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

Hidden Gems of Asturias II – Playa de Campiecho

Hidden Gems of Asturias II – Playa de Campiecho

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 back to the car All Rights Reserved – © John Shackleton Share...

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

Hidden Gems of Asturias I – Playa de Portizuelo

Hidden Gems of Asturias I – Playa de Portizuelo

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, with a list of new sites to explore and hopefully photograph. Although we’ve explored this region many times, the area between Luarca and Cudillero has somehow escaped us. First was the Playa de Portizuelo and fortunately only a 10 minute walk from the campsite. We set an early alarm, staggered out the of tent equipped with head-torches, camera and tripod,...

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

An evening watching an otter family in Asturias

An evening watching an otter family in Asturias

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 usually otter hotspot. It was a good decision. Although getting there late and the light fading we soon spotted one, two, three and finally four otters.  A family – mother and three young cubs swimming, playing and fishing. We watched for over an hour, during which time the mother struggled alone to subdue a lamprey. The cubs played and one...

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

Tracking the elusive otter in Asturias

Tracking the elusive otter in Asturias

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 and the otter had visited once more, walking in my footsteps from 8 hours earlier. Tracks in the sand leading from the water’s edge to the rock pictured below.  Río Sella. Otter spraint on a rock.  Río Sella. On many occasions we’ve noticed that the otters prefer to ‘spraint’ upon rocks, the height advantage improving the carrying of their scent...

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

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

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

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. There’s also further sections explaining general ecology of the Imperial eagle and it’s habitat within the Iberian Peninsular. The App contains over 200 photos, with additional information panels, notes and an interactive story for children. Also used to great effect, are sound clips accompanying many of the photos (eagle’s calling and local sounds to its surrounding environment etc.). The personal...

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Posted on Mar 18, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

Photo Competition from Hotel Posada del Valle

Photo Competition from Hotel Posada del Valle

Somiedo, Asturias – Ruta de Braña de Sousas   Hotel Posada del Valle are an award winning Hotel for Organic Food and Biodiversity and have just launched a Photography Competition themed “Outdoor Holiday Experiences”. The prize is 3 nights’ accommodation with half board (breakfast and evening meal included) for two people at the Hotel in Asturias. For more information – Click Here   If you need anymore motivation, below is a Trail Cam video clip from last year.  We successfully recorded wildlife in and around the location of the hotel including deer, badgers, wild boar and genet. Share...

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