Seabirds, Whales & Raptors
Friday 25 – Thursday 31 Aug 2023
Tour led by Mark Pearson Yorkshire Coast Nature and local birding and wildlife expert guides from Simon Tonkin and Niki Williamson (aka Inglorious Bustards)
Seabirds, Whales & Raptors Friday 25- Thursday 31 Aug 2023
Small Group tour (10 clients maximum) Led by Mr Mark Pearson of Yorkshire Coast Nature. A rare opportunity to discover three amazing natural wonders; spectacular raptor migration, two exclusive seabird & whale watching boat trips and land based birding for local wetland, woodland and mountain birds.
250,000 raptors pass over this rugged terrain during these periods, as well as untold thousands of other journeying songbirds and seabirds. The incredible natural phenomenon of visible migration will be happening all around us as Black Kites, Booted and Short-toed Eagles, White Storks, Honey Buzzards and more soar across the divide – simply unforgettable scenes.
We will be running two boat trips to enjoy the many cetacean species that can be found in the area such as Common, Bottlenose and Striped Dolphins and Long-finned Pilot Whale – even Fin, Sperm Whales and Orca are possible here. There are seabirds to look out for too, and we can hope to see Cory´s, Scopoli’s and Balearic Shearwaters, and in the right conditions, Wilson’s and European Storm Petrels.
There will also be time to explore more of the area’s superb habitats and connect with local specialities, which include Rüppell’s Vulture, Spanish Imperial and Bonelli’s Eagle and Blue rock Thrush in the mountains, Northern Bald Ibis and Audouin’s Gull around the coastal wetlands and pastures, Red-necked Nightjar and Black-winged Kite on farmland and Crested Tits, Hawfinches and Firecrests in the woodlands of Los Alcornocales Natural Park, Europe’s largest Cork Oak forest. The diversity and wealth of avian and other wildlife in this beautifully unspoilt area of Spain really is astounding!
This is a joint trip with Yorksire Coast Nature and Inglorious Bustards.
Leaders: Mark Pearson Yorkshire Coast Nature & local birding and wildlife expert guides; Simon Tonkin and/or Niki Williamson (aka Inglorious Bustards).
Mark is an obsessive Yorkshire coast birder and naturalist whose roles include wildlife guide, ecologist, speaker, writer and educator.
He is well known as a passionate, exceptional communicator, whether in the field with YCN clients, in the classroom with schoolkids, in lecture theatres, on television screens, on radio airwaves or via the written word.
“We need more people like Mark – passionate, engaging, knowledgeable leaders in their field” - Chris Packham, Bioblitz Special
He grew up on Flamborough Head, where the seeds were quickly sown – the family home became a bird hospital, complete with Puffins taking over the bathtub! - and he's been studying and advocating the wildlife of the area ever since.
He is regularly asked to share his knowledge and enthusiasm on TV and radio, and this has included co-presenting features with both Simon King and Chris Packham (on the BBC's Springwatch and Autumnwatch), with Michaela Strachan (Springwatch at Easter), with Chris for his recent Bioblitz campaign, and as a lead presenter of an episode of the BBC's flagship Natural World series. His appearances on radio, nationally and internationally, are numerous.
“Who better could have I asked to help guide me?” - Simon King, live on BBC Autumnwatch
He is fortunate to have travelled world in his pursuit of birds and wildlife, with many memorable adventures across the globe in his notebooks; he is particularly fond of South and East Asia, Scandinavia and North America. He has managed various conservation and engagement projects in many different settings, from urban London (including the award-winning Cockney Sparrow Project) to rural Yorkshire, and his ecological fieldwork has taken him across the country from the Outer Hebrides to Kentish coast.
Mark is in demand as a communications expert, with many successful past and present projects involving Birdlife International, Birdlife Israel, Champions of the Flyway, RSPB, several British Bird Observatories and many others. He also has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and an HND in Ornithology.
Mark's nature writing has been a constant feature in the UK media over recent years. His regular pieces in Birdwatch magazine and Birdguides are well known, as are his many articles for the RSPB, Birdwatching magazine, British Birds and various others. Recent book commissions include writing sections for the bestselling Lost In London and Birding Frontiers – Challenge Series books.
