Extremadura Autumn Tour
Bustards, Sandgrouse and Vultures!
Extremadura, although well known by British birders, is one of the least known regions of Spain – even by the Spaniards. The area is twice the size of Wales and is indeed, Spain’s biggest secret.
The region is traditionally known as spring venue for birding and wildlife watching but the autumn is nevertheless a rewarding time to visit. Although most of the summer visitors like the Lesser Kestrels may have left there is large autumn passage underway and early winter visitors are already arriving. Indeed, Extremadura as a whole has the richest winter birdlife of any region in Spain. One of the lasting impressions visitors will have is of the sheer number of birds, everywhere.
Extremadura boasts a wonderful variety of habitats ranging from mixed-farming plains to open managed woodland pasture where the famous Iberian pigs roam free-range, deep rocky valleys, irrigated lands, reservoirs and mountains. Added to this mix are the beautiful towns and villages that are steeped in history and great for wildlife in their own right. During the time of this tour the landscape will be turning green after the summer drought with beautiful autumn flowers in bloom attracting the remaining butterflies and dragonflies that are still present.
Speciality birds like White-rumped Swift should still be around whilst resident steppe species like the Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse are findable. Winter flocks of Stone Curlew gather making them much easier to see than during the spring. Everywhere will be migrant Whinchat, Pied Flycatcher and Willow Warbler with also a good chance of Tawny Pipit.
Passage waders and waterfowl will be moving through the rice-fields where the harvest will be starting, inducing feeding frenzies amongst the egrets, storks and gulls that follow the combines and tractors.
Meanwhile, at the world famous Monfragüe National Park Red Deer rut, Griffon and Black Vultures drift and there is a good chance for a local Golden or Iberian Imperial Eagles.