Coto Donana and Extremadura

PLEASE NOTE THAT ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE AIRPORTS IN SPAIN ARE DIFFERENT FOR THESE TOURS

10th -18th April 2018 

19th - 27th April 2018 - Full

What a fantastic combination, this exciting birdwatching tour joins together two of Spain's top birding areas.

This 8 - night, 9 - day Tour incorporates many of the best sites in these two prolific regions giving you the opportunity to witness a variety of wildlife not seen in many other regions of Europe. You will stay in Coto Donana for the first stage and then transfer to Extremadura for the latter four nights (this sequence is reversed for Tour II), we stay just south of Trujillo a central position from where you will discover the delights of this unique area.

Extremadura has vast areas of open grassland steppe surrounded by a ring of mountains and provides perfect habitat for many endangered European species such as the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. We may also encounter the Great Spotted Cuckoo, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Roller, Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Black Vulture, Black Stork and many larks, finches, pipits and buntings.

In complete contrast Coto Donana is one of Europes largest wetland areas and sits on the coast in Andalucia. A huge mosiac of open water, reedbeds and stone-pine forest provides excellent habitat for thousands of breeding herons, egrets, ibis and waders. You may see hundreds of Greater Flamingos, Eurasian Spoonbills, Grey, Purple, Squacco and Night Herons, along with Cattle, Little and Great White Egrets. With the added bonus of the chance of getting good views of Purple Swamphen, Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Duck, Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Collared Pratincole and the enigmatic Iberian Magpie.

Itinerary in brief

  • Day 1 - Arrival at Malaga Airport, drive into Coto Donana with visits to one or two places along the way
  • Day 2 - birding at the visitors centres of Achebuche, La Rocina, El Rocio and several other local sites
  • Day 3 - all day visit to the 'Northern Marshes' to see the hidden Donana, Coredor de Verde, Dehesa Abajo, Jose Valverde Centre
  • Day 4 - Huelva, Marismas O'Diel, El Portil and Castillo Niebla
  • Day 5 - Transfer to Extremadura with several birding stops in Extremadura in the afternoon before checking into our hotel
  • Day 6 - Belen Plain, Casares - Trujillo steppe, Santa Marta de Magasca, Rio Almonte
  • Day 7 - Full day at Monfrague National Park,
  • Day 8 - Visits to Zorita, Madrigalejo Rice Fields then  Moheda Alto Reservoir.
  • Day 9 - Transfer to Madrid Airport for return flight home.

What's included:

  • Eights nights half board accommodation
  • All land transport
  • Services of the guide
  • All entrance fees/tolls
  • Checklist of species

What's not included:

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Lunches
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Telephone calls, all items of a personal nature

Flights

You have to arrange your own flights but we can help you with your selection. You should aim to arrive in Malaga as early as you can on day 1 and book return flights from Madrid around mid-afternoon or early evening on the day of departure. Please contact us before booking anything!

Autumn Tour

October 1st - 9th 2019

Rice Harvest in Coto Donana and Bustard flocks in Extremadura

October is a fantastic time to visit Spain, the temperature is just lovely, the birds are beginning to flock and are very showy, the roads are empty, the autumn colours are tremendous and the complete tour is a joy to lead. You also have the added bonus of witnessing the rice harvest in Donana, during this time hoardes of birds flock behind tractors as they plough the rice paddies making ready for next season. The birds gorge themselves on Crayfish and many other crustaceans as they are unearthed during the ploughing process, the birds amass in their thousands a truly wonderful spectacle not to be missed.

In Extremadura you can be confident of seeing large flocks of Little Bustard and smaller flocks of Great Bustard as we explore the grassy plains of Belen and Casares. Other species forming large flocks are Corn Bunting, Spainsh Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Lapwing, Calandra Lark and there will still be many Northern Wheatears and Whinchats passing through and the chances of seeing a Golden Eagle drifting across the plains are good.

A visit to Monfrague Nacional Parque is a must and will be a very enjoyable experience for you. In the Parque we can watch the hundreds of Griffon Vultures at their nest sites, we can look for Black Vulture, Red-billed Chough, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Bonelli's Eagle, Eagle Owl and for the last 3 years we have caught up with White-rumped Swift which are still present in October around the Castillo de Montfrague. We also know of a couple excellent sites where to find Spanish Imperial Eagle and they have never let us down! Add to that the possibility of seeing Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Hawfinch, Common Crane, Azure-winged Magpie and maybe a late Great Spotted Cuckoo and this could be your best trip ever!

