Peregrine Bird Tours
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Peregrine Bird Tours

Iberian Lynx and Spring Migration, Spain Birdwatching Tour

Iberian Lynx and Spring Migration, Spain Birdwatching Tour
When: Fri 7 Apr - Mon 24 Apr 2017
Leader: Chris Doughty and local guides
Iberian Lynx and Spring Migration, Spain Birdwatching Tour
Melbourne/Melbourne (19 Days) $7,187
Single Room Supplement $475
Ground Content (ex Seville) $5,532
On this unique and interesting tour to southern Spain, we will explore some of the wildest areas of Andalucia and Cadiz; both are rocky, sun-baked provinces, situated along the southern coast of Spain. There will be two main areas of focus. The first half of the tour, will be dedicated to observing the rarest species of cat in the world, the critically endangered Iberian Lynx. The second half of the tour, has been timed to coincide with the peak of the annual spring migration, when literally millions of migrants, are heading north, from distant wintering grounds in Africa. A century ago, the Iberian Lynx occurred throughout half of the Iberian Peninsula. However, in recent times myxomatosis devastated Iberia's rabbit population, depriving the Iberian Lynx of its chief prey species, which accounted for 90% of its diet. Today, the range of the Iberian Lynx has shrunk dramatically to just two viable, but isolated populations, both in Andalucia. The wild and rugged Sierra de Andujar Natural Park in northern Andalucia, forms part of the Sierra Morena mountain range, and is home to approximately 250 Iberian Lynx, about 80% of its total population. Amongst the oak forests that cover the slopes are grassy glades and secluded valleys where the Lynx hunt rabbits, rest amongst the rocks and raise their young. Perhaps here, in a refuge from the modern world, the Iberian Lynx has a chance of survival. In this quiet and unpopulated region, many of Spain's other wild animals thrive, and there are good numbers of Wolves, European Otters, Wild Boar, Mouflon and Red Deer. These mountains also hold a large diversity of birds; including good numbers of Eurasian Griffon Vultures, rare Eurasian Black Vultures and small numbers of the very uncommon, Spanish Imperial Eagle. The second half of the tour will be spent birding along the Costa de la Luz, the Coast of the Light, the most southerly tip of the European continent, only 14 kilometres from the coast of Morocco, on the African mainland. We will visit a series of migration watch-points, from where, if the weather conditions are favorable, we can look forward to observing flocks of tens of thousands of raptors, soaring overhead. Eurasian Griffon Vultures, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Black Kites, Marsh and Montagu's Harriers and Honey Buzzards, make up the bulk of the numbers, and there is even the possibility of observing the rare Ruppell's Vulture or perhaps a Long-legged Buzzard. The nearby wetlands will be teeming with herons, egrets, storks, ibis, spoonbills, waders, gulls and terns. Large numbers of passerines are also streaming northwards, and flycatchers and warblers can be found in every bush. A vagrant Cream-coloured Courser is found on the beach; a Red-necked Nightjar pops up along the roadside: we can expect the unexpected, and whatever happens, we won't be far away when it does!

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