Our new tour for 2019 is to the Navarre region and the Bardenas Natural Park and Pitillas Lagoon
This area, is a Special Protection Area for Birds and a wetland of international importance, which gives an idea of its exceptional environmental value. The Bardenas Reales is one of only a few deserts in Europe and is definitely the most impressive of them all. There are several unique geological formations and some lovely landscapes. It occupies an area of 42,000 hectares and is situated in the southeast corner of Navarre along the border with Aragon.
Sunday - We’ll set off from Plymouth’s Millbay Docks on Sunday at 1545 on the flagship cruise-ferry “Pont Aven” to sail
to Santander on Spain’s north coast. A 2-berth cabin is provided for both sailings. During the crossing, our guide,
Paul Burley, will be on hand to spot and identify the wealth of wildlife as we cross the English channel and into
the Bay of Biscay. Along with the cetaceans there will be a lot of pelagics cruising with us.
We will have dinner together in Le Flora restaurant.
In Summer we can look forward to the wealth of wildlife that can be found in the English channel and into the Bay of Biscay. We will have dinner together in Le Flora restaurant.
Monday - When we land in Spain on Monday at 1215 the local coach meets us at the Ferry Terminal and we drive out of the city and southwards past Bilbao and Logrono and thus into Navarre.. With us now will be our local Guide, Javier Gil Vaquero and he’ll have an in depth talk with you on the journey to our destination.
Our first port of call will be Lake Pitillas. Hundreds of birds fly gently across the lake at Pitillas, creating a real natural mosaic whose colours, movements and sounds, will transport you to a world of soothing sensations. This area is a Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area for Birds and a Wetland of International Importance, which gives an idea of its exceptional environmental value. The reserve offers shelter to around a hundred species, which represent almost a third of those that can be observed in Navarre, and this makes it the second most important natural reservoir in Navarre in terms of the diversity of nesting birds. We’ll now check into the Hotel Palacios at Alfaro at for the next two nights, having a late dinner. The hotel is conveniently situated next to a first class wine producer!
Tuesday - We start out in the morning for La Bardena Blanca (White Bardena) which is the central plain of the park and the one that is most desert-like. It is characterized by deep gorges and white ground, due to the large presence of salt. We’ll spend the day here and have a packed lunch to sustain us. We return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Wednesday - We leave the hotel after breakfast for La Bardena Negra (Black Bardena) which is located along the border with Aragón. It is characterized by having plateaus of different altitudes and some streams at the bottom of the cliffs. The name originated from the dark soil located here. The Bardena Negra has two types of vegetation on it: on one side there are Mediterranean forests with oaks and pines and on the other side there are grain fields.
The most interesting birds in May (Resident and migrants)
Cattle Egret, White Stork, Grifon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Short Toed Eagle, Montagu´s harrier, Booted Eagle, Golden Eagle, Stone Curlew, Little Bustard, Black–Bellied Sandgrouse, Calandra Lark, Crested Lark, Short-Toed Lark, Lesser Short Toed Lark, Dupont´s Lark, Thekla´s Lark, Skylark, Cetti´s Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford Warbler, Spectacled Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest, Bearded Reeding, Penduline Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike, Red-Billed Chough, Rock Sparrow, Cirl Bunting, Black Weathear, Rock Thrush, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, , Black-Winged Stilt, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Bee Eater, Tawny Pipit, Black-Eared Wheatear, Great Reed Warbler, Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Lesser Kestrel, Alpine Switf, Western Orphean Warbler, Western Bonellis Warbler, Iberian Chifchaf.
In the late afternoon we set off for the coast and we’ll have a little time in Santander before we board the ship for the 2115 sailingto England. Once again, Paul Burley will be on hand during the sailing to offer advice and assistance. As soon as we board we’ll have our final dinner together. Enjoy the cruise homewards on the “Pont Aven”, especially as we pass the Isles of Ushant on the western tip of France where we hope to see good numbers of pelagics and cetaceans
Thursday - We’ll arrive at Plymouth on Thursday at 1615.
The cost includes: Travel by executive coach; ferry crossing with cabin; two on-board dinners; two breakfasts; coach travel in Spain as detailed; two nights 4* hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast and dinner each day at the hotel with wine; two packed lunches; excursions with local wildlife Guide; activity with Cetacean Guide as detailed
Supplements : Single room and cabin - £90
Pick up point: Millbay Docks, Plymouth