EXTREMADURA

A MEDITERRANEAN BIRDING EXPERIENCE

Dates

April 19th to 26th 2016 & 2017

Tour Cost

£1070.- & £1180.- for 2017

Single room supplement

£140.-

Group size

8 pax

Tour leader

Josele J Saiz or other Boletas guide

Airport

Madrid-Madrid

What´s included

All ground transport, all meals, services of guides and reserve entrance fees. We will stay in very good quality and warm rural hotels which serve excellent local food. All rooms have private facilities. We have found similar accommodation in Extremadura as we offer in the Pyrenees at Boletas.

What´s not included

Transport to / from UK and any overnight stay that may be involved, travel insurance, drinks and any items of a purely personal nature.

Tour code

Exceptional birding with an interesting selection of raptors and Mediterranean birds in one of the best European birdwatching areas. April is a pleasant month for visting Extremadura although in some years midday temperatures can be a bit hot.

Selected species list

Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Red-necked Nightjar, Great Bustard, Bonelli´s Eagle, Black Stork, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Savi´s Warbler, Little Bustard.

Introduction

Extremadura and the Monfrague Natural Park, simply brimming with birds, represent one of the best birdwatching areas in Europe, and justifiably so, as they are also the last stronghold of some of Europes rarest and most endangered species. We will journey from the spectacular Monfrague National Park, where raptor watching can be truly outstanding, giving us opportunities to see, amongst others Spanish Imperial Eagle, Eagle Owl, Black Vulture and Black-shouldered Kite, to the "Spanish Steppes" one of the most important areas in the world for grassland birds. Here we should see the spectacular breeding display of the Great Bustard, together with other specialities such as Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and Little Bustard.

Itinerary

Day 1,2,3 : Meet at Madrid airport and drive to La Serena plains. We will explore La Serena, one of the most important areas in the world for grassland birds. It is here that we hope to see the impressive Great Bustard performing its incredible breeding display. The males almost turn themselves inside out and look like huge white balls of feathers. Here too are many other exciting species, including numerous Little Bustard, Stone-curlew, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Collared Pratincole, Calandra Lark and Montagu's Harrier in good numbers performing its attractive display in the sky. The “sierras” around La Serena are also well known as an excellent site for rock loving birds, we will walk to an old Moorish castle, now in ruins, where the views of the plains are stunning and birds we will find are unmistakable: Golden Eagle, Bonelli´s Eagle, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow. Roller breed here in good numbers and are easy to find as they like to perch on electric wires by the roadside. Overnight in La Serena.

Days 4,5,6 :Northward to Monfrague National Park. We will stop at a river bed where Penduline Tit breeds, Little Owl and raptors are abundant but the exciting birding is the stunning nesting colony of Sand Martins and the colourful Bee-eaters. We will visit Trujillo with its large breeding colony of Lesser Kestrel, birds are everywhere but in the middle of the plains we will find an spectacular spot where Cattle Egret, Little Egret, White Stork and Jackdaw breed together in “perfect harmony”. After lunch we will move to Monfrague, crossing the best agricultural areas of Extremadura. A short visit to a huge reservoir can produce interesting wildfowl. Overnight in Jaraicejo.

Day 7:Monfrague National Park is an area of truly dramatic scenery, and regarded by raptor watchers as one of the most outstanding sites to see birds of prey in Europe. We will explore the north side of the park excellent for raptors, here specialities like the Black Vulture breed, together with Griffon and Egyptian Vultures, and eagles are well represented with Golden, Booted, Bonelli's, Short-toed and Spanish Imperial. Around the rocky pinnacle of Portilla del Tietar, which holds Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Crag Martin and Alpine Swift we will look for breeding Black Stork in one of the easiest sites in Europe to watch these shy birds at the nest. Eagle Owls can often be found at their day-time roost. Near our base in Jaraicejo there is an important marshy area where breed some interesting specialities such us Purple Heron, Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern and Savi´s Warbler. One evening we will visit a superb area for Red-necked Nightjar with good chances for several mammals. Overnight in Jaraicejo.

Day 8: We return to Madrid, birding en route, for our flight home.

Gallery

Testimonials

Hi Andy,
The Extremadura trip was really excellent. The hotels were fine, especially the one in Trujilo and the food was nice. What made it exceptional was the leader, Jesus. As well as a very likeable personality his local knowledge was terrific (and not restricted to birds) and his ability to spot things in the distance and while driving was amazing! (Having said that we felt extremely safe with him as driver.) His ID skills and knowledge of the entire area were second to none. Only one sighting surprised him: an Eagle Owl with 3 young in a Stork's nest surrounded by other Stork nests! What looked as if it may have been just one failure, to see Black-Shouldered Kites, was offset by great views of a pair, just off the motorway back to Madrid on the last morning. He clearly had that up his sleeve!
It was a bit of a shame that having waited for Derek's flight from Birmingham we had to wait an extra 1 3/4 hours as his flight was late.
Please pass my appreciation of the leader onto the boss in Spain and thank you also for again your efficient admin. over here.
Kind regards, JOHN DAVIS

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Hi Josele,

Thank you for a wonderful trip.

