Birding in Andalucía & Beyond
Located in the rolling coastal hills of Andalucía just outside the picturesque Spanish town of Tarifa, the Inglorious Bustards are based right at the epicentre of birding in The Straits. And from a migrating raptor’s point of view, we must surely also be at the centre of the world! For Andalucía birding experiences, Inglorious Bustards can certainly satisfy your needs.
Inglorious Bustards are birders, conservationists, travellers, and all-around Nature-lovers. We love not only to marvel at the hundreds of thousands of birds passing overhead, but also to follow them on their migratory journey, and explore the whole range of fascinating and varied terrains they traverse each year.
More than that though, we love to share our adventures with you! As well as our home in southern Spain, we take pride in bringing you the best of birding in Andalucía and other migration spectacles along the whole East Atlantic Flyway journey, through Europe and North Africa, right down to the steamy wintering grounds of many of our nomads, south of the Sahara.
If you are like us, you enjoy amazing wildlife spectacles where adventure meets relaxation and fun, then you have found the right place!
Between us, we have vast experience in nature conservation, ecology, tour leading and the hospitality industry, and we’ll use it to bring you fantastic wildlife spectacles alongside chilled-out birding in Andalucía, local culture and sustainable food.
All our team fulfil these criteria:
- Are professional naturalists with expertise and training in their speciality fields.
- Demonstrate active conservation work both through tours, partnerships and independently.
- Have a proven track record of inspiring a love of the natural world through all generations.
- Great no fuss problem-solvers where required, and always ensure the enjoyment and safety of our groups and individuals.
- Have extensive local knowledge.
- Are fully insured and compliant with regulations.
- Patient, always helpful and inspiring teachers.
Inglorious Bustards is included in the Tourism Registry of the Andalucían Government as an Active Tourism company AT/CA/00416.
A message about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
We can’t stress enough that the health and safety of our clients and avoiding the spread of coronavirus in wider society has been and always will be our top priorities. We are proud to have been awarded a badge of approval for our COVID-19 Risk Prevention Protocol from both the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Commerce & Tourism, and by the local Junta de Andalucía for both tourism and “active tourism” specifically.
We can´t stress enough that the health and safety of our clients and avoiding the spread of this disease in wider society has been and always will be our top priorities. You can book with confidence that we are fully compliant with the official guidance set out by the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Commerce & Tourism, and by the local Junta de Andalucía for both tourism and “active tourism” specifically. Additionally, we take advice from our independent risk prevention consultants, Quirón Prevención.
We are also keeping a close eye on international travel advice from the World Health Organisation, the Spanish government and relevant Foreign Offices.
As things return to some form of normality here and with the introduction of air bridges across Europe we have instigated nationally approved professional and thorough Coronavirus safety measures.
Upon booking and arrival you will receive a comprehensive guide on measures taken and your own responsibilities. We hope that with everyone’s collaboration this situation will continue to improve and we will see you soon in The Straits and beyond to enjoy the best of #FlywayBirding.
Simon, Niki and the team.
The Inglorious Bustards have a challenge! As conservationists, we are only too aware of the environmental impact of the activities associated with our business. We want to share with you the joy of watching wildlife all along the East Atlantic flyway, but in doing so we inevitably encourage consumption of the planet´s resources. Our challenge as a responsible ecotourism operator is to ensure that our activities can be channelled into a positive outcome for the environment. We want to make sure that, when you travel with us, you´ll be benefitting, not exploiting the wildlife we see together. On our trips, “eco-tourism” is a promise, not an oxymoron.
We call this concept #FlywayBirding. We have turned traditional so-called “eco-tourism” on its head, putting conservation action and education at the very heart of what we do, not just as a guilt-assuaging afterthought to our trips. We´ve thought hard about how to bring a completely fresh approach to delivering wildlife holidays from a sustainable standpoint, making only a positive impact on our surroundings. And we’ve worked extremely hard to build some fantastic partnerships to help us!
Here is how we’re doing it – our #FlywayPromise to you.
Inglorious Bustards founded the not-for-profit Flyway Birding Association to facilitate projects that link the East Atlantic Flyway, where our work and the wealth of expertise that forms our FlywayBirding team can make a real, measurable and positive outcome for migratory birds and their habitats, other species and taxa, and local communities.
Inglorious Bustards ecotourism directly supports, funds and offers longevity and sustainability of conservation through our Flyway Birding Association projects.
Inglorious Bustards are sustainable award winners!
Inglorious Bustards is the only sustainable and ethical award winning nature tourism company in The Straits of Gibraltar – 2018, 2019, 2020 and now 2021!
We are a Founding Partner and Signatory of Terra Incognita’s Ethical Ecotourism Code of Conduct. This means that we commit ethical ecotourism which creates win-win solutions for wildlife, local communities and the landscapes they share.
We’re more than just a nature tour company. We care about the wildlife we showcase, the local communities we visit and the opportunities for education through exploration. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we’re a Top Ethical Birding Ecotour 2020!
