Extremadura’s   steppic   and   mountainous   areas   as   well   as   the   large   acreage of   dehesa    are   very   attractive   to   visitors   from   further   north,   both   birds and   humans.   Large   numbers   of   Cranes   spend   their   winters   in   the   dehesa , feeding   mainly   on   acorns.   Also   several   other   northern   bird   species   spend their   winter   in   the   dehesa    and   steppic   areas.   Some   visitors   come   to   look   at the   Cranes   but   the   wast   majority   comes   for   the   breeding   bird   fauna,   the exotic   landscape   views   and   the   historical   sites   –   it   was   from   here   the conquistadores came (Cortes from Medellin and Pizarro from Trujillo). Extremadura   is   a   bird-watching   paradise   out   of   the   ordinary,   where   one finds   several   interesting   species   that   don’t   occur   in   western   or   northern Europe.   One   can   come   most   of   these   species   surprisingly   close.   The   steppic areas,    with    its    low-intensity    farming,    hold    good    populations    of    Great Bustard,   Little   Bustard,   Stone   Curlew,   Pin-tailed   Sandgrouse,   Black-bellied Sandgrouse,   Montagu’s   Harrier,   Calandra   Lark   and   Lesser   Kestrel.   The main   attraction   in   Monfrague   National   Park   is   the   breeding   birds,   with species   such   as   Griffon   Vulture,   Black   Vulture,   Egyptian   Vulture,   Spanish Imperial    Eagle,    Golden    Eagle,    Bonelli’s    Eagle,    Eagle    Owl,    Black    Stork, Peregrine    Falcon    (of    the    subspecies    brookei ),    Blue    Rock    Thrush,    Rock Bunting,     Rock     Sparrow,     Red-billed     Chough,     Crag     Martin     and     Black Wheatear.   Black-shouldered   Kite,   Azure-winged   Magpie,   Great   Spotted Cuckoo   and   Red-legged   Partrigde   are   the   obvious   target   species   in   the dehesa .   Other   species   regularly   found   in   this   part   of   Spain   are   Short-toed Eagle,   Booted   Eagle,   Black   Kite,   Quail,   Scops   Owl,   Little   Owl,   Rock   Dove, Turtle    Dove,    Red-necked    Nightjar,    Black-eared    Wheatear,    Short-toed Lark,    Wood    Lark,    Crested    Lark,    Thekla    Lark,    Grey    Wagtail,    Zitting Cisticola,     Dartford     Warbler,     Subalpine     Warbler,     Cetti’s     Warbler, Spectacled    Warbler,    Sardinian    Warbler,    Orphean    Warbler,    Melodious Warbler,    Nightingale,    Long-tailed    Tit    (of    the    subspecies    irbii ),    Serin, Alpine   Swift,   Red-rumped   Swallow,   Cirl   Bunting,   Golden   Oriole,   Hoopoe, Roller,    European    Bee-eater,    Woodchat    Shrike,    Iberian    Grey    Shrike, Spotless Starling, Spanish Sparrow, Roller and Bee-eater.
Several of the breeding species are easy to find and watch but others are much harder to spot, especially the eagles, sandgrouses, Eagle Owl, Stone Curlew and Black-shouldered Kite. How a sight of a species is appreciated by a person often depends on how the birds are seen. A flock of 150 Great Bustards in a nearby field is more interesting than a single flying individual far away, and a male Great Bustard in full display is more interesting than the same male in rest. All target species might be found in a single day if one is extremely lucky but it is wise to plan for a longer
stay.   Besides,   inclement   weather   is   always   a   risk.   So,   a   good   idea   is   to   plan   at least   five   full   days   for   a   visit   to   Extremadura.   With   ample   of   time   one   has time to return and have another look at the most exciting sites. Extremadura 17 – 23 April 2017 The   following   itinerary   is   preliminary.   It   might   be   slightly   changed   due   to arrival/departure    times,    weather    conditions,    last-minute    information    and wishes among the participants. 17   April .   Arrival   day.   We   find   the   first   birds   en-route   to   our   base   camp   and after our evening meal. 18–22   April .   These   days   will   mainly   be   devoted   to   the   triangle   Torre   de   Santa Maria   –   Caceres   –   Monfrague.   We   explore   the   area   systematically   and   try   to get   good   views   of   all   target   species.   If   not   having   success   the   first   time, there    is    ample    time    to    re-visit    the    sites    more    than    once.    To    allow    the participants   to   really   enjoy,   maybe   also   document,   what   we   find,   we   will   avoid being   in   a   hurry.   At   least   one   morning   we   will   start   very   early   and   we   will   stay out   listening   for   nights   birds   at   least   once.   If   having   time,   also   sites   outside this   triangle   will   be   visited.   Some   historical   sites   will   also   be   included   in   the programme. 23 April . Departure day. Our   base   camp   will,   if   possible,   be   at   Las   Glorias   in   Torre   de   Santa   Maria.   We have   used   this   accommodation   during   most   earlier   tours   and   we   have   always been   very   satisfied   with   both   the   rooms   and   what   they   have   served   in   the restaurant.
The   (airport-to-airport)   price   of   950   EUR    for   a   eight-day   tour   includes   costs for      car,      fuel,      driver/guide,      single-room      accommodation,      breakfast, coffee/tea   break,   picnic   lunch,   evening   meal   (in   local   restaurants),   check-list and   after-tour   report.   Accommodation   in   twin-bedded   rooms   lowers   the   price somewhat. The tour is planned for 6 7 participants.
Remark .   If   the   interest   is   large   enough   for   a   tour   already   in   spring   2016,   the availability   of   accommodation   in   April   (or   May)   and   the   cost   of   such   a   tour   will be checked.