Thursday, 12 January 2017

Birdwatching in the International Douro Natural park, Portugal.

This is a super place for a few days of birdwatching, situated in the municipality of
Miranda do Douro, in North East Portugal. The park was set up to preserve the landscape along with the Flora and Fauna.
The river runs through a deep gorge or canyon, this, in turn, acts as the natural border between Portugal and Spain and runs for just over one hundred kilometers.
There are many hydro-electric dams along this stretch of the river and it is sparsely populated.
We have visited in different climatic conditions, but whatever the weather, the cool breeze is there.

Looking back up river towards Zamora in Spain and Salamanca, both to distant to see.

 From another vantage point, we could see the snow-capped Sierra Gredos far away on the horizon.

The Griffon Vultures can be close here.

Below we could see the full eight-foot span of their wing.

Some come extremely close!

On the canyon edge, two beautiful Red Rumped Swallows search for nesting material.

Guess when you can fly, it doesn't matter much about the long fall, we were staying well back!

You never know, who will just perch on the edge, here it is a Calandra Lark.

Below on another outcrop, a male Black Redstart calls for a mate.

All day long the Griffon Vultures fly on the thermals, their following the sheep and goat trails through the Olive trees.

And keeping an eye on us!

The slightly smaller Egyptian Vultures, pass much faster across on the Spanish side of the river.

Peregrine Falcons and Lesser Kestrels take it in turn to scan the rock face.

The mighty Alpine Swifts, with their twenty-one-inch wingspan, their sheer power and speed leave you in awe.

The sound of their wings as they scythe past fills the air.

Once again, it was time for us to move on!

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