THIS TOUR CAN BE LINKED WITH EBRO DELTA 13 – 19 MAY
Day 1: Madrid airport – Calera y Chozas Plains – Torrejón El Rubio
Meet and welcome at Madrid airport before transferring to Extremadura. We will first visit the plains of Calera y Chozas where we should see Great and Little Bustards and Black-shouldered Kite. After further birding en route we will travel to Torrejón El Rubio where we will stay the following 4 nights.
Day 2: Torrejón El Rubio – Monfragüe Natural Park
Monfragüe will undoubtedly offer us some of the highlights of the trip. An impressive community of raptors breed within its almost 18,000 hectares. Although Griffon Vultures are the commonest bird of prey in the park with around 600 pairs breeding in 2010, we will also have good chances for watching Eurasian Black Vulture, Short-toed, Booted, Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagle, both Black and Red Kite, and the odd Egyptian Vulture. Sylvia warblers are also well present in the woods and shrubby slopes of Monfragüe with six: Western Orphean, Subalpine, Blackcap, Dartford, Sardinian and Spectacled Warblers . On the cliffs we will try our luck at finding Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Margin, the very wary Black Stork and the impressive Eurasian Eagle Owl. Excellent chances also exist for finding the rare White-rumped Swift. Dinner and overnight at Torrejón El Rubio.
Day 3: Torrejón El Rubio – Cáceres Plains
We will travel after breakfast to the plains lying between the town of Trujillo and Cáceres. This is a huge flat area with several woods and river cliffs suitable for a large community of steppe birds and raptors. This will be the best day to see some of the specialties of these types of habitats such as Stone Curlew, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Montagu’s Harrier,
Great and Little Bustards, Lesser Kestrel, Calandra and Greater Short-toed Larks, European Roller, Eurasian Bee-eater and Black-eared Wheatear. In the afternoon we will visit the medieval town of Trujillo, its main square and castle and perhaps the bull-ring, with time to also enjoy one of the largest colonies of Lesser Kestrels in Spain. This small falcon breeds under the roof tiles and holes in ruined buildings of some small towns, villages and farms.
Day 4: Torrejón El Rubio – Arrocampo reservoir – Belén plains
After breakfast we will head towards the well known Embalse de Arrocampo, a big reservoir water of which is used to cool the core of the nearby nuclear power station of Almaraz. In consequence, the water temperature is 4ºC warmer on average than the rest of wetlands of the region meaning that some interesting species, especially summer visitors, are found only here. This is the case of the Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron or Eurasian Spoonbill. In the reservoir Savi’s Warbler, Purple Swamphen , Gull-billed Tern, Great White Egret, Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler are also present , plus a recently discovered tiny population of Bearded Reedling. The surrounding “dehesas” of the reservoir will provide us with chances to see Spanish Sparrow, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Azure-winged Magpie and Black-shouldered Kite. In the afternoon we will explore the Belén plains, next to Trujillo town.
Day 5: Torrejón El Rubio – Jerte Valley – Gredos Mountains
This is mostly a journey day, but with several stops on the way to Gredos. We will continue our trip driving northwards leaving the town of Plasencia to our left hand side as we follow up the river Jerte, where we will make a stop to see White-breasted Dipper, Western Bonelli’s Warbler and Grey Wagtail amongst others. The last stop before travelling to our hotel in Gredos will be at the Puerto de Castilla mountain pass where we will have chances to see our first Ortolan Buntings, Whitethroats and maybe Firecrest and European Honey Buzzards. Dinner and accommodation at Navarredonda de Gredos.
Day 6: Sierra de Gredos
Breakfast at Hostal Almanzor and drive to the Plataforma de Gredos, a journey of about 30 minutes, where we will walk uphill to reach the breeding grounds of Bluethroats, our main target here. In the walk up we should see Ortolan Bunting, Water Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Red-billed Chough, Skylark, Rock Bunting and Dunnock with very good chances for Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and see the Gredos form of the Iberian Ibex, a different subspecies than in the rest of the mountains of Southern Spain.
Down in the valley we will try for the Iberian race of Pied-Flycatcher, plus Common Crossbill, Firecrest, Goldcrest, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Red Kite, Black Redstart, Green Woodpecker (the sharpei race) and before going back to our hotel we will visit a couple of traditional sites for Citril Finch. Back to our hotel for a meal and accommodation.
Day 7: Sierra de Gredos – Navacepeda de Tormes – Madrid Airport
After our breakfast we travel to a nearby location where we will have chances to see again Bluethroat, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Common Whitethroat, European Honey Buzzard and Ortolan Bunting. Back to Madrid in time to catch flights.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT THIS TOUR
Len sent us a selection of your photos from our trip when he returned from Spain. They are all absolutely wonderful and lovely souvenir of our holiday – many many thanks. The Bluethroat was stunning and the memories of that day will always be with us.
Jeff & Celia Holmes (UK), May 2008
Dear Santi, thank you for a wonderful week. I saw all the birds that I wanted to see, 12 new species and better views of many others. It was so helpful to have your expert guide to identification. The scenery and flowers were breathtaking. I would love to do another Spainbirds trip soon.
Margaret Gorely (UK), May 2008
We travelled with Santio for about a week in western Spain and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. He knew the area and the birds extremely well. He was a pleasant companion and was both considerate and flexible in meeting our needs. Highly recommended.
Howard Winner (USA), April 2004
Rates per person sharing:
€ 1,400 / £ 1,190 / USD 1,550
Single suplement: € 175 / £ 150 / USD 195
Group size: Min. 4 – Max. 7 participants
* Pounds Sterling and US Dollars are given as an estimate based on 7th July 2016 exchange rates. All prices have to be paid in Euros to Spainbirds Nature Tours S.L.
GUIDE: Santi Villa
What it is included:
– Ground transport from Madrid airport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 9-seat vehicles
– 6 Nights accommodation with en suite bathroom (country inn and small run family hotels)
– All meals inc breakfast, fantastic “tapas-raciones” lunches and evening meals + red wine in a moderate consumption
– Services of professional birding guide
– Basic travel insurance
– Bird checklist (revised edition 2016)
– All taxes
What it is NOT included:
– Air fare (Easyjet, Ryanair and other companies operate daily flights to Madrid from several UK airports)
– Extra drinks and other items of a personal nature
Target species in this tour:
Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Black Vulture, European Honey Buzzard, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, White-rumped Swift, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Ortolan Bunting, Red-necked Nightjar, European Nightjar, Water Pipit, Bluethroat, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Pied Flycatcher (iberiae race), Citril Finch…
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.