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birding and wildlife holidays

2021/22


WELCOME TO HEATHERLEA your natural holiday choice! birding and wildlife holidays

GOING FORWARD WITH HEATHERLEA - Welcome to our 2021/22 Brochure! As we enter a ‘new normal’ for birding holidays, this is our greatest ever period of growth. We offer a wealth of choice, featuring new tours in Scotland and around the world, with many added features to offer you the very best value. In this Brochure you can see all our tours until late 2021, plus many new exciting ‘tours of a lifetime’ planned for 2022. We also announce our new Five-Year Holiday Planner, and you can now place a provisional reservation without obligation for any tour more than 12 months ahead. Please see our regular E- Newsletters and printed Brochures for full details and updates! It takes many months to plan a new Heatherlea holiday, and we immerse ourselves completely in detail long before we launch the tour. First-hand experience from our expert guiding team, liaison with capable and conscientious ground agents, and careful logistical planning from departure to return, requires dedication and great attention to detail, so that each can be savoured. Our Operations Team offer a very personal service. With a full-time team to look after holiday planning and delivery, we invest in the support you need and appreciate. Whether you wish for airport parking, onward flights using our ATOL protection, to confirm personal requirements for any tour, or just chat about detail at a moment’s notice, please feel free to call or email. Emma, Fleur, Caroline, Jolene and Lindsay are here to help, and both Mark and Kevin are often in the office to advise on birding matters. Here at our own Hotel in Nethy Bridge, ‘Scottish Highlands’ groups are small, with a high level of personal attention. We are birding every week of the year, with 29 different full week itineraries, and this year some exciting new options. Stay for a full week or choose a shorter break, all offer great birding and value. Around the Scottish Islands, Heatherlea offer a unique gateway to beautiful, isolated places where wildlife is special, with over 25 fantastic holidays from Islay to St Kilda. Our expert, friendly guides make each experience truly

OVERSEAS and YEAR PLANNER

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memorable. ‘Rest of UK’ holidays are expanding rapidly too, and now many of you can choose Heatherlea much closer to home. Overseas our very popular Pre-flight Service saves you money, brings you comfort and makes everything easy. Before you fly, we include an Airport Hotel, VIP Lounge and Bird Guide (for tours outside the scope of the Collins Guide). With a maximum of just twelve clients on most holidays, and frequently two guides in attendance, the accent is again on personal service to you, our valued customer. We are also very pleased to welcome several outstanding new guides to our team this year, in Scotland and further afield. We are delighted that some of the best bird guides in the world want to work with Heatherlea. Thanks to all friends old and new who have joined us during the 30 seasons Heatherlea has been in operation, we hope to earn your support again. Here’s to great wildlife watching!

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tea Kevin, Caryl and the Heatherlea SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

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EUROPE

REST OF THE WORLD

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SCOTTISH ISLANDS

REST OF UK

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Heatherlea Scotland ‘High standards of customer care and a genuine passion for birding and wildlife make this a most rewarding experience.’ VisitScotland, Heatherlea assessment

COVER PHOTOS Capercaille by Neil McIntyre. See Scottish Highlands and some of our European tours to target Capercaille. Booted Racket-Tail by Wilson Diaz. See our Peru holidays to target Booted Racket-Tail More photo credits on page 54

This recyclable Brochure is printed on paper from responsible sources. All postage is made by recyclable envelope or polylope.


WHY CHOOSE HEATHERLEA? Heatherlea is built on a love of wildlife watching, and a real spirit of adventure. There is wildlife to marvel at, flora to enjoy and landscapes and culture to savour! We are firmly focused on finding wildlife for you to see, though only in a sensitive and sustainable way, and plan very carefully in advance to give you the best chances, in comfort and safety. We are always aware of the environment around us. Whether you are viewing Crested Tit and Capercaillie within a few miles of our Hotel in the Scottish Highlands, watching Tiger from a jeep in a remote Indian reserve, or finding spring migrant birds in Skyros or Extremadura, we work hard to give you the ‘real’ experience and treat you as a valued individual, not as part of a crowd. Our Guides are professionals, much more than couriers or day-guides, and they work hard with patience and skill, wherever you are, to make sure that your investment of time and money is rewarded. Back at our office, inside our own Hotel, we know that integral services including accommodation, food and travel are just as important as activities in the field when delivering a wildlife watching holiday. In our specialist part of the tourism industry, there are very few travel companies

who own and deliver hotel services on a daily basis, and even fewer hotelowning companies who understand the complex delivery of wildlife holidays. Heatherlea does both! We own a three-star hotel and take you to places around the world for wildlife. We have the knowledge and experience to deliver everything you need, and our full-time Operations Team are ready to help. Established in 1991, protected by our own ATOL Licence (6113), and with a dedicated UK Bank account solely for clients’ monies, Heatherlea offers the foundation and security you need when deciding who to choose. We hold specialist Tour Operator Insurance, and our Hotel is wholly owned by the company, so we offer added security which might not be available everywhere you look. Our attitude and dedication have established Heatherlea as one of Britain’s leading wildlife holiday providers, and as we enjoy our 31st season we have never stopped striving to be better, to give our clients the best we can. We also take care to make sure you are comfortable, and you won’t feel out of place if you have less experience than others. We are not ‘intensive’ or ‘twitchers’, but are dedicated to showing you wildlife, and above all, we have fun.

