TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Spanish Pyrenees

4 – 11 June 2005


Leaders
John Muddeman & Mike Crewe

This was the third spring “co-pro” between The Travelling Naturalist and Limosa in the Pyrenees in late spring, and as usual, the all-round interests of the group and leaders resulted in a fine trip. The weather accompanied us throughout, even more so than usual, being almost cloudless for most of the time, with cool winds blowing down from France and the high peaks each evening and overnight, keeping the temperatures slightly down, though it reached 30ºC on a couple of occasions lower down. Thanks to Mike, we accrued a huge plant list, as well as an excellent number of butterflies and dragonflies, as well as the birds of course.

While the travel to and from Barcelona was a bit tedious, it at least meant good flight times and I’d like to thank you for your patience. And thanks to you all for making this such a productive and enjoyable trip.

Ahh, and in order to whet your appetites for the rest of the report, as a result of the little ranking I asked you for, the following were the species highlights of the tour (points/no. votes):

Wallcreeper (34/9), Lady’s Slipper Orchid (22/5), Lammergeier (20/5), Golden Eagle & Rock Thrush (14/5), Eagle Owl & Black Woodpecker (10/3), Short-toed Eagle (8/2), Golden Oriole (8/3), Cleopatra (7/2), Pyrenean Saxifrage (6/2), Calandra Lark (5/2), Woodchat Shrike (4/2), Bee-eater (3/2), Subalpine Warbler & Basil Thyme (3/1), Red Kite & Large Tortoiseshell (2/1), Egyptian Vulture, Hobby, Rock Bunting, Southern White Admiral, Marbled Fritillary & Camberwell Beauty (1/1).

Saturday 4 June

We arrived on time, but sadly some hopeless and somewhat incompetent dealings by the Hertz car hire desk meant that we were well over an hour between joining the massive queue and actually hiring out the vehicles... In fact, to save time later we then had a snack outside by the buses at Barcelona airport, though a light breeze in the warm humid conditions was not at all bad. We finally got away at 3.30pm and started the long drive to the Echo valley.

Little was really of note en route, apart from a White Stork taking nest material to its mate on a huge nest on a church tower in a village, and after having noted that raptors were notably scarce, we saw first a Black and Red Kite together, then a flock of over seventy Black Kites spiralling over recently cut hay meadows! A Common Buzzard on a post and roadside Common Kestrel were more typical, but at an impromptu petrol station stop a couple of Egyptian and c. ten Griffon Vultures were more exotic! The same spot also yielded singing Nightingale, Goldfinches, Serins, a Corn Bunting and a couple of Crested Larks!

We arrived at almost 8.30pm having taken the more scenic road past the ever impressive "mallos" of Riglos, unloading the vans to a singing Firecrest.

Sunday 5 June

The day dawned, fine, clear and cool. Ideal! We left at 9.00am after breakfast and headed up towards the now famous Gabardito walking refuge. A lovely young Red Squirrel in a tree was excellently seen from both buses, and seemed far more intent on manipulating some strange wet brownish object (a fungus?) than worrying about us.

The car park at the end had a number of cars and camper vans present, this notably being the weekend, but his clearly hadn't put off the local Citril Finches which fed unconcernedly on the grassy banks nearby, mixing regularly with a couple of Linnets. These subtly coloured birds kept us entertained for some time as they fed on dandelion and other seed heads. A spectacular clump of Common Aquilegia on the edge of the tarmac was impressive too!

The sun was already pulling a few butterflies out, including Small Tortoiseshells, and as we strolled sedately through the woods, not only did we see and hear local Coal and Great Tits, calling Crested Tits and Eurasian Cuckoo, but also Grizzled Skippers, Wall Browns and a large number of fine Duke of Burgundy butterflies. While botanical delights were numerous, a blackish bird seen disappearing into the woods later revealed itself as a fine male Black Woodpecker, sadly only seen well by David as it flapped across just above the canopy. A 'cliff' opposite had perched Griffon Vultures and their now well-grown offspring, while a few Red-billed Choughs made a distant appearance, later bettered by a close, noisy fly-over.

Flying Griffons casting shadows on the rocks opposite caught our eye, and more when we noted a young Lammergeier mixed in! The was watched as it patrolled along the valley side, turning back and forth before finally coming in to land near the top of a pinnacle. A super sight in the scopes. This in fact had diverted us from a singing Wallcreeper, but once we'd also had our fill of the local Alpine Swifts and Crag Martins we moved to take up prime position for a potentially good wait…

Fortunately, despite waiting for while, we watched the antics of a few Red-billed Choughs overhead, at one point chasing a passing Raven, and a couple of Black Redstarts to keep us busy. A call from Mike alerted us to the arrival of a Wallcreeper, but the angle was not good for many and it disappeared again before we could get on it... Not to worry though and after persisting we finally had good, albeit slightly distant views at different times of both a male and a female flitting around the rocks. Once these had disappeared we then changed our attention, David finding three adult Lammergeiers which spiralled up and then drifted rapidly past down the valley in front. Wow!

A number of plants caught our eyes on the rocks here including White Rock-rose, Globularia repens and G. nudicaulis, more Trumpet Gentians and a few Rock-jasmines amongst others, while the walk down before lunch in the car park revealed a brief Crested Tit, a Treecreeper for some, a fine Pine Hawkmoth for others and other bits and pieces including a lovely little colony of One-flowered Wintergreens under the shadow of the pines.

Lunch was a fortunately quiet affair (sticky fingers and binoculars don’t always mix well!), despite Citril Finches flying over on a couple of occasions, and after popping back to the hotel to drop a few things off we headed up the valley and through the Selva de Oza. A few Pyrenean Saxifrages with their showers of white flowers hung out over the road from the otherwise bare rocks in places, but we stopped for a stunning display of Large-flowered Butterworts on wet rocks. A host of other plants here included Greater Meadow-rue, Valeriana montana, a fine Figwort and even Welsh Poppy, while a couple of Grey Wagtails brightened up the river.

