Black Vulture

Salamanca Region

Spain’s Wild West Tour

  • Duration

    19 June 2021 to 26 June 2021

  • Location

    Salamanca (Spain)

  • Led by

    David Lindo – The Urban Birder & Vega Bermejo Castelnau from Birding in Spain’s Wild West

  • For assistance with booking flights

    please contact Sacha Barbato at Travel Counsellors
    +44 (0)1603 360 099
    sacha.barbato@travelcounsellors.com

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

  • Price

    £1,400 per person plus flight

  • Single supplement

    £115

  • Deposit

    £240 per person

  • Group size

    up to 8 participants

  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 16/04/2021

Free loan of Leica Ultravid binoculars is available for the duration of the tour – subject to availability.

Please ask for details.

Covid-19 Policy

Covid-19 has affected all holiday destinations across the globe. This tour is still scheduled to run but please refer to our Covid-19 Guidelines for the latest position.

About Salamanca, Spain

The province of Salamanca, west of Madrid and bordering Portugal, is mostly associated with “jamon serrano”, Napoleonic wars and the capital’s historic University. But, it is also a well-kept secret for bird and nature-lovers. It harbours a wealth of birdlife, different habitats and fantastic scenery; from the Mediterranean maqui in the Arribes del Duero Natural Park with its deep gorges and canyons at 200m above sea level to the Alpine meadows of the Sierra de Bejar mountains at over 2000m. There are mixed Atlantic and Mediterranean forests in the Batuecas and Sierra de Francia Natural Park, vast areas of Holm oak groves – dehesa – grazed by cattle and pigs for millennia, boulder-strewn heathland and rolling cereal steppe-lands.

The local currency is the Euro.

Tour overview

This tour brings together some of the most attractive and interesting birding locations of the Salamanca Region in which we will also visit beautiful historic villages in gorgeous settings and acquaint ourselves with the culture and the delicious food; sampling locally produced fruit, olive oil, cheese, ham and wine amongst other products.

In the beginning of the trip we will explore the Arribes del Duero natural park with its astonishing canyons populated by cliff-dwelling raptors. Also, on the list to visit will be the ruins of the ancient pre-Roman Veton civilization, sculptors of the ubiquitous granite boars – “verracos” -found across the region, and a drive through the Campo Charro territory famed for its Holm Oak dehesa and grazing cattle.

Prepare to discover the magical wooded valleys and peaks of the Sierra de Francia natural park with its medieval villages nestling amongst vineyards, fruit orchards, sweet chestnut, oak and arbutus forests. We will then completely change landscapes and head out to the rolling cereal lands of Campos de Alba – a Special Protection Area for steppe-land birds. Finally, we will go up into the mountains for incredible birds and stunning views plus, the welcome shade of mountain woodland.

June can be a hot month in Salamanca: not just in temperate but for the tremendous vistas and wildlife. All the summer migrants will have arrived and most will be busy raising their young – so be prepared for a birdfest!

Expected birds

Purple Heron, Black and White Storks, Great Bustard, Egyptian, Black and Griffon Vultures, Golden, Bonelli’s, Short-toed, Booted and Spanish Imperial Eagles, Marsh, Montagu’s and Hen Harriers, Black and Black-shouldered Kites, Honey Buzzard, Peregrine, Eurasian Hobby, Lesser Kestrel, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Turtle Dove, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Red-rumped Swallow, Tawny and Water Pipit, Iberian race Yellow Wagtail, Woodlark, Short-toed, Calandra, Thekla’s and Crested Larks, European Bee-eater, White-throated Dipper, Blue Rock and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes, Black and Western Black-eared Wheatears, Nightingale, Bluethroat, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford, Melodious, Sardinian, Western Orphean, Western Subalpine, Spectacled and Western Bonelli’s Warblers, Iberian Chiffchaff, Great Reed Warbler, Firecrest, Iberian race Pied Flycatcher, Golden Oriole, Iberian Magpie, Red-billed Chough, Penduline and Crested Tits, Short-toed Treecreeper, Woodchat and Iberian Grey Shrike, Spotless Starling, Hawfinch, Serin, Red Crossbill, Rock and Spanish Sparrows, Corn, Cirl, Rock and Ortolan Buntings.

Other species

Spanish Ibex, Ocellated Lizard, Iberian Emerald Lizard, European and Spanish Pond Turtle and Red Squirrel.

Itinerary

Please note that the order of this itinerary is likely to vary – we´ll be using our guides´ local knowledge to make best use of each day´s wind and weather conditions.

