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Birds & Insects on the Camino

On the camino I've noticed birds but really didn't pay close attention until my last camino on the very quiet Invierno in June 2019. As I walked alone and slower the whole way, I started to focus more on the birds and insects I was seeing and hearing.

Since March 2020, staying home and with my work dramatically reduced, I've had time for long walks most days and have become increasingly interested in birds. I've met a lot of birders along the way and have learned so much. It's been fun, healthy and has helped ease a lot of stress during this past year and a half of the pandemic. I know birding will now add another layer of interest along my next camino!

So here's a thread to post info and photos (wild or domestic) of birds and insects you've seen along the camino. If you aren't sure of the name of a species, we can help each other identify them.

This photo, taken on the Invierno is a European Stonechat.

stonechat.jpg
 
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jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I was delighted to see an African Hoopoe on the CF one day, as they are resident where I live half a world away in South Africa.

Edit: just checked Mr. Google:
"Do African Hoopoes migrate?
Even though the Eurasian Hoopoe migrates, African Hoopoes do not migrate although some may travel short distances within South Africa and other Southern African countries."

So it must have been a Eurasian Hoopoe 😃

186308261.jpg
 
Last edited:

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Great thread. :)
This photo, taken on the Invierno is a European Stonechat.
That is a very self-possessed little fellow!

Storks are easy to see and watch along the Caminos, since they are so noisy, large, and situated in full view!
For more detail on storks, see this thread, and this one.
 
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amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Hi! I have seen quite a few species in the last caminos, I counted 57 of them in my last Camino last May between Burgos and Muxia, in complete solitude, you have great opportunities! There are LOTS of birds to see in the different caminos, just keep your eyes (and your ears!) open and you will be surprised.

I have seen different types of vultures, kites, eagles, kestrels, harriers, warblers, tits, larks, finches, water birds, waders, you name it.

I would recommend an app that can identify bird songs, it gives you a clue of what is near you and if you wait long enough in silence, you might be able to see them near you. The app is called

BIRDNET

and it is quite efficient and fairly accurate most of the time.

In the flat meseta you might get to see bustards, even! There are so many different bio-systems along the camino that you will see lots of different species.

I do not take photos on the Camino because you need a good camera for that and it would be heavy and awkward. Just hearing them was my greates passtime.
Buen camino, compañero! I wonder if there is any book or page about birds in the different Caminos...
 

SabineP

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I'd love to know if anyone has a favourite bird identification book for Spain... I know the peninsula is a major landing point for many migratory species... I'd love to visit "Las Marismas" in the south to see the winter and summer migrations...


To be published next month...
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I'd love to know if anyone has a favourite bird identification book for Spain... I know the peninsula is a major landing point for many migratory species... I'd love to visit "Las Marismas" in the south to see the winter and summer migrations...
We use the svensson guide, but there is a great app by SEO, SOCIEDAD ESPAÑOLA DE ORNITOLOGÍA, the Spanish birding society, called Aves de España, in Spanish, but it is quite good
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I'd love to know if anyone has a favourite bird identification book for Spain... I know the peninsula is a major landing point for many migratory species... I'd love to visit "Las Marismas" in the south to see the winter and summer migrations...
Doñana is unique, as Tarifa, so many places!
 
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To start here are several nests and storks taken in Mansillas de las Mulas,
February 24, 2009
Lovely! It was nesting season when I was on the Invierno...well actually, post nesting as the nests were full of young ones who hadn't fledged. The nests I saw in a few different areas were on purpose built nesting towers. I've see nests on churches but have yet to see them with storks in them!
 
I'd love to know if anyone has a favourite bird identification book for Spain... I know the peninsula is a major landing point for many migratory species... I'd love to visit "Las Marismas" in the south to see the winter and summer migrations...
There is a great app - Merlin Bird ID, that has been very handy for both visual and audio ID.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A few times
I really like raptors and on the Camino Frances I always see many, of a few varieties. Of course there's the large griffon vultures one sees the first day in the Pyrenees out of SJPdP, but I also frequently see a variety of hawks slowly doing circles over the agriculture fields, hunting for mice, snakes and such. Occasionally I have seen one do a power dive to the ground, then shortly fly off with what I assume is a meal in its talons.
 