Lots of people were out for the weekend, making the journey a little more complicated than usual, but we continued up, beyond and along a track where few were about. A few Yellowhammers seemed out of place, especially with Red-backed Shrikes and passing Egyptian Vultures for company! We searched the river for Dippers, without success, but stopped above a steep bank with an orchid-studded wet flush. Most of us walked down into this for a little look and spent over an hour there! Butterflies included Green-underside, Common and Little Blues, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and a few passing fritillaries and Small Tortoiseshell, though one of the most showy was a fine Camberwell Beauty, our second of the day. Broad-leaved Marsh Orchids were dominant, plus a few Heath Spotted Orchids and apparent hybrids between them - a lovely sight, especially given a swathe of Early Purple Orchids on the drier grassy bank on the opposite side of the road. Those who stayed up top were rewarded with a pair of Dippers gracing the river.

We finally pulled ourselves away and wound our way down the valley, pausing first for a superb 'black-bellied' Dipper with food in the river, and again, unfortunately in the middle of the road and much to the annoyance of some other road users (!), for a clump of gorgeous flowering Bastard Balm.

Monday 6 June

A pre-breakfast walk for most (ehem!) saw them walking in and out of a pocket of cold air - a "förn" wind according to the two meteorologists on the trip. A couple of Egyptian Vultures, a Short-toed Eagle, a spiralling group of fifty-five Griffons, a superb male Rock Bunting and a Firecrest which flew out and landed on a wire were excellent rewards!

We drove (despite a hold-up for a sheep flock!) down the valley and across to Jaca, noting a couple Grey Herons, numerous Black and Red Kites and a Buzzard as we went. The good road up towards the Somport Pass meant this was easy, and we turned off towards the Astún ski resort - lots of flowers including both colour forms of the Elder-flowered Orchid, Pyrenean Vetch, Alpine Clover and a couple of violets, while singing Chaffinches, Yellowhammers and Serins, a calling Crossbill and passing Citril Finches were all noted.

We set off slightly apart towards our final stop here, only for Susan in the second bus to note a “strange looking orange-bellied bird on the wire” - a stunning male Rock Thrush, which dropped down and 'handled' a caterpillar in front for several minutes. It then raced across into a small valley where another fed, and once the other bus had returned, we also noted three Alpine Marmots 'rippling' across the turf, a pair of Black Redstarts and a couple of Water Pipits next to the thrushes! A male Northern Wheatear finally rounded things off, though a Black Vulture passing W behind us (actually in France) was sadly only briefly noted by a couple of people, being a major rarity in the area.

The nearby 'resort' of Candanchú was even less appealing, but even as we stepped out of the vans, a Rock Thrush sang from some military buildings, a Yellowhammer reeled off its ditty from adjacent scrub and a small mixed flock of both Red-billed and Alpine Choughs fed in nearby turf. We took an easy walk along cross-country skiing trails between rocky outcrops, the surrounding high limestone peaks making a magnificent backdrop. Several Northern Wheatears were present and obvious, a couple of Water Pipits were singing, with one in display flight from pinnacle to pinnacle, and another male Rock Thrush kept us busy. The plants were simply stunning though, with tremendous patches of different species catching our eyes as we progressed, including Trumpet Gentians, Speedwells, Alpine Clover, Bird's-eye Primrose and the pink-flowered form of Kidney Vetch of most note. Some tiny frogs and even smaller tadpoles were dwarfed by a couple of impressive leeches in a stream, while a superb powder-blue male Keeled Skimmer delighted a few.

Lunch in the car park was preceded by views of a group of Pyrenean Chamois high up on the pastures, with another much lower noted as we watched an adult Lammergeier drop right down in front of the cliffs and disappear behind a small rise. A fine Short-toed Eagle also cruised past as we arrived.

The journey down was punctuated twice. Firstly we stopped on the roadside near a small military camp and walked up a short track through scrubby pasture. Orchids were common, with plenty of Elder-flowered going over, and Fragrant coming out in flower, plus odd Common Twayblade, Early Purple and Greater Butterfly Orchids for variety. A female Rock Bunting was seen and heard flying past, then noted again on the side of a small quarry, where a few butterflies drinking included plenty of Small Blues and a couple of Piedmont Ringlets.

Our final stop was in Jaca, where we walked round part of the fortress moat, soon finding calling Rock Sparrows on the huge faces of the walls, though many were simply flying in and out at speed in order to gather food for their hungry nestlings. Common Swifts were also present very low down, flying out and almost touching the grass before powering up and out of the moat - a most peculiar sight.

Walking back to the town park we found a little flock of Tree Sparrows and a Greenfinch, then in the park, Short-toed Treecreeper, Blackcap and Crested Tit of most note, though a round of icecreams was a fine end to the afternoon!

Tuesday 7 June

After cool strong overnight wind, we left as normal and headed down past Puente la Reina and towards Arrés. A stop next to a Box-spotted hillside below pines provided a fine starting point, though Cirl Buntings were much more obliging then a couple of Ortolan Buntings present, one of which came in with food but only perched very briefly before disappearing, while the other sang distantly from an unseen perching site... Butterflies were excellent here though, with a stunning Southern White Admiral coming in to feed off sun tan lotion (!) and salts on various different people, presenting a unique photographic opportunity. We stayed here for some time, noting a wide range of plants too, including some fine Pyramidal Orchids and flowering Wild Barberry, though birds were not abundant despite including a pair of Short-toed Eagles over the hilltop, plenty of quarrelling and singing Corn Buntings and a brief fly-by Nightingale carrying food. Butterflies were better, including Marbled White, Chestnut Heath, Spanish gatekeeper, a Meadow Fritillary, and a couple of Mazarine and Idas Blues.

