Travel photography: Spain
Nature and National parks - Part 2

August 7, 2022

In the last article the various Asturian landscapes were the main focus, now let's move on to other, no less remarkable parts of the country.

The first stop leads us to Monfragüe NP in Extremadura which is famous especially for its bird life.

The Salto del Gitano is a spectacular rock formation that forms an ideal nesting area for many kinds of birds - especially vultures.
The griffon vulture is the most commonly seen vulture in the park. Especially from the Salto del Gitano they can be seen very well going about their daily business.
Also their social lives can be observed. Newcomers are often eyed suspiciously...
... but a relationship is usually quickly established.
Large parts of the day are for resting and monitoring the comings and goings.
But at some point the search for food or nesting material needs to be started.
Griffon vulture with collected nesting material.
Not only the vultures enjoy the rocky surroundings. Also this black kite has ample possibilities for fishing and nesting in the area.
A pair of black storks raising their chick. The male is constantly fetching more material while the female is the architect of the nest. This pair only has one chick (not visible in this image) - the species is known to kill off some of its offspring during food shortages to increase the likelihood of the remaining chicks to survive.
Landscape of Monfragüe
There are actually three deer in this image. You can try to find them all - the difficulty increases steeply from deer to deer. Click on the image to reveal the solution.
Here they are easier to see.

Coastal regions only took a very minor role in my trip and the temperature were not suited for a beach holiday in any case. The Atlantic coast is less famous than the countless beaches along the Mediterranean due to the much more chilled air and water temperatures.

The natural beauty can however still be appreciated. Especially picturesque sandy beaches enclosed by rock formations are a highlight of the region.
La playa de las Catedrales consists of especially spectacular rock formations. I unfortunately could only be there during high tide where their visibility and accessibility is severely limited.
The abandoned town of Escó with Yesa Reservoir in the background. The reservoir is the result of the damming of the Aragón river. The resulting flooding of much of the farmland in the area caused the desertion of various towns.

All the National Parks I visited in Spain had something special and captivating to offer. From a landscape point of view there is in my opinion however a clear winner - Ordesa y Monte Perdido NP in the Pyrenees. The natural beauty of this part of the Pyrenees was recognized already in the early 20th century and the park was established in 1918.

Rio Ara at the entrance to the park.
Especially the Ordesa valley itself is one of the most incredible sceneries of the park.
A closer view of the Clavijas de Carriata waterfall.
Various spectacular views in the valley.
Monte Perdido (middle) is the third highest peak in the Pyrenees.
The Pyrenean chamois is one of the larger mammals inhabiting the park.
The valley seen from down below. Nicely emphasized is the abrupt relief formed by deep canyons and raised plateaus. The extreme aridity of the upper areas contrasts with green valleys with pastures and woods, where the water forms waterfalls and rushes through canyons and gorges.
The river forms countless clear pools with turquoise water.
Another marvel of the park are its numerous waterfalls. I've seen (and photographed) more waterfalls on this trip than in my entire life before that combined.
Waterfall under a tree.

These are all of my favorite impressions from my trip. I hope that I could give you an idea also of the parts of the country that people maybe don't think of when they hear "Spain".

Thanks for reading!

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