Extremadura - autumn wildlife and culture
The region of Extremadura, in south-west Spain, is famous for its history, farming and landscape, as well as being one of western Europe’s most popular areas for birdwatching.
Our visit is timed to enjoy the start of autumn when the dry heat of summer has eased, the landscape has started to take on different colours, the resident birds are being joined by those arriving for the winter but there are still some summer species around as well as some butterflies and dragonflies. Reptiles, amphibians and a few mammals should also be found and the aromatic shrubs and characteristic trees of the area provide extra interest. Our itinerary includes gentle birdwatching, whilst also looking for other wildlife and with a chance to get to know the local flora, perhaps even some early autumn flowers. Hoopoe, White and Black Stork, Azure-winged Magpie, Eurasian Black Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle and Iberian Hare are just a few of the species we should see.
Our hotel is a charming, family-run country house in a quiet area looking across the valley towards the town of Trujillo. Our hosts will share their love of the local culture and our local guide will introduce us to the wildlife and habitats of this important ecological region. We’ll explore the ‘dehesa’ landscape of Holm and Cork Oak trees, the mosaic of small valleys and open plains and steppes dotted with granite outcrops, the rocky mountains of Monfragüe National Park and the luxuriantly vegetated slopes of the Villuercas Mountains.
Cultural visits include the Roman remains at Merida, the Moorish centre of Cáceres, the monastery at Guadalupe and the historic centre of Trujillo. Sampling the traditional food is an added bonus: local cheeses and honey, ‘black’ Iberico ham from the pigs that forage under the oak trees, and some pleasant local wines.