Saturday, 25 March 2017

Spain - Pyrenees - Chuffed!


Having witness a snowfall in Madrid the night before I flew to Barcelona I wondered if the weather would be favourable in the Pyrenees for my short stay. I was meeting fellow Surrey Birder Ed Stubbs in Barcelona prior to his birthday celebrations with his girlfriend. My flight to Barcelona was trouble free which unfortunately for Ed was not the case with a couple of hours delay. A supply run, bite to eat and shop in Huesca en route to Jaca had us set for the days ahead.

We made good time to our accommodation in Jaca and the lower slopes were clear of snow. However when we woke this morning there had been about an inch of snow. Our first stop was to be at the Astun Ski Centre with the prospect of Snowfich, Alpine Accentor and Alpine Chough.
The slopes were covered in snow and the snowploughs were busy clearing the roads for the avalanche of skiers that were to later descend onto the slopes! Alpine Chough was the only species of the targeted three to fall this morning but conditions were hardly ideal.
The rest of the day was used to check other sites some of which were inaccessible due to the inclement weather ranging from full on blizzard like snow to rain in the Hecho Valley. We did however see Cirl Bunting along a track to an aerodrome a few Black Redstart, Stonechat, and a tree that contained several Black Kite and a lone Red Kite.

An Egyptian Vulture and a group of Griffon Vulture were seen at an old Eagle Owl site. But the sighting of the day was not a bird but a Wild Cat that was making its way along the road as we approached the aforementioned site.

The day was a tough one but the snow appears to be melting at a rate of knots. We will be out again tomorrow and hope to hit a few more targets!