The Top Ethical Birding Ecotours 2020 is a unique list generated by a global community of travellers, bloggers, conservationists, tour guides, birders and ecotourism operators. Curated by Terra Incognita – a social enterprise seeking to promote the best examples of ethical ecotourism worldwide – we’re part of a group of 85 incredible birding tours from across the globe.
We encourage sustainable land use.
Our work over decades for the RSPB, attempting to reverse the fortunes of UK, European and African farmland wildlife, has made us recognise the power of food choice and how it can affect the plight of declining species.
“The fork is the most powerful tool for conservation”
Latest findings presented at the IPCC in October 2018 were striking and conclusive. While everyone talks about electricity generation and fossil fuel consumption, it is an oft-ignored fact that by far the best way of having a positive impact on our planet is to change what we eat. Currently 85% of the world´s farmed land produces just 18% of our calories. Loss of wildlife areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife. This is the legacy of meat and dairy production, which has enormous environmental costs in terms of habitat loss, air and water pollution and carbon release.
We recognise the huge influence of dietary choice and food production methods on habitat degradation and carbon emissions, often outweighing the costs of travel itself. In 2018, we introduced a “meat-free day” to each of our tours, reducing carbon emissions from food consumed per person by around 15%. We have developed a detailed food procurement policy whereby we can audit our own catering across various sustainability criteria, including carbon emissions. We will use this to plan, measure and implement reduction strategies and targets.
Our work over decades for the RSPB attempting to reverse the fortunes of both UK and European farmland wildlife has made us recognise the power of food choice and how it can affect the plight of declining species. This is why we teamed up with our accommodation providers to focus on sustainable food choices.
We also teamed up with Molino de Guadalmesí a local hub for eco-consciousness, thinking globally and acting locally. On our trips you can enjoy sustainably-sourced produce from their organic, wildlife-friendly farm here in The Straits. We work in partnership to offer visitors an experience around food choice and how positive change can help our wildlife and the wider environment.
We minimise packaging waste.
It seems that after many years of campaigning, the horror of the extent of our plastic consumption has finally entered the public consciousness, and changes might actually be made. Our history of avoidance, reuse and recycling of plastic goes back many years, but when we are out cetacean-watching on the Straits enjoying copious marine life, we are certainly pleased to be part of the current wave!
Thanks to our locally-produced food sourcing, the excess of packaging associated with supermarkets is immediately eliminated. When we buy dry and other goods, we buy in bulk and manage their use carefully, thus reducing both food and packaging waste.
We ask our clients to bring their own water bottles which are filled from taps or potable mountain springs.
We minimise our in-country transport emissions.
We minimise the emissions associated with our in-country transport by use of modern, fuel-efficient vehicles. Our minibus is a Renault Trafic, known as being one of the most economical vans on the market, returning an impressive mpg of 50, with further features such as Stop & Start, Cruise Control and ECO mode adding to its green credentials.
Our focus on hosting trips along the glorious East Atlantic Flyway means that we are able to arrive at 90% of our tour destinations to meet you without boarding a flight ourselves.
We know our areas well, so we are also able to apply careful route-planning to minimise driving distances between sites.
Thinking globally and acting locally
We believe that the first step to responsible ecotourism is eliminating any negative effects that our travel could potentially have on our surroundings. During our tours, we work hard to minimise food and packaging waste. We ask our clients to bring their own water bottles which are filled from taps or potable mountain springs.
In-country, we use modern, fuel-efficient vehicles to reduce emissions. We know our areas well, so we are also able to apply careful route-planning to minimise driving distances between sites.
What we can’t eliminate, we balance.
Unlike some carbon-offsetting schemes, this is not simply a case of absolving guilt by shoving some trees in an ill-thought-out location! WLT funds the purchase or lease of threatened land to create nature reserves, protecting both habitats and their wildlife. By protecting and restoring threatened forest in key areas of conservation importance, CO₂ emissions are prevented and carbon storage enhanced. To make projects like this work, this fore-sighted organisation includes, rather than excludes local communities. It funds partner NGOs to employ local people as reserve rangers, sustainably managing some of the world’s most threatened habitats and the animals found within them.
We balance all the CO₂ emissions associated with any staff flights and all in-country travel and accommodation associated with our tours. In 2020, we offset over 26 tonnes of CO₂, funds for which went directly to acquiring and preserving threatened forest habitat. We also encourage our guests to offset your own holiday travel through WLT, which can be done directly through our booking form, allowing you to offset as you book your trip!
We encourage respectful wildlife-watching.
For the prosperity of the species that we enjoy watching so much, and for our own ongoing enjoyment, it is imperative that we avoid disturbing the wildlife we are trying to see.
We never flush birds. The reward of seeing a Red-necked Nightjar or a Tawny Owl at rest after patient and quiet searching from afar is so much greater than glimpsing one fly away after some idiot has just booted it out of the undergrowth! For ground-nesters such as the Moroccan Marsh Owl, we now only offer trips outside the breeding season, and time our site visits to maximise the chance of finding the birds active rather than roosting.
