have asked me to run a tour to the Pyrenees, but it' s been 15 years since
I was last there. I was hoping to have a recce trip here, but Dave Gosney
has stepped in offering his unrivaled services. Gone Birding run
a trip to this superb region of Spain in late May/early June. This eight
day tour will be start and finish in Zaragosa, with 4 nights in the Hecho
Valley, before moving onto the Zaragosa Plains. After which we will move
down to the coast and the amazing Ebro Delta, which has been described
as the best wetland birding site in Spain. Accommodation will be in small
hotels, with bed, breakfast and evening meal supplied. Flights are included
in the price, but you are required to make your own way to and from the
departing airport, which will probably be one of the London airports.
We will book flights closer to the departure date. Your own travel insurance,
which is compulsory, and personal drinks are the only extra costs.
All guiding, ground / air transport, food and expenses are included in
the tour price. Contact us for further details (contact
compulsory travel insurance **Final dates and for the trip will be confirmed
when flight schedules are available. Until flights are confirmed please
allow a couple of days either side of the departure and arrival dates.
eight day tour will be have 3 bases, the Hecho Valley in heart of the
Spanish Pyrenees, the Zaragosa Plains, and the Ebro Delta, in Sant Carles
de la Rapita- these locations centrally located to best birding sites.
** The dates are will be confirmed when the tour is booked up. So if you
would like to go and when you book, do please leave a day or two either
side, as leeway, until everything is confirmed, and all tour participants
are happy with the dates.
regions of Spain at this time of year are magical places and extremely
varied, from genuinely high mountains, to the plains and finally sea level
in the Ebro Delta, with day long quality birding in surprisingly varied
habitats. The list and range of species should be excellent. From Griffon
Vultures, Alpine Swift & Alpine Chough, Citril
Finch plus Lammergeier to Larks including Dupont's
Lark, Lesser, Short-toed Lark and Sandgrouse in the
plains to Audouin's Gull, Little Crake, Egrets &
Herons on the Delta- an amazing array of birds.
accommodation will generally be in small hotels, in the Pyrenees and the
Ebro Delta, although the accommodation on the plains is a little more
'rustic'- don't worry it's not for very long. Transport will be in small
minibus or people carrier, which we will pick up at Zaragosa airport.
There will be lots of room for birders, bags and tripods etc...
Cost of the tour is £1500 for 8 days. This covers all ground costs, food/drink
whilst out, ground/ air transport, accommodation and guiding fees. What’s
not covered are transport to and from the UK airport, 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.
day we will make an optional early morning visit to birding sites within
short walking/driving distance, 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.
Fly London/Zaragoza and transfer to our accommodation, birding en route.
As we travel we'll be looking out for our first raptors which could be
species such as Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Red
Kite, Black Kite and Montagu's Harrier. We may also
see our first Bee-eaters and Hoopoes and will make a stop
at a potential Wallcreeper site where we'll also look for species
such as Black Wheatear, Red-billed Chough, Blue Rock
Thrush, Rock Thrush, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin and
Black Redstart. Raptors here include Egyptian Vulture, Peregrine
and, possibly, Lammergeier. Evening meal and overnight in Hecho
in a charming village right in the heart of the mountains where you might
even see Lammergeier from your window!
As well as being a region blessed with spectacular scenery, the Pyrenees
are home to some of Europe's most wanted and exciting breeding birds such
as Lammergeier and Wallcreeper. Our first day will be spent
in the beautiful Hecho valley where we'll enjoy lots of views of raptors.
