Benasque - Estós Itinerary

  1. Starting point: Benasque or Ventamillo gorge.
  2. Time: A full day.

An interesting starting point for this itinerary would be the Congosto de Ventamillo on the N-260 just to the south of Castejón de Sos (not on map). Apart from the species typically associated with mountain gorges, such as Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin, Dipper, Peregrine Falcon and Alpine Swift, this is also one of the two most accessible sites for breeding Wallcreepers in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Estós is one of the two most accessible sites for breeding Wallcreepers

Heading northwards from the gorge, Booted Eagle, Red Kite and Dipper can be seen in the Benasque valley before arriving at Benasque. Continue on from Benasque, cross the River Esera and follow a track on left that runs alongside a camp site. Park at the car park and continue on foot, bearing in mind that you will need around 3 hours to reach the Estós refuge.

The rocky areas in the vicinity of the car park attract Crag Martin and Alpine Swift among other species. From here on though the emphasis is on forest birds as you ascend the path up through the Estós valley. With varying degrees of luck the species that could be seen include Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Capercaillie, Black Woodpecker, Ring Ouzel, Crossbill and Marsh Tit. It may also be interesting to know that Tengmalm's Owl breeds in the area.

Clients Feedback - Read all

A good time was had by all - thanks for a successful inaugural tour of Spain’s natural areas. From my perspective it was just the right mix of birds, nature, and culture....
Linda Ingram, USA
Trip Date: June 2014
Just to let you know we had a great time last week. I have rather a lot of shots to go through, Rollers stole the show for us this time, so we will have to come back for some Bee Eaters! Thanks for everything, roll on next time....
Howard Kearley, UK
Trip Date: June 2015
Thank you ever so much for your wonderful guiding which practically completed my entire wish-list! My trip was so successful and significant birdwise that I decided to write a report. I look forward to further birding adventures with you., , Book: I read ...
Mikko Pyhälä, Finland
Trip Date: May 2014
Great birds, beautiful countryside, fabulous food, and a very knowledgeable guide....
Woody Kuehn, USA
Trip Date: May 2013
I still have warm memories of a great birding experience with you. I enjoyed very much your book. Should you ever give up birding, I see writing as a follow-on profession for you!...
Albert Williams, USA
Trip Date: Oct 2013
After doing my usual early beach walk I have spent a part of the morning sitting on the balcony reading your book. So far I give it ten out of ten. Your recollections have great structure, the imagery is brilliant and your use of vocabulary commendable....
Paul Harvey, UK
Trip Date: June 2013
On behalf of a group of Aussies I would say that we thoroughly enjoyed the diverse landscapes and birds of Spain in the excellent company of Steve West. Steve combined film star looks [see Ben Kingsley in the ‘Birder’s Guide to Everything’], a grea...
Ken Cross, AUS
Trip Date: May 2015
Thank you so much for taking us out, it was such a lovely day- We appreciate it....
Adrienne Ottenburg, USA
Trip Date: Jan 2015
Steve is an amazing birder!! And great company. ...
Barbara and Dave Horn, USA
Trip Date: March 2012
Just a note to say "thank you" for 3 great days birding. Updating my lists I am pleased to tell you that I saw over 20 new birds!!! How good is that?...
Mary and Clive Davis, UK
Trip Date: Mar 2013
Hi Steve, great trip. Really loved Spain as well as the birds. Have told all my friends best way to see Spain is to do a birding trip with you…thanks for your great company sense of humour and of course, the birds. Glad you liked the books. Cheers. Kare...
Karen Blake, AUS
Trip Date: May 2015
I will recommend Spain and especially birding with you to anyone that will listen or are thinking about going. ...
Nick and Janeke Buys, Namibia
Trip Date: Oct 2013
Did not have much time at the airport when leaving, but I thought thanks would be in order for a great little trip, excellent hotel good food wonderful wine (which we have sourced in UK and have placed a large order for). Hope to use you again in the futu...
