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Our professional birding guides will show you an amazing variety of bird species as they migrate from Europe to Africa and back, stopping in southern Spain along the way.


Tour itinerary


This tour will focus on two main areas along the Andalucía coast. The first area lies on either side of Huelva, not far from the Portugal border. The area around Doñana National Park is renowned for its bird population, as are the Odiel Marshes, which lie just north and west from Huelva.

Later, the tour moves south to the Tarifa area, the extreme southwest point of Spain. Here one finds the Straits of Gibraltar, where Africa lies less than 10 miles across the channel that connects the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. This is an important crossing point for birds migrating between Europe and Africa, as there is no comparable crossing until one moves all the way east to Turkey.

Purple Swamphen
Purple Swamphen

DAY 1:

El Rocío

We will meet you at the Malaga airport and transport you to El Rocío, an unusual town where the streets are still made of sand, hitching posts for horses can be found in front of most buildings, and the town is dominated by a sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The town is conveniently situated beside a marsh, quite close to the Doñana National Park and other well known birding sites.

After arriving in El Rocío we’ll check into the hotel and set straight to birding in the local marshes. We can expect to see Black Kite, Glossy Ibis, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Black-winged Stilt and other waders. If luck is on our side, we’ll also see a Spanish Imperial Eagle.

DAY 2:

El Rocío – Southern Doñana National Park Area

In the Doñana Area, the best places to watch birds are in the areas that surround the National Park. We travel close to the La Rocina river, which enters the “Marsh Mother” at El Rocio. This is an astonishing birding spot when it is wet. We will also visit Asperillo, scrubland on old dunes and a good place to look for warblers. Nearby, there are several visitor centers with footpaths and hides. We can expect to see such birds as the Squacco Heron, Bee-eater, Crested Tit and Long-tailed Tit, Iberian Chiffchaff, Serin, Glossy Ibis, Dartford Warbler, etc.

DAY 3:

El Rocío – Northern Doñana Area

We will travel today into the center of the marshland, birding along back roads and arriving at a visitor center named for the naturalist Jose Antonio Valverde. In this area, we can expect to see such bird species as the Purple Swamphen, Great Reed Warbler, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, and perhaps the rare Marbled Duck. At stops along the way, we should see such other open fields species as the Short-toed and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Stone Curlew or Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. Nearby, in Dehesa de Abajo, the rare Crested (or Red-knobbed) Coot breeds.

Buitre
Buitre

DAY 4:

El Rocío – Odiel Marshes

Today we will head to tidal areas to look for waders, seabirds and other water birds, many in current or former salt pans. Following the road that runs along some of the islands in the Odiel Marshes one arrives at the Anastasio Senra´s Visitor Center where there are more places to observe the mudflats on the south of this area loved by waders. We can expect to see such birds as the Little Stint, Dunlin, Godwits, Avocets, Sandpipers, and Sanderlings. Also today, we’ll visit Domingo Rubio´s Creek to see an amazing concentration of Spoonbills, Flamingos, Herons, and other species.

DAY 5:

Tarifa

Today we leave the area of Doñana National Park and head south to watchpoints near Tarifa where we can see the first raptors crossing the Straits of Gibraltar. Species we may see include the Booted and Short-toed Eagles and the European Honey Buzzard. We may also see some Black Storks. We may also see some rarer migrants, such as Rüppell’s Vulture and the Long-legged Buzzard.

DAY 6:

Tarifa – Algeciras

A great place to see waders on migration as well as different species of gulls and terns is Los Lances beach, where we’ll head early in the day. Along with many of the more common species, we’ll look for rarer birds often seen in this area, including the Lesser Crested Tern or perhaps Eurasian Dotterel that stop here during their autumn migration.

The road between Tarifa and Algeciras provides some of the best places to see thousands of birds as they migrate. We should be able to see flocks of European Honey Buzzards, Black Kites and White Storks from points along the way. We should see more Booted and Short-toed Eagles as well as some Black Storks and Egyptian Vultures.

Note: If there is interest in the group, it is possible to organize a boat trip in the afternoon to watch cetaceans and migrating seabirds.

Flamingos
Flamingos

DAY 7:

Tarifa – Sierra de la Plata – La Janda

Two rare birds in Europe, the White-rumped and Little Swifts, normally breed not far from the area called Sierra de la Plata. As we travel we might also see Black-eared Wheatear, Red-rumped Swallow, Blue-Rock Thrush, Common Kestrel, Griffon Vulture, Peregrine and European Honey Buzzard.

Later we can visit the fields of La Janda, a top migrant site where Glossy Ibis, White Storks, Yellow Wagtails and Spanish Sparrows are often found in large numbers. It is also possible to see the Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Black-shouldered Kite and both Bonelli’s and Spanish Imperial Eagles are normally possible.

DAY 8:

Transport to Airport

Following breakfast at the hotel, if your flight times allow, we can make some stops along the route back to Malaga airport.

 

Note: We can help you see more of Spain either before or after the tour. The historic and beautiful Andalucían towns of Seville, Cordoba and Granada are close by, as is Portugal and Morocco. Malaga also has excellent, low-cost air connections to all of Europe and high-speed trains that can take you easily to Madrid, Barcelona or other parts of Spain.

 

Tour leader


Your professional guide:

Manu Mojarro, Professional Guide
Manu Mojarro, Professional Guide

Manu Mojarro

Manu has been a wildlife enthusiast almost since birth, and has been organizing and leading professional bird watching trips since 2004.

As a full-time guide, Manu has led groups that have totaled thousands of birdwatchers from Spain, Britain, USA, Germany, Holland, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, France, and Ireland. In addition to leading groups, Manu often participates in local bird ringing and tracking activities.

 

Photo gallery



Tour dates & prices


What’s included in the cost:

  • 8-day guided tour of Andalucía with professional birding guide
  • 7 nights lodging at carefully screened, 3- and 4-star hotels
  • Breakfast each morning
  • Dinner each evening
  • Orientation during the first night of the tour to make you feel at home in Spain
  • Pickup and drop-off at Malaga airport
  • Transportation by van and car throughout the tour and on all outings

 

Excluded from the cost of the trip:

  • Airfare
  • Entrance fees to museums or other attractions

 

Single supplement:
Single-occupancy rooms can be arranged for an additional fee.

Currency issues:
If the euro jumps in value against the dollar, we reserve the right to add a reasonable surcharge to the trip.