Pyrenees Trip – Day 4 – The Day of the Lammergeier!

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Today we decided to check out some information we had been given about a Lammergeier nest site near Zuriza. We headed across from Isaba passing the same pair of Red backed Shrikes we had seen yesterday. Jay, Chaffinch, Black Redstart and Serin showed themselves before we reached the viewing area we had been told about. The nest was quite easy to find and to our delight there was a Lammergeier, probably this year’s young, sitting at the edge of it’s cave giving us great views through the scope. Fantastic! We watched the bird for some time hoping that an adult might fly in but it was not to be.

We continued on our way across to the Hecho Valley, stopping briefly at The Archers Hotel in Siresa for a coffee. From outside the hotel we briefly saw a Short toed Eagle in the air. Next we headed up the road to Gabardito, which was in a much better state of repair than the last time we went there back in 2007. We parked at the refugio and set off up the steep path towards some high cliffs where our next target bird was supposed to be. Some people coming down the path told us they had seen the bird, but despite lots of waiting and searching, we had to accept that we were not going to see a Wallcreeper today. The few birds we did see included Song Thrush, Long tailed Tit, Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Chough, Raven and lots of Crag and House Martins. We were a little disappointed but we soon got over it once we had eaten our lunch and recovered from the hike up the track.

We decided to head back to Zuriza again to have another look at the Lammergeier site where we set up the scope and settled down in our picnic chairs to watch and wait for something to happen. After about 15 minutes watching the chick at the nest and a few Griffon Vultures in the air, we spotted another bird flying in front of the cliff and soon identified it as an adult Lammergeier, happy days! It didn’t stay in view long but disappeared over the top of the mountain, even so it made our day to finally see one of the adults flying. We headed back to Isaba having seen only one new species, the Lammergeier, but at least it was a good one!

Lammergeier by Mary Brazier©
Lammergeier by Mary Brazier©

Species list to date – Grey Heron, White Stork, Griffon Vulture, Lammergeier, Red Kite, Black Kite, Buzzard, Short toed Eagle, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Cuckoo (HO), Swift, Bee eater, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Crag Martin, Swallow, Red rumped Swallow, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Alpine Accentor, Nightingale, (HO), Black Redstart, Stonechat, Wheatear, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler (HO), Long tailed Tit, Great Tit, Red backed Shrike, Spotless Starling, Golden Oriole (HO), Jay, Magpie, Red billed Chough, Alpine Chough, Raven, Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Serin, Citril Finch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Corn Bunting.

Please click on photo to view a larger (but not brilliant) image.