Sharing our pasison for nature in Extremadura since 2005
A private eight-day tour led by Martin Kelsey from November to mid-February. The key attraction is the huge wintering population of Common Crane, but there is an exciting supporting cast of vast numbers of waterfowl, as well as smaller birds which draw in raptors like Hen Harrier and Merlin. A range of habitats will be explored and resident birds like bustards, sandgrouse and eagles add extra spice, as well as species like Alpine Accentor.
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. This may be at the Arrocampo Reservoir which is en route from Madrid, where emergent vegetation provides habitat for Purple Swamphen, Penduline Tit, Bluethroat, and overwintering Little Bittern.
The sequence of places visited and the time spent in each will vary according to your particular interests, as well as factors like the weather. Our house is excellently situated to be within easy reach of all the different habitats and best sites, without having to do a huge amount of driving. This tour provides plenty of time to both find and enjoy the birds, as well as to get an insight into this fascinating part of Spain.
We will visit the plains near Trujillo and Cáceres to look for Great Bustards as well as Little Bustards. This is the habitat too for Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. We should also see large numbers of larks (Calandra, Skylark, Crested and Thekla) as well as species like Iberian Grey Shrikes. The flocks of passerine attract birds of prey like Merlin and Hen Harrier. Wintering Red Kite will be present in large numbers and this habitat is also an excellent foraging area for other raptors such as eagles and vultures.
We will stop in good dehesa areas and also spend time exploring the rocky valleys and ravines of the rivers that cross the dehesa. This is where we will look for Hawfinch, as well as Bonelli's Eagle, Black Wheatear and Crag Martins.
We will make sure that we devote plenty of time for birding in the irrigated agriculture land, watching vast numbers of cranes and other birds on the rice and maize stubble fields. There will be flocks of thousands of Spanish Sparrow and we may stay out until dusk to watch a large roost of harriers. This is a good area for that sought-after species the Black-winged Kite. Large winter roosts of Stone Curlew will also be found during the day. Nearby are reservoirs supporting huge populations of wintering duck, which will be well worth visiting, not just for the spectacle itself, but also to look for rarer species too, such as overwintering Black Stork.
At least one whole day will be spent in the amazing Monfragüe Natural Park, home to large populations of Black Vulture and Griffon Vulture. Resident Spanish Imperial, Bonelli's and Golden Eagles will hopefully be seen, with a good range of smaller species too such as Hawfinch, Firecrest, Rock Sparrow and Azure-winged Magpie. Eagle Owls will be calling at dusk and the area is particularly good for Otter.
We will also include a visit to a wintering area for Alpine Accentor.
Return transfer to the airport, with a stop on route (time permitting) to savour for one last moment the joy of birding in Extremadura.
Purple Swamphen, Penduline Tit, Bluethroat, Little Bittern, Calandra, Skylark, Crested, Thekla, Bonelli’s Eagle, Black Wheatear and Crag Martins, Spanish Imperial, Bonelli’s Golden Eagles, Hawfinch, Firecrest, Rock Sparrow and Azure-winged Magpie. Eagle Owls, Otter
What is included?
- Meals (breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal)
- Guided tours
- Transfer to and from the place of accommodation and airport
- Checklists and after-tour report.
What is not included?
- Personal travel insurance
- Entry fees to historic sites if visit requested by client
- Additional services requested (such as photographic hides)
- Refreshments (apart from that included with meals)
Martin Kelsey has been running customised birding and nature tours in Extremadura since 2005, with over 120 to date. 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.
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. We will check with you for any dietary restrictions etc.
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.
The weather in winter will be variable, with sunny days, but always the chance of rainy periods. The evenings and early mornings in can be cold.
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.
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.