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Strait of Gibraltar :

bird migration / Cadix tour

Wildlife watching
Expert Nature Guide
Wildlife watching
Expert Nature Guide

Natural parks

Doñana, The Strait (Tarifa), Cadix bay, Alcornocales, Grazalema

Seasons

Migration is on going all year

À la carte

Up to 7 days rambling for wildlife 

Strait of Gibraltar, Cadix, Migration guided tour

– Classic tour for the migrations

– Wetlands, coast & mountains

– Extremely rare breeding birds

Region

Spain/ Andalusia

Meeting point

Seville

Specialized service

Small parties

The migration of soaring birds at the Strait of Gibraltar, crossing the sea between Europe and Africa, is one of the most renowned and spectacular wildlife phenomena in Europe. Many birdwatchers expect eagerly the “fiesta” of the end of summer and its exalirating number of raptors and storks.

Enjoy a guided tour to the great migration of soaring birds

In some high places for observation, birds gather there in large numbers before passing an obstacle. Europe’s most famous “bottleneck” is none other than the Strait of Gibraltar, where millions of birds “jump” between Europe and Africa. Let’s not forget the movements of marine fauna (seabirds, cetaceans, fish), which are more difficult to study by nature observers, who also cross the strait between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Finally, let us mention mammals, and in particular bats, which migrate between breeding and hibernation colonies, short and regional movements for most species or even on a continental scale for a few species such as the common noctule (Nyctalus noctula). Among terrestrial mammals, ungulates exhibit short-distance seasonal movements in Andalusian mountainous areas, even though today they are most often cut off by hunting fences.

We have designed a short trip in order to live the migration first hand during a few days, visiting the best available spots in the Strait, but also more wildlife on our way and not focusing only on birds. The region is so rich and attractive that we need to spend some time looking for whales and dolphins, monarch butterflies and dragonflies.

at the mythical Strait of Gibraltar

The autumnal migration of birds at the Strait of Gibraltar, crossing the sea in direction to Africa, is one of the most renowned and spectacular wildlife phenomena in Europe. Many birdwatchers expect eagerly the “fiesta” of the end of summer and its exalirating number of raptors and storks.

Enjoy the great autumn migration

at the mythical Strait of Gibraltar

We have designed a short trip in order to live the migration first hand during a few days, visiting the best available spots in the Strait, but also to enjoy more wildlife and not focusing only on birds. The region is so rich and attractive that we need to spend some time looking for whales and dolphins, monarch butterflies and dragonflies.

Vertebrate migrations at the Strait of Gibraltar

Migration of soaring birds, storks and raptors, at the strait of gibraltar
bird migration
migrating sea/coastal bird
Cetacean Sperm whales Fin whales migrating in Spain

Soaring birds

30 species

500.000 individuals

Passerines

130 species

35 – 50 Mº individuals

Sea/Coastal birds

35 species

1 Mº individuals

Sea fauna

“4” species

Thousands of individuals

Vertebrate migrations at the Strait of Gibraltar

Migration of storks at the strait of gibraltar

Soaring birds

30 species

500.000 individuals

bird migration

Passerines

130 species

35 – 50 Mº individuals

migrating sea/coastal bird

Sea/Coastal birds

35 species

1 Mº individuals

Cetacean Sperm whales Fin whales migrating in Spain

Sea fauna

“4” species

Thousands of individuals

birdwatchers at the Strait
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What you get?

– Field trip from dawn to sunset.

Birding guide in Andalusia.

– High-end telescopes: the mighty Kowa TSN 99.

– Smartphone adaptator to take your own pictures.

– High-end binoculars.

– Illustrated check-list for the exact period of your visit.

Travel schedule “Strait of Gibraltar : the autumn migration”

Ornithological bird reserve Doñana Brazo del Este
DAY 1 | Transfer from airport - Eastern Doñana

Meeting at Sevilla international airport. We will visit two important wetlands where waders and waterfowl thrive. Water levels are highly dependent of waterfall and very variable between years. First stop at a freshwater marsh, the former branch of the Guadalquivir River Brazo del Este” in Doñana, surrounded by harvested rice paddles. We will then pass through a landscape of farmland range. Second stop in the Bay of Cadiz, nearby the Atlantic Ocean, to explore well preserved coastal pine woods and saltmarshes. The migration of Red-Veined Darter is not unlikely in autumn near the coast. Accommodation near Vejer de la Frontera for two nights.

