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Xerta

January, February, March, April & May

My aim is to travel from the most Westerly point in Europe to the most Easterly point in Asia.

I am starting at the Thames Head on the 2nd January 2016, my ferry crossing is from Portsmouth to Caen on the 5th January.

My Family are coming to see me off we will have a good breakfast before saying our goodbyes.-

Tuesday 5th

Great crossing, smoothest ever didn't feel like you were on a ferry most of the time. Stayed close to Caen for the night.

Wednesday.

Very dull raining had a short walk,  In the early hours of the morning I saw a Short eared Owl. Drove to Near Nantes. Rained most of the day.

Thursday

 Found out that Calor gas is only available in the UK, took most of the morning to sort it. I now have a better alternative which is on sale in France, Spain and Portugal.

stayed the night near Arcachon, Saw a Sparrow hawk take a wood pigeon, Red Kite.

Friday. Stayed near Biarritz

Brought some mobile Data (not a good buy) Travelled though some fabulous country side and stayed near Jaca. Ate a great fish curry for dinner.

Saturday

North of Jaca in the Parque Natural Valles Occidentales. The Geology of the area is fantastic Some rock strata almost upright. the valley where I'm staying was glacial.

Rock Thrush, Red Kite Rock Bunting & Citril Finch

Poor shot of a Rock Bunting

Sunday

A new meaning for stuck in Spain. Not a strike at the airport. Van was between a rock and a hard place. I couldn't go forward or back. A sheep farmer was kind enough to help by moving his car & opening his gate so that I could turn around. He the watched me out of an incredibly tight spot.

Rained until 16.00 hours

Saw griffin Vulture, Red Kite, Golden Eagle,

Found a great place to stop for a while just outside Jaca. At the Repsol garage take the exit after Pamplona which is the mountain road to Huesca. After about 8K turn left.

Monday

European Badger, Rain most of the day.

Tuesday

More rain. Griffin Vultures, Lammergeier,

Wednesday

Jaca to Sierra de Guadarrema, White Stork 100+ European Crane many hundreds. Griffin & Black Vulture,

 

 

Thursday

Sierra de Guadarrema Griffin & Black Vulture, Cattle Egret, Stayed overnight at Terazone.

Friday

Sierra de Gredos Arenas Imperial Eagle, Booted Eagle.

Sat

Sierra de Gredos Arenas to Portugal. Zebreira. Black Redstart, Hoopoe, Azure winged Magpie many. Crested Lark. Marsh Harrier,

A wonderful end to the day with my new family & friends at the Cafe Pimba. Only place for miles for Wifi and a friendlier place would be even harder to find.

   

Sunday A beautiful start

 

White Backed Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Black Redstart, Hoopoe, Azure winged Magpie many. Crested Lark.

Monday

European Badger, Rain most of the day.

Tuesday

More rain. Griffin Vultures, Lammergeier,

Wednesday

 

White Backed Woodpecker, Marsh Harrier, Black Redstart, Hoopoe, Azure winged Magpie many. Crested Lark.

 

 

Sunday

A new meaning for stuck in Spain. Not a strike at the airport. Van was between a rock and a hard place. I couldn't go forward or back. A sheep farmer was kind enough to help by moving his car & opening his gate so that I could turn around. He the watched me out of an incredibly tight spot.

Rained until 16.00 hours

Saw griffin Vulture, Red Kite, Golden or Greater Spotted Eagle

Found a great place to stop for a while just outside Jaca. At the Repsol garage take the exit after Pamplona which is the mountain road to Huesca. After about 8K turn left too

Monday 18th Sad to leave Zebreira. So many wonderful friends. Drove around Tagus International, Park Natural. Until about 2 o'clock, Egyptian vultures, Griffin, Thekla Lark, Orphean warbler, Back Redstart, Whinchat, Spanish Sparrows. Travelled towards the coast. My first Montagu's Harrier.

Tuesday 19th

Elisa'a birthday. Happy birthday

Moved on in the rain & then fog, which cleared in late afternoon. In the estuary at Figueira da Foz there was Greater Flamingo, Spoonbill, Little Egret, Spotted Redshank, Curlew,

Wednesday arrived at Cote da Roca. Spent the evening at a lovely restaurant Refugio Da Roca. The English speaking staff made it a pleasant evening. My thanks to Fredericka for the education about Portuguese Wines & spirits. Torrential rain in the night, hoping for a better day tommorow.

Thursday

Tagus estuary.

 

Flamingo, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Avocet, Common Waxbill, Hoopoe, Green Finch.

 

Friday

Remained at Alcochete

Avocet, Black winged Stilt, Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler, Barn Swallows, (Arived a week earlier. Greater Flamingo.

Sat

Trilhos Interpretativos ||Salinas Do Samouco

Kentish Plover, Avocet, Black Winged Stilt, Greenshank, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler, Barn Swallows, www.salinadosamouco.pt.  

Moved on to Alto Alentejo Evora to Beja. Hoopoe, Calandra Lark, Zitting Cisticola, Water Pipit. Spotless Starling, Black Shouldered Kite, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Crested Lark. More Goldfinch than I have ever seen, somr flocks exceeding a hundred birds, Serin.

Sunday 24th Beja to Badajoz, White & Black Stork, Red-legged Partridge, Woodchat & Great-grey Shrike, Aure-winged Magpie, Scops Owl, 3 o'clock in the morning at Elvas.

