Small Group Tour with fixed departure dates. Future dates to be confirmed. Please express your interest.
The autonomous region of Valenica is full of surprises. Away from the Costa Blanca and Costa Azahar, just inland from the coastal strip, is the country Spain is so famous for. We will search reed-fringed lakes, karst limestone mountains and psuedo-steppe for some of the region’s most sought-after species. Based from the small Mediterranean town of Oliva, each day will be subtlely different and diverse.
The 5 night short break involves visiting the provinces – Valencia with its wetlands, karst limestone valleys and coastal headlands; Alicante with its salt pans, red sandstone valleys and sierras to the pseudo-steppe and inland lagoons of Castilla La Mancha. Our ‘old town’ accommodation provides an ideal base for reaching these places, along with some fabulous wildlife from the roof terrace, with a cool drink during the evening.
Subject to availability of guides and accommodation we can look to arrange a private tour for groups of four to six persons, so please contact us for details.
Itinerary and price
Day 1: Alicante - Oliva
After being collected from the airport (Alicante) we will make our way to Oliva, a wonderful base situated just inland from 13Km’s of quiet sandy beach. A walk here should produce Audouin’s, Western Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls, Kentish Plover and Sandwich Tern. The local orange groves and mature gardens surrounding the hotel could also yield Serin, Spotless Starling, Sardinian Warbler, Hoopoe and White Wagtail.
Days 2 - 5: Oliva area including Pego Marsh, Vall de Gallinera, Castilla La Mancha, Albufera de Valencia and Moro Marsh
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The next four days will be very different in their content and potential for species to be seen. Each day and site will be selected with thought given to the time of year and local weather conditions.
One day will be spent in the local area of Oliva probably starting at the coast where 13Km of golden sands and sea attract good numbers of Balearic Shearwater’s, Audouin’s and Yellow legged Gulls. We shall visit the excellent Pego Marsh looking for the resident Moustached and Cetti’s Warblers, Little and Cattle Egrets, Purple Gallinule, Kingfisher and Zitting Cisticolas. Next we drive up into the karst limestone mountains behind the town to the impressive and very scenic Vall de Gallinera. Resident Golden Eagles patrol the area being constantly harassed by Red-billed Chough. Eventually we reach the city of Alcoy where we will find the regions only colony of Griffon Vultures. The walk up to the feeding station is through Aleppo Pine forest and we could see Woodlark, Crested Tit and Crossbill.
Another day will be spent in Castilla La Mancha, travelling the roads and tracks dissecting a fabulous area of pseudo-steppe. Here our target species are Great Bustard, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Calandra Lark, and Rock Sparrow. Surprisingly in this barren area there are several seasonal lagoons which are excellent for migrating waterbirds. Plus there is always a chance of something a little different such as a Great Spotted Cuckoo, Black-eared Wheatear, Short-toed Eagle or Red Kite.
One day will be in the south of the region looking for many of its speciality species. We will visit a small wetland reserve with resident White headed Ducks, Purple Gallinules, Iberian Green Woodpeckers, Little Owl, Southern Grey Shrike, and Sardinian Warblers. Then go the short distance to the ‘Santa Pola Salinas’ where a large area of commercial saltpans holds several thousand Greater Flamingos, various species of gulls and terns, waders and wildfowl all year round. After lunch we visit arguably the region’s premier bird reserve ‘El Hondo’, notable for its huge numbers of waterbirds. Other species regularly seen here include Booted Eagle, Stone Curlew, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Bearded Tit and Moustached Warbler. This day will also involve a lunch or evening meal near Crevillente, watching a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles along with Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla Lark and Raven.
One day we will head north to the Albufera de Valencia, a huge freshwater lake surrounded by productive rice fields and Moro Marsh to the north of the city. We hope to find several species of heron and egret including Great White Egret and Glossy Ibis. We shall visit a tower hide on the edge of the lagoon searching the wildfowl for Red Crested Pochard, Gadwall, Pintail and possibly Ferruginous Duck. The pine trees surrounding the reserve should hold Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper and Blackcap, with the possibility of a raptor overhead such as Booted Eagle or Osprey. This site boasts a few breeding pairs of Marbled Duck and there is always a chance of finding one amongst the lakeside vegetation. Finally we drive to Moro Marsh the best place for Crested Coot in the area along with other wetland species.
Day 6: Oliva - Alicante
Depending on flight times we should hopefully be able to visit another coastal site before transporting you to the airport in good time to catch your flight home.
Based in one of Oliva’s best hotels with lovely rooms, with the added bonus of being just a few minutes walk from 10Km of beautiful beach, with lots of gulls, terns and waders. Evening meals will be at local restaurants with one below an active Bonelli’s Eagle eyrie.
Price per person to be confirmed but expect around £875 – £900
Single room supplement: Approximately £50
5 nights accommodation with ensuite facilities
All land transport
Use of field guides and maps
Fights into and out of Alicante
Extra food and drinks to normal meal times
Tips, laundry, phone calls and any thing else not lised in the inclusions
Note: Flights are not included in the price. However, we can assist you with finding a suitable flight you can book yourselves. Train travel is also possible.