Spain & Morocco | Inglorious Bustards Birding & Wildlife Tours | Birding Two Continents

Legend has it that Hercules used his incredible strength to separate the continents of Europe and Africa, creating the Straits of Gibraltar. The Inglorious Bustards are all set to use our outstanding local knowledge and expertise to bring them back together for you! This is our feature specialist tour, and our experience of the area and local contacts mean we can take you where other guides fear to tread.

The point at which Africa and Europe meet is also the epicentre for one of the world’s most spectacular bird migrations.  Every year, millions of birds make the 14 km journey across the Straits of Gibraltar, making use of uplifts and thermals rising off the Rock of Gibraltar and the stunning Moroccan peak of Jebel Musa. An estimated 250,000 raptors pass over this rugged terrain during these periods, as well as untold thousands of other journeying passerines and seabirds.

On this trip we will experience the very best of two continents from cracking locations in both Spain and Morocco.  As well as being at the heart of the thrilling migration spectacle, we will look for Marsh Owls, Northern Bald Ibis and Barbary Macaques as well as the seabirds and cetaceans of the Straits on a boat excursion and Moroccan specialities in both mountain and wetland sites.

Top Five Birds

  1. Moroccan Marsh Owl
  2. Moussier´s Redstart
  3. Rüppell´s Vulture
  4. Northern Bald Ibis
  5. Raptor Migration Spectacle

Ethics

At Terra Incognita we support tours that do good in the world. They must help to conserve the environment, support local people, and educate their guests. Here’s what Simon & Niki from Inglorious Bustards Birding & Wildlife Tours said to us…

What conservation activities do you support through the tour, and your wider operations?

We come from a background in conservation, previously holding senior positions within the RSPB´s conservation directorate. As such we are very aware of the impacts that wildlife appreciation can have on the wonderful creatures we are seeking to enjoy, but also how our activities can help secure their futures!

We partner with Fundación Migres, www.fundacionmigres.org, Europe´s longest-running bird migration monitoring programme, and support their monitoring, scientific and active conservation work financially, promotionally and through giving our own time as migration monitoring surveyors.

We work hard to eliminate our carbon emissions by reducing transport, food and disposable packaging costs, and those we can´t eliminate we offset through annual contributions to the World Land Trust carbon offset scheme.

In Morocco we are trying to work with large scale British/European fruit and vegetable producers in the area to ensure the future of the Moroccan Marsh Owl, whose habitat is currently threatened by their activities.

How does the tour support local people?

We take pride in our legendary picnic lunches, where we bring our guests a taste of local seasonal produce, sourced directly wherever possible from our favourite sustainable producers such as https://www.tarifaecocenter.com/ where we also enjoy amazing meals on selected tours!

In Morocco we work with local guides to bring our guests closer to the extraordinary wetland birds of the Merja Zerga lagoon and around, ensuring benefits to the local community, demonstrating to them the importance of their resident wildlife, while avoiding disturbance to the valuable species of the area.

What type of environmental education activities do you incorporate into your tour?

Aside from our commercial tours, we also work with UK university field study groups and youth birder groups such as www.nextgenerationbirders.blogspot.com, enabling them to experience nature on both sides of the Straits and appreciate threats and challenges to local wildlife.

Through our partnership with www.fundacionmigres.com we are able to show our groups the science behind the incredible migration spectacle across the Straits of Gibraltar, but also alert them to the threats faced by these migratory birds (and cetaceans!).

When we take our groups out onto the Straits to encounter our enthralling resident and migratory dolphin and whale species, we work with local company www.turmares.com, who practice responsible whale-watching and gather data on each expedition to contribute to cetacean conservation research.

Review

There were so many outstanding elements to this trip. In Spain, watching huge numbers of migrating raptors on the crossing from Spain to Morocco, and being on a boat in the Straits watching migrating cetaceans and seabirds. In Morocco, getting up close with waders in the huge lagoons and walking the mountain trails to see species such as Moussier’s redstart, blue rock thrush, black wheatear and barbary macaque. There was also a walk through the Blue City to give a cultural aspect to the trip. But I think the most memorable moment was sat on the cliffs above the Straits of Gibraltar with views to the Riff mountains watching the migrating raptors, storks, bee-eaters and many more whilst eating a picnic of local produce prepared by our leaders.

Inglorious Bustards stood out because of our guides’ knowledge of the local area and how the changing weather conditions alter where and how the birds migrate. Simon and Niki are extremely adaptable to make the most of the conditions for observation. Their enthusiasm when talking about migration down the Eastern Atlantic flyway is obvious. They use the whole flyway to engage with nature enthusiasts so that birds can be seen in the summer breeding grounds, during migration and at wintering areas.

Simon and Niki make you very aware of the conservation issues facing wildlife; beyond just talking about the problems, they are very involved with local conservation groups and engaging with local businesses, big and small. Culture isn’t forgotten either, particularly in Morocco where we visited small local restaurants and gained insight into local culture during a walk around the Blue City of Chefchaouen.

Birding Two Continents is a tour for everyone, no matter what your level of experience. Although you cover a lot of ground, it is at a relaxed, easy pace and even the less-abled are catered for. The base for the tour is in an ecolodge within excellent grounds for birdwatching just from the veranda, while other accommodation is in small ethically run hotels or lodges. All food on the tour is excellent. The leaders’ knowledge and experience ensure you are unlikely to miss anything and the experience gives a unique perspective to observing migration and culture. Lynne Dale, July 2018.

• Experience of the tour = 5/5
• Tour’s contribution to conservation = 5/5
• Tour’s contribution to local communities = 5/5
• The education the tour = 5/5

Images

Contact

Tour Operator | Inglorious Bustards Birding & Wildlife Tours
Contact Name |  Simon & Niki
Contact Email | info@ingloriousbustards.com
Website | https://ingloriousbustards.com/
Tour Info | https://ingloriousbustards.com/birding-two-continents/

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