Wallcreepers and Cranes

Magic birding in winter

Dates

February 28th to March 7th 2018

Tour Cost

€ 2.015.-

Single room supplement

€ 250.-

Group size

8 pax

Tour leader

Daniel Cazo

Airport

Barcelona-Barcelona

What´s included

All ground transport, all meals, services of guides and reserve entrance fees. Accommodation at Boletas Birdwatching Centre is always a bonus, superb food & wine. Few nice easy walks in flat terrain.

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

Alpine and steppe specialities, such as Wallcreeper, Little Bustard and Dupont's Lark in the same tour would seems to be an impossibility, but here you can see them all, complemented by thousands of cranes crossing the pre-Pyrenees. Few nice short walks on easy terrain.

Selected species list

Wallcreeper, Dupont´s Lark, Crane, Lammergeier, Snow Finch, Little Bustard, Eagle Owl, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Alpine Accentor.

Introduction

Most birdlovers have dreamed of watching a Lammergeier breaking bones for food or of such a close encounter with a Wallcreeper that would seem to make binoculars unnecessary. You would certainly like to see Pin Tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse settled on the ground at a range close enough to appreciate their impressive plumage. We are able to convert your dreams to reality !

We have designed these tours for people who wish to observe, in the most perfect conditions, some of the most elusive birds of the Iberian Peninsula. Our knowledge of the habitats and experience with numerous ornithologists, twitchers, photographers, and birdwatchers are the advantages that permit us to offer one of the best tours available in Spain. Although there may be a lack of some species during our proposed dates, we are confident that the quality of the resident species coupled with our resolve to present for you the best observations possible will result in complete satisfaction for all participants.

Itinerary

Day 1.- Meet you at Barcelona airport. A few minutes after meeting you, your guide will be searching for birds. Birding en route looking for few specialites such as sandgrouse, larks and raptors. Welcome dinner and overnight at Boletas Birdwatching Centre in Loporzano.

Days 2, 3.- The Pre-Pyrenees : A bird paradise. In the surrounding areas of Loporzano, the nearby Sierra de Guara and in the spectacular Mallos de Riglos, we will find one of the most exciting and varied concentrations of bird species: Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Thekla Lark, Black Wheatear, Alpine Accentor, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Wallcreeper, Penduline Tit, Southern Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Red-billed Chough, Rock Sparrow, Cirl Bunting, and Corn Bunting.

During the last weeks of February and early March, we can contemplate big flocks of Cranes on their migratory journeys in the areas close to Huesca. It is an impressive experience contemplate big flocks of Cranes on their northward migration, something you should not miss. Overnight in Loporzano.

Day 4.- French Border: The elusive Alpine birds. Drive to several ski resorts where we will look for species that never leave the cold and snowy mountains: Lammergeier, Snow Finch, Alpine Accentor, Golden Eagle, Citril Finch and Alpine Chough. Weather permitting we overnight in the area.

Day 5.- Lammergeier feeding point. Without doubt, the star day of the tour as we will visit a former Lammergeier "artificial feeding station" where we should be able to observe these impressive and unique birds as they fulfil the task of vital sustenance during the harsh climate of winter. Overnight in Loporzano.

Days 6,7.- North and south Ebro Valley steppes. Our journey will begin early in the morning to Los Monegros where we can see Pin-tailed and Black--bellied Sandgrouse in good numbers. It would not be unusual to locate Great Spotted Cuckoo and we will attempt to find the small population of Great Bustard that still remains in the North East of Spain, among the other birds that we are likely to see are; Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Thekla Lark and Calandra Lark. Just before dinner we shall familiarise ourselves with the nesting area of Dupont's Lark. Before dawn on the following day we will visit Belchite, the impressive steppe area where the spectacle of sunrise coupled with the mysterious song of Dupont´s Lark creates a unique magical ambience. Although this area boasts the highest population density of Dupont's Lark in Spain, it is important to apply maximum concentration and skills of vigilance in order to observe this very difficult and elusive bird. After breakfast, we will visit the spectacular red sandstone hills that crown these steps to find Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse as well as Golden Eagle. Finally, we shall visit nesting areas of the majestic Bonelli's Eagle, a bird that over the years has become very scarce. Overnight near Belchite.

Day 8.- Return to Barcelona airport. Time permitting we will do some birding on the way back to Barcelona with very good chances for raptors and both sandgrouse, at this time of the year forming big flocks (we were lucky to spot 120+ Pin-tailed Sandgrouse in 2006). Drive to Barcelona airport to take your flight home.

Gallery

Testimonials

Hi Josele,

Hope you are well and enjoyed your tour.

Just a quick note to say thanks to you for organising a great tour, thanks to Ester for all the lovely food and caring for us while we stayed at Boletas and a big thank you to your guide Jaume. He was great - very knowledgeable and good company!

I had chosen the tour to see the migration of cranes and I was not disappointed! We had some great sightings of the birds and the evening at the roost sight will be something I will always remember!!

As always birding in Spain was really enjoyable and I had a great trip.

Regards to Ester - she was very kind and helped me practise my Spanish.

You live in a lovely place and I am sure it's great to get back home to Lorporzano after a tour.

regards

Liz

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Dear Josele,

Please pass on huge thanks to Ester a very gracious hostess (and excellent cook) whilst we stayed in your home. I have to agree with you it certainly feels home from home - With the added advantage of not having to do the dishes!

