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Extremadura 18 – 26 March 2025

Wild Central Spain

Extremadura is one of the few remaining truly wild areas of Spain and, indeed, Europe. The region is renowned for its amazing variety of birds of prey, especially in Monfragüe National Park, and special species such as the bustards and larks to be found on the rolling plains of the Spanish steppes.

The plains around Trujillo and Cáceres form part of the great Spanish steppes with their fascinating assemblage of birds. Here we will search for great bustards performing their incredible breeding display; if we are lucky, an astonishing ritual in which the male turns himself into the appearance of a huge white pom-pom of feathers. Other steppe birds in this area are little bustards, stone-curlews and both pin-tailed and black-bellied sandgrouse.

Crested and calandra larks are also found in the plains. Another speciality is Spanish sparrow, a rather local bird in Spain despite its name.

azure-winged magpie

calandra lark
Calandra lark, above, and azure-winged magpie, left (Steve Fletcher).

We will visit Monfragüe National Park, some 25 miles north of Trujillo. This is one of the most outstanding areas for seeing birds of prey in a country which is itself probably the best for raptors in Europe. It has the core Spanish population of black vultures, which breed here along with griffon and Egyptian vultures. Eagles are well represented here with Spanish imperial, Bonelli's, golden, short-toed and booted. From the various viewpoints, which make fine vantage points for raptor-watching, other species that can be seen include black stork, chough and rock bunting.

Tozo River
Tozo River, with water crowfoot. Behind is open holm oak dehesa.

The lower valleys approaching Monfragüe hold good stands of holm oak woodland, the ‘dehesa’ or wood pasture that is such a distinctive feature of Extremadura. The dehesa is famous for the wintering cranes, most of which leave in February, but here also are azure-winged magpies, that amazing, colourful bird of the east with an outpost in Spain. One theory was that they originated from birds escaped during trade with China in earlier times, but proof that it is a relict population has come to light with the discovery of subfossil bones.

great bustards
Great bustards (Steve Fletcher).


As well as those already mentioned, we should see a selection of the following: Montagu’s harrier, red, black and black-shouldered kites, peregrine, raven, hoopoe, blue rock thrush, little owl, southern grey shrike, red-rumped swallow, woodlark, Sardinian warbler, cirl and corn buntings, spotless starling and great spotted cuckoo.


Patches of white Spanish broom and pink storksbills bring colour to fields close to Trujillo. Miniature daffodils include hoop petticoat and angel’s tears narcissi. Early orchids, such as conical, champagne and naked man orchids, irises and lupins are flowering.

Silene colorata
Catchfly Silene psammitis

Other wildlife

Spain is western Europe’s stronghold for wild mammals, including genet, mongoose and lynx, but these are mainly secretive or nocturnal. Stripe-necked terrapins and Iberian wall lizards are more obvious.

western dappled white sawfly orchid
Western dappled white and sawfly orchid, March 2019.

Holiday details

Excursions will include visits to Monfragüe Natural Park, including places such as Peña Falcón and the Tiétar cliffs; the holm oak dehesa region; and exploration of the plains around Trujillo. We also spend a morning in the wonderful old town of Trujillo with its striking central square and breeding white storks and lesser kestrels.

We will stay - our new routine - at leader Martin Kelsey's Casa Rural called Casa El Recuerdo at San Clemente. San Clemente is in the countryside south of Trujillo.

Prices: £1,900 per person in twin room for eight nights (dates are Tuesday to Wednesday).

Single room supplement: £200

En suite facilities

Flights: Scheduled easyJet flights Gatwick – Madrid e.g.
18 Mar: EZY8277 depart London Gatwick 12:05 arrive Madrid 15:35.
26 Mar: EZY8278 depart Madrid 16:35 arrive Gatwick 18:00.

[In some years there can be a Liverpool-Madrid or Edinburgh-Madrid option, though they are often not daily flights.]

Deposit: £400

Maximum number (one leader): 6-10, to be decided, probably up to 7. We have six rooms reserved. With the usual mix of twins and singles, one minibus, talking seven plus driver comfortably, is the likely group, with Martin Kelsey as guide and driver. If by some chance we have 5 rooms with two people in each, there may be a co-leader/driver.