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chinacat

Veteran Member
On the camino I've noticed birds but really didn't pay close attention until my last camino on the very quiet Invierno in June 2019. As I walked alone and slower the whole way, I started to focus more on the birds and insects I was seeing and hearing.

Since March 2020, staying home and with my work dramatically reduced, I've had time for long walks most days and have become increasingly interested in birds. I've met a lot of birders along the way and have learned so much. It's been fun, healthy and has helped ease a lot of stress during this past year and a half of the pandemic. I know birding will now add another layer of interest along my next camino!

So here's a thread to post info and photos (wild or domestic) of birds and insects you've seen along the camino. If you aren't sure of the name of a species, we can help each other identify them.

This photo, taken on the Invierno is a European Stonechat.

View attachment 109762
Ooo goodie … some photographs of birds and insects! 🙂😊
(at the risk of repeating myself, your photos are wonderful 😉)

I took a very un-smart mobile with me in 2009 and all I have are pixels … 😕
I‘m so looking forward to seeing others’ shots.

Great idea for a thread, @Theatregal !!!

I’m definitely following this one …
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I recently received as a gift beautiful Swarovski binoculars and a Yawa spotting scope…. I wonder if I can put *that* in carry-on… I jest, but oh boy do I ever wish I could… I have a Celestron digital camera mount as well…. But how to sit, waiting for the perfect sighting *and* get in the kms I need to complete each day???
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I have some Airmiles points that can only be redeemed for a selection of things - most of which I neither need nor want. But one item is tempting me - Pentax UD 9x21 Compact binoculars - that weigh just 195 g. What do you think? Should I get them to take on my next Camino? I have some other binoculars to use at home, but they are bulky and weigh 800 g.
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
I’m definitely following this one …
Me too.

I was delighted to see a Hoopoe in Muruzabal. I didn't get a photo, being too busy enjoying the sight. It took me back to India.

The storks are endless diversions, of course.
But it's the raptors who can punctuate a day with amazement. Here's a place right before Pancorbo on the Via de Bayona that looked like Vulture heaven - where there were both places to perch and winds aloft. Each crag had an occupant, while other birds were soaring in a gyre. On a photo they're specks, but it was an impressive sight.
IMG_1193.JPG

Should I get them to take on my next Camino? I
👍 Heck, yeah. I would anyway.

But how to sit, waiting for the perfect siting *and* get in the kms I need to complete each day???
Good question. One thought is to learn ahead of time where the hot spots are likely to be, and plan to linger there.
 
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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
I have some Airmiles points that can only be redeemed for a selection of things - most of which I neither need nor want. But one item is tempting me - Pentax UD 9x21 Compact binoculars - that weigh just 195 g. What do you think? Should I get them to take on my next Camino? I have some other binoculars to use at home, but they are bulky and weigh 800 g.
My god, I say! I would!
*Love* my Swarovski's but they are beastly heavy. 195g? To be able to see the feathered beauties? Yes!
Also, if you saw Ivar's post about Google Arts and Culture "Camino de Santiago", there's a "bird for every month on Camino" in the collection and it's just lovely.
 
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I have some Airmiles points that can only be redeemed for a selection of things - most of which I neither need nor want. But one item is tempting me - Pentax UD 9x21 Compact binoculars - that weigh just 195 g. What do you think? Should I get them to take on my next Camino? I have some other binoculars to use at home, but they are bulky and weigh 800 g.
They look great! Just read an interesting review.

neilenglish.net/product-review-pentax-ud-9-x-21-compact-binocular/
 
But it's the raptors who can punctuate a day with amazement. Here's a place right before Pancorbo on the Via de Bayona that looked like Vulture heaven - where there were both places to perch and winds aloft. Each crag had an occupant, while other birds were soaring in a gyre. On a photo they're specks, but it was an impressive sight.
Beautiful photo ! A perfectly dramatic raptor environment!
 
Past OR future Camino
2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
This is an amazing stage. It felt almost flat, but ended in a narrow defile in a rugged range of hills, where the village of Pancorbo sits. It felt like being in the mountains, but with minimal climbing.

(My very patient walking companion had to put up with my excitement about all the vultures. It was a bit. Next time I will carry binoculars.)
 
