Latest birding trip reports to southern Spain
What's going on? Follow us by reading our latest bird reports. All our recent bird sightings and bird news at your disposal:
21-4-2019. Steppes of Sevilla
I can't think of a more productive day at Osuna IBA than today's. Dörien (NL) made a great choice and I was quite happy when we got to see a flying Little Bustard, which till that moment didn't obligue much. A male Great Bustard was still busy displaying (saw other 4 of them) and we found also Spectacled Warbler, Melodious and Sedge Warblers. We heard Iberian Green Woodpecker and saw up to 4 Roller. It's been the first day of the year there with an stablished colony of Bee Eaters seen at a close range. A total of 44 species seen/heard in great company!
19-4-2019. Fuente de Piedra and Teba
A great day out with Lesley & family (UK) spent at Fuente de Piedra and several mountain locations near Teba and Campillos. We started with close views of Red-rumped Swallos and hearing Wryneck calls near Ronda. A report very similar to the previous one, but including a marvelous stopover at a breeding site for Peregrine Falcon, where we enjoyed their impressive flights and calls for one hour! Blue Rock Thrush and Montagu's Harrier were also quick sights on the day.
17-4-2019. Fuente de Piedra lagoon
It is always special when a traveler repeats year after year, specially in cases like Dorien (NL). We've decided to head to Fuente de Piedra lagoon, which is looking great at the moment, filled up with water at its maximum levels. It was nice to chance waders here today, such as Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint as we heard constant calls of Great Spotted Cuckoo. It's been a very windy day that rewarded us with 10x White-headed ducks, a pair of Gull-billed terns. We've had the chance to meet Andy Paterson at one of the hides, who also was guiding. Unfortunately I was the only one to see 2x Red-necked Grebes, which I still hardly believe for there are just a couple of sights reported to date in Málaga province. After a great lunch we headed to El Chorro area, where we got to see woodland and mountain birds, such as Rock and Cirl buntings. Our favourite bird of the day was an adult Golden Eagle flying over Guadalteba reservoir, far as usual with this magnificent creature.
14-4-2019. Guadalhorce Reserve
Busy day today at the estuary. Lots of photographers and birders on this holiday. Waine and Steven (UK) were excellent guests and we could enjoy a total of 53 species, including Squacco Heron in the Laguna Grande, besides a wary Pied Flycatcher and 2 very competitive males of White-headed Duck. A pair of Collared Pratincoles and a unusual big flock of Flamingso surprised us. We've come across a quite big Ladder Snake, which we haven't been tracking since last year. A bit warm at the reserve (26ºC), which is offering great birding on these days.
13-4-2019. Sierra de las Nieves
Wildlife walk with Nicole, from New Zealand. The landscapes of this tour are themselvs a reason enough to visit the area. We've had nice views of Wild Boar and Iberian Ibex feeding at daytime. A very distant Golden Eagle flying over El Torrecilla was the bird of the day. Other sights were Fire Salamander larvae, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Early Purple and Italian Orchids.
After a few days of rain, the Sun has showed a little bit, allowing extradordinary compositions that just those that have visited Ronda can imagine. I was happy to guide such an enthusiastic couple from Cambridge, Kim and Andy. A total of 6x Black Wheatear plus 2x Blue Rock Thrush showed up really well near Ronda. A nice short walk in the woods gave us close views of Subalpine Warbler, Great Spotter Woodpecker and Hawfinch. After a warm coffee we headed to the highg passes, where we got Naked Man Orchid and saw a subadlut Griffon Vulture on the ground at just 20 m range from us, quite impressive. A final close look of a female Spanish Ibex near Grazalema completed this rewarding day out in great company.
6-4-2019. Guadalhorce nature reserve
Another day out with John & Donna into this very spring-like day at the reserve. Besides the famous Bonaparte's gull recently appeared here, we saw a few Slender-billed and Mediterranean gulls. We enjoyed great views of Kentish, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers. A pair of Red-rumped Swallows also ligthed our day. We then went for a nice meal and made a quick tour into Málaga city, where we found a Senegal parrot besides the many Monk Parakeets.
4-4-2019. Osuna IBA
Fantastic day out with Donna and John, from Washington. Luck was on our side and by 10:30 we had already got nice views of a dozen of Little Bustards and a few Great Bustards. Although the Rollers had not arrived here yet, we saw Bee-eater and Collared Pratincole on migration. A few Red Kites, Hoopoes and Lesser Kestrels couldn't avoid passing next to us. We saw a Black-eared Wheatear and another Northern Wheatear. Our friend Manolo managed to show us a fwe pairs of White-headed Duck at Gobierno lagoon in La Lantejuela village. What a nice little reserve this man manages! The Ballestera lagoon provided excellent views of Greater Flamingo and Spanish Sparrow.
