Friday, 13 April 2012


Before leaving France, we stopped at the reserve des Barthes, on the flood planes of the river Ardour near Bayonne. A hidden place of lakes, visited by many wading birds and hundreds of Cranes passing through on migration. Here from the hide, Mike photographed these Spoonbills going into breeding colours.

Also at this hide we watched two Greater Spotted Eagles, one a juvenile that we managed to photograph, although at great distance. It was defending its catch of a huge fish from marauding crows and a female Marsh Harrier. We watched it for about and hour, jumping and threatening the pests trying to steal its dinner. 

From des Barthes, we crossed into Spain, calling in at one of our favourite birding sites, Laguna de Pitilas, near Olite. It was blowing so hard that we witnessed something that we had only heard about!
Hundreds and hundreds of Cranes, all trying to cross the Pyrenees, but because of the high winds, unable to go further. Wave upon wave of them landed on the water margins. It was just like a Crane Traffic Jam!

On and on they came in, legs and wings dangling, trying to find a parking spot. They will wait it out, until the wind drops and they can continue northwards on their journey.

On to the Barenas Reales, this amazing semi desert landscape in Navarre. A region of arid planes, ravines and huge rock structures. It is possible to walk, cycle or drive through some of this area. Below is the road we took and very bumpy and dusty it was!

The Bardenas is one of Europe's biggest deserts, covering some 41,000 hectares, mostly unpopulated, but there remain some deserted ruins that were once peoples homes. They look quite cosy! 
No neighbours either!

It is hot in summer here and cold in winter, at most times very dry, except when flash floods cause instant rivers that then dry out, causing the strange shapes below.

The Bardenas is divided into three large areas - El Plano, La Negra and La Blanca, where we photographed below this amazing tower of rock, the Cabezo de Castildetierra.

In the photograph below you can see the Cabezo and in the background our camper, which it dwarfed!

Although he would prefer to be behind the camera, I took this photograph of the man behind the lens, and what a lens it is. Mike and his baby!

So on with our adventures and travels, come with us!

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