Monday25th Worked the same area with misty conditions little oportunity for photos, White Stork, Red-legged Partridge, Woodchat & Great-grey Shrike, Aure-winged Magpie, Crested & Calandra Lark

Tuesday 26th Continued to look for Bustards with no luck, White Stork, Red-legged Partridge, Woodchat & Great-grey Shrike, Aure-winged Magpie, Crested & Calandra Lark, Common Quail, Serin, Linnet, Goldfinch, Red Kite, Buzzards, Kestrel. Drove back to Zebraira. Missed a turning and my phone died so I hadn't got a good map.

I stopped at a Bar-Restaurant Got directions a plate of chicken, sausage, bread & 2 glasses of port, all at no cost. We, inspite of language difficulties, had a great laugh. They also have wifi. I learnt that Piri-piri not only tastes good it restores your ardour.

Wednesday 27th

Had lunch at the above, which was superb, Moved up into North Portugal.

Thursday

Friday

Saturday Montagues Harriers, loads of Hoopoe, Thousands of Larks, Finches includind Citrel, Golden & Green Plover, Griffin & Egyption Vultures, Red Kite, Vitting Cisticola.

 

Sunday Stunning scenery, some great birds 4 Montagues Harriers, loads of Hoopoe, Thousands of Larks, Finches includind Citrel, Golden & Green Plover, Griffin & Egyption Vultures, Red Kite,

 

February

Monday

Tuesday

 

There were a huge number of Griffins, More than I have ever seen.

Wednesday 3rd Feb

Conon del Rio Lobos

Often overlooked by birders but a great place for photographing Griffin Vul;tures.

Thursday 4th Feb in Jaca Moter trouble went to Supermercado then decided to find a garage, 2 doors away found a Fiat dealer, on the Pamlona Rd. They were excellent and reasonable. By 5.30 o'clock I was away.

Friday started with me still sorting things out but by 11 a.m. I was on my way towards Andora.

 

Taken just outside Foradada del Tosca on the N260 Lammergeier

Other birds, Rock Thrush, Crested and Calandra Lark, Red Kite, Egyption & Griffin Vultures.

Saturday

Travelled from Campo through the Port de la Bonaigue, and on to 30k south of sort. Not many birds but stunning scenery'

Sleet then rain fell heavily all night, I guessed that it would fall as snow on higher ground. I was right.

Sunday.

I decided to drive over the Port de la Bonaigue, in daylight but it was closed if you hadn't got snow chains. So I continued to Sort and turned off on the road to Vilamur. As I headed over the pass light snow fell and snow was encoaching onto the road. Later black ice was visible and I hankered for a warmer climate. There were a number of abandoned vehicles at the top of the pass. A car passed me in the opposite direction and there was a loud bang. I knew straight away it hadn't hit me. A second later I realised it was the wind. Snow blustered all around me and for a few seconds it was complete white out.


I don't know what the temperature was but with the high wind the chill factor was severe. My tee shirt wasn't appropriate. I didn't stay outside for many seconds. This is my first selfie and I'm sure most people will hope it's my last.
The conditions worsened as I moved away from the summit. There was now more snow and black ice and as the road inclined steeply packed snow covered the surface. I kept the revs steady and managed to keep going. The road then descended quickly which kept my speed to a minimum. I decided to leave Andorra for a few weeks to warm up a tad. I have travelled to south of Barcelona near Tarragona.

No huge catfish but at least I finally got a photo of the Black Redstart.

Xerta is a wonderful friendly place, I met the Mayor who is only 29 years old. A place no birdler or angler should miss, but much more a great place for any holiday maker. The friendly ex-pats in the community make it a great place for anyone wanting to live in spain. Close to the coast, mountains and the beautiful river Ebro right on your doorstep.


Thursday A shopping day
Travelled to Flix on the C12 to buy some fishing tackle.
Had to wait a couple of hours. Spent the time in a very pleasant bar called Cafe de Mari Talking to a very pleasant young lady behind the bar..
Birds seen today, Three toed Treecreeper, Sparrow hawk, Black Redstart, Spotless Starlings.
Friday
Invited to Manolo Bar for a Meal with some off the local Brits. All the food was good but the Paella was outstanding. A 4 course meal for 10 Euros.
Saturday Derik an Austrailian living in Spain repaired my Fridge, what  a great guy.
Saturday.
A trip into the local mountains was stunning and this immature Black Redstart was a star, I showed no fear and was happy to pose. It was great to be driven and I thank Brian for taking the time and trouble to take me.

Imm Black Redstart

Sunday
 Lesser Kestrels

Common Sandpiper

 

The press didn't find all of Boris's water cannon.

Overlooking Xerta

 

Manolo y pili

 
Brian & Ann
Terry
 

Imperial Eagle

 

Greater Flamingo Ebro Delta

What made me smile.

If only the fish were as keen on halibut pellets.

The Kingfisher is a regular companion.

This Iberian Ibex was about a mile away.

A new species for me.

Thank you amanda for the card I've used it as a link to your web site.

http://www.galeriadebenifallet.com/

Amanda I Hope your career continues to soar.

After some great days in and around xerta, I'm leaving for Barcelona. Brian as ever helped by giving me a lift to Tortosa. First night in Barcalona was great superb company and great food and drink.

Sardinian Warbler etc in Parc de Montjuic

A new bird for me Monk Parakeet.

The more familiar Ring-necked Parakeet.

Some stunning architecture.

You can enjoy a leisurely walk.

This church is near Carrer de Valencia.

Lucky to have survived four days in Barcelona without a hang over.

Had a great time with Akshey, Komal & my new friend Oz.

Met some interesting Nigerian gentlemen.  26/02/2016

Last day in Xerta

Crag Martin

March

 


I have a lot to do before I can do this report but I must mention some wonderful people and places.

 

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