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This week-long holiday complementsour 'French Pyrenees' week whichhas proved so popular andsuccessful over the years. In a similarmanner, it is our aim to enjoy the richvariety of birds and plants in the SpanishPyrenees during a series of gentle walksfrom our base. We will be staying in adelightful 300-year-old property situated inthe pretty hilltop village of Berdún, with itsfine views of the Pyrenees, surroundingfoothills, and valleys of the Veral andAragón Rivers. Here, our hosts make usmost welcome, keeping us well fed onwholesome local cuisine, and providing amine of information that would not beavailable on a hotel stay in the region. Thisholiday focuses on both birds and botany,and we will also endeavour to look at andidentify some of the wonderful butterfliesand moths of this region.The Spanish Pyrenees, the southernslopes of the spectacular 450-kilometrebarrier between France and Spain, couldnot be more different from their northern,French, counterparts. Whilst the FrenchPyrenees are wet, green and thicklyforested, the Spanish side is dry, arid andgenerally more Mediterranean, as clearlyindicated by its very different list of plantand bird species. Whilst the Spanish sidealso supports good beech and coniferforests, it is the variety of scrub, maquis,arable farmland, wide river valleys, and the sheer spectacle of the cliffs,canyons and stunning limestone erosions, that so characterise these sunnysouthern slopes.This will be a single-centre holiday basedat Berdún, the most spectacular andtraditional of villages, situated between theAragón and Veral Valleys, in the southernfoothills of the central Pyrenees. Just tothe east is the small, historic town of Jacawith its 15th century fort and an interesting11th century Romanesque cathedral-the first, indeed, to be built in that style.Berdún occupies a truly prime position, forit is so close to so many wonderful andvaried birding and botanical sites, many ofthem within walking distance. During ourstay, we will explore the area aroundBerdún, where the Aragón and VeralValleys, and the spectacular Binies Gorge,are home to an excellent variety oflow-level birds and plants. Bee-eaters,Golden Orioles, Woodchat Shrikes,Crested Larks, Tawny Pipits, PendulineTits, Spotless Starlings, Rock Sparrowsand Ortolan Buntings may all be seen,whilst birds of prey may include Griffonand Egyptian Vultures, Red and BlackKites, and Booted and Short-toed Eagles.We will visit the beautiful Hecho Valley,enjoying the displays of flowers and theirattendant butterflies, and hopefully birdssuch as Alpine and Red-billed Chough,Lammergeier and Citril Finch will be seen;there is even a chance of the elusiveWallcreeper here! We will also explore the hills and limestone outcrops to thesouth, looking for vultures, Black Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush at thespectacular red pinnacles at Riglos, andfor Crested Tit, Rock Bunting and Hoopoeamongst the wonderful scenery around theCastillo de Loarre. We will head to theFrench border and visit the flower-richmeadows around Portalet, an area goodfor raptors, Water Pipit and Rock Thrushtoo. At all these sites we will also beenjoying the wealth of flowers andbutterflies that this area provides.We will end our holiday with a visit to thebeautiful Aisa Valley, situated to the north-west of Jaca. On a gentle walk up thevalley amongst some of the finestPyrenean scenery, we will concentrate onthe birds and plants. Lammergeier, GoldenEagle and Rock Bunting are amongst thebird species most typical of the area, andthe botanists in our party will additionallyfind carpets of gentians and PyreneanButtercups in the valley bottom, andnumerous saxifrages and otherrock-dwelling plants on the scree slopesabove. The Pyrenean race of Chamois alsooccurs here, together with Alpine Marmotand Wild Boar, though being rather shy thelatter are only seen with a little luck.JACAZARAGOZABERDÚNLOURDES TOULOUSE ANDORRA BILBAO MADRID ORDESSA NATIONAL PARK FRANCE SPAIN 132Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Zaragoza andtransfer to Berdún. Day 2/7Berdún. Day 8Fly Stansted.AccommodationA characterful 17th centuryAragonese dwelling, situated in adelightfully unspoilt village. Allrooms have private facilities.Food and wineAll included in the price.GradingDay walks only. Grade B.FocusBirds, plants and butterflies.LeadersGerald Broddelez or Byron Palacios(ornithologist) and Philip Thompson(botanist).Single room supplement£140.ExtensionsArranged on request.Web quick search: ESP16The Spanish PyreneesAn 8-day holiday of birdwatching and botanical walks in the Spanish Pyrenees.Sunday 19th May - Sunday 26th May Cost: £1,295Aisa ValleyQueen of Spain FritillaryLammergeier

