Tour At A Glance

Cost:

£999.00

Deposit:

£200.00

Single Room Supplement:

None

Tour Code:

Relaxed with much birding from the roadside. One steep climb up to the Castillo at MonfragŁe

Group Size:

Seven plus leader

Azure-winged Magpie Hoopoe White-spotted Bluethroat Great Bustard Alpine Accentor Griffon Vulture Black-shouldered Kite

Extremadura - Winter in the Spanish Steppes

Date: 28th January - 1st February 2019 [TWO SPACES - Guaranteed Departure]
Leaders: Paul Roberts

Itinerary

 

DAY ONE
Fly UK/Madrid. The drive south-west towards Trujillo takes aroun 3hrs and we will break the journey for coffee and lunch. No doubt we will see many raptors along the motorway such as Griffon Vulture, Red Kite and sometimes even Black-shouldered Kite! We will stop in the late afternoon to spend some time birding at the excellent Arrocampo Almaraz marsh where a variety of wetland birds can be seen including the superb Purple Swamp-Hen. Penduline Tit reside in the reeds and surrounding terrain, as well as being great for Black-shouldered Kite, often also prodces Southern Grey Shrike, Eurasian Hoopoe, Spanish Sparrow, Zitting Cisticola and Black Vulture. Arrive at Viña las Torres, our base for the four nights. 
 
DAY TWO
We will spend the day birding the steppe areas between Trujillo and Monroy, looking for large flocks of bustards, sandgrouse, larks and finches. Hunting raptors will be seen, and the rocky ravines of the river crossings allow us to look for Black Wheatear and Rock Bunting. The Monfragüe National Park is a great place to get close views of the large numbers of raptors in the region, and we will hope for three species of eagle and two vultures. Spanish Imperial Eagle will be our main target, though we might also see Peregrine and Red-billed Chough around the Castillo, and Rock Sparrow are often seen here also. Sardinian and Dartford Warblers frequent the cistus scrub while we will search some favoured haunts of the splendid Black-shouldered Kite. Before dinner, we complete our days checklist around a log fire, a great way to peruse our first full days birding! 
 
DAY THREE
The rice fields near Madrigalejo are a great place to see large concentrations of Common Cranes, our main target today. Open water attracts flocks of ducks and wintering waders, which can sometimes include rarer species such as Little Stint and Wood Sandpiper. Bluethroat winter in damp reed beds and resident Zitting Cisticola might be found in the grassy areas, also favoured by introduced Common Waxbill and Red Avadavat. Penduline Tit can be found in the reeds, and we visit the excellent Sierra Brava reservoir for its huge concentrations of wintering birds. Arriving here at dawn to watch and listen to huge flocks of these trumpeting birds fly out to feed in the dehesa is a magical experience. Large numbers of wintering Red Kites frequent the area and vast flocks of Northern Shoveler make the reservoir their winter home. In the afternoon, we will visit the Guadalupe mountains to look in particular for Bonelli's Eagle, a resident species that could already be displaying. Golden Eagle is also possible, and our return route passes wonderful swathes of plains and dehesa. Our idyllic hotel offers a welcome haven after a days birding with roaring log fire and a home cooked meal of local specialities. 
 
DAY FOUR
Birding around the hotel could produce such quality birds as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper and Hawfinch, while Southern Grey Shrikes perch sentinel like atop the cork oaks where small flocks of the shy Azure-winged Magpie play among the trees. Tearing ourselves away from our oasis though, we head isouth to Montanchez to look for Alpine Accentor in particular which overwinters here. The new reservoir at Alcollarin is also a must-visit with huge concentrations of winter wildfowl often producing an American vagrant amongst them. Herons also feature strongly and surrounding dehesa and steppe areas offer further chances for bustards, larks, sandgrouse and Black-shouldered Kites. Steppe around Trujillo is also a great place to see large flocks of spectacular Great Bustard, and vast flocks of passerines including a variety of finches as well as resident Calandra, Crested and Thekla Larks. 
 
DAY FIVE
After check out we begin our journey northwards, calling in at a couple of birding stops en route depending on which species we have not seen. Another visit to Arrocampo Almaraz might be in order, or the nearby Casa de Miravete where Crested Tit, Woodlark, Short-toed Treecreeper and Blue Rock Thrush can be found. We arrive back in Madrid mid-afternoon to check in for our flight back to London where the tour concludes.  
 
 
 
 
 

 

Additional Information

 

WHATS INCLUDED
Return flights UK/Madrid, en suite accommodation for four nights, meals from dinner on day one to packed lunch on day five, ground transport within Spain, services of tour leader and reserve entrance fees.
 
NOT INCLUDED
Transport to/from UK airport and any overnight stay that might be involved, travel insurance, drinks, lunch on day one and any items of a purely personal nature.
 
PASSPORT, VISA & HEALTH
Visas are not required by UK nationals. Passports must have 6 months validity beyond the return travel date. Standard health and innoculation requirements apply for UK nationals, visit www.masta-travel-health.com to check these and if necessary, download a free health brief to take to a travel appointment at your local medical practice. 
 

 

Tour Reports

 

 2011a  2011b   2013    2016   2018

 

2016 Photo Album

 

2018 Photo Album

 

Testimonials

 

" The hotel and the food were excellent and exceptionally good value - a real find. This was a stress free trip with a very friendly group, exceptional leaders and the level of birding was just right " A & FH Suffolk.
 
"A very enjoyable five days - I thoroughly recommend it" M J Neath
 
" I really enjoyed seeing such a variety of birds in beautiful habitats, as well as the home cooked food. Ashley was very knowledgeable and has the yes of an eagle, as well as bveing patient with the oldies!!" P H Swansea
 
" We thoroughly enjoyed the trip even though we missed Little Bustard. The hotel and meals were much better than we anticipated and we would definitely travel with you again" A B & J W Norfolk
 
" Very well led - very well organised - good company - excellent birds - good food, wine and hospitality - what more can you want?" S S Hampshire
 
" The pace of the holiday and itinerary was just right. The camaraderie and leaders were excellent - all in all this was a splendid short break" J.M. Swindon
 
" Both guides were excellent. The food and hotel were fantastic - another winner of a tour " J L & V R Hertfordshire
 
" I enjoyed the tour very, very much. The leaders were very knowledgeable and especially supportive to me as a novice. The hotel was truly fantastic with a great family atmosphere and rural location. The wine tastings were a special addition and the birding was excellent.  I would readily participate on another tour and recommend Oriole Birding to others as on top of everything else, the tour was also excellent value for money" P. C. Hertfordshire.
 
" We really enjoyed our new year trip to Extremadura with Ashley and Adrian" S P & K W Berkshire
 
" Hi Neil and Ashley. What a great trip – so many special birds and great sightings in wonderful low winter sunlight.Thanks you for all your efforts in finding all the birds. I thought the meals were absolutely fantastic – well done the Pedro’s! Everyone was delighted with the trip " J F Watford
 
" just to let you and Ashley know again that it was a really superb trip to Extremadura - the relaxed pace was just right and you ensured that everyone all got views and your knowledge was excellent. You both worked hard to find us the birds and the results were spectacular, especially the rare Sociable Lapwing. Loved the cranes and the magpies and everything else. Superb accommodation and food and the wine and olive oil tastings were fun" A M Watford
 
"Thank you - your very detailed knowledge and the variety of habitats and birds were very enjoyable. The tour was very well organised and your generosity in use of the telescopes made sure we were all able to get great views. In comparison to what is advertised elsewhere, the tour represented value for money and the hotel and food were very good" JR Watford

 

" This was the first of many trips I intend to take with you. Every aspect  of the trip was very enjoyable, the birds were great, the guides fantastic and the food out of this world" I B Watford

 

" Both our guides were very knowledgeable, friendly, kind and considerate. We thoroughly enjoyed everything aboput the trip; the hotel and family were lovely and the food and attention to detail were excellent. A brilliant holiday!! P& D L Watford

 

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