There’s nothing better when travelling than to connect with a place that you really feel at home in.
This is exactly what happened to Simon of the Inglorious Bustards when he first found Huerta Grande eco-resort and met Katrin and the team ten years ago, and we’re both extremely happy to now be able to call this special place home!
It’s situated in the wooded hills above the Strait of Gibraltar, at the edge of the Parque Natural de los Alcornocales (Natural Park of Cork Oaks). Its peaceful 7 hectare grounds are nestled within a forest of Laurel and Cork Oak trees, making it the perfect spot for nature lovers or indeed anyone looking for a bit of peace and tranquillity!
Los Alcornacales itself is one of the largest cork oak forests in the world. Its latitude and mostly coastal location make it a totally unique habitat – the Mediterranean warmth and continuous moisture captured from the sea air even in the driest months mean the density of the trees and the diversity of the ground flora is exceptional. So as well as being home to the Inglorious Bustards, it’s also home to a wealth of wildlife whatever the season. When the rock’n’roll lifestyle of a ecotour guide gets too much, I love walking around its tiny paths surrounded by wizened trees, bubbling streams and birdsong. No two days are ever the same.
So when you visit, what will your home be like?
Well there’s something for all tastes. Ewok wannabes can chill out in one of the secluded log cabins in the woods, watching our resident Firecrests and Short-toed Treecreepers flit through the trees around them – Beechawawa!
Or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a James Bond type, you could play at espionage in the ‘Spy House‘, from where Italian and German spies kept track of Allied shipping movements through the Straits during WWII.
Those with delusions of grandeur may enjoy the Commandante’s house, once a summer holiday residence for military top brass. It has also served as an open prison for General Milan de Bosch, one of the ringleaders in a failed 1981 coup attempt against Franco’s regime. We can certainly think of worse places to be imprisoned, and if the General wasn’t a birder, he certainly would have been by the time he left!
Whatever the season, these places provide fantastic bases for exploring the birds and wildlife of Los Alcornicales.
In migration season, with a favouring wind, you can enjoy the spectacle of thousands of raptors, storks and bee-eaters drifting over you as you float in the eco-resort’s open air pool!
A wander through the grounds will bring you up close with resident species such as Crested Tit and Hawfinch.
When looking out for migrant passerines on their travels, anything could turn up! We’ve yet to have our first Siberian Accentor but we did have a Yellow-browed Warbler this October which made Huerta Grande its home from home for several days.
We hope you decide to do the same!