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Day 1 / 1 April: Madrid airport – Calera y Chozas Plains – Herreruela (Extremadura)
Meet and welcome at Madrid airport and transfer to Extremadura. We will do our first birding on route in the Calera y Chozas plains (province of Toledo) looking for Great and Little Bustards with good chances for Black-shouldered Kite and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. This is a promising spot for Great Spotted Cuckoo too, while Sardinian Warbler, Lesser Kestrel and White Stork will show well. In some seasonal ponds we might see Black-winged Stilt and some common species of ducks and waders. Dinner and accommodation at CR Sierra de San Pedro, located in the charming village of Herreruela.
Day 2 / 2 April: Herreruela – Sierra de San Pedro Mountain Range – Herreruela
Running from North-West to South-East right between the two largest provinces of Spain, extends the Sierra de San Pedro mountain range, in what is probably one of the wildest corners of the Iberian Peninsula. This is a stronghold of one of the most threatened birds in Europe, the Spanish Imperial Eagle, which breeds here. The Eurasian Black Vulture also breeds in good numbers in these “sierras” with the second largest nesting colony in Spain, just behind the well-known Monfragüe National Park. We will certainly have good chances to find the first Booted and Short-toed Eagles arriving in Extremadura from their wintering headquarters, while Black and Red Kites will be present during our visit. Bonelli’s and Golden Eagles are the other two big eagles present in Sierra de San Pedro, and we will try to spot their silhouettes amongst the numerous Griffon Vultures. After a very enjoyable day we will return to our lovely accommodation. Dinner at CR Sierra de San Pedro.
Day 3 / 3 April: Herreruela – Tajo Internacional Natural Park – Herreruela
The Tajo Internacional (International Tagus in English) Natural Park holds some of the best preserved examples of Mediterranean forest of Europe. We will find here a good variety of birds with raptors as the main attraction. Besides the already mentioned key species present in the Sierra de San Pedro we will try to find some of the few pairs of Egyptian Vultures still nesting here. As a migrant species their first individuals will be arriving to their “Extremenian” territories. Black-eared Wheatear, Dartford, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers might be recorded in their shrub section of this Natural Park. Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, Woodlark and Thekla Lark will be some of our targets today before traveling back to our hotel. Dinner and accommodation at CR Sierra de San Pedro.
Day 4 / 4 April: Herreruela – Caceres Plains – Trujillo – Torrejón El Rubio
This is usually one of the top days of the week providing some of the highlights of this tour. The Trujillo-Caceres plains lie between these two Medieval towns. The community of steppe birds and raptors here is just amazing… We will have here our best chances for some of the specialities of the steppe habitats such as Stone Curlew, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Montagu’s Harrier (arriving by the first days in April), Great and Little Bustards, Corn Buntings and Calandra Lark. We will have a break for our lunch at the Medieval town of Trujillo and its Lesser Kestrel colony. We will enjoy a little walk around Palaces and Churches built mostly in times of the conquistadors (XV – XVI centuries!). Amongst all of them Pizarro, who conquered Peru, is the town symbol, including a fine bronze statue in the main and nicest square. Almost every single building in the main square of Trujillo has its own particular birdlife… Crag and House Martin, Barn Swallow, Black Redstart, European Serin, White Stork and Jackdaw… all breed in this lovely place! Here we will enjoy one of our traditional “raciones” lunches (eagerly anticipated by our regular UK clients), after which we will explore a different section of the plains looking for other bird species including Great Spotted Cuckoo! Transfer to Hospederia de Monfragüe where we will stay three nights. Dinner and accommodation.
Day 5 / 5 April: Torrejón El Rubio – Monfragüe National Park – Torrejón El Rubio
After a good breakfast in our hotel we will drive straight to the probably the best place for watching raptors in the Western Palearctic. Travellers never forget their first visit to Monfragüe! We will see here Griffon, Eurasian Black and Egyptian Vultures, Short-toed Eagle and with some luck Eurasian Eagle Owl. Golden, Spanish Imperial and Bonelli’s Eagle which are all present. Along the banks of the rivers Tagus and Tiétar we will look for small passerines such as Subalpine and Sardinian Warblers, European Serin and Hawfinch. In the cliffs of Monfragüe we should also see Black Stork, Black Redstart, Blue-Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martin and maybe the very scarce here, Red-billed Chough. Dinner and accommodation at Hospederia de Monfragüe.
