Mary’s Blog – Belegua Valley

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Today we drove from Anso to Zuriza stopping to check the Lammergeier nest we had seen three years ago, but no luck today. The gorge and the meadows looked as lovely as ever but the birds were sadly lacking. Continuing on we had a coffee stop in Isaba before heading up the mountain road into the Belegua valley. A stop by the refugio (which is being renovated) found us a couple of Northern Wheatear and a pair of Citril Finches which was a good start. Two more Citril Finches were seen on the wall under the bridge on the road up, where we found snow still on the ground.

Continuing higher up the pass we ate our lunch at a viewpoint where a group of Alpine Chough were flying around with the odd Red billed Chough amongst them. After picnicking and watching the Chough we headed back down the valley and sat in the car park at the refugio. While there an Egyptian Vulture flew low over the car park giving us great views of it. A Red Kite and a Buzzard were also seen before we set off back towards Zuriza. This was our second attempt at finding the birds we had seen here three years ago, and after a few near misses, in the form of Black Redstarts, I finally spotted a Red backed Shrike on a fence post, soon to be joined by another. Brilliant!

Species list – Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Black Kite, Red Kite, Buzzard, Swift, Crag Martin, House Martin, Swallow, White Wagtail, Robin, Black Redstart, Wheatear, Great Tit, Short toed Tree creeper, Nuthatch, Red backed Shrike, Chough, Alpine Chough, Raven, Chaffinch, Blackbird Citril Finch, Goldfinch.