EXTREMADURA & GREDOS
Eagles and Bluethroats!
- 7 Days
- From May 20 to May 26, 2024
- EXTREMADURA & GREDOS
- Tour Limit 7
- € 325 SINGLE SUP.
In this tour we will explore vast plains, evergreen woodland habitats, high mountains, wetlands... all mixed with a visit to the historic and ancient town of Trujillo where we will be delighted by the acrobatic flight of Pallid and Common Swifts, while Lesser Kestrels patrol the roof tops of its medieval quarter. We won't miss the raptor country of Monfragüe National Park where we might see 5 species of eagles in one day, neither the Great Bustards feeding in peace in the Caceres plains, where besides Rollers, Bee-eaters and both species of sandgrouse will be amongst our targets.
The last two days of the tour will take place in the Gredos Mountains, looking for the beautiful Bluethroat and admiring rocky mountains and alpine meadows full of colorful flowers and butterflies. The short distances between the main birding locations, hotels and the two main regions visited in this tour means not much driving at all, spending quality time in the field during the long days of May.
Some key species of 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 (iberian race), Citril Finch...
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 nights near Monfragüe + 2 nights in Gredos)
- 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
- 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 / May 20: Madrid airport - Calera y Chozas plains - Torrejon El Rubio (Extremadura)
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 / May 21: Torrejon El Rubio - Monfragüe N.P.
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 more than 600 pairs, we will also have good chances for watching Eurasian Black (or Cinerous) Vulture, Short-toed, Booted, Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagle, both Black and Red Kites, and the odd-looking Egyptian Vulture. Curruca / Sylvia warblers are also well present in the woods and shrubby slopes of Monfragüe with six species: Western Orphean, Western 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. Good chances also exist for finding the scarce White-rumped Swift. Dinner and overnight at Torrejón El Rubio.
Day 3 / May 22: Torrejon El Rubio - Trujillo & Caceres 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 (Eurasian Thick-knee), Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Montagu’s Harrier, Great and Little Bustards, Lesser Kestrel, Calandra and Greater Short-toed Larks, European Roller, European 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 / May 23: Torrejón El Rubio - Arrocampo reservoir - Belen 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 (Tit) Reedling. The surrounding “dehesas” of the reservoir will provide us with chances to see Spanish Sparrow, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpie and Black-shouldered Kite. In the afternoon we will explore the Belén plains, next to Trujillo town.
Day 5 / May 24: Torrejón El Rubio - Jerte Valley - Sierra de Gredos
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 as we follow up the river Jerte, where we will make a stop to see White-throated 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 / May 25: Sierra de Gredos
Breakfast first and then 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 find Ortolan Bunting, Water Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Red-billed Chough, Eurasian Skylark, Rock Bunting and Dunnock (Hedge Accentor) with very good chances for Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and see the Gredos form of the Iberian Ibex, a different subspecies (Victoriae) 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 Red Crossbill, Firecrest, Goldcrest, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Red Kite, Black Redstart, Iberian Green Woodpecker 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 / May 26: Sierra de Gredos - Madrid
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.
This itinerary might change according weather conditions or at discretion of our guide