Both Ann and I enjoyed the trip immensely. The birds were excellent and your insistence that a fleeting glimpse was
not good enough for us ensured that we all had the best views we could possibly have.

Despite your tolerance with my wanting to obtain good shots of everything on the tour - birds, butterflies and the magnificent show of flowers, I unfortunately was not up to the job.

The camera was new and I was not familiar with all its unfamiliar little problems. Also my new glasses were not the correct lenses for my eyes - I have since been to another optician who confirmed this. This meant that I was unable to tell when the camera was in focus - that shot of the Melodious Warbler - totally out of focus!! I was somewhat annoyed, both with the camera and myself.
I will endeavour to make the best of what I have got and send you a copy - it may take some while!

The only thing for it is to come back next year and do it all over again - but will the flowers be as good?

Thanks again for a wonderful trip, Keith & Ann Extremadura 2006

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Thankyou both for a great trip during which I managed to see, thanks to you, all my target species. Here is a picture of you two planning where to put the stuffed Great Bustard.
Regards,
Tom Loader- Etremadura 2006

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Dear Josele
Thanks for a great holiday. I was most impressed with you and with Spain so thanks again. he needs god weather? I am most grateful to yuo taking time to let me see things. I am afraid my eyessight has never been wonderful and it ceratinly won't get better with age!!
I may come the Pyrenees one day.
See you and thanks
Bruce Mclaren - Extremadura 2007

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Dear Josele

We had a wonderful eight days with you, saw all the birds that we wanted to see. A good time was had by all of us with plenty of laughs,as well as serious birding.We hope to see you again in the not too distant future.
Best wishes

Betty and Brian ( Fred ) - 2007

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Dear Josele

Just a quick message to thank you for an excellent holiday. The quality of birds was first class and I appreciated your skill and local knowledge to get us good views.This was my first trip to Spain but I hope to come again - perhaps next
year to Boletas and the Pyrenees area.

Many thanks John Holtham - 2007

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Dear Josele
Thank you very much for the splendid time that we enjoyed last week.
We greatly appreciated your expert guidance, knowledge and patience, we did see all(well almost all) the birds as promised.

I will never the grand finale, Parade of the Great Bustards, aerial ballet of Black-bellied Sand Grouse, and entry of the villain, the Golden Eagle mobbed by Raven. It couldn't have been better staged by an impressario.

I hope all your trips this year will be as rewarding and as much enjoyed, and all the 'old ladies' survive as well as we did.

With very best wishes

Eileen and Ruth- 2008

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Dear Josele

Just a short email to thank you for organising such an enjoyable birdwatching holiday. The number of birds we all saw is quite astonishing and the wildflowers, butterflies and lizards etc. were breathtaking.

Our flight back to the UK was delayed 2 hours because the aircraft had been struck by lightening and had to be thoroughly checked over before we were allowed to board.

Once again, many thanks for your leadership and patience. Sorry I was so slow in seeing the smaller birds!

Best wishes to Ignacio - he was a great help.

Irene Oulsnam. 2008

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Dear Josele,
I was woken this morning by the dawn chorus, mainly of blackbirds and they sounded nearly as sweet as the nightingales! Then I took the dog for her morning walk and heard chiff chaff, blackcap, garden warbler and reed warbler amongst other things. Not bad eh?
It is 24 degrees C and going to stay that way for the next few days and everything has grown so much while we have been away. There is enough grass on my lawn to make several bales of hay and it is going to be hard work mowing it.
Anyway, enough chat. I just wanted to thank you very much for a wonderful trip. As always you make it varied, interesting and give us lots of laughs.
We really do appreciate the effort you make for our comfort and I hope you don't think we are a lot of fussy old women
See you at the bird fair.
Lots of love Barbary. (Barbara)

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Dear Josele, many many thanks for another of your great holidays that you tailor made for us!
easy jet allowed us to check in straight away, so we were not seat less in transit!!
the flight was good & our man with the van was waiting for us at liverpool.
my cupboard is now stocked up with ponche caballero, much to the delight of my
daughter (darn it) who came on tuesday to see us!!

kind regards chris x (see you and esther at the bird fair)

Chris Travis- 2008

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Dear Josele
Thank you very much for an such an excellent birding experience. It was great to see all the different habitats and hear the information you gave us about the bird calls and behaviour. This was the first time on a guided tour, so it has been a very special time for me. Hope to be able to do it again sometime.
All the best Val Young 2009

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Hi Josele,

Hope you had a smooth journey back to Boletas yesterday. We arrived back in Liverpool slightly ahead of schedule and were home by 11.15pm.

Many thanks for leading us all on such an interesting and enjoyable trip. There were so many highlights it is hard to know how to rank them, though for me I think it was seeing so much interesting wild life in such spectacular and varied habitat (and the cheese of course). Marjorie enjoyed everything, especially the eagle owl chicks, the montagues harriers which were so close and the walk to look for the blue throats.

Today here it has been 9 degrees, drizzling almost continuously with a fresh wind from the north west and the forecast for tomorrow is worse although everything does look green and has grown a lot whilst we were away.

Regards from us both and best wishes to Esther and Marina.

Neil & Marjorie - 2009

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