Home > Tours> Birds of Extremadura and Orchids Tour, Spain

Birds of Extremadura and Orchids Tour, Spain - 8 Days

Birds of Extremadura and Orchids Tour, Spain
1790

Orchids and Birds of Extremadura Tour

A private eight-day wildlife holiday led by Martin Kelsey focussing on orchids and birds anytime from March to late April.

Spring in Extremadura offers one of the most exciting and memorable wildlife experiences in Europe. Thanks to its low human population density and still largely traditional land use, there is plenty of space for nature and for the birds of Extremadura. There is a surprising diversity of landscapes. So, in a week’s holiday different habitats can be explored each day. This adds to the richness of the experience. The landscape is perhaps at its most stunning: lush and emerald-green.

There are about 60 species of orchids recorded in Extremadura. In a week, especially from late March, it should be possible to find between 15 and 20 species. The peak of the very attractive Ophrys (bee-type orchids) flowering is from mid-March to mid-April. Early spring is also the best time of all to enjoy watching the birds of the open plains. It is excellent for early butterflies, with perhaps 15-20 species possible. Resident birds are nesting and spring migrants are arriving in strength. As spring progress, the interesting Serapias (tongue orchids) become more dominant. From mid to late April, woodland orchids like Sulphur Orchid, Provence Orchid and Langei’s Orchid can be found, as well as helleborines.

(Now almost fully booked for 2021 and taking bookings for 2022!)

Sharing our passion for nature in Extremadura since 2005

Day 1
Day 1 - Arrival

You will be met at the airport (Madrid, Lisbon or Seville).

Depending on your arrival time, we will stop on the way to Casa Rural El Recuerdo for some birding, to provide an initial taste on what the region has to offer. Extremadura birding starts around the garden and lanes around Casa Rural El Recuerdo will quickly produce Hoopoe, Iberian Magpie, Red-rumped Swallow, Serin and Sardinian Warbler, whilst as night falls the sounds of Scops and Little Owls form a wonderful setting to prepare for dinner in the old wine cellar of the house.

Day 2
Days 2 to 7 - Main events

The sequence of places visited will depend on the time of year and to optimise weather. We will explore areas in the southern province of Badajoz where we should find colonies of Giant Orchids (they start flowering in late January) as well as Hill Orchid, growing in old limestone quarry workings. We will look for colonies of Sombre Orchids and the gorgeous Pink Butterfly Orchids. In areas of limestone outcrops we should find Woodcock, Conical, Pink Butterfly and if depending on the timing, Bumblebee Orchids. Visits in April will give us a chance of finding the endemic Green-flowered Tongue Orchid. Nearby is the longest Roman Bridge in the world - in the centre of Extremadura’s capital city Mérida. Birding from this 2000 year old structure should yield species like Penduline Tit, Little Bittern and Western Swamphen.

The plains near Trujillo are famous for their steppe species of birds with both species of bustard, sandgrouse and larks. The area is also excellent for birds of prey. Depending on the time of year, we can also find orchids like Bug Orchid and two species of Tongue Orchid.

Later spring visits will give us the opportunity of looking for woodland species, such as Sulphur, Dense-flowered and Bird’s Nest Orchid, as well as several Helleborines.

Arrocampo Reservoir is the most important single site in Extremadura for breeding herons and egrets, and is also rich in other reedbed species such as Savi’s Warbler, Western Swamphen and Penduline Tit, offering a great birding Extremadura experience. Close by is the most important site for orchids in the north of Extremadura, with large colonies of Naked Man Orchid, Champagne Orchid and Ophrys species such as Mirror, Yellow Bee, Woodcock and Sawfly. A total of 18 taxa of orchids grow here and we will visit the impressive Orchid Information Centre at the edge of the Almaraz town.

Day 3
Day 8 - End of the tour

Return transfer to the airport, with a stop on route (time permitting) to savour for one last moment the joy of watching nature in Extremadura.

The lists of orchids and birds given are advisory. A lot depends on which week in the spring the holiday takes place, as the orchid species that are in flower change from week to week. Because of prevailing weather, some springs are more advanced than others, which will also influence the timing of flowering. We can provide more detailed advice.

