Southern Europe, all along the Mediterranean and the Black Seas coasts, is hosting a remarkable number of endemic birds and it is considered as a wildlife hotspot worldwide. Countries such as Portugal, Bulgaria, Spain, Greece or Cyprus are among some of the most important destinations for tourism, but also host excellent birding spots, with several unique species.
During this tour we will explore a long list of habitats that can easily make our list go beyond 300 species of birds visting up to a mininum of 6 European countries. But we will go far beyond as we will also explore most of the Macaronesian islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Those islands, belonging to Portugal and Spain, host a very long list of 15+ ground bird endemics, and 5 endemic seabirds!
We will visit, in order: Continental Spain; Pyrenees; Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain); Canary Islands (Spain); Madeira & Açores (Portugal); Bulgaria; Lesbos (Greece) & Cyprus.
Awared about the complexity of joining a 40 days long tour, we have split the tour in 4 different sections:
Section 1- May 4th to May 12th, Spain & Pyrenees. Price per person: €2920 (May 14th for all those willing to join us in Mallorca)
Section 2- May 14th to May 26th, Canary Islands (Spain); Madeira & Açores (Portugal). Price per person: €4630
Section 3- May 27th to June 3rd, Bulgaria. Price per person: €2980
Section 4- June 4th to 11th, Lesbos (Greece) & Cyprus. Price per person: €3690
May 4th to 8th, 2023. Days 1 to 5, Extremadura and Central SPAIN.
Meet and greed in the International Madrid Airport or in a hotel around. After the coordinated arrival of the group we will transfer South West. During the next five we will explore Extremadura and several hotspots around looking for the many specialties living there. Even if we will focus on endemics such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, Iberian Grey Shrike, Spanish Magpie and Iberian Green Woodpecker, we will also have time to enjoy several other goodies including White-headed Duck, Bluethroat, Black Vulture, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Great Bustard, Theka’s Lark and Black Stork to name a few while enjoying the excellent variety of birds of prey and warbler that can include Savi’s, Western Subalpine, Melodious and Moustached to name a few. In our last day we will transfer to Barcelona, with an interesting stop in València to add Marbled Teal and (likely) Western Olivaceous Warbler to our amazing list of birds.
May 9th to 12th, 2023. Days 6 to 9, PYRENEES.
In Barcelona we will do the first pit stop allowing some tour participants to join us or leave us. We will all meet in our accommodation close the International Barcelona Airport. From here we will transfer North West, to the Pyrenees. In our way we will go for an early stop to enjoy Little Bustards, European Rollers and other goodies, arriving to the Pyrenees at mid morning to look for White-winged Snow Finch. In the afternoon we will keep transfering West with some more birding in the way. During the coming days we will look for Iberian Chiffchaff, Red-necked Nightjar, Dupont’s Lark, Lammergier, Western Capercaillie, Black Wheatear, Spetacled Warbler and White-backed Woodpecker (linfordi) to name just a few remarkable especies. Last day flight to Mallorca and afternoon birding to catch up with the firsts endemics.
May 13th, 2023. Day 10, MALLORCA
Full day in Mallorca looking for endemics including Balearic Warbler, Mediterranean Flycatcher, Balearic Shearwater. Other goodies to enjoy include Moltoni’s Warbler, Marbled Teal, Black Vulture, Eleonora’s Falcon, Red-knobbed Coot and the splitable race of Woodchat Shrike.
May 14th, 2023. Day 11 MALLORCA-TENERIFE
Mid morning flight to Teneriffe. Afternoon birding in the island in search of endemic Blue Chaffinch. Canary Island Chiffchaff, Atlantic Finch, and African Blue Tit. We will also take a look to the local races of Common Chaffinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
May 15th, 2023. Day 12, TENERIFE-FUERTEVENTURA
Morning birding in Teneriffe looking for more endemics. Bolle’s and Laurel Pigeons will be the main target but we will also look for the rather uncommon Teneriffe Robin and Teneriffe Goldcrest. Plain Swift can appear at any moment while any look to the sea can produce loads of Cory’s Shearwaters. Early afternoon flight to Fuerteventura and birding to sunset in search of the first specialties in this desertic island.
May 16th, 2023. Day 13, FUERTEVENTURA
Full day in Fuerteventura to look for the many goodies living in this beautiful island. We will search for endemics including Fuerteventura Chat, Berthelot’s Pipit expecting to have also good views on other interesting species including Houbara Bastard, Trumpeter Finch, Cream-coloured Courser, Ruddy Shelduck, Spanish Sparrow, Mediterranean Short-toed Lark and Barbary Partridge.
May 17th, 2023. Day 14, FUERTEVENTURA-GRAN CANARIA
Morning birding in Fuerteventura before catching our short flight to Gran Canaria. Once arrived we will have the full afternoon to explore the hills in search of the very scarce Gran Canaria Chaffinch.
May 18th, 2023. Day 15, GRAN CANARIA-MADEIRA (FUNCHAL)
After some morning birding we will catch our midday flight to Funchal via Lisbon. Arrival to Funchal expected in late afternoon.
May 19th to 21st, 2023. Days 16 to 18, MADEIRA
During our stay in Maderia we will enjoy three afternoons of offshores. We will search for the long list of species living in these rich waters. Main targets here are Madeiran Storm Petrel, Bulwer’s Petrel, White-bellied Storm Petrel and Barolo Shearwater while Zino’s, Fea’s and even Deserta’s Petrels are all possible. The area is also a really well known spot for cetaceans and, along with the many seabirds, we will also enjoy Sperm Whales and some species of Dolphins. During the mornings we will look for Trocaz Pigeons & Madeiran Kinglet. Plain Swifts are very likely.
