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Trip to North-center Spain (Alava, Valladolid, Palencia, Segovia and Zamora) (1 Viewer)


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Last Easter, I did a trip to the north and Center of Spain, visiting the following provinces and places: Álava (visiting Izki, Salburúa y Nervión river), Valladolid (Pisuerga river), south of Palencia (lacoons of Boada and Pedraza de Campos), Segovia (Hoces del Riaza) and Zamora (Villafáfila lacoons). Birding was very good, with a great number of species, despite the bad weather. However, I failed with Dendrocopos medius in Izki. You can see some pictures and maps on such trip in the following link to my blog:


I hope you enjoy with this trip, and that you decide to visit this beautiful area in the future.

In summary, the trip was as follows:

Between March 27th and April 4th, we went to visit an area located in the north-center of Spain. We stayed initially in Alava for 3 days. The aim was to visit Izki Natural Park (we walked a route departing from Korres, to the center of the park), Nervión river (near Delika), and Salburúa (in Vitoria). Weather was not the best, with some rains. In Izki we tried to see the middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius), but finally it was not possible, although we saw a good number of species. Similar was the day in Salburúa. The worse day was in Nervión, although landscapes were beautiful, and we were able to see some egyptian vultures and griffons. However, the waterfall (the highest in Spain) was completely dry, despite the last rains. You can see some pictures in the link to my blog:


Following my visit to the south of the Vasque country, we went to Valladolid, to enjoy the tipical Easter. I was able to do some birding around. One day I did some birding along the Pisuerga river, inside Valladolid. I had the surprise of a red kite appearing in the center of the city. I went also to visit the Boada de Campos and Pedraza de Campos lacoons, in the south of Palencia province, and thereafter I moved to Medina de Rioseco, where I saw a huge number of raptors.

Thereafter, we did a day visit to the Hoces del Río Riaza Natural Park, and thereafter to the village of Ayllón, both in Segovia province, but near to Soria. There is a good community of raptors in the natural park, with very beautiful landscapes.

Lastly, we dedicated a journey to visit the city of Zamora, which has a very beautiful center, not very well known. That afternoon, we moved to Villafáfila lacoons, to try to see great bustards (Otis tarda). Despite the rain and the wind, we were able to see about 90-100 individuals.

The area located south to Palencia city, and comprising La Nava lacoons, and Boada de Campos and Pedraza de Campos lacoons, together with Villafafila natural reserve, is a very important winter area in Spain for thousands of greylag gooses, together with other members of the anatidae family. I recommend you to visit this area between november and march, which are the months with higher number of species.

I include you some links with information on birding in these areas:

Hi Antonio,
Thanks for posting your very interesting report on this little known area of Spain (for British birders that is), I've visited Villfafila a couple of times and had some great birding there, perhaps I'll try to cover some of the areas you mention when I go again.

Good birding

Thanks Antonio for the report

As John says, an area not well known to many of us, but it looks full of good birds and well worth a visit

Hi Jonh and Mark and all the rest,

Yes, I strongly recommend this area (Castilla y Leon) to do birding. It is not so well known as Extremadura or Andalucia, but it is plenty of species. Nature is well conserved, as human population in Castilla y Leon is not high. The areas that I mentioned you before are very interesting for steppe birds (in fact, Villafafila and around is the best area in Spain for great bustards).

In Segovia province there are also very interesting places to visit, to see mainly species associated to rivers and rocks (eagles, vultures, falcons,...). In this province, you can see Hoces del Rio Duraton Natural Park (with the endangered Dupont's lark, near the San Frutos church), in addition to Hoces del Riaza. In all the south of Castilla y Leon (the name of that Autonomous region) you can see iberian imperial eagle, black vulture and black stork (between Madrid and Segovia or Avila, in Sierra de Guadarrama or Gredos), and in Arribes del Duero Natural Park (in the frontier with Portugal, in Zamora and Salamanca provinces), is very easy to see egyptian vultures and black storks, and lots of vultures (perhaps also black vultures). South to the Duero river, there are lots of azure-winge magpies (Cyanopica cyanna). You can see pictures on avian species from these areas (and around all Spain) in my web page in:


About mammals, it is easy to see wolfs in Sierra de la Culebra, in Zamora (the area with the highest concentration in Spain), and brown bear in Picos de Europa National Park and Montaña Palentina Natural Park (in Leon and Palencia, respectively).

You can get information on the natural parks of Castilla y Leon in this web page (in the section called "Para saber mas" at the beginning of the page, you have a pdf with information in english):


Don't forget other things in this region. It contains about 50% of all historic monuments of Spain, with three citys that are humanity patrimony (protected by Unesco): Salamanca (the first University in Europe, if I am not in a mistake), Segovia (roman remains) and Avila (Medieval wall around all the city). But also Burgos, Leon, and small villages around... are very interesting. You can see some pictures on landscapes of these provinces in my web page, in:


I hope you decide to visit this areas in the future.

Kind regards,

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