International Birdwatching Tours – 2018

We are delighted to announce that we will begin offering a small number of international tours, starting in 2018. We have selected a couple of exciting destinations for our first tours, the dates for which are as follows:

These tours are being offered in conjunction with our friends at Oriole Birding, an established and very well regarded provider of birdwatching and wildlife holidays worldwide. By partnering with Oriole Birding, we are able to offer you all the assurances of booking with an international tour operator, including ATOL protection, as well as added benefits including credit/debit card booking. These tours will be led jointly by both Marcus Nash from The Bird ID Company and Ashley Saunders from Oriole Birding.

Extremadura – Winter in the Spanish Steppes

Extremadura collage

Dates: 29th January-2nd February 2018

Price: £999.00 (no single supplement)

Extremadura is one of the most exciting and rewarding areas for birdwatching in Spain, and winter is a great time to visit. The region is particularly renowned for its steppe birds, including Great and Little Bustards, and Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. These may gather in large winter flocks, which makes it a good time of year to look for them. It is also a great place for raptors, particularly Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture and Black-winged Kite, which can also be easier to find at this time of year.

Many other species come here for the winter. Foremost amongst them is the Common Crane and up to 75,000 gather here at this time of year. The sight of spectacular flocks of Common Cranes feeding in the dehesa or flying in to roost is unmissable. In addition, huge numbers of wildfowl winter on the reservoirs, Bluethroats occur in the damp reed beds and it is possible to find montane species such as Alpine Accentor here at lower levels at this time of year too.

As well as the steppes and reservoirs, we will visit the internationally renowned Monfrague National Park, a great place to get close views of large numbers of raptors. A stop at the excellent Arrocampo Almaraz marsh should produce a variety of wetland birds including Purple Swamp-Hen and Penduline Tit. Other interesting resident species which we will look for on this tour include Azure-winged Magpie, Southern Grey Shrike, Rock Bunting, Calandra, Wood and Thekla Larks, Griffon Vulture, Stone Curlew, Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush and Rock Sparrow. In total, we can expect to see around 115 species over the five days of this trip, but it may be the spectacular winter flocks which linger long in the memory.

For more information on this tour, please see the Oriole Birding website here. If you are interested in booking a place, please contact us directly.

Northern Greece – Lake Kerkini in Spring

Kerkini collage

Dates: 29th April-5th May 2018

Price: £1199.00 (single room supplement £100.00)

Lake Kirkini in the north of Greece, only one hour’s drive from the major city of Thessaloniki, is considered one of the country's most important wetlands. Waterbirds are the main attraction here, with large numbers of Dalmation Pelicans and Pygmy Cormorants, in particular. White Pelicans too are increasingly common and the lake boasts breeding colonies of all the European herons, egrets and Glossy Ibis.

In spring, this area is on a major migration flyway for vast numbers of birds heading north to breed in Eastern and Northern Europe. The muddy margins can host a range of migrant waders such as Marsh, Terek & Broad-billed Sandpipers and Temminck's Stint, plus White-winged Black and Whiskered Terns and Collared Pratincole. Passerine migration will still be underway and we will search the woodland and scrub for prize species such as Black-headed Bunting, Icterine, Great Reed, Eastern Subalpine and Eastern Orphean Warblers.

Raptors also feature highly on this tour, with Lesser Spotted, Short-toed, Booted and Golden Eagles, flocks of Red-footed Falcons, European Honey Buzzard and Levant Sparrowhawk all being likely. One day will be spent further north, near the Bulgarian border, when we will go looking for woodland birds in the morning, with a chance of Lesser and Middle-spotted, Grey-headed, Syrian and Black Woodpeckers, with the afternoon spent checking rocky areas for Rock Bunting, Western Rock Nuthatch and Sombre Tit. With our last day spent up in the mountains, we also have an outside chance of catching up with one or two scarce species such as Spotted Nutcracker, Semi-collared Flycatcher and Rock Partridge.

The terrain is mostly easy and there is little walking as we bird from tracks or roads in most locations. A short boat trip onto the lake has been arranged to get superb close-ups the globally threatened Dalmatian Pelicans in their stunning breeding plumage. You can expect a whopping 170+ species on this highly diverse tour to Europe's best up and coming destinations. This is really a destination not to be missed!

For more information on this tour, please see the Oriole Birding website here. If you are interested in booking a place, please contact us directly.

T: 01263 861 892
M: 07785 534734
E: info@birdtour.co.uk



Cley Spy
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Bird watching tours in Norfolk and beyond