Orchids

Anacamptis champagneuxii

A. collina

A. coriophora

A. laxiflora

A. morio

A. papilionacea

Cephalantera longifolia

C. rubra

Dactylorhiza elata

D. fuchsii

D. insularis

D. irenica

D.  maculata

D. sulphurea

Himantoglossum robertiana

Neotinea conica

N. maculata

Neottia nidus-avis

Ophrys apifera

O. bilunulata

O. bombyliflora

O. dyris

O. fusca

O. incubacea

O. lupercalis

O. lutea

O. picta

O. scolopax

O. speculum

O. tenthredinifera

Orchis italica

O.  langei

Serapias cordigera

S. lingua

S. parviflora

S. perez-chiscanoi

S. vomeracea

Birds

Garganey
Red-crested Pochard
Ferruginous Duck
Black-necked Grebe
Little Bittern
Black-crowned Night Heron
Squacco Heron
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Great Egret
Purple Heron
Black Stork
White Stork
Glossy Ibis
Spoonbill
Egyptian Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Black Vulture
Spanish Imperial Eagle
Golden Eagle
Short-toed Eagle
Booted Eagle
Bonelli’s Eagle
Black Kite
Red Kite
Marsh Harrier
Montagu’s Harrier
Honey Buzzard
Black-winged Kite
Lesser Kestrel
Water Rail
Spotted Crake
Purple Swamphen
Little Bustard
Great Bustard
Black-winged Stilt
Stone Curlew
Collared Pratincole
Kentish Plover
Whiskered Tern
Black Tern
Gull-billed Tern
Black-bellied Sandgrouse
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
Turtle Dove
Common Cuckoo
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Scops Owl
Eagle Owl
Red-necked Nightjar
Alpine Swift
Pallid Swift
White-rumped Swift
Kingfisher
Bee-eater
Roller
Hoopoe
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Calandra Lark
Short-toed Lark
Crested Lark
Thekla Lark
Woodlark
Crag Martin
Red-rumped Swallow
Bluethroat
Nightingale
Black-eared Wheatear
Black Wheatear
Blue Rock Thrush
Cetti’s Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Savi’s Warbler
Great Reed Warbler
Melodious Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Spectacled Warbler
Subalpine Warbler
Sardinian Warbler
Western Orphean Warbler
Western Bonelli’s Warbler
Iberian Chiffchaff
Crested Tit
Short-toed Treecreeper
Penduline Tit
Golden Oriole
Iberian Grey Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Iberian Magpie
Spotless Starling
Spanish Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Rock Sparrow
Common Waxbill
Red Avadavat
Serin
Hawfinch
Cirl Bunting
Rock Bunting
Ortolan Bunting
Corn Bunting

What is included?

  • En suite accommodation
  • Meals (breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal)
  • Exclusive service of a professional guide
  • All activities as specified in the itinerary, customised as requested
  • Transfer to and from the place of accommodation and airport
  • Checklists and after-tour report.

What is not included?

  • Flights
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Entry fees to historic sites if visit requested by client
  • Additional services requested (such as photographic hides)
  • Refreshments (apart from that included with meals)
Wildlife Reviews
4.83 stars
- based on 2  reviews
  1. Great SpringBirding
    Gary Dean26 Mar 2018
    4.67
    Overall

    Tours

    Wildlife

    Guides

    Conservation

    Location

    Value

    We had heard about the birding to be had in Extremudura and finally got round to make a visit. The trip exceeded our expectations and in the very capable hands of Martin and Claudia had a very enjoyable time. We came to see the displaying Bustards which did not disapoint, but we saw and enjoyed so much more. The multidude of birds of prey was a highlight as well as the early spring orchids. We booked the fully guided tour and we really appreciated not only Martins knowledge of the area and help in locating the birds but also his entusiasm for them, we learnt so much.
  2. Casa Rural el Recuerdo Spring 2018 trip
    Derek and Helen Langslow09 Apr 2018
    5
    Overall

    Tours

    Wildlife

    Guides

    Conservation

    Location

    Value

    A week of great birdwatching seeing 141 species and admiring orchids with Martin Kelsey. Extramadura has fine landscapes, interesting history and ancient villages. Martin took us to excellent wildlife sites and contributes to conservation locally. Our stay was comfortable and most enjoyable. We visited in 17 to 24 March 2018

Write a Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I certify that this Wildlife Review is based on my own experience and is my genuine opinion of this tour. I understand that Blue Sky Wildlife has a zero-tolerance policy on fake reviews.

