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Alan’s thoughts from his two weeks with the Birds of Spain

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Two years ago I travelled to Spain with Natureslens to photograph a wide variety of the birds of Spain in Calera y Chozas, & I enjoyed it so much that I booked to go back again in 2017: but this time with a difference. The week before the Birds of Calera Photography Holiday, Natureslens also had arranged a trip to photograph Eagles & other birds in the Sierra Morena region found in the south of Spain; consequently, I rolled the two trips together, with a day of downtime, in between, in Madrid.

Part 1 of my blog for NaturesLens covers the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday.

Week 1 – Spanish Raptors in Adamuz

The trip started with a very early flight from London to Malaga, where we were met by our local guides. A comfortable 2-hour drive took us inland to Adamuz – a small provincial town in the Sierra Morena region & our base for the week. We were soon settled into our hotel to unpack & freshen up before meeting in a restaurant just minutes from the hotel (run by the same people) where we received a warm welcome from our hosts. In the early evening our guides took us out for a recce to get a feel for the region.

A panorama of the Adamuz landscape photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain Read more

Sean reports in from our Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

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A Golden Eagle stares straight down the lens at the photographer photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Last month saw me heading off to the mountains of the Sierra Morena in Spain leading the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday.

I knew from the itinerary that had been planned that it was going to be an amazing week of photography with some great sightings & photo opportunities. After a very early flight, the group & I arrived in Spain meeting up with the local guides. After a couple of hours on the road we arrived in the local town of Adamuz, which would be our base & home for the duration of the trip. The town is situated in beautiful natural surroundings & is a very picturesque location. Due to the time we arrived, we decided we were going to explore a few wildlife locations that we would be working on over the coming days. It was a great afternoon exploring our surroundings & getting some ideas for the images to come.

The next day we split into two groups to keep noise etc to a minimum whilst working from the hides. A couple of us spent the day in the Golden Eagle hide.

A magnificent Golden Eagle photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography HolidayA Golden Eagle peers around a log photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday Read more

Our Welsh Birds of Prey Photography Workshop dates for 2017

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A Photogenic Barn Owl Posed On Wooden Farm Wheel Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop

We are happy to announce – & to be accepting bookings for – our Welsh Birds of Prey Photography Workshop dates for 2017, as in previous years, these are to be held in a small village near Welshpool, these workshops are ideally suited to both amateur & semi-professional photographers looking to expand their portfolio. Photography leaders from NaturesLens will provide guidance & advice when needed to assist you in making the most of every photography opportunity.

You can be assured that we are already on the look out for some new props to bring up for posing the birds upon.

You can view the individual event pages here – Spring 2017 Birds of Prey Photography WorkshopAutumn 2017 Birds of Prey Photography Workshop.

Spring 2017 Birds of Prey Photography Workshop – 22nd & 23rd April 2017.

The fresh spring air & green foliage make the setting hugely attractive for photographers, & if we’re lucky, there may even be a bluebell or two. Both Pui Hang & David will be on hand to assist you in honing in your composition & motion photography skills so that you obtain editorial-quality images to cherish for years to come. Over the Saturday afternoon & full day on Sunday you will have abundant opportunity to use the varied lighting conditions & different locations at your disposal.

The Wonderful Little Owl Inspects The Outside World From A Broken Barn Door Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop

We will have extensive access to our falconer’s land over the course of the workshop, providing you with optimum choice of positions from which you can photograph the elusive owls & raptors as they are held & released within the perfect controlled setting for you to capture impressive images. Our falconer has an experienced eye for photography, so he knows what nature photographers will be looking for & will assist accordingly when needed.

The format of this workshop consists of a special late afternoon/early evening session with an owl on the Saturday, giving you an amazing opportunity to get up close to this magnificent bird & take close-up images; followed by a full day of birds of prey photography on Sunday.

The Little Owl That We Have Available To Photograph Poses Perched On A Wheel Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop The Long Eared Owl Poses Beautifully On A Weathered Fence Post Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop

Autumn 2017 Birds of Prey Photography Workshop – 21st & 22nd October 2017.

NaturesLens invites you on a 1.5 day photography workshop, based near to Welshpool, capturing impressive images of birds of prey using the varied backdrops which the locality has to offer; including disused quarries, barn & farm areas & expanses of woodland. Our guides will offer advice to ensure that you obtain magnificent photographs of these bird species both posed & in-flight.

The Peregrine Screams Out From It's Vantage Point In The Quarry Area That Is Available For Our Use Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop

Autumn brings rich textures & colours to rural areas, as the leaves turn to red, gold & brown, & begin to form a soft blanket which covers the ground. This provides a stunning backdrop for nature photography, & the soft light & warm colours will allow you to capture breathtaking images of bird species.