27-3-2019. Llanos de Líbar
This site sometimes is quiet and some other times everything shows up, and this happended to us today. Martin from Canada really enjoyed and me getting all his targets, which were Cirl and Rock Buntings and Black Wheatear. We also managed to see several Ring Ouzels -still here!-, a gorgeos dark throated male of Black-eared Wheatear (first of the year!) and a Peregrine falcon in action.
26-3-2019. Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park
A great morning out with Göran and Christin, from Sweden. Although it was very windy we managed to hear first and see later Blue Rock Thrush and Black Wheatear. The songs of these 2 birds are the most relaxing sound one can imagine. We then headed back to Ronda to photograph the many Choughs flying nearby and watching the town.
25-3-2019. Serranía de Ronda
A long day out with three nature lovers from Germany and the UK. We scoured every single peak of the Ronda area seeking Bonelli's Eagle but this time it didn't show up. Fortunately we had great sightings of Black Wheatear, 4 species of orchids and 10 species of butterflies, including Provencal Hairstreak and Scarce Swallowtail.
23-3-2019. Guadalhorce reserve
One of the best days I've been involved while birding in Málaga. John and Sally, from England, were amazed about the richh variety of bird species so close to Málaga city. We saw a fighiting pair of males of White-headed duck -very funny- and our first Purple Heron of the year. Other nice sightings were 2x Booted Eagle, Pallid Swift (abundant), a juvenile Spoonbill, 6x Avocet and a Wood Sandpiper. A total of 60 sp!
22-3-2019. Strait of Gibraltar
Joe and Coleen -UK- wanted us to go for one of our famous birding big day into the Straits of Gibraltar. Despite the strong Easterly winds, we managed to see 8x Egyptian Vultures among many Booted and Short-toed Eagles. A Red-breasted Merganser and our Northern Bald Ibis made a great complement to this challenging day out, with around other 50 sp! 8 lifers for Joe, congratulations!
20-3-2019. Sierra de las Nieves
A chili morning out with Rita and Peter, from Belgium. We could see just a few birds this time, but managed to enjoy excellent views of a nesting Great Spotted Woodpecker. Peter had excellent photo tricks that shared with us, and we in exchange showed him how to identify wild sparagus and other useful plants.
18-3-2019. Fuente de Piedra
Once again at this wonderful reserve. Laurie and David -USA- were delighted to the proximity of the many flamingos and birds in general. A great day out with excellent views of two Spotted Crake and a female Bluethroat. On the way back, a leucistic Black-necked Grebe made the perfect end to this trip.
15, 16-3-2019. Twitchers' days out
A couple of days scouring south west Spain to get Richard's tricky targets: Northern Bald Ibis, Little Swift, White-headed Duck, Audouin's and Slender-billed gulls, Spanish Eagle were some of them. A visit to La Janda lagoon rewarded us with the company of some ABS members and views of Egyptian Vulture. Exhaustingbut extremely enjoyable couple of days out.
14-3-2019. Guadalhorce Natural Reserve
It's been a pleasure to guide Sheila and her friends (Isle of Man) today. Among the regular birds at the estuary we could see Teal, Red-rumped Swallow and Kentish Plover.
13-3-2019. Guadalhorce Natural Reserve
Today's been a very warm day at the Guadalhorce estuary. Our Welsh friends enjoyed a variety of birds and specially the views of a Booted Eagle that seemed to have an appointment with us. Another exciting moment was the athletic flight of a Short-eared Owl, lookinf for food at the beach.
12-3-2019. Fuente de Piedra lagoon
Birds plus sightseeing, this is what we enjoyed doing with Nad and Bruce. We had a very productive morning at the lagoon, with terrific views of Stone Curlew and Ruff. We observed our first Mediterranean gull (3c.y.) of the year there. Antequera, our former base, delighted us with ist white-washed streets and its resident Black Wheatears.
10-3-2019. Fuente de Piedra lagoon
Anthony and Jayne -USA- were excellent guests. Despite we suffered what has been our first car robbery (Las Latas bird observatory) we can specially remember cheerful conversations besides good views of White-headed Duck and a Blue-rock thrush.
9-3-2019. Sierras de Ronda
An impromptu afternoon trip into the Ronda mountains to see our first Short-toed Eagle of the year! Black Wheatear and Cirl Bunting were among other specialities seen.
