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Spain NEW! Wings Across the Strait

An 8-day birdwatching tour to Andalucia, Spain

Limosa’s all new birdwatching tour to southern Spain is timed to coincide with one of Europe’s greatest avian spectacles - the mass migration of birds of prey and storks over the Strait of Gibraltar. As well as experiencing the thrilling build up of raptors waiting to cross the waters to Africa, highlights of this superb Spain birding tour include a boat trip out of Tarifa in search of seabirds and cetaceans, a visit to the mouth of the famous Guadalquivir River - for flamingos and terns, plus the chance of Marbled and White-headed Ducks - and 2 nights in the scenic Sierra de Grazalema near Ronda, seeking Bonelli’s Eagle and Black Wheatear. Join our English-speaking Spanish expert Fernando for an exciting personal tour of his own ‘local patch’!

Tour Dates

2020

Available

Leaders
Fernando Enrique

Max Group Size: 7
Duration: 8 Days

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Cost: £1895

inc return flights London Heathrow-Gibraltar, nonstop with British Airways

Deposit: £300

Single Supp: £245
Land Only: £1725

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short toed snake eagle juv Spain Morocco Gary Elton resized

This Short-toed Eagle has Africa firmly in its sights as it heads south to cross the Strait of Gibraltar © Gary Elton, Limosa

The southbound migration of birds of prey and storks across the Strait of Gibraltar in autumn has long been recognised as one of Europe’s greatest avian spectacles. This narrow stretch of water between the sierras of southernmost Andalucia in Spain and the coastal mountains of North Africa provides the shortest crossing over the Mediterranean - less than 9 miles at the closest point - and huge numbers of migratory soaring birds from all over Europe congregate here to make the crossing every autumn.

This exciting new tour begins within a short eagle’s flight of Tarifa, which lies at the most southerly tip of the Spanish mainland and from where the mountains of Morocco are clearly visible across the sea. After exploring the best raptor watchpoints and coastal wetlands - and enjoying spectacular views over the Strait - we transfer a couple of hours inland to beautiful Ronda, still with a view to watching migration, but also to explore the limestone landscapes close to this picturesque and historic Spanish town.

Mid-late September sees peak passage here, with birds of prey funnelling down from the hills to local migration ‘hotspots’.  When conditions are right, parties of Honey Buzzards, Black Kites and Short-toed Eagles rise up above the wooded coastal sierras in search of the thermals that will give them lift. Anticipation grows as the first distant dots appear, gradually metamorphosing into an assortment of different shapes and sizes, discernible as birds of prey as they glide ever nearer. Soon they are with us - at times, some may pass so close we can even see the expression on their faces! Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Hobbies and Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Bonelli's and Booted Eagles, Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers... all pass this way, gathering together in readiness for the crossing to the Moroccan shore. With them come clouds of White Storks - and often a sprinkling of scarcer Black Storks, too - all seeking to gain height before streaming out across the waters of the Strait.
    
Each day will be different as the presence of raptors and storks is influenced by the prevailing winds. On days when the winds are 'not right' however, there is much to see elsewhere in this bird-rich corner of Spain. Sardinian Warbler, Hoopoe and Iberian Grey Shrike are among a host of classic Mediterranean species to try for and we might also be lucky to find one or two of the region’s rarer inhabitants - over our many previous visits to Andalucia, our groups have seen Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black-winged Kite and even Rüppell’s Vulture!
 
But southern Andalucia is not all about raptor migration; there are also many great wetlands. Taking a day trip west to the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, we’ll visit freshwater lagunas that are home to some of the most iconic and sought-after species of the region. Rarities such as Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Duck and the beautiful White-headed Duck can be found here, along with Audouin’s Gulls and hundreds of rose-pink Greater Flamingos.

If the sea conditions permit, a morning boat trip out from Tarifa offers a great chance to get close to seabirds including Gannets, both Cory’s and Scopoli’s Shearwaters, and maybe a few Balearic Shearwaters, too. Cetaceans such as Bottlenose Dolphin and Long-finned Pilot Whale are also possible from the boat trip here in September.

After five nights close to the coast, we travel inland a couple of hours to spend our final two nights amid the beautiful limestone mountains of the Sierra de Grazalema. As well as enjoying birdwatching here in the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, we’ll pay a visit to the historic and hugely scenic hill-top town of Ronda that sits astride El Tajo - a deep chasm carved by the Río Guadalevín. Bonelli's Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush and the localised Black Wheatear are among a wealth of upland birds to look forward to here.

Fernando Enrique is our English-speaking Spanish specialist and Limosa's ‘man on the spot’ - his own home in Andalucia being just a stone's throw along the coast from Tarifa, where we start our tour. His intimate local knowledge of the fickle winds, weather patterns and local birding sites during this, the peak period for raptor and stork migration in autumn, will prove invaluable on this exciting tour. During our tour, we will no doubt also try a couple of Fernando’s favourite local restaurants for lunch… tapas is always a treat!

Limosa has been operating bird tours to Spain for more than 30 years, and 2020 will be Fernando’s sixth year of guiding tours in the region for Limosa.

Our detailed Tour Itinerary for this Spain tour (8 days) is currently being finalised and will be posted here soon!

If you would like to receive our Tour Info Pack for this trip as soon as it's ready, just give our friendly office a call - or click here and ping us a quick email!

Meantime, BOOKING IS NOW OPEN for this tour.

What To Expect

Our detailed Tour Itinerary for this 6-day Hungary tour is currently being finalised and will be posted here soon!

If you would like to receive our Tour Info Pack for this trip as soon as it's ready, just give our friendly office a call - or click here and ping us a quick email!

Meantime, BOOKING IS NOW OPEN for this tour.

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