This winter break is designed to capture the best of Extremadura in winter with a touch of spring thrown in. The amazing spectacle of thousands of Cranes feeding and migrating is not only an incredible sight but also a wonderful cacophony of sounds. Bustards wander the plains in flocks in winter and we will visit various areas to see Great and Little Bustards. The same areas are home to Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse as well as many raptors and larks. Early spring migrants will be in the area with a chance of seeing the first Great Spotted Cuckoos.
The mountains of Monfrague National Park will provide excellent views of vultures and eagles, including Spanish Imperial and Bonelli’s Eagle and Griffon and Black Vultures. Added to all this will be some stunning birds such as Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Azure-winged Magpie, Lesser Kestrel colonies and Black Wheatears. Visits to wetlands will also give us the chance to watch tens of thousands of wildfowl and excellent views of Purple Swamphen and hopefully Little Bittern.
DAY 1: Madrid to Trujillo
After meeting at Madrid airport we will travel south west towards the Trujillo area in Extremadura, our base for the tour. We will spend the remainder of the day in the local area including looking for Lesser Kestrel at a colony in Trujillo. Overnight near Trujillo
Various birding areas in different habitats close to our accommodation
We will spend most of our time in the areas near to Trujillo and Caceres close to our accommodation so travel time will be minimal. Our time will be split between the plains, rice and maize fields, reservoirs and dehesa woodlands. When birding the local plains we will look out for wintering flocks of Great and Little Bustards, Pin-tailed & Black-bellied Sandgrouse and many raptors including Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Hen Harrier and Merlin. The habitat is also excellent for larks including Thekla and Calandra Larks. There will also be some early spring migrants including Woodchat Shrike and Great Spotted Cuckoos.
When visiting the rice and maize fields we will witness the incredible sight and sounds of thousands of Cranes feeding in the fields. The fields are also excellent for large flocks of passerines and waders as well as some raptors including Black-winged Kites if we are lucky.
The local reservoirs are home to tens of thousands of wintering wildfowl and we will spend time looking through the spectacle hoping form some rarities but also enjoying views of Black-necked Grebes and Spoonbills.
The reservoirs can also be good for Otters and Iberian Hare. We will also spend some time at local cliff faces watching Griffon Vultures, Bonelli’s Eagles, Crag Martins and hopefully wintering or early returning Black Storks. A gentle walk along a river below the cliff face will give us a chance of seeing Hawfinch, Azure-winged Magpie and Common Waxbills.
Overnight near Trujillo
Monfrague National Park
We will spend at least one day in Monfrague National Park, stopping off at several viewpoints to watch Griffon, Black and Egyptian Vultures and Spanish Imperial, Bonelli’s and Golden Eagles. As well the large raptors in the area we will look for Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Sparrow. The area is also very good for Otter and throughout our time here the stunning scenery will add a wonderful backdrop to the wildlife. Overnight near Trujillo
Trujillo to Madrid
Travel back to Madrid for flights. If we did not manage to visit the site when we arrived, we will make a stop at Arrocampo Reservoir. This is an excellent area for Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern and Penduline Tit before returning to the airport for onward flights to the UK.