10 second videos: Little Bustard

The next video in the Birding In Spain 10 second series is the Little Bustard.

Little Bustard callingA short taster video of a Little Bustard on the plains in the spring. He’s not always facing the other way!

Posted by Birding In Spain on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Little Bustard jumping

Male Little Bustard jumping by Bart Vercruysse

  1. What will you see? A male Little Bustard “singing”, ie blowing his raspberries.
  2. What can you hear? The Little Bustard call is obvious, and is repeated several times. However, you have to listen very carefully to hear Corn Bunting, Tree Pipit, and just a sliver of a Crested Lark.
  3. Where and when was this taken? In April and May on one of the remaining dryland areas of Lleida, Catalonia, where the Little Bustard still breeds.
  4. Where can I learn more? There’s nothing like photographing displaying Little Bustards from one of our photographic hides from late April to late May. You might even get a jumping male!
  5. And more, with a limited budget? You can join a spring birding tour to see the Little Bustards, or you can sit at home and watch the antics of Steve and the North Herts Birders birding the plains in the spring while being filmed for a Catalan TV programme. Here’s the link, it’s fun!


TV3 Tocats de l’ala. Dryland treasures.

10 second bird videos: Lammergeiers in flight

Once we manage to overcome a technical detail or two relating to optimizing the quality of the videos we can post Birding In Spain would like to offer a new series of home-made videos showing some of the birds of Spain and their habitats.

They are not BBC documentaries, but rather short 10 second looks at some of the bird delights this region has to offer. Some videos will be aesthetically pleasing, others that too but also educational, others entertaining, or posing a small challenge to the viewer.

We hope you like them, and welcome any feedback, questions, etc.

The first one is Lammergeiers in flight. All the clips of the Lammergeier (Bearded Vulture) incorporated here were taken in the Pyrenees of Lleida, Catalonia.



Lammergeierin flight

  Lammergeier in flight. Photo by Chris Schenk.

Lammergeiers in flight Facebook video

Here is the “Lammergeiers in flight” video card.

  1. What will you see? Several Lammergeiers of different ages in flight over the mountainside.
  2. Wait til the end? It’s only 10 seconds long, and the closest bird is in the last frames.
  3. What can you hear? Nothing, except the presentation Bee-eater, which has nothing to do with the action. In subsequent videos there will be birdsong and natural in situ sounds.
  4. Can I learn more about the Lammergeier? Yes, more Lammergeier videos will be coming, so that you can learn or practice identification of the species through its silhouette and flight action, and also see how plumage varies with age.
  5. And more? There’s a chapter dedicated to the Lammergeier in “Flying over the Pyrenees, standing on the plains” and it just so happens that it can be downloaded free of charge from the Birding In Spain website at this link:

Icemen and Lammergeiers chapter from “Flying over the Pyrenees, standing on the plains”

If you want to photograph Lammergeiers from one of our hides or see them flying over their mountain haunts on a guided birding tour just send us an e-mail. You can also work things out for yourself by using “Where the birds are in northeast Spain” and the free birding itineraries on the Birding In Spain website.

Happy Birding!

Birding In Spain gets Cross with Aussie birders

From Australia to Spain, and beyond

Featuring the Ken Cross Back to Europe Trip Log

This May past Ken Cross came from the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, and brought his merry crew of Australian birders and companions with him to enjoy a superb classic spring birding tour of Spain.

After many months of e-mails and planning Ken and Steve finally met up in Madrid in mid-May, and from here was launched our tour of the best of Spain and its birds. Over the next 12 we toured and birded Extremadura, the Picos de Europa, the Pyrenees, the Ebro Valley plains and the Ebro Delta, finishing the tour in Barcelona. We also managed to organize a pelagic cruise one morning to look for shearwaters and petrels…How did we get on? 