A Portrait Of A Barn Owl Which Is Perched On A Wooden Farm Wheel Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop

The Peregrine Falcon That We Make Use Of, Poses In Stone Quarry Photographed On The NaturesLens Welsh Birds Of Prey Photography Workshop

Announcing two New Exciting Bird Photography Holidays

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A goshawk image captured from the hides used on the Golden Eagles & Goshawks In Winter Photography Holiday

Following on from our Bears of Finland Photography Holiday announcement of earlier this weekend, today we are spilling the beans on a further two new bird photography holidays for 2017 that should be packed with superb opportunities to add some stunning images to your portfolio.

Eagles & Raptors of Spain Photography Holiday

An image of a Bonelli's Eagle - typical of the images that may be captured during the Eagles & Raptors of Spain Photography Holiday

NaturesLens invites wildlife photographers of amateur & semi-professional ability to join them in escaping to the wilderness of the Sierra Morena, capturing stunning images of native eagle & raptor species. Observe these magnificent birds as they soar overhead, scouting out prey across the hills below.

Based in a rustic Spanish village, you will enjoy the unspoilt scenery & emblematic species which the region has to offer. Small group sizes ensure that you have optimum use of the hides, allowing you to capture spectacular images from the best angles, with photography guidance provided by NaturesLens leaders where needed. Spaces are therefore limited, so book early to avoid disappointment!

Full details of the Eagles & Raptors of Spain Photography Holiday are available here – response has been great so far & we only have two places remaining available.

This photography holiday is being led by Sean Weekly, one of the NaturesLens guiding team since 2016.

Golden Eagles & Goshawks in Winter Photography Holiday

A goshawk image captured from the hides used on the Golden Eagles & Goshawks In Winter Photography Holiday

Join NaturesLens in the snow-covered forests & mountains of northern Norway, observing breathtaking scenes as golden eagles & goshawks soar & settle in their remote & unspoilt habitats. NaturesLens guides will assist you in taking stunning photographs of these impressive bird species, the Golden Eagles & Goshawks, as well as others, with the dramatic mountain landscape providing the perfect backdrop.

This is a wildlife photography excursion like no other, designed with photographers in mind to ensure you are given the best experience possible. Book early as places are limited.

Full details of the Golden Eagles & Goshawks In Winter Photography Holiday are available here.

This photography holiday is being led by Kevin Morgans, a veteran member of the NaturesLens guiding team since NaturesLens first started.

Autumnal Birds of Prey Workshop in Mid-wales

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We’ve got a single place that has become available for our Autumnal Birds of Prey Workshop in Mid-Wales, the place costs £200 & includes an evening session followed by a full-day.

Short Eared Owl on Rocks

We have two photography sessions, one, for several hours on the evening of Saturday 8th October, followed by a full day on Sunday 9th October. This is with a falconer that we have worked with for the last 4 year; this year, we are hoping for some autumnal colours & settings for the owls & other birds of prey, we will focus mainly on British species, but the fantastic Great Grey Owl will, of course, be making at least one appearance as well.

Kestrel on a perch taken during the NaturesLens Welsh Birds of Prey workshop

If you would like to join us, please send us an email to info@natureslens.co.uk

Birds of Spain, a week of amazing photography

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Montagus Harrier photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Calera Photography Holiday

During Mid-April 2015, NaturesLens have been offered exclusive use of some hides in Spain. Located not far from Madrid, the hides provide some great photography of some of the birds of Spain, in short, some stunning species at some awesome locations! This is a trip that offers unique wildlife photography of some of Spain’s best bird species from some of the best hides we know of.

Great Bustard at Sunrise photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Birds of Spain Photgraphy Holiday

Species you should be able to capture incredible images from the hides include the following:

  • Great Bustard
  • Little Bustard
  • Kestrel
  • Lesser Kestrel
  • Kite
  • Black-Shouldered Kite
  • Marsh Harrier & Montagu’s Harrier
  • Hoopoe, Bee Eater, Shrike, Roller & Magpie
  • Curlew & more from a Lake hide
  • Black Vultures

If you’d like to see more sample photos of some of these species, these are available on the booking page – all were taken at the hides that we will be using. If you want to see any further photos, please contact us by email.

Reserve a place on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera, Spain Photography Holiday, with a deposit of only £300, balance due February 2015.

Flights to Madrid are not included in the trip price, but are currently available for an approximate cost of £100.

Montagus Harrier photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Birds of Spain Photgraphy Holiday

Autumn Welsh Birds of Prey Workshop

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Female Buzzard on a kill. Photographed on the NaturesLens Welsh Birds of Prey workshop

Our Welsh Birds of Prey workshop has now been moved to September to enable our guests to photograph the birds in stunning autumnal colours. Since this is the fourth year we have run this workshop, we decided it was time for a change to keep things fresh & interesting.

