DOÑANA & EXTREMADURA
Best of Southern Spain
- 7 Days
- From April 13 to April 19, 2024
- DOÑANA & EXTREMADURA
- Tour Limit 7
- € 325 SINGLE SUP.
This is a tour designed to enjoy the wonders of Doñana and its varied and rich habitats and the well-known and probably the wildest region in Western Europe: Extremadura. We will start our journey in Sevilla meeting our travelers at the airport - or any other alternative place if suit to our travel plans for the first day - and then inmediately transfer to the Doñana area. Although this is mainly a flat region, Doñana has different and very attractive habitats such as its natural marshes, which become nearly dry in the Summer months, the sand dunes along to the Atlantic costline, the Umbrella Pine forest and the here called "monte blanco" (white fields) with a presence of different typical Mediterranean scrubs of nice pale grey leaves. However Doñana is currently under the threat of illegal wells and the irresponsible use of the water provided by its aquifers to irrigate hundreds of cultivated hectares.
But Doñana is still alive being one of the main refuges of the endangered Iberian Lynx and offering a safe stop over to thousands of birds during their Spring migration. If the rains have been generous the previous Autumn we will experience an amazing color explosion in its fields. There are not many wildlife sanctuaries in Europe with such biodiversity.
In the fourth day of our tour we will drive North to explore the central section of Extremadura. This is one of the wildest and remote corners of Spain, where its community of raptors is just unbelievable! Here one can find five species of eagles and three of vultures in beautiful scenery. Monfragüe National Park is probably the flagship reserve here and considered as a meca for many birders from all the world. Besides the lovely soft rolling hills of Monfragüe and its beautiful surrounding "dehesas" (the Spanish version of the African savanna) we will visit the vast plains of Trujillo-Caceres. Its never ending fields lodge one of the best populations of steppic species present in Spain.
Two very different and wild regions which we are sure will enjoy to all travelers keen on wildlife in general and birds in particular.
Some key species of this tour
Black-shouldered Kite, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Eurasian Black (Cinereous) Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Stork, White Stork, Purple Heron, Squaco Heron, Little Bittern, Purple (Western) Swamp Hen, Savi's Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear, Black Wheatear, Subalpine Warbler, Hawfinch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Crested (Red-knobbed) Coot, White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Stone Curlew (Eurasian Thick-knee), European Bee-eater, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Little Owl, Scops Owl, Whiskered Tern, Collared Pratincole...
The price includes
- Ground transport from Sevilla and to Madrid airport in modern, fully seat-belted, air conditioned 9-seat vehicle
- 6 Nights accommodation with en suite bathroom (3 nights in Doñana & 3 nights near Monfragüe / Extremadura)
- 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 / April 13: Sevilla airport - El Rocio (Doñana N.P. I)
Meet and welcome at the airport of Sevilla heading towards the charming village of El Rocio. Today we will dedicate part of the day looking at the main marsh of the National Park known as Madre de las Marismas. We will be looking for Greater Flamingos, Eurasian Spoonbills, Crested (Red-knobbed) Coot, Red-crested Pochard, Black Kite and waders on migration. Dinner and accommodation at our hotel in Doñana.
Day 2 / April 14: El Rocio - Doñana N.P. II
Breakfast at our hotel. Today we will drive right into the heart of the Natural Park along a sandy road that leads to the visitor centre named in honour of the naturalist Jose Antonio Valverde. In the surrounding fields and wetlands, it is possible to find species such as Purple (Western) Swamphen, Hen Harrier, Glossy Ibis and certainly Squacco and Purple Herons arriving from their winter headquarters. We will make several stops along the journey before reaching the visitor centre to see other typical species of the open fields such as Lesser (Mediterranean) Short-toed Larks, Stone Curlew (Eurasian Thick-knee) or Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. Dinner and accommodation in our hotel.
Day 3 / April 15: El Rocio - Odiel Marshes - Doñana N.P. III
Today we will visit the Odiel Marshes Nature Reserve. Placed next to the town of Huelva this reserve has become the first place where Ospreys have bred again in mainland Spain. The narrow road that leads to the lighthouse of the breakwater known as Juan Carlos I provides excellent opportunities for seeing different species of gulls and Audouin’s is surely the most attractive amongst them all. Additionally, we have good chances for Mediterranean Gull, Eurasian Curlew, Whimbrel, Caspian Tern and maybe some local rarities. If time allows we will explore the public areas near El Rocío visiting some of the most popular spots of the National Park: La Rocina, El Acebuche and El Acebrón all are well known places for Iberian Chiffchaff. Apart from its rich bird life, Doñana is home to the second population of the most threatened feline in the world: the Iberian Lynx. Accommodation in Doñana.
Day 4 / April 16: El Rocio - Alange reservoir - Torrejón El Rubio (Extremadura)
Transfer to Extremadura in the early morning. Birding en route with good chances for seeing Bonelli’s Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Great Bustard amongst others. Accommodation next to the well known Monfragüe National Park.
Day 5 / April 17: Torrejón 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 around 600 pairs breeding, we will also have good chances for watching Eurasian Black (Cinereous) Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagles, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, 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, Common Whitethroat, Spectacled and Sardinian Warblers. On the cliffs we will try our luck at finding Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Red-rumped Swallow, Crag Martin, the wary Black Stork and the impressive Eurasian Eagle Owl. Dinner and overnight at our hotel near Monfragüe.
Day 6 / April 18: Torrejón El Rubio - Trujillo & Cáceres Plains
Breakfast first, then we will travel to the plains. A vast flat region exists between Trujillo and Cáceres towns with isolated woodland patches suitable for a large community of steppic birds and raptors. This will be the best day to see some of the specialities of the steppe habitats such as Stone Curlew (Eurasian Thick-knee), Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Montagu’s Harrier, Great and Little Bustards, Lesser Kestrel, Corn Buntings, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark and Black-eared Wheatears. Before ending our day we will surely have time to explore the Guadiloba reservoir where we might see Eurasian Spoonbill, Cattle Egret, Spanish Sparrow, Crested Lark and Zitting Cisticola. Accommodation near Monfragüe.
Day 7 / April 19: Torrejón El Rubio - Arrocampo Reservoir - Madrid airport
On our last day of the tour we will visit the Arrocampo Reservoir, a fairly unique wetland used to cool down the motors of the nuclear station of Almaraz. An unusual but wonderful place for birding where we will look for Black-shouldered Kite. We will also visit a little Orchid Reserve where we might see 7 species of orchids by this time of the year. Transfer to Madrid airport where the tour ends.
This itinerary might change according weather conditions or at discretion of our guide