Phil Gower Bird Photography Tours

Due to a herniated disc, which can prevent me from driving for extended periods, all my bird photography tours have been suspended until further notice.

I do apologise if you were planning to join me on a tour in the near future.

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Past Event: 15-Day (7-day option available) Andalusian Bird Photography Tour - Spring Migration Special Offer


15-Day Andalusian Bird Photography Tour - 2017 Spring Migration

Bee Eaters

 

Dates:

  1. Wednesday 22rd March - Thursday 6th April.

Price:    Please note this is a special one-off, non-profit making tour to test out our new bird photography tour itinerary. The total cost for the 2-week trip will be £1200.

Please note: There is a option to join the tour for 1-week only, which would require a return flight to Malaga. The cost of the 1-week option will be £900 plus the cost of flights.

Additional tour dates can be arranged throughout the year for parties of between 4 and 6 people.

The Highlights

This tour begins and ends with a ferry trip to and from Spain, leaving from and returning to Portsmouth. During the ferry crossings you will be provided with cabin facilities and you'll have access to ferry restaurants. Both ferry trips will provide you with an opportunity to photograph sea birds and cetaceans.

The popular image of Spain as a land of bullfights, flamenco, sherry and ruined castles derives from Andalucía, the southernmost territory and the most quintessentially Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula. Travelling for some time here, you’ll get a feel for the magnitude of the landscape of Andalucía: occasionally spectacularly beautiful but more often impressive on a huge, unyielding scale.

This 14-day guided bird photography tour take in some of the best birding and bird photography opportunities found in Spain and probably the whole of Europe.

You’ll visit a range of stunning habitats including the Sierra Nevada, Spain’s highest mountain range. Here you’ll be treated to some close-up and personal views of Griffon Vulture and more elusive passerines such as Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting. On the lower slopes you could encounter Crested Tit and Short-toed Treecreeper.

Griffon Vulture

Griffon Vulture

You’ll also visit Tarifa with splendid views of the Straits of Gibraltar. Tarifa is a small town on the southern tip of Spain, facing Morocco. Every autumn millions of migratory birds gather to rest in this part of Spain on their way to Africa for the winter, and every spring birds come back heading to Northern Europe for the winter. This makes Tarifa a prime destination for bird photography anytime, especially for those looking to photograph large raptors including Egyptian Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Black Kites and other smaller birds.

Just a few miles inland you’ll visit La Janda. Despite being intensively farmed, this area holds outstanding bird populations and unparalleled opportunities for bird photography, especially during the migration and overwintering period. Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Hen Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Short-eared Owl, Purple Swamphen, Collared Pratincole, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Spanish Sparrow are some of the species you can expect to photograph here.

You could never experience the full natural splendour of Andalucia without a trip to the Parque Nacional Coto de Doñana, which is home to a spectacular range of flora and fauna and some fantastic photographic hides. Doñana Natural Area is considered one of the most important protected natural areas of Europe. Crucial crossroads for bird migration routes between Africa and Europe, is also the last refuge for many endangered species. Over 300 species inhabit this territory, of which nearly 130 breed regularly here. Most are aquatic birds and therefore their preferred areas in the park are the extensive mudflats. You just might have an opportunity to photograph some of the 37 species of mammals, including the Iberian lynx, 21 species of reptiles, 11 amphibians and 20 species of freshwater fish located in Doñana.

As if all this isn’t enough, the tour also covers the Steppe of the Osuna Triangle, where we’ll hope to photograph Montagu’s and Hen Harriers, Great and Little Bustards and the resplendent European Roller. And, there are many other photographic opportunites on this tour provided by the costal nature reserves in and around Malaga and a superb photographic hide in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Estepa.

Common Crossbill

Common Crossbill

The tour also includes a special trip to Parque Natural Sierra de Andújar. Although, close sightings cannot be guaranteed, the Sierra de Andújar is the home of the Iberian Lynx and plays host to many of the larger birds to be found in the Iberian Peninsula including Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Black Vulture and Eagle Owl.

A bird photography experience not to be missed!!

The Accommodation

Our base is the village of Isla Redonda near Herrera. Here you'll stay at a homely 5-bedroom villa in a beautiful rural setting. You'll also be staying in apartment and hotel accommodation to catch the very best of the migration at Tarifa and El Rocio in the heart of the Donana National Park.

Food

Food is prepared by our resident staff at the villa and a full-English breakfast (lighter options available), a substantial packed lunch and a delicious dinner are provided each day. There is a choice of evening meals, and vegetarian or vegan options are provided with advanced booking. Meals will be prepared to a similarly high standard by hotels, when we are staying away from our base, however, menu options may vary.

Fitness Levels

Walking will be moderate for the most part and where there are more strenuous up-hill stretches, alternatives are provided. Sound walking shoes are recommended.

Weather and Clothing

You can expect the weather to be warmer than the UK for the time of year, although cooler at altitude. Light, loose fitting and layered clothing is recommended. Camoflauged or subdued (birding) colours would be advantageous.

Insect Bites

Insect bites are not expected during this time of year, however, insect repellent is recommended at night.

Group size

A maximum of 6 clients per tour.

Camera Equipment and Optics

Bringing your own camera equipment and optics is highly recommended, however, we have a limited supply of cameria equipment for hire, which can be booked ahead of the tour. Our limited supply of binoculars/scopes can be used free of charge.

