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The Cantabrian brown bear in the forests of Asturias

Posted on Jun 4, 2013 in Blog, Wildlife | 1 comment

There are wild, free living bears in Asturias.   To glimpse a bear or even to walk through the same valleys, forests, mountains is something special.  May and June are the optimal months for watching them as they feed amongst the fresh green pastures.  With the recent bad weather, we were running late and it was time for action.  We set off to western Asturias for a long and busy weekend, leaving our lodgings early each morning and not returning until late. Incredibly, we were rewarded on our first evening after walking along a well defined track and waiting patiently with views of the forest covered slopes.  However, the changeable...

The Hobby

Posted on May 22, 2013 in Birds, Blog | 5 comments

We took a short weekend away to explore several rivers. Río Nansa (Cantabria), Río Deva & Rio Cares. The weather wasn’t kind to us. The route was muddy but we still managed a 15 km walk and only saw rain for an hour. However, the river was high and murky, not the best for photography or wildlife watching. A pair of Hobbies saved the day and entertained us the next morning as well.  They performed well and were not put off as I slipped off a large rock and fell down the riverbank.  I saved the camera but got a sprained wrist and bruises.  Less painful than a new...

Hidden Gems of Asturias III – Playa de Gueirúa

Posted on Apr 28, 2013 in Blog, Places | 0 comments

Our last post from a long weekend visiting the coastline in western Asturias. We chose 5 sites and in the end managed to have good sessions at 3. All were special but I think the Playa de Gueirúa came out on top, if only for the variety of photographic opportunities. Dramatic rocks formations, high cliffs, strong seas and fascinating rock pools. Beyond Gueirúa is the Playa de Silencio, another superb beach and definitely worthy of a trip. We were a little unlucky with a virtually cloudless sky at sunset and being first time visitors we didn’t know quite what to expect. It’s certainly a race against time with the...

Hidden Gems of Asturias II – Playa de Campiecho

Posted on Apr 27, 2013 in Blog, Places | 1 comment

We were racing against the tide whilst visiting this fantastic rock formation on the Playa de Campiecho that accessible from the village of Cadavedo.  The challenge of a rising tide against the best evening light proved a little too much.  A good excuse to return for a future sunrise or sunset. Only the back of the rock is visible from the main beach.  If looking north, head west down the beach and climb over the rocks for another inlet to appear. An cave provides interesting composition when using a wide angle lens, in this case a Tokina 12-24mm One last shot before we were forced to retreat and head...

Hidden Gems of Asturias I – Playa de Portizuelo

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog, Places | 6 comments

We’ve recently drawn up a new action plan, a mission to visit the hidden corners of Asturias, all those places we’ve been meaning to visit but have never quite made it happen. At times the biggest challenge is simply to find these places. Often there is a lack of signs and due to remote locations not even many people to ask directions! You need to plan ahead and be persistent. We checked out many places beforehand, during the daytime, with no expectations of taking any decent pictures but to be fully prepared when returning at dawn or dusk. We planned a 3 night camping trip in western of Asturias,...

An evening watching an otter family in Asturias

Posted on Apr 14, 2013 in Blog, Otters | 2 comments

With an increase in otter activity during the past few weeks, we concentrated our efforts looking for them along the Río Sella and Río Piloña in Asturias. We spent over 25 hours this week walking, watching and waiting. Last night we decided to look further a field and discovered a potentially excellent otter site, just 5 minutes drive away. We found tracks and spraint. The location was open with good views across the river but also with well hidden vantage points and not close any houses or footpaths.  Human traffic at a minimum.  We left happy and optimistic. Whilst driving home we opted ‘for one last look’ at our...

Tracking the elusive otter in Asturias

Posted on Apr 14, 2013 in Blog, Otters | 0 comments

Signs and tracks are our best indication of the wildlife that lives around us, especially those such as the otter that tend to be active at night and even during the day are a challenge to watch for long periods.  The search for evidence of otters during our riverside walks ranges from a distraction to a full-on obsession.  Lately,  we’ve seen a lot of signs and also heard of several daytime sightings by locals.  Optimistic! Here are a few photos from our tracking over the past few weeks. Fresh tracks overnight along the Río Piloña. We monitor this particular area almost daily. In the same area. We looked again that evening...

‘Aquila’ The Spanish Imperial Eagle – An iPad app from Andoni Canela

Posted on Apr 4, 2013 in Birds, Blog | 0 comments

Time for something different … a review. I’ve been following the work of Andoni Canela since discovering his book ‘The Cantabrian Bear’ (El Oso Cantábrico), whilst we were visiting the region of Somiedo in Asturias, 3 or 4 years ago. Andoni has now produced an App for the iPad to accompany a hardcover book about Spanish Imperial Eagle. It’s a 2 year project dedicated to telling the story of one of the most endangered eagle species in the world. The main section of the ‘Aquila’ App is neatly divided into the 4 seasons displaying a multitude of different photos – shots at the nest, in flight, hunting and behaviour....

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