Villaseca plain

Location and access: Southern province. Soria from the A-15 will be taken up and hence the Medinaceli S0-411 to meet the AVE. From Guadalajara / Madrid, the A-2, Alcolea del Pinar by the N-211 and subsequently, by UG-411 to Layna.

Status: Included in full within the SPA "Páramo de Layna".

Terrain: Moors limestone slabs and forming part of the Páramo de Layna. A little grow area of red earth. Endorheic small wetland.

Means of access: Private vehicle. Access to the depopulated Villaseca is limited by a fence that prevents the passage. We understand that this is only for car access, but not walking as it is a public road.

Difficulty: Scarce given the slope existing in all space.

Visit duration: Three hours may be enough to observe most important of this open space.

Time of visit: Routes and approaches will be more profitable if done in spring Central and early summer, discarding the central summer and mid-winter where we note the hardness of these high plains.

Comments: old reforestations, recent AVE infrastructure and some wind industries show less friendly face of the development of these lands, doing pretty area of ​​wasteland and other habitats of interest disappear.

Proposed itineraries

where to see birds

Climatic harshness and lack of economic development accelerated the depopulation of many of the towns that made up the ancient Tierra de Medinaceli. Villaseca, Sayona, Corvesín, Yuba, Avenales, Loméda, Obétago ... are examples of neglect that occurred in the years 50-60 of the last century.

In these lands, although the climate is harsh, many birds find the ideal conditions to live. An important part of the best areas of the Dupont's lark are in this area of ​​the moor of Layna, where hills covered by alternate sparse vegetation and brambles thyme with some farms growing. Nevertheless, in the parte, there is a fairly large area dedicated to the cultivation of cereal with larger farms located in the SPAs such as el Llano and el Blanco de Villaseca.

It is likely that, in times, this was a pretty important given the existing low slope and the stream that drains these fields has been artificially wet area, rectilinear. Even so, remains a small wet area more or less permanent, Las Lagunillas, of just one hectare and covered with marshy vegetation, currently constrained by the slope of the AVE and located immediately to the north of Villaseca. To the south of the area a few years ago planted a pine forest pinus nigra subsp. salzmannii, and in the province of Guadalajara that provides the only forest birds that can be seen there. Also to Benamira they are small pieces of oak trees that form a small copse.

1 The proposed route would depart through a path that starts after the Layna road through the tunnel of the AVE, on the right, facing south. Work by farms and moorland fragments arrive, after a couple of kilometers, signals to the pipeline. We will continue until it reaches the large area of ​​crops along the north to reach the road in good condition, white gravel, which reaches Villaseca. Here we could choose (1.1) -to follow up Villaseca take a look at las Lagunillas- , (1.2) and turn around to return, this way, toward the exit point. This itinerary will allow almost certainly observe all the interesting birds in the area.

Downloads of tracks and routes

Family tours

where to see birds

A Nacimiento del Jalón. Although many think that the birth of the Jalón is in the springs in Esteras de Medinaceli, the "official" birth of this important river, It takes place on land Benamira, in Old Fountain, and very close to the border with Guadalajara. From the same people we can take a path, at a distance of approximately 3 kilometers would leave us to the foot of the hill, at the source. The poplar groves of the village are ideal places to observe common birds easily.

In the path, in spring-summer, we see many Yellow wagtails, the singing of the European reed warbler it will be a constant in the reeds of the river, we will cross some Montagu's harrier that abounds in this valley and, if the winter was not very cold, the Zitting cisticola also they are present. On the slopes, the same passerine bird appears as the río Blanco valley, or the valley of the river with Arbujuelo Ortolan bunting as outstanding bird.

B Salinas and pasture del Prado, in Aguilar de Anguita. Again we crossed "the border" to get into Alcarreñas lands. Following the same path that we have gone to the birth of the Jalón, we cross a tunnel under the AVE and, a weighted time the municipality of Aguilar de Anguita have, to our left some old salt, no longer in use but in very wet years let you see water on its surface. Here, the Little ringed plover it is a common inhabitant.

After following the same path and, after crossing the main road to Maranchón, we arrive at a Roman bridge Indicated- which marks the beginning along one kilometer of an area of ​​grassland and reedbed, very interesting for birds –Yellow wagtail, Reed warbler, Water rail, Mallard…- but also for flora.

Seasons of the year

to see the birds

We are in one of the most interesting areas for bird watching steppe. Harsh weather conditions in winter makes the wilderness that few copies and the species that inhabit these hills. The, Spring will be the climax of the explosion of life of these lands. The planned route, if we in April May June, It is ideal for watching:

Dupont's larks. Their songs are a constant since almost let the car. We recall again the ban on claims to attract. We'll walk quiet on the roads, or by the edge of the crop, without interfering with their reproduction because it is a very delicate moment. On the good days of October again have a short period of songs that reveal us that are still there, something that does not seem to do in winter when most of the population disappears to go to places that are unknown.

Little bustard. Nowadays, this is one of the few areas of Soria where you can see several males sisón in a relatively small space. Precisely farms that will go first are the place chosen by his zeal for Little bustards. Latecomers here, perhaps not until early May, but during that month they will lavishing songs and exhibitions to try to attract the few females that may have in the area.

Stone-curlew. Another steppe birds, estival behavior here - arrivals in April- which can still be seen in small numbers. The make the journey in the early hours will help us a lot because most of these species are much lavished on the songs and calls in the early hours, to descend much activity throughout the day.

¿Black-bellied sandgrouse? We provide this kind between questions, since there is hardly any couple that moves through these areas and their evolution is quite strange, with just years without observations and other years with more presence. almost everything is unknown seasonal movements of this species, but it seems clear that no contribution from other areas here.

Great bustard. The central plains of Villaseca -called on maps or el Llano Blanco de Villaseca- they are the places where so recurrent and, from June, bustard males are left watching. Its origin is the same as we aim for bustards fields around Barahona: part of the male population of bustards of the community of Madrid leaving their breeding to spend the summer at high altitudes and fresh. In this plain and other nearby areas of the province of Guadalajara they have come to see up 30 copies, but the overall dynamics of the species seems to point to a decline in the visit of these giants of the steppe.

Other birds of the moor. Apart from the Dupont's lark This is one of those places where you can see very good numbers other species of interest as Greater short-toed lark, the Tawny pipit, Rock sparrow, Eurasian skylark, Thekla lark... a set of birds seek their livelihood in these plains. In these fields and in the nearby valleys breeds Montagu's harrier and the Western marsh harrier which together with the Booted eagles, will be the most frequent species. The Little owl still endures in these plains and if we make the route from mid August to September, not for nothing descartable see some Eurasian dotterel.

Little bustard (Tetrax tetrax)


most representative

Breeders: Booted eagle, Montagu's harrier, Western marsh harrier, Water rail, Stone-curlew, Little bustard, Black-bellied sandgrouse, Little owl, Dupont's lark, Greater short-toed lark, Rufous-tailed rock thrush, Spectacled warbler, Western orphean warbler, Sardinian warbler, European reed warbler, Golden oriole, Rock sparrow, Ortolan bunting.

Winterers: Hen harrier, Merlin, Meadow pipit, Yellow hammer.

Migrants: Lesser kestrel, Eurasian dotterel, Great bustard, Bluethroat, Sedge warbler, Great reed warbler, Grasshop per warbler.


Bird watching Soria, It is coordinated by the Department of Development and Tourism of the project Excma. Diputación. Provincial de Soria.


Ricotí Skylark conservation and habitat in Soria (Spain). LIFE15 NAT / ES / 000802

Project funded by the European Union.

© Bird watching Soria - 2022

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