Spain - Extremadura...........7th to 14th April 2019
Extremadura offers excellent views of extraordinary bird species such as Great Bustard, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Stork, Eagle Owl as well as colourful beauties such as Bee-eater, Roller, Golden Oriole and Azure-winged Magpie. Other specialities such as the Spanish Sylvia warblers and both species of sandgrouse are also found in the area. Extremadura is wonderful in the springtime with birds in full song in their smartest plumage plus colourful butterflies amongst swathes of wild flowers. We will visit Monfragüe National Park, Trujillo, the Belen plain and the steppes of La Serena. We stay in two comfortable hotels with a pleasant ambience, carefully selected to be in the best birding localities, whilst serving tasty food and wines.
Day 1: Flight to Madrid airport. Transport to Monfragüe and check-in to our rural hotel for four nights. During the transfer we may see our first vultures and eagles and around the hotel we can often see birds such as Hoopoe, Mistle Thrush and Crested Lark.
Day 2: Today we follow a birding route inside Monfragüe National Park, part of it running along the Tajo River; we can anticipate excellent views of the many raptor species found in the area. Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Black Kite and Red Kite are all likely to be seen well. We also have a good chance of seeing Eagle Owl and Black Stork, which are nesting along the river. In the forested area around the hotel we will look for Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, and Short-toed Treecreeper.
Day 3: This day's birding itinerary takes us on a round-trip east and south of Monfragüe itself. This route is planned especially for the many Sylvia warblers of Extremadura, and we should see Spectacled, Orphean, Subalpine, Dartford and Sardinian Warbler. Also, we still have good chances of viewing many raptors plus Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike and Woodlark. We might take our picnic lunch at the Arrocampo Reservoir, where we may see Penduline Tit and Savi's Warbler in addition to the many herons, egrets and shorebirds.
Day 4: In the morning we will visit the old castle, Castillo de Monfragüe, where we can find species such as Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla Lark, Rock Bunting and Azure-winged Magpie. Also, the castle is a great place to view the park's numerous raptors as they circle in the sky. We have a chance of seeing the very rare White-rumped Swift here, although mid-April can be a little early for them. In the afternoon we will continue birdwatching in the southern region of Monfragüe, where we might find Crested Tit and other forest birds.
Day 5: Today we head towards La Serena with stops in Trujillo, the Belen Plain and Embalse de Sierra Brava. In Trujillo we'll visit the town briefly to see White Stork, Lesser Kestrel and Pallid Swift, which all breed on the buildings of the old town. The steppes of Belen hold Great and Little Bustard, Short-toed Eagle, Montagu's Harrier, Little Owl, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Woodchat Shrike. This area is always worthy of a stop. At the embalse we should see terns and gulls and with luck some of the newly arrived Collared Pratincoles. Check-in to our hotel for the next 3 nights.
Overnights: La Serena village.
Day 6: Birding in La Serena and Sierra de Tiros. The combination of mountains and steppe habitat in this area, allows for a great variety of species. Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle, Eagle Owl, Red-legged Partridge and Black Wheatear can be found in Sierra de Tiros, whilst Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew and Montagu's Harrier can be seen in the steppe areas. We also have a good chance of finding Spanish Sparrow here.
Day 7: In the morning we will birdwatch along the Zujar River and around Serena. Along the river we might see Eagle Owl, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Grey Wagtail, Red-rumped Swallow, Bonelli's Warbler and Great Reed Warbler. Red-crested Pochard and Little Grebe are also sometimes found here along with many migrating shorebirds. In La Serena we will look for any steppe species that we may have missed so far, or for better views of larks, sandgrouse and bustards.
Day 8: Transfer to Madrid airport for an afternoon flight.
Tour ref: AA19**
Single Room Supplement: £115
Leaders: Cristian Jensen & Shena Maskell
Max. Group: 12 plus Leaders
Includes: Economy class scheduled return flights (UK-Madrid-UK), accommodation based on twin occupancy, meals, transportation in Spain and services of leaders.
Excludes: Travel insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.