Leaving much later than expected we decided to pass on the monasteries, leaving them for another day, and headed south. The always peculiarly bluish Embalse de la Peña revealed a Great Crested Grebe from the moving bus, but we continued down to near Riglos before stopping on the roadside near a mix of orchards and pine woods. Different Hoopoes were seen by the different buses, as were different Woodlarks shortly ahead! The next and much longer stop though was prompted by a female Black-eared Wheatear, the male of which was finally found nearby, but not before we took in a fine Tawny Pipit perched up on the charred remains of a bush. A pair of rather distant Woodchat Shrikes moved about in a couple of orchards but were elusive. Butterflies were again notable, including several Western Marbled Whites and a few brilliant Adonis Blues.

The walk at Riglos was hot, but we finally teased out a male Blue Rock Thrush peering out over the roof of the church and a young Peregrine buzzed over before landing back in the only small bush high up on the cliff side! We had to go round the corner to see our main prize, a pair of Black Wheatears, but in the shady scrub a family of Firecrests fed, a couple of Rock Sparrows called overhead and a group of chittering Alpine Swifts sped past over and over again. Insects were good here too, including a range of butterflies which included Red-underwing Skipper and Iberian Marbled White, plus some small bushes of Licorice beside the path – an interesting find. We left to the sight of a couple of climbers way way up one of the huge pinnacles already on a major overhang...

Mike's bus had a little longer by the Embalse on our return, noting a Yellow-legged Gull and three Great Crested Grebes as almost the only birds present.

Wednesday 8 June

A Roller on wires close to Puente la Reina was a major and very welcome surprise!

We made the longer journey east and up towards the Puerto de Portalet without incident, though a short stop en route revealed singing Garden Warbler, a few Griffons and a circling Sparrowhawk. The area by the Portalet restaurants was not exactly the most attractive, though a flock of nine passing Alpine Choughs and singing Water Pipit helped alleviate things, but after loo visits we wandered through into France and began the climb up to a nearby col. This was simply superb!

New flowers just popped up thick and fast, including hundreds of Narcissus-flowered Buttercup and Pyrenean Fritillaries, plus clumps of Spring Gentians and Pyrenean Lousewort. Dozens of species fell to Mike's seemingly limitless knowledge and we just soaked up this spectacle, only having a little time to note a couple of fine Skylarks and a series of delightful Northern Wheatears singing vigorously in these alpine meadows. We eventually finished the climb on acidic soil towards the coll, the effort being rewarded with an-all-too brief Alpine Accentor, despite several Alpine Marmots, Black Redstarts and more Northern Wheatears keeping us busy.

We slowly worked our way back down, this time on limestone, noting a rather different suite of flowers including Cowslips by a small snow patch and number of stunning Alpine Anemones, a couple of singing Ortolan Buntings and a pair of very fine Citril Finches being noted respectively by a few.

After a coffee stop, lunch was taken close to the road in a little hollow in the hills. Despite a chill breeze, the flowers were again simply spectacular, and though the birds could be counted on one hand, included Ortolan Bunting, Whinchat and male Rock Thrush! This was again a botanist's dream and we scoured the meadows after lunch noting an astonishing variety of species, from the saxifrages and Pyrenean Bluebells on the natural rock gardens of the steep sides, to real bog plants of a wet flush in the middle which was dominated by a swathe of Cuckoo-flower and Kingcups, with dozens of Globeflowers scattered across the slightly drier areas. Superb!

We paused briefly on the way down to find a 'stake-out', which turned out to be a real treat. A local warden carefully led us up a little slope to an area of bushes where a Tree Pipit sang its heart out. There, in the dappled shade, a couple of Lady's-slipper Orchids were in full bloom, their magnificent flowers forming an incredible sight. We spent a good deal of time admiring and of course photographing them before finally pulling ourselves away. A simply fantastic, and extremely rare plant and another excellent way to round off a day.

Thursday 9 June

A clear and fine start again, with a stiff chill breeze blowing down the valley. This would normally not be noticeable, but we spent an hour before breakfast at the Boca del Infierno waiting fruitlessly for possible Wallcreeper, so we did feel it! A few Crag Martins, a couple of Grey Wagtails and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were scant reward, though close a single Griffon Vulture and Red Kite towards the end gave excellent views.

We headed South, this time going beyond Riglos and down to the 'hot' lowlands. Fortunately, despite no wind it was relatively cool, though few birds were about along the roadsides. Stopping for a couple of Bee-eaters in a rough corner we found Crested Larks, singing Tawny Pipits and a surprise, but very welcome fly-by Hobby. The village of Montmesa had a White Stork nest on a platform, though as we crossed a series of arable fields, flying and then perched Calandra Larks were a treat. A few Skylarks on grassy steppe were somewhat out of place, but not so a rather distant Little Egret seen from the second bus on the edge of the Sotonera reservoir. The wide shingle 'beaches' bordering the water housed three pairs of Little Ringed Plover and a pair of smart Yellow-legged Gulls, with dozens of Great Crested Grebes loafing on the water. A distant group of birds circling slowly around were a mixed flock of thirty four Black, two Common and one Little Tern, though they finally all disappeared. A pair of darter dragonflies in tandem caught our eye, as did a female Montagu's Harrier which drifted over the beach but then disappeared when half-heartedly mobbed by a Yellow-legged Gull. A number of Scarlet Dragonflies in a bay also commanded attention.

Time was running away, so we back-tracked and then took a little road heading South. A stop for a Southern Grey Shrike and roadside flowers revealed a wealth of butterflies on the flowers too, while an adjacent slope held jingling Corn Buntings and two rather elusive Subalpine Warblers. Just as we were leaving, some time later (- how many times does this happen?! -), so a circling Golden Eagle got us back out of the vehicles, the eagle seemingly acknowledging this by going into display, despite being a youngster.

Lunch was taken at a little picnic site under pines, and despite the heat, singing Golden Orioles were heard, and a few calling Spotted Flycatchers and a singing Western Orphean Warbler were seen. A superb Emperor Dragonfly and several male Southern Skimmers patrolled over a deep irrigation channel where Common Winter Damselflies hid among the grass.

We returned via a pool near Huesca, with a few Jackdaws in a water tower en route. Despite the heat, a pair of Marsh Harriers glided over the far side, though sheets of a golden Dodder species coating the ground were also commented on. A couple of Coots on the water, over seventy male Mallard, calling Moorhen and a couple of fly-by Great Reed Warblers were all new for the trip, though a calling Penduline Tit in willows on the far side of a small stream was not even audible to most given the strong wind. We left as a couple of Hoopoes in crazy display flight fluttered back and forth over some roadside pines.

The trip back was long, but after a slightly earlier dinner we headed back down to near Puente la Reina to a 'stake-out'. A close Nightingale actually showed itself, as did single Roe Deer and Cuckoo in the gathering gloom, but our star suddenly appeared at 10.15pm, flying in to land on a dead tree above the skyline, where the scopes revealed its ear tufts - a superb Eagle Owl. This then took off and flew straight towards us, passing directly over as it headed towards some unknown hunting grounds. An amazing sight! We finished off with a churring European Nightjar, though it remained steadfastly hidden. A fabulous end to the day.

Friday 10 June

A usual 9.00am start and we were off down the valley and east towards Jaca. A little side road kept us entertained for the entire morning with a magnificent variety of more Mediterranean species. For starters, a Western Bonelli's Warbler sang at close range on a bush top and a Golden Oriole flew out from the woodland giving good views. Further birds included a passing pale Booted Eagle, a smart Woodchat Shrike at close range, and finally, a few Subalpine Warblers, which despite singing, refused to show to more than one or two people at a time.

Another spot a little further up the road also turned out to be a fine choice, as a superb near-adult Golden Eagle sailed out from its perching site on a dead tree and circled up in front. A fabulous view, but simply phenomenal when it turned and cruised down the little valley towards us, passing in front, then turning and circling a few times before drifting over the nearest hill-top. Wow! It even then did a shorter repeat showing when chased off the territory of two irate Carrion Crows, finally drifting off over the hill sides.

Plants here were superb, with a wide range of shrubs including abundant pink-flowered Shrubby Restharrow, plus spiny-leaved Kermes and rounded-leaved Holm Oaks. Among the numerous smaller plants, a fine colony of Bee Orchids and a few Pyramidal Orchids were admired, and clumps of white-flowered Linum suffruticosum and yellow-flowered Linum flavum lined the roadside banks.

Butterflies were correspondingly good too, with showy Southern White Admirals, bright orange Marbled Fritillaries, dozens of small False Ilex Hairstreaks, Silver-studded & Small Blues, Marbled Whites and Spanish Gatekeepers amongst others. A few pale blues were fine Chalkhill Blues, the only ones of the week, but these coincided with the appearance of a group of three Golden Orioles, which hunted through the foliage of a few of the larger bushes in an area razed to the ground by fire a few years before. Rock Sparrows, Rock Buntings and Rock Thrushes were again seen, plus a single Rock Grayling which yet again settled on David to lap up salts…

The heat was again rising so we finally called it a day and headed off into the hills towards San Juan de la Peña. The drive up to the top was not punctuated (unlike normal!) due to lunch calling, but we noted a few sites we wanted to stop at on our return! Lunch was taken by the car park on picnic tables and next to a little mini-café – civilisation! Nuthatch and Crested Tit were both noted from here, though after a short walk through the woods afterwards, we came to the “Mirador de los Pirineos”, with a fine view to the north and the whole of the central Pyrenean ridge. A Eurasian Treecreeper en route was interesting, but a fine male Black Woodpecker which flew past just underneath at the viewpoint and then returned, was simply stunning! A fine stand of Dropwort and the ‘soft’ pink flowers of the Pyrenean subspecies of Common Rock-rose made a lovely sight in the calcareous grassland near the old Monastery.

We headed down, stopping first by the old (10th – 12th C) monastery, where some went inside to admire the architecture, and others took a path to find a superb rock-face peppered with the impressive flowering spikes of Pyrenean Saxifrage and blue-flowered Ramonda, plus a couple of spikes of the delicately-flowered St Bernard’s Lily. Further down the road we stopped again, this time to scramble up the slopes for a fabulous Campanula species, with a few fine flowering heads of Spiked Rampion nearby another treat for the botanists.

The timing was perfect so we headed back towards the hotel an hour early. And past it and up to the Boca del Infierno. Despite our failure to see anything there previously, we’d had a tip-off, and it worked. We parked, walked round the corner, and just as the late-comers arrived, so a superb male Wallcreeper flew up from the gorge below us and onto the cliffs in front! We watched this avian butterfly as it worked its way up and across the cliffs for almost forty minutes on and off, the only distractions being the odd passing car and a family of Blue Tits also “wall-creeping”. It finally worked its way along and area of shade and then floated off the cliff before plunging down into the gorge below us and disappearing again. A simply superb end!

Saturday 11 June

After a normal breakfast we left slightly later than usual and once again headed down the winding road towards, but past, Riglos. Turning back up towards the hills we climbed up to the impressive Castillo de Loarre, and despite slightly murky conditions, could see well out into the vast plains below us. Time here was spent looking at the castle, its surroundings and birds, which included Blue Rock Thrush, numerous Rock Sparrows, Black Redstart and Linnet in and around the walls, with a displaying Tawny Pipit in a nearby field and a brief Dartford Warbler seen by David.

We started the long drive back, pausing on a track near Lerida off the main road, but near some pools where a Great Reed Warbler and several Bee-eaters were present, while John and Sheila were fortunate to see one of the calling Penduline Tits which were hiding in a stand of tall False Acacia. The last new species was actually a group of four Monk Parakeets flying low across the road on the outskirts of Barcelona, though were only noted by the front bus.

We reached the airport in good time, where I said my goodbyes to the group, everyone else travelling back to London on the same flight.

