On this short visit to Northern Central Spain we’ve been able to combine two interests, pelagic and terrestrial bird watching , and package a short visit to encompass both. Of course, we can’t guarantee that the advertised wildlife will appear on cue but no doubt this is something you’ve lived with for years. However, our expert Guides are confident that the dates selected are quite propitious for our purpose. We use a Spanish coach on this programme and everyone meets at the Ferry Terminal in Plymouth
A complete contrast to the coastal programme is the area near Palencia in what is regarded as the Spanish Steppe and we’ll be taking a close look at Lago de la Nava. The bird target may be really interesting for birdwatchers who have already been in one of our previous groups or are making a first visit with us : Great Bustard, Bustard, Lesser Kestrel, Crested Lark, Woodlark, Montagu´s Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, but there is not doubt that the Aquatic Warbler, a world rarity, gives this environment a very special value for birdwatchers all around Europe. The Nava lagoon is the main area of passage for this species in Spain. It will be hot, so the last thing you’ll need is foul weather clothing! The paths are quite flat so it’s going to be easy going all the way and we have built in recuperation breaks to make the bird watching as comfortable as possible.
Sunday - We’ll set off from Plymouth’s Millbay Docks at 1545 on the flagship cruise-ferry “Pont Aven” to sail to Santander on Spain’s north coast. A 2-berth cabin is provided for both sailings. During the crossing, During the crossing, our guide, Paul Burley, will be on hand to spot and identify the wealth of wildlife as we cross the English channel and into the Bay of Biscay. Along with the wealth of cetaceans there will be a lot of birdlife.
In Summer we can look forward to the wealth of wildlife that can be found in the English channel and into the Bay of Biscay where we can see good numbers of Manx Shearwater and occasional sightings of Great Skua, Storm Petrels and Great Shearwater, Cory’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Arctic Skua and Sabine’s gull to name but a few making this an opportunity not to be missed. We will have dinner together in Le Flora restaurant.
Monday - When we land in Spain at 1215 the local coach meets us at the Ferry Terminal and we drive out of the city and southwards over the Cantabrian Cordillera . With us now will be our two local Guides, Javier and/or Angel and they’ll have an in depth talk with you on the journey to the Palencia. We’ll check into the Hotel Real Monasterio San Zoilo for 2 nights. In the late afternoon the Guides will show you the immediate area before dinner.
Tuesday - We start out in the morning for our first session and will return to the hotel for lunch. Our afternoon session will begin as the heat leaves the day and in due course we return for dinner.
Wednesday - We leave the hotel after breakfast for our morning session and early in the afternoon we begin the drive back to the coast stopping at a local vineyard first for some refreshment and wine tasting then again in Burgos for sightseeing. We’ll have a little time in Santander before we board the ship for the 2115 sailing to England. Once again, Paul Burley will be on hand during the sailing to offer advice and assistance. As soon as we board we’ll have our final dinner together. Enjoy the cruise homewards on the “Pont Aven”, especially as we pass the Isles of Ushant on the western tip of France where we hope to see good numbers of Balearic shearwater amongst some of the species previously mentioned.
Thursday - We’ll arrive at Plymouth on Thursday at 1615.
The cost includes: Travel by executive coach; ferry crossing with cabin; two on-board dinners; two breakfasts;coach travel in Spain as detailed; two nights 4* hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast and dinner each day at the hotel with wine; one lunch; excursions with local wildlife Guides; activity with Cetacean Guide as detailed.
Supplements : Single room and cabin - £90
Pick up point: Millbay Docks, Plymouth