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!
Whilst 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!
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 landscape 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 remain 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 spend 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!
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.