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.