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Swift Weekender Tour - 4 Days

Swift Weekender Tour
860

For 4 days Inglorious Bustards will endeavour to bring you together with all five species of that most aerially superb genus, the Swift, all over the course of a weekend of fantastic and varied birding!  Also hope for a great selection of raptors including Griffon Vultures, Egyptian Vultures, Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagles, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Black-winged Kites and Lesser Kestrels.

Day 1
Day 1

You begin with a flight to Gibraltar, from where we transfer to our delightful base at Huerta Grande eco-resort.   Situated between two natural parks in the forested hills above the Straits of Gibraltar, Huerta Grande is fast becoming known as the centre of birding in the Straits. After settling in, we’ll take time to explore our rich local surroundings in the Los Alcornacales natural park. This is the biggest cork oak forest in Europe and especially unique in the way that it gathers moisture coming in off the ocean to create a warm Mediterranean cloud forest.  As well as some cracking local avian specialities in the form of Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Hawfinch and Short-toed Treecreeper, almost anything can turn up here during the early days of autumn migration, as passerines collect amongst the trees to gather strength for their southwards crossing of the Straits.  The nearby grazed pastures generate clouds of invertebrates, and we’ll be able to enjoy large numbers of resident Pallid Swifts mopping them up in the afternoon sun. We’ll also explore the picturesque old town of Tarifa, where we can encounter Common Bulbuls (another unusual European tick), urban Little Owls and breeding Lesser Kestrels.   We’ll enjoy a stroll along the harbour front where, simply by looking up we’ll be able to see Pallid Swifts galore and pick out Common Swifts crossing over this historic town.

Day 2
Day 2

This morning, as every morning, we’ll be looking up from our breakfast, watching for groups of Alpine Swift.  Groups of this super-sized swift will be passing overhead on their early morning passage flight, moving through from their mountain breeding grounds to their Sub-Saharan wintering areas. We’ll start our off-site birding with a visit to the nearby town of Vejer de la Frontera, where a successful reintroduction programme of the Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis took place in 2008.  From thirty pairs, the birds now number around 78 pairs, and we should be able to see these engaging and quirky birds at their nesting colony or grazing on surrounding farmland.

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Northern Bald Ibis © Inglorious Bustards
Then we’ll head out to the farmland and wetlands of La Janda, a huge area of low intensity farmland, once a vast wetland on a par with Doñana in terms of its ecological importance.  It’s long since been drained for agriculture, but amongst the newly-wetted rice fields and managed pools and ditches, some real wetland gems remain, hinting at its former natural glory.  Amongst many hundreds of White Stork and Glossy Ibis, here we should see many waders, wildfowl and raptors, such as Purple Swamphen, Marsh Harrier, Black-winged Kite.  There’s also a chance of Spanish Imperial Eagle and Bonelli’s Eagle, whilst the farmland areas should yield Spanish Sparrow, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Tawny Pipit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Yellow Wagtails and Corn Bunting. We’ll round off the day with a visit to a tiny breeding colony of White-rumped Swift. Several pairs of this typically African breeding species have found and occupied a collection of old Red-rumped Swallow nests nearby, making this area one of only a handful of European sites for this fabulous little bird.  As well as visiting the nest site (always with care and consideration for the birds) we will enjoy them feeding over nearby open water, mixed in with many Common and Pallid Swifts, several species of Swallow and Martin, and hopefully also enjoy views of locally breeding Western Osprey.

Day 3
Day 3

Today we’ll make an early start to pick up the last of our five star swifts – Little Swift.  This is another typically African species, better known in the souks and medinas of Marrakech.  But again, for this tiny Apus the Straits have proved no barrier, and we will be able to visit a coastal breeding site near Cadiz to enjoy their aerial antics.

