Monday 24 June 2019

High mountains of Fuente De, Asturias.

A stunning day in a stunning location.
Pico´s Day Three.

Before breakfast I had a short walk around the car park and up by the Cable Car huts where I heard and then saw an adult Middle-spotted (Pico Mediano / Dendrocopos medius), Great Spotted (Pico Picapinos / Dendrocopos major) and
Packed in on the way up.
Iberian Green Woodpecker (Pito Real / Picus sharpei), Firecrest (Reyezuelo Listado / Regulus ignicapillus), Robin (Petirrojo Europeo / Erithacus rubecula), Song Thrush (Zorzal Común / Turdus philomelos), Coal Tit (Carbonero Garrapinos / Parus ater), White (Lavandera Blanca / Montacilla alba) and Grey Wagtail (Lavandera Cascadena / Motacilla cinerea), Woodpigeon (Paloma Torcaz / Columba palumbus), Common Redstart (Colirroja Real / Phoenicurus phoenicurus), House Sparrow (Gorrión Común / Passer domesticus), Nuthatch (Trepador Azul / Sitta europaea) and Common Chaffinch (Pinzón Vulgar / Fringilla coelebs).
After breakfast just five of us headed out to get the cable car up to the top station at Fuente De as Bob was unwell and Sofia stayed back to look after him, we had hoped to get there before the crowds but found we were second in the Que behind a guide who was buying tickets for a group of 40 or so kids, best laid plans and all that.
As we stood there we heard and saw Firecrest, Serin (Verdecillo / Serinus serinus), Carrion Crow (Corneja Negra / Corvus corone), Great (Carbonera Común / Parus major) and Blue Tit (Herrerillo Común / Parus caeruleus), Blackbird (Mirlo Común / Turdus merula), Wren (Chochin / Troglodytes troglodytes), Blackcap (Curruca Capirotada / Sylvia atricailla), House Martin (Avión Común / Delichon urbica), Jay (Arrendajo / Garrulus glandarius) and Goldfinch (Jilguero / Carduelis carduelis).
Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax).
I got talking to the guide and the head teacher with the group and they very kindly let the 5 of us plus another UK birder jump in front of them so we could get a head start on the noisy kids.
Pink Sandwort (Arenaria purpurascens).
We got on the first gondola and we were soon out on the beautiful high level areas amongst some stunning wild flowers and with a good number of Alpine (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus) and Red-billed Choughs (Chova Piquirroja / Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) around us just as we walked out of the door on to the track. 
Pyrenean Trumpet Gentian (Gentiana occidentalis).
On the rocky track sides we found an amazing number of wild flowers including the bueatiful blues of both Snow (Gentiana nivalis) and Pyrenean Trumpet Gentian (Gentiana occidentalis), Purple Gromwell (Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum), Malling Toadflax (Chaenorhinum origanifolium), Fairy Foxglove (Erinus alpinus), Rock Jasmine (Androsace villosa), Iberian Greenweed (Genista legionensis), Matted Globularia (Globularia repens), Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima ssp. alpina) and Pink Sandwort (Arenaria purpurascens).
Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax).
We walked further on and soon added the first of several Northern Wheatears (Collalba Gris / Oenanthe oenanthe), a fly over Raven (Cuervo / Corvus corax), several Black Redstarts (Colirrojo Tizón / Phoenicurus ochruros), a couple of nosy but elusive Water Pipits (Bisbita Alpino / Anthus spinoletta), Peregrine Falcon (Halcón Peregrino / Falco peregrinus), a group of grounded Griffon Vultures (Bultre Leonado / Gyps fulvus) which walked up to a cliff edge and lept off along with at least three Egyptian Vultures (Alimoche Común / Neophron percnopterus).
Mountain Cow.
Then we had the first flight views of one of the main target birds for the day when a stunning Snowfinch (Gorrión Alpino / Montifringilla nivalis) flew passed us and on up to a distant scree slope where we later had good views and found a nest site in the crags.
Rock Jasmine (Androsace villosa).
As we continued on we took the left hand track and followed the bottom of the scree slope right down to an area of lying snow, on the way we found the stunning a couple of Snow Voles (Chionomys nivalis) which scampered between rocks, Alpine Toadflax (Linaria alpina ssp. filicaulis), Imbricate Sandwort (Arenaria tetraquetra), the yellow flowered Linaria supina,  what I think was Saxifraga praetermissa but still need to confirm it, Spurge Laurel (Daphne laureola) and the only butterfly of the da a single Small White (Pieris rapae).
Purple Gromwell (Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum).
We had more views of the Snowfinches as we walked along the track, Crag Martin (Avión Roquero / Ptyonoprogne rupestris) and added a couple of Alpine Accentor (Acentor Alpino / Prunella collaris) but they were always distant, then on one of the lower crags I heard the first calling Wallcreeper (Treparriscos / Tichodroma muraria) of the day.
Looking for Snowfinch (Gorrión Alpino / Montifringilla nivalis)
After a while two birds flew off from the crags and landed further along on another area of cliffs, as we walked towards this spot we had several more Alpine Choughs come close and way above the distant pecks the first of two sightings of the very impressive Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus).
Pyrenean Trumpet Gentian (Gentiana occidentalis).
We reached an area of boulders where the track again split and up on the crags in front of us we saw a photographer who was obviously trying to get shots of the Wallcreepers but he was sat just too far round the crags as we were getting great views just around the corner, just above him we had a single Chamois (Rebeco / Rupicapra rupicapra).
Alpine Toadflax (Linaria alpina ssp. filicaulis).
Later one of the birds flew across the track and showed well for us in amongst the boulder scree and allowed us to get Judy and Mikes superb Swarovski BTX Binocular Telescope on to it giving us great views.
Alpine Toadflax (Linaria alpina ssp. filicaulis).
The weather had threatened and just as we started to walk back it started to rain, Jo and Brian shot off and headed for the cafe, whilst the rest of us took it a bit slower finding the Alpine Accentor again as well as the Snowfinch, Alpine Chough, Water Pipit and Linnet (Pardillo Común / Carduelis cannabina).
Fairy Foxglove (Erinus alpinus).
Eventually we also reached the cafe and had a coffee and a cake before getting the Cable Car back down to the hotel where we had an early finish as we were all pretty knackered. At the evening meal we were very pleased to see Bob was much better and would bae back with us.
Wallcreeper (Treparriscos / Tichodroma muraria).
Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Alpine Chough (Chova Piquigualda / Pyrrhocorax graculus).
Photographing the Alpine Choughs was not so difficult.
Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus).
Snowfinch (Gorrión Alpino / Montifringilla nivalis) a very bad shot.
A view up to the crags where the Lammergeier / Bearded Vulture (Quebrantahuesos / Gypaetus barbatus). was seen.
Looking back along the scree and crags we have just checked out.
Judy and Mike at the first split in the track.
Matted Globularia (Globularia repens).
Just before we reached the cafe.

A view from the upper Cable Car Station.
Down to the Lower Cable Car Station and the single length of cable all the way down.

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