Saturday 4th July – Sunday 12th July
The magnificent Pyrenean mountain range is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts, with a number of alpine bird specialities to search for, whilst the stunning snow-capped peaks create a perfect backdrop to beautiful alpine meadows where flowers and butterflies abound. Our holiday is based mainly at a superb hotel in a remote area of the beautiful Hecho Valley, far from civilisation and is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the clear mountain air. In fact it is a perfect base from which to explore numerous secluded valleys where flocks of vultures and numerous other raptors fill the skies, and you simply have to see this in person to believe how many birds there are here. The king of all vultures, the mighty Lammergeier can be found and we have been lucky to see it on many occasions drifting over our hotel. The 'big five' of Wallcreeper, White-winged Snowfinch, Citril Finch, Alpine Accentor and Lammergeier will quite rightly be the focus of our birding walks but there are plenty of other great birds to find from Alpine Choughs forming large flocks in the higher meadows to Rock Buntings singing from their rocky perches, and much more in between. Also, at this time of year there is a veritable profusion of brightly-coloured butterflies frequenting the hedgerows and fields to keep us entertained, with the huge Apollo being the major target. Add to this some superb amphibians, moths, mammals and insects to look for and you have the perfect all-round wildlife holiday. With only short distances to travel between sites we will be able to spend plenty of time searching the rich and varied habitats, from the rugged snow covered mountain tops and bubbling streams to rolling alpine meadows and rocky gorges, this really is a naturalists dream. The low river valleys, woods, and dry zone hold a whole host of other exciting species, such as Black Wheatear, Western Orphean Warbler and Ortolan Bunting, as well as countless butterflies and a profusion of glorious flowers. Finally a visit to the Spanish Steppes will have us search for a variety of not seen elsewhere during thr tour. For a relaxing and leisurely wildlife holiday it surely doesn't get better than this!
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What a place to wake up to, with spectacular craggy peaks all around and huge Eurasian Griffon Vultures drifiting lazily overhead. The distinctive song of Cirl Buntings could accompany our breakfast, whilst lovely Red-backed Shrikes may well be a 'window tick' and delightful Crested Tits and Firecrests inhabit the surrounding pine trees. This is a delightfully relaxed holiday as we won't need to wake up too early each day as we visit a number of localities within easy reach of our hotel, and it should not take too long for us to familiarise ourselves with some of Spain’s most exciting flora and fauna. In particular we will search for a species that resides quite close to our hotel and is probably the number one most-wanted bird of the tour - Wallcreeper. Other highly desirable species that we would expect to see include Lammergeier, Citril Finch, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough and as long as the cable cars are running we can also attempt to see White-winged Snowfinch whose home is among the highest crags and rocky scree.
We will have an early start in order to reach Barcelona Airport in plenty of time for our late morning/early afternoon flights back to the UK.
Airfare: £190 - 250.00 (Approx) - UK/UK
Zoothera tour prices explained
Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 and maximum of 6.
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals (including bottled water), transport in air-conditioned minibus throughout the tour, all reserve entrance fees and services of the leaders. Note depending on group size and number of single rooms we may have to stay in two similar characterful accommodations in a small village on 10th & 11th July.
Not included: International airfare, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature.
Accommodation: The hotel in the Hecho Valley we use on this tour is of a good standard and with en-suite facilities. It is superbly located high up in the Hecho Valley, which is important as it ioffers very pleasant temperatures compared with the very hot lowlands. Not only this but it is within easy reach of a number of key birding sites and is simply a lovely place to relax. Our 1 night near Huesca will be in one or two lovely guest houses within a very charming Spanish village.
Tour Code: This is a very easy tour where most days begin around 7.30am - 8am and we return to the hotel in plenty of time to relax before dinner. There is one evening excursion which we take after dinner on the 10th to look for Eagle Owl. Most of our birding walks will be of a usual slow pace and relatively easy, although please keep in mind we are in the mountains. Expect a typically warm to hot climate and the possibility of some cooler weather overnight and early in the morning. There is always the possibility of some rain in the mountains. Please note that access by chairlift/cable car is required to reach the very highest mountain tops if we are to have any chance of success in finding White-winged Snowfinch. This tour has been timed to coincide with the opening of these chairlifts - however this is out of our control and sometimes the start date has been delayed in the past.
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|We spend most of our time in beautiful alpine valleys.|
Citril Finch is one of the most prized birds in these mountains.
|Eurasian Griffon Vultures are numerous here.|
|Rock Buntings inhabit the alpine meadows.|
The beautiful Apollo is the most highly-prized butterfly here.
|Scarce Swallowtail is usually easy to find.|
|White-letter Hairstreak.Long-tailed Blue|
|Alpine Marmot can be found in the higher valleys.The sheer numbers of butterflies can be impressive.|
|The Spanish Pyrenees.|
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