The location for this Welsh Birds of Prey workshop is a 500-acre working farm in mid Wales with stunning natural backgrounds, natural perches, derelict buildings, open fields & a fantastic quarry providing wonderful colours & textures for a variety of shots.

Little Owl looking over textured tree photographed during the Welsh Birds of Prey workshop run by NaturesLens

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Events

Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

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Mating Bee Eaters photographed in Calera from the hides used on the NaturesLens Calera Photography Holiday

Join NaturesLens on an exciting photography excursion suited to wildlife enthusiasts, photographing the diverse bird species that inhabit the plains of Calera. With a wide selection of comfortable hides throughout the area at our disposal, we will provide you with the best bird photography opportunities possible, capturing them in flight, within their habitats & interacting with one another. Working from dawn ’til dusk witnessing this wonderful range of species in action, this is an experience like no other – you can’t afford to miss out!

One of the Black winged Stilts that frequented the lake hide photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

The range of bird species which thrive in Calera are a sight to behold. From the Little Owl to Black & Griffon Vultures, their characteristics & common behaviours are diverse, but they all live side by side making up a large proportion of the delicate local ecosystem which exists in this region. Birds can provide some of the most exciting wildlife photography opportunities, as their quick, unpredictable behaviour keeps us on our toes & enables captivating movement & in-flight imagery to be captured.

A pair of Bee eaters gently pass food between them photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday
Our 9-day excursion to Calera offers individuals opportunities to photograph a huge range of native species, including the Bee Eater, Little Owl, Great & Little Bustard, Black & Griffon Vultures, Lesser & Common Kestrel, Hoopoe, & the Black Winged Kite, as well as many others. We offer an all-inclusive accommodation & meal package to ensure that all you need to worry about is taking unique & mesmerising photographs.

A hoopoe comes in to land showing off the crest which is the trademark feature of these birds photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

Sunrise & sunset are often considered the prime times of day for creative photography, so unlike other holidays & tours, we ensure that our photography sessions make the most of these times of day. This provides unrivalled exposure to the variety of species & the environment which inhabit this region.

NaturesLens provides 7 days packed with hide sessions, & on most days you will have the opportunity to use different hides in the morning & afternoon to photograph different species. This trip works on a rotation basis, so that each member of the group gets the opportunity to take photographs from a variety of hides. The region is home to a wide range of Iberian Southern European specialities, & we will do our best to tailor your schedule to one that is personalised to you, if you make us aware of your target species.

A Little Owl with prey photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

An adult hoopoe gently feeding a caught insect to one of the young from this years clutch photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

One of Spains Black Kites captured in flight against a snowy mountain range photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

The freedom we provide with the times of day for photography is important, as many of these bird species are very wary & cautious around humans, & it may therefore be necessary to arrive under the cover of darkness. It will also be advisable to approach slowly, & keep noise at a minimum whilst in the hides so as not to startle the birds, as well as to optimise your chances of photographing the birds whilst they are unaware of your presence.

The weather can vary between different times of day in this region at this time of year, so we advise that you bring layers & prepare from somewhat unpredictable weather conditions. Join NaturesLens for a wildlife photography experience you will never forget. Places are limited, so book today!

A bee eater captured tossing a bee before swallowing it photographed on the Natureslens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

A Hoopoe delicately feeds its young photographed on the NaturesLens Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

Birds of Calera Photography Holiday Availability

SPACES AVAILABLE

Recommended Equipment

Clothing

We recommend that you dress up warmly for the early mornings – it can get quite cold sitting in the hide in the early hours. Wearing layers is advisable so that they may be shed at a later stage where necessary.

  •  Warm fleece for early mornings and once the sun has set.
  •  Clothing for hide work should be camouflage or neutral browns & greens.
  •  Water bottle or flask for tea & coffee.

Camera Equipment

  • Digital camera body.
  • Lenses in the range 70mm – 500mm.
  • Lenses with f2.8 will give the best light capture and speed of focussing.
  • An alternative to long telephoto lenses is a tele-converter (e.g. 1.4x or 2x).
  •  Tripod.
  • Spare memory cards.
  • Spare battery.
  • Battery charger.
  • Lens cleaning cloth.
  • Laptop or another type of storage device – we will be shooting lots of images.

Additional Notes

The residential workshop itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional.

NaturesLens residential workshops require a minimum number of participants, if sufficient residential workshop places are not sold the residential workshop may not be run, this residential workshop has a minimum participant level of 4 plus NaturesLens guide(s).

Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available.

Booking Form

Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday BOOKING FORM

All bookings are made subject to our terms & conditions.

