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European Bee-eaterGRAND SPAIN
SPRING SPECTACULAR!

April 24 - May 8, 2019

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Contact gina@sunrisebirding.com to reserve your space!

Wallcreeper. Spain is the most visited country by birders in Europe because of its location along a main migration route, and because it contains almost all of the habitats of the Western Palearctic, much of which is relatively well conserved. Spain's mosaic of habitats provides shelter to a great number and variety of species. During our two-week tour, we’ll visit many of Spain’s most beautiful and important areas, which will provide us access to an unsurpassed representation of Mediterranean species including many migrants to the region. It is possible to observe more than 200 bird species during our stay, with special attention given to finding the Spanish specialties such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, Lammergeier, Dupont's Lark, and Wallcreeper and such beauties as European Roller, Golden Oriole, and European Bee-eater.

 

HoopoeLocated on the main migration route between Europe and Africa, Spain hosts 25 species of raptors, and numerous alpine, steppe, aquatic, and Mediterranean birds. There are many unique mammals, butterflies, and wildflowers to enjoy, and we’ll visit significant historic sites, as well. Spain’s remarkable birdlife, rich culture and history, scenic beauty, and incredible food and wines make it the perfect spring birding destination.

 

As a complement to our birding activities, we’ll visit 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 Trujillo Castle built in the 13th century on the site of an old Arab fortress from the 9th or 10th century. This tour is specially designed for those who wish to see a maximum number of bird species in Europe combined with Spain’s enchanting rich culture and the most spectacular landscapes in this part of the world.


Areas we visit:

LammergeierDoñana is a wonderful place to visit throughout the year, but for birding, spring is a particularly good time to go. The famous marshes of Doñana often attract great numbers of gulls, terns and foraging shorebirds side by side with White Stork, Spoonbill and several species of herons and egrets. Some of the areas breeding raptors will be back on territories, while others are still migrating through, and the whole area is just full of life. In the National Park, we also have the chance to see the rare Iberian Lynx and other large mammals such as Wild Boar, Red Deer and Fallow Deer.

 

Extremadura gives us an outstanding chance to see copious numbers of raptors in ruggedly beautiful terrain, and to get memorable views of extraordinary birds such as Little and Great Bustard, Bonelli’s Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Black-shouldered Kite, White and Black Storks, Eagle Owl and Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpie.

Sardinian WarblerOther specialties such as Sylvia warblers, and both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, are also found in the area. Extremadura is wonderful in the spring with abundant wildflowers and butterflies in addition to the birds, which are all busy with their nesting activities. We will visit Monfragüe, Trujillo and the steppes of Serena, staying in hotels close to the best birding localities.

 

The Belchite Steppes are Spain’s best area to see the secretive Dupont’s Larks, as well as Lesser Short-toed Larks, Black Wheatear, and Spectacled Warblers, among many other species. Belchite is also the site of historic ruins, a standing testimony from the Spanish civil war.

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

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TOUR MAP
Spain tour map


Purple HeronITINERARY

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL SEVILLE, SPAIN
Plan on arriving on April 24 in Seville (Airport code: SVQ) and our group will rendezvous at the airport in Seville. Transport to Doñana and check-in at our hotel. Birding in around the hotel as time allows.

 

DAY 2 – Doñana National Park
Today, we have a full day inside the incredible Doñana National Park. We’ll visit the area of Dehesa de Abajo where a great variety of birds are found in the rice fields, before heading to the park’s visitor’s center to view colorful colonies of nesting water birds. Gray Heron, Purple Heron, other herons, egrets, and shorebirds will be the main focus for today.

 

Little Ringed PloverDAY 3 - Rio Odiel
We journey today to the salt pans and estuaries of the Rio Odiel where shorebirds abound. The quantity and diversity of species here is only comparable to the vast Wadden Sea area on the North Sea coast – among the species we can expect to see are Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Whimbrel, Kentish, Common and Little Ringed Plovers, Whiskered and Little Terns, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Greater Flamingo and Squacco Heron to name just a few. We will spend the whole day out, and on our way back, we will visit the lagoons at Palos, where we may see Western (Purple) Swamphen, Sardinian, Melodious, and Great Reed Warblers.

 

DAY 4 – Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Laguna de Medina
Today’s quest takes us to the lagoons, saltpans, and marsh impoundments of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Laguna de Medina, to search for rare White-headed Duck and Marbled Teal, Whiskered Tern, Slender-billed Gull, as well as the lovely Crested and Common Pochards, Little and Great Crested Grebes, Penduline Tit and any regional species we still need.

 

Azure-winged MagpieDAY 5 – El Rocío
Our focus today is on the Andalucia’s village of El Rocío – host to one of Spain’s largest pilgrimages, and to the region’s most productive marshes, where almost anything is possible. We will walk along the edge of the Marshes and the village watching for Flamingoes, Spoonbills, European and perhaps Crested Coots, and shorebirds such as Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, and Black-tailed Godwit. The rare Ferruginous Duck has occurred here. We’ll have a lovely picnic lunch at the information center where Iberian Azure-winged Magpie occurs.