With very best wishes from John and Mike. We look forward to seeing you again soon!



SPECIES LISTS
BIRDS
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus:
At least three seen at Embalse de la Pena on 7th and 9th and in excess of 50 at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th. This is a larger number than usual and may be due to birds having moved in from smaller water bodies in the area that had dried up. Certainly the vast majority of them didn’t appear to be breeding.
Little Egret Egretta garzette: One seen by some at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea: A small scattering of birds seen along the lower Rio Aragon Subordan on most days and occasionally flying up as far as our hotel.
White Stork Ciconia ciconia: At least three seen on the drive from Barcelona on 4th, at least 10 on our day around the Huesca area on 9th (including some well-grown youngsters in the nest) and one or two again on the drive back to Barcelona on 11th. One in the kite fields north of Puente la Reina on 9th was unexpected.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos: Three on the Canal de Monegros near Tormos on 9th and at least 50 at the university lake at Huesca the same day.
Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus: Singles noted at Gabardito on 5th and Alastuey on 8th.
Black Kite Milvus migrans: Seen daily in good numbers (day max of 50+), with particularly good views of birds in the fodder fields north of Puente la Reina.
Red Kite Milvus milvus: Seen daily in smaller numbers than Black Kite, but still plentiful. A superb bird and well worthy of its Spanish name of “Royal Kite”.
Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus: Wow! An excellent year with birds seen daily, including superb views of three adults at Gabardito on 5th and two fine adults soaring near Alastuey on 8th.
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus: Seen daily in small numbers, mostly involving smart black-and-white adults. Max day count of 10+ on 9th, including four together at Huesca. Regular around our hotel early in the morning.
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus: Probably more common in Aragon than anywhere else in the World! Present daily, with great views of that gathering at Hecho at the cow carcass.
Black Vulture Aegypius monachus: An extraordinary discovery by John of one flying high over the tops at Astun on 6th. This is a vagrant to the area and was almost certainly over the border in France.
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus: One to three on five dates, though often distant. Magnificent views of a fine bird over the scree tops at Candanchu was perhaps the best sighting of the week.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus: A pair seen over the rush beds at the university lake, Huesca on 9th.
Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus: Good views of a first-summer female cruising along the edge of Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th. Typically still sporting the warm buffy underparts and dark secondaries of a first-summer bird.
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus: A soaring bird seen near Sallent de Gallego on 8th.
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo: Single figures seen daily with good views of birds hanging around the fodder fields north of Puente la Reina.
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos: Not seen in the high Pyrenees, with both sightings coming from the lowlands. Singles at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th and Alastuey on 10th, with the latter bird coming remarkably close and being mobbed by two Carrion Crows. Truly spectacular!
Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus: A total of seven birds seen during the week with birds scattered in the pre-Pyrenean sandstone hills All light morph birds, bar one dark morph seen on 9th.
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus: Small numbers daily, mostly seen along roadsides between sites.
Hobby Falco subbuteo: Great views of one which cruised right overhead near Montmesa on 9th.
Peregrine Falco peregrinus: Nice views of a recently-fledged juvenile at Riglos on 7th.
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa: Typically elusive. Just two seen at Alastuey on 8th which disappeared all too quickly.
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix: One or two heard calling in croplands daily from 7th to 9th but all to far to be glimpsed. One also heard by David in the alpine meadows above Selva de Oza on 5th.
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus: A heard-only record of a bird at the university lake at Huesca on 9th.
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus: Heard calling from deep cover at the university lake at Huesca on 9th.
Coot Fulica atra: A pair seen at the university lake at Huesca on 9th.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius: At least three pairs at Embalse de Sotonera on 9th were seen well enough to appreciate their little yellow eye-rings and pinkish legs.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos: A singleton seen on the Rio Aragon Subordan by some of the group as we whizzed down the road on 7th.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis: One or two on the drive from Barcelona and one seen on a couple of occasions at Embalse de la Pena. A good gathering of birds on one of the islands at Embalse de la Sotonera were probably all non-breeders.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo: Two amongst the tern flock at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th.
Little Tern Sterna albifrons: One amongst the tern flock at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th was a surprise find.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger: A busy flock of 35 birds feeding at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th.
Feral Rock Dove Columba livia: Noted daily around towns and larger villages.
Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus: A small scattering of birds daily, both in the Barcelona area and in the Pyrenean foothills.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto: Now long-established in northern Spain and seen daily throughout the tour.
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur: One was seen briefly by John on the pass at Portalet on 8th and at least four put in brief appearances on our day in the Huesca area.
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus: Four flew across the road in front of John’s vehicle as we approached Barcelona on 11th.
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus: Heard on five dates with birds seen on 8th and 9th, including one seen well in flight at Alastuey.
Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo: Who would have thought it! Fabulous views of what was probably a male bird, emerging from its daytime roost, perching up on a dead tree for a while then flying right over our heads to go out to hunt. As the Americans would say – Awesome!!
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus: One churring away on the hillside during our Eagle Owl session on 9th.
Alpine Swift Apus melba Nine birds chittering and displaying at Gabardito on 5th and at least ten equally as noisy at the mallos de Riglos on 7th.
Common Swift Apus apus: Wonderfully common around towns and larger villages. Always amazing to see them racing into nest holes in the walls of the citadel at Jaca.
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster: Scarce at first but eventually good numbers of roadside birds seen well, especially on the day around Huesca on 9th and along the Alastuey road.
