Category Archives: spain

Spanish Bird Photography in 2018

Nestled in the trees within the olive grove, the little owls make their nests image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

We run a number of wildlife photography holidays to the Spanish Plains, each is designed to allow you to photograph the wide variety of Spanish bird species that live in, on & above these expansive vistas; you may wonder what species are likely to be photographable during each of the various Spanish Bird Photography Trips.

One of Calera's Bustards at sunrise image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Our weekend to weekend offering, Spanish Birds of the Calera Plains, is now in the fifth year of running – this Spanish Bird photography holiday takes place between 21st – 29th April 2018 – during the 8 night duration trip, you should hopefully be able to spend time in the hides capturing images of bee-eater, black kite, black vulture, black-winged kite, cuckoo, great bustard, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, hoopoe, kestrel, lesser kestrel, little owl, red kite, red-legged partridge & more. The trip is designed to allow you to take advantage of each of the various hides, multiple times; additionally there are further hides that you should be able to make use of, one for passerines & another, the lake hide, which has produced some amazing images of stilts & other lake dwellers through the years.

On the ground, a little owl attempts to out stare the camera lens grove image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Running several weeks earlier, on 30th March – 2nd April 2018, the long weekend trip, of 3 nights duration, known as Birds of the Spanish Plains, will afford you time in the hides to capture images of black kite, black vulture, black-winged kite, cuckoo, great bustard, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, hoopoe, kestrel, lesser kestrel, little owl, red-legged partridge & more, plus hopefully, at this early point in the calendar, there will be opportunities for photography of the marsh harrier.

The afternoon sessions at the shoreline hide are often bathed in a glorious light image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

At the beginning of May, specifically 5th – 7th May 2018, a weekend visit will afford clients four hide sessions, two morning & two evening, hopefully providing opportunities to photograph bee-eater, black kite, black vulture, black-winged kite, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, hoopoe, kestrel, lesser kestrel, little owl, red-legged partridge, roller & more; we also hope to include the little bustard for this 2 night trip.

Tossing an insect, this European Bee eater demonstrates it's agility image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Our last trip for 2018, sees us visit during the weekend of 26th – 28th May 2018, this trip, will again afford clients four hide sessions, two morning & two evening, hopefully providing opportunities to photograph the following species, bee-eater, black kite, black vulture, great grey shrike, griffon vulture, little bustard, little owl, red kite, roller & more besides.

A mated pair of the little owls that live in one of the nearby olive groves photographed during the Natureslens Birds of Spain Photography Holiday

The location of the hides in the area surrounding Toledo is superb, teeming with wildlife & has never failed to impress, this is why we have used this network of hides for the last four years, & will continue to do so, it would be great to have you join NaturesLens for any of the above wildlife photography holidays, the 8 night trip is led for NaturesLens by Sean Weekly, whilst Pui Hang & myself split the guiding duties on the weekend visits – all four of the Spanish Bird Photography Trips are conducted on a full board, non-shared hotel room basis; & we include easy transfers between Madrid Airport & Calera y Chozas.

One of the Lesser Kestrels passes food to it's mate photographed on one of the pair of NaturesLens Wildlife Photography Holidays to capture images of the Birds of Spain

Dan’s second report from our Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

One of the hoopoes returns the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday

I mentioned in my previous blog that during this year’s trip to Calera, for the NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday, that Spring was far more advanced than the year before. Previously the rollers hadn’t even turned up yet whereas this year they were already establishing nesting locations & ferociously chasing anything that came near, including a kestrel at one stage! They weren’t feeding young yet so the visits weren’t so frequent but there aren’t many birds in Europe as stunning as these & it was a pleasure to photograph them.

A European Roller showing it's rear plummage photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the European Rollers found on the Spanish Plains photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

A firm favourite amongst everyone is always the carrion hide. The action is constant with varied species & even the odd guest appearance from a fox or if you’re really lucky an imperial eagle! The regulars are just as fun though & watching lots of griffon & black vultures feasting is quite a sight! This hide really fills up the memory cards!

A griffon vulture comes into land at the carrion hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of black vultures amongst the heather that lines the area around the carrion hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Speaking of favourites, my favourite hide in Calera is that of the lesser kestrels. They are charming small falcons & a joy to watch at the colony as they bring back all sorts of tasty morsels. With the odd hen harrier flying by in the fields behind & the bubbling from bee-eaters overhead it’s a great hide to spend an afternoon or two in!

One of the lesser kestrels photographed from the roof level hide photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the lesser kestrels returns to the roof top nesting site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A different angle for this lesser kestrel on the roof photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of the lesser kestrels mating at their nesting site photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

During this year’s trip I took a drive with our local guide to look for red-legged partridge. An introduced species in the UK but don’t be put off – the birds in Iberia have quite striking markings & make a nice subject. We stalked them in the car in the surrounding countryside & the array of photos you can take make a nice addition to the hide work here.

A red legged partridge walks through a ploughed field photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A red legged partridge walks amongst the dried grass of the Spanish Plains photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

I’ll finish with another common european bird but also another wonderful one; the hoopoe! I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like seeing or photographing one of these. When they raise their crest there are few European birds that look more tropical!

One of the hoopoes lands upon returning the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the hoopoes returns the nest site with a freshly caught grub photographed during the 2017 Natureslens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

If you’re looking for a great trip with a really wide variety of European classics as well as the Iberian specials such as black-winged kite & the bustards then the Spanish Bird Photography Holiday will not disappoint!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO UNDERTAKE THE SPANISH BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY HOLIDAY IN 2018?

For 2018, NaturesLens have already planned a duo of Spanish Bird Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless opportunity to add a plethora of photos of the birds of Spain to your portfolio – or you can attend the separate events individually – the two events are the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday followed the next week by Spanish Bird Photography Holiday.

Starting with the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday during mid-April – specifically starting on April 13 & ending on April 20, 2018 – to be led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens, then the amazing Spanish Bird Photography Holiday starts on April 21 & ends on April 29, 2018, this trip is being led by … Sean Weekly … so you’ll have his company, photographic tuition & guidance for the whole fortnight.