Fancy joining me on a bird photography trip to Spain in 2020? If you are interested in joining me to El Taray, Guadarrama for Golden Eagles/Vultures and to the fantastic hides of Turia in Valencia, let me know! I have been there are few times and if you are interested to photograph birds from well laid out hides, off the beaten track, get in touch! You will find a lot of information under my diary section on my website. The sole organisation of the trips is with the owners of the various estates but of course i can answer any questions that you might have in relation to the locations, birds etc. See below what is on offer for 2020.
Hides de El Taray, Spain, Second half June 2020
A private estate with a large number of hides for various bird species. The hides are all built to a high standard and can cater for 2 photographers at the time. The hotel is in Villacanas, approximately 15 minutes away from the estate. The hotel is basic, clean and on a small square with some restaurants within walking distance. A typical day would commence at around 6.45. Breakfast is simple and we will have this before we depart. We drive to the estate where the wardens will take us to the hides. Normally a session would end by noon the latest. We will drive back to Villacanas for lunch, a rest, charge batteries and download the images of the morning sessions. We return to the estate around 16.30 for the evening sessions. They normally finish around 21.00. We will return to Villacanas and have diner around 22.00.
We fly to Madrid airport. There are regular flights from all major UK and Continental European airports. A flight will cost (give or take and depending when you book) anywhere between £150-£250). Car rental will be shared among the participants. This year it worked out at £75 for a week per car. Driving distance from Madrid airport to Villacanas is 1 hour and 20 minutes.
It is my intention to run this trip in the second half of June 2020. Reason being that birds will likely have young and there will be a lot of activity as the adults need to feed the young. El Taray has a large lake as well. Depending on the water levels we will include a hydro hide session. Together with an instructor you will be able to get really close to many water birds. Last year I photographed Black Eared Grebes with their young, Flamingo’s and other water birds. Please note that this is ONLY possible when the water level in the lake is sufficient.
Trip length: 7 days, 6 nights
Trip dates; June 2020, second half (not necessary Saturday-Saturday)
Focus and destination: Bird photography from hides at the El Taray estate
Target species: Stone Curlew, Marsh Harrier, Black Kite, Lesser Kestrel, Roller, Hoopoe, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Great Reed Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Nightingale, Turtle Dove, little Owl, Black Winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Crested lark, Water Rail and some surprises. This year the estate had a Bonelli eagle visiting regularly for example. Please note that there are NO guarantees what will appear in front of the hides (every year is different) but the birds listed above can be expected with a level of certainty.
Hides; Every participant will get good opportunities to photograph birds from the active hides. The program will be decided by Luis Frechilla (who runs El Taray) a week before the tour commences and will be adapted and changed whenever necessary and it is generally not a problem to repeat a hide if a photographer would like to have another go at a certain set-up/bird species. Water will be provided for the morning and evening sessions. New hides will be added for Spring 2020 for Great and Little Bustards.
Total number of participants including myself: 6
Price includes: Accommodation at Hotel Prickly in a single room with en-suite facilities and simple breakfast and all hides sessions at EL Taray for the duration of the trip, 1 hydro session (water level permitting). If the water levels are good, I would recommend a second hydro hide session at an additional cost of €60 per person.
Price excludes: Flights, Cost for lunches at La Lola (budget €12), Dinners at Patxi restaurant (budget €10) and car rental and personal expenses if any. Cost for alcoholic-non alcoholic drinks. (budget beer €2.50, a bottle of wine €8-10)
Payment: 20% deposit to be paid to Aveshides/Luis Frechilla. Remainder to be paid 2 weeks before departure . Invoice will be provided by Aves hides.
Feel free to read my trip diary from 2018, which you can find under diaries. If any questions feel free to get in touch with me anytime.
Turia hides Valencia trip, November 2019/ 2020
Turia hides can be found in the vicinity of Valencia with the furthest hide approximately 1 hour away from the hotel. These hides offer fantastic opportunities to photograph various incredible bird species like Iberian Grey Shrike, Black Wheatear, Black Cap, Sardinean Warbler, Bonelli Eagle, Goshawk , Ring Ouzel and many other birds. I visited these hides on a number of occasions and my trip to Valencia, in November in 2018, i count as one of the best trips i have ever done! As always: every year is different but this November trip i photographed Crossbills, Serin, Crested tit, Hawfinch , 5 different Trush species and many more different birds all in fantastic settings. The hides are well built and accommodate 2-3 photographers at the time. November is an excellent month to visit Turia hides. Weather should be pleasant but can be cold higher up in the mountains where Yani will take us to photograph the Ring Ouzels and where many wintering birds can be photographed as well! The sole organisation of the trip is with Turia hides/Yani Maggiotto. Of course i can answer any questions that you might have! And if i don’t have the answer, Yani will for sure.
