I lead a tour group from the the US Audubon Naturalist Society in April to southern Spain. We had a great time apart from the awful windy weather. The famous Levante wind just would not stop for almost the whole eight days.
We did however have a great time, saw lots of birds and other wildlife as well as many of the famous towns and cities dotted through the famous Andalucian landscape.
Our Hotel above Barbate in Cadiz Province was El Palomar de La Breña, a quiet place by Spanish standards where there’s a wonderful thriving colony of Lesser Kestrels at the rear of the buildings in the old dovecot.
The old dovecot Little Owls call at night, as indeed do Barn Owls Female Lesser Kestrel. Females look very similar to Common Kestrels and are difficult to separate although if you manage to get a look at the colour of their talons you’ll see they are ivory coloured and not black as with the Common Kestrel Male Common Kestrel Red-rumped Swallow preening European Bee-eater A Short-toed Eagle Our group checking out local ancient sarcophagi at Betis, near the town of Tarifa Black Kite Moorish Gecko Church in Tarifa’s old town Pied Flycatcher (f) on migration Firecrest A Booted Eagle flying with a freshly caught Common Starling Sandstorm down at Tarifa The majestic Collared Pratincole Stone Curlew in flight Our group walking along the sandy track between fields of poppies at Mesas de Asta, near Trebujena Spring poppies in the cornfields Military road between Algeciras and Gibraltar (in the distance) and Tarifa. A great place to explore the coastal stretches of The Strait of Gibraltar that separates Europe and Africa. This was a scene on The Strait at the Sierra de La Plata, with a huge amount of dust in the air caused by the constant Levante wind blowing out of the Mediterranean sea into the Atlantic Ocean, in front of us. Normally you can see Morocco a mere 14 kms across The Strait, but… Griffon Vulture at the Sierra de La Plata Western Bonelli’s Warbler Black Kite Greater Flamingoes, Common Shelduck, Glossy Ibis and a Black-winged Stilt A European rarity, the White-headed Duck Pied Avocets in flight Greater Flamningoes Gull-billed Tern Whiskered Tern Little Tern Waders flying around the salt-pans and river Guadalqivir, part of the Coto Doñana A male Spanish Sparrow sits in the morning sunlight Dawn over the famous ‘Pueblo Blanco’ of Vejer de la Frontera Male Kentish Plover Collared Pratincole showing off the rich rust colour of its underwing Vineyards at Trebujena Short-toed Lark Iberian Yellow Wagtail White Storks on their church top nest Myself and our happy group on a relief model of The Strait of Gibraltar at the visitor center, Huerta Grande, Pelayo.