European Roller Coracias garrulous: A vagrant in this part of Spain, so the discovery of one on wires between Puente la Reina and Embun on 8th was a real bonus.
Hoopoe Upupa epops: Three seen in the Almond orchards near Riglos on 7th, two at Tormos on 9th and two at Huesca on 9th.
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis: Always elusive in Spain it seems. Heard calling at Gabardito on 5th and at the Roller spot on 8th.
Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius: Heard calling at Gabardito (and seen briefly there by some) on 5th, heard behind our hotel on 9th, then magnificent views of a male at San Juan de la Pena on 10th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major: One to two on four dates with birds noted around our hotel, at Gabardito, Riglos and at San Juan de la Pena.
Calandra Lark Melanocorypha calandra: At least six seen in the arid croplands around Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th. A wonderful lark with long, dark wings and that distinctive white trailing edge.
Crested Lark Galerida cristata: Common in the lowlands in cropped areas and good numbers seen on our day around Huesca.
Woodlark Lullula arborea: Heard at Arres, Candanchu, Alastuey and Riglos but often very distant and elusive. One seen well on the road up to Riglos on 7th.
Skylark Alauda arvensis: Several heard singing over the high slopes at Portalet on 8th and several singing around the edge of Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th.
Sand Martin Riparia riparia: Just a single bird seen at Embalse de la Sotonera on 9th.
Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris: Widespread and seen daily. Some wonderful close views of roadside birds, especially those breeding around the tunnel near our hotel.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica: Widespread, though scarce at altitude and mostly seen in the lowlands.
House Martin Delichon urbicum: Seen daily with a number of colonies at cliff locations – presumably their ‘natural’ homes before they adopted houses as nest sites.
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris: Noted at Arres and Riglos on 7th, Alastuey on 8th, Huesca area on 9th and Loarre on 11th. Best views of the roadside at Riglos which perched on a bush and gave nice scope views.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis: A singing bird perched on a rock showed well near Formigal on 8th.
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta: Small numbers of breeding birds scattered around Candanchu/Astun on 6th and Portalet on 8th.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea: Quite common along the stony rivers in the area and often seen as a fast-disappearing roadside bird. Some nice views along the road through Selva de Oza on 5th.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba: Small numbers seen daily, mostly around small towns and villages.
White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus: A good year with a total of four seen along the Rio Aragon Subordan on 5th and one below Candanchu on 6th. Finally, one seen well at Boca del Infierno on 10th.
Wren Troglodyte troglodytes: Judging by the song, this species is widespread and common in woodland in the Pyrenees – but did you see one?
Dunnock Prunella modularis: Scattered birds mostly in juniper scrub at the edge of the tree line at various locations. One singing lower down at Castillo de Loarre on 11th was less expected.
Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris: One showed up in the col at Portalet on 8th but didn’t seem to want to play ball and soon disappeared.
European Robin Erithacus rubecula: Widespread and common in woodlands but always elusive on the Continent. Occasional glimpses of early morning birds around our hotel on several occasions.
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos: Heard daily and occasionally seen in the open, especially on the Alastuey road and below Riglos.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros: Widespread and very common. Found on high rocky slopes above the tree line but becoming more of a town bird lower down. Some recently-fledged young beside the road were enjoyed as we sat at traffic lights near Formigal.
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra: A male found at our lunch stop above Formigal on 8th.
Common Stonechat Saxicola rubicola: Quite common and widespread with males regularly seen in noisy display flight. Seen well below Riglos and on the road to Alastuey.
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe: A good scattering of birds above the treeline at both Candanchu/Astun on 6th and Portalet on 8th. Males here are a little variable, seemingly forming a cline between darker northern birds and paler southern birds. The palest birds of the race libanotica are easily confused with male Black-eared Wheatears.
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica: A dapper pair was found on the roadside below Riglos on 7th.
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura: A little distant (probably due to almost constant pressure from climbers) but scoped well at Riglos where a pair was seen on 7th.
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis: What a great bird! Wonderful singing and displaying males at Astun and Candanchu on 6th, two at Portalet and two at Alastuey on 8th and at least three at the latter site on 10th, including a female carrying food.
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius: A nice male on the roof tops at Riglos on 7th and good views of another male at Castillo del Loarre on 11th.
Blackbird Turdus merula: Widespread and common in coniferous and mixed woodland.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos: Always shy and elusive on the continent. Heard singing daily at the hotel but only seen once by a couple of early-risers!
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus: Scattered birds in pine woodland around our hotel, at Gabardito and at San Juan de la Pena.
Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti: Roadside birds heard calling as we passed on 8th and 9th in the lowlands.
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis: Roadside birds heard calling as we passed on 4th and 10th in the lowlands, including one just east of Puente la Reina.
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus: At least four seen at the university lake at Huesca on 9th, though none in song. Their heavy, long-winged flight is distinctive.
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta: A good scattering of birds in song daily from 7th to 11th. Seen well at Arres on 7th and along the Alastuey road.
Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata: Again, annoyingly elusive this year. Heard calling at Arres on 7th and seen by David at Castillo del Loarre on 11th.
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans: Annoyingly elusive this year. A couple of birds seen briefly near Montmesa on 9th and several along the Alastuey road on 10th.
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala: Often rather difficult during the breeding season, but a pair taking food to a nest at Riglos showed well (at least for some) and others were noted at Castillo del Loarre.
Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis: Heard on several dates and seen very well at Arres on 7th and at our lunch stop at Tormos on 9th.
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin: Odd birds heard singing at scattered sites, notably at Gabardito, Sallent de Gallego and San Juan de la Pena. One seen by John near our hotel on a pre-breakfast amble.
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla: Heard daily in woodland, especially around our hotel and at San Juan de la Pena. One or two brief glimpses here and there.
