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Top Twelve Spanish Wildlife Spectacles

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Offline steveT

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« on: February 06, 2007, 23:02 PM »
 Top Twelve Spanish wildlife Sites

Just some ramblings ... there not in order of preference ..... thought I'd post these ..... has anyone got any other 'Top' wildlife sites?

SteveT

     
   
1.   Montfrague - This probably the best place to see griffon vultures in Spain (….perhaps…. along with  Los Hozes del Duraton). I have on many occasions seen up to 100 in the air at the same time! The view too from the Arab tower has to be one of the best in Spain – looking south endless dehesa, looking north the highest peaks of the Gredos and brilliant geology and physical geography structures everywhere.

2.   The Guadiana valley area - the flocking of countless cranes in the in winter.The noise is incredible.

3.   Somiedo - For the excitement of knowing you are in the best place to see bears. I’ve never seen one, but seen a foot prints. Great mountains and beech forest too. It’s also good for spotting roe and red deer, and chamois too. I’m sure I heard capercaille there once …. I know they are there, but it was probably my over active imagination.

4.   Sierra de la Culebra – A wild place with the excitement of knowing you are in the best place to see wolves and that it is a possibility. Having said that I’ve never seen one there, though I saw one just some way south of here about 10 years ago in La Peña de Francia/Las Batuecas crossing a road.

5.    El Pardo / Castillo de Viñuelas, Madrid. I was lucky enough to be in Castillo de Viñuelas during the rut some years ago. Huge numbers of red and fallow deer and what a noise! And all this in extensive encina woodland effectively in the heart of a capital city and you can’t see it or hear it!

6.   The Serrania de Cuenca / Alto Tajo / Montes Universales area. Where do you start? A massive remote area, where you always seem to see something see something new every time you go....a wonderful area.

7.   Cazorla -This is the easiest place to see wild boar in Spain, besides being in a stew. You are almost guaranteed a sighting at some of the car parks or at a locally known Chiringuito where they are encouraged by . A massive empty park full of streams and special places.

8.   The Gredos -The best and easiest place to see ibex in Spain…..loads of them!

9.   Cota Donaña  - Probable the best place to see lynx …. If you are really lucky……and a wonderful habit…but only ever seen the park  from the wrong side of the fence.

10.   Conil de la Frontera coastal area  - Orcas shadowing the tuna fishing boats and nets. Only seen this on film but it must be fantastic …. As must whale watching must be in the Canaries.

11.   La Rioja – The dinosaur foot prints of this area are incredible for their clarity, number, the stories they tell and accessibility.

12.   Bosque de Irati – Super beech forest, huge trees – possible to see griffons, lammergeier and Eygptian vultures in the same morning and many other birds too. Also has what must be the cheapest and best camp site in Spain, with a great place that does a brilliant menu del dia just down the road....

Offline CDDI

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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 11:01 AM »
Thanks for some very good info Steve. I'll be dusting off my back-pack soon and would greatly appreciate explicit directions to find that campsite in Bosque de Irati.  Incidentally I slept out in my bivvy-bag on the north side of the Hoces del Duraton last October and almost got scared out of my wits around 4.0 am by the unearthly call of an eagle owl which was very close indeed, maybe angry at my presence in its neighbourhood. If you visit the information centre in Sepulveda and go to the upstairs exhibits you'll know how I must have felt -- I won't explain further but try it!  cheers, CDDI

Offline Dave

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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 14:12 PM »
Surely have some great wildlife sites and sights
Villafafila, Zamora - Early Winter, with both overwintering birds and passers through, the sight of so many Greylag geese ( ESP. Anser comun) ( Lat. Anser Anser) and the noise is unforgettable
Oteros de Sariegos, Villafafila, Zamora - a deserted village , which in spring and summer is home to a huge number of Kestrels (ESP. Cernicalo Vulgar) ( Lat. Falco tinnunculus) all nesting and hunting.
Villafafila - 13 Red Kites (Esp. Milano Real) (Lat. Milvus Milvus) resting or roosting in the same tree
Villafafila - A family group of 12 Great Bustards ( ESP. Avutarda comun) ( Lat. Otis Tarda) both Adults and Chicks.
Leon city - Vast flocks of Starlings coming to roost on a late Autumn evening, like a swirling cloud of smoke
Villadangos del Paramo - A large Rookery (ESP. Graja) ( Lat. Corvus frugilgus). The other day the farmers were cutting a field of Maize, the rooks filled every tree and cable in the area, in spring a constant stream of Rooks visiting the nest sites
Hospital de Orbigo - A small village near Leon which is home to a disproportionate number of White Storks (Esp. Ciguena Blanca) (Lat. Ciconia ciconia) upwards of 20 nests.
I will be back with more
Dave

Offline steveT

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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 00:00 AM »
CDDI,

Cannot find my map - I'll get back to you with specfics. Basically there's one road through the forest (It's east of the Ronces Valles road) . It says no camping on the way .....ignore this as you drive up - just before the ranger/information centre there's a very basic but good camp site.The rangers will collect the 2 euros in the morning - theres only water and a toilet facilities. Great morning chorus .... you're in the forest!

