This tour brings together absolutely everything that the south of Spain has to offer the nature lover. We will be visiting some of the most emblematic places to see local fauna, with special attention paid to the spectacle of raptor migration - all from a comfortable setting while enjoying the gastronomic delights of the region. We also offer a fantastic three-day optional extension with the possibility of seeing the Iberian lynx.
Doñana National Park, arguably Spain’s most important reserve, contains a mosaic of landscapes dominated by marsh, with an interesting complex of dunes and oak forests. It is one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country with more than 900 species of plants, and a not inconsiderable list of 350 species of birds. The Iberian Lynx and Iberian Imperial Eagle breed in the park.
But Doñana is just the appetizer! The highlight for us is in the Strait of Gibraltar, where hundreds of thousands of raptors will pass through on their migration route to Africa. September is the best time to fill our sights with Honey Buzzards, Booted and Short-toed Snake Eagles as they soar against a backdrop of exceptional beauty.
For those who have more time, we offer an additional 3 days to visit the province of Jaen, where we will have excellent opportunities to see rare species such as the Imperial Eagle, Cinereous Vulture or, if we’re lucky, the Iberian lynx.
Guide: Yeray Seminario
Length: 7 days
Our journey begins in Seville. We will spend the afternoon in the Paraje Natural Brazo del Este, close to the city, where we will see our first birds: Purple Swamphen, Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Duck, and Glossy Ibis, among others. This is a great way to start our journey in a relaxed setting while still seeing a number of species on our list. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Seville.
After a good breakfast, we head to Doñana Natural Park, where we will have all day to visit various points of interest: La Dehesa de Abajo, Cerrado Garrido and El Rocio. Doñana National Park is one of the best places for birdwatching in Europe, particularly for aquatic species, among which we will find the threatened Marbled Duck, Eurasian and Red-knobbed Coots and the threatened Ferruginous Duck. This area is home to many raptors such as the Spanish Imperial Eagle, and there is a nearby dump site which attracts vultures and kites. We will also enjoy watching the antics of the friendly and confident Iberian Magpies, endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. Overnight within the park in the town of El Rocío.
We will continue on to the Huelva Province to enjoy some of the best places for birdwatching in Spain. In the morning we will visit the Odiel Marsh and the Laguna de El Portil, two good places to see waterfowl, including flamingos, spoonbills and other migratory species from the rest of Europe. In the afternoon, after a splendid lunch, we head to Doñana Gaditana to visit the Salinas de Bonanza, el Codo de la Esparraguera, and the Marismas de Trebujena among other locations. Our main goals throughout the day are: Red-necked Nightjar, White-headed Duck, Marbled Teal, Slender-billed Gull, Spectacled Warbler, Short-toed Lark and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. Overnight in Cádiz.
We will enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel and then go to the Campo de Gibraltar, where migration is at its peak this time of the year. Based on wind direction and strength, we will take advantage of different points of observation. If the wind is very strong, there may be concentrations of tens of thousands of birds of prey in areas near the strait.
We will keep meticulous watch on the latest weather patterns to make the most out of our days viewing the migration. In the afternoon we will visit Sierra de la Plata, a beautiful place where we can easily see Griffon Vulture and possibly Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Blue Rock Thrush, White-rumped and Little Swifts. Overnight in Tarifa.
We will wake up early and visit Los Lances Beach before breakfast. This is a good place to see waders, as well as gulls and terns. During this time of year the Audouin Gull can be found in large concentrations in the area and there is a chance of seeing the Lesser Crested Tern, an occasional visitor to the Spanish coast. After an invigorating breakfast we head to some of the observation points from which we can continue to enjoy the spectacle of migration. Hopefully we will see some African birds of prey that pass through the strait annually during this period, such as the Rüppell’s Vulture, the Long-legged Buzzard (who has bred for several years in the area), and the Lanner Falcon. In the afternoon we visit Los Alcornocales Natural Park in search of forest birds. En route, we will have another chance to look for other resident birds such as Dartford’s Warbler and many migratory passerines that stop over in the area. Overnight in Tarifa.
We will have an early breakfast before heading to strategic points along the coast where we can add to our list several marine species such as Cory's Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Northern Gannet and Great Skua. The rest of the morning will be spent enjoying the birds as they soar overhead in migration. In the afternoon we will visit the ancient lagoon of La Janda. This is a must-see spot for all birders as many species of resident and migratory birds are found here. It is also an important location to see such raptors as the Spanish Imperial Eagle and the Bonelli's Eagle.
Other birds of interest are: Black-shouldered Kite, Western Marsh Harrier, Great Reed Warbler, Yellow Wagtail and Black-eared Wheatear, among others. Overnight at Cadiz.
If time permits, we will bird around Seville before our trip comes to an end. Those who are continuing on to Andujar will have the afternoon free to enjoy the city of Seville, or if you wish we can spend the afternoon birding in the many green areas of Seville and its surroundings.
After a good breakfast in Seville, we move on to Andujar, in the province of Jaen. This enclave, an excellent example of well-preserved Mediterranean forest, is one of the best places to see Iberian Lynx. We will bring a packed lunch to the field so as not to lose a single opportunity to see the elusive cat. Other interesting species in the area include threatened raptors such as the Cinereous Vulture and the Spanish Imperial Eagle, as well as the Eurasian Wryneck, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Eurasian Golden Oriole, and Iberian Magpie. Overnight in Andujar.
After an early breakfast, we will revisit those places that offer us the best chances of seeing an Iberian Lynx. Depending on our luck, we will wait in strategic viewing spots or walk along the many paths in search of more raptors and forest birds. Overnight in Andujar.
We will spend most of the morning birding in Andujar before heading to Seville and concluding our trip.