Thank you for posting a Wildlife Review. It will appear live after Blue Sky Wildlife approves it.

Please fill all the fields.

Expand/Close
Why book with Birding Extremadura?

Martin Kelsey has been running customised birding and nature tours in Extremadura since 2005, with over 120 to date and is one of the region's most experienced professional guides. Extremadura is one of Europe’s top birding and nature-watching destinations. He has also partnered with acclaimed broadcasters and writers, Mark Cocker and David Lindo, offering group holidays with a difference.

Accommodation

You will stay at our house, which has six guest rooms with either double or twin beds. All rooms have en suite bathrooms. Lunches will be picnics. Our evening meals (three-course dinners with local wine) are based on locally-sourced products as far as possible. including our own olive oil and organic vegetables. We will check with you for any dietary restrictions etc. Most of the energy used at home comes from our solar panels.

Transport

Transport is by Land Rover (with the airport transfer by Citroen Berlingo). Walks are short and easy. We will enjoy spending time at vantage points for passing birds of prey.

What to bring

The weather in spring will be variable, with warm sunny days, but still the chance of rainy periods. The evenings and early mornings in early spring can be chilly. Suncream and a hat are advisable.

Other interests

Please let us know whether you would like to include into the itinerary visits to historic monuments such as Roman sites in Mérida and near Cáceres, the monastery of Guadalupe. We can also arrange sessions in specialist photography hides, run by local busineses, if you are interested.

Is the tour exclusive?

Absolutely, our customised tours are exclusive, so you will not be accompanied by others. There may be other guests staying in the lodge, but they will be doing their own thing during the day. Martin will check with you beforehand regarding your priorities, preferred pace and expectations. Contact Martin for the price of a customised tour for one person only, otherwise the quoted price will be per person, based on 2 to 4 people travelling together.

How do I pay, what are the terms and what happens in the event of cancellation?

Send an initial enquiry on-line on this page. Worldwide Traveller Protection via Blue Sky Wildlife Blue Sky Wildlife (based in the United Kingdom) can offer Worldwide Traveller Protection as a member of The Travel Vault and as part of this membership it has a range of insurances in place to cover the potential insolvency of any of the local wildlife specialists listed on the site, as well as the company itself should Blue Sky Wildlife cease trading. If you would prefer to book through Blue Sky Wildlife and make full payment directly to them to activate this protection at no additional cost, it would also mean the travel contract would be between yourselves and Blue Sky Wildlife. Please refer to their booking terms for more information.

Do you need a minimum fitness level for this holiday?

No, Extremadura is a highly accessible region and because the holiday is customised and exclusive, it can be tailor-made to suit your mobility. We have two ground-floor bedrooms for easier access, one of which is wheelchair-friendly.

What is the level of WiFi access?

At the house, we have good WiFi access throughout. There is good mobile phone connectivity in almost all places that we will visit.

Availability

As the tours are customised and exclusive, Birding Extremadura runs on a first-come, first-served basis. Spring birding holidays get booked up well in advance (at least a year ahead). There is more scope for later bookings for winter and early summer holidays. Martin can recommend other options if your preferred holiday time is already booked-up.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.


8 Days

Price & Availability

From
EUR1,790 / per person
This tour is operated by: Birding Extremadura

Quick Enquiry Form

Operator Review Summary

4.97 Based on 13 reviews
Tours
Wildlife
Guides
Conservation
Location
Value

Tour Facts

  • Trujillo, Spain
  • On Request
  • Custom Tour
  • 1 to 4 pax
  • 8 Days
  • February to April
  • +10 years (children accompanied by parents or close relatives)
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English, Spanish
  • Madrid or Seville Airports (or Lisbon with a surcharge)
  • Madrid or Seville Airports (or Lisbon with a surcharge)