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A Report from

Soldeu, Andorra 22nd June-2nd July 2011,

Bob Shiret


Andorra is an independent country high up in the Pyrenees (1800m) and is about the size of the Isle of Wight.  It is a ski resort in winter and walking/hiking takes over in summer.  Our base for the trip was the village of Soldeu, our hotel was the Sport Village which was very good.  The holiday was booked through Crystal Lakes and Mountains at a cost of £1325 for my wife and I for 10 nights half board including flights and transfers.  For those who prefer to book independently Andorra Travel Service ( will organize transfers from Barcelona, hotels and excursions if required.  This company was also very helpful at providing detailed walking maps and local information.  Our reason for choosing Andorra was for the climate to be amenable for summer walking, this generally proved correct although on occasions it reached 280C.  We were hoping that the gondola that adjoined our hotel would be operation but unfortunately it opened on the 2nd July the day we left! 

There were no trip reports to Andorra found for the summer, I did purchase “A Bird watching Guide to The Pyrenees” by Jacquie Crozier which although only three pages were devoted to Andorra did give an idea of what wildlife might be expected.

Walking in Soldeu/Andorra – readers need to be aware that most of the walking in Andorra will require fairly strenuous uphill and rocky stretches, the fabulous scenery makes it all worthwhile though!  All of our walking was done from our hotel in Soldeu, other areas of Andorra con be reached by using the low cost local bus services if required.  The flora and fauna mentioned in this report is only what we came across on our walks from our hotel and snapped with my Canon 100-400 lens, dedicated birdwatchers would expect to see more travelling to other specific areas of Andorra.


Any birds new to me I have annotated (L) for lifer.  Crag Martin (L) were common in Soldeu and nested on buildings, a Serin was seen in the village and Black Redstart were common everywhere, including our hotel where they nested.  The Valle d’incles road/track – a level walk of around 2 miles was good for a number of species including Rock Buntings (L), Yellowhammer, Citril Finch (L), Whinchat and Kestrel.  Dipper were seen in the river above the hotels in Soldeu, also in this area Griffin Vultures(L) were regularly seen at high level.  Probable Buzzards were seen here but at no tine did we hear the usual “mewing” giveaway.  A large Eagle was seen at low level her but my record shots were not good enough for identification.  White Wagtail were common as were Swifts, House martin, Swallow and Dunnock.  Walking to the Siscaro Ponds a Short Toed Eagle (L) was seen and a juvenile was heard in the area.  Water Pipit were seen at the ponds, hoped for Alpine Accentor were not!  Near Cavana Sorda Lake a Northern Wheatear was seen.


Citril Finch


Crag Martin

Rock Bunting

Short Tailed Eagle harassed by Kestrel

Other Fauna

Pyrenean Frogs and Tadpoles were common in the streams and pools and Sand Lizards were seen most days, one Red Squirrel was spotted.

Pyrenean Frog

Sand Lizard


Andorra is a botanist’s dream, at lower levels the flower meadows are a riot of colour.  Climbing up higher the mountain bushes were mostly in flower and the Orchids are worth the strenuous walk to the top.

Marsh Orchid


For readers who have an interest in butterflies Andorra is worth the trip just to see them.  Around 40+ species were seen, and an expert specifically seeking them would be well above this number.  Aside from those pictured below also seen (and identified!) were:  Large White, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Large Skipper, Comma, Common Brassy Ringlet ,Small White.

Amanda`s Blue
Silver Studded Blue
Little Blue 
Mazzarine Blue
Furry Blue
Adonis Blue
Piedmont Ringlet 
Bright Eyed Ringlet
Copulating de Prunner`s Ringlets
Large Ringlet (record pic, landed on my wife !)
Glanville Fritillary 
Queen Of Spain Frillary
Meadow Fritillary
Marbled Fritillary
Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Clouded Yellow
Green Hairstreak
Clouded Apollo

Note- The Clouded Apollo was seen in the fields above the hotels in Soldeu along the river.

The only place where the Apollo was seen was a magical scree which exists to the left of the point where the walk to Canillo from Soldeu  reaches the first bridge over the river, there were hundreds of Apollo plus many other species.

Large Wall Brown 
Wall Brown
Southern Comma
Large Grizzled Skipper
Oberthurs Grizzled Skipper
Grizzled Skipper  
Carline Skipper
Carline Skipper 
Lulworth Skipper
Small Skipper
Southern Small White
Black Veined White


For scenery, birds, butterflies and flowers Andorra has a lot to offer, temperatures of 23/24 degrees in June means you can walk without excessive heat.

Soldeu was a place where you did not need a guide or hire car to get out and about, just a good walking guide.


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