International Birdwatching Tours – 2019

After our very successful international tours in 2018, we are delighted to announce that we will be offering a small number of international tours again in 2019. We have selected three 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: 31st March-5th April 2019

Price: £1375.00 (single room supplement £175.00)

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. Spring is the time to see the bustards displaying, when the Little Bustards can be heard 'blowing raspberries' and the Great Bustards puff themselves up like a 'foam bath'.

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.

Northern Greece – Lake Kerkini in Spring

Kerkini collage

Dates: 28th April-4th May 2019

Price: £1250.00 (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.

Romania – The Danube Delta & Dobrugea Plain

Romania collage

Dates: 1st -8th June 2019

Price: £1650.00 (single room supplement £150.00)

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. 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.

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.

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



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