Our wildlife programmes offer some of the best wildlife watching from the open ocean to the mountain tops in the best birding areas of Northern Spain , renowned for its birding diversity and the opportunity to experience the splendour of the ocean. The sea element offers both cetaceans and Pelagic birds and details of sightings within the programmes will be provided within each of our 6-day holidays. In Spain our local Guides, Javier Gil Vaquero and Angel Hererra , will take over. These two experts will make your visit a memorable experience as you join them in observing some of the best wildlife in these incredibly spectacular places. Nice hotels and good food and wine will enhance your visit! This visit to the Picos de Europa will be of interest to those who wish to see not only the migration of the many Pelagic seabirds that cross our open ocean but also the most iconic birds of the Picos mountains in Northern Spain.
On Sunday - Meet at the Plymouth Ferryport where we catch the 1645 sailing to Spain. A 2-berth cabin is provided and upgrades are available as detailed in Essentail Information. Our Guide,Paul Burley, will meet you in the Terminal Building at Plymouth Ferryport.
We will be setting off from Plymouth and crossing the English Channel towards the Ushant on the north western tip of France. We will be sailing at the time of the migration and we will be hoping to see many of the pelagic seabirds that include Skua’s, shearwaters, Petrels, Sabine gull and many more. Cetacean species include Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Harbour porpoise and Minke whale.
The next morning we are in the Bay of Biscay where we will resume looking for seabirds and cetaceans. At this time of the year the Bay of Biscay can be truly spectacular and offers some amazing sightings of migratory seabirds and a fantastic diversity of whale and dolphin species. September is a favoured time for the most experienced wildlife enthusiast and a must for any who wish to see nature at its very best. Both seabird rarities and many species of whales and dolphins make this a chance not to be missed.
On arrival in Santander on Monday at 1400 we pick up our coach outside the terminal and proceed to our 4* hotel, the Mirador de la Franca. The hotel is situated in a quiet cove on the Atlantic coast and it is from here we will be setting off each day on our birding trips in to the Picos de Europa. In the evening our local guide , Javier Gil Vaquero, will join us at the hotel to discuss the following days’ birding before our evening meal.
Tuesday. The Alpine birds. The Picos de Europa National Park, is one of the best places in Europe to observe and enjoy alpine birds like alpine accentor, snowfinch, wallcreeper, red-billed chough, yellow-billed chough, water pipit, and much more. It is also the perfect place to see the Cantabrian Chamois. All of them can be watched easily on the upland areas in very good walking conditions and quite flat.
In Fuente Dé, we will take the cable car up to the highest and alpine area, nearly 2.000 m. above sea level. From here, we have a simple walk along the easy walking old mining paths, we will try to enjoy these amazing groups of birds.Furthermore, other species like raptors such as the griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, golden eagle, booted eagle, common buzzard and ravens, crows and a great variety of little passerines can be observed in the area.
Wednesday. The Feeding Station for Lammergeiers and Scavenger birds. Scavenger or carrion birds, play a key role in the functioning of mountain ecosystems. They help accelerate the process of returning nutrients to the system. At the same time, they help reduce the risk of disease to other species, whether wild or livestock.
Although some of these species disappeared many years ago from the Picos de Europa, we can now proudly say that all of these species have returned to these unforgettable mountains: Griffon Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Lammergeier and recently, it is not unusual to spot Black Vulture. Other opportunistic species such as Golden Eagle, Red and Black kite, Ravens, Common Buzzard, Crows etc. can also be found scouring for carrion.
The feeding point of Picos de Europa National Park, is one of the specific actions for the reintroduction of the Lammergeier in the Picos de Europa National Park, spearheaded by the Lammergeier Foundation.
Once a week, the staff of the Lammergeier Foundation, in collaboration with the local slaughterhouse, leave the remains of lamb and kids as a supplementary feed to complement the natural diet of these carrion birds
This day we will participate in a guided visit to observe spectacular carrion birds at a feeding place in the Picos de Europa National Park. Privileged spectators will learn and observe the food behaviour, hierarchies of scavengers and will also learn to differentiate between various species and understand the behaviour of these majestic birds.
Thursday . We leave the hotel and drive to Oyambre Natural Park, a wetlands are that is ideal for observing migratory birds. From here we continue to Santander where we'll board the ferry for the 1545 sailing.
We will then be sailing through the Bay of Biscay to once more look for birds and cetaceans.
On Friday morning - We find ourselves proceeding to the English Channel for more sightings of sea birds and cetaceans before reaching Plymouth at 1045.
(The cost includes : ferry crossing with 2-berth cabin; three nights 4* hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast, dinner with wine; two packed lunches; all transportation whilst in Spain; British and Spanish expert Guides
Single supplement £110 (Room and cabin)
Plymouth Ferry Port