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Extremadura Tour    

Date TBC May

Background Information- Location

  • Leader- Andy Hirst 07947 068125
  • Focus- Spanish Plains, Monfrague National Park, river valleys and Dehasa, plus Rice paddies. Final day looking for Dupont's Lark
  • Habitats- Our main focus will be the last wilderness in Europe, the expansive plains around our base in Trujillo. To the north is the ridge of mountains within the Monfrague National Park, here we spend a full day, plus visits. We also explore the rolling lush green river valleys in the foothills of Monfrague (The Dehasa)- semi-cleared open woodland between Trujillo and Monfrague. We also spend a day in the greener, more agricultural south, with a visit to rice paddies, and possibly a reservoir for wildfowl. On the return journey we visit several marshy ponds and larger bodies of water. The final day is spent on rough plains and valleys looking larks & warblers.
  • Climate/ Weather- At this time of year we should have day long sunshine, with temperatures in the high 20's to low 30's. However thunder storms can hit with some force. It can also be cool (and misty) first thing in the morning and occasionally the evenings can be cool. Heavy waterproofs should not be needed, however a windproof/ at least shower-proof jacket should be taken.
  • Transport- We will use a mini-bus or MPV, with air-con and a big boot for bags, cases, scopes and tripods. We will pick this up at Madrid airport, and drop off here when return 7days later.
  • Accommodation- We are staying in the superbly appointed Finca Santa Marta, a converted olive farm and a great rural hotel further north. The rooms are bright and airy, with a rustic feel, but fully fitted with en suite facilities. There is also a swimming pool at Finca Santa Marta. We dine in the converted olive pressing room, which still contains the original equipment used to press the olives and extract the oil. The Finca Santa Marta can be found at www.fincasantamarta.com Tour participants will share a room unless a single room supplement has been previously booked.
  • Food- We take continental breakfast (buffet style) of bread, cereals, cold meats, cheese, toast, fruit, tea and coffee in the Finca Santa Marta/hotel, after our optional pre breakfast trip. We will then buy lunch out, this will probably consist of a cafe lunch, or buying bread, cheese, spread, meats, fruit, buns, juice and water each morning as we pass through several small towns and villages. We return each evening to the accommodation for a 3 course meal with tea/ coffee and liqueurs. Beers, wines and soft drinks are also available in the accommodation, with a note book to record what you take (these drinks are not covered by Gone Birding), although complimentary wine is freely available with your evening meal. One night a week the Finca give their staff the night off, so it's a trip into Trujillo to the Restaurant Sandra, for ethnic Spanish fare (how's your Spanish?). All food is covered in the price of the tour, except snacks/ drinks to and from the airports, as the tour starts and finishes at Madrid airport.
  • Pace- Not very fast, in fact because of the heat, very relaxed. Mornings can begin early, with pre breakfast jaunts around the finca, or a short drive to the plains (best time to go). We will follow our itinerary, most of the birding is stop start and short walks from the vehicle. The only extra exertion is the flight of steps to the monastery at Monfrague, which are quite steep. We will spend all day in the field, so a level of endurance is required, but nothing above normal birding levels. Most of the day is spent on well made tracks or tarmac, with walks on tracks of varying quality, but nothing too awkward- just dusty.
  • Daily Routine- Get up early (optional) for a pre-breakfast trip around the finca, or 5-15 mins drive to plains, to witness the sandgrouse and bustards at their best. We will return around 08:30-09:00 for breakfast. We will skip the early trip on our full day loop to Caceres, as we start straight after a slightly earlier breakfast. Lunch is bought en-route, and consumed as and when we feel like it, in a suitable spot. As far as I can tell the itinerary is as per the Extremadura page.
  • Recommended Reading- 'Finding Bird in Northern Spain' Gosney (EasyBirder), 'A Birdwatching Guide to Extremadura' John Muddeman (Arelquin press).
  • Maps- Michelin Regional 576 Extremadura, Castilla, La Mancha & Madrid- 1/400,000

For previous tour reports- please go to the Tour Reports Page, for reports and species lists

Background Information- Travel

  • Weight Allowance- Flight/ hand Luggage- 20kg hold luggage in a single bag. Can I suggest you wear binoculars and cameras around your neck or in hand luggage. This is usually a small bag measuring 56 x 40 x 25cm. Depending who we fly with, this may have a weight limit of 10kg.
  • Travel Arrangements/ Pick-up- Minibus Taxi from Dinnington. TBA.
  • Currency/ Requirements- A small amount of money (Euro's) would be useful for personal (alcoholic) drinks (at the Finca) and souvenirs. All food, and drink during the tour is covered in the cost of the tour, so little more than spending money is required.
  • Passport / Visa Requirements- A full valid, in date UK passport is required (with in excess 6 months before expiration). No separate visas are required.
  • Health Requirements- A valid E111 form is a must so that free medical attention can be given. No special jabs are required, Tetanus would be advantageous. Diacalm and pain killers may be useful. Suncream is a must, preferably of factor 25 or greater.
  • Special Equipment A first aid kit will be available at all times. I will also be taking a an Ipod with all the bird songs and calls of Europe installed. A top quality Fluorite 82mm telescope with 30x eyepiece will also be freely available to use. Please take binoculars and scopes if you want to use your own equipment. You may wish to contact each other and 'buddy up' with scopes and tripods, rather than take a scope and tripod each. I'll be taking a Collins field guide, so you can save weight if we use mine. No other special equipment is needed. A copy of your COMPULSORY holiday insurance policy and policy number should you need to claim. Continental two pin electric adapter would be useful for recharging phones and camera batteries. There is good phone reception in most of Spain, except in parts of Monfrague, so please take mobiles if you wish to keep in touch with home. WIFI is available at the Finca.
  • Clothing- Most days will be warm and sunny, so shorts, T-shirts and a brimmed hat or baseball cap are the order of the day. A light windproof/ shower-proof jacket would be useful for cool mornings, as would long trousers for early starts. A warm jumper or lightweight fleece might be useful, as may lightweight gloves. Casual clothes will be fine for the meal in the finca. Lightweight boots or walking shoes will be fine for the day, with a change of trainers/ shoes or sandals for the evening. Sunglasses may also be useful.
  • Nuisances- Being dry and arid we shouldn't be bothered by Mosquito's, except possibly when we go the rice paddies, so take some insect repellent. In the longer grass small ticks can be a problem, not a lot we can do about them, except wear trousers and be aware of them. Horse Flies can be present where cattle and sheep, occur, again be aware and a dose of insect repellent should do the trick. There are some sizable insects in Spain, most are spectacular, but harmless.

Useful Equipment Check List Useful equipment check list