Extremadura- Spain £1295* May Spannish Flag
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Spanish Imperial Eagle

Following a private trip here in 2002 and very successful tours in 2004, 2005,2006, 2007 & 2012 Gone Birding run a tour to this superb region of Spain in May. This seven day tour will be based close to Trujillo, centrally located to the plains, and close to Monfrague National Park. Accommodation will be for 5 nights in a converted farm, with bed, breakfast and evening meal supplied. With a night in a hotel NW of Madrid, within striking distance of some great birding and for our return flight from Madrid, where the tour will begin and end. The flights and your own travel insurance, which is compulsory, and personal drinks are the only extra costs. All guiding, ground transport, food and expenses are included in the tour price. Contact us for further details (contact page)

Often copied, never bettered- We've noticed we've set a trend, as more & more tour companies are now running six day tours to this area, instead of combining with a tour elsewhere (3 days here, 3 days elsewhere). Some copying us day for day- but remember, our tours are fully inclusive.

*Plus flights, & compulsory travel insurance.

This seven day tour will be based close to Trujillo for 6 days with 2 half days north of Madrid for Dupont's Lark. Our 5 day Trujillo accommodation is centrally located near the superb plains, and close to Monfrague National Park, home to spectacular raptors.

This region of Spain at this time of year is a magical place, with day long quality birding in surprisingly varied habitats. Obviously the focus of our attentions are the plains, that hold a number of spectacular and magical birds. THE target species is Great Bustard, this, one of Europe's heaviest flying birds. Almost as spectacular are the Little Bustards, with their comical displays. We should catch up with both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, as they cross the plains in small groups, croaking as they go. There are also several larks to get to grips with, Calandra Lark the target species though. Raptors can also be seen in good numbers, with concentrations of hunting Montagu’s Harrier to be found. Several of the river valleys that dissect the countryside are green oasis, some holding Black Wheatear– a regional rarity. The towns we pass through are also of avian interest, many hold screaming parties of Pallid Swift, and some host communally breeding Lesser Kestrel. White Storks nest on almost every roof top. The rolling countryside away from the plains provide a diverse range of species, including the always spectacular and beautiful Black-shouldered Kite and magnificent Spanish Imperial Eagle, Plus Short-toed and Booted Eagle. To the north lies the Monfrague National Park, a hilly region home to a concentration of raptors. Amazingly close views of Black and Griffon Vultures can be guaranteed, with a good chance of Bonelli's and Golden Eagle. Amongst theSwifts check for Alpine and the rarer White- rumped Swift. The area is also home to breeding Eagle Owl and Black Stork. To the south are more intensive, agricultural areas, but these too have something to offer. The rice paddies can produce a variety of waders, but terns are common, producing both Gull-billed and Whiskered, plus recent invaders– Waxbills. On the way there we pass through more plains, which should reveal good numbers of Rollers and Stone Curlew, passing a few rivers on the way that provide more variety including Golden Orioles as well as a large reservoir, which should reveal grebes and wildfowl. The final day and half will be spent north of Madrid looking for warblers & Dupont's Lark at dusk and dawn.

Great Spotted Cuckoo

Our accommodation will be in a superbly converted and very comfortable old olive farm, or Finca as they are known, close to the fortified town of Trujillo, at the heart of Extremadura. Here we will have bed and breakfast plus our evening meals. This is not the cheapest accommodation available, but it is the best, and run by a birder. Four of the group will have their own suite with private patio, the rest of us in twin or double rooms with private facilities. The grounds of our accommodation are home to good numbers of breeding birds, including Bee-eaters and the regionalised Azure-winged Magpie, plus a supporting cast of warblers, larks and finches, plus Scops Owl and in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007& 2012- Red-necked Nightjar. We stay for one night north of Madrid in a finely appointed rural hotel within walking distance of great birding where Rock Sparrow can be seen and a short drive to a great area holding Spectacled Warbler, Orphean Warbler, Wryneck and of course Dupont's Lark, which can be surprisingly easy to see.

Transport will be in two vehicles or a people carrier, which we will pick up at Madrid airport. There will be lots of room for birders, bags and tripods etc... There is a £50 reduction in the ground price for two competent drivers offering to help share the driving of the vehicles (if more than one vehicle). We will use two-way radios between the vehicles so we won’t miss anything.

Spanish Plains

As Gone Birding are a small company we are not ABTA, or ATOL bonded, tour participants will arrange their own flights on the agreed dates, and the tour will begin at Madrid airport. Although once the cheap flight schedules are released (December) I will tell you which flights will be appropriate, although I suggest anyone wishing to go should book their flights as soon as possible. Prices start at £17 each way with Easyjet, but can reach £200 for the same flight when booked closer to the departure date. One suggestion is for one of the group to book the flights for everyone using a credit card, this means we all get on the same flight. Easyjet offer the cheapest flights, and readily available online. Call to discuss this is you wish.

The Cost of the tour is around £1295 for 7days (Duration & costs to be confirmed)*, this covers all ground costs, food/drink whilst out, ground transport, accommodation and guiding fees. What’s not covered are flights to and from Madrid, and compulsory travel insurance (Gone Birding will need a copy of the policy) and drinks of a personal nature. Call us if you have any queries over this.