23 to 27-2-2019. Southern Spain
It's been a pleasure to spend 5 days birding with Ivor, from northeast Australia. A tour that got us to see 125 bird species. The places we've been: Ronda, Guadalhorce valley, Doñana and Sevilla province. Ivor felt amazed when I got him both Marbled Duck and Ferruginous Duck on the same scope view. It was nice to see Great Bustards and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker besides the first migrants such as Red-rumped Swallows. Excellent sunny weather on this memorable tour.
21-2-2019. Laguna Fuente de Piedra
Michael and Hill, from Washington state, booked us for a day at the lagoon, where we met slightly before sunset to maximize the sights of the Cranes. The flamingos were shining white under a powerful full moon. Soon after, the farmlands around the lagoon obligued and provided as interesting encounters as the Laguna Dulce de Campillos, where we had excellent light to photograph Red-crested Pochard and Great crested Grebe. Back at Fuentepiedra, just Hill and me could spot a nervous Bluethroat (next time, Michael!) by the visitor centre. The Swallows had already arrived and it felt like spring had really set up. The area was very busy and we even saw a dozen of White-headed Ducks. After a great lunch in Antequera we went to see Iberian Ibex in the nearby mountains, which was a magnificent sight for Hill. Great day, I've got the feeling that we'll meet again in the future trips
20-2-2019. Serranía de Ronda
Last day birding with Art, to get now the mountain birds. The trip involved several stopovers along the valleys and high peaks. We saw a Bonelli's Eagle fighting a few Griffon Vultures and it made an impressive beginning. Certainly, Art brings luck to all days touring with him. The Montejaque area was a bit quiet but offered excellent views of Blue Rock Thrush. A detour to look for Spanish Ibex and check an area where Giant Orchids grow was very productive. A very nice day indeed.
19-2-2019. Sevilla plains
Art booked another day with us to seek Great Bustard and stepic birds in Sevilla province. The day started with a close sight of Red Kite perched on a pole. No traces of the Bustards at the beginning, but we had great sights of Calandra Lark, singing everywhere. It was nice to check a few groups of early Lesser Kestrel. A very polite Hoopoe was the best lifer for Arthur, besides many other species such as Spanish Sparrow and a dozen White-headed Ducks. After having checked most of the area, the Bustards didn't show up. It was just on a last pull off that I decided to check a remote location where I had previously spotted them, and yes, finally we got a distant but spectacular group of 8 birds foraging on the fields. One of them flew not far from us and gave us the expected adrenaline we had been seeking the whole day.
11, 12-2-2019. Best of Doñana
Our classical 2-day best of Doñana Tour with Art and Janice, Canada. Seen remarkable sights such as Greater Spotted Cuckoo, Black-winged Kite, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Squacco Heron. Our first day was a magnificent introduction to Doñana along the whole north side of the park, i.e., José Antonio Valverde visitor centre, Dehesa de Abajo, etc. On our second day we visited El Rocío area and the Odiel's marshes at low tide, giving us a nice bunch of waders. Great days in good company, enjoying great local fish and challenging bird sights . 9 raptor species among a rough 90sp. The season's officially started!
4-2-2019. Bonelli's day
Dörte and Jörg from Germany wanted to get Bonelli's eagle in Ronda and we went on a specific designed circuit to maximize it according to our previous sightings. The pair in the upper Genal valley didn't welcome us at first. Instead, 5 Iberian Grey Shrike plus Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear and a Peregrine Falcon made a great starting of the day. Cartajima provided excellent but short views of Cirl and Rock Buntings. Later on our very distant -as expected- Bonelli's eagle showed up for a few seconds, which didn't seem to satisfy us enough. After a delicious mix of tapas we headed to the northern mountains where dozens of Griffon Vultures flew constantly. Half a dozen Giant Orchids on the way and already heading back to Ronda where we pulled off the road for the very last lottery... and we hit it! Jörg soon screamed Bonelli's!! a very hig adult flying above the Vulture's level gave us exactly what we needed and for longer than usual. A sight -and a day- not to be forgotten.
21-1-2019. Serranía de Ronda
Day out with Jeronimo from Canada. We've followed the Guadiaro valley to look for all kind of local birds. Although we missed our local Dipper we soon were excited about the displaying Griffon Vultures, which stayed active all the time. I must say that I could have expected more birds, but we've enjoyed magnificent views of Black Wheatear, Firecrest and Little Owl. It was nice to hear lots of sylvia warblers -specially Blackcaps- singing on this very sunny day.
