- Fly from London to Madrid, from where it is around three hours' drive to our lodge, with time for a short break on the way. After checking in, we have some time to relax and freshen up before heading out into the surroundings to search for raptors feeding at sunset.
- Accommodation: Finca La Parrilla, 4-nights on full board basis (lunch not included on Day 1)
- Over the next three days, we visit various specialist hides to photograph a variety of birds. The tree hide is ideal for photographing passerines, with great reflection shots. We also visit two mirror hides to see rufous bush-chat and orphean warbler, and there are also hides to observe rock thrush and swallows. The real highlight, however, is the vulture hide; this area is renowned for having one of Europe’s largest colonies of black vultures, so there will be plenty of opportunity to photograph these scavengers.
- The hides are usually set up for three people, so the group will separate into two smaller groups, one with Ashley and the other with the local guide from La Parrilla, so by swapping around you will benefit from both Ashley’s photographic expertise and the guide’s local knowledge.
- We also visit Doña Catalina, a great location for little and great bustard, and the Salto del Gitano, which is renowned for sightings of black stork and blue rock thrush. On some evenings we will focus on nocturnal species, learning different techniques with flash.
- This morning, depending on the time of our flight, we should have time for one final photography session, then - after an early lunch - drive back to Madrid in time for our flight home.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- Guided activities
- All meals
- Access to photography hides
- Services of naturalist and wildlife photographer
We stay at the Casa Rural Finca La Parrilla for four nights. This restored former farmhouse offers comfort in a secluded location, on a 1,250-hectare private estate, surrounded by the extraordinary nature of Monfragüe National Park.
Accommodation consists of four rooms with en suite bathroom, and there is a lovely patio from which you can see the cliffs where various raptors nest, and fine views over the Rio Tajo.
The lodge is particularly renowned for its specialist hides, which sit almost invisibly in the varied habitats and offer fantastic photography opportunities.
All meals are included during our stay in La Parrilla.
Extremadura is one of the greatest birdwatching destinations in Europe, especially known for its great population of raptors, with over 900 pairs of black and 100 pairs of griffon vultures, as well as good numbers of Spanish imperial eagle, black stork, Egyptian vulture, golden eagle, peregrine falcon and Bonelli’s eagle.
The birding hides also offer the opportunity to get close to the superb golden oriole, usually more often heard than seen.
- Black vulture
- Golden oriole
- Red kite
- Azure winged magpie
Monfragüe is home to the rare Iberian lynx; other key mammal species to be found in the area include red deer, roe deer and fallow deer, wild boar, wildcat, otter, genet, polecat, beech marten and more widespread species such as red fox and badger. The region is also home to 15 species of bats, and species such mouflon (wild sheep) and Egyptian mongoose have been introduced.
- Beech marten
- Spanish ibex
- Red deer
Reptiles and amphibians
Monfrague hosts 19 species of reptile including nine type of snakes and various amphibians.
- Iberian painted frog
- Spanish pond turtle
- Iberian wall lizard
- Mediterranean tree frog
Monfrague National Park’s native vegetation is remarkably untouched. Its characteristic landscape is made up of holm and cork oak meadows, small oak woodlands, and numerous cliffs and rock faces with wild olives, alder trees and gorse bushes.
- Tongue orchid
- Spanish foxglove
- Common gum cistus
- Broteroi peony
This is a dedicated bird photography tour led by a professional wildlife photographer, providing tuition and advice to capture the best shots.
Short walks of two to three kilometres on easy trails and footpaths. There is an optional climb up steps to the viewpoint in Monfragüe. Access to hides is by pick-up and many birds can be seen at close distance from the lodge. The terrain is hilly but not strenuous and the level of walking can be adjusted according to the group's fitness.
Price includes return scheduled flights London - Madrid – London.
Ground transportation is by minibus when outside the lodge and by four-wheel drive while in the estate.
Extremadura has a continental climate with cool and wet winters, and hot, dry summers. April is the end of the rainy season and it starts to get warmer with temperatures up to 20°–25°C.