If we were to choose one word to describe our region, it would be diversity. The fact that Aragon spans the central part of the Ebro Valley and extends from the French border to the Iberian system, means that a number of diverse environments can be enjoyed within each 100 km range.
The landscape changes drastically in short distances, ranging from 3,000 meter peaks in the Pyrenees to the arid semi-desert lowlands of the Ebro river basin, passing through Mediterranean ecosystems as we move towards the Iberian range in the south.
The Birding Aragon itineraries consist of a series of organised trips designed by and for birdwatching enthusiasts. All the accommodation and guides involved in the trip belong to the Birding Aragon Association and share a passion and respect for nature that all experienced birdwatchers require during an observation trip
The proposed journey focuses on exploring the stunning valleys and mountains of the Aragonese central Pyrenees and searching for their most representative bird species.
Exuberant and conspicuous, the alpine peaks and vast extensions of woodland give way to the unique geological formations found in the lower plains making these natural reserves some of the most geographically varied and abundantly bio-diverse. Large areas of this region are protected as a result of the great variety of species, which are rare or even absent from the rest of Europe.
The birdlife diversity ranges from mountain specialists such as Rock Thrush or Snowfinch to species more commonly found around open woodland, including Bee-eater or Woodchat Shrike. But this area deserves a special mention for hosting one of Europe’s most significant concentrations of raptors, griffon and Egyptian vulture, and the emblematic bearded vulture. Other distinctive mountain species are wallcreeper and alpine chough, while high-density forested areas and meadows with black woodpecker, song thrush, or marsh tit resemble more central European habitats.
Visited Areas: “Los Mallos de Riglos” Natural monuments, Western Valleys Natural Park., Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park, Posets-Maladeta Natural park, Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Park.
The tour price includes the transport from/to Zaragoza airport and Zaragoza Delicias Train Station with a dedicated driver. Besides the excellent rail connexions of Zaragoza with Barcelona and Madrid, Ryanair operates flights between Zaragoza and London, among many other European cities on a regular basis.
Reception at Zaragoza airport and train station followed by a 2h private transfer to our first accommodation venue in the Western Pyrenean valleys. On our way north, we make a first observation stop at Los Mallos de Riglos Natural Monument. These massive, ocre, limestone conglomerates, rising to 300 metres in height, stand guard over the village of Riglos on the banks of the Gállego River and are a paradise for birds of prey, that nest and breed in the many hollows and crevasses.
The Natural Park of the Western Valleys is located at the northwest corner of the Aragonese Pyrenees, bordering with France to the north and with Navarra to the west. Shaped by the action of past glaciers, its landscape is marked by sculpted slender peaks and U-shaped circuses and valleys that frequently harbour some of the last remaining terns or glacial lakes in Europe.
It stands out for its remarkable and well-preserved mixed forests, including beech and fir. It also has a tremendously rich flora resulting from the varieties in soil, differences in orientation and relative altitudes. These biodiverse ecosystems provide a refuge for endangered species such as the Brown Bear or the Western Capercaillie, as well as for a rich profusion of other bird species. Among these, the “Barranco del Infierno” is one of the best places in Western Europe to observe the elusive Wallcreeper.
Habitats: Atlantic forests, Mountain pastures, limestone cliffs and peaks.
Special Interest Bird Species: Red Kite, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Common Buzzard, Ptarmigan, Grey Partridge, Black Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, White-Backed Woodpecker, Greater-Spotted Woodpecker, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Alpine Accentor, Marsh Tit, Wallcreeper, Citril Finch, Common Crossbill, Snowfinch.
In the next three days, we explore two of the most notable protected areas of the Pyrenees, the National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido, and the Natural Park of Posets-Maladeta.
Diversity and a wealth of wildlife species are guaranteed within the mosaic landscape surrounding us. Marmots, easy to detect by their sharp whistles, Wild Boar and Chamois are the largest and easiest mammals to observe, but we also visit some of the best places in the world to observe raptors, most notably the majestic Bearded Vulture in its natural habitat.
Habitats: Mixed and coniferous forests, mountain pastures, limestone cliffs and peaks.
Special Interest Bird Species: Rock Ptarmigan, Western Capercaillie, Grey Partridge, Bearded Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Short-Toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Woodcock, Alpine Swift, Alpine Accentor, Common Rock Thrush, Ring Ouzel, Wallcreeper, Eurasian Treecreeper, Red-Backed Shrike, Alpine Chough, White-Winged Snowfinch, Citril Finch.
On our way south back to Zaragoza, we will have a chance to explore a fourth protected area, the spectacular Sierra de Guara Natural Park and its unique landscapes sculpted by water erosion.
The singular canyons and narrow, deep ravines of the Guara range are filled with striking turquoise rivers that form impressive waterfalls, siphons and caves as they meander through the landscape. The steep rocky walls are exceptional places for large birds such as Griffon Vultures, Golden Eagles or Bearded Vultures to establish their nests.
Habitats: Patchwork of arable fields with oak woods, Mediterranean scrub and rocky cliffs.
Special Interest Bird Species: Bearded Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Short-Toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Alpine Swift, Common Rock Thrush, Subalpine Warbler, Red-Backed Shrike.
Day 8. Wrap up and farewell
After a relaxed breakfast at our accommodation in Zaragoza, it’s time to make our way home. If the returning schedules allow, there will be time for one last walk along the Ebro riverbeds in the morning. Zaragoza airport and train station transfers will be provided if required.
Aragon is known for its picturesque countryside and charming rural areas. The rural guesthouses and country hotels participating provide in a regular basis accommodations for visitors interested in birding. These accommodations offer a peaceful and immersive experience, often located in scenic locations surrounded by nature. You can expect amenities such as comfortable rooms, home-cooked meals, and local insights into birding hotspots.
A full list of the selected accommodations for this trip can be found in our brochure. Please don’t hesitate to download it and request us any further info you might need.
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