SOUTHERN SPAIN: Iberian Lynx & Eagles

DATES & PRICES
Tour Dates: Thursday 1st – Monday 5th February 2018 (Malaga to Malaga)
Tour Price: £899 per person
plus flight
Estimated Flight Price: London to Malaga direct approx. £150 return

Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: Approx. 4% of tour price per person (£35pp) 
Deposit: £300 per person
Minimum Number required for trip to run: 4 people
Maximum Group Size: 8 people
Accommodation:
4 nights at Villa Matilde


Key Birds: Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Southern (Iberian) Grey Shrike and Common Crane.

Key Mammals: Iberian Lynx, Mouflon, Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer and Otter.

Conservation work that you will directly contribute to by joining this holiday:
This tour will directly contribute to the important conservation work being carried out in  Portugal to try and secure Iberian Lynx habitat through close liaision and agreements with estate owners in the regions where the Iberian Lynx lives. More details can be found on our Conservation Projects page.

TOUR SUMMARY & FULL ITINERARY
This tour is focused on trying to see Iberian Lynx. This will involve spending a lot of time scanning from strategic viewpoints and remaining focused, but it will be well rewarded. It is very difficult to describe the feeling when you finally get your first view of one of these truly stunning animals. It is a great adrenaline rush and regardless of how long you get to actually watch an animal, they always leave you with a feeling of wanting more! Iberian Lynx, as with most mammals tend to be most active at dawn and dusk, but during December and January as the breeding season starts, animals can literally appear at anytime and it is not unusual for animals to be within 200M of you!

lynx-blogWhilst hoping for a view of the world’s rarest cat, we shall enjoy numerous eagles and vultures soaring overhead and there shall be plenty of opportunity to see other mammals such as the Mouflon, Spanish Ibex and numerous deer & bat species. See videos below, taken whilst at one of our viewpoints in November 2012!

DAY 1
After meeting at Malaga airport we shall head north and make our way straight to the Sierra de Andujar region which will be our base for the next four nights. We shall check into our accommodation whilst being distracted by the Azure-winged Magpies in the garden, have lunch and then venture out for our first afternoon looking for Iberian Lynx. The Iberian Lynx has until recently been almost impossible to see, but here in the Sierra de Andujar Iberian Lynx, Sierra de Andujarlandscape you have an excellent chance of seeing this beautiful cat. Much of this is due to the fact that the Lynx density in this region is particularly good and our viewpoints look over areas where a number of cat’s territories overlap. We shall Habitat of the Iberian Lynxremain vigilant as we scan the vast expanse of rolling valleys and Spanish and Holm Oaks and with luck, we may even see a Lynx on our first day!

DAYS 2 – 4
The Sierra de Andujar forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain range and it is an impressive landscape. We shall Crane-400spend our days scanning hillsides and beautiful Mediterranean forest areas interspersed by rivers and streams whilst we search for the elusive cat. The following days will take a similar structure as we spend the early mornings and late afternoon/evenings concentrating our efforts on searching for Iberian Lynx.
Of course whilst waiting for our prized target species, we shall also spend time looking for the many other species of bird and mammal that can be found here. Spanish Imperial Eagles are very often just soaring overhead sometimes interacting with Golden Eagles! Both Griffon Vulture and Black Vulture are regularly seen, as is Goshawk and Peregrine, so if birds of prey are your thing, you will be very much at home! Azure-winged Magpies are a very common bird, but nontheless still a great looking bird. We shall take some short walks along the easy terrain checking the woodland and rough grassland areas for Woodlark, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crested Tit, Little Owl Dartford and Sardinian Warblers.

Other species we should see are Hawfinch, Rock Sparrow, Crag Martin and with luck a Blue Rock Thrush or Iberian Grey Shrike. The landscape is very beautiful and the area is excellent for relaxing and just taking in the sounds and smells of this quiet corner of Spain. There are plenty of mammals other than the Lynx to keep us entertained as we shall see numerous Red Deer, the odd Roe and Fallow Deer, Wild Boar and the giant of sheep, the Mouflon! If we are really lucky, we may also see Spanish Ibex or an Otter fishing below us at one of the Iberian Lynx watchpoints or even jam into a Genet or Garden Dormouse!

DAY 5
Dependent on flight times, we shall either have an early breakfast and head to Malaga for our return flight. Or if flight times are later, we may have time for a last morning to try for Iberian Lynx, but hopefully we shall already have been successful! We shall then head back south stopping at La Laguna de Fuente de la Piedra where we shall have a late lunch and enjoy some leisurely birding sifting through waders and Greater Flamingos  as well as an impressive number of Common Cranes that winter here, before returning to Malaga airport.

IMPORTANT HOLIDAY DETAILS
Leaders: Chris Townend or Ryan Irvine
Included in cost: Accomm. in twin en-suite rooms, all meals, water, ground transport and services of leader
NOT Included in cost: International airfare, travel insurance, drinks other than water, any airport/visa fees and items of a personal nature
Accommodation: Very homely Guest House very close to Iberian Lynx area. Half-board and packed lunches
Single Supplement: £75
Max. Group Size: 8
Transport: Minibus / People Carrier
Difficulty: Very easy walking and short walks never far from our vehicle.
Climate: Variable from quite cold in the mornings to pleasantly warm during the day with a chance of rain.
Meeting Point: Malaga Airport, Spain
Tour End: Malaga airport in the afternoon.
Suggested Airlines: Easyjet from London and Bristol, Flybe from Exeter
Note:This is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted in relation to arrival and departure times, weather conditions and other related factors.