page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154
page 155
page 156
page 157
page 158
page 159
page 160
page 161
page 162
page 163
page 164
page 165
page 166
page 167
page 168
page 169
page 170
page 171
page 172
page 173
page 174
page 175
page 176
page 177
page 178
page 179
page 180
page 181
page 182
page 183
page 184
page 185
page 186
page 187
page 188
page 189
page 190
page 191
page 192
page 193
page 194
page 195
page 196
page 197
page 198
page 199
page 200
page 201
page 202
page 203
page 204
page 205
page 206
page 207
page 208
page 209
page 210
page 211
page 212
page 213
page 214
page 215
page 216
page 217
page 218
page 219
page 220
page 221
page 222
page 223
page 224
page 225
page 226
page 227
page 228
page 229
page 230
page 231
page 232
page 233
page 234
page 235
page 236
page 237
page 238
page 239
page 240
page 241
page 242
page 243
page 244
page 245
page 246
page 247
page 248
page 249
page 250
page 251
page 252
page 253
page 254
page 255
page 256
page 257
page 258
page 259
page 260
page 261
page 262
page 263
page 264
page 265
page 266
page 267
page 268
page 269
page 270
page 271
page 272
page 273
page 274
page 275
page 276
page 277
page 278
page 279
page 280
page 281
page 282
page 283
page 284
page 285
page 286
page 287
page 288
page 289
page 290
page 291
page 292

Mention the idea of a Spanishholiday and the mind seemsautomatically to fill with images ofvast hotel conurbations, over-crowdedbeaches, phoney flamenco dancers andfake bullfights, which have all long beenserved up to visitors as if they wererepresentative of Spain's authentic nationallife. Somehow, our impression of thecountry finds it hard to escape theseholiday-brochure cliches. Yet, ironically,most of this large country remainsunknown to foreigners. Even the Spanishthemselves live largely near its longcoastline, leaving the mountains and highrolling plateaux of the interior undevelopedand sparsely populated.Partly for these reasons, Spain has someof the last true wilderness in westernEurope and is the continent's mostimportant country for birds. It has, forexample, a third of its Red Kites andMontagu's Harriers; half of all its Black,Griffon and Egyptian Vultures;three-quarters of the Booted and Bonelli'sEagles and, not surprisingly, nearly all theworld's Spanish Imperial Eagles. Forgrassland birds it is outstanding, retainingmore Great and Little Bustards thanprobably any other single country inEurasia. Then there are a number ofMediterranean endemics - Red-neckedNightjar, Black Wheatear, MelodiousWarbler, and Spotless Starling to name buta few - of which Spain holds majorpopulations. And finally there are birds thathave just a toehold in western Europe -Marbled Duck, White-headed Duck,Crested Coot and Purple Gallinule - thatcan only be seen in this exceptionalcountry. This tour aims to find as wide aselection as possible of these many birdsand to experience some of the diversity ofIberia's magnificent scenery.We begin our holiday in the Spanishcapital of Madrid, from where we headsouth-west through rolling hills, olivegroves and Cork Oak woodland to thecentral plateau of Extremadura, where wefind extensive sheep-grazed grasslandsand Cork Oak forests known locally asdehasa. For the next four nights we will bebased near the beautiful medieval town ofTrujillo, an ideal spot from which to explorethe adjacent steppes and the magnificentMonfragüe National Park. Flocks of LesserKestrels and Pallid Swifts wheel aroundTrujillo's beautifully preserved ancientchurches, whilst White Storks peer downfrom their roof-top nests or clatter theirbills to greet a returning mate. Our maingoal, however, will be to witness one of themost exciting bird spectacles in Europe,the breeding display of the Great Bustard.During this, the males - the world'sheaviest flying birds - convertthemselves, by a series of bizarredistortions, into huge white balls offeathers that revolve slowly in an almostmilitary step. While they look stately anddignified, the nearby Little Bustardsperform an awkward, head-throwing actionaccompanied by a comical buzzing sound.The two species are certainly the starattractions of this region, but it offers farmore besides, including many othergrassland specialities such as Quail, StoneCurlew and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Inthe surrounding Cork