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Saturday 25th – Tuesday 28th November 2017

EXTREMADURA – CRANES & CORK OAKS

We visit this fantastic area of Spain during early winter to see the winter specialities that occur. One of the main highlights are around 100,000 Common Cranes that spend the winter feeding on fallen acorns from the many oaks that cover the hillsides.

November is a great time to see Little and Great Bustards which congregate in large flocks and with little heat haze at this time of year, we hope to get great views! Raptors abound in the Monfragüe National Park including Spanish Imperial, Golden and Bonelli’s Eagles, Black and Griffon Vultures, Red and Black-winged Kites plus Goshawk, Merlin, Peregrine and Marsh Harrier.

Our fantastic accommodation offers a warm welcome with excellent food and wine, not to mention an enviable garden bird list which includes Azure-winged Magpie, Serin, Hawfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Serin and Hoopoe!


Tour Leader: Steve Grimwade
Maximum Group Size: 8


Day 1
Taking an early flight from London Stansted to Madrid we drive southwest towards Trujillo and stop for a break at a large reservoir. Here we have excellent chances of seeing Great White Egret, Little Bittern, Spoonbill and Purple Swamphen, as well as Penduline Tit, Bluethroat, Spanish Sparrow and good numbers of wintering Chiffchaff.

Black-winged Kite also occur here and can be seen hovering ‘kestrel’ like in search of small prey. Reaching our fantastic hotel in the heart of the countryside, the evening will be spent enjoying good local food and wine.
Overnight: Near Trujillo

Day 2
The area around the hotel is home to a good range of species including Azure-winged Magpie, Hoopoe, Sardinian Warbler and Hawfinch, which can be seen before breakfast (optional!). We head off to the rolling plains and search for Little and Great Bustard, the former can number several hundred. Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse occur in flocks on the open fields and Corn Buntings and Calandra and Thekla Larks can be seen and heard singing on the plains.

Open grasslands also attract raptors such as Black Vulture and the stone walls often harbour a Little Owl or two. As we head north, Holm and Cork Oaks dominate the scenery and here we have the best chance to see Black-winged Kite. This small raptor displays over rolling countryside and we hope to obtain good views.
Overnight: Near Trujillo

Day 3
Today we visit the famous Monfragüe National Park, well-known in birding circles for species such as Griffon and the mighty Black Vultures which often drift past at eye level, whilst Red-billed Chough wheel overhead. One of the most spectacular species here is Spanish Imperial Eagle.

This globally rare bird can be seen within the park and can be seen displaying in November above the rocky crags along with Bonelli’s and Golden Eagles. There is also the chance of Eagle Owl, which again should be calling at this time of year. Crag Martin, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, Hawfinch and Rock Bunting are also present.
Overnight: Near Trujillo

Day 4
Heading southeast to an area of irrigated rice fields and a reservoir, we aim to see large flocks of wintering Common Cranes feeding and coming into roost which will make an unforgettable sight. Black-winged Kite occurs in the area along with wintering Stone Curlew. Red Avadavat and Common Waxbill, two introduced species from Asia have also found this area to their liking and we will see the former in their exquisite raspberry-red breeding plumage.

Bluethroats favour the damp ditches that border the many ricefields in the area and often share their home with Water Pipits, White Wagtails and Skylarks. After lunch we head north towards Madrid for our return flight home.

Tour Includes
Flights from London Stansted to Madrid
Full board accommodation for 3 nights including wine with evening meals
All ground transport in Spain
Full guiding throughout


Not Included
Travel Insurance
Extra drinks and items of a personal nature
Lunch on day 1


Pace
Relaxed, one to two miles walking per day

Birds
Expect around 120 species

Ground Price: £680

*Air Price: £130

Total Tour Price: £810

Single Supplement: £90

Deposit: £250


*Please see our tours page regarding flight costs