June 19 – Arrive in Madrid Airport

After an afternoon arrival at Madrid Airport we will transfer to Posada Quinta de la Concepción, our base for the next couple of nights, overlooking the River Duero. Expect to be met by the beautiful Mediterranean climate, olive groves and vineyards. We will indulge in some local birding around the area and the Arribes del Duero Canyons to hopefully pick up birds like Black Stork, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Golden Eagle, Alpine Swift and Crag Martin.

Dinner and overnight stay: Posada Quinta de la Concepción

June 20 – Arribes del Duero: canyons, Mediterranean maqui

After breakfast we will visit the gorge and waterfall of Cachón de Camaces looking out for Bonelli’s Eagle, Crag Martin and Blue Rock Thrush. We will stop off at the Puente de la Molinera Bridge to look up for Egyptian Vulture before heading to Saucelle where we will have a coffee break and visit the Janas viewpoint overlooking the Huebra Valley.

From Saucelle we will head to Mieza for a walk and a visit to another viewpoint good for Griffon, Black and Egyptian Vultures, Black Stork and Golden Oriole. After finding a nice shady spot for a picnic we will journey onto the Aldeadavila Viewpoint to watch for Alpine Swift, Golden Eagle and Egyptian Vulture as well as to observe the large colonies of Griffon Vulture.

We will spend the rest of the afternoon stopping off at various viewpoints like the Mirador del Salto and looking for a host of birds including Black Stork, Bonelli’s and Golden Eagles, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Peregrine, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Hawfinch and Golden Oriole. It won’t only be about birds as we will also be scouring the ground searching for Europe’s largest lizard – the Ocellated Lizard.

Dinner and overnight stay: Posada Quinta de la Concepción

June 21 – South east to the Sierra de Francia: Lagoons, river valleys

After a great breakfast we will get going stopping off at Yecla Castro, a pre-Roman hill fort with animal engravings and an abundance of birds such as Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle and Sardinian Warbler plus, lizards and a flutter of butterflies.

We will stop for coffee at Villavieja and then go on to check out the Yeltes River, Zarza, Cristo and Cervera Lagoons set amongst Portuguese and Holm oak groves. There, we will hope to encounter Purple Heron, Black Stork, Black-shouldered Kite, Booted Eagle, Black-winged Stilt, Great Reed Warbler, Penduline Tit and if we’re lucky, Spanish Pond Turtle. This will be the venue for today’s picnic.

In the afternoon, we will drive up to the top of Peña de Francia peak; 1727m high overlooking the Sierra de Francia area, where we can look out for various warblers, Egyptian and Griffon Vulture, Red-billed Chough and maybe catch sight of Spanish Ibex.

Before settling into our next overnight accommodation, we will visit the nearby medieval village of San Martin del Castañar.

Dinner and overnight stay: Hotel Porta Coeli

June 22 – Sierra de Francia Biosphere reserve: Mountain scrub, Atlantic & Mediterranean forest

We will go for a forest and mountain walk on Sierra de las Quilamas opposite the hotel, looking out for Crested Tit, Dartford and Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Firecrest, Serin and, the elusive Red Squirrel.

We’ll stop off for coffee at La Alberca then head to the Batuecas natural park, stopping on the mountain to search for Spanish Ibex and other mountain species. We will then head down to the boardwalk in the verdant Batuecas Valley where we will look for Dipper, Nightingale and Sardinian Warbler.

Thereafter, we will journey on to the River Alagon for our picnic where we will watch out for Black Stork. After lunch, a visit to the medieval walled village of Miranda del Castañar will be made. Here we will do some urban birding searching for Black and Egyptian Vultures, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Crag Martin, Black Redstart and Spotless Starling.

Dinner and overnight stay: Hotel Porta Coeli

June 23 – Sierra de Bejar & Francia. Sangusin & Alagon valleys

After breakfast we will head south to Sotoserrano on the River Alagon with brief stops at the bridge there and in Valdespino Valley for Black Stork, Nightingale and Melodious Warbler. We will take a walk on the mountain above the Alagon Valley on the lookout for Black Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle and Golden Oriole. Afterwards, we will stop for a coffee at Pinedas.

After our break we will move on to the Sangusin Valley to walk through an Ash grove at Horcajo de Montemayor looking for Black Kite, the endangered Turtle Dove, Common and Great Spotted Cuckoo, European Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Golden Oriole, Serin, Rock Sparrow plus the European Pond Turtle in the river. Later, we will then indulge in a picnic under the welcomed shade of a Montpelier Maple next to an old mill.