Tour Itinerary and the species we might see

  • Day 1 and 2: Wednesday and Thursday - Depart Portmouth for Bilbao and travel to Southern Spain - Staying at Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 3: Friday - El Torcal de Antequera Nature Reserve (Acocet, Greater Flamingo, Crane, Stone Curlew, Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl Bunting, Ring Ouzel, Rock Sparrow, Short-toed Lark) - Laguna de Fuente de Peidra (Acocet, Greater Flamingo, Crane, Stone Curlew, Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl Bunting, Ring Ouzel, Rock Sparrow, Short-toed Lark) - Staying at Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 4: Saturday - visit Estepa bird hide (Crossbill, Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Crested Lark, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Bonelli's Warbler, Hoopoe) and return to Laguna de Fuente de Peidra (Acocet, Greater Flamingo, Crane, Stone Curlew, Black-eared Wheatear, Cirl Bunting, Ring Ouzel, Rock Sparrow, Short-toed Lark)- back to Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 4: Sunday -  Visit hide at “Ojuelos” (Great Bustard) - travel to and stay at hotel in El Rocio
  • Day 5: Monday - Full-day Bus Tour of Donana National Park (Iberian Grey Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Night Heron, Osprey, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron, Woodchat Shrike) - stay at hotel in El Rocio
  • Day 6: Tuesday - Continue tour of Donana (Black Stork, Cattle Egret, Great Egret, Night Heron, Purple Swamphen, Red-crested Pochard, Spoonbill, White Stork) - travel back to and stay at Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 7: Wednesday - trip to Desfiladero de los Gaitanes Nature Reserve (El Chorro) - Alora- Guadalhorce Valley (Griffon Vulture, Black Wheatear, Crested Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crag Martin, Black Stork, Bonelli's Eagle, Chough, Dartford Warbler, Lesser Kestrel, Red-rumped Swallow, Cattle Egret, Bee Eater, Greenshank, Little-ringed Plover) - travel back to and stay at Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 8: Thursday - day trip to Parque Natural Sierra de Andújar (Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle) - stay at Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 9: Friday - Mouth of Guadalhorce River Reserve (Black-winged Stilt, Bluethroat, Kentish Plover, Kingfisher, Little Bittern, Mediterranean Gull, Pallid Swift, Penduline Tit, White-headed Duck, Spotless Starling, Thekla Lark, Zitting Cisticola) - stay at apartment in Riviera
  • Day 10: Saturday - Tour of Tarifa area including migration viewpoints, Barbate nature Reserve and La Junda (Bald Ibis, Black Kite, Booted Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Yellow Legged Gull) - stay in apartment in Riviera
  • Day 11: Sunday - continue tour of Tarifa migration viewpoints and beach lagoon (as above) - travel back to Riviera
  • Day 12: Monday - Visit Malaga Montes Reserve (Black-winged Stilt, Bluethroat, Kentish Plover, Kingfisher, Little Bittern, Mediterranean Gull, Pallid Swift, Penduline Tit, White-headed Duck, Spotless Starling, Thekla Lark, Zitting Cisticola) - travel back to Isla Redonda Villa
  • Day 13: Tuesday - Tour around the Osuna Triange (Black-winged Kite, Calandra Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Great Bustard, Little Bustard, Montagu's Harrier, Spanish Sparrow, Spectacled Warbler, Whiskered Tern, Yellow Wagtail (Iberian)) - back to Isla Redonda Villa for party and best picture awards
  • Day 14 & 15 - return to UK.

While we feel it is important to have a planned itinerary, we also build in some flexibility to accommodate the occasional rarity that might fly in.

What's included?

  • Ten nights comfortable accommodation with no single occupancy surcharge.
  • 10 days of bird photography opportunities.
  • Access to all bird hides and reserves free of charge.
  • A full-day private official tour of Donana National Park, which takes in locations not generally available to the public.
  • Guidance from an experienced group leader and bird photographer and 5-days of support from a professional Andalusian bird guide.
  • All transport.
  • A checklist specifically prepared for your tour to record your sightings and species photographed.

What's not included?

  • Insurance, bar drinks and other items of a personal nature.
  • Cost of ferry travel, accomatation and food at sea. At this time of year you should budget for around £250 to cover these costs.

Your bird guide

Luis Alberto Rodriguez will be joining us on several of our tour days. Luis Alberto has been running inspirational birding tours from his base in the Costa del Sol for many years. He speaks fluent English and has an excellent knowledge of the habitats and bird species to be found in Andalucía. He regularly communicates with a network of Andalusian birding guides, to ensure each tour doesn't miss out on any rarities that fly in. Furthermore, his knowledge of the birds in Southern Spain and an understanding of the specific needs of bird photographers, along with a focused yet easy guiding style, make his tours a truly pleasant and enriching experience.

Food

Food is prepared by our resident staff at the villa and a full-English breakfast (lighter options available), a substantial packed lunch and a delicious dinner are provided each day. There is a choice of evening meals, and vegetarian or vegan options are provided with advanced booking. Meals will be prepared to a similarly high standard by hotels, when we are staying away from our base, however, menu options may vary.

Fitness Levels

Walking will be moderate for the most part and where there are more strenuous up-hill stretches, alternatives are provided. Sound walking shoes are recommended.

Weather and Clothing

You can expect the weather to be warmer than the UK for the time of year, although cooler at altitude. Light, loose fitting and layered clothing is recommended. Camoflauged or subdued (birding) colours would be advantageous.

Insect Bites

Insect bites are not expected during this time of year, however, insect repellent is recommended at night.

Group size

A maximum of 6 clients per tour.

Camera Equipment and Optics

Bringing your own camera equipment and optics is highly recommended, however, we have a limited supply of cameria equipment for hire, which can be booked ahead of the tour. Our limited supply of binoculars/scopes can be used free of charge.