“Nobody knows the birds and wildlife [of the area] quite like Mark” - Michaela Strachan on BBC Springwatch
Mark is often invited to give talks and lectures for a wide variety of organisations, from local RSPB & bird groups to camera clubs, NGOs and universities. He has recently been asked to give talks at the Birdfair (five years in a row and counting!), Spurn Migration Festival (several times) and the International Bird Observatories Conference among many others.
- View the spectacular raptor migration
- Enjoy two exclusive seabird & whale watching boat trips
- Explore land based birding for local wetland, woodland and mountain birds.
Day 1 :
Meet your Yorkshire Coat Nature guide Mark Pearson at Heathrow airport (time to be arranged) for the flight to Gibraltar. On arrival in Gibraltar, we will transfer to the Huerta Grande Rural Eco-lodge near Tarifa. After lunch and settling in, we´ll head straight out to catch up with the superb migration featuring tens of thousands of Black Kites, White Storks, and Honey Buzzards as well as Montagu´s Harriers and Short-toed and Booted Eagles. We’ll also do some local birding around the seven-hectare grounds of the hotel.
Day 2 :
Breakfast followed by a 3-hour boat trip on a small private vessel out into The Straits, amidst Cory´s, Scopoli´s and Balearic Shearwaters and resident and migratory cetaceans. Picnic lunch in the field and a visit to the nearby coastal and intertidal habitat. Here we’ll look for the fantastic Northern Bald Ibis, successfully reintroduced in 2004, all the while surrounded by the phenomenal visible migration of soaring birds.
Day 3 :
Morning visit to permit-only Tarifa Island overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar. At this narrowest point between Europe and Africa, photographic opportunities of our three Shearwater species are at their best. Picnic in the field followed by a visit to a local Griffon Vulture colony, where Egyptian and Rüppell´s Vulture are also frequently seen.
Day 4 :
Birding Bay of Cádiz area, including migratory waders on local artisanal salt pans. We’ll be looking for the Little Swift colony, Red-knobbed Coot, White-headed Duck and Marbled Duck on the lagoons and try for Rufous-tailed Bushchat amongst sustainably-grown vineyards.
Day 5 :
More stunning raptor migration at one of the watchpoints. Picnic lunch in the field and birding at local low-intensity pasture habitat – Black-eared Wheatear and Thekla’s Lark should feature.
Day 6 :
Thorough exploration of the expansive arable farmland, formerly Spain´s biggest wetland. We will be searching for Bonelli´s and Spanish Imperial Eagle. Black-winged Kite and Red-necked Nightjar are also possible.
Day 7 :
Pre-breakfast woodland birding around hotel grounds, transfer to Gibraltar airport.
|Price per person
|Single room supplement|
- International flights in economy class on British Airways. Supplement costs for World Traveller Plus & club class are available on request.
- Air-conditioned accommodation at Huerta Grande Rural Eco-lodge with private facilities on twin, double sharing and single room occupancy.
- Half-board at hotel (buffet breakfast and 3-course evening meal with wine), and a delicious picnic lunch in the field on day 3.
- Two exclusive boat trips for seabirds & whales
- All sightseeing arrangements including wildlife viewing and photography tours and walks.
- Services of a minimum of two expert guides
- The services of three expert guides.
- All transport inc. airport pick up
- Full ATOL & ABTA Bonding.
- Airline failure Insurance.
- We will make a 300-euro donation to a local conservation project on behalf of the group
- Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls and beverages.
- Tips and gratuities.
- Travel Insurance*
Numbers; strictly limited to 10 clients (first-come-first-serve) to ensure a high guide to guest ratio.
Suitability; For everyone from beginners to experinced birders and wildlife enthusiasts
* Travel Insurance
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
• Make sure it includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
• Make sure it provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
• Make sure it covers you for all activities.
• Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
• Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
If you have any doubts about your cover, check with your insurer. Please note Covid-19 cover is now available.
For a competitive quotation please visit https://www.indusexperiences.co.uk/insurance/