Starting point: the parish church of Our Lady of the Assumption to the north of the village.
Characteristics of this route: several routes begin in this village, all among really attractive forests. We recommend one to the north and one to the south. To the north, starting from the church of Our Lady of the Assumption, take a short path (marked in yellow) offering a circular walk through chestnut trees in an acceptable state of conservation. Diseases are severely punishing this tree which is extremely generous with the fauna and flora. To the south, following the road that goes down towards Extremadura for a few hundred metres, you’ll find the El Vallejo de la Mata picnic area which is shaded by the province’s most mature Quercus pyrenaica groves. Practically in front of the entrance to the picnic area is a road that leads up to the Regional Common Swift and Vulture Game Refuge. The first stretch runs between chestnut trees and large oak trees. Halfway along, the landscape opens up into fantastic views over the north of Extremadura lined with extensive rockrose and heather as well as repopulated pine trees. The route ends with a visit to an observatory created to watch the necrophagous birds that descend to the village rubbish tip. The observatory is closed and you have to ask for the keys at the town hall.
Most outstanding species: the vegetable patches surrounding the village are the first places to look for birds. You can find as many species of birds in this agricultural landscape as you can in the most well-conserved forest. Bee-eaters and shrikes perched on power lines, Iberian magpies rummaging among the fruit trees, hawks lurking over clueless little birds, white wagtails and crested larks running along the roads. Among the chestnut and oak trees, it’s easy to listen to the woodpeckers and golden orioles. The quantity and variety of birds fall when you reach the pine forests but, with a little luck, you may be surprised by the crossing of a deer or the barking of a roe deer. Looking to the sky, vultures and booted eagles are often constantly present. In October-November and in February-March you have to be particularly attentive to the sky to see the geometric formations made by the cranes crossing these hills as they migrate.
Birdwatching recommendations: the best tip is to walk peacefully so the birds themselves will grab your attention. The area around the village vegetable patches is home to many birds throughout the year. It’s quite interesting to stop at any of the points dominating the vast, flat lands of Extremadura. Taking advantage of the intense wind from the hillsides, many birds of prey hunt without barely flapping their wings. Short-toed snake eagles, booted eagles and European bee-eaters aren’t usually missing and it’s a real pleasure to see them hanging from the sky in search of snakes, rodents and bee and wasp hives in the case of the exquisite African bee-eater. Finally, you must look up to catch sight of the massive dark silhouette of the black vultures, Europe’s largest raptor at nearly 3 metres! Inside the Regional Common Swift and Vulture Game Reserve lives a reproductive colony over maritime pines (Pinus pinaster) and cork oak trees (Quercus suber). Years ago, they would make their heavy nests in cade junipers (Juniperus oxycedrus), the only known Iberian colony over this ancient species.
If you’d like to discover these and other routes, contact Aula del Alagón and we’ll help you find all the birds and landscapes in our region.
Aula del Alagón
Plaza de España, 4, 37760, Linares de Riofrío (Salamanca)
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