Spring 2023 tour reports 1: Dupont’s Larks and Lammergeiers

This is a brief tour summary of an early spring birding tour in northeast Spain.

Peter and Sue came from the UK for a private spring tour in northeastern Spain, from 20th March to 4th April. The birding tour started and finished at Barcelona.

We spent the first 5 nights at the homely and welcoming Rincon del Cierzo just south of Belchite. As Birding In Spain we have been staying at this hotel, ideally located for the Dupont’s Lark, for about 15 years now.

Staying at the Rincon del Cierzo included 5 Little Owls and a ride in one of Alejandro’s vintage cars!

Then we spent 5 nights at Hosteria de Guara, in Bierge, Sierra de Guara Natural Park. This hotel is another of those that Birding In Spain has been staying at for longer than we care to remember. It’s faultless!

We spent the last 4 nights at a 4-star hotel near Puigcerdà, in the Catalan Pyrenees, and within easy reach of the Cadí-Moixero Natural Park.

Pedraforca in the Cadí Natural Park, Catalan Pyrenees. Superb scenery, but what about the birds?

Some birding highlights of the tour:

En-route from Barcelona on day 1 we birded near Lleida, observing Little Bustards, an Eagle Owl on the nest, Mediterranean Short-toed Larks, Calandra Larks, and Rock Sparrows.

On our daily excursions from our first base at the Rincón del Cierzo we encountered …

Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle (6), Lesser Kestrel, Eurasian Hobby, Montagu’s Harrier, Red-billed Chough, Stone Curlew, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue Rock Thrush, Penduline Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Alpine Swift, Black Wheatear, Western Black-eared Wheatear, Spectacled Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Little Owl (5 at one time behind the hotel!), Night Heron, Water Pipit, Wryneck, Greater Flamingo (What? Where?) …

And of course the larks! Dupont’s Lark eventually gave us an excellent show running, perched and singing and songflight, but we worked hard for it! Then there were bucket-loads of Mediterranean Short-toed Larks, Calandra Larks, Thekla’s and Crested Larks, and Woodlarks.

That’s the way to do it! Yep, just like that it was, the Dupont’s Lark. But it made us sweat…

Next, with Hosteria de Guara as our base we enjoyed the marvellous scenery of the Sierra de Guara Natural Park and some good birds too …

Lammergeier, Peregrine Falcon, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Western Subalpine Warbler, Firecrest, Alpine Chough, Hawfinch, Rock Bunting, and others

En-route to our hotel near Puigcerdà we caught up with a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles – what a bird!

Daily excursions from the mountain hotel brought us close to birds such as Citril Finch, Ring Ouzel, White-throated Dipper, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, Common Redstart, and more.

The tour ended at Barcelona, but the spring had just begun …

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