Trip report: Northern Spain (April 2019) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Emma Juxon. This was a set-departure tour.

Ask any European birder where to head for a week’s birding and they’ll tell you Spain. Our Northern Spain tour has so much to offer, many participants use this tour to continue their Iberian adventure, taking part in our Southern Spain tour first. With it’s stunning snow-capped peaks, sun-drenched steppes and wader- filled wetlands, it’s a go-to destination for anyone wanting to score some cracking birds and take in some of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes.

Our tour began in Barcelona, laced with the organic architecture of Gaudí it’s the perfect city to add a little sightseeing pre- or post-tour. From Barcelona we made our way to our base for several nights, the truly breathtaking Hecho Valley in the heart of the Pyrenees. From here we had our fill of mountain, valley and forest specialists. Encountering lepidoptera-like Wallcreeper, as well as fantastic Bearded Vulture and Red-billed and Yellow-billed Chough to name a few. In the foothills of the Pyrenees we visited awe- inspiring rock formations and an ancient monastery where we enjoyed Black and Great Spotted Woodpecker and incredible panoramic views as we scanned for raptors. From here we moved down country to the vast steppe habitat that surrounds Belchite. We couldn’t have asked for better views of our top targets, Dupont’s Lark and Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, as well as some great little migrants to boot. To end the tour, a one-night stop at the Ebro Delta, had us enamored with waterbirds, from Greater Flamingo to Little Stint. It’s a fantastic tour taking in all the best birding and scenic sights along the ‘traditional’ Northern Spain route.

We accrued a list of 147 species during our tour, with highlights including Eurasian Hoopoe, Citril Finch, Crested Tit, Black Woodpecker, Common Firecrest, Slender-billed and Audouin’s Gull and of course, our bird of the trip and cover-bird, Wallcreeper. Nine additional species were also encountered, including delightful Eurasian Red Squirrel, Pine Marten and Moorish Gecko. I truly love sharing this wonderful region of Spain with people.

FULL TROPICAL BIRDING Northern Spain April 2019 tour report (3.2 MB file, pdf format)