Mirua es una empresa dedicada a las actividades en la naturaleza y que ahora ha puesto en marcha un servicio dedicado a la observación de aves y su entorno llamado MiruaBirds. Nuestro ámbito de trabajo es Navarra (Pirineo Occidental y norte del Valle del Ebro, España). En este blog encontrarás información sobre este territorio y nuestra oferta para conocerlo de la mano de nuestros guías.
Mirua is a local company dedicated to organize activities in nature. We now also offer birdwatching tours and nature guided tours with local experts with MiruaBirds. We work mainly in Navarre, although we also organize tours in the Pyrenees and Ebro Valley area (NortEast of Spain). You’ll find everything you need to know about us in this blog.

Late winter birding in the Western Pyrenees

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Four kind birdwatchers from Finland came recently to Navarra. Some of them had already been in the area, but they wanted to try a different time of the year with a very clear target in mind: Wallcreeper. So Jouko, Mauno, Jarmo and Kari came in mid March as this in this time of the year the grey-black-white and red birds are still in the lower parts of the mountain valleys.
We spent two days guiding them with two purposes: get some ‘lifers’ and complete their Spanish bird lists.

First day was dedicated to the Southern part of Navarra visiting some steppe areas and wetlands such as the Lor Lake and the Pitillas Lagoon. Despite the windy weather we managed to hear (and see!) a few Dupont’s Larks in our first stop. Other interesting birds in the area were Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Thekla Lark and Dartford Warbler.  During the rest of the day we found and enjoyed with three Great Spotted Cuckoos, A Golden Eagle, a couple of Hen Harriers, both Kite especies, Booted and Short-toed Eagles and Bearded Reedlings among others, but we had luck and got good views of two local rarities like e Great Northern Diver and a Ring-necked Duck.

One of the many Red Kites we saw in these two days.
Pitillas Lagoon Reserve 

The Great Northen Diver in the Lor Lake


The second day we went to the Roncal valley, in the Pyrenees. Weather forecast was not very good, but we were lucky and avoid most of the announced rain.  We started the day very well as we found a Wild Cat close to the road; we could even take some pictures of it: great moment!
In the valley we had good sights of Griffon Vultures and Egyptian Vultures feeding on a sheep carcass, many Red Kites, a group of 8 migrating Black Kites and a Bearded Vulture flying close to us. The highest part in Larra Reserve was not very busy with birds, but Red-billed and Alpine Choughs were trying to find some food in the areas with less snow. And then, when we stopped in one of the villages, we saw a small bird climbing in a sunny building’s wall: a Wallcreeper! We also visited Arbaiun and Lumbier Gorge and we saw more Griffon, Egyptian and Bearded Vultures, more Kites, more Choughs… and we added another interesting species: Bonelli’s Eagle (two individuals).
The day ended stopping in another place before returning to the hotel in order to find the Black Woodpecker: we saw male and female quite well. This was the best end we could expect for two fantastic days of birding in Navarra.

Bearded Vulture silhouette in the Ronal Valley sky.
Surprise: a Wild Cat!
Wallcreeper!

Griffon and Egyptian Vulture resting after feeding

The spectacular Arbaiun Gorge mirador

Bird list (100 species)

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Gadwall (Mareca strepera)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris rufa)
Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus)
Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata)
Water rail (Rallus aquaticus)
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
Iberian Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis sharpei)
Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)
Pico picapinos (Dendrocopos major)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Common Magpie (Pica pica)
Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)
Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
Western Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)
Common Raven (Corvus corax)
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)
Eurasian Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)
Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus)
European Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus)
Common Skylark (Alauda arvensis)
Thekla Lark (Galerida theklae)
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Greater Short-toed Lark (Chersophilus duponti)
Common Sand Martin (Riparia riparia)
Eurasian Crag martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata)
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
European Nuthatch (Sitta europea)
Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla)
Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Common Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Common Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia)
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
White wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)
European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)
Common Linnet (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)
Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)
Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)

Finding new birds in Lumbier Gorge

Three intense days of birding in Navarra

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Entrance of the Lumbier Gorge, in the Navarra Prepyrinees.
Renée, Jeanet and Boukje came from the Netherlands to learn Spanish and for some birding and nature experience in the Basque Country and Navarra. This short trip of three days was made during the first half of October and we had to design an itinerary that visited as many habitats as possible to get a general oversight of what our area offers: steppe, beech forests, high mountain, gorges and cliffs, oakwoods, Mediterranean shrub and wetlands.

The Bardenas steppe is one of the most amazing landscapes in the Iberian Peninsula.

Belagua Valley in the Navarra Pyrenees. 

The total list of species, if not very numerous for three days, was built with many interesting species. The birding highlights of the trip were:
-       - A flock of more than 50 Dotterels in the steppe.
-       - Several groups of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse flying around us also in the steppe.
-       - Two late Alpine Swifts that were still in the area.
-       - A Wallcreeper found in a Prepyrenean gorge, the first down here after the breeding season.
-       - Two adult Bearded Vulture flying over us very close before going to sleep in the cliffs in the last day.    

