Twitching and tweeting in Las Alpujarras, Andalucía, Spain

Those who eventually discover the beautiful region of Las Alpujarras beneath the Sierra Nevada, Spain, will mostly want to visit the area to walk the network of paths that criss-cross the mountainsides. Some may set off to achieve greatness by completing the long-distance E4 path that stretches from Tarifa, the most southerly point of Spain to its end in Greece. For the less energetic, there are lots of gentle walking holidays in Las Alpujarras and for bird watchers there is abundant opportunity to twitch and tweet about Golden and Bonelli’s eagles that can be found inhabiting the mountainsides and feeding on local partridge.

Twitchers can explore the southern and northern slopes of Las Alpujarras as there are different species on each. Species include: Golden and Bonelli's Eagles, Peregrine, Eagle Owl, Sardinian Warbler, Chough, Short-toed Lark, Rock Thrush, Crag Martin, Alpine Accentor, Black Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, Hoopoe, Alpine Swift, Serin, Rock and Ortolan Buntings. Sighting a Rüppell's Vulture is an ever increasing possibility in the southern areas of Andalucía. Increased sightings of this vulture, normally only seen in Africa, have caused a few identification headaches for resident and visiting birders and shouldn’t be mistaken for the more widespread and common Griffon Vulture.

The beauty of choosing a bird watching holiday in Las Alpujarras is that you have such varied habitat ranging from open mountainsides to forests and it is less than an hour to the coast where a whole host of seabirds may be seen. 18% of Andalucia is protected land. There are numerous Natural Parks such as Parque Natural Sierra de Nevada which have great ecological, scientific and educational value with ecosystems little altered by man; Natural Areas (moderately protected areas due to the risk to or the uniqueness of the fauna, flora or landscape); Natural Reserves (enclaves to protect an ecosystem or natural element offering the greatest level of protection and where permission to enter is required from the warden of the reserve) and it is within these protected natural areas where most bird watching sites exist.

To make the most of you time bird watching in Las Alpujarras, it is essential that you find a suitable place to stay: one that is comfortable, welcoming and has local knowledge of the birds that can be seen in the vicinity. My recommendation is that you seek out Hotel Los Bérchules where Alejandro, the hotel owner, has such local knowledge. For the visitor to Spain, many interesting, spectacular and rarely seen birds abound in Las Alpujarras including Hoopoes, Bee Eaters, Golden Orioles, many species of owl, Golden and other eagles to name but a few – all are frequently seen within a few kilometres of Hotel Los Bérchules. So check out the hotel’s website for more information. Alejandro awaits your tweet.