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European Bee-eaterGRAND SPAIN!
Andalusia, the Ebro Valley & the Pyrenees

Main Tour: September 2 - 16, 2018
Andujar pre-extension: Sept. 1 - 2, 2018

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Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!

Spain is the most visited country in European for observing birds because of its location on the main migration route between Europe and Africa, and because it contains almost all of the habitats of the Western Palearctic, with much of it relatively well conserved. (It was selected as the chosen destination of British birders in the forum UKBIRDNET).

Black Stork.Spain's mosaic of habitats provides shelter to a great number and variety of species; Raptor diversity and numbers (25 different species are possible during this tour), alpine birds, steppe birds, aquatic birds and an unsurpassed representation of typical Mediterranean species including many migrants to the region.

In this two week tour we visit many of the most beautiful and important areas, and it is possible to observe more than 200 bird species. Special attention is given to the Spanish specialties such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, Lammergeier, Dupont's Lark, Wallcreeper and Moustached Warbler, and the added opportunity to see a variety of mammals, reptiles and butterflies.

As a complementary embellishment to the tour, we visit different historic monuments and cultural sites including The House of Goya, El Castillo de Loarre (XI C.), El Monasterio de San Juan de la Pena (XI / XIII C.) and Moorish villages like Alquezar. This tour is designed especially for those who wish to see a maximum number of bird species in Europe combined with Spain’s enchantingly rich culture and the most spectacular landscapes in this part of the world.

Join us to discover the birds, wildlife and culture of Grand Spain!


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TOUR MAP
Spain Tour Map


ITINERARY

Day 0:
Flight to Seville, Spain. Plan on flying to Spain on September 2 to arrive for the beginning of the tour on the afternoon of September 3.

Day 1: The trip begins after lunch (not included in the price) at the Ayre Hotel in Seville 13.00 /14.00 Hrs (1:00/2:00 p.m.). We will then drive to Brazo del Este or Laguna de Medina, two reserves where we have good chances for migrants, waders, raptors, storks and ducks. Photo: White Storks.

White Storks.
 
Sardinian Warbler.Days 2 - 4: From Seville, as we head toward the Strait of Gibraltar, we will visit two nature reserves where wildfowl are abundant. At this time of the year there are migrating shorebirds and good numbers of storks, Glossy Ibis, and a variety of egrets and raptors. Depending on the water levels, the reserve’s reed beds can host resident Red-crested Pochard, White-headed duck (challenging), Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Harrier, Zitting Cisticola and Sardinian Warbler (photo).

The Gibraltar Straits themselves concentrate most of western European’s migrants heading to Africa. Several watch points will be visited and can provide opportunities to see numerous migrants including swifts, swallows, bee-eaters, storks, and especially soaring raptors such as Egyptian Vultures, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Honey Buzzards, and Lesser Kestrels. It’s always a treat!


We will also visit Cape Trafalgar for seabirds. Gannets and several species of shearwaters are also likely. Along the coastline we will encounter concentrations of gulls, including Audouin’s and Slender-billed, terns and waders. It’s a perfect combination of birding and scenery with the chance to find a rarity or unexpected species.  Overnight in Zahara de los Atunes.
  
Day 5: After a morning birding near Zahara, we will drive from Zahara to Seville. Our estimated time of arrival in Seville is around 14.00 hrs. (2:00 p.m.) and our high speed train leaves Seville 16.00 hrs. (4:00 p.m.) arriving Zaragoza 19.30 hrs. (7:30 p.m.) After renting our new vehicles we will drive through the Ebro valley to the Guara mountains. Night in Guara mountains.
 
Day 6: The Pre-Pyrenees is pure Mediterranean pine woodland interspersed with almond and olive groves with chances for raptors, Mediterranean warblers and migrants. We will also visit the Moorish village of Alquezar, a picturesque locale in the heart of the Sierra de Guara. This region of Spain is famous for the spectacular canyons that have been carved into the mountains by the Rio Vero. In the surrounding areas, the nearby Sierra de Guara and in the spectacular Vadiello and Salto de Roldan, we will find one of the most exciting and varied concentrations of bird species in Spain. Exciting possibilities here will include Red Kite, Black-eared and Black Wheatear, Dartford Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Corn Bunting and Thekla Lark. Night in Guara mountains.

 
RiglosDay 7:  Our ascent into the Pyrenees begins this morning with a drive across the Ebro Valley. As we travel through this arid steppe region we will take time to search for any birds we may have previously missed. As we approach the foothills of the Pyrenees the habitat will change and we will begin seeing Holm Oak and pines covering the hillsides. We will also take time to explore Castillo de Loarre, a dramatic walled and turreted fortress perched on a towering rock. Built in the 11th century, it is said by some to be the oldest castle in Spain. On route we will pass the towering rock spires known as Mallos de Riglos. These would not look out of place in Utah and are spectacular. This area will continue to be good for a variety of raptors and Egyptian Vultures should be especially conspicuous. Our next two nights will be in the delightful village of Siresa where we will stay in a charming inn with a restaurant that has won several regional cooking awards. Night in Siresa.
 
Wallcreeper.Days 8 & 9: We will have 2 full days to explore the Hecho Valley and surrounding areas as we look for some of Spain’s most sought after birds. Here the habitat consists of deep ravines and gorges and meandering valleys covered with pine and beech groves. In the more open areas we will find cultivated fields and beautiful alpine meadows. The Hecho Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in the Spanish Pyrenees and here we will seek the enigmatic Wallcreeper and the Lammergeier—two species highly prized by European birders. Other specialties of the area that we hope to find include Black Woodpecker, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Ortolan Bunting, Rock Bunting, Citril Finch, Eurasian Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Red-billed Chough, Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Crag Martin. Mammals will also be well-represented here and we should see Alpine Marmot and Chamois. Though the last of the Pyrenean brown bears also inhabit Lammergeierthis region we would be very lucky to see one.  During our stay in the high country we will be sure to stop at the Monastery of San Juan de la Pena, a 11th century structure built on a rock face. The combination of magnificent birds and ancient culture will surely make us wish we had more time! Nights in Siresa.
 
Days 10 & 11:  The El Planeron, an ornithological reserve north of Belchite is home to the highest population density of Dupont’s Lark in Spain. This elusive bird is one of Europe’s most sought-after species and we will devote an entire morning attempting to get a look at this very difficult prize. Being in the field at sunrise is essential if we are to have an opportunity to see one. After returning to our hotel for a late breakfast we will return to the Belchite area. Belchite is a nature reserve, part of its land belongs to the SPANISH Birdlife (SEO). It is an excellent place to see Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Calandra and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Red-legged Partridge and Montagu’s Harrier. If time allows we will also visit the old ruined village of Belchite which was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, or stop in the village where Goya, the famous Spanish painter, was born. Night in Belchite area.


Subalpine Warbler  Hoopoe
 

Days 12 & 13: From The Ebro Valley steppes with several stopes for birding, we will drive through the Ebro River to reach the Ebro Delta after Lunch. The final leg of our adventure commences with an early morning drive southeast to the Ebro Delta, one of the great remaining Mediterranean wetlands and a site of major ecological importance. The delta is composed primarily of rice paddies but, these flooded fields provide excellent habitat for an amazing array of migrant and breeding birds including the rare Audouin’s Gull. We will have nearly two full days to explore the delta as we search for exciting species like Little Bittern, Water Rail, Gray Heron, Purple Heron, Little Ringed Plover, Great Crested Grebe, Greater Flamingo, Collared Pratincole, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Slender-billed Gull, Great Reed Warbler, Common Redshank and Zitting Cisticola. Since our visit will coincide with the passage of many migrant shorebirds the possibilities will be many and exciting. To cap off our experience, we will stay at a lovely inn with excellent birding on the grounds and a superb restaurant. Nights in Deltebre.


Goldcrest  Alpine Swift  Roller
 

Day 14: This morning we will have several hours to further explore the delta before departing for Barcelona where the tour will end at the airport.

Flamingos

 

What to Expect: This exclusive expedition is designed for those who are interested in the natural history of Spain and in particular the birds and the biodiversity of its flora and fauna. Travel is by regular scheduled jet aircraft, motor coach, and train. This is a moderately active program. Some walks are approximately one to two miles long (sometimes over uneven terrain) at a leisurely pace suitable for wildlife observation. Typically, the weather is warm to hot, with mid-day temperatures from the 70s to the 80s. Accommodations will vary from rustic-but-comfortable to upscale. In order to enjoy this trip, a spirit of adventure and anticipation with a desire to experience first-hand another culture and to explore spectacular natural areas are musts. Flexibility is essential, since local conditions may require alterations in schedule.


Azure-winged Magpie.Andujar Pre-trip Extension
September 1 - 2, 2018

We are pleased to offer a special pre-trip extension to our Grand Spain tour for the chance to see some very special species – Azure-winged Magpie, Hawfinch, and the enormous (European) Black Vulture in the Andújar area. 

Andújar is a well-kept secret in terms of wild mountain habitat in Spain where we will spend two nights with one full day of birding to find area specialties not possible on the main tour. This beautiful mountain chain holds dense populations of Moufflon, Red and Fallow Deer, Otter and Wild Boar as well as the largest Iberian Lynx population in Spain. Birds seen here include Griffon and Black Vultures, Golden and Spanish Imperial Eagle, Azure-winged Magpie, Sardinian Warbler, Hawfinch and Iberian Green Woodpecker.


Andujar


Sunrise Birding Leader: Frank Gallo
Frank GalloFrank is a leading expert on where to find birds in Connecticut. Through his birding tours, lectures, and classes he has inspired countless birders to discover and appreciate the region’s rich bird life. Before joining the Sunrise Birding team, Frank worked for the Connecticut Audubon Society for twelve years, as the Senior Naturalist and Director of the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point. Previously, he served at the New Canaan Nature Center as Director of Public Programs and Director of Eco-Travel and Field Studies, and before that with the New Haven Parks Department. Currently, he is a member of the Connecticut Avian Rare Records Committee, is federally licensed as a master bird bander, and is a past president of the New Haven Bird Club.

A superb birder, Frank has led birding expeditions throughout North America and abroad, including New Zealand, South Africa, Peru, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain. For many years, he was bird team leader for the Forman School Rain Forest Project, guiding high school students from Litchfield for bird research projects in Costa Rica. Frank is the author of two highly successful children's nature books, Bird Calls and Night Sounds, has recently completed work on his bird finding guide, Birding in Connecticut, due out May 1, 2018. He is also a published freelance photographer and lecturer. He holds a bachelor's degree in biology with a specialization in ornithology from Southern Connecticut State University, and in 2003 he received the Connecticut Outdoor Environmental Education Association's award as Environmental Educator of the Year.

Little Owl.GRAND SPAIN
Main Tour: September 2 - 16, 2018
Andujar Ext: September 1 - 2, 2018

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TOUR PRICE
Main Tour:
US$4550 per person/double occupancy from Seville, Spain based on minimum of 9 persons. Note: this tour begins in Seville (Airport code: SVQ) and ends in Barcelona, Spain. Price based on current exchange rates when the tour was posted and subject to change (**see note below).
Single supplement, Main Tour: US$425.00

Andujar Extension: US $595 per person/double occupancy from Seville based on minimum of 9 persons. Single supplement: US $75. Please inquire.

Deposit: US$500.00 per person. Tour deposits can be paid by check or credit card via PayPal. 
Use this link
to make your credit card payment.  Please advise gina@sunrisebirding.com when you have made payment. 

Maximum Group Size:  12 with 2 leaders.

Included in cost: Accommodation based on twin rooms en-suite in hotels, all meals (breakfast, picnic lunches, dinner) from dinner on Day 1 until breakfast at hotel on Day 16, water and 1 bottle of Spanish wine for 3 people at dinner, all ground transport in two vehicles (max 9 seaters per vehicle) driven by a local guide and the other by Frank; guiding services of leaders. High Speed train tickets are included.

Not included:  International flight to Seville and departing flight from Barcelona, Spain, insurance, passport fees, departure tax, insurance, drinks (except those mentioned), laundry, tips, and items of a personal nature.

Getting to Seville (Airport code SVQ): It is suggested that you arrive in Seville on the Sunday, September 2, 2018 to be ready for the start of the tour mid-day on September 3. Departure should be from Barcelona (airport code BCN) on Sunday, September 16, 2018 after 2 p.m. Please do not book your flights until we tell you that the tour is confirmed.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with regular birding walks. We usually break the day into 2 parts with a pre-breakfast excursion, followed by a full day out with picnic or tavern lunch. The weather can be unsettled at this time of year, expect everything from bright and sunny weather to some cooler weather with the chance of an odd shower so prepare for all eventualities.

**Please note: The tour price is based on a minimum of 9 passengers.  If there are less than 9, a small group supplement may be charged. Also, Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in Euros), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange at the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour, contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to hold your space! Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit within two weeks to secure your place. Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.    >Download & print the Registration Form. 

Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space! Then follow up with your completed registration form and deposit within two weeks to secure your place.

Final payment is due May 3, 2018. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees). Please inquire.

 

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at gina@sunrisebirding.com 
Phone: 203.453.6724

 

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