Arbujuelo valley

Location and access: Southern province. Soria from the A-15 will be taken to Medinaceli, starting point of this route because there goes the road to the valley or the way, where appropriate.

Status: The whole valley is within the ZEPA "Paramo de Layna" and the ZEC of the same name. Further, in recent years it has created a small reserve of flora with the code SO-001 "microreserve of flora Salinas de Medinaceli".

Terrain: Typical valley head of the Jalón, between hills very deforested and some small crops at the bottom of the brook that Pradejón, brackish waters with character, allows the existence of salt-the only existing in Soria- in the village of the same name.

Means of access: Unlike almost all other locations that we propose for bird watching, Medinaceli villa enjoys good given its location walk from the Highway of Navarra and Aragon. Also by rail is well connected.

Difficulty: It is a simple route, without too many problems, also adaptable to a somewhat more intense short approach or approach to the upper moor.

Visit duration: The main proposed itinerary can be done in a 2 hours if we reduce the microreserve of Salinas de Medinaceli and the adjacent neighborhood. It is recommended to extend the walk to Arbujuelo and accessed by the GR 86 to the upper moor road Layna, which will increase the duration of two or three hours.

Visiting time: As it noted in many other routes, winter in these highlands is very limiting for many species, so they will be the spring months the most suitable for our approach. However, it indicated that the environment of the microreserve of Medinaceli is interesting to observe birds throughout the year.

Comments: A small drawback is the noise impact created by the presence of the nearby highway and the feeling of being surrounded by human impacts on the landscape, with that highway, quarries, wind industries ...

Proposed itineraries

where to see birds

Route between Castilla-Jalón and the Alto Tajo, the Valley of the Arbujuelo is a deep valley, excavated by the stream of the Pradejón that feeds on small springs draining part of the moor in its northern sector Layna, in some falls of the Cerro de la Matilla to the west and the hills fall towards Medinaceli in the east.

Among the Mojonazo to the south, to 1240 meters and Jalon 1020 meters the slopes devoid of arboreal vegetation and curious rock formations shown, broken off by erosion, such as those stony pinnacles called "little brothers" of Arbujuelo.

Saline sediments outcropping in the last sector of his leg and since Roman civilization is no record of the exploitation of these salt. The vegetation in this area is perfectly suited to this type of saline soils where species listed as Glaux maritima, Scorzonera parviflora, Salicornia (Salicornia ramossisima) And sowthistle saltwater (Sonchus maritimus), all interest and protected.

1 The best route in this case coincides with the route of the GR 86 In this sector. Up to the town of Medinaceli it's only worth it for the cultural value, historical and landscape, though, unlike other similar villas, in this case, no correlative value to birds so we recommend start the tour at the station Medinaceli. Right there we can begin to walk the catwalks that prevent us stepping on protected flora and has endured threats from installing quarries, parking lots, garbage ...

Before crossing the motorway, bordering the Jalón and a singular exploitation of goldfish, private, but from the outside you can see a bird of interest. After the carriageway, the trail passes near the salt, although not to the same side so we can spread a little to see them.

After a few 6 kilometers between poplar forest, crops and the river itself with its reed, we would come to Arbujuelo. Then there are two options here: (1.1) GR prolong 86 that rises to the moor and walk part of the same, returning by road to Medinaceli Layna though it has some traffic or two, (1.2) continue up the valley of the Arbujuelo by the road out without fear of missing parallel to the stream and would get to the bottom of the valley, tracing the right side where there is a marked gap.

Downloads of tracks and routes

Family tours

where to see birds

A Masegar de Fuencaliente de Medinaceli. The name of this town anticipates since water is not scarce. So is, as the stream of Mentirosa, despite the name- It carries water throughout the year animated springs of this sector and its head in Torralba and Ambrona.

Continuing along the road to these towns and after a big curve that crosses the railway line will see a large area of ​​marshland vegetation cover "the masegar". Reeds and carex cover about one hectare in this area where water is abundant from nearby slopes. European reed warbler and Great reed warbler, Zitting cisticola, Montagu's harrier and Western marsh harrier They are the easiest species to observe in spring.

