R A P T O R S O F T H E P Y R E N E E S
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 4
T R I P O V E R V I E W
The cry of an eagle and the whoosh of wings as it lands feet away from you! This new photography workshop for 2024 targets the spectacular raptors that can be found in the mountains and plains of Catalonia - from the regal Bearded Vulture which scavenges on bones, to precision hunters such as the Goshawk and Bonelli's Eagle. Immersing ourselves in the wild heart of southern Spain, and with comfortable accommodation in an enchanting medieval village which overlooks the region, our hide photo sessions will take advantage of every minute of light to capture feeding, courtship, mating and fighting behaviours. We can use Go-Pro and remote wide-angle setups on many species, offering us unique images and an intimate perspective into the spectacular events of these birds' lives.
Photographable Species: Lammergeier, Griffon Vulture, Black Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle, Golden Eagle, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Lesser Kestrel, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Little Owl, Eagle Owl, Long-Eared Owl. A variety of smaller birds can be photographed at the Raptor Drinking Pool Hide, such as Serin and Sardinian Warbler.
5 nights stay in an enchanting medieval fortress town in the Pyrenees, staying in a charming full-board, non-shared apartment with excellent Catalan cuisine served next door
Photograph many of Spain's rarest birds of prey - up to 8 raptors, 3 vulture and 3 owl species - in stunning mountain, steppe, water and farmland habitat
Develop a uniquely rich portfolio of raptors in flight, feeding, hunting, bathing and fighting
Exclusive access to photography hides
Expert guiding and 1-on-1 tuition from award-winning photographer and local guides
Get unique images with our wide-angle and flash setups
Bird photography from ground and water level hides
I T I N E R A R Y
The following is a proposed itinerary, which should be considered provisional, subject to bird activity, weather and hide choices. In the case of inclement weather, we will recommend other hides where we may observe these species, or try to rearrange sessions for another day.
Day 1: Fly to Barcelona. Transfer by car 1hr30mins north to our accommodation in the picturesque medieval fortress town of Montsonís. Dusk photo session with the Little Owls. Dinner at a local botiga restaurant which serves excellent traditional Catalan cuisine, and a presentation of our itinerary as well as photographic techniques to apply in the field.
Day 2: A full day in the Vulture Hide photographing Vultures (Bearded, Cinereous and Griffon) in the Pyrenees. This requires a drive of 1h30 approximately to and from the hide, situated in the heart of the Reserva Nacional de Caça de Boumort. Dinner in Montsonís, and a chance to review and edit the day's photographs.
Day 3: Morning photographing either the Bonelli's Eagle, Golden Eagle, Little Owl, Goshawk or Sparrowhawk (your choice), near the town of Montsonís. Lunch. Afternoon and evening photographing the Lesser Kestrel. Dinner in Montsonís.
Day 4: All day photographing either the Bonelli's Eagle, Golden Eagle, Little Owl, Goshawk or Sparrowhawk (your choice). Evening session with Eagle Owl. Dinner in Montsonís.
Day 5: A full day at the Raptor Drinking Pool. This is a spacious low-level hide where you may photograph many species of raptor and small birds at water level. The most common visitors are the Red Kite, Marsh Harrier and Buzzard, and occasionally the Goshawk, Bonelli's Eagle, Cinereous Vulture and Griffon Vulture may make an appearance. During calmer and warmer periods, small birds may flit down from the surrounding bushes to bathe, such as Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Linnet, Rock Sparrow, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Thekla Lark, Magpie, Chaffinch and Robin. On the return to Montsonis, we can check in on a Long-Eared Owl roost. Dinner in Montsonís.
Day 6: Morning session photographing either the Bonelli's Eagle, Golden Eagle, Little Owl, Goshawk or Sparrowhawk (your choice). We return to Barcelona in the afternoon for our flight home.
Why not stay on a couple more days in Madrid? Based at Soto de Viñuelas, we will photograph the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Genet, Azure-Winged Magpie and much more.
We will stay in the enchanting medieval fortress town of Montsonís for the duration of our trip. Nestled in the mountains and secluded from the bustle of the large town of Lleida, it is a magical experience to wake up to the old Montsonis castle which looks over rolling hillsides, olive groves and farmland.
Many of the photography hides are just a 5-minute drive above the town, and it is even possible to observe some of our photography targets, such as Eagle Owl, Vultures and Bonelli's Eagle, as you soak up the view or enjoy an evening stroll before dinner.
Our apartment is equipped with comfortable private bedrooms with windows overlooking the town, a communal kitchen and lounge area, bathroom and washing facilities, plus heating and wifi.
The attached botiga restaurant and artisanal shop serve high quality Catalan tapas and cuisine at excellent prices.
O U R B A S E
T H E H I D E S
Our hides are distributed between the mountains directly above Montsonís, the steppes and plains of Lleida, and the Pyrenean peaks in the Reserva Nacional de Caça de Boumort, giving us a spectacular spread of raptor species to rival anywhere else in Europe. Hide photography is the best way for us to photograph these wild birds at close proximity without disturbing their natural behaviours. The hides are equipped with high quality one-way glass windows, meaning that we can are invisible from the outside, which increases our chances of observing and photographing a variety of feeding, mating and fighting behaviours. For many species, we can even use Go-Pros and remote wide angle setups, allowing us a unique close-up encounter. Most hides are equipped with a toilet and ample seating arrangements, and are designed for odour, acoustic and visual isolation. Tripods are recommended for action shots, and additional tripods or heads can be provided upon request.
Surely the holy grail of any raptor photographer's trip to the Pyrenees, the Bearded Vulture (or Lammergeier) is a magnificently regal vulture that has to be seen to be believed. We have two mountain feeding-station hides in the Boumort reserve from which you can photograph numerous Bearded Vulture adults and subadults flying and feeding together, along with Griffon and Cinereous Vultures, at close proximity and eye / flight-level against a backdrop of mountains and open scrubland. If you only visit one hide, this is the one.
Hide Seats 3 to 4 people.
Timing All day session. Requires a 1h30 drive to the Scavenger Hide within the national park.
Lens 100-400mm and potentially up to 500mm.
Cinereous Vulture & Griffon Vulture
In addition to the Bearded Vulture hides, we have a couple of hides dedicated to the smaller two vultures, the Cinereous and Griffon.
Hide Seats 3 to 4 people.
Timing All day session.
Lens 100-400mm and potentially up to 500mm.