Posted by: tim ellis | October 6, 2011

Spains Big Three – Saturday September 3rd 2011

Misty Morning

A slightly later start of 7:00 now we know what time it actually gets light! It looks a nice clear morning form the hotel, and we set off towards Boya and the site of our Friday night viewing. As we drive along we can see there is a mist in the valley, which starts to burn off as the sun rises making a very attractive scene. Unfortunately a heavier layer of cloud rolls in behind us soon after, and by 8:00 we cant’s see the valley at all.

Spotted Flycatcher Ciffchaff

We wait for a while to see if it will clear, looking at small birds amongst the trees along the path (Spotted flycatcher, Chiffchaff), but it looks like it is here to stay, so we go back down to the Villardeciervos roadside site from yesterday morning. This is lower down and fog free – in fact it is very sunny. There are some Spanish wolf-watchers already here, but they have seen no Wolves, and little of anything else. There are a few Deer (both Red and Roe) but otherwise little of note, and we head back for Breakfast.

Lunch today is by the River Esla that we crossed on our way here – it is about an hours drive away, passing over an attractive stone arched bridge. While Rob and Gerald set up the picnic we go for a scramble up some rocks to get a commanding view of the valley and the bridge. There are Sand Martins and Crag Martins flying around, and a variety of butterflies too. Then as we are about to leave we see a Griffon Vulture soaring overhead and a Woodchat Shrike sitting in a tree by the side of the road.
Arched Bridge
We stop at the bridge on the way home, to look back at where we’ve just been, and see more Griffon Vultures, both Purple and Grey Heron. We can hear Kingfishers, and while we are looking for them we hear a squealing sound and a rustle in the undergrowth that turns out to be a pair of squabbling mink. It appears to be some sort of territorial dispute, with one of them sent packing…

Drystone Wall and old gate

I go for a short walk around the village of Villanueva del Valrojo when we return – a mixture of well maintained and tumbledown buildings before we all return to the roadside wolf watch site at Villardeciervos, where we ended up this morning. Sadly it seems devoid of mammals, although a couple of obliging birds (Stonechat, Spotted Flycatcher) do come and pose quite nicely close to the path for me.

Spotted Flycatcher taking flight
At dinner tonight Maria gives everyone a free glass of what she describes as “Pineapple in Caramel”, that appears to be a very sweet Pineapple liqueur of some kind.

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