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

September 2 - 16, 2021

Contact [email protected]
to reserve your space!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>
     Registration Form>

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Black StorkSpain is the most visited European country by birders because of its position along a main migration route between Europe and Africa. Also, it contains almost all of the habitats of the Western Palearctic, many of which are 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 Iberian Magpiewill 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, Black Stork, DuPont’s Lark, Iberian Magpie, and Wallcreeper, and such beauties as European Roller, Golden Oriole, and European Bee-eater.

Lamergeier

Located on the main migration route between Europe and Africa, Spain hosts 25 species of raptors including the massive Lammergeier, 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 bird life, rich culture and history, scenic beauty, and incredible food and wines make it the perfect birding destination.

 

As a complement to our birding activities, we’ll visit historic monuments and cultural sites including The House of Goya, El CastleCastillo 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/10th century. This tour is specially designed for those who wish to see a maximum number of European bird species combined with Spain’s enchantingly rich culture and while in the most spectacular landscapes of this part of the world.

 

 

Areas we will visit:
GibraltarIn Andalucía, we will visit the Straits of Gibraltar, the closest gap between Europe and Africa, where birds gather before attempting to cross between the two continents. Thousands of Raptors congregate at this time, especially Black Kites, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Booted Eagles, Honey, and Common Buzzards; also Eurasian, Rüppell’s (rare), and Egyptian Vultures, Sparrowhawks, Marsh and Montagu’s Harriers. In the surrounding area are wetlands, perfect stop-overs for aquatic species to recover before the big jump into Africa. On the right day, White Storks pass through in impressive numbers, usually joined by smaller groups of Black Storks. Bee-eaters and other diurnal migrants also move-through the area. The Straits are also the connection point between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, and the corridor for many seabirds and cetaceans to pass between the two. The Straits have also been strategic militarily since Muslim times, especially during the Second World War, with a British enclave on The European side, and the two Spanish cities along the North African coast.

 

 

Griffon VultureIn Extremadura, we will visit one of the last true wild steppes in Western Europe, La Serena, and the craggy mountains, rivers, and Dehesa forest of the Monfragüe National Park. This will give us an outstanding chance to see large numbers of birds amidst ruggedly beautiful terrain, and to experience memorable views of extraordinary birds such as Little and Great Bustards, Bonelli’s Eagle, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Black-shouldered Kite, White Storks, Black Storks, Eagle Owl, and Iberian (Azure-winged) Magpie.


Other specialties such as Sylvia warblers, and both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, are also found in the area. Extremadura is wonderful in its landscapes with abundant rural areas preserving an ancient and respectful way of living with Nature. The Belchite Steppes and adjacent semi-desert areas 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, retained as a standing testimony of the Spanish civil war.

 

 

WallcreeperGoldcrestThe Pyrenees is a range of mountains with peaks well over 3,000 meters. Alpine stage and Arctic forest habitats are where we will look for birds like Lammergeyer, Goldcrest, Wallcreeper, Black Woodpecker, Citril Finch, Water Pipit, and Alpine Accentor, among others. With road access to these habitats, you won’t need to become an alpinist, so you can leave the crampons and ropes behind!

 

 

The famous Ebro Delta is the biggest wetland area of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. The 32,000 hectares attract great numbers of gulls, terns, wildfowl, shorebirds, herons, and egrets. At the time we are there, the rice harvest will be at its best, leaving fields available for the migrant birds. The combination of different wetland areas and the rice and salt activities makes this Delta one of the most attractive for watching birds in all of Europe. Resident birds gather in groups during the autumn moult. Most of the summering species will still be there getting ready for their migration to Africa. Long-distance migrants coming from the Arctic will be busy feeding up for the next stage and the numbers could be at their peak. If we’re lucky, some of the earliest winter arrivals will show up. By the end, we will have amassed a mouth-watering list of birds from our journey. We hope you can join us.

 

Valle de Aguas Tertas

 

Grapes  wine

 

Group at Loarre Castle

 

TOUR MAP

Spain Tour Map

Join us to discover the birds, wildlife and culture of Grand Spain!
Contact [email protected] to reserve your space!

Trip Cost & Travel Planning>      Registration Form>


Itinerary
Day 0
– Travel to Seville, Spain
Plan on flying to Seville, Spain (Airport code: SVQ) on or before September 1 (Seville is lovely) to arrive for the beginning of the tour on the afternoon of September 2.  Flights are not included, however we have a flight agent who can help.  Note that departures at the end of the tour are from Barcelona, Spain (Airport code: BCN).

 

White Storks


Paella!DAY 1 - Start of Tour, Seville, Spain
The tour begins at 2PM at Ayre Hotel in Seville where we will meet and begin our journey. On our drive south, we will visit the wonderful nature reserve, Laguna de Medina, where we’ll have our best chance of finding specialties such as White-headed Duck, Marbled Teal, Crested Coot and Olivaceous Warbler. Migrant passerines, raptors, and storks may also be seen while transferring to the Strait of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is the closest gap between Africa and Europe and migrant birds gather here in large numbers awaiting fair winds which allow them to cross on their journey to their wintering quarters. Overnight in Zahara de los Atunes. Meals included in the tour begin with dinner tonight.

 


DAY 2 – Birding in the Straits of Gibraltar
Depending on the winds, we will go in one of two directions in search of migrant raptors and storks waiting to cross. Honey Buzzards, Black Kites, Booted Eagles, Short-toed Eagles and Griffon Vultures are at times seen in their thousands. Other raptors and soaring birds like Black-shouldered Kite, Lesser Kestrels, Hobby, Egyptian Vultures, Black Storks, Montagu’s and Marsh Harriers may also be seen. Passerines, such as Corn Bunting, Zitting Cisticola, Crested Larks, Stonechats, Whinchats, and Yellow Wagtails will be in the area, as are other more exotic birds, such as European Bee-eaters, Rollers and Red-necked Nightjar.

 

Raptors


Audouin's GullFrom our accommodation in the Straits (good birding nearby), we will visit several nature reserves where migrant raptors are often abundant at this time of the year. The Straits concentrates most of the western European migrants, giving us a great chance to study active migration of a wide variety of species. Gannets will be easy to see, but several species of shearwaters are also likely, including Balearic Shearwater. Along the scenic coastline, we will encounter concentrations of gulls, including the rare and lovely Slender-billed and Audouin’s Gulls, terns, and waders; it’s a perfect combination of scenery and birding, where we’ll also have a chance of finding a rarity or unexpected bird. Overnight in Zahara de los Atunes.

Hoopoe
DAY 3 – Travel to Serena Steppes
Today we head toward the steppes of the Serenda area. During our journey, we will visit marshlands where birds such as Flamingos, Spoonbills, European, and perhaps Crested Coots (rare), reside, and migrant shorebirds such as Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, and Black-tailed Godwit, visit. After lunch 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, Corn Bunting, Woodchat Shrike, Black-Shouldered Kite, Black Stork, Rock Sparrow, and, with luck, Great and Little Bustards, and possibly Hoopoe. Overnight in la Serena.

 

DAY 4 - Birding in La Serena / Zujar River
Stone CurlewThe combination of mountains and steppes in this area allows for great bird diversity and many interesting species can be found here. Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle, Eurasian Eagle Owl, Red-legged Partridge, and Black Wheatear all occur in the area. 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 Avadavat and Common Waxbills are also sometimes found in the area, along with any of the migrating shorebirds.

 


DAY 5 – Trujillo / Belén / Embalse de Sierra Brava / Monfragüe
Little OwlToday, our journey leads us towards Monfragüe, with stops in Alcollarín and Sierra Brava Reservoirs and also at majestic Trujillo Castle. 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 plains we cross 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.

 


DAY 6 - Monfragüe National Park
Today, 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, the enormous 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 locally, 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 Treecreeper.

 

Sardinian Warbler
DAY 7 - Monfragüe to Belchite
Today, we’ll transfer from Monfragüe to Belchite, with some brief birding and comfort stops to break the journey. Black-shouldered kite, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Tree Sparrow, Bee-eaters, Montagu's and Marsh Harriers, and Lesser Kestrels are some of the possible goodies to be seen along the way on this our mainly traveling day.


