Sharing our pasion for nature in Extremadura since 2005
A private eight-day tour led by Martin Kelsey anytime from mid-Februray to late April a special focus on orchids. There are about 60 species of orchids recorded in Extremdura (depending on taxonomy), but with species-specific flowering times, in any one 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. This is also an excellent time for birds, so this tour is a perfect combination.
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. Bird watching 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.
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 id 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. 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.
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.
Hoopoe, Iberian Magpie, Red-rumped Swallow, Serin and Sardinian Warbler, Hill Orchid, Green-flowered Tongue Orchid, Bug Orchid
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 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.
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.