Conservation project


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Traditional low intensity farming, especially non-irrigated arable farmland but also seasonal grazing, supports much of the special wildlife of Extremadura – and can never be protected just by nature reserves.

The conservation of the Spanish steppes and ‘dehesa’ wood pasture is a great priority for the Sociedad Española de Ornitología (Spanish Ornithological Society / BirdLife Spain).

cork oak dehesa
Cork oak dehesa in Extremadura


Martin Kelsey OBE is our regular leader for Honeyguide in Extremadura where he lives with his family. Martin and his wife Claudia have for many years run their own Casa Rural called Casa El Recuerdo at San Clemente. Martin's background in ecology includes a three-year study on marsh warblers. After three years in the Amazon rain forest with the British Ornithologists' Union, where he met his Claudia, he worked for BirdLife International, before joining Save the Children.

Martin has been active in nature conservation and as a guide in Extremadura for many years. He is a committee member of GUIDEX, an association of professional bird & nature guides in Extremadura. Martin's blog about 'birds, natural history and life in general' in Extremadura is well worth following.

Olives trees and field flowers, San Clemente.

Map of Extremadura
For prices, see Holiday Details at the bottom of the page.

travel aware logo

FCO travel advice for Spain here.

March 2026

As March 2025 is fully booked, here are dates for 2026:
17 – 25 March 2026

Expressions of interest are welcome.


For many years - 21 groups in total - Honeyguide groups stayed at Finca Santa Marta, near San Clemente. This changed ownership in 2019 and has a much reduced number of rooms. There is a tribute to the late Henri Elink Schuurman from Finca Santa Marta on our News 2020-21 page.

Since 2022 we have small groups using five rooms at Martin Kelsey's Casa Rural called Casa El Recuerdo, also at San Clemente.

Evening meals will be Casa El Recuerdo.

Angel's tears

Angel's tears (Narcissus triandrus) The dark background is a cork oak.

Holiday reports

Holiday report March 2023 here.

Holiday report March 2022 here.

Holiday report March 2019 here.

Holiday report March 2017 here.

Autumn 2016 holiday report here.

Other recent reports from February 2015 and March 2014.

There are many more Extremadura holiday reports on our holiday reports pages - 25 reports in total since 1998.

Statue of Pizarro, Plaza Mayor, Trujillo

The main square in Trujillo

Extremadura photos

Photos on Facebook, March 2019.

Mervin Nethercoat on Flickr, March 2019.

Gallery of photos mostly places and flowers.

Birds gallery photos by Steve Fletcher.

Birds of prey gallery photos by Steve Fletcher.

storks in Trujillo

White storks in Trujillo

Useful information and links

Martin Kelsey's blog about birds in Extremadura.

Birding in Extremadura: website of the Government of Extremadura.

Birds of Extremadura illustrated map here. We send a printed copy to anyone who books or enquires about this holiday.

Recommended reading from Crossbill Guides: Extremadura.

More information on this and other Crossbill Guides here.

Extremadura Crossbill Guide

Honeyguide web pages about Extremadura

Extremadura flowers. This is is for flowers we see here — mostly on our March holidays — that aren't in the usual field guides.

Orchis conica at Finca Santa Marta, in March.

More orchids on our Iberian orchids page (also more for March holidays).

Orchis conica at Finca Santa Marta
tree frog


Tree frog


Stripeless tree frog

stripeless tree frog

Marcelino from SEO

Marcelino Cardalliaguet from SEO accepts a cheque from Honeyguide (Malcolm Key).

Marcelino says Honeyguide is: "Currently the best example of sustainable tourism in Extremadura," and praises our "Direct support to local work for the conservation of Extremadura natural values."

Holiday leader

Martin Kelsey

Martin Kelsey OBE, pictured (a little unfairly) after a vulture had just flown overhead. We don't go in for much photo manipulation, but the same photo has been in Honeyguide's brochure but with the dropping removed.

Facebook Honeyguide
... where there are many holiday photos to enjoy.

Atol protected

The air holidays shown are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 3253. ATOL Protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom. Click on the ATOL logo if you want to know more.

Helping you enjoy wildlife – Helping you protect wildlife