Trevor, UK
Trip Date: Feb 2013
We wanted to tell you again what a great experience it was birding with you while we were in Spain a couple of weeks ago. It was certainly one of the highlights of our family vacation. ...
Allan and Linda Kellar, USA
Trip Date: Aug 2015
I have arranged 2 group trips with Steve, his patience in the planning stage and helpful suggestions, have made for 2 very successful and enjoyable trips. He worked very hard to find all our target birds on both trips, from Wallcreeper to Lammergeier in t...
Steve Lane, UK
Trip Date: April 2015
We really enjoyed our time with you and appreciated your bird finding skills. Now I am enjoying your book. ...
Ann and Bruce McGregor AUS,
Trip Date: Sep 2012
The 3 days in the bird hides were the highlight of my European trip and I'll treasure the memories. You organised everything brilliantly and I enjoyed meeting you and spending time with you. ...
Ian Montgomery, AUS
Trip Date: Oct 2014
Just a quick email to thank you again for the 3 birding days. I am still reliving everything I saw, and I think I shall be doing so for a long time. I shall most definitely recommend your services to others and I hope to see you again in the future....
Adrienne Sanders, UK
Trip Date: August 2013
Thank you very much indeed for arranging an outstanding birding trip in northeast Spain. We were exposed to wonderful birds, culture and scenery which went way beyond our expectations. Accommodation and food were also highlights and at some point we would...
Doug and Ulai Kirwin, Thailand
Trip Date: June 2012
Thank you for showing me the country you love - Spain. I’ve enjoyed the birds (of course), steppes, Pyrenees, historical and cultural sites, food, Hotels, etc. Most of all you have been a joy to know - you are truly an excellent guide. May we meet you a...
Susan Beach, USA
Trip Date: April 2009
Thanks again for such a great trip! We both thoroughly enjoyed the birding, the scenic wonders and, as ever, your company. ...Hope it's not too long before we see you again....
Garry and Wendy Philpott, UK
Trip Date: Feb 2015
Thanks again for a great birding adventure and for sharing your knowledge. I particularly enjoyed the first day and the beautiful landscape in which the birds live ... Reading your book prior to the trip was a nice introduction to your area and the birds...
Kathryn Askin, USA
Trip Date: Sep 2015
Huge thanks for your kindness and expertise especially in our journey in Lleida’s habitats and its fine and also endemic bird species, just what we had dreamed before in Finland. Fantastic....
Ulla and Leimo Kangas, Finland
Trip Date: April 2014
Once again, thanks for your excellent & expert guiding on 16th/17th April, thoroughly enjoyed by all of us. The highlights for me at least were Dupont’s Lark, Bonellis Eagle, the Penduline tits & the Black winged Kite....
Dave and Ann White, UK
Trip Date: April 2015
Hello Steve and thank you so much for taking us it seemed to me over half of Spain on only a half day tour. I am amazed of your birding skills. I am so glad you took the time with us! Expert-sites and very smooth for us to have you as our guide. My husban...
Helen Quafort, Sweden
Trip Date: June 2012
Steve - thank you for your wonderful work in showing me all of my target species while in Aragon. Your knowledge of the area and the bird species, as well as your knowledge of Spanish history and Spain's birds in general are tremendous. I really appreci...
Rob Wallace, USA
Trip Date: May 2014
Steve was excellent - very knowledgeable and quite an exceptional 'ear'for bird calls - if he were a Shearwater, would have no problem finding his nest in the dark!!...
Roger Buchanan, UK
Trip Date: April 2014
Just wanted to drop you a line to thank you for an excellent trip. We both had a great time and the birding was excellent. Your choice of hotels was excellent and we would be happy to use them again....
Andrew and Maureen Day, UK
Trip Date: Oct 2015
We really did have a great time and appreciated all your hard work on our behalf - the hotel was great and the area stunning, we are still boasting to anyone who will listen about the variety and number of different birds we saw!...
Lyn and David Gillie, UK
Trip Date: Nov 2014