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R A I N F O R E S T   A N I M A L S   

O F   P A N A M A

A P R I L   2 0 2 4

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A new nature photo holiday in Panama - eagles, vultures and woodland birds during the green season

Panama

7 nights

6 places

From £3500

25th April - 2nd May 2024 (provisional dates)

5th - 12th May 2024 (provisional dates

If you would like to arrange a private workshop for an individual or group,

please get in touch above for available dates. 

Trip Overview

T R I P    O V E R V I E W

 

Just a few kilometres from Madrid lies a hidden treasure that few know about and even fewer can access. For this workshop, we have exclusive access to a protected 8000-hectare estate with a network of hides dedicated to photographing some of Spain's rarest creatures such as the Spanish Imperial Eagle and the Genet. The combination of exclusive access, a rare ancient holm oak forest and well-preserved Mediterranean pasture, a higher density of Imperial Eagles than anywhere else in Spain, and proximity to Madrid, make this a truly unique destination and photographic experience.

 

H I G H L I G H T S

  • 4 nights stay in comfortable non-shared hotel accommodation, in a charming medieval village just a short drive throw from Madrid

  • Exclusive access and permits to the estate and its network of photography hides - no other photographers outside of Spain have access to this estate! 

  • Photograph the Spanish Imperial Eagle, Spain's rarest and most iconic bird of prey, as well as Goshawk, Golden Eagle and Vultures

  • Rare mammals such as Ibex and Genet 

  • Develop a rich portfolio of Mediterranean birds such as the Azure-Winged Magpie, Crested Tit and Iberian Green Woodpecker

  • Expert guiding and 1-on-1 tuition from award-winning photographer and local guides 

  • Bird photography from ground and water level hides 

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Itinerary
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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. You may also choose to extend your stay to make the most of other hides! 

Day 1: Fly to Madrid. Transfer by car 40mins north to our accommodation just beyond Madrid, in the quaint medieval fortress town of Manzanares el Real, near Tres Cantos, on the edge of the Sierra de Guadarrama. Local exploration, settling in, and a chance to see the widespread White Storks which nest around town. Dinner at a local restaurant. Welcome presentation of our itinerary as well as photographic techniques to apply in the field. 

Day 2: We head to our private estate for a full day of photography from the hides. The morning will be spent photographing the rare Spanish Imperial Eagle. After lunch, a hide session for Black and Griffon Vultures. Dinner in Manzanares el Real or Tres Cantos, and a chance to review and edit the day's photographs. 

Day 3: Full day's photography at the private estate. Morning session in the forest bird hide - here we may photograph at eye-level the colourful Azure-Winged Magpie, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Crested Tit, Rock Sparrow, Spotless Starling, Serin, and much else. Afternoon sessions with Little Owl and Iberian Grey Shrike. Dinner in Manzanares el Real, and a chance to review and edit the day's photographs. An optional evening hide session to photograph Genets. 

Day 4: Morning photography on the private estate. An afternoon walk at the nearby La Pedriza, an area of stunning rock formations, looking for Ibex which can venture close for photos. Alternatively, if you'd rather keep photographing the birdlife, a trip can be arranged to a hide in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range for Golden Eagles. Evening session with White Storks returning to nests at sunset. Last dinner in town. 

Day 5: Morning hide session on the private estate, with any species you'd like to add or revisit. A leisurely lunch and time to pack and wind down. Late afternoon flight home. 

Why not combine this with a trip down south to the Pyrenees? Photograph a smorgasbord of 14 raptor species, from the Bearded Vulture to the Bonelli's Eagle and Eagle Owl, in the town of Montsonis. 

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Practical Info
What's Included
Make An Enquiry

Meals       

Breakfast (included at our accommodation, or taken on the estate) will consist of pastries, toast, fresh fruit, and a light meal, with coffee/tea and juices. We will either take lunch in the nearby town, a 10 minute drive away, or take pre-prepared meals at the estate / in hides as suits your preference. Dinner will be in town in a traditional Spanish restaurant. Please let me know if you have any dietary requirements. 

Walking       

We consider this light, as we will be reliant on transport between hide locations on the estate. Light to moderate walking on rocky terrain will be required for the ibex, as we cannot guarantee how accessible the ibex will be on any given day. Please contact me beforehand to discuss suitability and if you have any mobility issues. 

Group Size & Tuition      

With a maximum of 5 participants, our small group size ensures everyone has a better personal experience. I will be on hand to answer your questions and help you with observing animals whatever your skillset.  

Photo Gear  

We recommend that you bring a DSLR with a zoom lens in the 300-500mm range, which is sufficient for flight shots and portraits of birds from the hides. 400mm is a good all-round lens for these hides. An extender of 1.4x or 1.2x on a 300mm lens can give you extra reach if desired. A tripod or beanbag is essential. A wide-angle lens or GoPro can be used with permission at bird feeding stations or at the genet hide. 

Clothing      

It is important that participants wear appropriate clothing for the late winter temperatures and as temperatures shift throughout the day. For example, in the early morning gloves and thick socks are recommended; then as soon as the sun comes out, the temperature will rise rapidly. Please check the recommended kit list, sent upon sign-up. Participants will be advised nearer the time on the current forecasts. 

Weather      

Ranging from 5C to 15C, typically pleasant. 

Flights        

We recommend flying to Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport. Please discuss with me so that I can recommend the best flight for you to take. 

P R A C T I C A L    I N F O R M A T I O N

W H A T ' S    I N C L U D E D

Included

  

  ✓  Services of professional photography guide Paul Alistair Collins, as well as local nature and photography guides

  ✓  Private access and permits to the estate and its network of private photography hides, just outside Madrid 

  ✓  Evening image reviews and edit sessions (optional)

  ✓  A welcome presentation on the local fauna and sites 

  ✓  4 nights' accommodation at a hotel near the estate

  ✓  All meals, taken at the estate or in town 

  ✓  Airport pick-up and drop-off from Adolfo Suarez Madrid airport to our hotel

  ✓  Ground transportation

Not Included

   ✗  Return flights from London to Madrid

       (please contact me so that I can recommend the best

       flights)

   ✗  Any Visa charges or airport taxes

   ✗  Personal and cancellation insurance*

   ✗  Personal snacks and beverages

   ✗  Personal expenses

   ✗  Laundry 

   ✗  Any additional overnight stays 

For full terms and conditions, including our cancellation policy and personal travel insurance, please click to see the Terms & Conditions 

* To take part in our trip, you must be covered by adequate insurance for its entire duration. The insurance must cover for cancellation, ​medical and emergency expenses.

We recommend insurance against damage or loss of baggage, camera equipment, instruments and personal items. 

M A K E    A    B O O K I N G    E N Q U I R Y

Contact Paul at paulalistaircollins@gmail.com for further information.

 

Once your booking has been confirmed, a £300 deposit will be required per person to secure your place.

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