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Little Swift © Inglorious Bustards
Cadiz bay and the lagoons and the salt pans of Bonanza are home to some exceptional species.  We will take time to explore the creeks and lagoons of this very special area. This area offers a fantastic selection of wetland birds which changes every day and is a draw for both northerly and southerly bound wading birds with breeding Collared Pratincoles, Black-winged Stilts, Pied Avocets and Kentish Plover all to be encountered. On nearby lagoons we hope to encounter Red-knobbed Coot and White-headed Duck at close range, whilst also observing busy nesting colonies of Black-crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill and both Little and Cattle Egrets as Great Reed Warblers blast their song out from the surrounding reeds. There are many coastal birds such as Sandwich, Little and Caspian Terns, Slender-billed Gull and the once extremely rare Audouin’s Gull.  We should also encounter masses of Greater Flamingo and fishing Western Osprey. Then it’s back to Huerta Grande birding local sites en route, where we’ll celebrate our last night with chef Juan Carlos’s traditional Andalusian fare, and a glass or two of local sherry.

Day 4
Day 4

Today sadly our trip comes to an end, and it’s time for you to travel home, with memories of some great Andalusian wildlife, and with luck, our Swift page complete!

In an action-packed weekend of excellent birding, you’ll be treated to Southern Spain avian specialities as Rufous Scrub Robin, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Rüppell´s Vulture, White-headed Duck, Red-knobbed Coot, Northern Bald Ibis and Common Bulbul.

Thanks to the wide range of habitats within reach of our base near Tarifa we are able to visit salt pans, farmland, mountains and coast, and rack up over 120 species of bird in just four days, including such delights as  Western Olivaceous Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Western Swamphen, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, European Bee-eater, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Black-eared Wheatear, Crested and Thekla Lark and Tawny Pipit.  There is an abundance of other wildlife to look at too, such as Oscellated Lizard, Moorish Gecko, Oak Hawkmoth, Swallowtail, Cleopatra and Monarch butterflies.

The gorgeous sunny weather shouldn’t disappoint and neither will the food, featuring lavish picnics in prime habitat at lunchtime and local specialities in one of the area´s best restaurants at night, relaxing next to a stream full of Iberian Pond Tortoises!

And then there were the Swifts!  What a joy to see all five of mainland Europe´s breeding Swifts – Common, Pallid, White-rumped, Little and Alpine.  At times they will fill the skies and we will enjoy superb views and we respectfully enjoy stunning close up views of White-rumped and Little Swift at their breeding sites.  All in all a great weekend celebrating this most aerially superb genus.

What is included?

  • price includes all accommodation, meals, guiding, transportation, taxes and entrances but excludes flights.

What is not included?

  • Items of a personal nature
Wildlife Reviews
4.94 stars
- based on 3  reviews
  1. Swift Weekender
    John Headon13 Jul 2018
    4.83
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    An excellent trip, made all the better by Simon and Niki's friendliness, consideration, thoroughness, skill and persistence! The latter was very important as it allowed me to see quite a few species I might otherwise have missed (lesson hopefully learnt!). I could not have asked for more in the way of being looked after, cossetted even! Thank you - it was brilliant.
  2. First time to the area
    Gary Mantle05 Apr 2017
    5
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    Fabulous time with Niki & Simon exploring a range of different habitats and birds. I was asked if there were any species I was particularly keen to see and they made every effort to rise to the challenge. They were good company, well informed and expert making the two days guiding a real pleasure. Highly recommended.
  3. Brilliant birding
    Lynne Dale04 Sep 2017
    5
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    A fantastic Wildlife experience led by enthusiastic, knowledgeable leaders Simon and Niki. The pace of the holiday was relaxed but we missed nothing. Simon and Niki knew exactly where the birds were and were extremely adaptable reacting to changes in the weather as necessary. Accommodation and food were excellent enhancing the experience of birding on 2 Continents.

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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.

Join Our Fixed Tour Starting Date

Tour Dates Tour Availability Price Spaces Left
17/07/2020 - 20/07/2020 guaranteed EUR 860
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4 Days

Price & Availability

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EUR860 / per person
860
Total EUR 860
This tour is operated by: Inglorious Bustards

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Operator Review Summary

4.99 Based on 20 reviews
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