The huge success of Birding In Spain’s Winter Wallcreeper Tours

More about Winter Wallcreepers???

Yes, and we make no apologies for having something quite unique…

For many years now we at Birding In Spain have been running “Winter Wallcreeper” birding tours, spanning from late October into mid-March.

Winter Wallcreeper tour

Winter Wallcreeper. Photo by Michael Vecht. Thanks Michael!

Wallcreeper tour group with Wallcreeper!

Wallcreeper tour group with Wallcreeper!

Crested Tit, somewhere on a bird tour in northeast Spain

Back when we guided bird tours for Ornitholidays we designed and led a week-long winter wallcreeper tour, the first edition of which ran in 2012. That birding tour was a great success in terms of public (it was a full tour) and the birds we saw – Wallcreeper of course, but so much more!

Riglos, Pre-Pyrenees of Aragón

That winter Wallcreeper tour ran for Ornitholidays in November for 6 consecutive years or more, and although the itinerary underwent modifications (eg incorporating the Ebro Delta in 2015) we never missed our main target, the wondrous Wallcreeper.

Ornitholidays bird tour brochure cover 2016

Winter Wallcreeper tour Ornitholidays 2016

Winter Wallcreeper tour Ornitholidays 2016

Ornitholidays changed hands, and then the services of most of the company’s guides were no longer required. Then though the time was ripe for Birding In Spain to offer our own version of the Winter Wallcreeper tour. This was to be a shorter birding break of 4 or 5 days, with of course still the same main target of the Wallcreeper, but also aiming at other birds such as Lammergeier, Citril Finch, Alpine Accentor, Iberian Green Woodpecker in the Pre-Pyrenees.

Citril Finch

Citril Finch

The plains of the Ebro Valley and Lleida are bird-rich and so cannot be ignored. So this birding tour does not ignore them! In November it’s the resident birds which are the pull of the area, with Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, Eagle Owl, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Calandra Lark, Little Owl, Iberian Grey Shrike, Bonelli’s Eagle being the main birding attractions that most visiting birders want to see.

Loarre Castle, maybe a Citril Finch, or a Rock Bunting?

If the winter wallcreeper birding tour is in March Wallcreepers can be a little harder to find, as they tend to disperse over a large area during the winter. Nevertheless, with more than half a dozen pretty good Wallcreeper sites to check, we usually find at least one of these dazzling birds. What’s more, the first spring migrants have started coming in: birds such as Short-toed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Western Subalpine Warbler ….

Monegros Ebro Valley plains for steppe birds

Audouin’s Gulls in the Ebro Delta

Abandoned boats in the Ebro Delta, Catalonia

Then, to finish the tour, what better than a day in the Ebro Delta, which is packed with birds! Birds, birds, everywhere! Bluethroat, Moustached Warbler, Penduline Tit, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Purple Swamphen, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Booted Eagle …

Black-bellied Sandgrouse in the Ebro Valley

Winter wallcreeper birding ladies

Winter wallcreeper birding ladies

Lammergeier in flight

Lammergeier in flight – one of the special birds of the Winter Wallcreeper tour

This year we’ll be running two Winter Wallcreeper Tours in November.

You can see more information on request – email us.

Send us an email, introduce yourself, and ask us for more information.

Bear in mind, we have special group rates for groups of 5 or more.

Early spring Orchids in the hills of Andalusia

Here are some photos of the orchids we discovered on our 12-day sojourn in Northern Andalusia with Kath and Mick from the UK in late March 2024. 

Sawfly orchid, Ophrys tenthredenifera

Sawfly orchids were widespread and in their prime. Ophrys ficalhoana seems to be the name to use nowadays. The recent rains in Andalusia were a godsend for this and other species of orchid …

Yellow Bee Orchid, Ophrys lutea

We only encountered the Yellow Bee Orchid, Ophrys lutea, at one location, but, as usual with this species, when you find one you find a whole lot more!

Sombre Bee Orchid, Ophrys fusca

We only found the Sombre Bee Orchid, or Dull Ophrys, at one location, which is quite surprising. Were we too early, or too late?

I find the Ophrys orchids fascinating. They have evolved flowers to look like certain female insects to entice males to mate with them. Of course, the males do not get the sexual encounter they were betting on, but they go away with some of the plant’s pollen. This is called Pouyannian mimicry. Although visual, the key stimuli are often chemical and tactile. What follows is from Wikipedia …

Floral odors have been identified as the most prominent way of attracting pollinators, because these odors imitate the sex pheromones of females of the pollinator species. Male pollinators then track these scents over long distances. The proportions of such odor compounds have been found to be varied in different populations of orchids (in a variety of locations), playing a crucial role in attracting specific pollinators at the population level. The evolution of these interactions between plants and pollinators involve natural selection favoring local adaptation, leading to a more precise imitation of the scents produced by local pollinators.

Naked Man Orchid, Orchis italica

Naked Man Orchids were at their peak. Beautiful!

