Welcome to birdwatching in southern spain
– The annual British Birdwatching Fair is being held from the 20th to the 22nd of August at Rutland Water, Oakham Leicestershire, UK.
I’ll be at the fair all weekend representing Limosa Holidays, in Marquee 4 on their stands No’s 61 and 62 –If you’re coming along, please call in and say hello.
– Stephen Daly
– Plan your autumn and winter visits to southern Spain to get the very bestof bird watching with a guide, on both major birding areas on the Costa de la luz!
Yes! Here, along the mountains, plains, valleys, forests and magnificent coastline overlooking Morocc, with such contrasting habitat
the wetlands and forests of the Coto Doñana – just around the corner towards Portugal. Where exactly? – Click here for satellite photos
You can safely say that the bulk of raptor migration takes place in the Strait of Gibraltar from August until November. Raptor movement includes Booted, Short-toed and Bonelli’s Eagles. Other birds include migrating Osprey’s, Montagu’s Harriers, Great-spotted Cuckoo’s and Black Storks, to mention only a few species.
John Butler, of Donana Bird Tours, guides clients to the best birding sites in the vast wetland areas surrounding the Doñana National Park where fantastic concentrations of birds, such as Glossy Ibis, Common Cranes, Greater Flamingos, Spoonbills, Crested Coots, Marbled Ducks, Purple Swamp-hens and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse can be found, along with various eagles, including the the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Peregrines, kites, harriers, falcons, buzzards, ducks, geese and waders.
Why not combine trips to both major sites, and get the very best of quality birding from both companies –
Book now – Click below
-Day Tours – Book Stephen Daly for a full day’s birding along the Strait of Gibraltar(Andalucian Guides)
– Day Tours – Book John Butler for a day’s tour around the marshes and wetlands of Doñana (Doñana Bird Tours)
–Autumn Raptor Migration – Small group, eight day tours
(Sun) 5th–12th September
(Sun) 12th–19th September
(Sat) 25th Sept. -2nd October – Heatherlea Tour
(Sat) 9th-16th October
* to book a day tour – contact us.
-‘Hoopoe cottage’ – to rent. please take a look
– An introduction to Andalucian Guides – quality birding in spain
At the southern most tip of the European mainland is Andalucia and the Costa de la Luz. (Coast of Light). The coastline from the Coto Doñana to Tarifa, lies the European boundary of the Strait of Gibraltar, directly on one of the busiest bird migration routes on Earth.
The spring migration is spread over many months from the start of each year with opportunities to watch many different species that breed on the Iberian peninsular or continue their journey northwards to other countries in northern Europe.
The bulk of the European raptor and Stork migration takes place from August throughout November when literally millions of passerines and other migrants flying over the Strait.
The distinctive Hoopoe – Upupa epops
To see this mass movement of of migratory birds is without doubt one of the most visual, stunning experiences anyone remotely interested in birds can have, leaving many guests who have booked with Andalucian Guides with such happy long lasting memories.*
“What our clients say” * also read “About Us” – Click Here
Birding, Walking and enjoyment, all at a relaxed pace
1. – A typical day’s Birding tour starts early in La Janda.( We can approach the vast area from many directions) We then travel through the cork-oak forest of Los Alcornocales, climbing slowly up to the sierras and eventually descending down to Los Lances beach at Tarifa for lunch. Afternoons include a walk at the limestone slabs at the Loma de San Bartolome, near the coastal Sierra de La Plata or leisurely birding on Los Lances endless golden sands or round the tidal estuary at Barbate.
2.– Alternatively, we can visit the nearby laguna’s of Medina, Taraje or Comisario. These and other privately owned lakes are good throughout the year for White-headed and Marbled Duck and Crested Coot.
3. – The farmland rice plains of Brazo del Este are also within easy reach and offer as many varied species as the Coto Doñana – about three minutes “flying time” away from Huelva province!
-There are of course many trails, tracks and country routes – lots of possibilities – You’ve just got to know where and when….. and let Stephen do the driving!
Almost one-fifth of Andalucia’s total area has protected status for nature, with a wonderful variety of habitats, ranging from wetlands & mudflat’s to dunes & desert and not forgetting the dramatic sierras, all adding up to make it a perfect place for a bird watching holiday.
-Great Birding – With the best access to the top birding Sites in Andalucia (ask about tours to Almería, Extremadura, Sierra de Gredos and Morocco)
Andalucia (or Andalusia, as it is sometimes written) is certainly one of the most colourful birding destinations in Spain or Europe for that matter, just by the sheer volume and superb range of species that can be easily seen throughout the whole year.
The nearby National Park and other Parque Natural’s of the Coto Doñana and other rich feeding grounds on the Costa de la Luz make this one of the most important breeding areas in Europe for some scarcer European species. It’s also an important stopover area for all sorts of migrants before their long flight to and from Africa.