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amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I have some Airmiles points that can only be redeemed for a selection of things - most of which I neither need nor want. But one item is tempting me - Pentax UD 9x21 Compact binoculars - that weigh just 195 g. What do you think? Should I get them to take on my next Camino? I have some other binoculars to use at home, but they are bulky and weigh 800 g.
Very light weight, good magnification, but 21 mm is too narrow for 9x, in my experience, Pentax is a fabulous brand, but I am not sure they would give you much joy in bird watching, where the standard is probably 10x42. For 21mm ideally you would want 4x or 6x, any more than that you will feel that you are looking through a drinking straw, I am afraid
 

Mycroft

Active Member
I was delighted to see an African Hoopoe on the CF one day, as they are resident where I live half a world away in South Africa.

Edit: just checked Mr. Google:
"Do African Hoopoes migrate?
Even though the Eurasian Hoopoe migrates, African Hoopoes do not migrate although some may travel short distances within South Africa and other Southern African countries."

So it must have been a Eurasian Hoopoe 😃

View attachment 109769
Wow! What a remarkable-looking bird!! Thanks!
 

Mycroft

Active Member
I have some Airmiles points that can only be redeemed for a selection of things - most of which I neither need nor want. But one item is tempting me - Pentax UD 9x21 Compact binoculars - that weigh just 195 g. What do you think? Should I get them to take on my next Camino? I have some other binoculars to use at home, but they are bulky and weigh 800 g.
Lovely idea to be able to get a good view of birds and other things. So I would ask: How many times on previous caminos have I wished I had binoculars? If the frequency warrants, then go for it, C clearly!
 
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MyDestinationGalicia

Mark Auchincloss
Past OR future Camino
2021
I live close to a private woodland owned by a local association whose aim is to protect and recuperate the woodlands in the area in the heart of Ribeiro. The Caminos Miñoto do Ribeiro and the Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros passes it the stage after Ribadavia when you pass Beade on way to either Berán or Leiro. Here's a link to the woodland https://ridimoas.wixsite.com/ridimoas.

They have over 200 different species of birds in this woodland. From my home I've counted over 100 species in my first year here ! So many to name but I love seeing the crested tit or hearing the nightjar.

You can become a member of Ridimoas for 20€ a year and they will plant a new tree for you and send you their newsletter in Galician.
 
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lindam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
I am wondering if anyone has actually spotted an elusive cuckoo bird while walking a Camino. My husband and I have often heard their signature call while walking various routes, especially while walking next to wooded areas, but have yet to see one. There have been times when we have heard this bird who almost seems to be laughing at us as we walk along.
 
I am wondering if anyone has actually spotted an elusive cuckoo bird while walking a Camino. My husband and I have often heard their signature call while walking various routes, especially while walking next to wooded areas, but have yet to see one. There have been times when we have heard this bird who almost seems to be laughing at us as we walk along.
I haven't spotted one but I'll never forget an early morning in June, walking out of Barxa do Lor. After the steep climb out of the village, the path levels into open field surrounded by hedges and woodland. The sound of the cuckoos was so present. As the path entered the woods, I hoped to see one. No luck, but I did feel like they were accompanying me as I walked through that area.

View attachment IMG_6576.MP4
 
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lindam

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, VDLP, Invierno, Portuguese, Madrid, Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan/Aragones/Loyola Norte
Young storks after Monforte de Lemos in June 2019.

View attachment 109872 View attachment 109873
I love to listen to the clappering sounds these magestic birds make. It was not too long ago that I saw storks for the first time while walking a spring Camino. Prior to that I had always walked in the fall time when only their nests were on display and the storks have moved on elsewhere.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I don't know the names of the birds in Spain, but I appreciate them. I took a short phone video on the Camino, walking on a path made into a tunnel by the trees above, with riotous birdsong in the background. One - was it on the Meseta? - I didn't have to look up was the Cuckoo. I laughed at loud at their call, which sounded like a human making a bad imitation of a Cuckoo. "Cuckoo. Cuckoo."
 