On our way to our next accommodation, we will stop off at a granite meadow where we may see some interesting orchids as well as Woodlark. Our final destination of the day will be the village of Salvatierra de Tormes that overlooks the St. Teresa Reservoir. A walk in the area may bring Booted Eagle, Eurasian Hobby, Crested Lark, Western Subalpine and Western Orphean Warblers, Iberian Shrike, Rock and Spanish Sparrows.

Dinner and overnight stay: Hotel Rural Salvatierra

June 24 – Campos de Alba and Azud de Riolobos Special Protection Area (SPA), Berrocal de Salvatierra – Cereal steppelands and wetlands, stony habitat

On this day we will drive east to the cereal ‘steppelands’ in search of Great Bustard, Montagu’s and Hen Harriers, Lesser Kestrel, Calandra Lark, the Iberian race of Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting. After a coffee break on route we will go on to the Riolobos Reservoir where we will hope to find three species of harrier: Marsh, Montagu’s and Hen. Plus, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Tawny Pipit, Zitting Cisticola, as well as waders and other aquatic birds.

Picnic lunch will be in the shade by riverside vegetation and hopefully seeing and hearing Nightingale, Penduline Tit and Golden Oriole.

Heading back west we will explore the stony Berrocal area for Black Stork, Black Vulture, Stone Curlew, European Bee-eater, Black-eared Wheatear, Iberian Chiffchaff, Spectacled, Western Subalpine and Western Orphean Warblers and Iberian Magpie.

Dinner and overnight stay: Hotel Rural Salvatierra

June 25 – Upper Tormes river. Sierra de Béjar. Mountain pasture, mixed forest

On this, our final full day, we will head upriver of the Tormes and walk around the medieval village of Puente del Congosto where Crag Martin and Blue Rock Thrush breed around the castle and bridge. We will also look out for Black Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, European Bee-eater, Thekla’s Lark, Northern and Black-eared Wheatears, Melodious Warbler, Iberian Magpie, Cirl Bunting and maybe even an Ocellated Lizard amongst the rocks.

After a coffee break we will heading up the mountain (1950m) to look for Water Pipit, Bluethroat, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Ortolan and Rock Buntings.

After a picnic on the mountain, we will go for a walk in the oak and pine woods searching for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Common Whitethroat, Western Orphean and Melodious Warblers, the Iberian race of the Pied Flycatcher, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper and Common Crossbill, and, if we’re lucky we might spot the gorgeous Iberian Emerald Lizard.
On our way back down we will stop off for a drink at the beautiful mountain village of Candelario and watch the Pallid Swifts scream overhead.

Dinner and overnight stay: Hotel Rural Salvatierra

June 26 – Return to Madrid Barajas airport

After breakfast we will return to Madrid Barajas airport.

Special trip notes

The tour will depart from Madrid Terminal 1 at 1400hrs so it is imperative that participants arrange to arrive at the airport before that time. Indeed, you should aim to book flights that arrive at the airport by 1300hrs.

For the return flight, clients should book flights departing after 1500hrs on the final day.

This trip is suitable for all ages and abilities.

The pace of this tour will be gentle. We will let the wildlife come to us.

The temperature may be hot so make sure you bring adequate clothing, sun tan lotion and insect repellant.

Recommended literature

Collins Bird Guide – Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney & Dan Zetterström

Book now

  • Duration: 19 June 2021 to 26 June 2021
  • Price: £1,400 per person plus flight
  • Group size: up to 8 participants
  • Single supplement: £115
  • Deposit: £240 per person
  • Remaining balance due 60 days before travel start date

    Second Payment: 19/04/2021

  • Flights

    There are several options for getting to Madrid, but whichever you choose, please get to Madrid airport by 13.00 on June 19 – the start date of the tour.

  • For assistance with booking flights

    please contact Sacha Barbato at Travel Counsellors
    +44 (0)1603 360 099
    sacha.barbato@travelcounsellors.com

  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: tours@theurbanbirderworld.com

Spain’s Wild West Tour

19 June 2021 to 26 June 2021

Led by David Lindo & Vega Bermejo Castelnau from Birding in Spain’s Wild West

Price: £1,400.00

Single supplement: £115.00

2nd payment: 19/04/2021

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Price includes

  • Full board accommodation
  • Drinks and meals
  • Transport in a comfortable minibus
  • The services of your guides David Lindo (The Urban Birder) and Vega Bermejo Castelnau
  • The optional loan of a pair of sexy Leica binoculars for the duration of the tour – subject to availability –

Price does not include

  • Airline tickets and airport taxes
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Entry fees to monuments and museums (if desired)
  • Incidental refreshments at cafes and bars, plus all additional drinks