But it is surrounded by a beautiful forest of young oaks growing, we can also complete catalog of birds observed with Golden orioles, European green woodpeckers, Eurasian jay, European turtledoves

On bridges crossing the railroad raised the Crag martins and , since not much, the Red-rumped swallows. Also in Fuencaliente in the poplar forest we can see Spanish sparrow.

B Azcamellas. To the west of the valley formed by the stream of the Pradejón, another valley appears with similar characteristics: the stream of Sayona, which descends from the depopulated precisely Sayona. If you do not have much time, stop around the village of Azcamellas allow us to know many of the bird species we have discussed for the sector Arbujuelo. This valley is perhaps a bit more arid as there is any riparian forest.

In a hillside pine forest repopulation can bring some kind appears, as Coal tit , Crested tit, but again will be the Ortolan bunting, the warblers, the Rufous-tailed rock thrush, Blue rock thrush and the Golden eagles the protagonists of these seemingly inhospitable slopes. A tour to the depopulating of Sayona will increase the comments.

Seasons of the year

to see the birds

The small stretch of the river Jalón we have here is a good place for bird watching all year. The construction of the treatment plant Medinaceli has made the water quality of the river has improved in this area and can observe cleanest waters. Grey heron, Mallards, Meadow pipit, Zitting cisticola, some Western marsh harrier, Water rail, Common moorthen, Cetti's warbler

As you begin reaching the spring it will be seen here Yellow wagtail, Bluethroat -in Step-, Sedge warbler, Common stonechat, Great reed warbler, European reed warbler, Grasshop per warbler, Montagu's harrier, Common kingfisher -in step- Tawny Pipit, etc. In the salt also they appear Little ringed plover. A pair of couples at the least you can see every year there.

Outside of these wetlands, the quantity and quality of birds that can be observed here decreases much out of the spring period. The winter takes its toll and these slopes only the toughest survive: Dartford warblers, Rock bunting, Rock sparrow, sides of Red-legged partridge, Thekla lark... and the skies Common kestrel, vultures and Golden eagles. This valley is one of the best places to observe golden eagles as almost always be seen campeando a copy of nearby towns. The situation changes a lot in spring.

May and June are two spectacular months. In the valley, the creek with reed beds is filled with Yellow wagtails, European reed warblers, Nightingales and Common stonechat. It will not be hard to see European bee-eaters and Hoopoes. The poplar forest developed in Arbujuelo host populations Eurasian wryneck, Golden orioles, Chaffinches, Blackcaps and Garden warbler, Robins

With everything, perhaps most interesting is a good visual and attention to the ear tour of the slopes. The Ortolan bunting It is shown here with good densities. Around it, depending on the degree of coverage scrub, Melodious Warblers, Western orphean warbler, Spectacled warbler and Subalpine warbler– in addition to abundant resident Dartford warbler– and maybe, by years, warbler and Sardinian warbler. Also a couple of increasingly threatened European turtle dove.

According ascend the slope is not difficult to observe in rock accumulations shed from the wilderness to the Rufous-tailed rock thrush, accompanied by Rock sparrow, Northern wheatear and Black-eared wheatear, linnets and Hoopoes. The Blue rock thrush also it appears here. Two sisters of Arbujuelo is almost certainly a point to watch as colorful species. If we made the main route and we will be in the upper moor. Depending on the time you arrive we will see Eurasian skylark, Tawny pipit, Greater short-toed lark and maybe some singing of the Dupont's lark.

Rufous-tailed rock thrush (Monticola saxatilis)


most representative

Breeders: Griffon vulture, Short-toed eagle, Eurasian sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, Booted eagle, Montagu's harrier, Eurasian eagle owl, Eurasian wryneck, Red-rumped swallow, Crag martin, Mistle thrush, Rufous-tailed rock thrush, Blue rock thrush, Spectacled warbler, Western orphean warbler, Sardinian warbler, European reed warbler, Golden oriole, Red-billed chough, Ortolan bunting.

Winterers: Hen harrier, Merlin, Meadow pipit.

Migrants: Kingfisher, Ring ouzel, 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

With elprincipiokiss