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FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT PARTICIPATED IN A WINGSPAN TOUR DURING 2016, THANK YOU FOR YOUR CUSTOM & YOUR COMPANY AND WE WISH YOU HEALTH AND HAPPINESS FOR 2017.

THE PROGRAMME FOR SPRING 2017 IS NOW ON MY

WEBSITE BUT HERE IS A PREVIEW



Jan 15th - 28th. - Sri Lanka. £1750

Feb 12th -27th - Costa Rica - full

Mar 20th - 30th Morocco - 10 nights. - £1190

April 5th - 12th - Andalucia migration tour. - £750 - 2 places

April 16th - 24th - Coto Donana & Extremadura - £950 - 2 places

April 29th - 6th May. - Lesvos - £875

May 8th - 15th - Portugal - full


May 13th - 21st Bulgaria - £850

May 23rd - 30th - Andalucia birds and butterflies - £750

May 31st - June 8th. - Extremadura and Sierra de Gredos - £950

June 12th - 20th - Pyrenees and Picos de Europa - £1050


FLIGHTS NOT INCLUDED IN THESE PRICES



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Red-throated Bee-eater

Red-throated Bee-eater
join us for a fantastic tour of The Gambia this November

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zaragoza, Pyrenees & Picos - Summary

JUNE 17TH - 24TH 2012

WINGSPAN BIRD TOURS - TRIP TO THE PYRENEES


Aguero - Pyrenees, Spain
GROUP LEADER: BOB BUCKLER

PARTICPANTS:


Jason Leifester,
Steve Sawyer,
Roz Bates,
Paul Edlin,
Mike Schaefer,
Ross Schaefer,
Geraldine Schaefer


SUMMARY:


we had a great tour with a great ‘team’ of birders, everyone contributed and everyone found something for the list. This was the first attempt by WINGSPAN to combine these 3 contrasting and unique habitats, it really worked well. We amassed an incredible sightings list of 170 species and heard Common Quail so we actually recorded 171.

If I listed all the great sightings this summary would go on for ages but here are just a few of the goodies:  Snow Finch, Alpine Accentor, Lammergeire, Wallcreeper, Citril Finch, Black Woodpecker, Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit, Wryneck, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black Bellied Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo & Golden Eagle. A mouth-watering list indeed!

The varying landscapes of the majestic limestone peaks, the colours of the plains, the lush green alpine meadows were absolutely fantastic and a wonderful sight to behold. We had superb weather for 90% of the time, clear blue sky, very little wind and it rained on only one day. As well as birds we also watched many butterflies, wild flowers, lizards and mammals.

images of the tours:


FOR A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE TOUR PLEASE:  CLICK HERE

Gabardito - Alpine Meadow

Gabardito - forest

Piedmont Ringlet

The Group - during our one day of rain

Outside our hotel in Hecho valley - Pyrenees
Yellowhammer - Upper Hecho Valley

Citril Finch - Pierre St Martin - Pyrenees - France

Citril Finch - Pierre St Martin - Pyrenees - France

Archive - Blue Rock Thrush


Great Spotted Cuckoo - taken at El Planeron, Zaragoza 2009

Ring Ouzel - Pyrenees - Pierre St Martin, France taken 2009


PICOS De EUROPA

Alpine Accentor - Picos

same as above

Another Alpine Accentor

Alpine Chough


Black Redstart 

Picos de Europa

Spotted Orchid

Water Pipit

Water Pipit
Hotel Torrecerredo - Picos

Wryneck - one of two seen near the hotel



FOR A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE TOUR PLEASE:  CLICK HERE

Friday, June 22, 2012

PYRENEES TOUR - DAY 1 JUNE 17TH


MADRID AIRPORT - EL PARDON (MADRID COUNTRY PARK) - BELCHITE STEPPE

The tour started like dream, everyone turned up on time, everyone was raring to go and the weather was hot but smashing!

