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Spanish Pyrennes

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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 12:51   #1
nick scarle
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Spanish Pyrennes

Anyone thinking of visiting the Pyrennes would be well advised to consider staying at Boletas Birdwatching Centre near Huesca,
http://www.boletas.org
Comfortable accommodation, great food (and wine), friendly and knowledgeable hosts,

I have just returned from there, the highlights of the week were:
11 Lammergeier, 3 Wallcreeper, 28 Snowfinch, plus Alpine accentor, Alpine chough and Crested tit in the mountains.
Hundreds of Griffon vulture, Chough, Red and Black kite everywhere, Golden Eagle seen nearly every day, 2 Bonelli's Eagle, Eagle Owl and Goshawk.
A lack of summer migrants due to the cold weather, but migrant thrushes everywhere, one small field containing all 6 species.
Good flocks of Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Callandra lark on the steppes, plus Dupont's lark.
But best of all, thousands and thousands of Cranes roosting and then migrating over the mountains - what a fantastic sight!
I hope to post some photos later but the cold and windy conditions were not favourable for digiscoping!
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 13:15   #2
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7 lifers in there for me. Sounds an incredible place. I can see I will have to save a few penny's if I am to try it out.

I have yet to do the Pyrennes and a trip to there is high on my agenda. You have wetted my appetite even more.
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 13:34   #3
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Thanks for the link Nick,were the birds 'self found'(with local advice) or on organised trips? I am embarassed to admit spending a week in the area searching for Wallcreeper and missing out so must make a return visit sometime.
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 15:12   #4
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Hi Nick, Can only endorse your sentiments re: Boletas. Was there this time last year and it was brilliant, Josele , the owner, really knows the area and it's birds ( we only dipped on Gt Bustard, a fast declining species for that area ). The food was excellent, and the local wine went down a treat.
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 15:34   #5
Roy Ledgerton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick scarle
Anyone thinking of visiting the Pyrennes would be well advised to consider staying at Boletas Birdwatching Centre near Huesca,
http://www.boletas.org
Comfortable accommodation, great food (and wine), friendly and knowledgeable hosts,

I have just returned from there, the highlights of the week were:
11 Lammergeier, 3 Wallcreeper, 28 Snowfinch, plus Alpine accentor, Alpine chough and Crested tit in the mountains.
Hundreds of Griffon vulture, Chough, Red and Black kite everywhere, Golden Eagle seen nearly every day, 2 Bonelli's Eagle, Eagle Owl and Goshawk.
A lack of summer migrants due to the cold weather, but migrant thrushes everywhere, one small field containing all 6 species.
Good flocks of Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and Callandra lark on the steppes, plus Dupont's lark.
But best of all, thousands and thousands of Cranes roosting and then migrating over the mountains - what a fantastic sight!
I hope to post some photos later but the cold and windy conditions were not favourable for digiscoping!
I too can endorse Nick's comments. My wife and I stayed with Esther and Josele last June. Marvellous food, accommodation and company. Nothing was too much trouble for Esther and Josele. Josele not only knew the best bird areas but also those for Alpine plants- my wife's speciality. I shall be birding with Josele in Extremadura in four weeks time. Can't recommend Boletas too highly.

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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 15:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nick scarle
Anyone thinking of visiting the Pyrennes would be well advised to consider staying at Boletas Birdwatching Centre near Huesca.
Sounds wonderful Where is the nearest "cheap flight airport?" I am having a bit of trouble with that link though!!

Keith

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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 15:53   #7
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Sounds wonderful Where is the nearest "cheap flight airport?" I am having a bit of trouble with that link though!!

Keith
Barcelona.With easyJet from Stansted.

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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 16:24   #8
nick scarle
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To answer a couple of points ... I was on an organised trip, mainly because I hadn't been to the area before, but having now seen the area I think you could do an independent trip (with local advice), but you may miss some of the Steppes specialities as they can be difficult to locate.

I flew to Barcelona (many cheap flights from various UK airports). It's about 2 1/2 hours drive to Boletas. The nearest airport is Zaragoza; Ryanair fly there from Stansted I think.

