Sunday 17 May 2015

Hoces del Duratón, Castillo y León, near Caseda in Navarra and Siresa in the Hecho Valley, Aragón.

Dupont's for Deb and Southern White Admiral for me as we continue North to the Pyrenees.
Deb and Renate Day Nine. 

The river and gorge.
We were all up and out quite early, too early for the hotel owner who showed us how to let ourselves out the night before as he did not want to get up. We made our way across country to Hoces del Duratón, on the way we noticed that all the Pine trees in a large woodland we past were taped for resin something I had never seen before. We also saw a dead Eurasian Badger (Meles meles) and several live Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) before we reached the same spot as we had been at the night before.
Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris).
This time we could clearly hear a singing Dupont's Lark (Alondra Ricotí / Chersophilus duponti) and had a very good idea where it was so we crossed the small ravine and started to very slowly make our way towards the spot scanning every rock on the way.
Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes).
During this time we had Crested (Cogujada / Galerida cristata), Short-toed (Terrera Común / Calandrella brachydactyla), Thekla (Cogujada Montesina / Galerida theklae) and Woodlarks (Totovia / Lullula arborea), Black Kite (Milano Negro / Milvus migrans), Zitting Cisticola (Buitrón / Cisticola juncidis), Hoopoe (Abubilla / Upupa epops), Iberian  Magpie (Rabilargo / Cyanopica cooki), Woodchat Shrike (Alcaudón Común / Lanius senator), Red-rumped Swallow (Golondrina Dáurica / Hirudo daurica), Rock (Escribano Montesino / Emberiza cia) and Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Black-eared (Collalba Rubia / Oenanthe hispanica) and Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), Sardinian (Curruca Cabecinegra / Sylvia melanocephala) and Orphean Warbler (Curruca Mirlano / Sylvia hortensis) and then the star attraction a singing Dupont's.
Priorato de San Fruitos de Duratón.
We watched the bird for a short while before it dropped from its rock and disappearded from view and turned up a few minutes later singing well off to the right of us but we did not see it again. Well happy with this bird we made our way back towards Renate who had stayed near the car, on the way we saw both Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) and Western Dappled White (Euchloe crameri), Rock Sparrow (Gorrión Chillón / Petronia petronia), Red-legged Partridge (Perdiz Roja / Alectoris rufa), Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina), Jackdaw (Grajilla / Corvus monedula), Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and the first of many Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus).
Sarcocapnos enneaphylla.
We continued on down the track to the carpark at the start of the walk down to the Priorato de San Fruitos de Duratón, on the way we saw several Calandra (Calandria / Melanocorypha calandra) and Skylarks (Alondra Común / Alauda arvensis), Tawny Pipit (Bisbita campestre / Anthus campestris) and a nice male Blue-rock Thrush (Roquero Solitario / Monticola solitarius).
Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
We walked down the hill to the crags above the river and then down to the Priorato, the views were stunning as were the many wild flowers that covered the rocks at the side of the track. Around the buildings we saw large numbers of Griffons, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris), Cirl Bunting (Escribano Soteno / Emberiza cirlus), Black Redstart (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), Bonelli's Warbler (Mosquitero Papialbo / Phylloscopus bonelli), Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs), Golden Oriole (Oropéndola / Oriolus oriolus), Rock Pigeon (Paloma Bravia / Columba livia), a single Stock Dove (Paloma Zurita / Columba oenas), Turtle Dove (Tórtola Europea / Streptopelia turtur) and Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus) and during the walk we photographed a Panoptes Blue (Pseudophilotes panoptes) and Sarcocapnos enneaphylla which was growing on the Priorato walls.
Field of Corn Flowers (Centaurea cyanus) and Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca).
We got back to the car and set the satnav to take us to the Hecho Valley by the shortest route and not the quickest as we had plenty of time and felt like staying off the motorways a bit. During the journey we made a couple of stops, the first was to photograph a stunning field full of Corn Flowers (Centaurea cyanus), Corn Poppies (Papaver rhoeas) and Tufted Vetch (Vicia cracca) along with Common Quail (Codorniz Común / Coturnix coturnix) and Corn Bunting (Triguero / Emberiza calandra), another stop was near a very large irrigation canal where we saw some Pyramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalia) in flower on the roadside and whilst at the spot we had Ophrys Riojana (one of the sphegodes group) and a stunning Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta).
Pyramidal Orchid (Orquidea Pyramidal / Anacamptis pyramidalia).
The next stop was much closer to the Pyrenees, again for some more Pyramidal Orchids turned up Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea) as well but they were well over with so as we went up and over this ridge and down on to the northern slopes we were very pleased to find several plants in perfect condition. Birds seen during the drive included Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Marsh (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) and Montagu's Harriers (Aguilucho Cenizo / Circus pygargus), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo), Booted Eagle (Aguililla Calzada / Hieraaetus pennatus), Common Cuckoo (Cuco Común / Cuculus canorus), European Bee-eater (Abejaruco Común / Merops apiaster), Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Cetti's Warbler (Ruisenor Bastardo / Cettia cetti) and Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla).
Southern White Admiral (Limenitis reducta).
Late in the afternoon we arrived at Siresa just above Hecho and booked in to the hotel for the next four nights, Renate stayed there and unpacked whilst Deb and I went for a walk up a nearby farm track. Straight away we were seeing some very nice Red Kites (Milano Real / Milvus milvus), Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus), Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), Carrion Crows (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Mistle Thrush (Zorzal Charlo / Turdus viscivorus), Common Swift (Vencejo Común / Apus apus) and Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorus).
Ophrys Riojana.
Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea).

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