AUTUMM-WINTER BIRD PHOTO TRIP

Raptors, Thrushes & Kingfishers in the Costa Blanca

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This bird photography tour is focused on different birds – Raptors (Golden & Booted eagles, Griffon vultures and Peregrine), Kingfisher, and several species of Thrushes. The tour dates coincide with the period when a lot of birds coming this area for spend the winter. The Booted eagle goes to the wetlands in the south Costa Blanca, Thrushes visit the high mountain ranges for feed themselves on the fruits of Common hawthorn, and also in autumm-winter the Kingfishers arrive to the little rivers in Costa Blanca.

We visit three villages for your lodging. You spend two days in Confrides, one of the highest villages in Alicante area (785 m), we will stay at a little mountain hotel in Aitana range. The next two days we will stay in a nice guest house, run by two friendly sisters. The last days, we will visit La Vila Joiosa and we’re stayed in a four star hotel in front of the mediterranean sea. We visit practically all the Alicante region, because the hides are located in diferents areas along the mountains, lowlands, wetlands and coasts. The knowledge of our team about bird behaviour and photographic techniques assures a top quality service for keen photographers. Above all, these breaks are run under a code of conduct where birds, wildlife and their habitats must not be disturbed. One final point, we remind all travellers that they must come with their own insurance for the optics and photo equipment.

SUMMARY

Destination: Costa Blanca (Alicante, Spain)  

Duration: 7 days        

Group size: 2-3 persons

Price:  

Option 11235 € per person, single supplement 260 €    

Option 21215 € per person, single supplement 300 €                                                                                  

Deposit: 300 €                                                                                              

Grading: Short day walks 500 – 1000m 

Time: From October to March                                 

Highlights: Golden Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard, Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare,     Redwing, Common Kingfisher, Common Raven, Eurasian Magpie, Eurasian Jay, Woodlark, Sardinian Warbler, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting, Rock Sparrow

ITINERARY

Day 1. Arrival at Alicante-Elche airport, followed by one and half hour transfer that bring us to village of Confrides. Depends on the arrival time, we can make a short walk before dinner to get familiar with the area. At the dinner table we can discus over the plan for next days and talk about the various opportunities we have.

Day 2. We will start with our fist hide “Juanin” in Aitana mountain in a feeding and bathing station, where you will photograph over 15 different passerines. The best light for photography is between 09:00 and 12:00 in the morning. We will lunch in a pic-nic area near the hide and before at 16:00 wil go by car from the other hide in Aitana “Ventisquer”, only five minutes from the fist hide. At 19:00 in the afternoon, we can turn back to hotel for dinner.

Day 3. Second day in the hides in Aitana mountain, but now, we will start in the hide “Ventisquer” since to lunch; and then we will do a trip to visit the highlight points in Aitana mountain (possibility to look several bird raptors: Bonelli’s eagle, Short toad eagle, etc. Of course we are flexible and can change it if we need to). When we will finish the trip, will go from Alcoi, near the other hides in Mariola mountain range (45 minutes transfer).

Dinner and accommodation at Alcoi in a charming guest house.

Day 4. We will wake up early, because will start Golden eagle photographic session at 7:00.  We will have a picnic lunch into the hide and when you have finished the session, return to our lodging (if you photograph the eagle early, could be possible to visit others hides in the same property).

Day 5. This day we have the same plan than yesterday, but today we will visit the vulture’s hide. In the afternoon we will transfer from the last hotel in our photographic trip in La Vila Joiosa, that it’s situated in front of beach (if you photograph the vultures early, could be possible to visit others hides in the same property).

Dinner and accommodation at La Vila Joiosa in hotel close to the seashore.

Day 6.

Option 1 – Early in the morning, we will go to El Hondo Natural Park so we need drive 45 minutes. Here we have a “Raptor’s hide”, where is possible to photograph Booted eagle / Common buzzard / Marsh harrier and even Greater spotted eagle!!. For attract the raptors we need use preys alive (pigeons or rabbits). Before lunch, It is your choice and we can walking for some hand shots in where we can see and photograph Squacco Herons, Egrets, Grebes, Red-knobbed coot and more, or return to La Vila Joiosa and try your luck in the “Peregrine’s hide”.

Option 2 – In the morning, we will go to Altea harbor to take a boat for a seabirds photographic sailing. For two hours we sail among different wintering seabirds: Northern Gannets, Audouin Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls, Balearic Shearwaters and more. Before lunch, we can walking for some hand shots in where we can see and photograph Purple Swamphen, Squacco Herons, Egrets, or return to La Vila Joiosa and try your luck in the “Peregrine’s hide”.

Dinner and accommodation at La Vila Joiosa in hotel close to the seashore.

Day 7. Breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight back home. Departure.

IMPORTANT NOTE!: The itinerary shown here is just a model and final plans will depend on number of participants and bird activity. All travelers will have same amount of time to photograph the 5 key species but, due to space available in the hides, they won’t all do it in the same day. In order to provide the best service possible, the group might split into teams of two photographers.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE

– Ground transport

– All meals inc breakfast, box lunches and evening meals (accommodation menu)

– 6 Nights accommodation in a suite with bathroom

– Services of drivers and guides plus all permits required

– Use of hides

– All taxes

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:

– Air fare

– Drinks and other items of a personal nature

– Travel insurance

ACCOMMODATION:

– 2 nights in Confrides in hostal rural El Pirineo

– 2 nights in Alcoi in Casa rural Bons Aires

– 2 nights in hotel Allon (4 stars) in La Vila Joiosa

LEADER:

Jose Santamaria “Santa” – Ullades Naturals leader

PHOTO EQUIPMENT:

Lenses:

Best combination for the major part of the trip are 300 or 600mm lenses on  full-frame cameras; raptors perching 8-12 meters from hides and at the passerine hide any lens from 300 to 400mm is good. 1.4x & 2x teleconverters are very useful.

Remember:

You will need tripods

WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU:

Autumm is always unpredictable in Costa Blanca; althoug usually we expect somewhat rainy weather and mild temperatures. Warm clothes and boots, hat, gloves etc, are not necessary but it’s advisable.

Winter in Aitana and Mariola range is wet and cold and in a few days it could get to snow, so that it’s necessary warm clothes, waterproof jacket and boots.


Photo Gallery: