On this short visit to Northern Central Spain we’ve been able to combine two interests, pelagic and terrestrial bird watching , and package a short visit to encompass both. Of course, we can’t guarantee that the advertised wildlife will appear on cue but no doubt this is something you’ve lived with for years. However, our expert Guides are confident that the dates selected are quite propitious for our purpose. We use a Spanish coach on this programme and everyone meets at the Ferry Terminal in Plymouth. If you'd like to have more information on the birds/cetaceans just send an e-mail and we'll pass it on to our experts for reply.
A complete contrast to the coastal programme is the area near Palencia in what is regarded as the Spanish Steppe and we’ll be taking a close look at Lago de la Nava. The bird target may be really interesting for birdwatchers who have already been in one of our previous groups or are making a first visit with us : Great Bustard, Bustard, Lesser Kestrel, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Montagu´s Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier,
The Nava lagoon is the main area of passage for this species in Spain. It will be hot, so the last thing you’ll need is foul weather clothing! The paths are quite flat so it’s going to be easy going all the way and we have built in recuperation breaks to make the bird watching as comfortable as possible.
Sunday - We’ll set off from Plymouth’s Millbay Docks at 1645 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.
We''ll sail the English Channel towards the Ushant on the north western tip of France. . 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 where we can see good numbers of Manx Shearwater and occasional sightings of Great Skua, sea birds and many species of cetaceans that include dolphins , Beaked whales and Fin whales.
Monday - When we land in Spain at 1615 the local coach meets us at the Ferry Terminal and we drive out of the city and southwards over the Cantabrian Cordillera . With us now will be our two local Guides, Javier and/or Angel and they’ll have an in depth talk with you on the journey to the Palencia. We’ll check into the Hotel Real Monasterio San Zoilo for three nights. In the late afternoon the Guides will show you the immediate area before dinner.
La Nava Lagoon
The area of Palencia in North-Central Spain is an amazing place to enjoy Steppe birds like Little Bustard, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Short-Toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Black-Bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Raptors like Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Montagus Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Red and black Kite, Booted Eagle and of course hundreds of Storks. But without any doubt, the Great Bustard is one of the most amazing and special birds in the Iberian Peninsula and this is probably one of the best places to enjoy it.
La Nava Laggon is without any doubt one of the most interesting wetland in the Iberian Peninsula. It Is located in northwest Spain on the “Tierra de Campos Plateau” near Palencia. It is a RAMSAR site, a wetland of international importance since 2002. La Nava is an internationally important nature reserve and resting place for migratory birds. 225 species of birds were counted (among them 50 % of the species living in Spain, and more than 60 % of the birds registered in the Red List). Furthermore , Ducks, rails, waders, gulls…etc, Special birds like Purple Heron or the Cattle Egret, congregate in the scenery one of the highest ornithological quality in Spain.
Both The Steppe and the Lagoon are amazing places to look for passerines in spring. In Spring, birds defend their breeding territories and court other mates by using elaborate birdsongs. This is the best moment to enjoy passerines like Penduline Tit, Bearded Reeding, Iberian Chiffchaff, Zitting Cistícola Cetti´s Warbler, Cirl Bunting, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Rock Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Woodlark, Bee-eater, Crested Lark, Short-Toed Lark, Calandra Lark, Spectacled Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Western Subalpine Warbler…etc
We start out in the morning for our first session and will return to the hotel for lunch. Our afternoon session will begin as the heat leaves the day and in due course we return for dinner.
Thursday We leave for the coast after breakfast and a final stroll in the area of the hotel. We’ll have a little time in Santander before we board the ship for the 1545 sailing to England. Once again, Paul Burley will be on hand during the sailing to offer advice and assistance as we sail throgh the Bay of Biscay to once more look for sea birds and cetaceans.
Friday - Enjoy the cruise homewards on the “Pont Aven” as we cross the Channel to look for birds and cetaceans. We’ll arrive at Plymouth on Friday at 1045.
The cost includes: Travel by executive coach; ferry crossing with cabin; ; coach travel in Spain as detailed; three nights 4* hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast and dinner each day at the hotel with wine; one lunch; excursions with local wildlife Guides; activity with Cetacean Guide as detailed.
Supplements : Single room and cabin - £90
Pick up point: Millbay Docks, Plymouth