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Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

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A Golden Eagle perches whilst bathed in the golden light of the setting sun photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

 

Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

NaturesLens invites wildlife photographers of amateur & semi-professional ability to join them in escaping to the wilderness of the Sierra Morena, capturing stunning images of native eagle & raptor species. Observe these magnificent birds as they soar overhead, scouting out prey across the hills below.

Based in a rustic Spanish village, you will enjoy the unspoilt scenery & emblematic species which the region has to offer.

Small group sizes ensure that you have optimum use of the hides, allowing you to capture spectacular images from the best angles, with photography guidance provided by Sean Weekly where needed.

Spaces are therefore limited, so book early to avoid disappointment!

A Golden Eagle perches whilst bathed in the golden light of the setting sun photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

The Sierra Morena is the longest-reaching mountain range in Spain, making up a formidable barrier protecting the fusion of culture & wildlife which lies north of the mountains from the harsh Atlantic winds coming from the south. This combined with low tourist numbers has protected the area from damage & degradation, maintaining an unspoilt natural environment & allowing native & migratory species to thrive.
Your base throughout the 8 day Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday will be a small village, offering peace & quiet & traditional local culture & food for you to enjoy. Your photography will benefit from unrivalled access to 5 separate hides, placed strategically within the landscape to provide optimum opportunity to photograph a range of species including the common Kestrel, Spanish Imperial Eagle & the Golden Eagle.

An additional drinking pool hide offering excellent positioning to capture images of a range of migratory birds coming to rest at this location.

A kestrel flies back to it's nest within a derelict Spanish farm building photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday A hoopoe perches with a recently caught grub photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

 

The region offers an idyllic backdrop of rolling hills & desolate rural expanses, broken up by areas of dense evergreen bushes & shrubs as well as pine & oaks woodland. The sparse populated areas are home to cobbled streets, vineyards & traditional village buildings, which only add to the rural aesthetic of the region.

A hoopoe returns to the nest having captured a grub for it's nesting young photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday A Golden Eagle peers around a log photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday A Golden Eagle perches photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday A Golden Eagle perched photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

This rustic Mediterranean landscape offers keen wildlife photographers the perfect opportunity to capturing stunning images of a wide range of bird species, from raptors to owls & passerines, as they fly overhead or settle in their unspoilt habitat. With 8 nights’ accommodation provided on a full board basis, & Canon camera lenses available on loan where needed, everything is taken care of for you so that experiencing & photographing the species & their environment are all you need to worry about.

This trip suits keen photographers with a desire to experience the magnificent wildlife which the Sierra Morena has to offer; capturing editorial-quality images of a range of bird species, & others, to treasure for years to come. Places are highly limited to ensure the best experience for every guest, so book early to avoid disappointment.

A Golden Eagle comes in to land photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday

Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday Availability

Spaces available

Recommended Equipment

  • Clothing

    We recommend that you dress up warmly for the early mornings – it can get quite cold sitting in the hide in the early hours. Wearing layers is advisable so that they may be shed at a later stage where necessary.

    •  Warm fleece for early mornings and once the sun has set.
    •  Clothing for hide work should be camouflage or neutral browns & greens.
    •  Water bottle or flask for tea & coffee.

    Camera Equipment

    • Digital camera body.
    • Lenses in the range 70mm – 500mm.
    • Lenses with f2.8 will give the best light capture and speed of focussing.
    • An alternative to long telephoto lenses is a tele-converter (e.g. 1.4x or 2x).
    •  Tripod.
    • Spare memory cards.
    • Spare battery.
    • Battery charger.
    • Lens cleaning cloth.
    • Laptop or another type of storage device – we will be shooting lots of images.

Additional Notes

NaturesLens photography holidays include only the travel stated on the event page, flights of any nature are not included. Flight details, where applicable, are made available to clients in plenty of time to allow for booking at the best prices available.

The photography holiday itinerary is subject to change & is to be considered provisional.

NaturesLens photography holidays require a minimum number of participants, if sufficient photography holiday places are not sold the photography holiday may not be run, this photography holiday has a minimum participant level of 4 plus NaturesLens guide(s).

Not all mentioned wildlife can be observed & photographed at all times of the year, thus some activities may be considered seasonal & not available.

Unless stated otherwise, most NaturesLens wildlife photography holidays are suitable for single travellers, we design our holidays so that each participant gets their own room, there is no sharing & no single supplement - if this is unclear for any event, please check the accomodation arrangements prior to making a booking.

Please note the cuisine on many of the NaturesLens wildlife photography holidays is authentic & typical of the region in which you are travelling, international or western cuisine is often NOT available - if this is unclear for any event, please check the cuisine arrangements prior to making a booking.

Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday BOOKING FORM

All bookings are made subject to our terms & conditions.

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