I collected Mike, Ross, Geraldine, Jason, Steve and Roz from their hotels in Barajas, Madrid at 9am and we set off for a morning excursion to a local country park on the north side of Madrid

We stopped first near the town of El Pardo for a walk along the river but before we even got there we had logged: White Stork (a pair are breeding in the plaza in the centre of Barajas), Collared Dove, Serin, Common Swift, Eurasian Magpie, Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon.

Our walk started and ended in a flourish: we quickly found Serin, Golden Oriole, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and we heard several Nightingales. Further along the walk we found Cetti’s Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Eurasian Nuthatch, Blue Tit and Great Tit.

Above several vultures drifted over they were Griffon and Black Vultures, they were joined by Black Kites and hundreds of swifts, both Common and Pallid.

On the return journey we ventured into a copse of pine trees and enjoyed good views of Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit and we got glimpses of a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

We drove to another spot on the other side of El Pardo and spent our last hour looking for eagles. We did find Booted Eagle and we also added Song Thrush, Hawfinch and Linnet to our list.

We had to be back at the airport by 1pm to pick up Paul our last remaing group member and so we set off at 12:45pm to collect him.  Paul arrived dead on time and by 1:30pm we were on our way to Zaragoza. Birds seen along the route were few and far between but we added Red Kite, Crested Lark, Woodchat Shrike and Short –toed Eagle. A couple of stops produced Northern Wheatear, Marsh Harrier and Spotted Flycatcher.

We checked into our hotel around 6pm and went out almost immediately to look for new species on the steppe near Belchite. It was raining, big thunder-storm spots and it was still 30C. The rain shower quickly ended and we drove to La Lamazas steppe natural park. We had only 40 minutes there so we didn’t see much, it was a little windy but we managed to find several Lesser Short-toed Larks and a couple of groups of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, all of the group saw them in the scope, a good result. A Little owl and a Red-legged partridge were seen by me, the driver but no-one else got onto them.

We got back at the hotel for dinner at 8pm which after some confusion in translation was enjoyed by all.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

SAT JUNE 16TH MALAGA TO MADRID

It looks like Siberia! The white colouring is salt not sand
In preparation for the upcoming Pyrenees Tour I travelled to Madrid today with a nice little stop at the Laguna de Lillo which is about 90 clicks south of Madrid.

The Laguna was almost dry, it was 37C and a very harsh dry wind was blowing across the area. You won't find many places as severe as this, just imagine what its going to be like in July and August.

Despite these conditions there was plenty of bird life on and around the little water that was left:

Gull-billed Tern (500+) an amazing number of terns but probably due to the fact that all other lagunas in the area have dried up.

Northern Lapwing (15)
Black-headed Gull  (50+) - it was good to see some recent fledglings
Common Shelduck (4)
Pied Avocet (7)
Kentish Plover (28)
Dunlin (1)
Common Ringed Plover (1)
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (1) - this single bird stayed for at lest 30 minutes

Other birds coming to drink were: Carrion Crow, Common Magpie, Crested lark, Pallid Swift, Wood Pigeon and some Feral Pigeons.

In the general area I saw Stone Curlew (1), Bee-eater (5), Marsh harrier (2), Common Buzzard (1), Moorhen (1).

Blck-bellied Sandgrouse - seen through the heat haze


This site has the potential for some great birding, a friend of mine visited a few weeks ago and had all of the above plus Pin-tailed Sandgrouse and Little Bustard.

I'll be back!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

JUNE 12TH 2012 - ANOTHER PICNIC

Dawn and I spent the afternoon down by the riverside with our good friends and newly converted birdwatchers, John and Mary.


 This lovely Turtle Dove was one of two coming down to drink on thje opposite bank. We also saw Kingfisher, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin, Linnet, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Nuthatch, Pallid Swift and Red-rumped Swallow.
 