Day 6 / 6 April: Torrejón El Rubio – Vegas Altas rice fields – Sierra Brava
Today we will visit the rice paddies and dry steppes south of Trujillo. Amongst the most interesting species present here are Great and Little Bustards, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Black-shouldered Kite, Gull-billed Tern, Spanish Sparrow and two introduced species, Red Avadavat and Common Waxbill. Who knows if we will be still able to find some of the latest wintering Common Cranes of this area. Common Cranes usually overwinter here by thousands, and it is not rare to find the last family parties during the first week in April. This is also one of the best sites in Extremadura to find waders, including nesting Kentish Plovers, as well as Little Ringed Plovers, Common Snipes, Green and Common Sandpipers, etc… In the early evening we will travel back to Torrejón El Rubio for our last night accommodation.
Day 7 / 7 April: Torrejón El Rubio – Arrocampo Reservoir – Madrid
Time for loading up our luggage and heading to the airport of Madrid stopping ahead for our last birding opportunities in the Arrocampo Reservoir, where some of the scarcest birds of Extremadura are found almost all-year-round. We will try to find the star of Arrocampo, the precious Black-shouldered Kite, but we will also have time to look for Purple Heron, Purple Swamp Hen and Little Bittern, usually well hidden in the reedbeds. After lunch in a local restaurant we will start our journey back to Madrid, where the trip ends.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT THIS TOUR
John, thank you for making the bird watching wonderful. Your expert knowledge and guidance was great. We saw many birds and some beautiful countryside. Next stop – Germany.
Indra & Heiko (Australia), October 2013
We have most pleasant memories of our week-long tour with you, and we have been enjoying photographs, videos, and recordings we made during the tour.
David & Tadd Ottman (USA), Extremadura, May 2011
Many thanks for your expert help on a great birding tour. Both Dave and yourself made this trip me an unforgettable experience. I recorded 55 new sightings!!!!!! One of the best for me was the Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush. Hope to see you at the Bird Fair in August. All the very best for 2008.
Deryck Leivers (UK), April 2008
Great few days. Birds were stunning – quantity and quality. Santi’s ability to locate different species to order was incredible, even allowing for his knowledge of the area. Organisation and customer care were outstanding.
Lady Bay Birders (UK), April 2008
Can I say (yet again) how much I enjoyed the trip to Extremadura. Thank you for all you did for us. You were superb! Very best wishes to you.
Alan Birchall (UK), April 2008
Just a quick e-mail to thank you for such a good holiday. Fantastic birds, great company, excellent food and accommodation, plenty to drink – just fantastic. I found the whole break thoroughly enjoyable. Your ability to spot birds never ceases to amaze me.
Nick Dalton (UK), May 2006
Many thanks for all your superb efforts last week in making my first trip to Extremadura so successful and truly memorable. I am sure all in the party will retain those very special birding moments for ever.
Peter Thorpe (UK), March 2006
Just a quick line to thank you so much for all your efforts last week to ensure our trip was such a success. It far outweighed my expectations. I hope you enjoyed it even though it must have been tiring with all the long days and driving. I really enjoyed your company and look forward to seeing you soon.
Nick Dalton (UK), April 2005
All in all, the week was a memorable one and one I would wish to repeat. I learnt a lot about birds and birding (and birders). Last, and by no means least, Spain is a wonderful country and the Extremadura region is extra special. Thank you to Paul and Santi.
John Gibson (UK), April 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.
GUIDE: John L. Muddeman
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 or nice quality hotel)
– 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, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Black-shouldered Kite, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Black Wheatear, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern, Squacco Heron, Great Spotted Cuckoo, European Roller, European Bee-eater, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (only likely if visiting Villuercas Mountains), Western Orphean Warbler, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Iberian Magpie…
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.