Tag Archives: spain

21 fabulous images of the wildlife of Laguna del Taray

Locked in the stare of a harrier an example of the wildlife of Laguna del Taray that may be photographed during our Spanish Wildlife Birdlife of Toledo Photography Holiday

This was my first visit to the hide network that David had spent a year raving about; this hide network facilitates photography of the wildlife of Laguna del Taray & I was blown away by the accommodation, the setting & the wildlife.

Once you come to the end of the 4km dirt track from the main road you pull through some gates & the sweeping walls of the ex-hunting estate welcome you as tens of swallow explode out of the old stable block that is now used for car storage. The inside is very traditional & combined with the excellent home cooking, wine & sangria really sets the scene for a beautiful week in rural Spain.
The estate is now turned back fully to nature with no hunting & as a consequence the wildlife of Laguna del Taray has really bounced back with several raptor species doing well & some super mammals even cropping up on trial cams!
The raptor hides provide loads of opportunities for marsh harriers & common buzzards, if you’re lucky something even more special can turn up too!
There are some great European pin-ups on offer too with several reliable roller hides & hoopoes popping up in front of just about every hide! In fact, I’d never seen so many, hoopoes were extremely common on the estate.
One of my favourite hides was, of course, the lesser kestrels. These tiny birds are incredibly entertaining as they bring prey back for their semi-fledged young lined up on the roof. The constant activity is enough to keep even the most conservative shooter firing multiple frames a second!
This year was unusually dry which meant a lot of the water hides couldn’t be used, however the water holes are kept filled to the brim & these proved to be fantastic with loads of visitors throughout all the sessions. These were the hides that left photographers a bit worn out because of the endless opportunities to capture. A week with the wildlife of Laguna del Taray can only be described as a brilliant experience & the images shown both above & below are just a small selection to give an idea of the variety!
I’ll be returning in January 2020, for the Winter Raptors & can’t wait to see the changes & variation over the seasons!

PHOTOGRAPH THE SPANISH WILDLIFE & BIRDLIFE OF TOLEDO YOURSELF

To photograph the Spanish Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo during the Winter, join Dan, in Spain during January 2020 for a trip lasting 5 nights. Over 4 ½ days of photography, you will have the use of a collection of brilliant hides to capture images of a range of birds, including the raptors of the estate, that call Laguna del Taray their home during the winter months.

This winter photography holiday is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 5 participants & a maximum of 7, plus Dan. Until September 13th 2019, there is a special offer of £1699 available.
All the details of the Winter Raptors of Toledo photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page.
However, should you wish to visit this magnificent hide network during the summer, then you can join Alan, in Spain during June & July 2020 for a trip lasting 7 nights. This photography holiday is ideal for photographing a vast variety of Spanish Birds, including common buzzard, common reed warbler, common sandpiper, crested lark, hoopoe, Iberian hare, lesser kestrel, little owl, harriers of varying type, spotless starling, starling, stone curlew, wild rabbit & more besides!
The summer photography holiday is also offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 5 participants & a maximum of 7, plus Alan. Until September 13th 2019, there is a special offer reducing the price to £2249 available.
All the details of the Spanish Birdlife of Toledo photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page.

21 images of the captivating Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo

A lesser kestrel perched on a tree photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Wildlife Birdlife of Toledo Photography Holiday

Graham was one of the group of guests that joined myself & Dan in Spain during July 2019, to photograph the fabulous Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo – we had a superb group of guests join us, who were a lot of fun, totally engaged & there to make the most of the week of photographic opportunities; along with the superb organisation skills of our hosts, this made for a most enjoyable time.