A pair of Cirl Buntings (male shown below) joined Corn Buntings, Blue Tit, White Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover and Booted Eagle onto our list.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sunday picnic at the Rio Guadiaro

Dawn and I took ourselves to the river at Estacion de Cortes. It was a bit windy but we enjoyed a lovely afternoon just watching the world go by. I had my bins and scope and during the afternoon I recorded 31 species including the rare  WHITE-RUMPED SWIFT.

An obliging Woodchat Shrike


The air was alive with bird song (and some frogs) Nightingales, Blackcaps, Cetti's Warbler, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Serin and Sardinian Warbler were all making noises.

A flock of Pallid Swifts were coming down to drink from the river, they were joined by a few Common Swifts and it was whilst I was watching this group that I found the White-rumped Swift. This super rare breeder drifted around high up above the other swifts.

Other species seen included: Little-ringed Plover, Grey Wagtail, White Wagtail, Cirl Bunting, Eurasian Nuthatch, Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Linnet, Woodchat Shrike, Melodious Warbler, Spotless Starling and several common species.

I am looking forward to my tour of the Pyrenees coming up this weekend!

Gaucin to Ronda

I have no birding trips for a few more days so hence the trip to the Garden Centre at Ronda! I didn't even take my bins!

On the way up we saw: Griffon Vulture, Booted Eagle, Rock Sparrow, Black Wheatear, Serin and Blue Rock Thrush.

Our return journey was more exciting becuae on the outskirts of Ronda we saw a Bonelli's Eagle being mobbed by a pair of Booted Eagles, I had to pull the car over for that one.

Other birds seen on the way back included: Black-eared Wheatear, Common Buzzard and two more Black Whetaears.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DAY TOUR - JUNE 4TH 2012

RIO GUALHORCE NATURE RESERVE AND THE MONTES DE MALAGA NATURAL PARK

I collected Stu and his father, Ian, from their holiday complex in Benalmadena at 8:30am
the weather was fine, a clear sky with a light breeze, it did get very hot during the mid-afternoon.

At 9am we arrived at the mouth of the western arm of the Rio de Gualhorce where we immediately found a small flock of Audouin's Gulls. These superb gulls were joined by a couple of Mediterranesn Gulls and we also found Crested Lark, Greenshank, Little Ringed Plover, Greenfinch and Serin.

 We walked along ther beach and took the beach path onto the reserve where we found a Woodchat Shrike sitting on the fence, also a couple of Zitting Cisticola were 'zitting' about. As we approched the hide that overlooks the laguna Grande we saw several Black-winged Stilts. On the laguna there were numerous birds: Moorhen, Coot, Little Grebe, White-headed Duck, Mallard, Little Egret, Spoonbill.
and some more Audouin's Gulls. A few waders included: Little-ringed Plover and Kentish Plover.

From the hide at the smaller laguna we found more White-headed Ducks, Common Pochard and we saw a Black-headed Weaver (introduced species now breeding here). A small flock of Monk Parakeets flew by (are we in a bird safari park one might ask?), we also saw Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat and Bee-eaters. We continued around the reserve but we didn't add many species, just Gadwall and Common Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Black-headed Gull.

For the afternoon we drove up into the mountains above Malaga to look for some woodland species. It was very hot now so the shelter of the trees was welcomed. Many butterflies were also on the wing, we saw Cleopatra, Scare Swallowtail, Cardinal Frittillary, Spanish Marbled White, Small Skipper, Ilex Hairstreak and the huge Two-tailed Pasha.

Birds were heard more than seen but we managed good views of: Eurasian Nuthatch, Blackcap, Iberian Chiffchaff, Bonelli's Warbler, Common Crossbill, Spotted Flycatcher, Woodlark, Rock Bunting,  Jay, Great Tit, Serin, Robin and lots of Chaffinches. In the sky the raptor sightings were disappointing, we only saw; Common Buzzard and Booted Eagle.

We returned to the coast via Malaga, the guys were well satisfied with their findings and went off to meet the rest of the family by the pool, how nice!
i