Western Bonelli’s Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli: Several singing in White Oak woodland on the Alastuey road – and seen very well indeed there! Also heard singing at Castillo del Loarre on 11th.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita: Small numbers singing in woodland in the higher valleys, especially around our hotel and Gabardito.
Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus: Widespread in pine woodland with some great views around our hotel and at Gabardito. Also seen well in the park at Jaca and at San Juan de la Pena.
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata: Thin on the ground but probably remaining elusive during the breeding period. At least four seen in pine woods at San Juan de la Pena on 9th.
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus: Brief glimpses on three dates, but perhaps seen best at Alastuey where a party with several brown-headed youngsters was seen.
Crested Tit Parus cristatus: A fabulous little bird, noted on five dates. Some great views in the park at Jaca and at San Juan de la Pena at the picnic tables.
Coal Tit Parus ater: Widespread in small numbers in higher conifer forests. Seen well at Gabardito on 5th.
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus: Small numbers noted almost daily but not particularly common.
Great Tit Parus major: Rather more common than Blue Tit and noted in small numbers daily.
Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea: Noted at Gabardito on 5th and San Juan de la Pena on 10th. Always a sucker for an imitation of its call!!
Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria: Wowwwww!!! After a distant showing of two at Gabardito – where views are always pretty neck-breaking - our old regular roadside site came good and a male was watched at length through the scopes as he fed busily along cracks and crevices. The perfect bird.
Common Treecreeper Certhia familiaris: One at Gabardito on 5th and at least two at San Juan de la Pena on 10th. Both sites also hold Short-toed Treecreeper and it is intriguing to wonder how the two avoid interbreeding.
Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla: A good scattering of birds on four dates, including two at Gabardito and a very close bird at the park in Jaca.
European Penduline-tit Remiz pendulinus: Heard calling from inaccessible willows at the university lake at Huesca on 9th. Heard at several sites on our journey east to Barcelona on 11th and one or two of the group managed to see at least one during our lunch break.
Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus: Two flew across the road in front of Mike’s vehicle on 7th as we headed back to the hotel Birds were heard but not seen at Tormos on 9th, then a couple of birds were scoped calling and lurking on open bushy slopes near Alastuey on 10th..
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio: Quite common in the mountains with scattered males noted daily in scrubby fields and hillsides. Females were notable by their absence and were probably sitting on eggs at this time of year.
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis: Now split as a separate species from Great Grey Shrike – there is apparently about a 30km wide gap between the breeding ranges of the two species in south-east France. A nice bonus of a roadside bird near Montmesa on 9th.
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator: Pairs noted at Riglos on 7th, Huesca area on 9th and Alastuey on 10th.
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius: Ones and twos noted most days but usually from a moving vehicle in the hills as we travelled between sites.
Common Magpie Pica pica: Widespread and quite common in the foothills and lowlands.
Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus: Smaller numbers than the previous species, preferring the heady heights and cooler slopes of the French side. Max count of 20+ at Astun on 6th with smaller numbers at Gabardito and Portalet. Has a distinctive trilling call and an outline more like a Jackdaw, with longish tail and narrow hands.
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax: Plentiful with double figures noted at Astun/Candanchu, Riglos and Portalet. Remember that distinctive “chough” call, the short tail and ‘clown hands’. Max count of 80+ on 7th.
Jackdaw Corvus monedula: Some ten birds seen near the university lake, Huesca on 9th.
Carrion Crow Corvus corone: Small numbers daily. Often up to no good, lurking around the vulture flocks or annoying kites and eagles!
Common Raven Corvus corax: Small numbers daily with a max count of six on 7th. Nice views of vocal birds around Riglos.
Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor: Widespread in small numbers in the lowlands but not that easy to get a good look at at this time of year.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus: Widespread and common throughout, even a few birds well up in the Pyrenean valleys.
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus: At least five at the fort at Jaca on 6th, two at Tormos on 9th and two at our lunch stop on the return to Barcelona on 11th.
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia: Some great views of at least eight at the fort at Jaca on 6th, then seen daily at a range of sites, but most notably at Riglos and the Alastuey road.
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs: Very common in pinewoods throughout the area.
Serin Serinus serinu: A good scattering of birds with small numbers seen daily.
Citril Finch Serinus citronella: Six seen well feeding on the grass at Gabardito on 5th. Another six seen around Astun/Candanchu on 6th and two at Portalet on 8th.
Greenfinch Carduelis chloris: Small numbers heard or seen daily, but not especially common.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis: Quite common in small numbers and often seen feeding along roadside verges.
Linnet Carduelis cannabina: Common in open scrubby areas throughout, from lowlands to highlands, but avoiding wooded areas.
Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra: One flew over calling at Astun on 6th but unfortunately didn’t stop. Its rather deep call was typical of the southern forms which tend to be larger-billed than northern forms – an adaptation to feeding on pine cones rather than spruce.
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula: Typically a bird of pine woods in the south of its range. A pair was heard or seen in the area of our hotel on 8th to 10th and a pair was calling at San Juan de la Pena on 10th.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citronella: Quite widespread in small numbers at the top edge of the tree line with three above Selva de Oza on 5th, six at Astun on 6th and two at Portalet on 8th.
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus: Widespread but busy with breeding duties and not often seen well. Tends to replace the other buntings at lower levels and in slightly more open country. Quite common in the Aragon valley, up as far as our hotel and down around Riglos.
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia: A fine male singing on a pole near our hotel before breakfast on 6th and a female below Candanchu the same day. Later in the week, birds were seen well along the Alastuey road and at Castillo del Loarre.
Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana: A bit of a let down this year with birds preferring to stay hidden. A scattering of singing males on 7th and 8th around Arres and Alastuey gave brief glimpses, while some of us managed slightly better views of a couple of birds around Portalet on 8th.
Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra: Widespread and common in the lowlands. Often disguises itself as a whole range of other species!!