A typical day starts around 07.30 in the morning with a quick, simple cup of coffee and a croissant. The hotel will provide you with a sandwich for lunch (Approx Euro 6). The hotel is situated along a motorway. Reason being; it is the best location in order to get to and from the hides from there. Rooms are large, clean and comfortable and we can join the truckers for a beer in the evening! You will be out for the day and return to the hotel at dusk. This give you time in the evening to download your images and have a meal around 21.00. You will fly to Valencia where Yani Maggiotto will pick you up. She is the guide for Turia hides, an excellent photographer as well and will guide the group for the week. A rental car is not necessary as she will take you to and from the airport and hides. Cost for a return flight from London Gatwick, at the time, was around £175. Of course cheaper if you book early i would think.
Exact dates haven’t been set yet but Yani feels that running this trip towards the end of November would be a good idea as many of the migrating birds have arrived as well! As stated above: weather in the mountains can be cold, so warm clothing should be packed as well! Days are generally sunny and as always: what i photographed last year might not turn up in 2020!
Trip length: 5 nights, 5 days hide photography
Trip dates: November 2020, to be confirmed
Focus and destination: bird photography from hides, Valencia, Spain
Target species: Vultures, Wheatear, Serin, Hoopoe, Kestrel, Iberian Grey Shrike, Green Woodpecker, Ring Ouzel, Rock Bunting, Goshawk, Bonelli eagle, Black Wheatear, Crested tit, Black Redstart, Hawfinch, Carl bunting, Brambling, Crossbill and many more. Please note that there are NO guarantees what will and what will not appear in front of the hides (every year is different) but above birds can be expected with a certain level of certainty.
Hides: the hides are excellent and can accommodate 2-3 photographers at the time. Some locations have 2 hides. One for the morning and one for the afternoon. So you “move” with the light. The program will be decided by Yani nearer the time , so you can be assured that the most active hides are being used. The program will be adapted and changed whenever necessary and it is generally not a problem to repeat a hide if a photographer would like to have another go at a certain set-up/bird specie.
Total number of participants 6
Cost: EURO 900. This includes : hotel accommodation, single room, private facilities and simple breakfast, transport, access to all hides.
Excluding: Cost for lunch (budget EURO 10), cost for diner (budget EURO 10-15) Flight cost to and from Valencia and personal expenses. Cost for alcoholic-non alcoholic drinks (budget beer EURO 2.50, a bottle of wine EURO 8-10)
Payment: 40% in advance and 60% 2 weeks before the trip. Invoice will be provided by Turia hides.
Feel free to read my extensive diary about this trip on website. If any questions: feel free to get in touch. Happy to help!
Hides Sierra de Guadarrama Winter, Spring and Autumn short trips
I visited these hides not so long ago. Just an hour from Madrid you will find the fantastic hides on a mountain slope in the Sierra de Guadarrama. A car is not necessary as Omar, the owner of the hides will be picking you up from Madrid airport and back. These trips are short-haul. 3-4 days will be enough to get some fantastic images of Golden eagle perched and in flight. The light can be amazing as can be seen in some of the flight shots. What i love about these hides is that you have a large window which gives you a good view, so you can anticipate from which direction the birds are coming. Dependable on the season, you will also be able to get interaction images between Eagles, Black and Red kites, sometimes fox. Azure winged magpies are non stop around the hide. These trips will be either in winter (with a bit of luck snow), spring and in the autumn but can also be visited at any other time of the year.
The vulture hide is not far from the Golden eagle hide on the edge of a mountain slope and gives you great opportunities to photograph both Griffon and the endangered Black vulture. Both hides have plenty of space for 2 photographers. The sole organisation of these trips is with Omar but of course if you have any questions, you can always get ink touch with me. I can honestly say that these hides are among the best i had the pleasure to visit for Golden Eagle and Vultures.
As stated before these trips can easily be done in 3-4 days. The cost per person per day either using the Golden Eagle or Vulture hide is EURO 120 per session. Cost for 2 photographers sharing either the Golden Eagle or Vulture hide is EURO 200 per session. Cost for pick up and drop off per trip (Madrid airport) is EURO 125. The cost for a hotel room with private facilities is EURO 50 excluding diner (Budget EURO 10-15). With regards to breakfast and lunch: as you will need to be in the hides (depending on time of year) before dawn, Omar will stop at a petrol station for a fresh baguette and coffee. Here you can also get a sandwich, a bottle of water and anything else for lunch. (Budget EUO 10 ). A flight from any of the london airports with Easyjet or British airways will cost around £150, depending on the time of booking.
Trip length: 3-4 days
Trip dates Winter, spring, autumn. Other dates possible
Focus and destination: Raptors and scavengers, Sierra de Guadarrama.Hide photography
Target species: Golden eagle, Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Red and Black Kite, Buzzard, Azure Winged Magpie
Hides: Excellent hides, easily accommodates 2 photographers with gear. Beautiful setting
Total number of participants: 4
Cost: EURO 120 1 photographer for both Golden Eagle and Vulture hide. EURO 200 for 2 photographers for both Golden Eagle and Vulture hide. Airport pick up/drop off EURO 125
Excluding: Flight to Madrid, Hotel room with private facilities, breakfast, lunch and diner and personal expenses.