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Doñana Delights Birding and Nature Tour, Andalucía, Spain - 5 Days

Doñana Delights Birding and Nature Tour, Andalucía, Spain
1150

Combined Doñana Birding and Nature Tour

A 5-day birding and nature tour at Doñana in Southern Spain. Experience a fascinating range of habitats to visit, including Stone Pine woodland, reedbeds, rice paddies, open grassland and heathland, freshwater pools and coastal sand dunes and of course the famous marshes, it’s no wonder Coto Doñana attracts such a fantastic variety of birds.  This tour will take you to explore these habitats – including the normally inaccessible reaches of the park – from our base in El Rocío, a lovely village with sandy streets that overlooks the lagoon, river and marshlands of the Doñana.

The Parque Nacional de Doñana is one of Europe’s most important wetland reserves and a major site for migrating birds. It is an immense area; the park itself and surrounding parque natural or Entorno de Doñana amount to over 1,300 sq km in the provinces of Huelva, Sevilla and Cádiz.

Doñana is well known for its enormous variety of bird species, either permanent residents, winter visitors from north and central Europe or summer visitors from Africa. The park as a whole comprises three distinct kinds of ecosystem: the marismas, the Mediterranean scrublands and the coastal mobile dunes with their beaches.

We will enter the interior of the park by 4×4 and explore areas normally closed to the public, here we will hopefully see the stunning Iberian Lynx along with a vast array of wetland bird species and Spanish Imperial Eagle. We overnight in the picturesque village of El Rocio, which is a kin to a scene from bonanza!

We will also visit nearby salt-pans and wetlands for White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck and Red-knobbed Coot. Finally we will visit friends managing traditional salt pans in the bay of Cadiz where we will get up close and personal with Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbills, Gulls and Waders.

Day 1
Day 1

You begin with a flight to Seville airport and a couple of hour’s drive south-west to our base at El Rocío, taking time to enjoy glimpses of larks, pipits and Hoopoes on the fertile farmland and orange groves that lie along the Guadalquivir river.

Our hotel at the edge of the village overlooks a splendid lagoon called ‘Madre de las Marismas’, which at this time of year will be teeming with Greater Flamingoes, waders and numerous other waterbirds, and a river and marshlands that lie within the Coto Doñana National Park.  Once we’ve settled into our rooms you’ll probably want to do some birding quite simply by looking out of the hotel!

However the village of El Rocío itself will also beckon, especially to wannabe cowboys and -girls!  Its sandy streets are still to this day lined with hitching posts for horses and lovely white-washed buildings, giving the feel of a sleepy Wild West town, and you’re sure to want to indulge in some urban birding and enjoy its laid back, slow-paced feel.

Day 2
Day 2

To make the absolute best of local weather conditions and bird movements, the itinerary during our stay remains flexible.  However, you can expect the following activities to make your stay a memorable one: In the numerous local marshes, ponds and flooded channels, we’ll see many Greater Flamingos, Eurasian Spoonbills, Black-winged Stilts and Glossy Ibis, and visit the best areas to look for Little Bittern and the beautiful Marbled Duck. At this time of year, migrants should be numerous, amongst them storks, herons, waders, ducks, gulls and terns. Many of the marshes and ponds may be wetter at this time of year depending on recent rainfall patterns in Andalucia, but we hope to visit the fish ponds at Dehesa de Abajo where an amazing number and variety of these wetland species should be present. We will also look for some of the region’s specialities, like Purple Swamphen and Red-knobbed Coot. Adjacent rice paddies hold not only a great array of wetland species but also some of Spain’s resident “exotics” such as Common Waxbill. A day will also be spent visiting the marshland and salt pans to the east of the mouth of the Guadalquivir. Here we’ll be looking for large numbers of Greater Flamingos, as well as Caspian and the first returning Gull-billed Terns. A wide variety of waders use the lagoons to rest up and gather their strength on migration.  These should include such species as Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Spotted Redshank, Sanderling, and Pied Avocet or maybe even Marsh Sandpiper or Temminck’s Stint. This is also one of the best sites in southern Spain for the beautiful Slender-billed Gull which often gather here in quite large numbers. Nearby the Laguna del Tarelo is a noted site for the rare and local White-headed Duck. The Stone Pine woodlands are home to roving flocks of Iberian Magpies plus Hoopoes, Crested Tits and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We will also look for the Lesser Short-toed Lark and early returning migrant warblers and perhaps European Bee-eaters. We’ll take a 4 x 4 vehicle into the Coto del Rey at the northern edge of the reserve, where we’ll explore a mixture of marshes and woodland.  This area holds the densest populations of raptors in the Coto Doñana. Both species of the kite are common as are Booted Eagles and Common Buzzard. The soaring flocks of Griffon Vultures are often joined by Short-toed Eagles, Marsh Harriers and Northern Goshawks and we should find one of the pairs of the Spanish Imperial Eagles which breed in the Coto del Rey area. We will also have local knowledge and skill to help us look for the beautiful Iberian Lynx and these two factors combined with a dash of luck could well give us views of this Critically Endangered and enigmatic cat. We’ll also spend a day with friends at Salarte who manage and encourage traditional salt extraction which provides a variety of conditions for migratory waders, gulls and terns. Taking a boat trip to this area will give us the best opportunity for close and spectacular views of these and a variety of star species such as Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo and Western Osprey.

