Serranía de Ronda & Grazalema – Bustards, Eagles & Flamingoes – Remaining Balance

1,040.00

White-headed Duck © Inglorious Bustards

Our base is in Júzcar, a tiny mountain village situated between the limestone crags of the Sierra de la Grazalema Natural Park and Sierra de las Nieves Biosphere Reserve, and just a short journey away from the lagoons and plains of the lowlands, allowing us to experience the range and depth of this extraordinary biodiversity. As well as being home to outstanding wildlife, it is also the habitat of award-winning chef Ivān Sastre, and he’ll be adding a splash of luxury to our meals with the delicious, seasonal local produce for which he is renowned.

Description

Great Bustard © Inglorious Bustards

Though just a short journey away from Málaga, the remote wooded mountains of the Serranía de Ronda are worlds apart from Spain’s bustling Costa del Sol.

This little-visited but astoundingly beautiful area hosts the densest raptor populations in Europe, at this time of the year featuring Griffon Vultures, Bonelli’s and Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon and Eurasian Eagle Owl.  In late winter, hardy mountain birds such as Black Wheatear, Rock Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Red-billed Chough and Alpine Accentor hang out amongst the imposing limestone crags.  Spanish Ibex cling to seemingly sheer rock faces.  Thousands of acres of Mediterranean scrub and Sweet Chestnut forests provide food and shelter for wintering Ring Ouzels, Rock Petronia and Black Redstarts as well as woodland birds like Crested Tit, Hawfinch, Short-toed Treecreeper, and Firecrest.

Nearby, the Fuente de Piedra lake covers an area of almost 1,400 hectares.  The shallow, salt water of this outstanding protected wetland is home to the largest colony of Greater Flamingoes on the Iberian Peninsula.  White-headed and Ferruginous Ducks, Red-crested Pochards, Black-necked Grebes and Purple Swamphens stand out amongst the pink-feathered haze, and Black-winged Stilts, Little Stints, Kentish and overwintering Little Ringed Plovers parade in the shallows.

On the surrounding plains and farmland, we´ll enjoy the spectacular sights and sounds of hundreds of Common Cranes resting and feeding before they disperse to their northern breeding grounds, and with luck, groups of Little and Great Bustards and Black-bellied Sandgrouse.  Iberian Grey Shrike and Black-winged Kite, Eurasian Stone Curlew and Bluethroat star amid huge flocks of wintering Eurasian Skylarks, Corn Buntings, Spanish Sparrows, Calandra, Crested and Thekla Larks.

As well as a visit to the beautiful town of Ronda – its three historic bridges straddling the Tajo Gorge in spectacular fashion – you’ll have chance to explore the pretty hilltop villages of the area – we’d be particularly excited to host you in the quirkiest of them, Júzcar, whose inhabitants voted to go against the grain and decorate the village blue!  In this gorgeous mountain location amongst Holm Oaks and Sweet Chestnuts, we´re in for a splash of luxury, dining on mouth-watering, sustainably-produced local specialities from the kitchen of an award-winning chef.

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