A bad picture (made with mobile phone through the scope) of three of the Dotterels we found in the steppe.
Boukje, Jeanet and Renée in Southern Navarra.
Weather was very nice (to warm and dry for the season, we need urgently some rain) which made our birding experience easier. We also visited some magic places like the ‘enchanted’ beech forest of Urbasa Nature Park or the ancient oakwoods in Sakana Valley (with some trees that are 300-400 year old).
Most of the trip was made in Spanish, so that Renée, Jeanet and Boukje could improve the language, but I had to rescue the Dutch bird names from my mind, names that I learned when I was a child!

The Enchanted Beech Forest of Urbasa, in Northwestern Navarra.
Bird species list (82 species)

Mute Swan – Cygnus olor
Northern Shoveler – Anas clypeata
Gadwall – Anas strepera
Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos
Northern Pintail – Anas acuta
Red-crested Pochard – Netta Rufina
Common Pochard – Aythya ferina
Tufted Duck – Aythya fuligula
Little Grebe – Tachybaptus ruficollis
Black-necked Grebe – Podiceps nigricollis
Ardea cinerea – Grey Heron
Bearded Vulture – Gypaetus barbatus
Griffon Vulture – Gyps fulvus
Red Kite – Milvus milvus
Common Buzzard – Buteo buteo
Western Marsh Harrier – Circus aeruginosus
Eurasian Coot – Fulica atra
Northern Lapwing – Vanellus vanellus
Eurasian Dotterel – Charadrius morinellus
Ruff – Calidris pugnax
Common Snipe – Gallinago gallinago
Common Redshank – Tringa totanus
Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Rock Dove – Columba livia
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse – Pterocles alchata
Alpine Swift – Apus melba
Common Kestrel – Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon – Falco peregrinus
Iberian Green Woodpecker – Picus viridis sharpei
Southern Grey Shrike – Lanius meridionalis
Eurasian Jay – Garrulus glandarius
Red-billed Chough – Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Alpine Chough – Pyrrhocorax graculus
Eurasian Jackdaw – Corvus monedula
Carrion Crow – Corvus corone
Common Raven – Corvus corax
Woodlark - Lullula arborea
Crested Lark – Galerida cristata
Eurasian Skylark – Alauda arvensis
Eurasian Crag Martin – Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
Coal Tit – Periparus ater
Crested Tit – Lophophanes cristatus
Marsh Tit – Poecile palustris
Eurasian Blue Tit – Cyanistes caeruleus
Great Tit – Parus major
Long-tailed Tit – Aegithalos caudatus
Eurasian Nuthatch – Sitta europea
Short-toed Treecreeper – Certhia brachydactyla
Wallcreeper – Tichodroma muraria
Eurasian Wren – Troglodytes troglodytes
Zitting Cisticola – Cisticola juncidis
Common Chiffchaff – Phylloscopus collybita
Eurasian Blackcap – Sylvia atricapilla
Sardinian Warbler – Sylvia melanocephala
Dartford Warbler – Sylvia undata
Dunnock – Prunella modularis
European Robin – Erithacus rubecula
Common Redstart – Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Black Redstart – Phoenicurus ochruros
European Stonechat – Saxicola rubicola
Whinchat – Saxicola rubetra
Northern Wheatear – Oenanthe oenanthe
Black Wheatear – Oenanthe leucura
Blue Rock Thrush – Monticola solitarius
Eurasian Blackbird – Turdus merula
Song Thrush – Turdus philomelos
Mistle Thrush – Turdus viscivorus
White Wagtail – Motacilla alba
Grey Wagtail – Motacilla cinerea
Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis
Water Pipit – Anthus spinoletta
Cirl Bunting – Emberiza cirlus
Common Chaffinch – Fringilla coelebs
Common Crossbill – Loxia curvirostra
Eurasian Bullfinch – Pyrrhula pyrrhula
European Goldfinch – Carduelis carduelis
Eurasian Linnet – Carduelis cannabina
Citril Finch – Carduelis citrinella
European Serin – Serinus serinus
Eurasian Siskin – Spinus spinus
House Sparrow – Passer domesticus
Rock Sparrow – Petronia petronia

Renée, Jeanet y Boukje vinieron a comienzos de octubre para aprender castellano, pero aprovecharon su viaje para visitar Navarra, guiadas por nosotros, durante tres días. Aunque continúa la sequía, que es muy desfavorable para las aves de la zona, pudimos observar bastantes aves interesantes tales como chorlito carambolo, ganga ibérica, treparriscos y quebrantahuesos. 

Birding in the Western Pyrenees in the beginning of the autumn

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At the end of September Sjef and Anemiek came from the Netherlands to spend some holidays in the Basque Country and Navarra; they booked our guiding services for three days in which we went to Southern Navarra (day 1: steppe), Central Navarra (day 2: dry farmland, big rivers and wetlands) and Navarra Eastern Mountains (day 3: high mountain and beech forests).
Despite the long drought we are suffering in our region we were able to get a, not very long but, interesting bird list.

Gamueta forest showing awesome autumn colors.

