Bird photography tours Spain

Fancy joining me on a bird photography trip to Spain? 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 a number of times and if you are interested to photograph birds from well laid out hides, off the beaten track, these are  great places to be! 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, you can join me (if and when i go) or you can go on your own.

 

Hides de El Tarray, Spain
Turia hides Valencia
Hides Sierra de Guadarrama

 

Hides de El Taray, Spain

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.  You drive to the estate where the wardens will take us to the hides. Normally a session would end by noon the latest. You will drive back to Villacanas for lunch, a rest, charge batteries and download the images of the morning sessions. You return to the estate around 16.30 for the evening sessions. They normally finish around 21.00. 

You 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. Best ways to get to Villacanas are either renting a car or take a train (very easy connection from Madrid).

Spring and summer are excellent periods as many birds will have young, so there will be a lot of action. The Black necked grebes will 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 you can have a hydro hide session. Together with an instructor you will be able to get really close to many water birds.  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. Additional hydro sessions at cost. Check with Luis Frechilla.

 

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; There are 20+ plus hides at El Taray. Generally a week’s stay is sufficient. The program will be decided by Luis Frechilla (who runs El Taray and owns Aves hides)

Cost: €888 for a week stay. Shorter trips possible. Check with Luis Frechilla of Aveshides for details and options. Email: frechilla@cauquen.es

Price includes: Accommodation at Hotel Prickly in a single room with en-suite facilities  and all hides sessions at EL Taray for the duration of the trip, 1 hydro session (water level permitting). 

Price excludes: Flights, travel insurance,  Cost for lunch (budget €12), Dinner  (budget €10) and car rental and personal expenses . 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  Aveshide S.L., Luis Frechilla, E-mail: frechilla@cauquen.es or myself.

Black Eared grebe photographed from hydro hide

Lesser Kestrel

Hen Harrier incoming

Little owl

Stone Curlew

 

Turia hides Valencia trip, November 2021

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 and 2019, i count them  as one of the best trips i have ever done! As always: every year is different but  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 (www.visitnature.com) .

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 and runs Visitnatura, a company for nature lovers, birdwatchers and bird photographers. She is an excellent photographer as well and will guide you 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! 

 

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.

Cost: Please contact Yani Maggiotto for details of various trip options and cost. Shorter trips possible. Email: info@visitnature.com

Payment: 40% in advance and 60% 2 weeks before the trip. Invoice will be provided by Turia hides/Visitnatura.

Feel free to read my extensive diary about this trip on website. If any questions: feel free to get in touch with Yani Maggiotto of visit nature.com. Email info@visitnature.com, WhatsApp +34635784031, website www.visitnature.com

Bonelli’s eagle

Goshawk

Iberian Grey Shrike

Ring Ouzel and Song Thrush

Sardinian warbler

 

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. 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 getting touch with me.  Contact details Omar Alonso: www.wildiberiannature.es 

 
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 EURO 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. Check with Omar Alonso 

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

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.

A TRUE Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Early morning Kite

Griffon vulture