You can read all about it here at Ken’s blog:


The first challenge that faced us was to work out a packing scheme; however if there’s one thing we have come to excel in in the birding circuit it’s just that. As we think the photo shows:

 Packing the bird tour van

A few days later another challenge arose: how to beat the hotel views, food and service that we had in the Picos de Europa. I don’t think we beat it in the subseqüent hotels, but we came reasonably close.

One of the best birding hotels in Spain

 One of the best birding hotels in Spain

2 amazing and stimulating views from our hotel in the Picos de Europa

Our impressions were that Ken (Mr Cross) and his crew (Russ, Maria, Vince, Steve, Jan, Karen, Norm, June, Ray) had a good time all round, but in particular they really loved the mountains, and this is judging from the battery of “oohs” and “aahs” delivered by all when the Pyrenees and Cantabrian mountains came into view.

The final tour tally was 213 species of birds, with of course some very interesting and unusual sightings, and with fun and Aussie humour all the way.

Dupont’s Lark and Lammergeier were chosen as the group’s bird of the tour. Although we should remain impartial with questions of taste we are very glad that the Corn Bunting did not enter the competition!

The big surprise to me was that when I arrived home from a later trip I found 2 field guides to Australia waiting for me: one for the mammals, and another for the birds. A big thank you to our Aussie friends for that, and for their great company!

Now though I have to start saving up to go to Australia.

 Australian flag

A birding trip report by the North Herts Birders: Catalonia – Spain

North Herts Birders

Here are some excerpts of the trip report of the North Herts Birders’ visit to Catalonia this April.

North Herts Birders birding in Catalonia 2015

Catalonia – Spain. Ebro Delta, Lleida Drylands and Pre-Pyrenees

20th to 24th April 2015

“Arriving at the Delta Hotel we saw Pied Flycatcher and Redstart as we pulled into the car park and later Wood Warbler in the wooded area. The hotel has excellent grounds with a large reedy pond with an island and a small wooded area, so we would not have to go far for some pre-breakfast birding.”

Pied Flycatcher in the Ebro Delta, Catalonia.

“An early pre-breakfast start for Little Bustard and Lesser Kestrel on the Balaguer Drylands, in the company of a film crew from Channel 3 TV, Catalonia’s largest TV Channel. Making a programme about eco-tourism, the environment and Little Bustards, so they had arranged with Steve West to film and interview us watching Little Bustards. Well this turned into a game, something like Musical Chairs. You had to keep moving, if you stopped and looked through your bins too long, when you put them down the lady interviewer started to ask questions in a reasonable version of English, a sound recorder tried to put his large, fluffy grey microphone up your nose and all this while the cameraman was bobbing about trying to find your best angle.”

“A new chapter of the Entente Cordiale was written in the hide, when a French birder complained that our guide Steve was too loud,…”

“Arriving at the very fragrant Alfes Aerodrome, the scent of wild Thyme hits your nose and the myriad of colourful wild flowers catches your eye. The birds, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Calandra Lark, a song flight from Short-toed Lark, Crested and Thekla Larks, Kestrel, from a nearby wood calling Iberian Green Woodpecker, Western Bonelli’s Warbler…”

“Our second attempt to find nesting Eagle Owl was successful, with one adult and 2 very large chicks still in the nest high up on a cliff. Great views were had by all.“

Penduline Tit building nest near Lleida, Catalonia.

“We had excellent views of a male Bonelli’s Eagle dive bombing Griffon Vultures, we then walked the gorge road and added a feisty Firecrest, Wryneck, singing Nightingales everywhere, calling Golden Orioles,…”

“A long day with loads of excellent birds, Ray commented that this was his best days birding ever! We all agreed,…”

“This area is my favourite part of Spain and as we got closer we could see the snow-capped mountains of the Pyrenees.”

“Overhead adult and juvenile Lammergeiers, amongst the circling Griffon Vultures. Next, an adult Egyptian Vulture glided past and down the valley. Coming up the other way more Griffons, but one didn’t look right, bigger and darker and not a Griffon, but a Black Vulture which circled and gave good views. Four species of vulture in around 10 minutes.”

