Doñana & Sierra Morena Birdwatching Tour in Andalucía
An 8-day Andalucía Birding Tour including sites such as Doñana, Odiel Marshes and Sierra Morena. Carefully selected birdwatching accommodations and full board (picnic for lunch).
Doñana National Park is famous for many reasons – it was the first project of the World Wildlife Fund, 30,000 water birds breed there and it is a “superhighway” for migratory birds with over 500,000 spending the winter there. Lying along the Guadalquivir River, this 1,300-square kilometre park is made up of marshlands, scrub, dunes and lagoons, and with its extensive ecosystem and abundant species, it is hardly surprising that it is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. The Park is also home for both Iberian Lynx and Spanish Imperial Eagle so we will watch out in the search of these scarce species that have become emblems of the conservation in Spain.
Sierra Morena in the north of Andalucia is an excellent example of the Mediterranean ecosystem on a 400 Km mountain range; it is home to cork and holm oaks, and chestnut trees that form forests in the more humid areas. The fauna includes species such as the Iberian Lynx, Black Vulture, Black Stork and Golden Eagle. The wood-pastures on the western side of these hills serve as grazing areas for the famous black pigs.
Please note that for group sizes from 9 to 18 px, we can still cater to these group sizes due to our own small coach or minivan. Please enquire regarding pricing.
Alternative Tour Name: Premium Bird Tour Pack Doñana & Sierra Morena
Airport pick-up and transfer to your accommodation in the Doñana area. After the check-in, presentation of the birding week and exploration of the surroundings of the hotel.
Our first trip of the week takes us to the northern Doñana area by driving past farms, paddy fields and marshlands in the delta of the river Guadalquivir. This trip involves a long journey on dirt roads that are exceptional for birding.
In this area, you will discover the magnificence of the Brazo de la Torre, an old branch of the Guadalquivir that is trapped between the dykes that constitute the Entremuros space. It is an excellent enclave that provides water birds with refuge and food resources. You will also have the chance to see Caño Travieso, the ecological restoration in the recovery of part of the natural dynamics of the marshland.
At this time of the year, the fields and marshes around Valverde’s Bird Centre get full of Common Cranes and birds of prey such as Hen and Marsh Harriers.
On the way back, the route follows the course of the Caño Guadiamar, an excellent birding area where Purple and Squacco Herons, Glossy Ibis, Coots, Red-crested Pochards and Purple Swamphens, among others, concentrate for several months during the breeding season.
We will be back to the hotel at 18:00 approx.
Depart from the hotel at 9 am so you can take the opportunity to explore the cork oak forest next door on your own before breakfast.
This trip involves two different areas. First, we go to El Rocío area to visit the Acebron Palace where we do a short walk to see the surroundings.
Then we drive through a secondary road to get to Huelva city but we will do two interesting stops in our way. First one is to visit the Asperillo cliff. The Asperillo cliff are in the privileged setting of the Doñana Natural Park. The Acantilado del Asperillo Natural Monument is a system of fossil dunes that is considered to be one of the most unusual geomorphological and ecological coastal formations anywhere on the Iberian Peninsula.
The second stop is for lunch at the promenade of the port of Huelva with nice views over the estuary and the Odiel Marshes.
After lunch, we visit Odiel Marshes Biosphere Reserve, in between Punta Umbría and Huelva city. Odiel marshes is the most important tidal marshes in Spain and the second most important wetland in the area, after Doñana. We will visit first the public area in the reserve and after that we will enter the restricted area. Odiel Marshes is a paradise for birds and we should see a nice variety of different species of waders, gulls, terns and raptors.
We will be back to the hotel around 18:00.
Meeting at 7:45 am at your accommodation to do a 6-hour trip starting from El Rocío. This route will take you to the north of the restricted area of the Park visiting two of the most important ecosystems of Doñana: the forest and marshland.
The main target in the pine and cork oak woods is the Iberian Lynx, while the strong point of the marshes is the great variety of birds.