Graham was lucky in that he captured a few species & behaviours that others didn’t have the chance to experience including crows mobbing the larger raptors at the the various raptor & harrier hides in El Taray …
… & the bee-eaters; sadly the bee-eater nesting had all failed earlier in the summer, the birds tried for a second nesting, but this too failed; the end result of this was that the population of the colony had begun to migrate & disperse earlier than normal. This meant that opportunities with the bee-eaters were to be cherished & made the most of – & Graham did so.
As noted elsewhere, on previous blog posts, the rollers were increasing in activity through the week, with some hides working well earlier in the week, & others becoming highly active in the latter part of the stay; this meant that many of the guests were able to experience the birds in all their glory, & for Graham to capture the quintessential image of a roller tossing an insect into the air to catch in it’s mouth!
When I left, leaving the group with Dan & Luis, the hoopoes were increasing in activity, Graham took advantage of this with a number of visits to the hoopoe photography hides, resulting in some really beautiful images as shown above.
We had timed the trip perfectly for the action on the roofs which the Lesser Kestrel colony have made their nests within, & Graham capitalised upon this, with perched & in flight shots being added to his portfolio.
One of my favourite behavioural moments with Lesser Kestrels is food retrieval, the adults bringing insects back to their young or during the incubation period, the males to the females – the activity on the rooftops was frenetic, with the young demanding food, & the adults making content forays for insects, which they gently passed to the young.
As with each of the other guests, the Stone Curlews at the ware holes were a firm favourite, the drinking shots below, I think capture the pbehaviour of this bird throughout the week perfectly.
As a wrap-up, a few images of the smaller birds & passerines of the estate put on a good show, enabling our guests to capture some great images of them, whilst on a larger scale, the raptors, both harriers & buzzards made their presence known at the hides whilst Graham was ready with him camera.

PHOTOGRAPH THE SPANISH WILDLIFE & BIRDLIFE OF TOLEDO YOURSELF

To photograph the Spanish Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo yourself, join Alan, in Spain during June & July 2020 for a trip lasting 7 nights. This photography holiday is ideal for photographing a vast variety of Spanish Birds, including common buzzard, common reed warbler, common sandpiper, crested lark, hoopoe, Iberian hare, lesser kestrel, little owl, harriers of varying type, spotless starling, starling, stone curlew, wild rabbit & more besides!

The photography holiday is offered on a full board, non-shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 5 participants & a maximum of 7, plus Alan. Until September 13th 2019, there is a special offer reducing the price to £2249 available.
All the details of the Spanish Birdlife of Toledo photography holiday are available on the dedicated event page.

20 images of the fabulous Spanish Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo

A European hare stands on the ground glances at the camera photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Wildlife Birdlife of Toledo Photography Holiday

Like John & George, whose images we published recently, Tim was another of the guests that joined me & Dan for the Spanish Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo Photography Holiday during July of Summer 2019 – as you will see further down, Tim has a bit more of a ‘raptor thing’ going on, with the harriers, he’s my sort of chap! He did, however, capture some images of some rather splendid other species, including the hare at the top of this blog posting!

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12 images of the fabulous Spanish Birdlife & other Wildlife of El Taray

A crouched Hoopoe photographed during the Spanish Birdlife of Toledo Photography Holiday 1

John’s images of the Spanish birdlife & wildlife shows the enormous variety of species to be seen & images to be captured.  For sure, favourite species do get photographed by the group as a whole, such as the hoopoe. But as a group, our guests found enough variety on this trip to add to their portfolio without overlapping with one & other, thanks to the widespread network of hides across the estate.

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17 images of the fantastic Wildlife & Birdlife of Toledo

One of the estate hares stands alert photographed during the NaturesLens Spanish Birdlife of Toledo photography holiday

When I first visited the estate that we would use for our Spanish Birdlife of Toledo Photography Holiday during the summer of 2018, I knew that this was going to be something extraordinary indeed. The estate owner, an ex-hunter, had dedicated himself, along with his collaborative partner, entirely to the project & were already a long way to establishing what looked to be one of, if not the best-equipped hide network that I had seen in Spain, if not worldwide! The attention to detail was meticulous. Camilo, having swapped his gun for a camera, wanted every shot to be perfect. In this task, the pair have primarily achieved their aim, with only nature set to thwart them once or twice!