You can start walks from the campsite. As you climb thru the forest it becomes more of a mozaic/patchy and it's here that you should see lots of vultures ... birds of prey .... There's reservoir walk too .... I was there last August ..... it really wasn't busy ... at all.

Ask the rangers for the bar that does the menu its on the right 4/5 km down next to a wooden brdge.

Steve T


Offline CDDI

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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 18:14 PM »
Thanks for that Steve. I've got the area located but I'm only working off a Campsa road map. I'll pick up the relevant 1:25000 when I get a moment. When you refer to the only road running through the forest could that be the NA-2030 east of Roncesvalles, which runs north and appears to be a dead-end at Larraun? cheers, CD(erek)DI

Offline steveT

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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 22:32 PM »
CDDI

Still can find my map but I think so....we were only there 9 months ago... so I'm sure that's correct. Just a note, if you are in to beech forest, I was in Croatia in the Autumn ..... you could get high up on passes and just see beech forest to the horizon .... incredible! I'll try to dig out my map and confirm things ..... but you can't really go wrong.

 SteveT


Offline Clive

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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2007, 19:31 PM »
Hola,

Not in any particular order because I kind of get excited about loads of stuff.

Picos de Europa...
Watching a wild boar attack and kill a baby red dear with the mother standing on a rock just watching.

Garganta Verde in the Sierra de Grazalema...
General griffon vulture watching with the best hand held zoom photography ever. Also the thrill of watching Bonelli's eagles driving off Griffons from their nest site. Standing in the middle of a herd of 50 odd Spanish ibex of all ages.

The Aguas negras Walk in the Sierra Cazorla...
Moufflon and that spooky tunnel through the mountain

Marbella....Yes Marbella...
walking to the peak of La Concha and looking down knowing that 99.9 percent of the people down there only ever look up at this little gem of a hill.

despeñesperros...
Saw a booted eagle attack a griffon vulture. The vulture flipped upside down and hit the booted eagle with his feet. Booted eagle flew off in a huff!

Pyrenees not far from Ordessa...(in the middle of nowhere)
The best sighting ever of a golden eagle catching an alpine marmot, taking it up to a thousand feet and dropping it only to dive in an arc and hitting the marmot at full speed. It was a bit messy but for some odd reason I take the side of the carnivore.

Doñana area...
Not necessarily in the parkland more in the area where the rice fields are 50 plus black storks at less than 100 metres.

Sierra espuña...
Close up interaction with boar. (standing on top of picnic tables wondering if it is a good idea to be in the woods at night).

Cabo de Gata...
Crystal clear water. Never seen so much colour before looking down through 3 metres of water to see starfish, anemone's and loads of animals that I have no clue what they were.

Sierra Norte de Seville...
Meeting a black vulture on a mountain pass whilst on a motorbike. Not sure who panicked the most. me probably. The Lake called El Pintado for absolute peace and quiet and the best oscillated lizard i have ever seen. head as big as my fist adult male in full breeding colours.

Monfrague...
Just because of the possibility to photograph black storks and griffons in the same place.

My garden in the Sierra de Grazalema...
Too many good points to list but I am starting to become interested in the smaller creatures that inhabit the area. funnel web spiders, scorpions and scolopendras. skinks and creepy crawly stuff.

Clive





« Last Edit: August 31, 2008, 13:51 PM by Clive »
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Offline nick

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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2007, 19:48 PM »
Great stuff Steve, Dave and Clive,

I must pull up my socks and get my list together.
Nick
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Offline steveT

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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2007, 21:51 PM »
Clive,

A great selection! ..... This wild boar attack ...it must have been amazing.....what happened and why ..... and where were you? Could you say what happened!?
... It's not quite the same but the BBC Wildlife Magazine had a series of photos of a bison in Poland , a little while ago, attacking and killing a wild boar .... it was in deep snow ...incredible shots with the boar a few metres in the air!

Only ever seen an escolopendra once ...... they look evil! Talking about things that are poisonous, about 7/8 years ago Quercus had an article about a 'new' spider - I'm  99% sure I'm right - that it was thought to be unique to the Grazalema/Espuna(~) area - and was supposed to be poisonous. If I remember rightly they just called it la arana(~) negra. Do you know anything about this?

