Thursday, May 17, 2018

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ NE SPAIN 2018 ~ Pyrenees Day 5

πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ☀️⚡️🌩22C Thursday 17th May 2018 ~A later start today than normal on our penultimate day in the Pyrenees, catching up on a little sleep, processing a few images and getting to grips with some bug, butterfly and moth IDs. My thanks to Fred Stokes back in the UK who's a great knowledge base to rely on when you've forgotten a few of your Butterfly/Moth ID books. See below..

White-spotted Black, Eurrhypis pollinalis, moth basking in the sun
After breakfast and using Dave Gosney's 'Finding Birds In North Spain pamphlet', we set off on an hours drive to the outskirts of the municipality of SabiΓ±Γ‘nigo to an area known to be good for buntings, warblers and raptors.

Excellent habitat for Dartford Warbler
As recommended we began by searching the scrubland to the right along the access road to the Margas Golf Club and spent a good hour here. A couple of Bee-eaters perched up on the wires, Dartford Warbler, Wheatear, Linnet, Woodchat Shrike and a pair of Stonechat. We walked as far as the fairways with no sign of our target birds for the day, Ortolan Bunting and Rock Sparrow, the latter apparently breed here.

Cirl Bunting ~ Great camouflage
We then decided to walk the section on the opposite side of the road back to the car, stopping occasionally to sit and watch on some well-positioned benches. While here a couple of Cirl Buntings appeared, a male sitting well camouflaged in one of the birch trees.

Woodchat Shrike

Red-backed Shrike
On the fences and bushes looking down to the golf course both Woodchat and Red-backed Shrike were noted, plus two more Wheatear. The skies had begun to darken but overhead more Griffon Vultures and the ever-present Red Kites and then as we thought the distant rumble of a thunder.

Still using Dave Gosney's 'Finding Birds In North Spain pamphlet'. Our next stop just a short distance from the golf course was nicknamed 'Critchell's Road'. Graham Critchell, Dave tells us, apparently described it in one of his publications as 'one of the best places to go birding in the whole of Spain' a bold statement indeed!

However, before heading off along the roadside, which in places has excellent views across the mountains, we took a walk up to a nearby communication tower, perhaps not the best idea with a thunderstorm arriving! We made it up and down without being hit, although the lightning was spectacular and for our efforts managed Woodlark, Nightingale, more Dartford Warblers and overhead, Black Kite and Short-toed Eagle.

Impending Storm
The walk along 'Critchell's Road' did produce Orphean Warbler, Garden Warbler, Rock Bunting, Corn Bunting and Bonelli's Warbler and although an excellent haul: 'The best birding site in Spain'? Who knows, the thunderstorm certainly put paid to further investigation!