Day 3
Days 3&4

As above

Day 5
Day 5

This morning we sadly we have to return to Seville airport but with an opportunity to take in some nearby Birding before going our separate ways.

Greater Flamingo, Eurasian Spoonbill, White-headed Duck, Marbled Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Western Osprey, Black-crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple Swamphen, White and Black Storks, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Kentish Plover Black-winged Stilt, Audouin’s and Slender-billed Gulls, and Caspian Terns.

What is included?

  • Price includes all accommodation.
  • All meals and selected drinks.
  • Guiding with a professional registered guide.
  • Transportation in our modern 9-seater minibus.
  • Local taxes and entrances.

What is not included?

  • Personal travel Insurances
  • International flight and visa fees
  • Additional drinks or snacks
  • Items of a personal nature
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 2  reviews
  1. Some of the best birding I\'ve had.
    Jake Gearty02 Feb 2017
    5
    Overall

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    I honestly mean it when I say I had some of the most enjoyable birding with the bustards. The guides are not only fantastic birders but also fantastic people. Saw all the birders I wanted to see but also really enjoyed myself. All round a fantastic place and would throughly recommend them to anyone.
  2. Complete BUSTARDS
    Jason Mitchell03 Feb 2017
    5
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    They are!!! That means to say they're the complete package; the 5-stars says it all.....passionate, knowledgeable and above all FUN :)

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Why book with Inglorious Bustards?

We love birds and wildlife! But even more than that we love making sure you see it, experience it and have a fantastic time to boot. Between us we have a 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 and local culture and 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 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. - Have an exceptional background in the country they are leading in. - Are fully insured and compliant with the Travel and Tour regulations. - Patient, always helpful and inspiring teachers.

Do I need my own food and drink during the day?

We got you covered - enjoy our sustainable picnic alongside choices of wines, juices (often homemade) and local spring water from our village. Of course you may however wish to additionally purchase a coffee or an ice cream. Please do bring a reusable water bottle and we can keep you topped up with spring water throughout the day - we don't like unnecessary single use plastic bottles - so we don't use them. Don't worry though we have some spares for loan too!

Who can join this tour?

Anybody! beginner to expert We warmly welcome children of any age (under 18) accompanied by an adult. Please do enquire directly on the suitability of the tour for you.

What is the likely weather?

We are protected both from the freezing cold and from the intense heat because of our location in The Strait. However some days can be windy, winds can go from a moderate or fresh easterly over the Alboran Sea (the western part of the Mediterranean) to gale force strength on the western side of the Strait. With our local knowledge we are able to read the weather and adapt our plans accordingly to ensure you have the best possible days with us.

What footwear should I wear?

We usually do all our watching from trails and paths so there should be no need for heavy boots - please do enquire directly.

What is the weather likely to be like?

During the winter months it can be fairly chilly with nighttime temperatures dropping to as low as 6°C but daytime temperatures with winter sun raise to anywhere between 15°C to 21°C. Some rain showers are possible but usually not prolonged.

What is the accommodation like?

We stay in a delightful rural hotel in the town of El Rocio the accommodation offers charming rooms with all en suite facilities, whilst the location is close to the Madre de Marismas - a large lagoon area full of waders, wildfowl and Greater Flamingoes at this time of year whilst on it's edges bellowing Red Deer and Wild Boar can be seen. Our accommodation is away from the busy main centre of El Rocio to ensure you have a tranquil stay but we will also be with in walking distance to ensure you can see real El Rocio life!

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour DatesTour AvailabilityPriceSpaces Left
10/01/2021 - 14/01/2021guaranteed EUR 1,150
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5 Days

Price & Availability

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EUR1,150 / per person
This tour is operated by: Inglorious Bustards

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Operator Review Summary

4.99 Based on 28 reviews
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Tour Facts

  • El Rocío, Doñana
  • On Request
  • Multi-Day Tour
  • Birds
  • 4 to 8px
  • 5 Days
  • April to August
  • + 10 years
  • Leisurely
  • No
  • English, Spanish, French
  • Seville Airport
  • Seville Airport