Follow two best friends across Spain

How did our adventure first begin?
We met about six or seven years ago in Portugal. Stephanie was rummaging about in the undergrowth on the track of an ‘interesting beetle’ and I was on the track of an ‘interesting bird’ that would probably have enjoyed eating the beetle.

Our interests were compatible and we became firm friends. In 2017, after Stephanie decided to sell up her olive farm in Portugal, I joined her in an 11,000 miles birdwatching tour of Iberia. We both love Spain and Portugal, and are both constantly attempting to learn Spanish and Portuguese, but we seem to get by.

The 7-month birdwatching tour, 2017 – 2018 was a whirlwind birdwatching experience, with good birding and exciting goings-on. It was astounding to see an adult Goliath Heron with juvenile delinquent, in Figuiera do Foz, Portugal, feeding on a snippet of a rice paddy in Red Kite territory. Another time, in Albuferia, Spain, the large cloud of Starlings in the distance, turned out to be a large flock of Glossy Ibis that all flew right over the car. It was beyond words to see a fast, flying Belted Kingfisher skirting around the edge of the Rio Formosa, river at Faro. Its tail was caught on a small ‘pinkie’ compact digital by Stephanie as it dived underwater. No chance for a shot on my camera. Too fast, I wasn’t prepared at all.

Why another birdwatching journey? We want another bird fix. Why not? Stephanie has a motto, ‘life is not a rehearsal’. This is it, it is as good as it gets.

What do we hope to see, and where will we go, on The Grand Iberian Birdwatching Tour, (October 2018 – May 2019), this time so kindly supported by ZEISS?
There were so many bird hotspots, including the Delta Ebro and Doñana National Park, and accidental bird hotspots – those elusive beautiful hot springs with nibbling fish and diving kingfishers. The Chiffchaff was a reoccurring celebrity early on, and posed well, in delightful settings for my camera. Booted Eagles, Moustached Warblers, Short-eared Owls and Glossy Ibis rapidly appeared as we ambled along our journey. We hope to see all that we saw on the last journey and possibly a whole lot more.

Perhaps another White Stalk will land on the road in front of us, and make us stop as it walks across the road. Perhaps another Nightjar will rise like a splendid raptor from a dusty lane, lit up by the car headlights. Perhaps a rare Bearded Vulture might magically glide overhead – now wouldn’t that be fantastic! We plan to visit places we never went last time, like the Straits of Gibraltar, to see migrating birds. We will meet bird guides and people at nature reserves. We will chat with other birders. We will talk about birds, photograph birds and I will frequently sit on my small ‘fairy chair’ (it is very small) awhile, and watch the birds. We will write notes and publish images of the birds we see, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

We will have adventures and fun times, not just birding but being out in nature, and coming across those magic moments that just happen. So, as the robin’s ‘September song’ echo’s from the bushes and trees and the swallows are assembling on the boat wires, on the river Deben, and thinking about leaving, so are we. Soon be time to trundle off in our campervan. First stop: Galicia in northern Spain.

We can’t wait to share our journey with you, keep a look out on our social:

Sally and Stephanie