierzo

Website

List of birds and pictures…

TRINO (Tourismo Rural de Interior y Ornitologia)

Website

TRINO was set up to promote responsible ornithological tourism in Castile and Leon. The project works with rural accommodation providers in the region to provide a quality service focused around the needs visiting birdwatchers. Their regional guide in English provides an excellent overview of the main habitats and bird species in the region, accommodation linked to the project and local contact organisations…

Reserves

Arribes del Duero Natural Park

Information

Satellite View

The park is a Special Protection Area, recognised by European Union for birds such as the Black Stork…

Lagunas de Villafáfila (Villafafila)

Information

Satellite View

This is the most popular area for aquatic, steppe and migratory birds in Castile and Leon and one of the most important wetlands of northern Spain. The reserve is formed by three main lakes and other smaller wetlands and is surrounded by farmland. It is home to almost 2,000 great bustards, making it the largest colony of this species in the world. The reserve is also popular with wintering aquatic birds including around 30,000 Graylag geese…

Las Riberas de Castronuño (Vega del Duero)

Information

Satellite View

This natural park and bird sanctuary, located around the San José reservoir, is considered to be an important European Special Protection Area (SPA) for bird life. It accommodates both non-migratory and migratory birds with colonies of Purple Herons in the summer and Great Cormorants in the winter. The reserve is home to a number of endangered species such as the Blue Heron, the Marsh Harrier and the Black-crowned Night Heron, many of which make their nests in the reed beds along the River Duero…

Parque Nacional y Regional de Picos de Europa

Information

Satellite View

Spain's oldest National Park (1918); and the second largest in size, the Picos de Europa extends over three provinces: Asturias, Cantabria and León. This remarkable limestone range is Atlantic Europe's most extensive and is famous for its vertiginous slopes that go from 225ft above sea level to the highest peak, Torre Cerredo, 8100ft. These different altitudes and its proximity to the sea give rise to an impressive variety of flora and fauna…

Parque Natural de las Hoces del río Duratón

Website

Satellite View

El Parque Natural de las Hoces del río Duratón está situado en el noreste de Segovia, aguas abajo de la villa de Sepúlveda. En esta zona el río se ha encajado en un profundo cañon, que en algunos lugares alcanza más de 100 metros de desnivel. Al interés y belleza del paisaje hay que añadir la gran riqueza arqueológica e histórica que encierra en su interior esta garganta.

Parque Natural del Cañón del Río Lobos

Information

Satellite View

El Parque Natural del Cañón del Río Lobos constituye un singular espacio biogeográfico estructurado sobre el eje de un profundo cañón de escarpados farallones.

Parque Natural del Lago de Sanabria

Information

Satellite View

En el Pleistoceno Superior, hace 100.000 años, un impresionante glacial con lenguas de hielo de más de 20 kilómetros sirvió de origen al actual Lago de Sanabria.

Parque Natural del Valle de Iruelas

Information

Satellite View

En el límite más oriental de la Sierra de Gredos se descubre un pequeño y especial territorio: el Valle de Iruelas. Drenado por una serie de arroyos de montaña -el principal es el de Iruelas, afluente del río Alberche- sus laderas aparecen cubiertas por un valioso bosque formado por una gran diversidad de especies. Entre todas destacan los pinos negral y laricio, de los que aún se conservan unos grandes y milenarios ejemplares. En los límites del abulense Valle de Iruelas está instalada la colonia más numerosa (alrededor de ochenta parejas) de buitres negros de todo el continente europeo.

Parque Regional de la Sierra de Gredos

Information

Satellite View

Modelado Por la erosión en pretéritas épocas glaciares, la Sierra de Gredos, en el sur de Castilla y León, se presenta como una espectacular sucesión de lagunas, circos, gargantas, cuchillares, riscos, galayos y depósitos morrénicos.

Valle de Iruelas

Information

Satellite View

The Valle de Iruelas is located on the easternmost side of the Sierra de Gredos. Along its edge (in the province of Avila) can be found the largest colony of black vultures in continental Europe (around 80 pairs) and other birds of prey such as the Imperial Eagle. The vantage point of Puerto de Casillas has been declared a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birdlife. …

Blogs

Andanzas por el páramo

Blog

ste fín de semana Acenva ha realizado el censo de dormideros de Milano Real en la provincia de Valladolid…

Aves del norte de Burgos

Blog

Citas y fotos, en formato cuaderno de campo de aves del norte de la provincia de Burgos…

Aves del Valle del Arlanza

Blog

Bienvenidos a este blog que tratará de mostraros en tiempo real la situación, fenología y vida en general de las aves que habitan el denominado Valle del Arlanza y su entorno, en la provincia de Burgos; a través de mis observaciones, comentarios y fotografías, y las de quien quiera colaborar…

Birding en el Este de Burgos

Blog

Observaciones de aves realizadas en la zona Este de la provincia de Burgos (Spain): Sierras de la Demanda y Neila, Valle del Arlanza, Comarca de Lara y Peñas de Cervera…

Helmantica Ornithology

Blog

La Atalaya del Falco

Blog

Birding BLOG from Burgos (Spain)…

Llanuras Castellanas

Blog

Aficionado a la observacion de aves y a la naturaleza en general… [This is a blog where i describe the nature of the center of Spain…]

Pajareando

Blog

Impresiones de un naturalista aficionado…

Quintanilla del Agua Fauna Salvaje

http://quintanilladelaguafaunasalvaje.blogspot.com/

Intentamos enseñar toda clase de fauna que habita cerca de nuestro pueblo

Other Links

Anuario Ornitológico de la provincia de Burgos

Website

Bienvenidos a la edición On-line del Anuario Ornitológico de la provincia de Burgos. Desde esta página podrás tener acceso a los informes correspondientes a las observaciones ornitológicas más relevantes comunicadas para la provincia de Burgos, Castilla y León (España). Los respectivos informes que aparecen en esta web constituirán la base de datos para la posterior realización de los anuarios con el formato habitual, que en nuestro caso intentaremos que sea trianual… [Ornithological Yearbook of the province of Burgos]

Aves de Burgos

Website

Website about birding and digiscoping in Burgos province…

Aves de Palencia

Website

Birds & Birding in Palencia, ringing ornithological notebook etc…

Javier Morala - Birds in the North of Spain

Website

Blog dedicated to the Birdwatching in the North of Spain, more concretely on the Burgos province, where t is located the Molino del Canto Inn, bases from which we made the trips that make us know the birds the north of Spain…

Naturaleza de Quintanilla del Agua

Website

Aves, mamíferos y naturaleza a tiempo real…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Juan Martín Simón

Gallery

La fauna española, y más concretamente las aves, son el motivo principal del trabajo como fotógrafo de la naturaleza de Juan Martín Simón…