The Monegros Itinerary 1/2 -
Alcloea to Candasnos
Starting point: Alcolea (off map)
Time: most of a day
The variety of habitats and their accompanying birds make the surroundings of Alcolea quite a birding hotspot. There are some excellent stretches of riparian woodland along the banks of the River Cinca, some of which can be visited by following tracks towards the river from the Alcolea-Chalamera road. Interesting species here include Penduline Tit, Kingfisher, Little Ringed Plover, Golden Oriole, Cetti's Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Fan-tailed Warbler, Black Kite and others.
The same Chalamera road follows the foot of spectacular vertical sandstone cliffs, known as “Ripas”, where the likes of Peregrine Falcon, Egyptian Vulture, Red-billed Chough, Crag Martin and Alpine Swift dwell. Between the cliffs and the village of Chalamera there are also Black Wheatear, Tawny Pipit and Black-eared Wheatear.
From here make your way to Ontiñena (Spotless Starling) and continue in the direction of Candasnos. Red Kites are frequent along this stretch of road, and Golden Eagles are also observed quite regularly. The road winds and ascends until it reaches a raised plain where 3 km of straight road stretch out before you. Observing from the roadside and then following tracks into this area will provide you with good opportunities of seeing a wide range of steppeland birds, including Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Crested, Thekla, Lesser Short-toed and Calandra Larks, Stone Curlew, Little Bustard, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Lesser Kestrel, Little Owl, Roller, Tawny Pipit and Spectacled Warbler.