11-1-2019. Torreón Peak, Cádiz mountains
Nice birding hike into the protected area of the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park with our colleague Michael. At +1600 m.a.s.l. we hoped to see Alpine Accentor at the top, but the high temperatures didn't allow so. We enjoyed a singing Blue Rock Thrush, besides excellent views of Sardinian Warbler and Griffon Vulture flying overhead.
9-1-2019. Guadalhorce Reserve, Málaga
Winter is never harsh in the Guadalhorce river mouth. Deborah and Mike from Oklahoma were amazed on the variety of winter birdlife and the huge Cape sorrel yellow carpet covering the nature reserve. The day started with a close encounter with a Booted Eagle perched on an tree, which Deborah quickly sketched on her drawing notebook. 2 other eagles followed along the day, including a stunning Black Morph. A variety of waders passing in front of us from the several bird hides also made the day. Black-tailed Godwits and a flock of Black-necked Grebes were seen from the Laguna Grande observatory. Distant Crag Martin, Sandwich Tern and elusive Zitting Cisticola were just part of the 42 species recorded. More info.
28,29 and 30-12-2018. La Mancha
Fantastic couple of days out in central Spain, patroling plains, river beds, wetlands and rolling hills. One of the highlights in Tablas de Daimiel National Park and Navaseca lagoon were a couple of Bearded Tits feeeding in the reeds among a heavy fog. The White-headed duck obligued, and likewise for Reed Bunting and Crane. The tour also gave time to visit the famous windmills of Consuegra. On the following day, the plains of Calatrava produced all the sought stepic species, including enormous flocks of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, a few Little Bustard and 19 Great Bustard. The Guadiana river offered nice photo opportunities of Lapwing and Swamphen. The castle of Calatrava gave us great sights of a pair of Black Wheatear and Blue Rock-thrush. On the way back to Andalucía, a group of ca. 300 Griffon Vultures flying over Sierra de Montoro Natural Park were the best possible ending to this original and last tour of 2018!
Laguna de las Camelias near Sotogrande was full or reeds and in a bad maintenance. However, we managed to see 2x Swamphen, 10x Little Grebe and hear Water Rail. Numbers of Gannets were flying far on the coast. We checked then the nearby estuary of the Guadiaro River, and walking along the promenade we had great views of a pair of Kingfisher and Zitting cisticola. Chiffchaff were abundant and we could also see some dragonflies and Speckled Wood Butterfly.
24-11-2018. Guadalhorce estuary
En route spotted a fully winter-furred Red Fox chasing mice near Campillos. Morning birding with photographer Mauricio, MX. Great sights of an Osprey mobbed by a Kestrel. 4x Booted Eagles, incl. a juvenile dark morph. 2x White-headed Duck. 45 sp. Water levels at the lagoons very high after last heavy rains. Awesome weather.
23-11-2018. Fuente de Piedra and El Torcal
Full day birding with Helen and Thomas, UK. Great birding in the lagoon, with a roost and subsequent flight of +160 Stone Curlew. Enjoyed long-time views of 2xBluethroats, besides Iberian Shrike, Booted Eagle and Dartford Warbler. Curlew calling as it flew overhead. Afternoon spent in a very foggy and cold Torcal. Far distance views of Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush and Iberian Shrike. Excellent sights of a bachelor herd of Iberian Ibex some 30 m far.
20-11-2018. Serranía de Ronda and Fuente de Piedra
Day out with Jari, FI. Rainy morning along the Llanos de Líbar with short range views of 2x pairs of Black Wheatear. Followed by a quick visit to Teba where we saw a very acrobatic Bonelli's Eagle. Fuente de Piedra, really filled up with water after a long dry period, but couldn't get any remarkable sights except Hoopoe, Crag Martin and close views of 2x Marsh Harrier.
9, 10-11-2018. La Mancha
Birding en route the N-420 found a Golden Eagle in the Alcudia Valley. Early morning in the Tablas de Daimiel National Park with just a medium level of water. 2x Iberian Shrike, Crane, Greylag Goose, Tree and Spanish Sparrow. Navaseca lagoon provided Swamphen and White headed Duck as expected. Cold and sunny day.
29-10-2018. Cádiz side of Doñana
Big day guiding an excellent guest, Garry from the Northern Ireland Ornithologists Club. The itinerary has been designed to target tricky birds mostly. Starting with good views of 16x Little Swift, follwed by birding the saltmarshes south of Doñana National Park. Good to see many new waders coming to spend the winter besides a juvenile Black Stork. Wetland birding provided a sleepy flock of White-headed duck plus 2x Marbled Duck and 2x Swamphen. We got back to the Ronda mountain range just in time for Black Wheatear and some other local specialities. An outstanding journey!
