Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Cueva El Soplao, San Vicente de la Barquera, Near El Tejo and Comillas and Suances, Cantabria.

A morning under ground and an afternoon on the coast.

A view of the Pico's from the caves.
Jayne and I drove west along the coast and the down to Cueva el Soplao, on the way near San Vicente we saw a couple of Mute Swans (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor), Common Buzzard (Busardo Ratonero / Buteo buteo) and just as we arrived at the caves a male Bullfinch (Camachuelo Común / Pyrrhula pyrrhula) which flew up from the roadside. 
Another view of the Pico's from the caves.
Once at the caves we booked in and then had a walk around whilst we waited for the 11:00 tour. Around the area I found Red-billed Chough (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), Common Kestrel (Cernicalo Vulgar / Falco tinnunculus), Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis), Great Tit (Carbonera Común / Parus major), Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), White Wagtail (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Common Magpie (Urraca / Pica pica), Spotless Starling (Estornino Negro / Sturnus unicolor), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus) and Collared Dove (Tórtola Turca / Streptopelia decaocto).
The mine train.
At 11:00 we met our guide and then entered the mine / cave on an old mine train which was great but was nothing compared to the caves themselves which were amazing with the special formations called Helictites of calcite and a great many other interesting rocks.
Later we went up to the coast and had a walk along the sea front at San Vicente de la Barquera where we had a walk along the estuary and then up to the Castle above the town where we had some nice views. Later we had some lunch in a nice bar in the town before walking back to the car, I also had a look at the long bridge over the river. During the walk up to the castle and along the estuary I saw Razorbill (Alca Común / Alca torda), Great Cormorant (Cormorán Grande / Phalacrocroax carbo), Eurasian Wigeon (Sibón Europeo / Anas penelope), Mallard (Anade Azulón / Anas platyrhynchos), Eurasian Curlew (Zaoaito Real / Numenius arquata), Common Redshank (Archibebe Común / Tringa totanus), Black-headed (Gaviota Riedora / Larus ridibundus), Great Black-backed (Gavión Atlántico / Larus marinus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Gaviota Sombria / Larus fuscus), Little (Garceta Común / Egreeta garzetta) and Cattle Egrets (Garcilla Bueyera / Bubulcus ibis), Black-necked Grebe (Zampullín Cullinegro / Podiceps nigricollis), Grey Plover (Chorlito Gris / Pluviali squatarola) and Greenfinch (Verderón Común / Carduelis chloris).
San Vicente de la Barquera from the road to the castle.
We moved on after a nice visit to this nice town and went towards Comillas but made a stop at a spot over the river near El Tejo where I picked up Northern Pintail (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta), Greylag Geese (Ansar Común / Anser anser) and a couple of Common Sandpipers (Andarrios Chico / Actitis hypoleucos). Also seen here was a bird which I could not work out but it looked very like a male North American Black Duck (Ánade Sombrío / Anas rubripes ) but I will never know what it was as a male Marsh Harrier (Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental / Circus aeruginosus) flew in and flushed everything.
San Vicente de la Barquera again.
We moved on again to Comillas but it was getting on so we decided to head back to the hotel and return in the morning. Later in the evening we returned to Suances and had some food and a couple of drinks before turning in.
San Vicente de la Barquera.
Jayne with a glass of WATER.
San Vicente de la Barquera.
 Mute Swans (Cisne Vulgar / Cygnus olor) at San Vicente de la Barquera.
Northern Pintails (Ánade Rabudo / Anas acuta).

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