... and Ebro River steppes
- 7 Days
- From June 05 to June 11, 2021
- SPANISH PYRENEES
- Tour Limit 7
- € 250 SINGLE SUP.
Some key species of this tour
Wallcreeper, Lammergeier, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, White-winged Snowfinch, Ring Ouzel, Citril Finch, Black Woodpecker, Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Egyptian Vulture, European Bee-eater, Ortolan Bunting, Western Orphean Warbler, Eurasian Wryneck, Golden Oriol, European Hobby, Dupont's Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Short-toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Little Owl...
The price includes
- Ground transport from Bilbao airport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 9-seat vehicle
- 6 Nights accommodation with en suite bathroom, 4 nights in the Hecho Valley + 1 night near Ainsa + 1 night near Belchite
- 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 / June 5: Madrid airport - Henares River * - Hecho Valley (Pyrenees)
Meet and welcome at Madrid airport after which we head to the nearby Henares river to stretch our legs and enjoy the first birding in Spain. Here we try to locate Eurasian Eagle Owl, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Red-billed Chough, Iberian Green Woodpecker and Eurasian Penduline Tit amongst others. We have our picnic in this wonderful spot surrounded by wheat fields and the Henares river. After lunch we will drive towards the Pyrenees , first crossing Zaragoza and the famous Ebro river and then Huesca, the most important town close to the mountains. We will arrive in the evening at the Hotel Usón, based in the Hecho Valley itself, with time for unpacking and maybe a short walk in the nearby grounds to see our first Common Crossbills, Red - backed Shrikes, Griffon Vultures and perhaps even Lammergeier. Dinner and accommodation at Hecho Valley.
* The visit to the Henares river will depend on flight arrival time into Madrid.
Day 2 / June 6: Hecho Valley - Gabardito - Selva de Oza forest
We start with an early morning walk in the surroundings of our hotel before breakfast , and then we will head to the famous Boca del Infierno where a pair of Wallcreepers has been breeding in recent years . The spectacular ravines and deep gorges of this site will also provide us with the chance to see Egyptian Vulture, White-throated Dipper, Crag Martin, Grey Wagtail and Red - billed Chough. After the visit to the Boca we will drive up towards the well known Gabardito refuge, and in the surroundings we look for Citril Finch, Marsh Tit, Black Woodpecker, Firecrest and Garden Warbler. From the refuge we will walk to another traditional place for nesting Wallcreepers, plus look for Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Lammergeier, Black Redstart, Rock Bunting and Alpine Swift. After this superb spot we return to the Hecho Valley and then visit the Selva de Oza forest where Lammergeier, Black Woodpecker, Citril Finch and Yellowhammer are present. Excellent chances also exist for seeing Rufous -tailed Rock Thrush, Water Pipit, Northern Wheatear, Lammergeier and two of the most representative mammals of the region, Pyrenean Chamois and Alpine Marmot. Dinner and accommodation at Hecho Valley.
Day 3 / June 7: Hecho Valley - Roncal Valley - Belagua - French border
Today we will concentrate in the most western of the valleys that we will visit on our trip, the Roncal Valley, where a very popular sheep's milk cheese is made and where the last Brown Bears of the Pyrenees still survive in very low number. The mixed woodland areas of ancient firs and beeches of the Rincon de Belagua Natural Reserve houses one of the rarest birds of the Spanish Pyrenees, the White-backed Woodpecker. However, we will also try to see some other easier targets such as Citril Finch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Alpine Accentor and Ring Ouzel... and today we also cross the border into France! In the Zuriza area we might see Golden Eagle, Lammergeier, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures , Short-toed Eagle and European Honey Buzzard. Dinner and accommodation in the Hecho Valley.
Day 4 / June 8: Hecho Valley - San Juan de la Peña - lower Hecho
Driving further today and to the south, we drop well down from the high mountains. Our first stop in the morning will be to visit the San Juan de la Peña mountains and its old monastery dating from the 10th century. In the surrounding forest we try in particular for Black Woodpecker . From here we will move on to the Alastuey ravines, where we may see amongst others Melodious, Subalpine and Sardinian Warblers, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Ortolan Bunting, Tawny Pipit... Dinner and accommodation at the Hecho Valley.
Day 5 / June 9: Hecho Valley - Escuain Gorge - Ainsa
In the morning we will head to the watchpoints of Escuaín, a top site for both watching and photographing Lammergeiers in flight. After exploring the woods and valleys of this beautiful corner of the Central Pyrenees we will accommodate near the Medieval looking town of Aínsa. Dinner and accommodation in Ainsa.
Day 6 / June 10: Ainsa - Belchite steppes (Ebro River valley)
The journey to Belchite is a bit long, so we will try to sort out rooms first in the early evening before heading out to the El Planerón Nature Reserve where Stone Curlew, Black-eared Wheatear, Greater Short-toed, Lesser Short-toed, Calandra, Crested and Thekla Larks , plus of course the enigmatic Dupont's Lark are found. Dinner and accommodation near Belchite.
* Late spring is the best time to explore the Pyrenees but the steppes can be less productive.
Day 7 / June 11: Belchite - Madrid airport
Early start for some birding before travelling back to Madrid airport where the tour ends.
This itinerary might change according weather conditions or at discretion of our guide