 Tawny Owl in tree in Catalonia.

“A quick tally up of the list gave a trip total of 192, with all of us getting at least one tick.”

“Arriving back at Barcelona airport, we all thanked Steve West for his hard work in making our bird filled trip fun and enjoyable, a second sucessful Happy Tours trip. Steve said we made his job easy and fun, and looked forward to our return.”

Steve Lane photographing birds in Catalonia.

From a Happy Tours Publication – written by Steve Lane

Download and read the full trip report, with lots of birds and butterflies here:

 North Herts Birders birding in Catalonia 2015: Trip Report

Our kind of travellers

Birding In Spain’s Traveller’s Code of Conduct

General guidelines

1. As a nature lover and traveller we believe you should stand up and be noticed. But just make sure it’s for the right reasons…

2.Be sensible with water use, spare it when possible.

3. Accept advice and guidelines on how to minimize your carbon footprint when travelling.

4. Accept that some things are done differently in other places, and try to enjoy the difference.

5. Remember that a smile can go a long way, with very little energy expenditure!

6. Think about how your acts could disturb wildlife, and if and how that disturbance can be avoided.

7. Although not an Encyclopaedia your local guide should be a good source of information about local nature, geography, traditions, etc.

8. Sharing information about sites and species on forums etc. is a free choice, but one which could have negative consequences – the guide’s livelihood, the wildlife and habitat and, in the end, the value of the experience for other people could all suffer.

9. Small rural or family run hotels will notice your passing and usually be grateful for it. City hotels and hotel chains will probably not. If you go where you make a difference and the local people know you go there for nature that in itself will help to create positive attitudes towards the protection of nature.

10. Be aware that not everybody speaks English! Sometimes a few words or phrases in the local language can go a very long way, and the will to communicate even further.

11.Trust in your guide’s judgement about how close to get to wildlife, and what techniques should or shouldn’t be used to enhance your observation experience. One major difference between a guide and a one-time visitor is that the guide expects to return to a site.

12. If possible, look into the possibilities of public transport (bus, train, underground) before jumping into a taxi or going for a rental car.

13. Do not obstruct the daily activities or circulation of local people, or access to fields, homes, etc.

14. What’s the better souvenir, artisan foods or produce bought in a village or town shop where they are produced, or something whipped up at the airport Duty Free?

15.Try to make a difference to conservation. Contribute to a local cause, patronize information centre shops and cafés, stay close to the places you have come to visit.

 Responsible birding, responsible travel.


What we mean in point 1 here is that we believe nature conservation will reap more benefits if the right people and reasons come under the spotlight of local people’s and regional stakeholders’ gazes. Responsible tourism can sow and reap part of its own harvest, by contributing to the continued existence of what travellers are there to see or to experience.

Responsible tourists and nature travellers can influence their public profile by their own behaviour and choices, which in turn influences the general public’s perception of them and their influence. In most developed countries it is almost impossible for responsible tourism and nature travel to compete on economic impact terms with mass tourism (beach holidays, skiing, etc) but it has many good possibilities to outdo mass tourism on the grounds of perceived costs and benefits to the local inhabitants and small-scale tourist infrastructures.

So for example a respectful foreigner carrying binoculars or a camera who enters a bar to drink a coffee, or a shop to buy some groceries, or who passes through reception at a small rural hotel is someone who stands out from the crowd. And that can be turned to the benefit of nature conservation. They are there to see the birds, to enjoy the natural landscapes, etc. and their presence makes a difference, no matter how small a difference. Perhaps their stay coincides with the tourist low season (as the period immediately after Easter usually is), perhaps local café owners can boast of the people of different nationalities who stop for a drink or a snack in their café; perhaps a farmer can be made to feel proud that his land holds populations of birds which are considered internationally important or attractive. That’s what we mean by being noticed for the right reasons. 