Oak dehasawe willlook for Hoopoes, Azure-winged Magpies,Great-spotted Cuckoos, Woodchat Shrikesand Short-toed Treecreepers. Overhead wewill keep an eye out for 16 species ofraptor which, with luck, may include thelocalised Black-shouldered Kite.For the second part of our tour we head south, past Seville, and on through thecultivated lowlands of Andalucía, over thegreat Guadalquivir River and on to theCoto Doñana National Park, one of thefinest wetlands in Europe. From our basein the small village of El Rocío we willexplore the mosaic of marshes, Stone Pinewoodland, open heathland and sanddunes in search of the park's breedingand migrating birds. Flocks of Whiskeredand Black Terns pick for insects off thewater's surface, whilst Spoonbills, LittleEgrets and the occasional Glossy Ibis feedin the shallows. Reedbeds hold goodnumbers of Little Bitterns and PurpleHerons and we will have our secondopportunity to catch up with some ofsouthern Spain's specialities, in particularPurple Gallinule, Marbled Teal, CrestedCoot and the rare Spanish Imperial Eagle,together with our first chance of Red-necked Nightjar. We will also visit themarshes, saltpans and freshwater lagoonsalong the eastern bank of the GuadalquivirRiver. With a hot and sunny climate thispart of Andalucia is a major fruit growingarea and, while agriculture has intensifiedhere since Spain's inclusion in theEuropean Union, it remains rich in wildlife.Here such Andalucían specialities as therare White-headed Duck and PurpleGallinule can be seen and the Bonanzasaltpans are aptly named and well worth avisit, being a haven for vast numbers of waders and a noted site for the localisedSlender-billed Gull. The sheer numbers ofbirds in the Doñana never ceases toimpress even the most well travellednaturalist, helping to make this localityperhaps the highlight of our Spanish tour.Spain's Coto Doñana & ExtremaduraA 9-day birdwatching tour to Spain's southern wetlands and the bird-rich steppes of Extremadura.Thursday 18th April - Friday 26th April Cost: £1,395Monday 22nd April - Tuesday 30th April Cost: £1,395126Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryFRANCEPORTUGALTRUJILLOSEVILLESANLÚCAR DE BARRAMEDAEL ROCÍOGUADALQUIVIRRIVERMADRIDATLANTICOCEANMEDITERRANEAN SEASPAINCoto DoñanaAzure-winged MagpieOutline itineraryDay 1 Fly Madrid and transferto Extremadura.Day 2/4Monfragüe/steppes. Day 5/8 El Rocío. Day 9 Fly Seville to London. AccommodationPleasant family-run hotels in Trujillo and El Rocío, all withprivate facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingA. A traditional birding tour with limited amounts of easy walking.FocusBirds.LeaderPeter Dunn, David Morris or ByronPalacios.Single room supplement£165.ExtensionsArranged on request, with orwithout car rental. Extra nights inSeville are popular and worthwhile.Web quick search: ESP11

Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking Information127This tour combines the contrastinghabitats of central Spain - theundulating, sun-drenched steppesand shimmering plains of Extremadura, therugged oak-forested hills of MonfragüeNational Park, and the imposing granitepeaks of the Sierra de Gredos. We willexplore these exciting and wild habitatsduring the course of a 2-centre, week-longholiday focusing particularly on the birdlifeof the region, but also enjoying theabundant and colourful wayside flora ofboth the plains and mountains, as well asany butterflies and mammals we encounterduring the week. We begin the holiday with a flight toMadrid, from where we head south-westthrough rolling hills, olive groves and CorkOak woodland to the central plateau ofExtremadura, where we find extensivesheep-grazed grasslands and Cork Oakforests known locally as dehasa. For thenext four nights we will be based near thebeautiful medieval town of Trujillo, an idealspot from which to explore the adjacentsteppes and the magnificent MonfragüeNational Park. Flocks of Lesser Kestrelsand Pallid Swifts wheel around Trujillo'sbeautifully preserved ancient churches,whilst White Storks peer down from theirroof-top nests or clatter their bills to greeta returning mate. One of our main goals,however, will be to witness one of the mostexciting bird spectacles in Europe, thebreeding display of the Great Bustard. During this, the males - the world'sheaviest flying birds - convertthemselves, by a series of bizarredistortions, into huge white balls offeathers that revolve slowly in an almostmilitary step. While they look stately anddignified, the nearby Little Bustardsperform an awkward, head-throwing actionaccompanied by a comical buzzing sound.The two species are certainly the starattractions of this region, but it offers farmore besides, including many othergrassland specialities such as Quail, StoneCurlew, Pin-tailed and Black-belliedSandgrouse, and both Calandra and Short-toed Larks, whilst Bee-eaters, Rollers andHoopoes bring colour to the scene. In thesurrounding Cork Oak dehasawe will lookfor Great Spotted Cuckoos, Hoopoes,Orphean Warblers, Short-toedTreecreepers, both Woodchat andSouthern Grey Shrikes and Azure-wingedMagpies. Overhead we will keep an eyeopen for the 16 species of raptor which,with luck, may include the localised Black-shouldered Kite. It is in MonfragüeNational Park, however, that we will focusin particular on birds of prey; hereEgyptian, Black and Griffon Vultures riseon the thermals with the heat of the day,both Red and Black Kites are numerous,and Golden, Spanish Imperial, Bonelli's,Booted and Short-toed Eagle all breed.Amongst other specialities are Black Storkand Eagle Owl, whilst the smaller andmore abundant occupants of the hillsinclude Alpine Swift, Thekla Lark, CragMartin, Red-rumped Swallow, BlackWheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, SubalpineWarbler and Chough.To the north-east of Extremadura andMonfragüe lies the Sierra de Gredos. Thisis a rugged and imposing range of granitemountains that rises to 2,600 metres andis a stronghold of the magnificent SpanishIbex, a species that we will make a specialeffort to see during our stay. We will spendthe second part of our holiday here, basedin a very comfortable, boutique-style hotelthat boasts a fine view towards themountains and serves some of the finestfood in the province. This will ensure thatwe are in good shape for our walks in thesurrounding hills, forests and mountains! In the valley below our hotel we will searchthe pine forests for Honey Buzzard,Goshawk, Western Bonelli's Warbler,Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher, Crested Tit, andperhaps even Citril Finch and Crossbill.Higher up, above the tree-line, we willsearch for breeding Crag Martins, Dippers,Bluethroats, Rock and Ortolan Buntings,whilst higher still we will look for WaterPipits, Alpine Accentors, Black Redstartsand Rock Thrushes. Birds of prey are notnumerous here, but amongst the speciesthat do pass overhead from time to timeare both Black and Griffon Vultures,Golden Eagle and Booted Eagle. Thedominant plant of the mountains is theyellow-flowered broom, but along therivers, streams, roads and tracks of theGredos - and in the ancient stone-walledhay meadows and grazing pastures - wewill find a colourful flora that includesmany orchid species. Indeed, by spendingmost of our time on this part of the holidayexploring on foot, by means of mountainwalks, we can hope to see a wide range ofwildlife including an excellent flora andattendant butterfly and insect-life.ExtremaduraOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Madrid and transferto Trujillo.Day 2/4Monfragüe/Trujillo.Day 5/7Gredos Mountains.Day 8Fly Madrid to London.Accommodation A lovingly converted stately homedeep in the heart of Extremaduraand a superb family-run hotel in theGredos with an award-winningrestaurant. Exceptionalaccommodation and cuisine, plusen suite facilities, at both locations. Food and wineAll included in the price.GradingGrade A/B. Easy/moderate daywalks, though there will be sometougher options in the Gredos forthose requiring them! Focus Primarily birds, but also plants,butterflies and mammals.LeadersLee Morgan (ornithologist) and Andrew Cleave (botanist).Single room supplement£195.ExtensionsExtra nights in Madrid available onrequest.Web quick search: ESP06FRANCEPORTUGALTRUJILLOGREDOS MOUNTAINSSEVILLEGUADALQUIVIRRIVERMADRIDATLANTICOCEANMEDITERRANEAN SEASPAINSpain - Extremadura & Gredos MountainsAn 8-day holiday in search of the birds, and other natural history, in the steppes and plains ofExtremadura and the mountain habitats in the Sierra de Gredos.Tuesday 30th April - Tuesday 7th May Cost: £1,395 Spanish IbexPin-tailed Sandgrouse