We may be lucky to see one of the resident pairs of Spanish Imperial Eagle while we are having lunch in an old gamekeeper’s cottage.
8 am. El Andevalo is a large area in the centre and west of Huelva province next to Portugal. It is a beautiful countryside in the lowest populated land in this corner of Spain. We visit the last steppe in the foothills that holds a very small population of bustards. As we go inland the landscape becomes more undulating towards Sierra Pelada.
This full day trip involves an ascent to the woody hills in the west of Huelva to watch raptors, insectivorous birds and other wildlife amongst the rocks, woods and scrubland. The main colony of Black Vulture in Andalusia is located in Sierra Pelada. On the way up we can look for Great and Little Bustards.
After our return, it is time for packing as we move to Sierra Morena in the morning.
The valuable natural resources to be found in the Sierra Norte Natural Park attracted numerous civilisations to the area over the ages. The landscape was transformed by different settlers who wanted to take advantage of the riches on offer. One example is Cerro del Hierro Hill. It is a designated Natural Monument, and here extraction of iron ore and the erosive action of the rain have uncovered a karst landscape that is now popular with climbers.
Here you will find undulating hills with predominant areas of pastureland with holm oaks and cork trees, mixed in with Mediterranean forest and some olive groves and vineyards. In some shady, damp areas in the municipal districts of Constantina and Cazalla, there are the only Pyrenean oaks in the province, as well as chestnut trees used for their wood.
Spanish Imperial, Golden and Bonelli's Eagles can be seen flying above the Natural Park. Carrion-feeders such as Black and Griffon vultures are also common. It is easy to see hoofed mammals too such as Red Deer and Wild Boar.
The Mediterranean woodland and the dehesa are essential for the breeding and fattening of the Iberian pig, while at the same time sustaining the breeding of jewels of Iberian birdlife such as the golden eagle, the black vulture and the azure-winged magpie. Other birds typical of this habitat are the hoopoe, the shrikes and the hawfinch.
The rivers of Seville’s Sierra Norte are fed by rainwater and suffer significant variations on account of summer droughts and torrential rains during the rest of the year. Several stretches of the Rivers Hueznar, Ciudadeja, Viar and Cala boast riparian forests of alder, ash, willow and black poplar in an exceptional state of conservation. The most noteworthy presence – though scarce – is that of the dipper. More frequently found in this habitat are the common kingfisher, the grey wagtail, the red-rumped swallow and the European bee-eater, as well as different species of herons. Where the watercourses are deeply incrusted in the ground, giving rise to rocky gulleys, it is possible to see the black stork, the Griffon vulture, the Egyptian vulture and the eagle owl.
We check-out and leave our beautiful accommodation in Sierra Norte to hit the way back to Seville airport.
During our Andalucía Birding Tour, we will be expecting to see some of the following species:
Common Cranes, Hen and Marsh Harriers, Purple and Squacco Herons, Glossy Ibis, Coots, Red-crested Pochards and Purple Swamphens, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulturem, Great Bustard, Little Bustard
What is included?
- All accommodation or lodgings based on double occupancy
- Single occupancy available for an additional charge/cost
- Professional multilingual guide and support staff
- Specialist guide fees
- Local transfers and all ground transport throughout the tour
- Entrance fees to all National Parks, Nature Reserves and/or use of Hides where applicable
- All meals
- Water throughout the tour
- All activities as specified within the tour itinerary
- Use of binoculars and telescopes
- Personalised checklists
- All Applicable Taxes
What is not included?
- All international or domestic airfares
- Visa Fees (if applicable)
- Travel & medical insurance (incl. personal equipment and repatriation)
- Airport departure taxes or visa fees (if applicable)
- Items of personal nature
- Excess baggage charges
- Laundry & telephone Charges
- Optional tour extensions where applicable
- Tips & gratuities
- Any other drinks not mentioned above
- Anything else not mentioned in “What is included”
There is WiFi connection in all the accommodation and our tour leaders can also share WiFi connectivity (or hotspot) via local Spanish mobile network.