Eagle Route

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Eagle Route




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  • The sun rises in the east, the eagle in the west. The Eagle Route follows an east-west axis in the southern half of Montsec (la Noguera). The approximately 70 kilometres between the town of Artesa de Segre and the village of Ivars de Noguera is prime eagle territory. Here it is possible to see as many as 4 species of eagle, including Golden, Booted, Short-toed and Bonelli’s eagles. Above all Bonelli’s Eagle, a species which sadly is rare and declining but which fortunately still inhabits the rocky ranges of Montsec.
    Notes about the itineraries:
    The distances and given are approximate, and the times are estimated to allow for a more or less relaxed pace.
    (S) = Summer migrant
    (W) = Present in winter only
    Bear in mind that while some species are normally abundant and relatively easy to detect in the right habitat, others are scarce and move over large distances. This is the case of the Lammergeier and the Bonelli’s Eagle – if you are lucky enough to see them then enjoy the experience!
    The main species have been divided into two groups:
    (i) Relatively easy to see in the right habitat and at the appropriate time of year.
    (ii) Present in the area but sometimes difficult to observe.
    Whichever itinerary you choose from the 7 that are available the eagle route offers a great variety of habitats for a great array of attractive and exciting birds.
    Golden Oriole

    Length: 6kms, 2 hours.
    Characteristics: An easy route along track and road.
    Access: Via the road for Montsonís from Artesa de Segre.
    Starting point: 335529 4639879. The turning area with the containers just before the Sanctuary of Salgar.
    Indications: Follow this route on foot from the recommended starting point. Hear the sounds, smell the smells and see the wildlife of the holm oak scrub, the gallery woodland and the rocky outcrops that are the character of this itinerary. A short walk around the abandoned campsite is a good way of seeing many birds associated with the River Segre and its woodlands.
    From here follow the track that leads to Rubió de Dalt at least until the spring (Font del Munt). Look out for the machine gun emplacement embedded in the rock face!
    Main species:
    (i) Purple Heron (S), Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle (S), Grey Wagtail, Subalpine Warbler (S), Bonelli’s Warbler (S), Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Golden Oriole (S)
    (ii) Bonelli’s Eagle, Kingfisher, Rock Sparrow.
    Dartford Warbler
    Length: 4kms, 1-2 hours.
    Characteristics: Short but quite steep.
    Access: Via la Foradada and Rubió de Dalt.
    Starting point: 330689 4637972. At the eastern edge of the Tossal de Boada, indicated by the sign. This point is reached by following the track leading off the road between Rubió de Dalt and Rubió del Mig.
    Indications: The radio mast visible at the top of the hill known as Tossal de Boada marks the destination. The marked path peters out a little beyond the ruined farm buildings but the terrain is easy to ascend and getting lost is not an issue. Admire the views from the summit before returning along the same route.
    Main species
    (i) Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle (S), Thekla Lark, Woodlark, Black-eared Wheatear (S), Dartford Warbler, Woodchat Shrike (S), Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting.
    (ii) Goshawk (W), Merlin (W).
    Bonelli's Eagle
    Length: 8kms, 2-3 hours.
    Characteristics: Easy, with a moderate ascent.
    Access: Via Camarasa.
    Starting point: 325465 4638682. From the sign “Cubells 10km, St. Jordi 4km”, 2km along the track leading out from Camarasa. An optional extension, 4 kilometres in total, would be to start from the village of Camarasa.
    Indications: Park near the sign and follow on foot. This itinerary offers interesting rock faces, almond groves, scrub and solitude. The hermitage of Sant Jordi commands unbeatable panoramic views and a good chance of seeing Bonelli’s Eagles flying over their home range. Return along the same path.
    Main species:
    (i) Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle (S), Bee-eater (S), Thekla Lark, Woodlark, Blue Rock Thrush, Orphean Warbler (S), Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Bonelli’s Warbler (S).
    (ii) Bonelli’s Eagle, Eagle Owl, Black Wheatear.
    Length: 8 kms, 2-3 hours.
    Characteristics: Level and easy-going.
    Access: Via Balaguer and Gerb or Camarasa and Sant Llorenç de Montgai.
    Starting point: 320235 4636735. The path leading along the edge of the Sant Llorenç de Montgai reservoir to the dam from opposite the camp site.
    Indications: Follow the path, cross the dam and continue into the woodland on the left. The path leads to the road from Camarasa to Sant Llorenç de Montgai, which can then be followed to the starting point or, if preferred, retrace your steps along the same path.
    Main species:
    (i) Great Crested Grebe, Purple Heron (S), Griffon Vulture, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Cirl Bunting.
    (ii) Little Bittern, Bonelli’s Eagle, Eagle Owl, Hawfinch (W), Bullfinch (W).
    Rock Thrush
    Length: 8kms, 3 hours.
    Characteristics: Moderate in length and ascent.
    Access: Via Vilanova de la Sal.
    Starting point: 318515 4639625. Font (spring) les Fontanelles, along the track that leads from Vilanova de la Sal to the hermitage of Mare de Déu de Montalegre.
    Indications: Water is available at the Fontanelles spring, where there is also a monumental holm oak tree. Park nearby and walk from here. When reaching a sharp left-turning hairpin bend follow the minor track that ascends along the base of the cliffs to the Coll de Porta. This itinerary offers spectacular views over the plains of Lleida and beyond.
    Main species:
    (i) Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture (S), Peregrine Falcon, Alpine Accentor (W), Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Subalpine Warbler (S), Red-billed Chough, Rock Sparrow.
    (ii) Rock Thrush (S), Wallcreeper (W).
    Length: 35kms.
    Characteristics: Moderate difficulty, some pronounced uphill stretches.
    Access: Via Os de Balaguer.
    Starting point: 310275 4640335. The Pont del Congost over the River Farfanya on the road between Os de Balaguer and Alberola. Signposted to els Picons.
    Indications: Initially there is a steady ascent parallel to the Serra de Sant Miquel to the ruins of Montessor castle. From here descend past the hermitage of Sant Salvador and then along the right of the Barranc de Sant Salvador to the Coral del Nadal. Turn left if want to visit the Plans de Salaverd on the banks of the Santa Ana reservoir (approximately 1km). From the Coral del Nadal follow the main track past the village of Alberola and onto the asphalt leading back to the starting point.
    Main species:
    (i) Griffon Vulture, Bee-eater, Woodlark, Orphean Warbler (S), Subalpine Warbler (S), Sardinian Warbler, Bonelli’s Warbler (S), Firecrest, Rock Sparrow.
    (ii) Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon.
    Penduline Tit
    Length: 7 kms, 3 hours
    Characteristics: Easy-going with some ascent.
    Access: The C-26 between Alfarràs and Algerri.
    Starting point: 299285 4636355. The reception area by the river Noguera Ribagorçana at Ivars de Noguera.
    Indications: A circular route initially following the course of the river and then ascending to the drier, scrubby areas and fields of the Serra Llarga. It can be followed in either direction. The hermitage of Sant Sebastià offers the best views over the nearby plains.
    Main species:
    (i) Iberian Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Bee-eater (S), Thekla Lark, Black-eared Wheatear (S), Great Reed Warbler (S), Melodious Warbler (S), Sardinian Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole (S).
    (ii) Great Spotted Cuckoo (S).