Sitting against a pillar in the Praza do Obradoiro, I watched a rock pigeon - a truly international bird with wide variations in plumage . Not really noticed - almost invisible but just takes its time, wandering back and forth, up and down, looking for crumbs, bugs, observing the coming and going around him. This one came very close to me at one point, hopeful that I'd drop some of the empanada I was eating.

pigeon.jpg
 
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Paladina

old woman of the roads
Past OR future Camino
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I was thrilled to see a huge congregation of buzzards on the VdlP, more than I've ever seen anywhere else on my travels -- I believe the collective noun is a kettle of buzzards, which sounds a bit fishy for birds! -- but a little apprehensive that they seemed to be buzzing me on the bike. This was one of those rare occasions when I would have welcomed a convoy of cars on the road.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Since insects are part of the conversation, here are some little beauties, seen on the way to Los Arcos. Less threatening than a kettle of vultures.
View attachment 110010
VN,
Wow, what a great shot this is! The colors and detail are fantastic. Is that a thistle serving as the support?
 
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Dochim

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2016 July - April 2018 Francés
June - July 2018 Primitivo
We loved watching the storks when we walked from Leon to Santiago in March 2018. We saw many “flying schools”. Another joy was when many young eagles flew across the path in the early stages of our first Camino Frances in 2016 - we can’t pin-point the exact location, but I think it was near Pamplona. Since the pandemic we get great enjoyment listening to and seeing the (Spanish, I assume) parakeets in our locality in Oxford.
 

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Shells

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles (2019); Camino Frances (2021 or 2022); Camino Portuguese (2021 or 2022)
On the camino I've noticed birds but really didn't pay close attention until my last camino on the very quiet Invierno in June 2019. As I walked alone and slower the whole way, I started to focus more on the birds and insects I was seeing and hearing.

Since March 2020, staying home and with my work dramatically reduced, I've had time for long walks most days and have become increasingly interested in birds. I've met a lot of birders along the way and have learned so much. It's been fun, healthy and has helped ease a lot of stress during this past year and a half of the pandemic. I know birding will now add another layer of interest along my next camino!

So here's a thread to post info and photos (wild or domestic) of birds and insects you've seen along the camino. If you aren't sure of the name of a species, we can help each other identify them.

This photo, taken on the Invierno is a European Stonechat.

View attachment 109762
I loved your post! I recently retired as the Biodiversity Discovery Coordinator of the US National Park Service, where I worked with our parks to organize species discovery events, pairing people of all ages and backgrounds with exp
 

Shells

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles (2019); Camino Frances (2021 or 2022); Camino Portuguese (2021 or 2022)
On the camino I've noticed birds but really didn't pay close attention until my last camino on the very quiet Invierno in June 2019. As I walked alone and slower the whole way, I started to focus more on the birds and insects I was seeing and hearing.

Since March 2020, staying home and with my work dramatically reduced, I've had time for long walks most days and have become increasingly interested in birds. I've met a lot of birders along the way and have learned so much. It's been fun, healthy and has helped ease a lot of stress during this past year and a half of the pandemic. I know birding will now add another layer of interest along my next camino!

So here's a thread to post info and photos (wild or domestic) of birds and insects you've seen along the camino. If you aren't sure of the name of a species, we can help each other identify them.

This photo, taken on the Invierno is a European Stonechat.

View attachment 109762
Thanks for this thread! I used to organize species inventories (everything from microbes, to fungi, to plants, to birds, to mammals, etc.) in the United States national parks. A free app that we often used was “inaturalist.” It allows anyone to post a photo of a species and receive identification from experts around the world—really useful in the case of unusual sightings. Any wildlife enthusiasts may find it to be a great resource on your Caminos.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
😆 @Camino Chrissy They most definitely are the same guys, posing in front of the same stone wall and even the same paper bags. They do their pilgrim watching somewhere around Triacastela.
My photo was taken on June 18, 2017.
My photo was taken in May, 2017. I wonder if they are still there now or have "flown the coop"...on to a better life in the sky.😏
 
Thanks for this thread! I used to organize species inventories (everything from microbes, to fungi, to plants, to birds, to mammals, etc.) in the United States national parks. A free app that we often used was “inaturalist.” It allows anyone to post a photo of a species and receive identification from experts around the world—really useful in the case of unusual sightings. Any wildlife enthusiasts may find it to be a great resource on your Caminos.
Biodiversity Discovery Coordinator - what a fascinating job that must have been Shells! Thank you so much for the "inaturalist" app info!
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Past OR future Camino
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
A Yellow-legged Gull and a Wood Pigeon rest on the glorious sculpted angels by Ferreio on the pediment of the Convento de San Francisco in Santiago.
That’s a remarkably svelte wood pigeon: it must have flown innumerable caminos to have lost its characteristic barrel chest.
 
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