Spanish Steppes Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa and Spanish Steppes. 8days

This visit to Spain incorporates two areas of major birding interest, over the last five years we have been visiting the Picos de Europa to search for its most iconic alpine birds and so this year we have decided to offer an extended trip to take you across the open ocean, to the high mountain peaks and into the Spanish steppes. We will be visiting in early June to maximise our chances of seeing our main target birds. As the snows recede in the high mountains we hope to have good views of the Snowfinch and the Wallcreeper and also the many bird species on the Steppes that will be active at this time of the year.

Tuesday - Our holiday begins at Portsmouth where we board the “Pont Aven”and set out across the English Channel in search of pelagic seabirds and cetaceans.
Wednesday - In the morning we will be in the Bay of Biscay where once more we will be looking for seabirds and cetaceans. Our targets for the Ocean element will be, Great Skua, Manx shearwater, Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, Cuvier’s beaked whale, Fin whale, Striped dolphins and more.
On arrival in Spain we meet the local coach and drive westwards and into Asturias and Ribadedeva where the 4* Hotel Mirador de la Franca sits on a secluded beach overlooking the ocean. Our local Guide arrives at the hotel this evening for a chat about the days to follow.
Thursday - Our first destination will be Fuente Dé where we will take the cable car to the high mountain peaks to look for Wallcreeper, Snowfinch, Alpine accentor, Red billed chough, Yellow billed chough, Water pipit, Black redstart, Northern wheatear, Griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, Golden eagle and Lammergeier. The view from the mountain is amazing and represents the real beauty of the Picos de Europa. We return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Friday - We head for a beautiful valley close to the Cares gorge where we will be looking for subalpine birds and raptors. and butterflies and perfectly displays the splendour of the Picos in the summer months. Target birds, Griffon vulture, Golden eagle, Short toed eagle, Red billed chough, Blue rock thrush, Rock thrush, Rock bunting.
In the late afternoon we leave the area and drive southwards into Castile and travel to the village of Ampudia where we check in to the Hotel Posada Real de la Casa del Abad for three nights.
Saturday and Sunday - We will be exploring the surrounding area of Palencia which is an amazing place to spot Little Bustard, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Short-toed Lark, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Calandra Lark, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Marsh Harrier, Hen harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Red and Black Kite, Booted eagle, Storks and one of our main target birds the Great Bustard. We will also be visiting the La Nava Lagoon where we will be searching for many species of Duck, Rails, Waders and Passerines like the Penduline tit, Bearded Reedling, Iberian Chiffchaff, Zitting Cisticola, Cettis Warbler, Cirl Bunting, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Rock Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Bee-eater and other birds such as Purple Heron and Cattle Egret.
Monday - We drive to Santander where we take the afternoon sailing to England and where we will be once again looking for Cetaceans and Pelagic birds.
Tuesday - We reach Portsmouth at 1415 .

(The cost includes; ferry with 2-berth cabin; 5 nights hotel accommodation in Spain with buffet breakfasts and dinners with wine ; packed lunches; cable car ride; British and Spanish expert Guides; local transportation in Spain.)

Departure date

June 9thCost: £790

Single supplement £155

Meeting point : Portsmouth Ferryport