International Birdwatching Tours – 2023-24

After our very successful international tours over the last couple of years, we are delighted to announce that we will be offering a small number of international tours again in 2023 & 2024. We have selected four very exciting destinations, 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.

Extremadura – Land of the Conquistadors

Extremadura collage

Dates: 22nd-28th April 2023

Price: £1699.00 (single supplement £175)

Extremadura is one of the most exciting and rewarding areas for birdwatching in Spain, and spring 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. There are some summer breeding birds which are late to return, so as well as looking for the traditional Extremaduran target species on this trip, which is later than normal, we will hopefully have an opportunity to catch up with White-rumped Swift and possibly also Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin.

It is also a great place for raptors, particularly Spanish Imperial Eagle, Black Vulture and Black-winged Kite, all scarce species which have good populations here. Eye-level views of Griffon Vultures are also pretty unforgettable, and Bonelli's, Golden, Booted and Short-toed Eagles are also all possible here. Lesser Kestrels should be back for the summer and can be seen prospecting nest sites around some of the villages and Montagu's Harriers may be back hunting over the steppes.

The plains should be filled with the sounds of singing larks at this time of year, including Calandra, Short-toed, Thekla and Crested Larks, and Great Spotted Cuckoos chase noisily between the trees. 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 reeling Savi's Warblers, 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 140-150 species over the seven days of this trip, but it may be the displaying of the bustards which lingers 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.

Romania – The Danube Delta & Dobrugea Plain

Kerkini collage

Dates: 30th May-6th June 2023

Price: £2195.00 (single room supplement £150.00) – Subject to confirmation

Romania is a fabulous country for birding and the Danube Delta is one of those sites which everyone should visit. The best way to explore the Delta is from a floating hotel, and we will go out on excursions in a small boat each day and moor the hotel in a new, stunning location each evening. It is a truly amazing experience to wake up each morning in the middle of the Delta surrounded by its wildlife. Flocks of White Pelicans and Dalmatian Pelican and Pygmy Cormorants fish in the shallow waters, the channels are full of herons of all the European species and we should also see breeding Red-necked Grebes and Ferruginous Ducks here. European Rollers and Red-footed Falcons adorn the trees beside the channels, which also support a variety of woodpeckers.

We will also explore the Dobrogea, the region along the Black Sea coast. The salt lagoons here may hold Pallas's Gulls and breeding Paddyfield Warblers in the reeds, while there may be some late passage waders too. The nearby woodlands have breeding rookeries of Red-footed Falcons, as well as Sombre Tit, Red-breasted Flycatcher and a great variety of woodpeckers. Inland, we will look for Isabelline Wheatears on the steppes and Pied Wheatears and Rock Thrushes in the rocky gorges. Rollers and Lesser Grey Shrikes are a common sight on roadside wires here too.

Raptors are common here too, and we will look for species such as Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Levant Sparrowhawk, while Saker is also possible with a bit of good fortune.

This is one of the most bird-filled European destinations and you can expect to see around 150 species. 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.

The Gambia – Birding the Smiling Coast

The Gambia collage

Dates: 17th-24th November 2023

Price: £2150.00 (single room supplement £150.00)

The Gambia offers a great introduction to West African birding, easily accessible with good road and infrastructure. This tour is designed as a relaxing and bird-filled break, basing ourselves at the Senegambia Beach Hotel set in 20 acres of tropical woodland! We will take excursions from here to explore the surrounding area, to sites including Kotu Creek, Abuko, Tujareng, Pirang, Brufut and Kartong.

Likely raptors include African Harrier-hawk, Shikra, Black-winged Kite, Osprey, Red-necked Falcon and Hooded Vulture, among many others. Kingfishers are well represented, from the tiny African Pygmy to the enormous Great Kingfisher. Then there are turacos, hornbills and ground-hornbills, honeyguides, drongos, bulbuls and babblers, robin-chats, paradise flycatchers, sunbirds, bush-shrikes and helmetshrikes, glossy starlings, oxpeckers, widow birds and bishops, and waxbills and weavers. We will look for elusive species like White-spotted Flufftail and Verreaux's Eagle Owl, and we will explore the river estuary, pools and shore for a variety of gulls, terns and waders such as White-fronted Plover and Painted Snipe. In the last few years, we have seen over 200 species on this tour.

The pace is relaxed and there will be plenty of opportunities for down time, particularly during the hot part of the afternoon, where the schedule allows. 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.

Thailand – Forktails, Flycatchers & Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Thailand collage

Dates: 28th January-15th February 2024

Price: £5250.00 (single room supplement £550.00)

Thailand has long been a destination coveted by birders, and this itinerary focussing on the Northern mountains has it all to offer! We will head north to Chang Mai and straight into the mountains to find flocks of colourful species, as well as taking in some fantastic views over the Thai-Myanmar border and visiting some hill tribe communities as we search for birds. As well as some real speciality species, our visit to the north will also allow us to find a variety of flycatchers, laughing thrushes, woodpeckers, bulbuls, babblers, game birds and wintering leaf warblers as well as rails and crakes and wildfowl.

To compliment the northern part of the tour, we will also spend time on the Gulf of Thailand for a whole host of shorebirds including some exceptionally rare species (not least the chance of Spoon-billed Sandpiper) and the beautiful pristine jungle around Kaeng Krachan where we can expect some superb birding to include various broadbills, trogons, raptors, woodpeckers, hornbills and possibly pittas, among others, and there is a chance of big mammals too.

This is an intensive 19-day birding tour with early starts every day to maximise the best period in the day for birds. Walks are not lengthy, but roads and tracks are steep for short stretches. You can expect to see around 450 species. 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.

Spanish Pyrenees & Steppe – Dupont's Lark & Wallcreeper

Spanish Pyrenees collage

Dates: 26th February-2nd March 2024

Price: £1699.00 (single room supplement £100.00)

This tour is a short winter break to look for some of the specialised birds of the Spanish Pyrenees and steppes, in particular two iconic species – Wallcreeper and Dupont's Lark.

In the winter, many of the montane species descend to lower altitudes, giving us a great opportunity for viewing these enigmatic birds without the need for scaling the high peaks. We will spend the first four days exploring the Pyrenees. As well as Wallcreeper, we will look for Snowfinch, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough and if we are lucky, Citril Finch. Lammergeier is likely here too, as well as Griffon Vulture and possibly also Black Vulture, all the midst of some fantastic scenery.

Dupont's Lark is one of Europe’s rarest breeding birds, found only in Spain (outside of North Africa), and this is the best area to look for them. At this time of year, they sing almost exclusively at dawn and dusk. The steppes are also home to several other much sought after species, such as Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Little Bustard and, with a bit of luck, also Great Bustard. We will also visit an excellent wetland site where we have a good chance of seeing White-spotted Bluethroat and Penduline Tit and, if time allows on our way back to the airport, we will call in at the Llobregat Delta where we might find wintering Moustached Warbler, as well as a selection of other waterbirds.

T: 01263 861 892
M: 07785 534734

Cley Spy
Cley Spy – specialist in
Bird watching tours in Norfolk and beyond