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Tour Details

Dates:1st of Sep - 7th of Sep 2024
Availability:SOLD OUTGuaranteed departure
Group Size:Minimum 3, maximum 12
Grading:Easy, gentle paced walks
PricesFull price: £1,425.00 / person Single room supplement: £150.00 / person Deposit: £150.00 / person
Price includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transportation, services of your guides, and a holiday report.
Not included: International travel, drinks and other personal items, holiday insurance.

Tour Highlights

  • An excellent array of dragonflies and damselflies, including some recent African colonists like Orange-winged and Violet Dropwings, and Desert Darter
  • Some desirable butterflies, such as Two-tailed Pasha, Desert Orange Tip, Striped Grayling, African Grass Blue, Plain Tiger, and Mediterranean Skipper
  • Steppe and wetland birding, offering chances of Great Bustard, Red-knobbed Coot, Audouin's Gull, Greater Flamingo, Moustached Warbler, etc
  • Opportunity to attend a bird-ringing session at the Pego Marshes
  • A donation will be made to Zerynthia, for use in the creation of local butterfly micro-reserves in Valencia province

Tour Description

With the heat of midsummer fading, an autumn wildlife break exploring the varied habitats of Valencia is always an extremely pleasant prospect – not only for abundant and varied wildlife at every turn, but also for the gorgeous boutique hotel in which we base ourselves for the week! We always stay in comfortable accommodation on our tours, but this particular hotel, with its luxurious rooms and fine dining, takes things to another level entirely.

It might be hard to tear ourselves away from our hotel, but we promise it’s worth the effort. This tour combines several aspects of natural history, giving variety to every day, and something for all tastes.

Prominent at this time of year are dragonflies and damselflies, and we will visit a variety of locations to maximise the variety of species we encounter. We anticipate finding in the region of 20 species, including some that are scarce in a European context – amongst many examples of commoner species, we’ll look for African pioneers like Orange-winged Dropwing Trithemes kirbyi, Violet Dropwing Trithemes annulata, Desert Darter Sympetrum sinaiticum, and Black Percher Diplacodes lefebvrii; and range-restricted European species like the ethereal White Featherlegs Platycnemis latipes. At many wetland sites our steps will be dogged by persistent Northern Banded Groundlings Brachythemis impartita!

Our dragonfly-hunting will take us from lowland wetlands up into higher elevations and shaded, rushing waterways. With such a range of habitats, it’s inevitable that we’ll encounter butterflies on the wing too, and amongst their number this late in the season are some special species – we’ll make a particular effort to see the magnificent Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius feeding on ripe fruit on a secluded, ancient fig tree and, amongst others, Mediterranean Skipper Gegenes nostrodamus, Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus, African Grass Blue Zizeeria knysna, and Desert Orange Tip Colotis evagore.

Nor is this all! Autumn birding in Valencia is always a delight, and we’ll make sure we catch up with a good variety of the specialties of the region – including Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata, White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala and Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris, Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus, Great Bustard Otis tarda, Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura, Iberian Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis, Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia, and many more besides. Covering a range of habitats this week, including inland steppe, will serve us well in this regard. We’ll also take advantage of Pau Lucio’s involvement in the long-running ornithological research on the Pego Marshes, and join some of his colleagues during a morning bird-ringing session there – we’ll hope to see some notable passerines like Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon and Bluethroat Luscinia svecica here.

Coming after the northern European summer, and before the main impetus of autumn bird migration, this relaxing tour is perfectly timed to provide a last fix of summer butterflies and dragonflies, including some decidedly localised and scarce species in a European context, and a welcome hit of special southern European birds. We hope you return home with happy memories, many photographs to enjoy, and in time perhaps to catch up with some migrant birds close to home.

Tour Leaders

Jon is a natural history writer, photographer and experienced wildlife tour leader based in the Shetland Isles, but with strong links in Europe and the Americas that see him travelling widely in search of memorable wildlife encounters.

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Pau, from Gandia in Spain, has a lifelong interest in wildlife. He’s a professional ornithologist and wildlife guide, but finds time to work as a professor at the Universitat Politècnica de València, teaching Zoology and Wildlife Management.

ButterflyFind Out More

Tour Location


Tour Itinerary

  • DAY 1

Arrival at Valencia airport.*

Afternoon at Albufera de Valencia wetland, searching for Mediterranean Skipper and African Grass Blue, and dragonflies including Red-veined Darter, Violet Dropwing, Long Skimmer, Banded Groundling and Lesser Emperor.

  • DAY 2


Morning looking for the stunning Two-tailed Pasha, while Striped Grayling is also likely in the area. Afternoon looking for dragonflies nearby, including Orange-winged Dropwing, Keeled Skimmer and Southern Skimmer.

  • DAY 3

El Fondo Natural Park and Crevillente.

A predominantly birding day, although we will certainly see dragonflies and will target Plain Tiger too. The El Fondo wetlands will yield numbers of the globally threatened Red-knobbed Coot and Marbled Duck, and we'll expect to see Western Swamphen too. In the dry hills of Crevillente we will look for Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, and Bonelli's Eagles.

  • DAY 4

Pego Marshes and Vall de Gallinera.

We will attend a bird ringing session at Pego Marshes, and might expect to see Moustached Warbler, Bluethroat and other migrant passerines. Dragonflies will, of course, also be present here. In the afternoon a mountain stream at a higher elevation will offer different dragonfly possibilities. Some of the species we might encounter are Blue Hawker, Desert Darter, Common Darter and Keeled Skimmer among others.

  • DAY 5

Steppes of Albacete.

Heading inland to the steppes of East Albacete, we will encounter a very different avifauna, and expect to see Calandra Lark, Thekla Lark, Stone Curlew, Rock Sparrow, and Great Bustard. On the temporary lagoons scattered around the steppes we will look for the endangered White-headed Duck, and Greater Flamingos.

  • DAY 6

Salinas de Santa Pola.

After stopping at a coastal site for Desert Orange Tip, we will visit the salt pans of Santa Pola, an excellent site for terns and gulls - here we would expect to find Slender-billed and Audouin’s Gulls - and perhaps some migrant waders too, like Collared Pratincole.

  • DAY 7

Departure & transfer to Valencia airport.

If time allows, we will make a wetland stop en route to the airport to target any missing dragonfly species.

As with all of our tours, we want our guests to enjoy the very best views of the very best wildlife and, as such, we think it’s important to retain a little flexibility in the holiday itinerary. This means that we may choose to swap days around to take into account local weather conditions, or the timing of the flight or flowering season we find upon arrival at our holiday destination. Rest assured, we will ensure you visit all the best sites, and we have your best interests and comfort at heart!

*We’ll meet at the airport as this is a convenient travel hub for many. However, we appreciate that some guests may have chosen to come overland via rail to Valencia. The main railway station in town is Estació del Nord, and there is a frequent aerobus service linking the city centre with the airport.

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