The Costa de la Luz is indeed one of the prime birding areas in Europe and if you are interested in birding or are a nature lover at all, a day tour or weeks holiday will be an experience you are unlikely to forget.
The region of Andalucia is a huge area, bigger than Portugal and of course is steeped in history and culture with wonderful traditions, offering mouth- watering food and fine wines – A taste of the real wild Spain!
Where are we based?
Find out more by clicking here!
– Four days in Morocco – February 2004
Read about it here!……More than just another a trip report!
Please have a look at our sample itineraries for Spring and Autumn and of course enjoy the many photographs of birds and views of this special area.
the migration clock is
Juvenile Black-eared Wheatear
The months of July and August are, to say the least very hot. The landscape has been burnt to a golden brown colour with the heat of the sun and birds shelter in the shade from the roasting heat, feeding mainly in the mornings and late afternoon and evenings. Consequently, birding has really calmed down in comparison to the frantic activities of display, feeding and song witnessed during the breeding season.
The spring season is greener with lots of vegetation and of course insect life, feeding off the lush carpets ablaze with rich flowers.
Many bird species have already taken advantage of the cooler months of March, April, May and June with average temperatures of between 20-28oC, to breed successfully. Consequently, huge numbers of young birds are already out on their own learning all kinds of new skills, experiences and dangers from Man.
Little Owls number many of the casualties
Photo © Pieter Verheij
Top of the list of dangers to young birds, sadly is still the motor car.
Scores of Little Owls, Jackdaws, Red-legged Partridge, Turtle and Collared Doves, Red-necked Nightjars* and Tawny, Long-eared and Barn Owls road-kill can be seen on the main and back roads. High tension cables and wires together with short gain, inefficient wind-turbines add to the hazards and continue to be sited directly on the ageless flight paths of migratory birds.
(“An analysis of Nightjar recoveries up to the end of 1984 revealed that 75% of deaths where causes were known, were the result of road accidents.” – Source: Peter Tait “The Nightjar” ISBN 0 7478 0030 8)
To top it all, non-resident, newly fledged birds face the ordeal of a long flight to Africa during the autumn migration and instinct tells them to stock up with food thus maintaining a high fat reserve for the journey.
Feed, feed and keep on feeding!
Summer sees the rice fields flooded and green again, with many young birds such as Yellow Wagtails and White Black Storks, feeding there. The bulk of both species will soon head south but their flying techniques couldn’t be more contrasting. Smaller passerines like the Wagtails and Wheatears choose their moment to cross the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco, using favourable winds or periods of calm. Larger birds such as most raptors and White and Black Storks cross, gaining height by gliding and soaring, taking advantage of hot air currents or thermals.
This annual spectacle is stunning to witness.
October/November is harvest time in the rice fields of La Janda, Brazo del Este and Isla Mayor and it’s when the whole wetlands comes alive with birds of all shapes, colours and sizes feeding in their hundreds of thousands behind the huge tractors as they grind and mash up the mud and all the insect and crustacean life within. A avian feeding-frenzy of gigantic proportions attracts so many fat-loading birds that some cannot take to the air again until their digestion deal with their bulging crop. If you think that the Gannet is aptly named, then come and watch this!
Booted Eagle (light phase)
Short-toed Eagle hovering
Dawn over La Janda as clouds roll in from Tarifa
Andalucian Guides runs week long raptor migration holidays in September and October, offering clients a unique opportunity to sit and watch all kinds of raptors migrating through southern Andalucia over the Strait of Gibraltar. Waves of Montagu’s Harriers, Black Kites, Egyptian Vultures, Booted and Short-toed Eagles – as well as thousands of White Storks and smaller numbers of Black Storks and Spoonbills make their way south to Africa, crossing at different points along the coast. It’s a marvelous spectacle with excellent views of these wonderful birds.
Take a look at Raptor Migration Tour Dates across the page or avoid disappointment by booking Stephen as your guide for a day tour.
With the start of the autumn activity and migration and the later return of the Common Cranes to Extremadura and Andalucia in November is a sight really worth seeing for yourself.
Day tours or a week long migration tours in September/October staying at the Hotel Almadraba in Zahara de los Atunes can be booked today!
More information on Wintering Cranes in La Janda –
For a conservation report and photographs. Click here
Most of these images have been Digiscoped with an inexpensive digital camera –
What is digiscoping? See the results and a basic explanation of how it works. click here
– 2005 Tours – more dates to follow
9th – 16th April. Southern Spain with Limosa
(two center tour, Coto Doñana & the Strait of Gibraltar)
23rd April -30th April. Central Spain with Limosa
(two Center tour, Extremadura and the Sierra de Gredos)
7th – 14th May. Central Spain with Limosa
(two center tour, Extremadura and the Sierra de Gredos)
10th – 17th September. Southern Spain with Limosa
(Raptor Migration in the Strait of Gibraltar)
Updated 26-07-04. SD