Bird Watching in Hoces del Duratón, Segovia

It is a pleasant feeling when you are warmed by the sun in those blue sky mornings that are not rare during the winter in Castilla. Mornings that make shine the white blanket of frost the night has left behind on the leaves.

Bird Watching Hoces del Duraton, Segovia, Spain, Spanish Imperial Eagle - two birds one stone
Young specimen of Spanish Imperial Eagle

While still in autumn, that circumstance was repeated several times during the morning of last Saturday in Hoces del Duratón – the gorges of the river Duraton - and its immediate environment, where we enjoyed a fantastic day watching birds and other natural values among friends.

The day could not have started in a more promising way, as during the drive there, in the early morning, we had the opportunity to see and photograph a very young specimen of Spanish Imperial Eagle. A gorgeous animal whose presence there confirms the quality of the habitat, in the area between the provinces of Valladolid and Segovia, for this great raptor endemic of the Iberian Peninsula, although efforts should be maintained to reduce the causes of unnatural mortality in the area.

As we reached the starting point of the route, the car thermometer had already plummeted to -6 º C ( 21 ºF), which we immediately could feel in our hands as we assembled the telescope and the digiscoping equipment to enjoy watching a group of roe deer that we had located as we got off the car. They were quiet in the shadow browsing on icy bushes. Their coat, already grayish brown, as befits this time of year, was covered by a whitish layer of ice on the top. Outdoor life is tough...

Bird Watching Hoces del Duraton, Segovia, Spain, Griffon Vultures - two birds one stone
Group of vultures over the canyon walls

From the same place, we saw a group of Griffon Vultures in the sun in front of us. They were cleaning their plumage while they waited the formation of convective currents which they use to move economizing efforts. It was curious the image of a Grey Heron, also stretching close to the group of vultures. Later we discovered that it was an optical effect and they were actually located in different planes.

In addition to the mentioned heron and vultures, which were a constant company, the tour provided us numerous encounters with different bird species characteristic of the different habitats we passed through. Sometimes letting themselves be seen, other times by means of their songs and calls1. We dedicated a little time to see how Red-billed Choughs competed in the rocky walls with Jackdaws to see which was the loudest. The Jackdaws won, at least in number.

A lovely journey through the asleep beauty of the gorges of the river Duraton and its surroundings. Thank you very much Angel, Isabella and Joaquín for the company and enthusiasm and especially to Mili who also shared his knowledge with us.

Bird Watching Hoces del Duraton, Segovia, Spain, Grey Heron - two birds one stone
The mentioned Grey Heron taking off

We will return in spring when European Bee-eaters, leaf warblers, wheatears, typical warblers, Egyptian Vultures and countless more migratory species, will make this place even more beautiful with their presence.


[1] Common Chaffinchs, Song Thrushes, Common Blackbirds, Eurasian Siskins, European Goldfinches, Mallards, Red-legged Partridges, White Storks, Red Kites, Carrion Crows, a Peregrine Falcon, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, an European Green Woodpecker, Cirl Buntings, Rock Buntings, Larks, House Sparrows, European Robins, Eurasian Wrens, Short-toed Treecreepers, Long-tailed Tits, Dunnocks, Jackdaws, Red-billed Choughs, a Southern Grey Shrike, Blue Tits, Great Tits, a Black Redstart, White and Grey Wagtails and Common Kestrels.

We are moving now.

We will tell everybody where we are once we arrive.