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Tours per country Catalonia & Aragon Grand Tour

Catalonia & Aragon Grand Tour

Birding in Spain. A birdwatching tour visiting the wealthiest Spanish regions of Catalonia and Aragó where we will explore gorgeous natural areas such as Ebro Delta, Los Monegros and Pyrenees. Lonely plains; mild, flovered hills; wooded slopes (from Holm Oak to Mountain Pine); massive gorges; dense scrubs and shrubs as well as a wide range of wetlands composes an awesome scenery. A number of specialities fill up the ancient plain and expanses to the mountains around it. This is a land of contrasts, where in the morning you can see Lammergeiers and Black Woodpecker in the dramatic Pyrenees and in the afternoon enjoy the special Little Bustard "jumps" in the steppes.

This tour take place in a very exciting moment in nature year-cycle as it is that of bird migration. We'll experience it by watching how tiny pools in the steppes attrack small passage birds to refresh themselves. Hundreds of passage waders will wait for us in the major wetlands as Ebro Delta and Aiguamolls de l'Empordà.

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We specially concentrate in the major specialities living along the Ebro Basin; Little & Great Bustards, Lammergeier & Cinereous Vulture, Pin-tailed & Black-bellied Sandgrouses, Wryneck & Black Woodpecker, colourful birds such as Roller and Bee-eater and smaller birds as Dupont's, Calandra & Lesser Short-toed Larks or Subalpine, Orphean & Spectacled Warblers along with Citril Finch, Red-necked Nightjar, Purple Swamphen, Black Wheatear, Caspian Tern... We would make an effort to locate all of them!!


daily planning & main species

  • Day 1. Aiguamolls de l'Empordà: Meet and wellcome at Barcelona International Airport or in another place previously agreed. This first day we'll explore the Aiguamolls de l'Empordà Natural Park, the only patch in the tour out of Ebro Valley. This area is famous due to its wide range of nesting birds and its variety of passage birds. The wetlands, meadows, marshes and open forests host specialities such as Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Purple Swamphen, Roller, Little Spotted Woodpecker or Hen Harrier. The area is a hot-spot for passage birds in both spring and autumn, including specialities as Red-throated Pipit, Red-footed Falcon and Black-winged Kite. All of these in one of the most beatiful sceneries in Catalonia. Arrive to Castelló d'Empúries for an overnight stay.
  • Day 2. Aiguamolls - Pyrenees: An early start to explore the coastal cliffs, thickets and scrubs inside the Parc Natural del Cap de Creus (Cape Creus Natural Park). A gentle shortwalk would allow us to discover Pallid Swift, Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Sardinian Warbler and Shag. This point is also noted for sea birds. At mid morning transfer to Pyrenees. During the afternoon we'll drive up until an altitude of over 2.000m where the massive Mountain Pine forests and grasslands around host Citril Finch, Water Pipit, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Black Woodpecker, Ring Ouzel and Crossbill. Numbers of Chough nest in the rocky slopes and depending of the year a few pairs of Alpine Chough do so. Short drive to Alinyà for a two nights stay.
  • Day 3. Pyrenees: In the morning we'll explore the forests around Alinyà. Rich decidous forests around the village host Wryneck, Garden Warbler, Firecrest, Nuthatch and Rock Bunting. Mid-morning will be the moment to visit a Vulture Supplementary Feeding Station, the only one of these points where all four European vultures eat together. Griffon -, Egyptian - and Black Vultures and Lammergeier would appear at any moment. The place is also an excellent point for passage raptors such as European Honey Buzzard, Osprey, Western Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk.  
  • Day 4. Pyrenees: An early start to explore the wildlife living in the Serra del Boumort Game Reserve. This area is noted not only for the high density of Red Deers and Chamoises living in it but also for the awesome numbers and variety of raptors nesting along its cliffs and forests. All European vultures nest here (the very only point in Europe) and can appear at any moment. The list of raptors also include Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Booted Eagle, Red Kite, Black Kite and Goshawk. Some walks over these lonely slopes would allow us to discover Black Woodpeckers, Subalpine Warblers, Blue Rock Thrush and Orphean Warblers. During the afternoon we'll check interesting points for Red-rumped Swallow, Black Wheatear and Eagle Owl. Arrive to Ballobar for a two nights stay.
  • Day 5. Los Monegros: In the morning will see how steppes are not so homogeneous as it could appear to us. We'll explore a variety of fields, pastures and thyme steppes hosting a wide range of Larks. Calandra-, Lesser Short-toed-, Crested- and Short-toed Larks would appear. No promises, but this is the land of the rare Dupont's Lark!!  During the afternoon we'll explore different wetlands in the middle of the plains. These areas host Black-necked Grebe, Bearded Reedling, Penduline Tit as well as a variety of passage birds. Back to the steppe areas will visit a spot supporting nice densities of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Stone-Curlew, Lesser Kestrel, Golden Eagle, Tawny Pipit and Spectacled Warbler. 
  • Day 6. Los Monegros: We'll wake up before raising to explore the extensive wheat steppes where the very lasts Great Bustards in Los Monegros live in. This is the kind of landscape you can easily fall in love about. The area also hosts Little Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Thekla Lark, Spectacled Warbler, Great Spotted Cuckoo and a wide variety of raptors. After lunch transfer to Ebro Delta. Arrive to Poblenou del Delta for a two nights stay.
  • Day 7. Ebro Delta: The Ebro Valley touches its end but before disappearing in the Mediterranean Sea builds an incredible natural scenery. The Ebro Delta hosts an impressive variety of birds. Its paddy fields, marshes, lagoons and salt plats would allow us to discover a long list of birds including Collared Pratincole, Caspian Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Squacco Heron, Glossy Ibis, Audouin's Gull, Slender-billed Gull along tirh Whiskered Tern, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Squacco Heron, Purple Heron, Flamingo, Little Tern, Purple Swamphen as well as a variety of ducks, shorebirds and passerines. In both May and September there's always a chance for unexpected species such as Temmick's Stint or Eleonora's Falcon among many other possibilities.
  • Day 8. Ports de Tortosa: Last early start this time to live the raising from the Ebro Delta main lagoon. Then we'll move to the rocky landscapes in the Ports de Tortosa i Beseit Natural Park. The area is noted for a wide range of small birds (Rock Sparrow, Subalpine & Orphean Warblers, Woodlark) as well as for the raptors (Bonelli's Eagle, Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture). Final transfer to Barcelona, expecting to arrive there about 6:00 pm..