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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 16:35   #9
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We went on an independent trip last June. With Josele's helpful advice and doing some research before leaving we had no problems. I am going on Josele's organised trip to Extremadura in four weeks time.

Roy Ledgerton

PS: Should have said that we had not been to this part of Spain before. To get to Boletas we used the motorways which were relatively quiet compared to ours. Josele says this is because they are tolled!

Last edited by Roy Ledgerton : Tuesday 15th March 2005 at 16:40.
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 16:44   #10
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hi folks

there's penty of gen around for the steppes species

just try a few bird report sites

even a request on here should come up trumps

Tim
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 17:24   #11
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What's the options on doing it by bus/train?
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Old Tuesday 15th March 2005, 17:30   #12
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Difficult and time-consuming I would think.

Roy
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Old Wednesday 16th March 2005, 08:13   #13
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Originally Posted by Nutcracker
What's the options on doing it by bus/train?
I know of people who've gone to the Pyrenees (not sure which part) by train, but don't have any details.

Ferry from Portsmouth-Bilbao is pleasant and good for birds and cetaceans at the right times of year.

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Old Wednesday 30th March 2005, 13:55   #14
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I may not be too objective since Josele is a good friend... He is an excellent birding guide not only for the Pyrenees and Eastern steppes, but also for Morocco. Last December 4 of us went on a scouting trip to Southern Morocco to explore some locations for his organized trips. You can see report and photos at my website: www.iyufera.com

regards from Madrid,

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Old Wednesday 30th March 2005, 15:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignacio Yufera
I may not be too objective since Josele is a good friend... He is an excellent birding guide not only for the Pyrenees and Eastern steppes, but also for Morocco. Last December 4 of us went on a scouting trip to Southern Morocco to explore some locations for his organized trips. You can see report and photos at my website: www.iyufera.com

regards from Madrid,

Ignacio
www.iyufera.com
I have just come back from staying at Boletas 20th March had an excellent 4 days birding.The Pyrenees area we went to many of the passes were closed.Some of the highlights were Duponts Larks Wallcreepers Lammergiers Black Woodpecker lesser Kestrels,just to name a few.I beleive now you can fly into Zarragossa,which is a lot easier than driving from Barcelona.At Le Lobreget we had a very rare bird for Spain I beleive Marsh Sandpiper,this rounded off the trip nicely.

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Old Wednesday 30th March 2005, 15:18   #16
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Originally Posted by POP
I have just come back from staying at Boletas 20th March had an excellent 4 days birding.The Pyrenees area we went to many of the passes were closed.Some of the highlights were Duponts Larks Wallcreepers Lammergiers Black Woodpecker lesser Kestrels,just to name a few.I beleive now you can fly into Zarragossa,which is a lot easier than driving from Barcelona.At Le Lobreget we had a very rare bird for Spain I beleive Marsh Sandpiper,this rounded off the trip nicely.

POP
Wrong photo before.

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Old Wednesday 30th March 2005, 16:20   #17
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Boletas

this is the man!!! great sense of humour and knows the birds and terrain well.
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2005, 16:27   #18
Roy Ledgerton
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Hi Ignacio

Splendid web site. I left a message in your guest book. Hope you received it. If not send me a private message via BIRDFORUM. I am glad to see that Josele is receiving the praise he rightly deserves.

Best wishes

Roy
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Old Thursday 31st March 2005, 02:13   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POP
Wrong photo before.

POP
Still looks like an Alpine Accentor, POP...have another try
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Old Thursday 31st March 2005, 09:36   #20
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Still looks like an Alpine Accentor, POP...have another try
yes you are right Grousemore same bird just a better photo.

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Old Thursday 31st March 2005, 12:17   #21
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I spent a week in the Pyrenees last June. Flew to Barcelona and hired a car. Easy drive to Jaca (4 hours) where we stayed--the roads are excellent. Birding was brilliant and if you go in the summer take a Butterfly ID book as well (there were hundreds).
A Birdwatching Guide To The Pyrenees by Jacquie Crozier is very good. Tim
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