SteveT

Offline CDDI

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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2007, 10:32 AM »
Steve,Clive et al, won't try to match your splendid lists -- so will just opt for this comic relief.  Sitting with my wife Concha one summer evening towards mid-night in an impressive "carpa" (marquee in anglo) of restaurant at El Pardo, Madrid and tucking into delicious estofado de jabali. Suddenly an entire 20-strong tribe of boar of all ages burst into the place scattering tables and chairs everywhere and sending the rather ritzy panic-stricken clientel dashing screaming for the safety of their Mercs and Beemers. I'm quite proud to say I did finish my stew but Concha was nowhere to be seen!  CDDI

Offline steveT

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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2007, 14:21 PM »
CDDI

Great story ..... I can imagine scene and total chaos!! Great to see that it doesn't matter what the crisis, there are people prepared to finish their estofado de jabali or game of bowls ......

SteveT

Offline SNiDE

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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2007, 15:23 PM »
First post here, nice forum; I recently visited Sierra de Andujar as it is a few hours drive from my folks place, and it was amongst the best locations I have been to in Spain; sightings of plenty of red deer, mouflon, ibex and some rabbits (no lynxes or wolves though). The area itself is absolutely stunning, and they have a visitors center with information on the iberian lynx and the wolf, though it was closed when we got there.

Offline Clive

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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2007, 21:56 PM »
Hi SteveT

Re The Wild boar versus Bambi incident
It was pretty amazing and we were glad to have a river between us and the attacker!

It was early one July some years back. We had been to Riaño then my notes say we stopped at a riverside bbq area on the rio Yuso.

Late afternoon we had seen the doe and fawn on the hillside. The light started to fade when the fawn began bleating. We thought it may have lost mum, but the bleating became louder followed by crashing sounds and we could see the doe moving away from the scuffle.

Then we saw the large boar, crashing through the undergrowth, butting the fawn down the steep hillside. It even picked up and shook the crying fawn. When the crying stopped the boar moved off and the doe watched from a distance.

Maybe the fawn came between the boar and its young, it was certainly wrong place wrong time. Nature in the raw.

Regards Clive
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

The spectacular Caminito del Rey, El Chorro and Guadalhorce reservoirs El Camino del Rey

Offline Sue

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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2007, 22:21 PM »
Hi SteveT

I wonder if the black spider that you read about in Quercus was Macrothele calpeiana?

It is known as a Funnel web spider or we call them black tarantulas. We have plenty of them in the Grazalema region and they can reach a good size… body 3.5cm, leg span 8cm.

 It’s the only european representative of the Hexathelidae family typical of tropical areas and the biggest European spider. It is entirelly black with two long “tails”. In the past it was only recorded from Cádiz, Málaga and Huelva but has been recorded in other places of Andalucia in the last years. It is endemic in southern Spain and very common in Andalusian Sierras.

They have visible and very sharp looking fangs. Apparently a bite can make you feel off colour, so we have learned to move rocks, logs etc very carefully. In most cases there is a visible white funneled web as a warning sign.

Best regards, Sue
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Offline steveT

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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2007, 22:42 PM »
Hi Sue and Clive for replying.

Clive that's an amazing story!!!!!

Sue .... it sounds like the one, I remember the article saying something about it being the only  european representative of a family....they  sound like an arachnaphobics worst nightmare!

Thanks to you both again

SteveT

Offline nick

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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2007, 23:09 PM »
This is going wonderfully off topic.
Never heard of this before, Must add to the bites and st¡ngs page http://www.iberianature.com/material/bitesandstings.html

Seems in Spanish it's called the araña negra de los alcornocales. There you go.

And it appeared in Quercus as:

Fernández MA, Fernández de Céspedes H, Perucho A. Macrothele calpeiana, la araña negra de los alcornocales. Quercus 1998; 146: 14-19

Thanks to both of you
Nick

PS Images here for the acacnophobic of us
http://images.google.es/images?hl=es&q=Macrothele%20calpeiana&btnG=Buscar+con+Google&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
Nick
http://iberianature.com/barcelona/history-of-barcelona/spanish-civil-war-tour-in-barcelona/
Spanish Civil War Tours in Barcelona
http://www.iberianature.com/
A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, & nature of Spain
The Amazon/Forum Bookshop - lend us a hand
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/shop/index.htm
And also now The Natural History of Britain
http://iberianature.com/brita

Offline steveT

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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2007, 22:19 PM »
CDDI

The exact directions for the Irati campsite are: from Arbe on the NA - 140 go north passing Orbara up to Larraun then turn right just before Fabrica de Obraitzeta and the campsite is a few kms on the right from here.

Steve

Offline CDDI

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« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2007, 10:22 AM »
Many thanks for the Irati campsite directions Steve. Hopefully will try it out this spring. Cheers, Derek

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2007, 18:34 PM »
Greetings Folk,
Just came across this topic by chance, via a link on the web site. It had escaped my notice. Really interesting stuff!
Thanx for sharing it (and more in the future!).
Regs.
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266