Birding Pyrenees Trip Report: some images

Birding northeast Spain

Here are some images to accompany the trip report we posted in the last blog entry:

Birding trip report images from Pyrenees and northeast Spain

 Birding trip report images from Pyrenees and northeast Spain

Birding trip report images from Pyrenees and northeast Spain

Birding trip report images from Pyrenees and northeast Spain

Trip Report: Images from Late Winter Birding in Northeast Spain

A birding trip report kindly reproduced by permission of its author Steve Lane. We invite you to read this amiable report about how his group encountered Wallcreepers, Lammergeiers, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black Wheatears and more in February last year.


Trip Report: Late Winter Birding in Northeast Spain

Birding northeast Spain

Northeast Spain birding trip report February 2013

A birding trip report kindly reproduced by permission of its author Steve Lane. We invite you to read this amiable report about how his group encountered Wallcreepers, Lammergeiers, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black Wheatears and more in February last year.


Northeast Spain bird trip report by Mikko

Northeast Spain Trip Report

Mikko Pyhälä from Finland has kindly agreed to share this trip report with Birding In Spain blog readers. Mikko came to us for a couple of day’s birding in May, and we had a very enjoyable time together.

Birding with Birding In Spain trip report May 2014

There were many highlights according to his report, but I suppose that what I will remember for the longest was the immature Golden Eagle near the roadside at Candasnos and how, inexplicably, the bird did not fly away when we approached.

That’s Mikko in the photo below, taking photos of the poppies on the drylands. Good birding and happy clients, what a magic formula. Thanks Mikko!

Mikko in a field of poppies. Birding in Spain is fun.

2104 Tours

Birding In Spain 2014: Scheduled tours with international tour operators

 Birding In Spain calendar 2014

This year 2014 Steve is scheduled to be leading these birding trips with or for these international bird tour operators. Take a look, maybe you can join one.

 OrnitholidaysBird Treks, USA

Ceiba Nature Tours

Coto Doñana and Extremadura – 6th to 13th April


We’ll be exploring one of the most important wetlands in Western Europe and one of the best regions for birds of prey, among many other great birding delights!

Southern Catalonia – 24th May to 31st May


Here the accent is on enjoying the natural delights of little known Mediterranean massifs, and the very bird-productive Ebro Delta. There’ll also be butterflies, birds and red wine!

Spain’s Natural Areas – 1st to 13th June

Ceiba Nature Tours

This is a well tried and tested classic birding tour, offering some of the best birding that Spain has to offer over one of the most compact itineraries. Extremadura, the Ebro valley plains, the Pyrenees and pre-Pyrenees, and the Ebro Delta. And then we still find time to look at some historic sites and even do a bit of wine tasting!

The Pyrenees – 18th to 25th June


Plains, foothills, mountains and wetlands; this Pyrenees tour has birds for every occasion! It is also timed to enhance encounters with butterflies and wild flowers.

Bay of Biscay to Tarifa – 1st to 14th September  Bird Treks

Bird Treks

This is a new tour itinerary, taking the lucky from the north coast of Spain past the stunning Picos de Europa, Extremadura and down to the south coast wetlands of the Coto Doñana, finishing with the raptor migration special at Tarifa.

Tarifa and Coto Doñana – 14th to 21st September


Watch the autumn migration spectacle of thousands of birds of prey and other soaring birds, and then that of wetland birds galore at the Coto Doñana!

Aragón – 8th to 15th November


This is a popular autumn tour timed to coincide with wintering Wallcreepers and Alpine Accentors, as well as large numbers of Cranes. There are also Lammergeiers, bustards, sandgrouse, and a lot more besides.

Birding In Spain: Birders in els Ports, Catalonia

You can now fly direct to Barcelona from 6 London airports

Fly direct to Barcelona from 6 London airports

London, England

Fly to Barcelona from…







Barcelona, Catalonia.

Direct flights to Barcelona. And then just an hour and a half to Lleida by car, or just over an hour by train. And all the possibilities that opens up…

Lleida. Connected to Barcelona by…


Hide Photography


A holiday.

Page 3 of 9
1 2 3 4 5 9