Strait Of Gibraltar and Sierra de Andujar, Andalucia
6 – 13 September 2021 NOW BOOKING!
Experience the impressive autumn migration through southern Spain, and enjoy the unique wildlife of the Sierra de Andújar. During the first part of the trip we will focus on the raptor migration across the Strait of Gibraltar, whereas we will spend the second half enjoying the birds and mammals of the mountains in Sierra de Andújar
The Strait of Gibraltar is one of the busiest migration points in Western Europe during the autumn, and millions of birds gather every year in the southern part of Spain to rest and forage before continuing their journey southwards to their African wintering grounds. The raptors constitute one of the most remarkable groups on the move during this period, and almost all the Spanish raptors can be encountered, along with several other specialities of the area. One of the Days we will go to the eastern part of Doñana National Park
Sierra de Andujar is a wonderful and relatively untouched mountain chain with large expanses of oak forests and an impressive density of large mammals. Fallow Deer, Red Deer, Spanish Ibex, Moufflon, Wild Boar, Otter, and even the rare and endangered Iberian Lynx, can all be seen here; most of them easily and at close range. Apart from the mammals, the area boasts a good population of both Black Vulture and Spanish Imperial Eagle, and we also have good chances of seeing the White-rumped Swift here.
We meet up at Malaga airport & transfer to the hotel, where we will be spending the following four nights. If arrival times allows, we will birdwatch in afternoon in the area. The programme will be outlined at an introductory talk in the evening. Dinner in the nearby restaurant or at the hotel.
Morning watch at one of the raptor watch points (depending on the wind) near Tarifa. We will bring our picnic lunches to the old fortified village of Castellar el Viejo, where we have a rare opportunity of watching the migrating raptors from above if the wind is right. There are several good spots for stopping on the way, and we will spend the day checking the different raptors and our identification skills. Dinner at the hotel.
We head for Bolonia and spend the morning birdwatching in the area, which is good for scarcities such as Rueppell’s Vulture, and also for stunning local birds such as the Blue Rock Thrush and Iberian Green Woodpecker. After lunch, we visit La Janda; a huge ‘agricultural wetland’ with rice fields and canals hosting thousands of migrating birds, and usually also Black and White Storks, Cattle and Little Egrets. Lesser Kestrel and Black-shouldered kites gather here before the last jump into Africa. Finches, Corn Buntings and Spanish Sparrows gather here for the moulting and concentrations can be enormous. La Janda and near by areas are where the reintroduced Bald Ibis can be seen.
Morning watch at one of the raptor watch points (depending on the wind). We try to catch up on some of the species that we might have missed so far, and we take some time to explore the birdlife in the forests. If the weather is nice, we may also take the opportunity to relax and enjoy a drink by the information centre with excellent views across the Strait of Gibraltar and the mountains of Morocco.
Transfer day. We leave the Strait of Gibraltar and head north towards the mountains of Sierra de Andujar. En route we visit several lagoons with good chances of seeing White-headed Duck, Red-crested Pochard, and perhaps even Red-knobbed Coot. We will also do a brief stop at Fuente de Piedra, although this lagoon is almost completely dry at this time of year, to see the Flamingos. In Andujar we will check in our accommodation, where we will be staying for three nights. Dinner at nearby restaurant.
Morning watch for the Iberian Lynx and other mammals. Birds of the area include Azure-winged Magpie, Spanish Imperial Eagle, and Black Vulture, all of which can be seen from the view point. In the afternoon, an excursion into the deeper parts of the mountains in search of raptors, mammals, and beautiful scenery. All the Spanish eagles can be seen in the area, along with Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, and lots more.
The morning will be spent at a reservoir with resident Black Wheatear, plenty of opportunity for small walks to enjoy the area. We will search for any species that we may have missed so far. Iberian Green Woodpeckers, Crested Tits, Firecrests, Hawfinches, Iberian Long Tail Tit, Sardinean warbler are some of the birds we may see.
The Dehesa forests are grazed by the traditional, black Spanish bulls.
Evening watch for the Iberian Lynx, Mouflon, Spanish Ibex, Otter, Wild boar, Fallow Dear with great possibilities for hearing the rutting Red Deer. Farewell dinner
Transfer to Malaga airport (2,5 hours).