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Day 1: Tour begins in Seville, Spain
We will meet at the airport in Seville to begin our tour. (Sevilla Airport Code: SVQ)
From here we will transfer to El Rocio, on the northwest corner of Coto Doñana, where we shall stay for the first four nights of our holiday. Stopping at a marshy area on the way could give us our first opportunity to find some interesting birds, including Black Stork, Black-crowned Night Heron and Red Kite.
Days 2-5: Doñana National Park
Our main focus for the next days will be the famous Coto Doñana National Park, home to several scarce southern European species and some excellent mammals. The pine and Holm-Oak groves are very productive for Dartford Warbler, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotless Starling and Crested Tit, while resident and migrant raptors will keep our attention looking skyward. Birds should be in abundance at this time of year, especially in the marshes, lagoons and salt-pans near El Rocio, where we will meander along the banks on the lookout for species that should include Little Bittern, Greater Flamingo, Spoonbill, Gray, Purple and Squacco Herons, Little, Cattle and Great Egrets, Glossy Ibis, White Stork, and Whiskered and Black Terns, as well as a vast assortment of ducks, waders and gulls.
One of the highlights of our visit to the National Park is a full day’s excursion in a four wheel drive vehicle, crossing the heart of the park where we will have a good chance of seeing mammals such as Roe Deer, Wild boar and Iberian Lynx, the most threatened European feline. The magnificent Spanish Imperial Eagle has one of its last refuges in the park and we have a good chance of seeing several of this magnificent raptor.
Days 6-9: Doñana to Gibraltar
Moving further down the coast we will head to our hotel situated along the coast near Gibraltar, where we stay for the remainder of our tour. Our tour will now focus on the migration of numerous birds of prey as they head down to Africa. On our way to the Straits of Gibraltar we will visit several inland lakes. Depending on the water level, these lakes surrounded by agricultural fields and with an important ring of reeds, are good habitats for residents such as Red-crested Pochard, White-headed Duck, Black-winged Stilt, Western Marsh Harrier, Zitting Cisticola and Sardinian Warbler. We will spend three days exploring the wide variety of habitats, including coastal dunes, estuaries, marshes and mountain ridges.
The Straits of Gibraltar concentrate most of the migrants of Western Europe, and several watch-points will be visited to appreciate the magic of migration as it unfolds before our very eyes! Swifts, swallows and European Bee-Eaters often pass in large numbers and in surrounding scrub and trees we may encounter Dartford, Melodious, Western Bonelli’s and Spectacled Warblers.
Larks are well represented and include Thekla, Crested, and Lesser and Greater Short-toed Larks, but it is the raptors that will draw our attention. Overhead we can marvel at the sheer numbers of Egyptian Vultures, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Ospreys, Honey Buzzards, kites and Lesser Kestrels. Along the coast we will observe numerous concentrations of gulls, including Audouin’s and Slender-billed as well as good numbers of terns and waders, in a perfect combination of birdwatching that always affords the possibility of finding a rare or unexpected bird. Nights in Zahara de los Atunes.
Day 10: Return to Seville
There may be some time for an early morning excursion in order to have one final look at some of the birds that are moving through, before we drive back to Seville for your return flight home.