The scenery of the Spanish Pyreneeshas a pleasing grandeur and providesa setting that attracts many visitorseach year, but, with photography as ourfocus on this 8-day holiday to rural Aragónwe'll view the region's stunning cliffs,canyons and limestone erosions with amore artistic eye than the general tourist.Aimed at beginners and intermediates, youwill have a chance to hone your wildlifeand landscape photography skills in abeautiful and unspoilt setting, withbreathtaking Pyrenean scenery as abackdrop to your shots. The comfortablebase for our activities is a delightful 300-year-old property situated in the prettyhilltop village of Berdún which enjoys fineviews of the Pyrenees, surroundingfoothills, and valleys of the Veral andAragón Rivers. Our friendly hosts will makeus most welcome, keeping us well fed onlocal cuisine, while our tutor will beexperienced local photographer SergioPadura. Sergio fine-tuned his artisticappreciation with a B.A. in Art History atthe University of Barcelona, as well ascompleting a 5-year course at the Instituteof Photographic Studies of Catalonia. Nowbased in the Aragonese Pyrenees, he hastravelled widely, and works as aprofessional photographer in a variety ofdifferent sectors from architecture tolandscape. He has an open, friendlymanner and an excellent understanding ofhow to help people make the most of theirpotential as a photographer - whateverlevel they start at. This tour is designed forthose who want to learn more about thebasics of photography and who also havea keen interest in nature. Advances intechnology mean many of us now owndigital SLR cameras. If you have becomeaccustomed to setting the dial to 'AUTO',and have forgotten or are only dimly awareof such concepts as focal length, apertureand shutter speed, but have the kit and arekeen to learn (or remember) how to use it,this holiday offers such an opportunity!Sergio will teach you the basics, and moredepending on how fast you progress, thenhead straight off outside to help youpractise your new skills, with the naturalbeauty of the setting providing thebackdrop of scenery, birds, plants andbutterflies that will be the subjects of the holiday.On arrival at our 17th century guesthouse,after a short flight to Zaragoza, we'll havean introductory slideshow followed bydinner. Each day we'll make excursions tolocations within an hour's drive for thephotography course - to the highPyrenees and foothills, rounding off eachevening with a debrief of the 'day's work'and analysis of everyone's pictures. We'llaim to include a few early morning starts tocatch the best light, as well as making oneevening shoot of the stars. During theweek, in the field and back at ourguesthouse, Sergio will help youunderstand your camera and how toachieve the best results from it, startingwith finding your way around the camera'scontrols and picture composition. Attentionwill also be paid to depth of field, choice oflens and understanding exposure, as wellas editing and printing. The emphasis willbe firmly on helping you to look upon yourwork with a critical but constructive eyeand learning to appreciate the effect yourchoice of camera settings has on thefinished print.During our stay, we will explore the areaaround Berdún, where the Aragón andVeral Valleys and the spectacular BiniesGorge are home to an excellent variety oflow-level birds and plants. WhileLammergeier, Golden Eagle, Bee-eaters,Golden Orioles, Ortolan Buntings andEgyptian Vultures are among the birdspecies we are likely to see in the area,we'll tend to focus on photographing rathereasier-to-capture subjects such as RockSparrows and Griffon Vultures. We will visitthe beautiful Hecho Valley, enjoying thedisplays of flowers and their attendantbutterflies, and there is even a chance ofthe elusive Wallcreeper here though we'llneed some patience to try and photographone! The photographers who are keen tocapture shots of wild flowers in our partywill additionally find carpets of gentiansand Pyrenean Buttercups in the valleybottom, as well as numerous saxifragesand other rock-dwelling plants on thescree slopes above.The Pyrenees is an accessibly exoticlocation offering great scenery, goodweather and a wide variety of birds,animals, flowers and insects. Sergio willhelp you to be ready when that split-second opportunity arises to get a shot ofa Lammergeier overhead, but it will mostlikely be the spectacular scenery andwealth of insects, flowers and birds thatlinger long in your memory andphotographs!Wildlife Photography - in the Spanish PyreneesAn 8-day holiday offering a chance to learn and practise your photography skills in a spectacularPyrenean setting offering a wealth of birds, wild flowers and insect-life as subjects.Sunday 2nd June - Sunday 9th June Cost: £1,295 Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationJACAZARAGOZABERDÚNLOURDES TOULOUSE ANDORRA BILBAO MADRID ORDESSA NATIONAL PARK FRANCE SPAIN Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Zaragoza andtransfer to Berdún.Day 2/7A programme ofphotography tuition anddaily excursions tophotograph scenery,birds, insect-life andwild flowers from ourbase in Berdún.Day 8Fly Stansted.AccommodationA characterful 17th centuryAragonese dwelling, situated in adelightfully unspoilt village. Allrooms have private facilities.FoodAll included in the price.GradingGrade A/B. Day walks only.FocusWildlife photography (birds, plantsand insects); also walking.Leader Sergio Padura.Single room supplement£140.ExtensionsArranged on request.Web quick search: ESP25133Anso ValleyGuarrinzaValleyEuropean Green Lizard