Posted by: tim ellis | October 6, 2011

Spains Big Three – Sunday September 4th 2011

Common Blue
Our last chance for wolves. A 7 AM start, and we head off once more for the Villardeciervos roadside site. The animal sightings start early when 2 Red Deer run across the road in front of the minibuses. It is a cloudy morning, so is still quite dark when we arrive, so we wait in the bus until it gets light enough to see into the valley.

The valley is clear of must, but also of animals. There are a few small birds about, but nothing we’ve not seen before, and nothing posing close to the path. We do see some canine shapes amongst some trees, but they are just dogs, probably from the farm that is in that direction. It starts to spit with the rain, which gets heavier until we retreat to the minibus – it soon passes, but we have no more luck when we return to the watch.

White Wagtail
After breakfast and paying our bar tab, we load up the busses and head off for bear country. We take route 66 towards Leon, stopping for a coffee and a comfort break at a service station en route, before turning off to head for the mountains, and a picnic lunch besides a stream. It is an attractive spot and a short walk discovers a number of birds and butterflies.
Pola De Somiedo

Our base for the bear watch is the small town of Pola de Somiedo, a picturesque setting surrounded by mountains. We settle in before heading out to look for bears at 6pm. Our watch site is at La Peral, a short walk up the hill from the car park, and there are a number of people already there when we arrive. We practice by spotting the Chamois, Cattle and Goats on the mountain opposite, and watch a large flock of Griffon vultures (or maybe a committee or even a vortex of Griffon vultures if you want the correct collective noun…) fly around the peaks.
Rob has just spotted a perched Short Toed Eagle when one of the watching Spaniards sees the Bears – Their location is soon passed around the rest of the watchers, and as they are on an open patch of grass, are soon found with both telescopes and binoculars. There are two Bears, which we are told are probably about three years old. We are able to follow them for about an hour, although they become harder to find with binoculars once they move into more broken or wooded terrain as they get lost behind trees and/or rocks.
Running Bear...
Happy with our success we return for dinner. The hotel restaurant is actually in a separate building just around the corner from the accommodation.


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