7 - 13 Sept. 2019
14 - 20 Sept. 2019

Day 1: Malaga Airport – Tarifa watchpoints – Zahara de los Atunes

Meet and welcome at Malaga airport then transfer direct to the Tarifa watchpoints to see the first raptors crossing the Strait , such as Booted and Short-toed Eagle s, European Honey Buzzard and maybe also Black Stork. Rarer migrants, such as Rüppell’s Vulture and Long-legged Buzzard, might turn up at any time and so we keep our eyes open throughout the trip to look for these.

Day 2: Zahara de los Atunes – Los Lances Beach – Algeciras watchpoints

After breakfast heading to Los Lances beach, one of the best places to see waders on migration as well as different species of gulls and terns. Among a range of commoner species we look for rarer birds which regularly appear such as Lesser Crested Tern or perhaps Eurasian Dotterel which use this reserve during their autumn migration. The road leading to Algeciras provides some of the best places to see thousands of birds on active migration… flocks of European Honey Buzzards , Black Kites and White Storks are some of the species that should be seen from such watchpoints… plus Booted and Short-toed Eagles will be seen for sure, while smaller numbers of Black Stork and Egyptian Vultures use the same route to fly southwards. Dinner and accommodation at Zahara de los Atunes.

Day 3: Zahara – Los Alcornocales Natural Park – The Palmones Bay

The third day we will visit the unspoilt forest of Los Alcornocales Natural Park, which houses a wide variety of passerines and supports a strong community of raptors. On the days of strong winds many birds take refuge here while they wait for better weather conditions to cross to Africa. Amongst the most interesting species we must not forget to mention Firecrest, Crested Tit, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, European Serin, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Woodchat ShrikeAnd Sardinian Warbler… After visiting Los Alcornocales we continue to the Palmones Bay where there are good chances of observing Ospreys. We may also see Eurasian Spoonbill, Little Tern and various species of waders and herons here . Dinner and accommodation at Zahara.

Day 4: Zahara – Laguna de Medina – Sancti Petri saltpans

Time for migrant waders and terns! The Sancti Petri Marshes Nature Reserve is situated to the south of the city of Cadiz. In spite of being a very touristy area, there are plenty chances to see Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Common Greenshank and Common Redshank while Greater Flamingo and Slender-billed Gull are both present in the nearby saltpans.

Earlier in the morning we will head into the Medina lagoon looking for the rare White-headed Duck and other wildfowl. Back to Zahara de los Atunes for a meal and our accommodation.

Day 5: Zahara – Boat trip – Barbate marshes

Bottlenose Dolphins, Pilot Whales or even Orcas, could be seen during our boat trip into the Strait of Gibraltar waters. Besides chances for Cory’s and Balearic Shearwater, terns and skuas (including the rare here Pomarine!). After our lunch we will drive west following the coastline visiting the Barbate pine forest and nearby wetland. Osprey, Caspian Tern and different species of waders or even the odd looking Bald Ibis are likely to be found here. We return to Zahara for our dinner and accommodation.

* The schedule for the boat trip will depend on weather and sea conditions

Day 6: Zahara – Sierra de la Plata – La Janda

Two of the rarest birds in Europe, White-rumped and Little Swifts, usually breed not far from the known as Sierra de la Plata. We might also see Black – eared Wheatear, Blue-Rock Thrush, Red-rumped Swallow, Griffon Vulture, Common Kestrel, Peregrine and European Honey Buzzard. Then time to visit the fields of La Janda, a top migrant site where Glossy Ibis, White Storks, Yellow Wagtails and Spanish Sparrows are often found by hundreds. Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Black-shouldered Kite and both juvinles Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagles are fairly possible. Dinner and accommodation at Zahara.

Day 7: Zahara – Málaga

If flight times allow we will do some birding in the surrounding of the Málaga airport in the well known Guadalhorce rivermouth . White – headed Duck, Whiskered Tern and Mediterranean Gull are some of the many interesting birds present in this reserve.

* The itinerary / activities planned might suffer changes due to the changeable wind in the Strait.



It certainly was an excellent week – thank you John – enhanced by your extensive knowledge of the area & your broad wildlife skills in the field. The Raptor passage was magnificent, a real day to remember. We both thoroughly enjoyed the week. Thanks again.
Audrey & John Spring (UK), September 2013

What a wonderful trip you gave me! Love it
Suk Kam Trippier (UK), September 2013

Once again a great trip, thanks for all your hard work!
Celia & Jeff Holmes (UK), September 2013

A memorable holiday! Raptors gallore, thank you so much…
Peter Hilton (UK), September 2013

Many thanks for the excellent trip, good birds and food!
Clive Holman (UK), September 2013

Thanks for a fantastic experience!
Dean Hancock (UK), September 2013

Thank you once again for the fabulous week of bird watching.
Adrian G. Adams (UK), September 2011

Another brilliant holiday! Many thanks. Hope to see you next year or sooner!
Celia & Jeff Holmes (UK), September 2011

Santi, I have not written before to say a Big Thank you for such a wonderful week and all the raptors… you always took us to the right places. I hope I can come with you again!
Betty Watts (UK), September 2011

“Señor Villa” was our courteous and cheerful guide for seven highly enjoyable days of migration watching in the Tarifa region of Spain. ‘Santi’ was very knowledgeable and had a good local network which brought us two life ticks in Rüppell’s vulture and Little swift. We saw over 100 species and took many pictures of the wildlife. A brilliant week that is to be recommended. Thank you Santi!
Phillip and Lesley Hassel (UK), September 2005


Rates per person sharing:

€ 1,450 /  £ 1,285 / USD 1,670
Single suplement: € 195 / £ 175 / USD 225

Group size: Min. 4 – Max. 7 participants

* Pounds Sterling and US Dollars are given as an estimate based on 4th October 2018 exchange rates. All prices have to be paid in Euros to Spainbirds Nature Tours S.L.

GUIDES: Santi Villa (7 – 13 September) & John Muddeman (14 – 20 September)


What it is included:

– Ground transport from Málaga airport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 9-seat vehicles

– 6 Nights accommodation with en suite bathroom (country inn or nice quality hotel)

– All meals inc breakfast, fantastic “tapas-raciones” lunches and evening meals + red wine

– Boat trip (aprox. 2 hours)

– Services of professional birding guide

– Basic travel insurance

Bird checklist (revised edition 2016)

– All taxes


What it is NOT included:

– Air fare (Easyjet, Ryanair & other companies operate daily flight from several UK airports)

– Extra drinks and other items of a personal nature

Target species in this tour:

Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, European Honey Buzzard , Osprey, Black Kite, Lesser Kestrel, White Stork, Black Stork, Bald Ibis, Egyptian Vulture, Audouin’s Gull, Black-shouldered Kite, Rüppell’s Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard (ssp. cirtensis), White-rumped Swift, Little Swift, Montagu’s Harrier, Red-necked Nightjar…

Spainbirds Nature Tours is a tour agent accredited by the Spanish Tourist Board with number CICMA 2517. This code allows us to operate under all international tourism regulations thus assuring all our clients the highest level of protection during their holidays.

Photos from our Strait of Gibraltar tour