After lunch, we can try a little search for the endemic Iberian Lynx, once the most critically endangered cat species and now recovering – from 97 to 500 individuals worldwide. On our search for the lynx, we can see birds such as Thekla's and Crested Larks, Crested Tit, the Iberian race of Long-tail Tit, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Iberian Grey Shrike, and the lovely Sardinian and Dartford Warblers.


Woodchat ShrikeDAY 6 – Travel to Serena Steppes
On our journey, we may see birds such as Corn Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Black-Shouldered Kite, Black Stork, Rock Sparrow, and Great and Little Bustards. After check-in at our hotel, we’ll bird locally as time allows.

 

DAY 7 - Birding in La Serena / Zujar River
The combination of mountains and steppes in this area allows for great bird diversity and many species can be found here. Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Red-legged Partridge, and Black Wheatear all occur here. The dry steppes are home to the impressive Great and Little Bustards, lovely Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, and secretive Stone Curlew, as well as the striking Montagu's Harrier. We also have a good chance of finding Spanish Sparrow in this region.

In the afternoon, we will go birding along the Zujar River to look for Eurasian Eagle Owl, European Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, Grey Wagtail, Red-rumped Swallow, Bonelli's Warbler and Great Reed Warbler. Red-crested Pochard and Little Grebe are also sometimes found in the area, along with any of the migrating shorebirds.

 

White StorksDAY 8 – Trujillo / Belen / Embalse de Sierra Brava / Monfragüe
Today, our journey leads us towards Monfragüe, with stops in Trujillo, the steppes of Belen, and Embalse de Sierra Brava. The quaint town of Trujillo is known for its nesting White Storks, Lesser Kestrels and Pallid Swifts, all of which breed on the buildings of the old town. The steppes of Belen hold Great and Little Bustard, Short-toed Eagle, Montagu's Harrier, Little Owl, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Woodchat Shrike. There’s always something interesting to find here. At the local reservoir we might see some Avadavat, terns and gulls, and with a bit of luck, some of the newly arrived Collared Pratincoles. Check-in to our hotel in Monfragüe.

 

DAY 9 - Monfragüe National Park
Red KiteToday we follow a birding route inside Monfragüe National Park, part of which runs along the Tajo River, where we can expect excellent views of the many raptor species found in the area. Griffon Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, and Red Kite and Black Kite can all be found here. Black Redstart, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla's Lark, Rock Bunting, Spectacled, Orphean, Sardinian, Dartford, and Subalpine Warblers, Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpie are all likely to be found here, as well. We also have good chances of seeing Eagle Owl and Black Stork, which nest along the river. In the forested area around the hotel, we will look for Rock Sparrow, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch and Short-toed Tree-creeper.

Our route is also good for finding many of the warblers of Extremadura, and we should see Western Orphean Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler and Dartford Warbler. There are also good chances to see many raptors, as well as Bee-eater, Woodchat Shrike and Wood Lark. We will enjoy our picnic lunch at the Arrocampo Reservoir, where we might see Savi's Warbler, in addition to the many herons and egrets. Numerous orchids may also be found here.

 

DAY 10 - Monfragüe to Belchite
Today we’ll transfer from Monfragüe to Belchite, with some brief birding and comfort stops to break the trip. Black-shouldered kite, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Tree Sparrow, Bee-eaters, Montagu's and Marsh Harriers, Lesser Kestrels can be seen on our journey.

 

Day 11 - El Planeron / Belchite
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, with part of its land belonging to 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 visit the village where Goya, the famous Spanish painter, was born.

 

 

DAY 12 – Ebro Valley to the Pyrenees
RiglosIn the morning begins our ascent into the Pyrenees 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 still need. As we approach the foothills of the Pyrenees, the habitat will change, and we begin seeing Holm Oak and pines covering the hillsides. We will also stop and explore Castillo de Loarre, a dramatic walled and turreted fortress perched on a towering rock. It was built in the 11th century and 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 hotel with a restaurant that has won several regional cooking awards.

 

DAY 13 -14 Pyrenees
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. 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 pine for more time!

 

DAY 15 - Return to Barcelona for flights out.  End of Tour


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, published in May 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.

GRAND SPAIN
April 24 - May 8, 2019
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TOUR PRICE
Main Tour:
US$4595 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 (Airport code: BCN).
Price based on current exchange rates when the tour was posted and subject to change (**see note below).

Single supplement: US$450.00

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 15, water, all ground transport in two vehicles (max 9 seats per vehicle) driven by a local guide and the other by Frank; guiding services of leaders.

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.  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 January 5, 2019. 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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