This itinerary may have slight variations depending on the weather conditions for a better use of time.

What weather conditions should you expect?

May is a clear, quiet month. Spring is here for lonf time ago so temperatues would stand about 20ºC-25ºC most of the days. However we can expect to find some rainfalls in our way. You can expect a cold raising in both Pyrenees and Los Monegros.

We suggest to all our costumers to bring sunglasses, a cap and sun screen. Clothes should be generally thin (cotton or similar)  but we always advise to include at least one sweater, its use would be necessary.


Contact & Book

tour info

Price per person:

    1280€*

single room surcharge:
300€
deposit:
400€

 

  19th to 26th April, 2018            

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Tour lenght: 8 days - 7 nights         

Departing / Arrival city: Barcelona

Walking effort: Easy throughout

Tour leader & Birding guide: Carles Oliver


VACANCIES

* price in double room. Including all ground services 


target species

Black-shouldered Kite

Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Lammergeier (Gypaetos barbatus)
Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus)
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Booted Eagle (Aquila pennata)
Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata)
Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni)
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
Great Bustard (Otis tarda)
Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Stone-Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Collared Pratincole (Glareola pratincola)
Slender-billed Gull (Croicocephalus genei)
Audouin's Gull (Larus audouinii)
Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)
Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus)
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis)
Pin-tailed Sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata)
Great Spotted Cuckoo (Clamator glandarius)
Red-necked Nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis)
Scops Owl (Otus scops)
European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
European Bee-eater (Merops apiaster)
Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)
Calandra Lark (Melaconorypha calandra)
Lesser Short-toed Lark (Calandrella rufescens)
Thekla Lark (Galerida theklae)
Dupont's Lark (Chersophilus duponti)
Crag Martin (Ptynoprogne rupestris)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Black-eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)
Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)
Blue Rock Thrush (Monticola solitarius)
Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis)
Cetti's Warbler (Cettia cetti)
W Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis)
Spectacled Warbler (Sylvia conspicillata)
Subalpine Warbler (Sylvia cantillans)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
W Bonelli's Warbler (Phylloscopus bonelli)
Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus)
Bearded Reedling (Panurus biarmicus)
Southern Grey Shrike (Lanius meridionalis)
Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)
Alpine Chough (Pyrrhocorax graculus)
Red-billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
Spotless Starling (Sturnus unicolor)
Citril Finch (Carduelis citrinella)
Rock Sparrow (Petronia petronia)
Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia)