Red-legged partridge and little owl near Spanish castle

Montearagón castle, 2 November 2014

After 1 November came 2 November 2014 in Aragon, Spain. We went to the surroundings of Montearagón castle, not far from Huesca town.

In 1094, Christian king Sancho Ramirez of Aragon had Montearagón castle built, to help with his plans to conquer Islamic Huesca. Later, it became a monastery. Now, it is a ruin.

A kestrel on a pole.

On a rock, a Thekla lark. This species was named by German zoologist Alfred Edmund Brehm in 1857 for his sister Thekla Brehm, who had died recently, only 24 years old.

A stonechat.

Rock sparrows on a wire.

A little owl, resting on a rock.

On another rock, a black wheatear cleanses its feathers.

Crag martins flying around.

A raven flying.

Closer to the ground, a Dartford warbler in a bush.

Zitting cisticola, 2 November 2014

A zitting cisticola on another bush.

Zitting cisticola, on 2 November 2014

Common linnets.

Red-legged partridge, 2 November 2014

A beautiful red-legged partridge.

Near Montearagón castle, view, 2 November 2014

Near the castle ruin, a griffon vulture flies.

Rock face near Riglos, 2 November 2014

We continue to another part of the Sierra de Guara mountains, around Riglos village.

Rock face near Riglos, on 2 November 2014

Near Riglos there are many steep rock faces, attracting much mountaineering tourism. Some of the people who used to climb here have died on the still more difficult north face of the Eiger mountain in Switzerland.

Riglos church, 2 November 2014

House sparrow male in Riglos, 2 November 2014

House sparrows live in Riglos. We want to see if there are also less common birds around here.

Blue rock thrush and crag martins in Aragon, Spain

This video is called red kites in slow motion. See especially after 1 minute 30 seconds into the video.

31 October 2014. After the Llobregat delta of 30 October, and the morning in Bierge, more lower Pyrenees in the afternoon. It is 17 degrees Celsius, warm for the time of the year.

12:40: a red kite, sitting on a pole.

We go to Alquézar. Most geographical names in Spain beginning with Al are originally Arabic, dating from the early Middle Ages when in most of the Iberian peninsula there was Muslim rule. Alquézar village (Alquezra in Aragonese) has it name from the Arabic word for fortress. Jalaf ibn Rasid had a fortress built there. In the eleventh century, Christians conquered it.

Alquézar, 31 October 2014

There are swallow nests in the old village Alquézar. One might expect: house martins. However, here the nests belong to Eurasian crag martins.

Rock pigeon, 31 October 2014

There are rock pigeons in Alquézar too. A bit difficult to say in this rocky environment whether they are wild rock pigeons or domestic pigeons.

Blue rock thrush, 31 October 2014

There are many canyons in the mountains near Alquézar. At one of them, we saw this blue rock thrush.

Griffon vulture and black redstarts in Aragon, Spain

Bierge, church, 31 October 2014

After 30 October in Barcelona, we continued to Aragon, more to the west in Spain. Along the road, white storks had built nest on electricity pylons. We arrived in Bierge village, in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, with its church pictured here.

On the next day, 31 October 2014, Eurasian crag martins circled along the church. Most swallow species are migratory; at least in Spain, crag martins are the only swallows staying all year.

Early in the morning in Bierge. Spotless starlings. A griffon vulture flying far away.

As we walk, a black redstart on the footpath.

Two common starlings sitting next to a spotless relative.

House sparrows.

Two rock sparrows on a field.

Crested lark, 31 October 2014

A crested lark on the road.

Cirl bunting female, 31 October 2014

A female cirl bunting in a bush cleans her feathers.

A wren.

Meadow pipit, on bush, 31 October 2014

A meadow pipit.

A skylark, flying.

Robin, 31 October 2014

A robin.

A female chaffinch in a tree.

A woodlark and a song thrush together in a tree.

Griffon vulture, 31 October 2014

A griffon vulture flies past.

On the side of the road are burrows. They are nests of bee-eaters, wintering in Africa now.

Griffon vultures, 31 October 2014

Scores of griffon vultures on a rock where there is food. A raven joins them.

A bearded vulture and a red kite fly above them.

Black redstart, female, 31 October 2014

More black redstarts …

Black redstart female, 31 October 2014

… female …

Black redstart male, 31 October 2014

… and male.

Black redstart male, Bierge, 31 October 2014

A male cirl bunting singing in a tree.

Ancient fortress discovery in Indonesia

Map of fortress in Semarang, photo Dutch national archive

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

12 Sep 2014, 16:45 (Update: 12-09-14, 17:19)

In the Indonesian city Semarang on Java, archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of an 18th century Dutch fort.

It was, according to experts, built around 1750 to house and protect Dutch soldiers. The fort certainly had five bastions, protruding defenses. which had Dutch names such as Bastion Amsterdam, Bastion Iron and Repairman.

The fortress was razed in 1824 because the structure was no longer able to accommodate all Dutch soldiers.

Five years ago

In 2009 the foundations were discovered on a piece of undeveloped land in Semarang.

Since then, research has been done. Four days ago the archaeologists started with the first excavation work. Two feet below the surface, they stumbled upon the foundations of the old Dutch fort. Hundreds of fragments of ceramic and glass jars were also found.

All of the bastions will never be exposed. At the place where they have been, condominiums will be built.

Stonehenge, new discoveries

This video from England is called Cool! Technology Unearths 17 New Monuments at Stonehenge!

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

STONEHENGE: An extraordinary hidden complex of archaeological monuments has been uncovered around Stonehenge using hi-tech methods of scanning below the Earth’s surface, it was revealed yesterday.

The finds, dating back 6,000 years, include evidence of 17 previously unknown wooden or stone structures as well as dozens of burial mounds which have been mapped in minute detail.

Most of the monuments are merged into the landscape and are not visible to the eye. The four-year study, the largest geophysical survey ever undertaken, covered an area of 12 square kilometres and penetrated to a depth of three metres.

Stonehenge’s most intricate archaeological finds were ‘probably made by children': here.