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Spain – Cantabrian Mountains

Iberian Wolves, Brown Bears & Wild Cats

30 August to 6 September 2017

Leaders: David Walsh and local guides

Maximum of 10 clients.

2017 Cost: £1,899 single room supplement £120

This holiday will be a Natural History tour of Northern Spain, but will be focused mainly on the observation of two of the great carnivores of the Cantabrian Mountains, the Iberian Wolf and the Brown Bear. We will visit some of the best preserved habitats, as the Cantabrian range is an unexplored part of Spain, yet is a wild natural landscape with a rich mixture of rugged terrain and extensive forests. The Riaño mountain range, in the Picos de Europa, is one of the best places in the word for observing family groups of Iberian Wolves which, at the end of the summer, strive to feed their young in the vicinity of the den. Wolf watching in the Iberian Peninsula is a very exciting and intense experience, requiring patience, but providing fabulous rewards, as these iconic creatures astonish us with their sharp eyes fixed on the lenses of our telescopes. Riaño is now famous because from late July to mid October, wolf observation is virtually guaranteed because of the high density of animals in this area. Whilst we wait and scan for our target species, we will also have the opportunity to watch other interesting mammals, abundant in certain areas of the mountains, such as the Cantabrian Chamois, Iberian Ibex, Wild Boar and Red and Roe Deer. We will also have the opportunity to observe the Wild Cat in the valley meadows, when they are hunting rodents during the early hours of the morning. For these observations we will be employing local wolf experts who have spent much time locating dens and who will take us onto private land not normally accessible to the general public. It will be necessary to use 4x4 vehicles to visit some of these sites.

Later we visit the western Cantabrian Mountains, looking for Brown Bears. The Brown Bear Foundation patrols will help us to locate these animals and we can enjoy watching them while they feed on bilberries or Rhamnus alpine berries. Again, the observation of bears during this period in the year is virtually guaranteed, and it will be a wonderful end for our trip to the Cantabrian Mountains.

We will hopefully enjoy perfect weather conditions in the mountains at this time of year, with pleasant temperatures and sunny days with good light conditions for observation and photography – both in the early hours of the morning and during the afternoon.

When we are not looking for wolves or bears, we can spend some time observing the other fauna and flora of the area.

Further Info
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Outline Itinerary
Day 1 Fly to Bilbao and transfer
to Riaño
Days 2-5 Riaño
Days 6-7 Villablino
Day 8 Depart Bilbao