Dupont's Lark

Itinerary

Each day we will make an optional early morning visit to plain areas around Trujillo, after which we will return for breakfast, before heading off for the day to sites within easy driving distance of our base. Lunch will be bought en-route and will probably consist of simple bread and cheese and local produce. This, plus water and juice will be provided but other personal drinks are extra. On several days we will pass through several small towns. On occasion there will be opportunities to stop, relax with a drink and have a look around.

Day 1 Make your own way to the airport (probably Liverpool). Arrive at Madrid airport in the afternoon. Regroup and collect the hire vehicles. Drive the 3 hours to Trujillo, and to Finca Santa Marta, our base for the week. Settle in and explore the area around the finca, birds here will include Azure-winged Magpie, Bee-eater, Melodious Warbler, Woodlark and Scops Owl. If there is sufficient time before the evening meal we may head off the plains for a taster.

Day 2 Early morning visit to plains near Trujillo for displaying Great Bustard and Little Bustard. Also look out for Calandra Lark as well as both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Keep an eye out for raptors, including roosting Black Kite (40+ birds). After breakfast, return to the plains to view the birds in better light. We will visit Trujillo for Lesser Kestrel and nesting White Stork and have a look around the town. Look also for Pallid Swift in amongst the Swift in the town. After lunch we head north to the rolling hills and valleys between Trujillo and Monfrague, looking for raptors including Short-toed and Booted Eagle. Spanish Imperial Eagle are also in the area. Look out also for Pallid Swift, waders and warblers along the river valleys. An easy day will lead us to an evening visit to the hills for Red-necked Nightjar, following our evening meal.

Day 3 Pre breakfast jaunt to the plains or the area around the finca. After breakfast head west to the plains around Caceres and Torrejon El Rubio, which is greener. Target species today include Montagu's Harrier, Black-eared & Black Wheatear, Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black-shouldered Kite, plus more Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. This is a round trip and probably the most driving we will do.

Day 4 Pre-breakfast jaunt to the plains or around the finca. After breakfast we will head north straight to Monfrague National Park for raptors, which should include Bonelli's Eagle, Golden Eagle, Black, Griffon & Egyptian Vulture plus Eagle Owl at the nest & Spanish Imperial Eagle. The vultures will be really close, so take a camera. In the late afternoon we will look for White-rumped Swift. On our way from the car park to the monastery, keep a look out for Thekla Lark, Rock Bunting and Black Stork. An easy day with lots of sitting and looking.

Day 5 Pre-breakfast jaunt to the plains, or around the finca. We head south to rice paddies looking for Marsh Terns including Gull-billed and Whiskered Tern, plus Waxbills, Red Avadavat and Collared Pratincoles. Other waders occur, so we should add a few more species to our tally. We reach the paddies via more plains, which are particularly good for Rollers, Great Bustard and Stone Curlew. If there is time we may visit a local reservoir for wildfowl & grebes.

Day 6 Pre-breakfast jaunt to the plains or around the finca. We will check out of the finca and dependent and head to Sepulveda for our final night, stopping en-route to excellent wetlands further north, which should add Purple Heron, Purple Gallinule and Savi's Warbler. We'll check into our accommodation in time to head out and look for Dupont's Lark before returning for a meal.

Day 7 Pre-breakfast jaunt returning to the area looking for Dupont's Lark, Orphean Warbler, Rock Sparrow, Spectacled Warbler, Wryneck & Chough. After breakfast we birdwatch as we return to Madrid for our flight home.

Summary

Cost: £1295 Excluding flights, (circa £20-£200 dependent at time of booking).

£100 deposit required at time of booking.

Duration: 7 days

Group Size: Min: 4 Max: 8

No. of Prev. Tours Here: 6

Average Trip List: 129

Included/ Not Included: Included- All ground transport, accommodation, meals, guiding, entrance fees. Not Included- flights, Insurance, transport to departure airport, drinks of a personal nature, laundry.

Depart From: Liverpool- John Lennon Airport.

Accommodation: In a superbly located, converted Finca (farm), within it's own grounds a vine yard & olive groves, and extensive grounds to explore. Sympathetically restored, spacious en-suite rooms, unique dining room (pressing room), lounge and pool. Run by birders. Overnight near Sepulveda at end of tour in a finely appointed hotel. Single travelers can share a twin or single room supplement at £200.

Ground Transport: Modern MPV with air conditioning with lots of room for birders & kit.

Leader: Andy Hirst

Target: Mainly the extensive plains species of Extremadura, plus montane ridges/ river valleys of Monfrague, as well as greener agricultural areas and areas of marsh and open water. Last evening/ morning spent looking for Dupont's Lark on plains and ravines for warblers etc...

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Special Notice: It can be surprisingly wet, so a light waterproof should be taken. May be cool on the plains first thing, so a thin fleece may be handy. Biting insects shouldn't be a problem. It can get hot, so sunscreen required. We will provide ample fluids.