Contact Mike on 07974 704105 or email mike@raptorretreats.com for more info

Pyrenees and Basque, Spain

Vultures and Vino

Join us for a long weekend or the full week bird watching holiday. The first four days we explore the incredible scenery of the Pyrenees looking for all the European Vultures before heading west for the second part of the trip to the diverse habitats of the Basque country. There are  many other interesting species, such as, wall creepers (especially in November) and white-backed woodpeckers to spot as well. We also have the opportunity to sample local Rioja wine and the famous Roncal Valley cheese. 

 

4 days / 3 nights £875

7 days / 6 nights £1,400 

includes all accommodation, ground transport, dedicated local guide, half board


8th November 2019,

1st May 2020

Maximum group size 14

Book Here or call 07974 704105

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Bilbao to Roncesvalles  - We will pick you up from the airport or city and climb up 1,200m into the west Pyrenees, stopping at a couple of birding spots along the way. 


Day 2: Roncesvalles to Burgui - We will spend the majority of the day at birding sites around the Lindux column and Ibañeta pass. This is one of the best places to watch the region's resident birds as well as being internationally renowned for migrant spotting. Whilst here we will meet up with Spanish bird conservation charity SEO Birdlife to see how their work is benefiting local birds. Towards the end of the day we will travel the short distance to Burgui.


Day 3: Burgui - Deep into the Pyrenees, we will hike in the protected  area for birds, Foz de Lumbier & Arbayun, a 300m deep, vertical-walled canyon. The rock walls are a great place to look for nests and crag watch. There are a number of great routes so we can tailor the walks to meet the group's needs. Later in the day we will visit the Irati Forest on the French border.


Day 4 / Day 1: Return to Bilbao or transfer to Orduañ (Alava) - stopping along the way at a couple of birding sites.


Day 5 / Day 2: Sierra Salvada and Izki woodlands - A full day's birding at another protected bird area; the Sierra Salvada in the west of the Basque country. We meet with SEO Birdlife again at the source of the Nervion river where giant cliffs give panoramic vistas across the plateau. We shall then move into the Izki woodlands to look for woodpeckers and the special Iberian chiffchaff. 


Day 6 / Day 3: Laguardia - We shall transfer to Laguardia via the Cantabria mountain range looking for warblers, hoopoe and raptors and the Las Cañas reservoir with bee-eaters and purple herons. Sample local Rioja along the way.


Day 7 / Day 4: Bilbao - After a morning birdwatching we will travel back to Bilbao where you can catch your flight home or spend time taking in the culture of this vibrant city. We can help make arrangements if required. 

What's included?

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Accommodation - 3 or 6 nights depending on which option you choose. All the hotels we work with are excellent rated on Trivago. Very comfortable, historic and characterful, they all also share our philosophy for sustainability.   


All Ground Transportation - is provided by private, air conditioned, comfortable minibuses.


Dining - All breakfasts and dinners. Lunches can be prepared on request. 


Full time bi-lingual guide and birding specialist and mountain guide


Tours and entrance fees - for all national parks and programmed activities. 


Accidents & Rescue insurance - covering all the hikes and walking.

The birds and wildlife

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Some of the bird species we will be looking for: Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture), Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Alpine Swift, Black Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Alpine Chough, Red-billed Chough, Crested Tit, Eurasian Crag Martin, Wallcreeper, Short-toed Treecreeper, Western Orphean Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Ring Ouzel, Blue Rock Thrush, Common Rock Thrush, Alpine Accentor, White-winged Snowfinch, Water Pipit, Citril Finch, Rock Bunting. Red-legged Partridge, Mediterranean Shearwater, Purple Heron, White Stork, Black-necked Grebe, Black Kite, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Stone-Curlew, Whiskered Tern, Yellow-legged Gull, European Turtle Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Woodchat Shrike, Red-billed Chough, Thekla Lark, Calandra Lark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Iberian Chiffchaff, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Western Orphean Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Sparrow, Tawny Pipit, Cirl Bunting, Ortolan Bunting.

Meet your guide

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 Gorka was born in San Sebastian and now lives in  Pamplona. He has been leading birding trips in the Western Pyrenees area for more than 15 years. 


 Gorka works as a bird and nature guide, field ornithologist, wildlife artista and environmental advisor. Previously a memeber of the Spanish Rare Bird Comittee, and currently member of both the Basque rare Bird Comittee and a the Rarebirds Swarovski Optik Birdracing Team. He also takes part in many bird surveys, most recently dedicated to raptors, the White-backed Woodpecker and migrant birds. 

Supporting conservation with SEO Birdlife

 We are privileged to be supporting SEO Birdlife (Spanish Ornithological Association). They have a number of projects across Spain including two at destinations we visit, the Ibañeta pass and the Sierra Salvada. We will meet with SEO representatives at these locations to hear about their work and benefit from their local knowledge as to where to find the best views.  

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Weather

November - Temperatures drop a bit to between 12-18 degrees but skies are often blue and crystal. This makes for great photos, especially on the higher ground where there may be some snow. There is a 30% chance of showers.

 

May - Things are starting to warm up with daytime temperatures between 16-22 degrees (a bit cooler on the higher ground). The snow is gone but there may be some spring showers. 

Essentials

 Flight tickets - Flights are not included in this package.

Travel Insurance - Please make sure you have suitable insurance. This is part of our booking terms. 

 Difficulty - Although walks/hikes can be tailored to individual needs there will be some rougher ground to cover. You should have at least a moderate level of fitness and be able to walk comfortably for an hour or so. 

Prices - Are per person based on two sharing (double / twin). They include all currently applicable taxes currently. Any additional taxes levied by the government will be extra.

Your holiday money is protected through TRIP insurance

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