Lower down the valley are Red Kites and Booted Eagles and
further up there's always a chance of Golden and Short-toed
Eagles. Griffon and Egyptian Vultures will be seen at
close range and Lammergeiers often pass overhead. The fabulous
Wallcreeper is one of Europe's most elusive species but the Hecho
valley is one of the best places in Europe to look for them. We'll walk
in the meadows at the top of the valley where we'll search for species
such as Water Pipit and Citril Finch. The next day will
be spent at San Juan de la Pena, the site of a monastery perched on a
dramatic pinnacle. This is a great place for getting superb views of soaring
vultures and eagles. There's a chance of seeing Lammergeier
here too and, if one does show, the views should be amazing. This
is also a great spot for woodland birds such as Black Woodpecker,
Crested Tit, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper and
Western Bonelli's Warbler and we have a second chance here of finding
Citril Finch. Our third day will be a drive to a high mountain
pass where we'll see both Red-billed and Alpine Chough and
we'll look for birds such as Snowfinch and Alpine Accentor.
Other birds we'll be looking for in the Pyrenees include Rock Sparrow,
Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Thrush, Subalpine and Dartford
Warblers, Crag Martin, Rock, Cirl and Ortolan
Buntings andAlpine Swift.
Evening meal and overnights in Hecho.
Today we'll drive back to the plains of Zaragoza for a complete change
of scenery. During the day we'll visit a reservoir to view a range of
migrant terns, waders and ducks with a chance too of birds
such as Penduline Tit, Hobby and Golden Oriole. We'll
also visit areas of plains where we'll be looking for birds such as Lesser
Short-toed, Calandra and Thekla Larks, Spectacled
Warbler, Stone Curlew and both species of sandgrouse.
We'll make sure we spend the evening at a site for Dupont's Lark where
we'll at least hope to hear their remarkable song. This will help us to
pinpoint where to look the next day. Evening meal and overnight at a grim-looking
service station near Zaragoza. Sorry, but it's the only accommodation
within driving distance of a Dupont's Lark site (and it's actually
not as bad as it looks).
Dupont's Lark is a phenomenally difficult bird to see, but the
best chance is to locate them by their song in the evening then look for
them at dawn the following morning. They often stop singing once the sun
has risen but, if we're lucky, one or more birds may continue to perform
in daylight. From here, we'll drive on to our base on the Ebro delta,
in time for some birding on the delta itself. Evening meal and overnight
in Sant Carles de la Rapita where your hotel rooms look out onto a bay
where Audouin's Gulls are regularly seen!
It has been suggested that the Ebro delta is the best wetland birding
site in Spain, better even than the Coto Donana. It is certainly a fantastic
place for getting close-up views of exciting birds such as Audouin's
and Slender-billed Gulls, Whiskered and Gull-billed
Terns, Savi's, Fan-tailed and Great Reed Warblers,
Red-crested Pochard and lots of herons including Purple
Heron, Night Heron and Little Bittern. We'll devote
some time to trying to locate really difficult species such as Moustached
Warbler and Little Crake and check out a couple of sites where
Collard Pratincoles sometimes give amazing views. We'll have the
excitement of checking through loads of migrant waders, terns
and wildfowl and we'll compare the different songs of Short-toed
and Lesser Short-toed larks. Evening meal and overnight in
Sant Carles de la Rapita.
We'll have most of the day on the delta, catching up on anything we may
have missed, before setting off back for our flight from Zaragoza.
deposit required at time of booking.
Duration: 8 days
Size: Min: 4 Max: 8
of Prev. Tours Here: 0 (recce's in 2013)
Not Included: Included- All ground transport, accommodation,
meals, guiding, entrance fees & tips. Not Included- Insurance,
transport to departure airport, drinks of a personal nature, laundry.
From: a London Airport (prob. Gatwick or Stanstead).
In a variety of well appointed and varied local hotels. Single
travelers can share a twin or single room supplement at £200.
Transport: Modern MPV/ minibus with air conditioning with
lots of room for birders & kit.
An array of habitats from very high mountain passes & gorges
in Pyrenees, to the plains of Zaragoza, and of course the Ebro
Details for Pyrenees & Ebro Delta Tour
Covered & What's Not
Notice: Can get hot on the plains, so sunscreen required.
Biting insects shouldn't be a problem. The Pyrenees can be cold
(lying snow!), even in June, so warm waterproof clothing should