6 Days, 5 Nights
To start your Best of la Mancha Tour, upon arrival at Madrid airport where you will be met, we can visit the Lagunas of Alcazar as the ideal introduction to the Wetlands of La Mancha. View Flamingos, White Headed Duck, Marbled ducks, Pochards, Marsh Harriers and a wide variety of waders. You will then be taken to your accommodation.
The Tablas of Daimiel is one of the two National Parks within Ciudad Real. It consists of roughly 2000Ha of marsh and wetland, unique in Europe. A favourite stopover for migrants, summer and winter visitors, the Tablas provide a veritable feast of passerines, waders and raptors. We will also explore the surrounding area along the River Guadiana.
Day three is a trip to the Manchegan steppe, realm of the Great Bustards, nobles of the plains. We will explore the areas north and south of Ciudad Real where vast cereal fields, rough ground and gently rolling countryside define the Manchegan steppe habitat. Driving along dirt roads seldom frequented you will encounter Great and Little Bustards, Stone Curlews, Golden Plovers, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Calandra Larks and a whole host of raptors such as Black-shouldered Kites, Buzzards, and Common and Lesser Kestrels.
We will visit the Valle de Alcudia, a 75km long valley with an almost African landscape. This is a haven for raptors. Here you will have unparalleled views of Griffon and Black Vultures soaring overhead, Buzzards and Kestrels surveying from pylons and posts, Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle and Bonnelli’s, Short-toed and Booted Eagle, as well as Larks, Wheatears and Redstarts amongst many others. If time permits, we will visit the pine forests near Fuencaliente to look for Crested Tits and other woodland species.
The second National Park in Ciudad Real is Cabañeros amongst the mountains of Toledo. Famed for its mountainous terrain, pristine Mediterranean Forests, and it’s Raña, which is also known as the Spanish Serengeti, is home to Red Deer, Wild Boar, Spanish Imperial Eagles and the largest breeding colony of Black Vultures in the world. Access to the park is restricted, but included in your tour price, and in 4×4 vehicles you will be taken to the various sites where the best viewing is. We will also visit the surrounding area for Deer in the Autumn Rut, Cranes in the winter and steppe and mountain species at all times of the year. We can also visit the new visitors centre.
The La Mancha Wetlands, a place not generally associated with this part of Spain in peoples minds, are surely a jewel within the region. We will visit the Lagunas of Ruidera with its 15 lakes connected by beautiful waterfalls. After lunch, the many Lagunas in Alcazar de San Juan deserve more consideration and some excellent wetland birding could be done here time permitting, after which you will then be taken to your point of destination whether it be Madrid Airport or your prearranged point of departure or hotel if you are staying on in Ciudad Real province.
- 950 Euros per person.
- Extra day extension only 80 Euros per person more.