I just wanted to drop you a quick email to let you know what a fantastic job Juame made of guiding the tour. He made it very enjoyable despite some weather frustrations. I certainly have some lovely memories of the scenery and some very special birds. This was my first taste of the Pyrenees and I am sure I'll be back for more, possibly with my parents who also have not been to the Pyrenees- but more of a scenic tour than a birding tour, given their age!

What really made the trip more enjoyable was Juame extensive knowledge of the region and sharing his knowledge of the ecology of the species and various ecosystems.

A very enjoyable trip, with thanks Dawn

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Dear Josele, Not abooking but a quickie to say how much I enjoyed the Wallcreeper tour. Jaume was just great in less than easy circumstances and Esther''s cooking and hospitality just so enjoyable. All best wishes Gill

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Hi Josele,

            We would all like to thank you and Esther for looking after us during our stay in Spain. Your house in Loporzano is just beautiful and a joy to live in. We all enjoyed the peace and tranquillity of northern Spain and with Esther providing the cuisine as always superb.Lammergeier over the house and in several other places. Interesting walks in the hills in the Pre-Pyrenean range, with a visit to the Loarre Castillo just delightful and full of Rock sparrows. Our stay up in the high Pyrenees in the Hecho valley was a wonderful experience with the walk up via Gabardito a highlight. High up onto the plateau with stunning views. On the walk back we managed to see the Wallcreeper .Our last 3 nights in Barcelona were just perfect, what a fabulous city.
We would all recommend your house and its facilities to other travels, for a truly real Spanish experience.

Regards and best wishes

Bernie, Carol, Paul, Hazel Forbes.

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Hi Josele

We didn't get time to write in your Visitors' Book at Boletas so we had better remedy this now.

Thank you very much for a fantastic holiday. We really did enjoy ourselves - the birds, spectacles, scenery, food (muscadel), & the good company. We appreciate you pulled the stops out in September to get us places on the holiday & we are grateful. You certainly pulled out the stops to get us the birds last week.By the way, you should have seen the contrasting looks on Martin's &
Andrew's faces at the airport when they heard that Manchester United had scored in the final minute. Let's see what Barce can do tonight at Anfield.

At the moment we can see no further than my daughter's wedding on Saturday but we have been looking on your website to see what's available. So hasta luego, or at least until the Bird Fair in August.

Best wishes John Wheeler - March 2007

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Josele and Alberto,

Many, many thanks for a very successful birding experience. I accomplished my main objectives and greatly enjoyed the countryside and particularly the excellent food. I was preparing for a leisurely final week in Spain but was called home prematurely on an urgent matter; it appeared there was a break-in attempt at my house. I hurried home, but all was well, other than a broken window. It seems likely that there was no burglary attempt at all, but an accident caused by the crew maintaining my yard. So no damage or loss other than the broken glass.

Thanks again for a fine experience. John Huckabee - 2007

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Hi Josele

I just wanted to drop you a line to you let you know how much I enjoyed the weeks Holiday spent with you @ Boletas and elsewhere in the area, Birds seen were first class especially the LAMMERGEIER ! the scenery, accommodation and food all exceeded my expectations.

I thought this entry from my birding records may be of interest to you, Sociable Plover new species seen 24/03/1985.

Once again Thank You and I hope to meet up with you again in the future.

Kind Regards. Laurence - 2008

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Dear Josele

Many thanks for a wonderful holiday in Spain. Gwyn and I both enjoyed it and came home feeling relaxed and refreshed. Despite the weather we both thought the bird watching had been excellent, I had 19 new species and Gwyn 17 new species. We hope to return to Spain in the future and may well come and stay at Boletas with you.
Regards to you and your family.
Best wishes Audrey - 2008

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Dear Josele

Many apologies for the delay in sending our thanks for a wonderful trip. George has been staying and as he sleeps in the room where the computer is I have had difficulty sending any emails. He has now gone home so everything is getting back to normal.

Everyone was delighted with the birding, all the specialities that people had hoped for were seen with that Wallcreeper being the highlight for me. But Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and the Wryneck were also special.

Everyone also loved Ester's cooking, it gets better every time we visit and we are looking forward to the cookbook she is producing.

I think the only drawback with the trip was the sleeping arrangements for Jennie and Janet Reynolds. The sharing of the bathroom is not a problem but one person having to go through the other's room is less than ideal. It is ok for family members but not for singles.

Having said that it was a super trip as usual, keep up the good work.

All the very best for the future and we look forward to seeing you at the birdfair.
Love to Ester and Marina
Janet and John-2008

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Querido Josele,
Nos encanto mucho nuestro viaje de invierno a Boletas el fin de semana pasado.
Podria dar las gracias a Alberto por su ayuda con mi Espanol, tuvo mucha paciencia!
Nos mostro muchos pajaros que no habia visto antes, las grullas eran inolvidable!
Puede dar las gracias tambien a Esther por su hospidalidad.
Muchos gracias una otra vez, espero que vuelvamos.
Hasta Marruecos.
John Walton.- 2008

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Hi Josele

Please find attached photos of Dupont`s Lark and Wallcreeper, hope you like them. It was really nice to see these birds and being able to photograph them.

I would like to thank you for an excellent tour, I really enjoyed it and the many memorable moments it gave to me.

Many Thanks
Kind Regards Peter Tongue 2011

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