Pink Butterfly Orchid, Anacamptis papilionacea

Pink Butterfly Orchids were springing up all over the place!

Champagen Orchid, Orchis champaneuxii

Champagne Orchids. You know how it goes: you get all excited about seeing the first one, you rever it, take photos, and get all honeyed up thinking about it. Then you find another one, then a little clump, then a large cluster, then you start seeing them in so many places …

Conical Orchid, Orchis conica

The Conical Orchid was one of the most discreet of the orchids we saw and we only found it at a single site. It was a new species for Kath, so that in itself means it was a good find.

Mirror Orchid, Ophrys speculum

I remember when I found my first Mirror Orchid on the edge of the Utxesa reservoir in Lleida many years ago. I was so thrilled. Then, not long after that I went to the southern tip of Mallorca and was amazed to find dozens and dozens of Mirror Orchids growing in a little rough patch by the sea. When I see this species now I try to recall those feelings.

Narrow-leaved Helleborine, Cephalanthera longifolia

Another great birding tour with Heatherlea

Spain in early spring tour report

Heatherlea early spring in Spain tour participants

Heatherlea early spring in Spain tour participants

This was a fully-ascribed bird tour from 2nd to 9th March, starting off with 2 nights at the Ebro Delta – it was windy, but we managed, quite well, in fact: Bluethroat, Moustached Warbler, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin’s Gull, Common Gull, Booted Eagle, Whiskered Tern, Caspian Tern, hordes of Greater Flamingos, a roost of more than 100 Night Herons, Black-necked Grebe… there are so many birds here in this delta!

Ebro delta birding destination

Ebro Delta birding destination

Ebro delta birding: a flock of Avocets

Ebro delta birding: a flock of Avocets. Photo by Zane Davidsone. Thanks Zane!

Then it was on to bird the area surrounding Lleida, our home town, for one night: Golden Eagle, Bonell’s Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Eagle Owl, Little Bustard, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Dupont’s Lark, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Bearded Tit … Now that’s what I call quality birding! Thanks Lleida!

Now for the last leg, and the piece de resistance … would we see the Wallcreeper? Yes! Not one, but two Wallcreepers, and impossibly close-up. Then there were flocks of migrating Cranes in the sunshine, crossing northwards over the Pyrenees. What could follow that? Apart from birds such as Citril Finch, Rock Bunting, Lammergeier, Crested Tit…

Winter Wallcreeper tour

Winter Wallcreeper. Photo by Michael Vecht. Thanks Michael!

And then a visit for birding the high mountains of the Pyrenees and a foot in France for Alpine Chough and a few more bits and bobs, before a last day’s birding on the pseudosteppes of the Monegros, for Stone Curlew, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Mediterranean Short-toed Lark…

What a tour! Northeast Spain. What a way to kick off the spring birding season of 2024!

Read the full tour report on the following link:


Some positive feedback from participants on Birding In Spain’s Winter Wallcreeper Tours

Our Winter Wallcreeper Tours are a big hit among participants. See for yourselves …

Winter Wallcreeper tour participants

Winter Wallcreeper tour participants 2023

  • Geoff, Republic of Ireland, Winter Wallcreeper Tour November 2022

    Thanks very much for a fantastic Winter Wallcreeper tour. It was a great success. The pick-ups, drop-offs, accommodation and food, and the lunchtime picnics and transport from site to site were all organised very well and very relaxed, comfortable and enjoyable. … And the birds were even better than expected. Fantastic views of Wallcreeper and Lammergeier on several occasions. Watching the Lammergeier preening for over an hour was very impressive and your ability to find it on the rock face even more impressive. Great views also of Golden Eagles, Little Bustards, Ferruginous Duck, Goshawk. We missed out on the Bonelli’s Eagle but were compensated with the Long-legged Buzzard.

Winter Wallcreeper tour participants 2023

Winter Wallcreeper tour participants 2023

  • Ros, UK, Private Winter Wallcreeper tour with friends, November 2023

    Thank you so much for such an amazing trip .It was everything and more than I expected. Such beautiful scenery and light as well as so many birds. All expertly found by yourself by taking us to so many different places. It was all so well planned, so that even though we had some long drives, you had planned a stop with some birds and a coffee (we won’t mention that we had some food shopping!)The hotels were great – comfortable and good food particularly at Hostería de Guara.Great trip-just the right length. I think the girls were as happy as myself with everything. When you are responsible for organising a group there is some apprehension about the response. I needn’t have worried.

Winter Wallcreeper tour participants 2023

Winter Wallcreeper tour participants 2023

  • Alan and Kay, UK, Winter Wallcreeper Tour November 2023

    Steve, – Thanks, that was a truly splendid few days, mostly due to your prodigious knowledge of the subject. The super weather, lovely hotels, and of course the birds all played their part. Only slight downside for me was a “black lady” and her hearts. The few days we had in Tarragona were enjoyable given an attractive old part to the city and some wonderful Roman bits.We’ve been home a couple of days and still waiting to see the sky.