Tarifa Autumn Migration

Accommodation is half-board, Lunches will be taken as picnics or tapas in local ventas.

This tour combines the beautiful scenery of the Andalucian mountains with the coastline of the Tarifa area. You will spend 7 nights based in the Tarifa area in a Hotel ideally situated for our purpose of watching raptor migration.

The 'white' villages of Andaulica are easily accessible from our base in Tarifa they lie just inland from the Costa del Sol and right beneath the migration flight path of thousands of raptors. You will visit area of outstanding natural beauty and see some exquisite landscapes, the birds arn't too bad either.

During your stay you will explore the 'Serrania de Ronda', a beautiful mountainous region around Ronda, the magnificent limestone peaks have pristine cork oak forests beneath them where Firecrest, Crested Tit, Short-toed treecreeper and many other species live. The scenic valleys of the Genal and Guadiaro rivers are superb habitats where we can look for Golden Orioles. Hawfinches, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, Shrikes, Warblers and Hoopoes.

One evening will be spent looking for Owls, we have a couple of sites to look for Eagle Owl, there is also the possibilty of seeing Scop's Owl (on passage), Red-necked Nightjars and Tawny Owl. We will also visit a private Bird Ringing station where you may see some warblers in the hand.

From our hotel near Tarifa we will of course concentrate on migrating birds of prey, waders, gulls and terns along this scenic coastline. Visits are planned to La Janda, Los Lances beach and the Rio Palmones salt marsh.

The Pine Woods of del Rey will give you an opportunity to see some migrating woodland species such as Common Redstarts, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and Warblers. There is tremendous variety of habitats to discover on this trip and you will see a good number of species.

Raptor migration will be in full swing and so we plan to visit the 'Raptor Watch points' which are dotted along the hill tops near Tarifa. It is quite possible to see thousands of migration Eagles in one morning. The eagles are joined by Storks, Kites, Harriers, Buzzards, Vultures, Falcons and Hawks. This prospect makes it a very excitings tour, anything can turn. Regular sightings during this period have included: Long-legged Buzzard, Ruppell's Vulture, Lesser Spotted Eagle and even a Bateleur Eagle from Sub-Saraha Africa was around for a few weeks in the spring of 2012.

The tour begins and ends at Malaga airport so you should arrange your flights accordingly, try to arrive mid-morning on the first day and depart morning or early afternoon on the last day. There is a possibilty for you to fly into and out of Gibraltar and connect with the tour, please contact us first before booking any of your flights

Check for Availability here

Latest Trip Reports

  • Coto Donana & Extremadura April 2017 : Sunday, April 16, 2017 - Monday, April 24, 2017

    Another hugely successful tour of these two premiere venues in the heart of Spain. A little windy for two or three days but that never stopped us enjoying our fantastic sightings........

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  • Coto Donana & Extremadura April 2016 : Thursday, April 14, 2016 - Friday, April 22, 2016

    Another fabulous tour of these two magical places. A lot depends on the weather conditions which were not too favourable to begin with. However, we still managed a credible total species list..........

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  • Coto Donana & Extremadura April 2015 : Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - Thursday, April 23, 2015

    This dual destination trip to two of Spain's best birding areas always proves a winner with my groups. The variety of scenic landscapes, wildlife habitats and birding locations guarantees a huge list in European standards a...

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  • Coto Donana & Extremadura April 2014 : Sunday, April 27, 2014 - Monday, May 5, 2014

    I was priveliged to lead the Knutsford Ornithological Soceity (KOS) in their 40th celebration tour. Twelve members, lead by Sheila Blamire,  enjoyed a terrific week of good weather and excellent birding. We experienced many mag...

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  • Coto Donana & Extremadura April 2014 Tour 2 : Thursday, April 10, 2014 - Friday, April 18, 2014

    After a terrific week of birding we managed a species total of 172 with another 7 species heard but not seen, this is a fantastic total for a European country covered in just 7 days....................  

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