MAMMALS
Red Fox:
1 behind the hotel seen by several on 10th.
Wild Boar: ‘Rootlings’ noted at a couple of spots on 6th.
Pyrenean Chamois/ Isard: Only seen at distance in the high tops, but 1 Astún and 6+ Candanchú on 6th, and c.15 seen at distance over the border in France on 8th!
Red Squirrel: 2 seen en route to/from Gabardito on 5th.
Alpine Marmot: 3+ Astún and heard Candanchú on 6th, and 3+ Puerto de Portalet on 8th!
Iberian Hare: Just one Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
*Brown Rat: 1 Sieresa en route on 4th.
*Mole sp.: plenty of hills seen at altitude on 6th.
*Roe Deer: 1 Eagle Owl site on 9th.

AMPHIBIANS
Midwife Toad:
Heard at the Eagle Owl site on 9th.
Common Toad: Spawn was seen at the Selva de Oza on 5th.
Common Frog: Lots Selva de Oza on 5th, several Candanchú on 6th, and lots Puerto de Portalet on 8th.
Iberian Water Frog: Numbers heard Alastuey road on 8th and 9th.
*“Bleedin’ jelly-eyed frog”: 1 Alastuey on 10th.

REPTILES
Common Wall Lizard:
3 Gabardito on 5th, lots Astún and Candanchú on 6th, and lots on 8th and 9th.
Ocellated Lizard: 1 Arrés on 7th and 1 Alastuey on 10th.
Green Lizard: 1 en route on 7th.
Iberian Rock Lizard: 1-2 Candanchú on 6th.
Western Three-toed Skink: 1 Arrés on 7th.

BUTTERFLIES
Common Swallowtail Papilio machaon
Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius
Clouded Apollo Parnassius mnemosyne
Black-veined White Aporia crataegi
Large White Pieris brassicae
Small White Artogeia rapae
Green-veined White Artogeia napi
Western Bath White Pontia daplidice
Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines
Berger’s Clouded Yellow Colias australis
Clouded Yellow Colias crocea
Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni
Cleopatra Gonepteryx cleopatra
Wood White Leptidea sinapis
False Ilex Hairstreak Satyrium esculi
Blue-spot Hairstreak Satyrium spini
Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi
Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas
Little (Small) Blue Cupido minimus
Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus
Green-underside Blue Glaucopsyche alexis
Idas Blue Plebejus idas
Brown Argus Aricia agestis
Mazarine Blue Cyaniris semiargus
Chapman’s Blue Agrodiaetus thersites
Provençe Chalk-hill Blue Lysandra hispana
Adonis Blue Lysandra bellargus
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Duke of Burgundy Hamearis lucina
Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta
Camberwell Beauty Nymphalis antiopa
Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros
Peacock Inachis io
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja
Marbled Fritillary Brenthis daphne
Pearl-bordered Fritillary Clossiana euphrosyne
Glanville Fritillary Melitaea cinxia
Knapweed Fritillary Melitaea phoebe
Heath Fritillary Mellicta athalia
Meadow Fritillary Mellicta parthenoides
Spanish Fritillary Eurodryas desfontainii
Marbled White Melanargia galathea
Western Marbled White Melanargia occitanica
Rock Grayling Hipparchia alcyone
Piedmont Ringlet Erebia meolans
Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Spanish Gatekeeper Pyronia bathsheba
Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus
Pearly Heath Coenonympha arcania
Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria
Wall Brown Lasiommata megera
Large Wall Brown Lasiommata maera
Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae
Red-underwing Skipper Spialia sertorius
Mallow Skipper Carcharodus alceae
Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages
Small Skipper Thymelicus flavus

DAY-FLYING MOTHS
Six-spot Burnet:
Several Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
Five-spot Burnet: Several Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
Ground Lackey: Caterpillars seen Puerto de Portalet on 8th.
Psodos quadrifaria: 2 Puerto de Portalet on 8th.
*Bordered White: Lots Gabardito on 5th.
*Narrow-bordered Bee-hawkmoth: 2+ Selva de Oza on 5th.
Hummingbird Hawkmoth: 2 Gabardito on 5th, 3 various sites on 6th, 1 Puerto de Portalet on 8th and several Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
*Pine Hawkmoth: 1 Gabardito on 5th.
*Privet Hawkmoth: 1 Boca del Infierno on 10th.
Pine Processionary: Plenty Gabardito on 5th.
Mother Shipton: 1 Puerto de Portalet on 8th.
Burnet Companion: Seen at Gabardito on 5th, Candanchú on 6th and Puerto de Portalet on 8th.

DRAGONFLIES
*Common Winter Damselfly Sympecma fusca: several Tormes on 9th.
*Iberian Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura graellsii: several Embalse de Sotonera and Tormes on 9th.
*Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator: Single males Tormes on 9th and Alastuey on 10th.
*Club-tailed Dragonfly sp. Gomphus sp.: 1 Riglos on 7th.
Golden-ringed Dragonfly Cordulegaster boltonii: 1 Riglos on 7th.
*Southern Skimmer Orthetrum brunneum: several Tormes on 9th.
*Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens: a male Candanchú on 6th.
*Scarlet Darter Crocothemis erythraea: Lots Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombei: A few, apparently of this species at the Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.

OTHER INSECTS
Field Cricket
: Heard by hotel on 5th.
Egyptian Grasshopper: 2 Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
*Mantis sp. ?Ameles sp.: A fine little mantis en route on 4th.
*Stick Insect sp. Phasmid sp.: Singles at Arrés and Riglos on 7th.
*‘AssassinBug sp. Reduviidae: Lots on 7th.
*Large Water Skater sp. Aquarius sp.: Lots Alastuey on 10th.
*Acalaphid sp. Libelloides sp.: Lots Embalse de Sotonera on 9th.
*Common Wasp Vespula vulgaris: A queen en route on 8th.
*Violet Carpenter Bee: a few on 6th.
*Bee-fly sp. Bombylius sp.: At least three different brown species seen, from ‘large’ to tiny.
*Long-horn Beetles: singles of different species on 5th and 7th.

OTHER TAXA
Orb-web Spider sp.:
A ‘colony’ alastuey on 10th.
Leech sp.: Two+ at both Selva de Oza on 5th and Candanchú on 6th

PLANTS
The plant list eventually ran to 547 identified taxa (plus a number of unknowns!!!). As this would seriously increase the length of this report, you will find the full plant list included on the CD that accompanies it.

John Muddeman and Mike Crewe June 2005


© The Travelling Naturalist and Limosa Holidays 2005