Birding

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birds, birding, bird watching,twitching,ornithology…..

Call it what you will, it’s still one of the most popular outdoor hobbies around!

I offer day tours and week long, professionally led ornithological breaks in Andalucia, with a wonderful  variety of species and fantastic scenery at affordable prices.

This is a real break from the daily grind – Be looked after. Let someone else do the driving and find the best sites. Bird in the sun, relax, walk and breath the clean, fresh Atlantic air.

Years ago Stephen Daly of Andalucian Guides fell in love with this beautiful part of the Costa de la Luz with it’s unspoiled charm and richness of bird life.

He and his family live in the countryside between two natural parks where Sardinian Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas and Serins nest in the gardens. During the summer nights, Red-necked Nightjars and Scop’s Owl hunt in the neighbouring fields and orchards while distant calls from Tawny, Barn and Little Owls can be heard in the darkness. The warm, long summers sees Pallid Swift and Bee-eaters feeding overhead and Griffon Vultures glide past catching thermal after thermal.

A day tour or longer holiday organised by Andalucian Guides is a holiday of appreciation, enjoyment and understanding – it’s not at all about “Leaders” , marching clients from site to site to get more ticks in your book! Tours are for everyone interested in nature, the environment we live in and the beauty of all these wonderful birds.

Stephen will be happy to show you all the recognised birding areas and lots of others besides, that are either private estates or areas of land normally out of bounds to the general public.

Please take time to read our clients comments.

Expect to make new friends, have good fun, enjoy great food and drink and take home warm & happy memories.

Stephen lives and works the whole year in Andalucia and have intimate knowledge of the very best birding areas. He also has up to date knowledge of scarcer or unusual species location throughout the area. During longer tours we keep clients informed about forthcoming weather and other relevant local information including the culture and history of Andalucia.

On our spring time tours to the wetlands and marshes of the silt-created Coto Doñana on the edge of the mighty Guadalquivir river. Here we’ll look for Crested Coot, Marbled and White-headed Duck, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Purple swamp Hen, Dartford Warbler, Azure-winged Magpie and the elusive Black-shouldered Kite.

Please “click” on the wonderful photos by Juan J Ruiz, at the side of this page. Juan is a birding friend from Madrid and talented bird photographer. All images were digiscoped, using a Swarovski telescope with a Nikon coolpix 4500 digital camera.

The Coto Doñana’s boggy vegetation will give us the chance to see lots of other beautiful species, including Black Stork, Squacco Heron, Little Bittern, Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Greater Flamingo and Red-crested Pochard. We will also look for Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Stone Curlew, Southern Grey Shrike, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Spotless Starling, Rock Sparrow and Serin, to name but a few!

During the autumn migration we’ll watch and enjoy the sight of large flocks of raptors soaring & gliding over the Strait of Gibraltar. This spectacle is a wonderful example of the “raw nature” of the natural selection process at work as large numbers leave for the south to find food and avoid the poor weather of the north. It is by far the most spectacular of the two annual migrations with springtime arrivals generally spread more gently over the early months and without the large waves of raptors seen between August and November.

From the end of October onwards is harvest time in the paddy-fields of La Janda and Brazo del Este. These huge rice producing areas become a feeding ground for hundreds of thousands of birds, and the constant churning of the water and mud by the huge farm tractors promotes a feeding-frenzy of unbelievable dimensions. There can be thousands of White Storks, Cattle and Little Egrets all gorging themselves on the crayfish, water boatmen, beetles, larvae and a myriad of other insect and other rich, aquatic life. They eat so much that often they are too full to take to the air again!

Migration is a dangerous time for a lot of species with high mortality rates in juvenile birds especially with smaller Passerines. A far greater number of juveniles cross during the autumn. Various problems arise during their first winter and they never make the return leg in spring. Local weather changes play a great part in bird migration and our guides will endeavour to seek out the very best observation points accordingly. We can expect to see Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers, Honey Buzzard and Sparrowhawk with clouds of White Stork and the scarcer Black Stork catching huge thermals then soaring or gliding across to Africa.

Some sea watching and various trips through the famous Alconocales (cork oak) natural park and other protected areas are included.

Stephen also guides in Extremadura and the Sierra de Gredos, Cabo de Gata in Almeria and across the short stretch of water to various bird sites in Morocco.