The birding highlights during these days were:

- Very good views of two different Golden Eagles in the steppe area.
- A nice flock of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse that showed really well the first day.
- Excellent close views of two of the last 25 Great Bustards remaining in Navarra.
- A Yellow-browed Warbler, a rare bird in Navarra, (first in the season for Spain!) in Caparroso (Central-South Navarra).

We also saw a probable Pectoral Sandpiper in Pitillas Lagoon (days later one was confirmed by another birdwatcher!).

Drought has pushed the autumn and this was very noticeable during this trip in the Pyrinean beech forests that already had wonderful colors… but one month to early! We had no rain during these days, which was good for birdwatching, but this has become a very serious problem for nature here.
Foxes, hares, rabbits, squirrels… were also on our way, and we enjoyed of very good views of many of them.

A Griffon Vulture flying along the cliffs in Lumbier Gorge.
Bird species list (83 species)

Red-legged Partridge – Alectoris rufa
Grey Heron – Ardea cinerea
Eurasian Spoonbill – Platalea leucorodia
Griffon Vulture – Gyps fulvus
Western Marsh Harrier – Circus aeruginosus
Hen Harrier - Circus cyaneus
Eurasian Sparrowhawk – Accipiter nisus
Common Buzzard – Buteo buteo
Golden Eagle – Aquila chrysaetos
Red Kite – Milvus milvus
Northern Lapwing – Vanellus vanellus
Great Bustard – Otis tarda
Common Sandpiper – Actitis hypoleucos
Green Sandpiper – Tringa ochropus
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse – Pterocles alchata
Eurasian Collared Dove - Streptopelia decaocto
Common Woodpigeon - Columba palumbus
Rock Dove – Columba livia
Iberian Green Woodpecker – Picus viridis sharpei
Great Spotted Woodpecker – Dendrocopos major
Common Kestrel – Falco tinnunculus
Eurasian Hoopoe – Upupa epops
Southern Grey Shrike – Lanius meridionalis
Eurasian Magpie – Pica pica
Red-billed Chough – Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Alpine Chough – Pyrrhocorax graculus
Carrion Crow – Corvus corone
Common Raven – Corvus corax
Calandra Lark -  Melanocorypha calandra
Woodlark – Lullula arborea
Thekla Lark – Galerida theklae
Crested Lark – Galerida cristata
Sand Martin – Riparia riparia
Eurasian Crag Martin – Ptyonoprogne rupestris
Barn Swallow – Hirundo rustica
Common House Martin – Delichon urbicum
Coal Tit – Periparus ater
Crested Tit – Lophophanes cristatus
Marsh Tit – Poecile palustris
Eurasian Blue Tit – Cyanistes caeruleus
Great Tit – Parus major
Long-tailed Tit – Aegithalos caudatus
Eurasian Nuthatch – Sitta europaea
Eurasian Treecreeper – Certhia familiaris
Short-toed Treecreeper – Certhia brachydactyla
Eurasian Wren – Troglodytes troglodytes
European Robin – Erithacus rubecula
Willow Warbler – Phylloscopus trochilus
Yellow-browed Warbler – Phylloscopus inornatus
Common Chiffchaff – Phylloscopus collybita
Eurasian Blackcap – Sylvia atricapilla
Sardinian Warbler – Sylvia melanocephala
Spectacled Warbler – Sylvia conspicillata
Dartford Warbler – Sylvia undata
Cetti’s Warbler – Cettia cetti
Zitting Cisticola – Cisticola juncidis
Spotted Flycatcher – Muscicapa striata
European Pied Flycatcher – Ficedula hypoleuca
Common Redstart – Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Black Redstart – Phoenicurus ochruros
Whinchat – Saxicola rubetra
European Stonechat – Saxicola rubicola
Northern Wheatear – Oenanthe oenanthe
Mistle Thrush – Turdus viscivorus
Eurasian Blackbird – Turdus merula
Blue Rock Thrush – Monticola solitarius
Dunnock – Prunella modularis
European Starling – Sturnus vulgaris
Spotless Starling – Sturnus unicolor
Western Yellow Wagtail – Motacilla flava
Grey Wagtail – Motacilla cinerea
White Wagtail – Motacilla alba
Tawny Pipit – Anthus campestris
Meadow Pipit – Anthus pratensis
Water Pipit – Anthus spinoletta
Corn Bunting – Emberiza calandra
Common Chaffinch – Fringilla coelebs
European Greenfinch – Chloris chloris
Common Crossbill – Loxia curvirostra
European Goldfinch – Carduelis carduelis
Eurasian Linnet – Carduelis cannabina
European Serin – Serinus serinus

House Sparrow – Passer domesticus

Sjef y Anemiek vinieron desde Holanda a finales de septiembre y estuvimos guiándolos durante tres días visitando diversos ambientes de Navarra y Huesca: bosques, roquedas, estepa, humedales, alta montaña. La gran sequía que estamos padeciendo no facilita la observación de aves, pero aún así logramos ver varias aves muy interesantes: águila real, ganga ibérica, avutarda y un mosquitero bilistado, una rareza en Navarra.