Sunday 30 October 2011

Pyrenees - day 1

The last leg of the Spain trip was in the Pyrenees where I was crossing all my fingers and toes for a Lammergeier. Following directions from the Birding in Spain site I went on a short hike to find a meadow that was apparently one of the best places to see Lammergeiers:

I quickly decided that this was not really the best place - there were trees blocking most of my view of the main mountain tops... so I decided to go right to the top.

Along the way Griffon Vultures were flying several hundred meters above me:

I parked the car and began the climb up one of the peaks of the mountain. Wheatears and Black Redstarts were in abundance during the hike up:

It didn't take long before I finally saw something in the distance that fit the silhouette for a Lammer. Within a minute of first finding them 2 Lammergeiers had passed by me leaving me little time to appreciate their size and beauty:

So I continued on to the top where I scanned the surrounding mountains for more birds. I was surprised to see these ladybuys:

I didn't really need Lammers to keep me happy though. The view was spectacular:

Griffon Vultures were flying very close overhead:

And on my way down this Lammergeier became curious in me and flew around my head for a few minutes before continuing on its way! Quite the experience.

Lammergeier silhouette showing the wedge shaped tail that makes it stand out from miles away:

At the end of the day a large kettle of Choughs (a Corvid species) and Griffon Vultures formed - a Lammergeier eventually joined in as well:

So, needless to say I was quite happy with the results of day 1 on the Pyrenees!