28-10-2018. Serranía de Ronda
Mountain photo tour with the Wheeler family, UK. Although it's been a bit of a fresh morning, we've enjoyed local mountain birds, specially Griffon Vulture and Little Owl. It was a bit surprising to still see a decent number of Alpine Swifts along the Guadiaro valley. Iberian Ibex were also around. Nice crew!
15-10-2018. Sierra de Grazalema
Birdwatching day out with Jim and his family, USA. Nice to see high numbers of Blue Rock Thrush. Magnificent views of Little Owl being mobbed by smaller passerines. Sunny and rainy morning.
14-10-2018. La Janda and Tarifa
Full day out birding with Greta and her family, UK. What it started as a rainy sunrise turned out to be a fantastic sunny day in La Janda. We were wondering if the first Cranes of the year would be around but instead we saw Night Heron and enjoyed distant views of Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black Winged Kite. Other ramarkable sights included a roosting Rüpppell's Vulture in the nearby mountain range. Nice and friendly crew!
8-10-2018. El Torcal and Fuente de Piedra
Day out with Jenna and her mother, UK. Despite the very low water level at the lagoon, we had Fantastic views of White headed Duck, Hoopoe and Snipe. El Torcal provided excellent views of a pair of Black Wheatears and a flock of Choughs. Warm weather.
7-10-2018. World's bird day
We've organized a small stand on top of famous Ronda's New Bridge to show general public about local birds. Our scope was there to watch out for the Choughs and passerines. Leaflets, ornithological maps and checklists were given to people showing interest. Thanks Virginia for your help!
Twitchers' day with Corinne and Att, NL. We've chanced most of the local birds at this time of the year, except the elusive local pair of Bonelli's Eagle near their hotel. Great weather and a very polite crew.
Naturalists' morning out showing West & Butler families -USA- the variety of natural wonders here near Ronda. We've been to the Llanos de Rabel, a restricted path into the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park. A variety of woodland birds and butterflies were present along this charming walk. Sunny morning with the last Reed Deer rotting in the background.
23-9-2018. Ronda northern mountains
A cheerful day out with Jeff & Margaret, UK. We went to another restricted path within the Sierra de Grazalema, the Garganta Verde. Jeff's priority was getting a Blue Rock Thrush and so we did. Lots of insects enjoying the wonderful September's weather. As for me, the best sight was a stunning Two-tailed Pasha feeding on some rotten berries.
22-9-2018. Strait of Gibraltar
Bird migration day with Liz, John & Karen, UK. Nice and windy day out along the main observatories at the Strait, plus the beaches of Bolonia and Los Lances. At los Lances we got Peregrine Falcon and considerable numbers of Black Stork and Sparrowhawk. La Janda wasn't at its best water levels so we spent more time near the coast. Although this day migration hasn't been dramatically notorious for us, we've enjoyed a bit of everything!
8-9-2018. Fuente de Piedra
Ruth and her son Lucas, ES, asked us for an introduction to bird watching and we really enjoyed showing them the basics of this great hobby. Lucas has been very surprised to realize how close a scope can get you to the birds. We've enjoyed the usual birds at the lagoon at that time and we've been lucky to have nice views of Greater Flamingo at just some 20 m far.
Day out with David, UK. Or what it's turned out to be a warblers day. Despite we didn't see Spectacled, we gathered a very nice set of local warblers.
29-8-2018. Ronda and Teba
Summer birding morning with Quentin and Emilie, FR. We've focused on the limestone gorges and cliffs to benefit from shade and bird activity. Unexpectedly easy views of a pair of Bonelli's Eagle! At this time one can come across juvenile Griffon Vultures that are apparently not scared of humans, so it was very surprising for my guests. A later walk along the bosky gorges near Ronda provided several sights of Booted Eagle besides lots of woodland birds.
25-7-2018. Guadalhorce estuary
Brith & Alf -Sweden- asked us for a guided tour near Málaga and they couldn't imagine how many birds were going to see. We've particularly enjoyed Orphean Warbler, Kentish Plover and 3x Woodchat Shrike. Mycket bra!
We've thought it'd be useful to list our bird sightings during some of our tours and days out. A great bunch of info for those planning the next birding holidays. Enjoy it!
OLDER TRIP REPORTS CAN BE FOUND AT OUR BLOG SECTION