May 22nd, 2023. Day 19, MADEIRA-AZORES
Flight to Ponta Delgada. Arrival expected in the afternoon.
May 23rd, 2023. Day 20, AZORES
Full day birding in search of the very shy and scarce Azorean Bullfinch. Atlantic Finch and Plain Swift are both very likely during our day exploring the islands. We will also pair attention in Common Chaffinch and Woodpigeon local races.
May 24th, 2023. Day 21, AZORES-GRACIOSA
Flight Ponta Delgada/Graciosa
May 25th, 2023. Day 22, GRACIOSA
Morning of birding around the accommodation. In the afternoon we will enjoy another offshore, this time to search for the endemic Monteiro’s Storm Petrel. Zino’s and Deserta’s Petrels are both likely.
May 26th, 2023. Day 23, GRACIOSA-LISBON
Flight day between Graciosa and Lisbon. Our arrival into Lisbon is expected late in the afternoon. Overnight around Lisbon Airport. Free evening to explore the city.
May 27th, 2023. Day 24, LISBON-SOFIA
Early morning flight Lisbon to Sofia via Amsterdam. Arrival to Sofia in early afternoon. During the afternoon we will look for Lesser Spotted Eagle, Syrian and Grey-headed Woodpeckers around the city. Barred and Icterine Warbler are also possible here.
May 28th to June 2nd, 2023. Days 25 to 30, BULGARIA
During our time in Bulgaria we will search for a long list of species living in this extremely interesting country. Along with top specialities including Semi-collared Flycatcher, Rock Partridge, Rose-coloured Starling, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Paddyfield Warbler, Levant Sparrowhawk, Pied Wheatear, Thrush Nightingale, Barred Warbler or Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, our itinerary will allow good chances for many other goodies including Corncrake, Black-headed Bunting, Isabelline Wheatear, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Ortolan Bunting, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Dalmatian Pelican and Long-legged Buzzard to name a few. We will also enjoy a good variety of Woodpeckers such as Middle Spotted, White-backed (linfordi), Grey-headed and Syrian. We will be a bit late for migration, but we hope to catch up some waders and, if any Broad-billed Sandpipers in the jackpot, it will be in full summer plomage.
June 3rd, 2023. Day 31, SOFIA-ATHENS
Mid morning flight to Athens. Overnight around the airport. If time allows we will pick up Sombre Tit, Blue Rock Thrush and Eastern Orphean Warbler around the Acropolys!
June 4th, 2023. Day 32, LESBOS
Early morning flight from Athens to Lesbos. We will have almost a full day in the island to start looking for the specialities living there: Cinereous & Cretzschmar’s Buntings & Rock Nuthatch. Eastern Subalpine Warbler is also very likely.
June 5th & 6th, Days 33 & 34, LESBOS
Two full days to make sure that we catch up with all the specialities living in the island. We will also check some interesting wetlands and corners for bird migration. We will look for Krüpper’s Nuthatch and Cretzschmar’s Bunting. The variety of Warblers is great and we will have good chances for Eastern Orphean, Olive-tree, Eastern Olivaceous, Rüppell’s and Eastern Subalpine. This incredible island is also famous because of the raptors living here, and we will also make an effort to contact with the very scarce Bonelli’s Eagle.
June 7th. Day 35, LESBOS-CYPRUS
Morning direct flight from Lesbos to Cyprus. Afternoon birding in Cyprus, probably having already Cyprus Wheatear.
June 8th to 10th. Days 36 to 38, CYPRUS
3 full days in Cyprus. We will look for the endemic Cyprus Wheatear, Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Scops Owl. Here we will still look for the many species of Warblers nesting in the bushlands and woodlands with Eastern Subalpine Warbler being the most common. We will also pair special attention to the local Short-toed Treecreeper and Coal Tit, both being splitable races.
June 11th. Day 39, END OF TOUR
The tour ends after breakfast. Our guide will return to Barcelona.
38 nights of accommodation in twin room; breakfasts, lunches and evening meals during the tour; guiding; ground transport in confortable, air-conditioned vehicle; all internal flights during the tour; all boats and off-shores during the tour; local guides when necessary; entrances to natural areas when requested and travel insurance. All prices include VAT.
Flights to / from starting or ending cities; drinks out of water; all food beverages in aiports and planes during the tour; any other item not listed as “INCLUDED”.
Full tour (39 days); start in Madrid, ends in Cyprus.
Section 1: Starts in Madrid, ends in Barcelona.
Section 2: Starts in Barcelona, ends in Lisbon.
Section 3: Starts in Sofia, ends in Sofia.
Section 4: Starts in Lesbos (Greece), ends in Cyprus.
We will be pleased to pick up tour participants from their hotels around the International Airports at the beginning of every section. Pick up time will be around 06:30. We aim all tour participants to arrive to the starting city during the day before the tour starts.
During the tour we will use medium-rank accommodation. The variety of them is large, but always nice since nearly all the areas to explore have a good variety of accommodations. Out of a really few evenings, dinner will be always in our hotel.
Food along the trip is fairly good. We will combine some examples of excellent local cuisine along with local wines and, when in Bulgaria, beers.
PASSPORTS, VISAS & HEALTH
All the countries along the itinerary are members of the European Union. Visas are not requested for any US, Canadian, Australian or British citizen. All along the itinerary we will move inside the Schengen area, meaning that they are virtually no internal borders. Visa controls in the airports and roads when crossing borders are minimum, when existing, There is no health issues in any of the areas to be explored. Please check with local health authorities about health and vaccination requirements.