This tour offers a great opportunity to see some of Central Spain’s special & most sought after birds. The main emphasis of the tour will be on locating the Extremadura steppe & mountain specialities. We will be looking for, Black-winged Kite, Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Purple Gallinule, Little Bustard, Great Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Eagle Owl, Thekla Lark, Blue Rock Thrush; Azure winged Magpie, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow and Red Avadavat & Rock Bunting.
Combine these with a wonderful supporting cast of other birds; flocks of Cranes, White Stork, numerous Red Kite, 100’s of Griffon Vulture, Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Hoopoe, big flocks of Calandra Lark, Black Redstart, Dartford warbler, Serin, Hawfinch & numerous finches & bunting this trip will surely be a memorable one.
During the trip I recorded all of the birds Listed on the trip report, some of them in exceptional numbers!
Most of the areas we will visit in the following days are just 30 to 45 minutes away from our accommodation, with a couple of sites a little further. We will expect to record around 125 species.
Day 1. Nov 17. Meet and transfer to Extremadura.
Arrival, meet at the airport and transfer to Cabezabellosa.
Once settled into the accommodation, a welcome drinks before going for the evening meal.
Day 2. Nov 18 Monfragüe National park
A slightly lazy start for our first morning with breakfast & coffee.
We head off out to explore the beautiful Monfrague NP, we will visit this vast reserve several times during the trip, but this morning we focus on exploring the area around the visitor centre and stop at The famous cliff face with Europe’s largest vulture colony, “Salto del Gitano”.
These areas normally hold, Black, Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Golden Eagle, Hoopoe, Southern Grey Shrike, Black Redstart, Rock Sparrow, Hawfinch, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian warbler, Blue Rock Thrush & Fire crest.
In the early evening we will then head for an Eagle Owl site, I was very fortunate here last trip, with no less than 3 birds located at dusk.
Evening meal in the local restaurant.
Day 3. Nov 19. Arrocampo wetland
Breakfast around 8:00 am before heading off for the Arrocampo wetland area, we will spend most of the morning birdwatching in this area.
Black-winged Kite, Purple Swamphen, Hoopoe, Bluethroat, Black Vulture, White Stork, Common Crane, Black Redstart, Southern Grey Shrike, flocks of Spanish Sparrow, Serin. Also, wintering Great White Egret & wildfowl. We also had good views of Otter here on our last trip.
Later on, an opportunity to search some true Spanish steppe habitat. These vast plains are home to several of the real gems of the trip, truly enigmatic species such as; Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse & Pin-tailed Sandgrouse all of these species are present in good numbers during the winter time. However, the vast areas of habitat means we will need to search carefully & patiently on several occasions to locate them.
The plains also support vast numbers of wintering larks, with Calandra Larks often reaching flocks of over 100. Crested & Thekla.
Larks are both present in good numbers. We also find good flocks of Spanish Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Goldfinch, Linnet & Lapwing, and Hoopoes are regular, adding a lovely splash of colour. Hunting these flocks are Merlin, Hen Harrier, & Red Kite.
Evening meal in the local bar.
Day 4. Nov 20. Steppe area
Today we will breakfast early, before continuing our quest with the steppe species, searching another area slightly west of yesterday – again hoping to locate Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse & Pin-tailed Sandgrouse.
If we are successful with all of the target species by late morning we will head back to Monfrague NP, to visit one of the circular walks from the visitor centre with a mixture of species to look for – Black, Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Golden Eagle, Hoopoe, Azure-winged Magpie, Southern Grey Shrike, Black Redstart, Rock Sparrow, Hawfinch, Woodlark, Crested Lark, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian warbler, Fire crest, Blue Rock Thrush Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting & Cirl Bunting.
If we have been unable to locate all the specialist steppe birds, then we may continue to search the area, until late afternoon.
Late afternoon we will head for a Crane roost, this is a wonderful sight, & we watch as the light fades to the backdrop of 1000+ Cranes coming to their roost site.
Day 5. Nov 21. Reservoir area
This morning we visit a series of gravel pits, some rice fields & a reservoir area, before going to another mountain raptor watch point.
The main target species during the visit to the wetland sites in the morning is the recently established African species – Red Avadavat, which now holds a sustainable population in the area.
We should also see Gadwall, Pochard, Shoveler, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, White Stork, Snipe, Golden Plover, Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher, and Hoopoe & Penduline Tit.
In the afternoon opportunity to watch 100+ Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, possibly Spanish Imperial Eagle & Bonelli’s Eagle, plus Crag Martin. Nearby woodland should provide further Azurewinged Magpie & with the chance of Short-toed Tree creeper.
Day 6. Nov 22. Rio Jerte & Candelaria
This morning we will leave around 8.15 & head up to the ski slopes & alpine area of Candelaria, where we should be able to find Crested Tit & Crossbill, heading from here into the Jerte valley, to look for the Iberian forms of Jay & Green Woodpecker (both potentially splits as new species in the future!).
This area also hosts Brambling, Hawfinch & Siskin and Rock Bunting in good numbers.
Black Wheatear or Alpine Accentors that may be accessible, if present. Then we will head off to look for these in the afternoon, alternatively, in the afternoon we will make a return journey to Arrocampo to revisit the
Wetland area, where there will always be the chance of adding some additional species.
Day 7. Nov 23. Steppe habitat
After breakfast, leave early with a final visit in the morning to a Steppe habitat to search for any species that we have omitted to see, during our stay. A visit to Monfrague in the afternoon with a similar intention. If we have failed to see Eagle Owl on our previous visit then we will also make 2nd evening attempt to see this species.
Day 8. Nov 24. Departure and flight home
Breakfast, departure & transport to the airport for flights back home.
Please note: Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of the tour leader, and elements beyond our control (e.g. weather)
Ricardo Montero He was born in San Sebastian, and spent his early childhood in Catalonia before moving definitely to Extremadura, where he has been living for more than 20 years and has a deep knowledge of this region and its fauna. He is committed with the nature conservation, finding great satisfaction in sharing his knowledge of the natural heritage.
He was graduated from the University of Huelva as a Physical Education Teacher his passion is natural history, birds specially. He has been 15 years organizing trips and birding routes and has worked with the government of Extremadura and different conservation organizations such as Seo/Birdlife and ADENEX in various activities: Wintering Bird Atlas of Spain, FIO, Crane´s Festival, Cáceres Bird Festival, etc
He is a very well experienced English speaking birding guide, and has a large experience as a tour leader for international groups. He has led in Portugal, Extremadura, Asturias, Andalusia, Pyrenees an others parts of Spain. His varied interests have taken him to France, UK, Portugal, Canary Islands, India, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia
What’s included in your holiday price:
Airport Madrid Barajas transfers
Accommodation and breakfast
7 evening meals and picnic lunches
The service of your leader
What’s not included in your holiday price:
Flights (we are able to offer flight arrangements, please contact us)
Expenses of a personal nature
Other holiday information:
Accommodation: based at Casa rural Carvajal a beautiful traditional Spanish house, Located in a mountain village of Cabezabellosa in the province of Caceres, it just 30 minutes drive from the famous Monfrague National Park. The accommodation consists of a rural house with ensuite bedrooms, a beautiful lounge, fully equipped kitchen, and an open terrace area with panoramic views across the valley. The house has been restored with great care to retain many original features and charm.
The rooms are wonderfully & tastefully renovated retaining their natural aesthetics with modern comfort. The house is fitted with full central heating for the cooler winter evenings. It is just 3 hours from Madrid airport
Food Breakfast is typical of Spain, consisting of a roll with jam/cheese/ham. Fruit juice and tea or coffee is also available.
Evening meals are generally local dishes in a local bar, which are good but often quite simple. Vegetarian and other diets are welcome.
Walking is generally light/moderate. There may be some uphill track and road walking, though generally an average level of fitness is required.
Group size is restricted to 7 clients maximum.
We are able to offer flight arrangements from any airport to Madrid Barajas or quote. Please contact us and we will be happy to arrange this.
Also so you can make your own arrangements, we expect your arrival in Barajas between 1.30 pm and 15.00 pm. Please do check up with us before doing any flight booking.