Birdwatching and wildlife day trips in central Spain
Aegypius monachus© John Muddeman
(For more details of possible dragonfly and butterfly watching and photography trips, please see the Madrid & Extremadura Dragonfly and Butterfly trips.)
IWT offers half-day and day-trip birding and wildlife watching excursions in C Spain, in addition to our longer custom / tailor-made and more fixed itinerary tours throughout Iberia. These are adapted to best fit the requirements of the client, and can vary through the whole spectrum from specifically targeting special species for observation, such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, Iberian Magpie and Citril Finch amongst the birds, or even the endemic Spanish Ibex, scarce Pronged Clubtail or rare Zephyr Blue butterfly, amongst many others, to generalist trips to try and observe the widest range of species in particular habitat types.
Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia© John MuddemanIndividuals, couples and larger groups can all be accommodated and please note that all levels of knowledge can be catered for, from those with no previous knowledge of European birds or wildlife, to those with high levels of experience. In addition, the trips often include sites of historical and cultural interest, as well as spectacular scenery, and every attempt will be made to try and incorporate these aspects into the itinerary if requested. In the appropriate seasons and where possible on birding trips, we can also enjoy the flora, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies of the areas visited, the diversity of which are correspondingly high.
Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus© John MuddemanEvening trips for owls and nightjars can be specially arranged, as can longer trips to sites for rarer and more localized species in the wider region such as White-headed Duck in La Mancha and Dupont's Lark in Segovia.
We are naturally also happy to arrange short tours for a few days to more distant areas, including to Extremadura, in western Spain. The emphasis here is on observing raptors and steppe species, including Black Stork, Bonelli's Eagle and (from mid-May until October) also White-rumped Swift, in addition to many of those bird species mentioned in the texts about Madrid, La Mancha and Castilla y Leon. Angel's tears Narcissus triandrus© John Muddeman
In season, special opportunities also exist here to look for range-restricted dragonflies, including Orange-winged Dropwing, Green Hooktail and with luck, Splendid Cruiser. Another excellent option is to visit the Sierra de Andújar in N Andalucía to search for the critically endangered Iberian Lynx, combining this with observations of a wide range of birds and several other large mammals and other wildlife in the hills and valleys of these beautiful mountains, plus the agri-steppes and lakes of La Mancha en route. For longer options, please see our Tailor-made and Custom Birding and Wildlife Tours page.
It should be stressed that clearly, not all species can be seen in one day, and although the guides will make every effort possible to find the species requested, it is not possible to guarantee seeing a particular species. After all, "Birds have wings and they don't read books" as I heard another guide once say to me! Of course many of the species are also only seasonally present, but if requested we will happily inform you before your visits of the likelihood of seeing certain species.
"We both want to thank you for the excellent guiding you provided; we will heartily recommend you to other birders."
Martin & Sheridan R. (USA) October 2016
"Just a few lines to say very many thanks for the tour round about Madrid, Segovia, Toledo et al! I did enjoy it very much. I think Gill was blown away at how much she had seen and she too had enjoyed herself, in fact so much that she has suggested we do TWO next year – my own thoughts are that that would be too difficult to arrange with your diary to consider as well as ours. You can certainly go ahead with thinking about Bears and Wolves say end of August beginning of September."
Gillian G. (UK) October 2016
"I want to thank you for your amazing spotting for myself and Gabrielle. It was one of those special days. Thank you again for a morning full of wonder."
Thomas & Gabrielle K. (IRE) April 2016
"I had a good day. I saw several birds that were completely new to me and excellent views of some I had only glimpsed previously, or hummed and hahed about what they were, so I felt very satisfied."
Gill W. (UK) January 2016
|Trips are run on the following lines:|
|Duration:||From half a day to a few days or more. Start and finish times are arranged in advance by mutual agreement, though trips normally leave around 7 a.m. and return 9 hours later for a typical day trip. For longer tours please email
for a commitment-free estimate.|
|Guide:||Spanish-speaking English guide (John Muddeman) or English-speaking Spanish guide. For each guide, up to three clients, more by prior arrangement.|
|Transport:||In the rental vehicle of the client, or otherwise by arrangement (as appropriate). Hotel, airport or meeting point pick-up and drop-off as arranged in advance.|
|Food:||Not included. We find good local food in one of the numerous bars en route. If requested in advance, the guide can supply a simple picnic lunch and bottled water. Special dietary requirements also need to be discussed in advance.|
|Cost:||The following (unchanged) prices for 2014 and 2015 for guiding in Madrid and include fuel (all food is extra at cost). For longer trips to La Mancha, Andújar, Extremadura, etc., all fuel and other expenses are extra and paid at cost.|
- ½ day (± 4.5 hours): 90 Euros for 1 person + 15 Euros per person extra.
- 1 day (± 9 hours): 180 Euros for 1 person + 30 Euros per person extra.
Gomphus graslinii© John MuddemanInformation can also be provided on places to stay in the different areas, though the guide cannot legally undertake booking and payment for clients. Longer trips and particularly those for larger groups legally require coverage by a registered Travel Agent and will be organised through the specialist wildlife tour company Spainbirds Nature Tours.
The trips are organised by John Muddeman for IWT, with all significant data recorded during the trips forwarded to the local recorders and SEO/BirdLife, the national ornithological association. IWT does not support the regular use of tapes to lure birds in the field, especially in spring, but tries to give clients the best views of the birds possible, without causing disturbance. Photography and sound recording are welcomed.
c/ Alcocer 1, 1°C,
Fresnedillas de la Oliva,
Office: (+34) 918 989195
Mobile: (+34) 649 608747
"Wow, this is a great list! Thank you for making the [Extremadura] bird watching wonderful. Your expert knowledge and guidance was great. We saw many birds and some beautiful countryside."
Indra & Heiko A. (Australia) October 2013
"Bev and I will always remember the wonderful village you took us to lunch [in Madrid] and the non-urban Spain you introduced us to. Wonderful people, environment, culture, food and wine. One of the best trips we've ever had!"
Don H. & Bev B. (USA) September 2012