The province of Burgos is well known for its abundance and variety of raptors. The many rocky cliffs and valleys are home to more than a thousand pairs of Common Vultures, more than one hundred pairs of Egyptian Vultures, 50 pairs of Golden Eagle, and hundreds of Peregrine falcons and Kestrel. In forested zones, the Buzzard, the Hobby, the Booted Eagle, the Sparrow hawk and even the enigmatic Goshawk are can be found in great numbers, while the more open areas are the preferred habitat of the Snake Eagle, Montague’s Harrier and many Black Kites. In the winter months the Black Kite is replaced by the Red Kite.
The village of Nela, is a privileged location for the bird watcher. Going for a walk in the spring, between the old stone houses and their small plots of land, one is literally surrounded by a symphony of small birds (the Blackcap, the Song Thrush, the Blue Tit, the Goldfinch, the Spotted Flycatcher, the Black Redstart, the Rock Sparrow…) The sky is continuously cut by the silhouettes of Black Kites and Buzzards and with luck on your side, you can also spot a Snake Eagle or a Booted Eagle. The nearby rocky outcrops along the canyon of the river Nela are the nesting ground for the Common Vulture and the Egyptian Vulture, and in the steeper areas the Peregrine and the Golden Eagle nest, these are all birds which can be frequently spotted flying over the village of Nela.
The rocky areas, are also frequented by the Common Chough, and in the higher regions, the Alpine Chough and the Alpine Swift can often be seen. Along the river it is easy to spot a Dipper, a Grey Wagtail and even a Kingfisher or a Grey Herron. In the woods along the river banks, you can hear the call of the Golden Oriole and the Cuckoo.
If you penetrate deeper into the woods you can see the Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker, also with a little luck you might come across a Goshawk or a Sparrow hawk. The call of the Nightjar and the Nightingale may be heard at dusk and the hoot of a Tawny Owl or a Barn Owl often cuts the profound tranquillity of the night.
In reality, to enjoy watching birds in Nela you do not really need to set off on a walk. You can simply sit comfortably with your binoculars poised and observe at least fifty different species over a relaxing weekend. However, if you enjoy walking, you can follow the marked trail along the river to the village of Puentedey or over the mountain to the region of Salazar and you can add a few species to your list. The agricultural landscape between Salazar and Villarcayo offer the ideal habitat for birds which thrive in open spaces (the Montague’s Harrier, the Beeater, the Red-backed Shrike, the Fan-tailed Warbler, the Skylark, the Corn Bunting, the Cirl Bunting …) Additionally, in a wetland close to Salazar you can admire the most important colony in the region of white stalks.
(Many Thanks Aitor Galarza for this expert contribution, translated into English.)
Birds around Nela:
Black Winged Kite
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Fan Tailed Warbler
Long tailed Tit
Red backed Shrike
Great Grey Shrike