Wetlands, plains and mountains
- 7 Days
- From April 17 to April 23, 2021
- CENTRAL SPAIN
- Tour Limit 7
- € 295 SINGLE SUP.
Some key species of this tour
Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Black Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, European Bee-eater, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, White-headed Duck, Penduline Tit, Bearded Tit, Moustached Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Western Orphean Warbler, Citril Finch, Iberian Pied Flycatcher, Ortolan Bunting, Water Pipit, Red-billed Chough, Iberian Magpie, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Dupont's Lark, Calandra Lark, Short-toed Lark, Spectacled Warbler...
The price includes
- Ground transport from Madrid airport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 9-seat vehicle
- 6 Nights accommodation with en suite bathroom (4 in Ciudad Real, 1 in Guadarrama mountains and 1 in Sepulveda)
- 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
Price doesn’t include
- Air fare (Easyjet, Ryanair & other companies operate daily flights from several UK airports)
- Extra drinks and other items of a personal nature
A detailed itinerary of this tour
Day 1 / April 17: Madrid airport - Wetlands of La Mancha - Ciudad Real
Meet and welcome at Madrid airport before we transfer to Ciudad Real (Castilla La Mancha region). We'll do the first birding on route in the area known as “La Mancha Húmeda”, a vast flat region containing some important Ramsar wetlands. We should find here amongst many others Greater Flamingo, Red-crested Pochard, White-headed Duck, Collared Pratincole, Purple Heron, Black-necked Grebe, Black-winged Stilt and Avocet amongst many others. Accommodation and dinner at Hotel Guadiana located in the town of Ciudad Real.
Day 2 / April 18: Ciudad Real - Campo de Calatrava plains - Calatrava Castle
Today we will explore the plains of the Important Bird Area of Campo de Calatrava, an extension of wheat fields where the "big 5" of the steppe habitats occur: Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and Stone Curlew. In the cliffs around the Calatrava castle we should be able to find Black Wheatear, Blue-Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting and Hawfinch. This is also a good spot for both Bonelli's and Golden Eagles. In the evening travel back to Ciudad Real for a meal and accommodation in the Hotel Guadiana.
Day 3 / April 19: Ciudad Real - Las Tablas National Park - El Vicario Reservoir
Today we will travel towards the town of Daimiel where we will dedicate our time to birds in the Tablas de Daimiel National Park and the nearby Navaseca lagoon. Excellent chances for Penduline and Bearded Tit, White-headed Duck, Water Rail, Purple Swamp Hen, Red-crested Pochard and Ferruginous Duck (with at least 9 different individuals present in the last seasons). Before heading back to our base in Ciudad Real we will explore the Vicario reservoir where a good selection of herons and egrets are usually recorded in Spring including Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Great, Cattle and Little Egrets and sometimes Glossy Ibis. Dinner and accommodation at our hotel in Ciudad Real.
Day 4 / April 20: Ciudad Real - Alcudia Valley
South of Ciudad Real lies a vast and beautiful valley surrounded by two massive rock formations. This is the Alcudia Valley, a natural (in good part) grassland habitat used generation after generation in the Winter months for feeding the livestock coming from the northern regions of Spain. The place is still being used by hundreds of "merinas" sheep after their "trashumancia" (Spanish word to describe the ancient journeys made since medieval times by animals and shepherds). This is a realm for vultures! And we will have good chances to see all three species present in Central Spain: Griffon, Eurasian Black and Egyptian. Other interesting raptors present here are Bonelli's and Spanish Imperial Eagles, Black Kites and Lesser Kestrel. After a full day exploring the "sierras" and plains of the Alcudia Valley we will return to our hotel in Ciudad Real.
Day 5 / April 21: Ciudad Real - Guadarrama Mountains N.P.
Breakfast at our hotel and drive towards the mountains of Madrid, a journey of about 2,5 hours. It is quite surprising to experience the wide variety of these mountains placed only under 50 km from Madrid's city centre. We will be looking for beautiful and usually shies Citril Finches, the winged gem of this National Park. Other species of special interest for birders are Crested Tit, Firecrest, Goldcrest, Red Crossbill and Iberian Pied Flycatcher. Depending on our timing we might dedicate some time to find further down in the valley near our hotel Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Bonelli's Warbler and Cirl Bunting. Dinner and accommodation in the charming little hotel of Luces del Poniente.
Day 6 / April 22: Guadarrama Mountains - Hoces del Duratón N.P.
After a morning birding up in the mountains of Madrid where we might find Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle and Red Kite as new birds for us, with chances for Western Orphean Warbler and nesting Red-backed Shrikes, we will drive straight to the surroundings of the Hoces del Duratón Natural Park where we will try to find one of the rarest birds in Europe, the elusive Dupont's Lark. The only places in Europe where this species still survive are all in Spain, and the rocky thyme fields around Sepúlveda are one of its best sanctuaries. The difficulty to observe this bird gained it the name of "el diablo" (the devil!) amongst the birders from all over the world. Besides the Dupont's Lark these fields are also suitable to see Spectacled and Dartford Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear and Red-Billed Chough. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Puerta de Sepúlveda, placed in the charming town under the same name.
Day 7 / April 23: Hoces del Duratón N.P. - Madrid
The plan for our last day will depend on how successful was our Dupont's Lark hunting the previous evening! So we might start very early in order to get new chances for this very interesting bird. The surrounding hills and sierras provide as well excellent birding opportunities where we could see Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and Ortolan Bunting, two species mostly relate to higher elevations which find here a suitable habitat to breed. After lunch we will drive back to Madrid in order to arrive to our hotel / or airport to avoid its terrible evening traffic, where this tour ends
This itinerary might change according weather conditions or at discretion of our guide