Spain - Aragon ........ 21st to 27th March 2016

The Spanish Steppes & the Sierra de Guara

Eurasian Griffon
Aragon is a region of dramatic yet panoramic landscapes, highlighted by marvelous sunrises and sunsets. Its mixture of steppe and mountain environments is reminiscent of Arizona, wild and perhaps a little desolate, with few roads and not much traffic but an array of superb and rare birds. Our visit to the Sierra de Guara will provide us with quality bird watching in a beautiful and tranquil mountain chain, where raptors feature highly. Within this wonderful alpine environment are a host of superb bird species, including Lammergeier, Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, Rock Sparrow, Blue Rock Thrush and much more, In contrast birding on the Spanish Steppes can indeed be a great experience! Amongst the species we will be searching for is the notoriously difficult-to-locate Dupont’s Lark and there is a magnificent supporting cast that includes Lesser Short-toed & Calandra Larks, Pin-tailed & Black-bellied Sandgrouse Stone-curlew. Spectacled Warbler. Surprisingly Golden Eagles are frequently seen often with multiply sightings on some days

Day 1: Early morning flight from UK to Barcelona and then within two hour’s drive from the airport we should be birding, checking out a superb lake with many exciting species including Black-necked Grebe, Purple Heron and raptors.En route to our Guest House at Lorporzano, we will make several stops looking for migrants
Overnight - Lorporzano

Days 1 - 4: Over the next few days we will explore the Sierra de Guara and surrounding countryside at our leisure. Many bird-rich habitats are close by and little time will be spent in the vehicle driving long distances. At this time of year Wallcreeper and Alpine Accentor are often found at much lower altitude taking advantage of the higher temperatures and the availability of their food supply. In the surrounding habitat, we may have a good chance of locating Rock Sparrow, Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Spectacled Warbler and Black Wheatear. The entire region should be full of raptors with vast numbers of Griffon and occasionally Egyptian Vultures. One of the highlights will be a visit to a vulture feeding station, where it is possible to observe Lammergeiers as well as Griffon Vultures. One evening, we will seek out Eagle Owl, hopefully to hear its evocative call and perhaps see it as it appears from its diurnal roost. We may also find Black Woodpecker, Crested Tit or even Citril Finch and migrants moving through central Spain.
Overnights - Loporzano.

Day 5: leaving the Sierra de Guara we take the motorway south for a couple of hours our destination a fabulous isolated valley where we will look for Bonelli’s Eagle, Goshawk and migrants. We should arrive at our next destination around mid afternoon on the edge of the steppe in the village of Lecera .Late afternoon we will have our first taste of Steppe birding driving off road we will explore some of the tracks in this secluded habitat looking for some of our target species. If the weather is fine we should experience a delightful sunset accompanied by many of the birding specialties of the area.

Day 6: An early start in an attempt to witness the haunting call of the Dupont’s Lark, the cacophony of sound is not to be missed. The stillness and scenery are just magical and the entire experience very atmospheric. Both species of sandgrouse are likely as well as Stone-curlew. After breakfast the day will be spent birding other areas, mainly off road, making an effort to find wintering raptors including Golden Eagle, Merlin and Hen Harrier with the possibility of Lesser Kestrel and Montagu’s Harrier.
Overnight - Lecera.

Day 7: We return to Barcelona Airport for the flight back to the UK.

Tour ref: AA1611
Cost: £TBA
Deposit: £300
Single Room Supplement: £TBA

Leaders: Bernie Forbes

Max. Group: 12 plus 2 Leaders

Includes: Return flights (UK-Madrid-UK), en-suite accommodation based on twin occupancy, meals, transportation in Spain and services of leaders.

Excludes: Travel insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.