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Spanish Pyrenees 15 – 22 June 2016

Summer at Berdún

A stunning landscape and a wealth of wildlife make the Spanish Pyrenees attractive in any season. Our usual holiday here is in spring, but we are ringing the changes by visiting in June – though before the fierce heat of high summer – with a greater emphasis on butterflies, moths and the high Pyrenees.

We hope for high mountain butterflies like Apollo and clouded Apollo, alongside a host of blues, skippers, walls, hairstreaks, skippers, coppers and perhaps ten species of fritillaries, including silver-washed and Queen of Spain.

There are colourful day-flying moths, especially burnets, and in the evenings we plan to set a moth trap that can attract a big range of species, including hawk-moths and giant peacock moth.

But this remains an all-round wildlife holiday in an area known for its raptors. The foothills of the Pyrenees, where we are based, are acknowledged as having Europe’s highest density of birds of prey. There are three vulture species: griffons are easily the commonest and increasing, Egyptian vultures are getting scarcer here and everywhere. We are at the heart of Europe’s stronghold for the rare lammergeier. Red and black kites feed in the river valleys. Short-toed eagles hover as they search for snakes and lizards; booted eagles are regular too.

High pastures will be the best areas for flowers, with pinks, gentians, asphodels, lilies, bellflowers, rampions and saxifrages.

Berdún itself – host to Honeyguide holidays for 25 years – is a charming, fortified village perched on a hilltop in the Pyrenean foothills. Our base is Casa Sarasa, where Peter Rich and Melanie Hallam offer a warm welcome and fine food.

The Pyrenees may sound quite strenuous, but our itinerary is actually fairly relaxed. Anyone reasonably fit will have no trouble keeping up.

Berdún
Berdún (Chris Gibson)

Birds

Those mentioned above plus golden eagle, bee-eater, crested lark, golden oriole, black-bellied dipper, Cetti’s, subalpine and Sardinian warblers, rock sparrow, spotless starling, chough, crag martin, blue rock thrush, citril finch and many more.

Butterflies and moths

There is a good chance of Camberwell beauty, great banded grayling, Cleopatra, large blue, black-veined white, mountain clouded yellow, Spanish and southern gatekeepers, scarce and common swallowtails … we expect a long list!

Other wildlife

Mammals could include alpine marmot and isard – Pyrenean chamois – at the high tops, and red squirrel. Butterflies include Cleopatra, scarce swallowtail, Moroccan orange-tip and Spanish festoon.

isards
Isards (Ivan Nethercoat)

Holiday details

Our trips lean a little more to the High Pyrenees for this later holiday, for example the valleys of Hecho, Aísa and Roncal. Local exploration includes the rivers Veral and Aragón and to Biníes gorge.

Price: £1,450 per person in twin room for a full week (Wednesday to Wednesday).

Single room supplement: £120

Nine rooms, two of which share a bathroom, the rest have en suite facilities.

Flights: Scheduled Ryanair flights London Stansted to Biarritz

Deposit: £300

Group size, and if we need a co-leader, will depend on the mix of twins and singles in the group.

Casa Sarasa
Our holiday base at Casa Sarasa in Berdún

Leader

Chris Gibson is a marine conservation specialist for Natural England based in north Essex, an author of several wildlife books and has led many holidays for Honeyguide. He is an outstanding all rounder, from birds through flowers to moths, recognised as a ‘naturalist of distinction’ by the British Naturalists’ Association.

Conservation project

SUPPORTING

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The Sociedad Española de Ornitología (Spanish Ornithological Society) manages 1600 acres of steppe, one of the most threatened bird habitats both here in the Aragón region and in Europe. Dupont’s and lesser short-toed larks, pin-tailed and black-bellied sandgrouse and stone-curlews benefit from the establishment of this reserve at Belchite, near Zaragoza.

Spanish Pyrenees map

Holiday reports

Spanish Pyrenees holiday report June 2016.

Spanish Pyrenees holiday report 2014.

More Honeyguide holiday reports from the Spanish Pyrenees dating back to 1991 on our holiday reports web pages.

Berdún and Casa Sarasa

See Berdún and Casa Sarasa on YouTube here and a superb promotional video for the area here. Read two special 'moments' from Berdún here.

Our Berdún web page has more ideas about a holiday here ... for example, an autumn walking holiday on part of the Camino de Santiago.

We know they are there, but our experience is that wallcreepers can be tricky to find in the Spanish Pyrenees. Read more about wallcreepers here.

Griffon vulture

Griffon vulture (Steve Fletcher)

Spanish Pyrenees photos

Gallery of photos, by Chris Gibson.

giant peacock moth

Giant peacock moth

Camberwell beauty

Camberwell beauty (Ivan Nethercoat)

We know they are there, but our experience is that wallcreepers can be tricky to find in the Spanish Pyrenees. Read more about wallcreepers here.

Recommended reading: Crossbill Guide to Spanish Pyrenees and the Steppes of Huesca.

Crossbill Guide: Spanish Pyrenees and Steppes of Huesca, Spain Crossbill Guide: Spanish Pyrenees and Steppes of H...

 

Chris Gibson. More about Chris on his website www.chrisgibsonwildlife.co.uk.

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

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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.

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