Inquiry for a friend regarding Iberian Lynx

Hi everyone! I have an RFI for a friend – please reply and enlighten him with all your wisdom.

Before I copy&paste the note that my friend asked me to share, I will give a quick intro:

So good things come out of the mammal watching blog, sometimes from unexpected directions! A seemingly random dude reached out to me on Facebook after having seen my South African trip report, as he wanted to plan a trip with his partner that focuses on most of the same species. He was specifically keen on Serval and wild dogs. After a long meeting over coffee, I realized he was just about as enthusiastic as I am, so of course I helped him put together an itinerary. Am I jealous that he has seen serval and wild dogs, while they both remain MIA for me? Absolutely 🙂

So his name is Yuval, and he’s a young and very enthusiastic mammal watcher. I will also recruit him to join me on some adventures soon. I think he’s also in the process of signing up to the website..? 😀 . And here is his question:

Hey,
My name’s Yuval and I’m an ametur mammal watcher and wildlife photographer.
I’ll be in Spain next week (20-26.2) in order to see and photograph the Iberian Lynx.
I’m planning 3 days in Sierra De Andujar and I wanted to know from people who’ve been there-
What are the best places to drive and look?
I read Lee Dingain’s 2010 report, is it still relevant?
How necessary it is to use hides or local guides to see and get photos of the Lynx?
Is it better to stay there over the weekend when it’s busier and I could other people’s sightings or is it harder to spot when it’s crowded?
And lastly, what are good spots to try and see other mammals of the park, such as the Otters, Dormouse, Wild Cats and Mongooses?

Thanks in advance!

7 Comments
  1. Steve Firth 7 months ago

    Hi Tomer/Yuval,

    My girlfriend and I spent 3 days looking for Iberian Lynx in Andujar in April 2019.

    We used the services of a guide (Iberian Lynxland – Jose Luis and/or Miguel) for 2 days and 1 day on our own after the 2 guided days. The guides were very good and very professional.

    Lee Dingain’s report is still relevant. We saw Iberian Lynx mainly from the JH 5004 road shown on his map, although they are seen regularly around the A-6177 bridge area.

    We saw Iberian Lynx three times while with the guide(s) and didn’t see any on our own.

    The sightings are dependent upon luck and keen eyesight of course. If there are more people watching on a weekend, you may be able to see if other people have a sighting, but often you can’t see all the people who are watching. It is a good idea to swap phone numbers with other people who are searching for the Lynx and contact each other if a sighting is made.

    Listen out for the alarm calls of the Magpies, as this is a really good indication of the area where a Lynx may be. There are a large number of magpies in this area, so they are very helpful to Lynx searchers.

    I think that you may well be there during the tail end of the breeding season. We were told that if you do see Lynx during the mating season, they can be longer sightings as the Lynx are not as wary as normal, as they have their minds on “other things” and this may lead to better photographic opportunities.

    Good luck,

    Steve

  2. Profile photo of mikehoit
    mikehoit 7 months ago

    What are the best places to drive and look?I read Lee Dingain’s 2010 report, is it still relevant?

    -That report is still the go to. I know a few people who have seen them on the road back from La Lancha to Los Pinos but it seems a matter of luck

    How necessary it is to use hides or local guides to see and get photos of the Lynx?

    – I get the impression that using local guides & accessing private land gives good photo opportunities, but two of my five sightings (across two trips) have been really close to the road and a third would certainly have been within range of a decent camera.

    Is it better to stay there over the weekend when it’s busier and I could other people’s sightings or is it harder to spot when it’s crowded?

    – I don’t think more people reduces the chances of sightings. We were waved over by people for a couple of sightings, and were able to return the favour as well, so more eyes are definitely good.

    And lastly, what are good spots to try and see other mammals of the park, such as the Otters, Dormouse, Wild Cats and Mongooses?

    – Otters are possible from either dam (or in any river I think). I’ve only seen them distantly from the switchbacks at the Mirador del embalse del Jandula. Never seen wildcat or mongoose there, nor (very sadly) the dormouse. In theory it’s a bit early for the latter to be out of hibernation, but in February 2017  I found bones in a fresh owl pellet just west of Los Pinos. They’ve been seen along the track to Encinarejo, where I’ve seen Wild Boar and others have seen Common Genet. This area was good for European Freetail bat at dusk too.

    Presumably Yuval knows about the bat tunnels at Jandula dam? Ibex can be seen on the hillside south of there (viewed from the East side of the river).

    Hope he has a good trip!

  3. Uli 7 months ago

    Hi,

    I did a 1 week trip in early Dec 2019, t/o 2 days in the Coto Doñana and 3 days in the Sierra Morena. And I’d prefer Coto Doñana – you need a car and it is more Safrai style, but in case you have a sighting, photography options should be better. I had one sighting pretty close.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/bitis-arietans/albums/72157712136047656

    Sierra Morena is great when you want to go with telescope.

    best
    Uli

  4. VLADIMIR DINETS 7 months ago

    I had a petting-distance lynx in Sierra de Andujar in 2014 (see my trip report, https://www.mammalwatching.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Vladimir-Dinets-Spain-France-2014.pdf). My understanding is that if you go without a guide, your chances there are much higher than in Donana. Also got a dormouse there (but forgot to mention it in the trip report because I had a much better one later). Interestingly, both my sightings of garden dormice in Spain were in places with lots of rocky outcrops; no idea if it was just a coincidence or they really prefer such habitats.

    • Profile photo of Mattia from Italy
      Mattia from Italy 7 months ago

      Yes, Vladimir, they like rocky areas with sparse trees even in the Alps.

  5. Michael Collard 7 months ago

    Hello all,

    IN early January my wife and I spent four days in Andujar and had 7 Iberian Lynx sightings; some very extended views and one animal down to 25 yards; take a scope and keep looking at every part of the fantastic views you will get from the road; keep looking behind you as well. Iberian Ibex down at La Rancha ( the dam ) as well.

    We spent some time in Coto Donana last year and had the great company of Sergio Gonzalez Asian; we had three sightings with Sergio but no luck this year in very limited time with him. We did see some great birds though. Sergio can be contacted at http://www.living-donana.es

    Good luck

    Mike

  6. Jurek 7 months ago

    I think others covered pretty much everything. I can only add:
    – it is indeed good to listen and watch for magpies, if they are interested in something. I found my lynx this way.
    – it is equally good to watch other naturalists, if they are interested in something.
    – I saw a dormouse at night on one of the minor roads. I unfortunately cannot recall the place, it might be 38.168981, -3.927781 on Google maps. It was running on a tree trunk on the roadside, in a place where a road zigzags up and is in between the pension and the big dam (the one with the tunnel). Going north from there I also saw some Mouflon at night.
    good luck!

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