Cap Trafalgar
DAY 2 | La Janda & Trafalgar beach

We will start the day searching for the resident Bald Ibis, a species of incredible aspect, which spend its times between inland cliffs, beaches and grazed field. The area hosts an array of beautiful habitats, the last unspoiled Andalusian coastline, Mediterranean woodlands and matorrals, cattle meadows and “La Janda, a considerable lagoon which was turned in the 1960’ into a mix of arable land, rice paddle and canals: a stopover for many birds on migration, both waterfowl and raptors. Spanish Imperial Eagle has been reintroduced there recently. This is also the best area in Europe to search for a butterfly, Zeller’s skipper at fall.

Réserve ornithologique de l'Estuaire du Guadalhorce
DAY 3 | The Strait of Gibraltar

The Strait of Gibraltar is the west-southern tip of Europe and a funnel for migrating birds which spend the winter in Africa. It is widely celebrated for being the major migrating route of various raptors and storks in the Palearctic. We will look during the day at the best migration watchpoints to be testimony of one of the most spectacular natural events in Europe. Migration and day planning are very dependent of wind condition and therefore variable. On the invertebrate side, migrants such as Painted Lady or Red Admiral are also on their way to the southern limit of their range. The countryside is usually very dry at this time of the year and we will find relief under the shade of a canuto, a dense gallery woodland along short streams of Andalusia, and a perfect habitat for the giant African Grasshopper. We will stay two nights near Tarifa.

Dauphin bleu et blanc ou dauphin bleu (Stenella coeruleoalba)
DAY 4 |Whale watching & Los Lances beach

The Strait of Gibraltar divide the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea, a narrow passage which is compulsory to cross for migrating marine fauna such as pelagic birds, tuna fishes, cetaceans (Sperm and Fin whales) … and merchant navy. It is a traffic hotspot for supertankers and whale watching (possibly the best spot in the Iberian Peninsula). We will enjoy a boat trip to look at sea birds and dolphins (5 resident species including the Killer whale), then spend some time at “Los Lances” beach where seabirds and waders will be on passage, and hike along the coastline.

Réserve ornithologique de l'Estuaire du Guadalhorce
DAY 5 | Los Alcornocales & Monarch butterflies

We will travel from Tarifa and stop at various watchpoints to enjoy the views, the landscapes and the on-going migration (!). Africa is only 14 km away. Nevertheless, we will explore a land of Moorish occupation for seven centuries. Los Alcornocales is a large Cork Oak forest which dominate the countryside between the sea and the mountains. We will make a break near Castellar at a colony of Monarch butterflies, a species which colonized the area from America and is not migrating in Europe. The little known, yet fantastic, Genal Valley will offer wonderful views over the region, and with some luck, butterflies displaying the hill topping behaviour. Accommodation for two nights at the white village of Benarrabá.

Réserve ornithologique de l'Estuaire du Guadalhorce
DAY 6 | Sierra de Grazalema

The Sierra de Grazalema is part of an impressive and complex range of limestone mountains, home to a rich wildlife which was not present at sea level and is protected by a dense network of natural/national parks. We will search birds such as Black Wheatear, Chough and Blue rock thrush, mammals such as Ibex. September is not a very good season for insects in those dry habitats, although Desert Darter is on the wing. Farewell dinner and Moth trapping for nocturnal insects.

Réserve ornithologique de l'Estuaire du Guadalhorce
DAY 7 | Transfer to the airport

Early departure to the airport, with a few stops for quick biodiversity checks (we never know)

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INCLUDE

  • A wildlife watching travel lead by local nature guide. Groups 5-8 people.
  • Half board (picnics by the participants).
  • Double rooms (single room supplement).
  • Does not include round-trip flights by plane.

Bonus

A diverse program which allow for plenty of surprises: the wonderfull Monarch butterflies, recently established species in Europe. We will be by historical sites for British history.

Migratory birds present in great numbers