Atlantic convergence:birders from America unite!

Montsonís is a tiny village in Montsec, Lleida, Spain, painstakingly and tastefully rebuilt from the depopulated ruins that existed no less than 30 years ago. Ramon and Carme, the directors of are the driving force that literally raised this village from its ruins.

Two birders from Washington state were booked in with me at Montsonís for a day’s guided birding around Montsec, but some confusion reigned momentarily, as no fewer than 6 birders, all from the USA, presented themselves at the same time! As it turned out the extra 4 were from the eastern seaboard, and had arrived at Montsonís by following my recommendations in “Where the birds are in northeast Spain”.

I turned up at 8 in the morning as the “Easterners” were tucking into a hearty breakfast. They briefly informed me that they had already been to Belchite and seen the Dupont’s Lark, and that their objective of the day was Little Bustard, before reaching the high Pyrenees that same evening.

My two “Westerners” on the other hand were taking things more slowly, and were keen to walk and bird in the general area. In the usual manner of this birding business we “missed” some possible bird species while being surprised by a number of unexpected observations.

In the first category our initial walk failed to reveal Bonelli’s Eagle (they’ve been playing hide and seek with me throughout the course of this year, “now you see me, now you don’t”). The surprises went a long way to make up for the misses though: a melanistic Montagu’s Harrier (the last of the year) out on the plains, along with a solitary Little Bustard which in theory should have been elsewhere. 4 Honey Buzzards circling over Mont-roig and then surely the same 4 over the plains a little later. Bee-eaters and an old male Marsh Harrier on migration through the high passes. A large flock of Rock Sparrows in the fields and none in their usual breeding haunts.

And Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (try to imagine your first visit to North America and how you would feel about seeing a Flicker or two).

We had great weather and a couple of fine walks. It would be nice to know what our “Easterners” managed to find that day.

Leave a Reply