We use fieldcraft to find passerines. Usually with a little patience and listening, it is perfectly possible to find the bird you are looking for. On the very rare occasions we choose to use a tape, we do so sensitively, always adhering to the guidelines published in the article “The Proper Use of Playback in Birding” by Sibley et al.
Where we work through other companies, for example for cetacean-watching boat trips or to look for Iberian Lynx, we only work with reputable firms who have non-intrusive wildlife-watching protocols in place.
We challenge the unethical.
While we as individuals have no problem with sustainable subsistence hunting within local communities, we personally find hunting for so-called ‘sport’ abhorrent, and unsustainable trophy hunting completely unacceptable. The hunting industry often seems to be out of control, able to damage ecosystems and illegally kill native wildlife with impunity. Of the thirty optics companies that were examined in the 2018 Ethical Consumer report entitled “Shooting Wildlife II”, 83% were found to specifically market to hunters as well as birders. And a disappointing 13 of these actively glamorise trophy hunting in their promotional material, including targets like lions and bears.
Inglorious Bustards engaged in the debate on this subject following the Shooting Wildlife III report. Our view is that as conservationists and an ethical caring nature tourism business we should promote positive ethical choices to potential consumers so they can make an informed choice.
That´s why we´re proud to be ambassadors for Viking Optical – a company which is one of only a handful of companies that produce high quality optics solely for the wildlife-watching market. They too have nature at their heart and support a variety of conservation projects including being Birdlife Species Champions for two critically endangered birds and long-time sponsors of the Birdfair. We love the personal contact, trust and compassion involved in working with them. They really put their optics where their mouth is, enabling us to loan binoculars to volunteers monitoring the raptor migration across The Straits of Gibraltar, to bird-watching newcomers, and to budding young Gambian ornithologists.
Phew! Now that we´ve minimised our own impact on the environment as much as we can, it´s time to add positive actions!
We support local conservation projects.
All across the East Atlantic Flyway, there are passionate individuals and local NGOs running brilliant small-scale conservation initiatives, making immediate positive differences for their local wildlife. As our company grows, so does our ability to contribute to their efforts. Our portfolio of projects expands all the time, and you can read more on our website, but here´s a taster:
The Migres Foundation is a private non-profit scientific and cultural foundation, focused on the preservation and enhancement of natural heritage in the Straits of Gibraltar.
Migres has run a long-term monitoring program of bird migration through the Strait of Gibraltar since 1997, making it the greatest sustained effort for monitoring migratory birds in Europe, and is immensely important in monitoring population change and migratory patterns in many avian species, including endangered species such as Egyptian Vultures and Balearic Shearwaters.
The body of scientific research generated by Migres on interactions between soaring birds and wind turbines has global importance.
They also perform research and awareness programs, carry out advanced ornithological training activities and environmental education, organise conferences, and encourage activities promoting sustainable local development and nature tourism in general.
We work closely with Migres in assisting with monitoring, fundraising and promotional activities using our wealth of experience gained whilst working for the RSPB.
Marisma 21 is an organisation devoted to the restoration of the salt marshes in the Bay of Cadiz, on the south western coast of Spain. The salt marsh is an important ecological area and Marisma 21’s objectives are the recovery and holistic revitalisation of the salt pans using artisanal salt production methods. This not only ensures the maintenance of the macro-flora in the salt pans, an important food source for migratory wading birds, but enhances the local environment for aquatic salt-loving species.
The sympathetic management and hand-harvesting of the pans not only generates multiple benefits for wildlife, it also brings employment to the area in the form of salt production work and nature tourism.
On selected tours, we offer you the opportunity to dine on site at the salt pans, watching breeding Little Terns and Kentish Plovers while eating delicious freshly-cooked tortillitas de camarrones, and shrimps fished from the salt pans just moments before! You´ll have the opportunity to support their work by taking home some souvenir salt, an incredibly tasty product you´ll also get to sample at our picnics!
Based at Kotu Creek, near Brufut, TheGambia Birdwatchers Association was established in 2007. It provides a headquarters for the area´s bird guides, trains the next generation of ornithologists, and carries out excellent project-based conservation work, including utilising local volunteers in the restoration of mangrove swamp habitat. In The Gambia, many important forests are community-owned, and GBA are instrumental in setting up community reserves, training bird guides in the villages and enabling them to benefit from the preservation of forest habitat through well-thought-out ecotourism.
Inglorious Bustards work closely with GBA, giving project advice and consultation. From 2019, we will be donating 10% of our profits from all our Gambia trips to supporting their high quality, objective-led work.
So there it is, our #FlywayPromise. We hope you like it! We are constantly striving to find new ways to use our passion for #FlywayBirding to make the planet a better place. Our hope is not to be different, but that others will rise to this challenge too.
Write a Review
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *