Spanish Birdwatching Tours Specialist
Birding Tours Spain is offered by Oretani Wildlife, a custom tour operator supplying guided birding and wildlife tours in the province of Ciudad Real in central Spain. Although a relatively unknown area for many visitors, it has a rich variety of habitats including mountains, wetlands and steppes, with a spectacular diversity of species to be found in each for the discerning bird enthusiast and wildlife lover.
These top nature watching areas are all within a 40km radius of our guesthouse, Casa Oretani, which means you will spend more time birding and wildlife watching and less time travelling. Casa Oretani offers comfortable accommodation with a garden and pool which Imperial Eagles and many vultures regularly fly over. From spring onwards the sounds of Scops Owls at night in the park outside the door, the songs of nightingales near the stream and the haunting calls of Stone Curlews let you know that you have arrived at a choice area for birding.
To occupy your free time during the evenings, we can show you where you can find our resident Eagle Owls and Red-necked Nightjar, just a 15 minute walk away. Or just cross the road for the Scops Owls in the park.
We are located in the only region in Spain with two national parks. The P.N. Tablas de Daimiel and its surrounding wetlands offer incredible opportunities to see many resident and migratory species, both waders and passerines. Flamingoes can be seen year-round, and in spring and autumn many migrants stop en route. In winter cranes visit in their thousands.
The P.N. de Cabañeros is a pristine Mediterranean forest, home to the second-largest colony of Cinereous Vultures in Europe and vast numbers of Griffin Vultures. It is also a bastion of the majestic Spanish Imperial Eagle and numerous other birds of prey.
The volcanic steppe of the Campo de Calatrava provides excellent opportunities to see Great and Little Bustard, Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew and Calandra Lark, and in the dehesas to the south Spanish Imperial Eagles again abound.
Due to the ideal location of our guest accommodation, these three distinct habitats are all within a half-hour drive. There are many quiet backroads and tracks of which we have excellent local knowledge. Taking these allows you to discover the area in a more personal and exclusive way. Driving through the Manchegan countryside with its stunning scenery is a relaxing and satisfying experience. And coupled with great cuisine and fine wines, the wonderful Manchegan cheese, majestic landscapes, rich culture and history, it adds up to a birding and wildlife experience like no other.
Mike Grimes is from Ireland and has a degree in Earth Sciences. He has lived in Castilla-La Mancha since 1998 and has intimate knowledge of the best birding sites in the region. He has worked as a guide at a UNESCO site, Skellig Michael, given courses in wildlife photography and guiding, and has freelanced with other tour operators requiring an English-speaking guide. He speaks English and Spanish.
We don’t have any awards for conservation but we still do our bit. Our guest house, Casa Oretani, was built with remarkable insulating properties. We use solar panels to heat water and Aerothermic Heat Pumps for climate control in the house. These machines, which use a renewable resource, are an efficient method of heating the house in the winter and cooling in the summer.
We use local restaurants in small villages which helps provide employment in an area that has seen a large population drain over the years. Our packed lunches use local products and we avoid the use of plastic.
We don’t go where we shouldn’t. The national parks have strict rules regarding access and leaving paths. We respect these rules and ensure our clients do too.
Ultimately, it’s the wildlife that is most important to us. We don’t get too close. We don’t intrude on breeding sites. We don’t use recordings. We respect the environment that we visit. We see it as it should be and leave it as it was – or better if we can take home someone else’s rubbish when we find it.
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