Day 8 - El Planeron / Belchite
The scenic 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 Pin-tailed Sandgrousehotel 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. Black Wheatear is sometimes found here.

 

 

Belchite


Mallos de RiglosDAY 9 – Ebro Valley to the Pyrenees
In the morning begins our ascent into the Pyrenees with a drive across the Ebro Valley. As we travel through this arid 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 Oaks 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 rocky spires would not look out of place in Utah and are spectacular. 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.

 


DAYS 10 & 11 – 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, Alpine Accentor, 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, an 11th century structure built into a rock face. Legends tell that for four centuries during the Middle Ages, the Holy Grail was hidden here. The combination of magnificent birds and ancient culture will surely make us pine for more time here!


DAYS 12 – Pyrenees to the Ebro Delta
From the Pyrenees with several stops for birding, we will drive along the Ebro River to reach the Ebro Delta in the afternoon.

 


DAYS 13 & 14 – Ebro Delta
KingfisherThe final leg of our adventure commences with an early morning drive to the southern part of 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, the beautiful Kingfisher, 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, and Spotted Redshank, Eurasian Curlew, and Zitting Cisticola. Since our visit will coincide with the passage of many migrant shorebirds and land birds, the possibilities will be many and exciting. To cap the experience, we will stay at a very comfortable inn with excellent birding on the grounds and a superb restaurant. Nights in Deltebre.

 


DAY 15 - Travel to Barcelona for flights out (Airport code: BCN). 
We plan to arrive at BCN around 11 AM. 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.

Red KiteGRAND SPAIN
September 2 - 16, 2021

TOUR PRICE: US$ 4595.00 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$ 695.00 based on availability.

Deposit: US$1000.00 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 [email protected] 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, fees for governmental restrictions, 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:

1) Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected] to confirm availability and hold your place.

2) Review the Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)>

3) Complete the Registration & Release Form (pdf)> and mail it with your deposit of US$1000.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC within two weeks to secure your place. 

>Download & print the Registration Form (pdf download).
Instructions are on the form.

Reservations are held with a paid deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.

Final payment is due May 2, 2021. 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:
Please review our Terms and Conditions of Booking (pdf download)> prior to registering for this tour. All cancellations must be made in writing. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. 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.



TRIP INSURANCE:
Sunrise Birding LLC strongly recommends that you consider purchasing a travel protection plan to protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected in case of delay, injury or illness prior to or during a tour. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Loss and Delay, Emergency Medical Transportation, Pre-existing Conditions, and more.

 

There are many trip insurers. Here are two options to consider:

CSA Travel Protection
CSA TRAVEL PROTECTION>
CSA offers coverage for pre-existing conditions if you purchase your policy before making your final payment for a tour.
Please be sure to use Sunrise Birding's producer code: 20201123
when purchasing your policy.
Insuremytrip
INSURE MY TRIP>
Insure My Trip is a web site that allows you to compare trip insurance plans
to find the right plan for you.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Insurance policy requirements vary and the timing of your purchase can affect coverage. Some insurance providers require that for coverage of pre-existing conditions, a policy must be purchased within 7-14 days of booking. Others, like CSA, offer policies that cover pre-existing conditions as long as the policy is purchased prior to making your final payment for the tour.

  • Trip insurance policy premiums may be non-refundable, but they may be able to be amended or transferred. Check with your insurer. It is important to be sure that the tour is sufficiently subscribed to operate before you purchase trip insurance.

  • Pay attention to coverages provided by your policy. Be aware of the requirements of country or destination can change, so check often. Some policies are now offering Covid related coverages so check with your insurer.

  • US medical insurance plans (including Medicare) often do not provide coverage outside the US. The US State Department strongly advises Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Consult with your insurer prior to your trip to ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider directly or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Be sure to get and keep all documentation of any expenses incurred.

 

Questions? Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected].com 
Phone: 203.453.6724

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