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15 images of the diverse birdlife of Spain’s plains of Calera

A Lesser Kestrel rests on the tiles of a derelict barn photographed during one of the NaturesLens photography holidays to Spain

In this second trip report on the birdlife of Spain, I look back at our week in Calera. We arrived in Calera Y Chozas after a week of predominantly raptor photography in the Sierra Morena area.

The Spanish Birds of Calera has been running every year for the last five years. The focus of the tour is to capture images of owls, kites & other endemic Spanish birdlife. I’ve seen some incredible photographs from my colleagues when they have guided in this location previously. The area is rich in wildlife with a diverse range of species available, a wildlife photographer’s nirvana! However, would it match our high expectations after an astonishingly fruitful week in the Sierra Morena?
Day one saw one of the guests & I in the Carrion hide to photograph Griffon & Eurasian Black Vultures. I was confident we’d get some excellent access to these scavenging raptors as I had heard much about this hide. I also have to admit to being a bit excited about photographing Eurasian Black Vultures after seeing them in Adamuz.
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10 images of the diverse birdlife of Spain’s Sierra Morena

A Bonnellis Eagle poses amongst the wild flowers photographed during one of the NaturesLens photography holidays to Spain

My first two trips as a photography guide for NaturesLens took me to some beautiful wildlife hotspots in rural Spain during April & May of 2019, the focus of the tours, to photograph the diverse birdlife of Spain.

In this, the first of two trip reports, I’ll be looking back at our week in the Sierra Morena where Spanish raptors were our main subjects.
After arriving in Malaga & meeting our NaturesLens guests, we headed to the village of Adamuz, our base for the week. After settling in at our accommodation & enjoying lunch in the sun, we headed out to photograph Golden Eagles from a purpose-built hide with the most incredible mountain & woodland vista as an unspoilt background.
Hide photography can often be a trial of patience, but we didn’t have to wait long for the star of the show to arrive. As a pair of Golden Eagles circled effortlessly above us, we enjoyed visits from Azure Winged Magpies & Jays. But Golden Eagles were to be our target subject for our first afternoon, & they didn’t disappoint. It was an incredible opportunity to photograph these fantastic raptors at such proximity, & it’s fair to say it set the bar very high for the week ahead!
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Some time spent with the Wildcats, Eagles & Lynx of Spain

The young female Iberian lynx image captured during a NaturesLens Wildcat, Eagles & Iberian Lynx of Spain Photography Holiday

During December 2017, I was lucky enough to spend some time with the Wildcats, Eagles & Lynx of Spain; this was preparation for a trip that we were researching to add to our portfolio.  Once again, I visited Spain in the hope of capturing some images of the elusive Iberian lynx. This wasn’t the first time that we have attempted to launch a photography trip focussed on these subjects. My initial attempt was back in January 2016, but unfortunately, it was unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, not least the lack of sightings.

I arrived in Sierra Morena hoping to be lucky as the reports I had been receiving was that lynx had been spotted in the areas on a regular basis. I arrived too late to go into the lynx hide so spent the afternoon chatting with my host about the species I hoped to photograph to see if we could turn this into a potential photography tour for the guests of NaturesLens – over the next few hours, the plan for the Wildcats, Eagles & Lynx of Spain was formed.

Our host has been working on his lynx project for some years & the area is now home to a more Iberian lynx than Doñana National Park with excellent, regular sightings.

The following morning, I rose early to visit the Imperial Spanish Eagle hide. As soon as the sun rose, to my surprise, a Golden Eagle appeared on the large rock to my right. I watched this magnificent raptor feed for a short while, to allow it to settle before I started taking images.

Perched on a rock, a Golden Eagle lit by the dawn light image captured during a NaturesLens Wildcat, Eagles & Iberian Lynx of Spain Photography Holiday Continue reading