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS WITH HEATHERLEA Your gateway to Scottish birds and wildlife! This is where we started, and our lovely Hotel in the beautiful Highland village of Nethy Bridge, on the edge of the Abernethy Forest, is where many of our clients take their first wildlife watching holiday, often continuing with us to new places around the world. Our Highland holidays take you to places where wildlife is special, and we travel in minibuses which are great mobile hides. Many key species can be found close to our Hotel, though our Scottish Highland itineraries might also take you as far away as Handa Island, Orkney, the Isles of Lewis and Harris, Skye, and Mull, including a night or two in a second centre to reduce travel miles. We show you all the wildlife, and include all accommodation, food, travel, access fees and ferry charges. You get terrific value from our fully inclusive holidays, so book with confidence – there are no hidden extras! Turn to page 50 to read more.

SCOTTISH ISLAND HOLIDAYS WITH HEATHERLEA Go a little further! We are experts on the Scottish islands, where Corncrake, eagles, skuas, Basking Shark, Storm Petrel, rare, windblown migrants, wonderful scenery, charming people and exciting places are all waiting for you. These adventures begin to unfold on page 72.

OVERSEAS WITH HEATHERLEA

Do it ‘The Heatherlea Way’

Europe, the Americas, long-haul to Africa, Asia or Australia, there is a world of choice with Heatherlea. ‘The Heatherlea Way’ involves looking after you with care whilst maximising your experience and giving value for money. Most holidays begin before you even reach airport check-in, with our Pre-flight services. Read more from Page 7. Finally, we should point out that this Brochure offers a flavour of our holidays, and most of the basic information you need. More information is available on our website or directly by telephone or email, and details can change. We always issue a full itinerary with each holiday confirmation, though please check against the website to ensure you know exactly what the content will be. New holidays are launched virtually every month, and as some dates fill others are made available. We are always very happy to hear from you. Thank you for reading our 2021/22 Brochure! Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

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HEATHERLEA and the ENVIRONMENT RSPB Sponsorship Heatherlea are delighted to announce a new sponsorship with RSPB Scotland. Already underway, our funding will contribute to two projects of significant importance;

Restoration and protection of peatlands at Forsinard ‘Peatlands’ are habitats with a naturally accumulated layer of dead plant material (especially mosses) formed under waterlogged conditions. UK peatlands cover 26,000 km2 of land with over 60% in Scotland, including some of the world’s most important and best examples of blanket bogs, found in the Flow Country. Peatlands are extremely important for wildlife, including rare and specialist birds such as Red-throated Diver, Blackthroated Diver, Golden Plover, Dunlin and Greenshank.

peatlands, the wet conditions slow down decomposition and enable dead plant remains to be laid down as peat. Our peatlands have a major role to play in combating the effects of climate change because carbon removed from the atmosphere by the plants is stored in the peat and remains there for millennia. Peatlands have risen to prominence in recent years because of this role as a carbon store, and as a means of moderating greenhouse gas emissions.

As an ecosystem, peatlands are also incredibly important for human and planetary wellbeing, particularly as a long-term carbon store and as a sponge to soak up water, reducing downstream flooding. In undamaged

We plan to visit the peatlands at Forsinard several times in 2021, join us to see this fascinating landscape for yourself!

Puffins Britain and Ireland hold 9% of the world’s Atlantic Puffin population, of which over 80% breeds in Scotland. Puffins are highly colonial when breeding, typically nesting in burrows dug in soil on islands free from ground predators. However, in recent years Puffin numbers have plummeted at some colonies, and experts estimate that without help more than half the global Puffin population will disappear within the next forty years. Many of Scotland’s Puffins are on islands in the North Sea, however there is a colony which lives on the Firth of Forth, a very short boat trip from Edinburgh. Small islands such as Fidra and the Isle of May have proved to be successful Puffin habitat, until about a decade ago, when a plant called Tree Mallow was introduced to the islands of the Forth. Tree Mallow is an invasive plant which grows so vigorously it stops Puffins from reaching their burrows to lay their eggs. Without the safety of these burrows, eggs and chicks become vulnerable to predation, and as Puffins only lay one egg a year, every puffling is precious! Over recent years we have seen benefits from removing the Tree Mallow, though this process is expensive. Our donation means RSPB Scotland can continue with Tree Mallow removal and continue bi-annual Puffin monitoring on these islands. ‘We are so grateful to Heatherlea for their incredibly generous donation to support both our peatland restoration work in RSPB Scotland’s Forsinard Flows Nature Reserve, and our efforts to protect our Puffin population. In 2015 the Puffin was upgraded to the UK’s highest level of conservation 2

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concern, joining the European Red List and declared “vulnerable to global extinction”. Thanks to the generosity of Heatherlea, we can continue our tree mallow removal in the Firth of Forth and protect their burrows from being destroyed by the roots of this invasive plant. This donation will also support our blanket bog restoration in the North of Scotland; a rare habitat which in total covers just 3% of the world’s land surface but contains nearly 30% of all terrestrial carbon. Half of this kind donation will go towards funding our continued commitment to restoring our threatened and damaged blanket bog and provide a much-needed habitat for an array of wildlife’. Seonaid Mason, Senior Development Officer, RSPB Scotland

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


Capercaillie Land Management in the Heatherlea Private Estate Guidelines for watching Capercaillie have been agreed by responsible bodies, and you can read a full copy on our website. Heatherlea fully supports these guidelines. We have unique access into a privately-owned estate, actively managed for the benefit of Capercaillie. The landowner is regenerating the native Caledonian pinewood to create additional habitat, and our arrangement includes the payment of a fee which contributes towards management of this special place. We enter through secure gates, staying inside our ‘mobile hide’ minibuses as we drive around tracks with keen eyes to all sides! In recent times we are still enjoying good views of the birds on many occasions. We are the only birding tour operator authorised to look for Capercaillie inside these lands and will continue our financial support for the benefit of wildlife … and our customers!

Bursary in Environmental Science We are passionate about supporting the next generation of environmentally conscious students. Every year the Heatherlea Bursary at Lancaster University is awarded to a deserving student by the Department of Environmental Science, and our 2020 recipient has recently been confirmed. We are delighted to fund this important initiative, now in its 15th year. Recent recipient Ami (pictured at Mountview Hotel) said ‘receiving this prestigious Bursary reduced my barriers to returning to higher education to complete a Masters’ Degree. It greatly boosted my confidence and reassured me I had made the right decision’.

Thanks to all Heatherlea clients for making these contributions possible!

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MEET THE HEATHERLEA TEAM! Our highly experienced team are ready and waiting to organise your holiday and show you the wildlife, wherever in the world you want to go! Your holiday includes the services of a Heatherlea Guide, a very valuable asset. We are well-known for great guiding and personal care, and our expert leaders know that the really important part of any holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Much more than a friend to help you identify birds, your Heatherlea Guide plans your entire holiday, from briefing on the first evening to round-up on the last. They organise everything to suit wildlife, weather and your progress through the week, and because our groups are small, have time to care about your personal experience. This isn’t just whether or not you saw the bird or animal, but whether you are getting the most from your holiday. Our core team are based in the UK and can be found in Scotland and further afield. Most have been working for Heatherlea for many years, and a quick check reveals around 140 years of guiding for Heatherlea across this part of our team! Read detailed Guide profiles on our website, where you can also see their current guiding itinerary. Jenna Berry A new recruit to Heatherlea, Jenna is a keen birder and experienced Tour Leader in Scotland. Jenna is currently moving north to Strathspey and has already settled into our Team.

Holly Page Holly is a keen birder who we have long known as a valued Heatherlea client. She has a passion for all wildlife including bees, hoverflies and beetles as well as eagles, divers and waders. Holly has spent many years birding across the north of England, with the occasional foray overseas!

Mike Coleman Cheery and friendly, Mike first joined us in 2001, and is particularly drawn to our new holidays in Asia, though you can join him on tours in Scotland and around the world, much to the benefit of our groups!

Dave Pearce Originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, Dave now lives in East Yorkshire, and alongside guiding bird tours for Heatherlea, he works as a Consultant Ornithologist, undertaking bird surveys, bird monitoring and research from Scotland to Kent, Wales to Norfolk and many points in-between.

Peter Cosgrove Peter is a professional eco-consultant, keen birder throughout the Highlands and well-travelled overseas, leading for us in the Caribbean, Africa, Americas and elsewhere.

Barry Embling Barry joined us in 2019 and is already popular with many of our guests. A keen birdwatcher and naturalist at home and abroad, Barry joins the team again in 2021 and is looking forward to leading in Europe, Scotland and the rest of the UK. Bernie Forbes Experienced leader Bernie loves sharing his passion for birds and his groups enjoy great birding. Bernie has led many groups around Europe, North Africa and the Americas, and now extends Heatherlea tours into his native Sussex. Ian Ford Ian first joined Heatherlea in 1999 and joins us again in 2021 as a Senior Guide. Ever popular, Ian will be leading groups from Orkney to the Solway Firth in Scotland, and overseas holidays including Gambia, Camargue and Southern Peru. Toby Green Toby first joined us in 2013. A popular Leader in Scotland and around the world, Toby is a top birder with a great sense of humour, and boundless enthusiasm. Phil Knott Phil is a well-established and popular member of the Heatherlea team, with extensive experience throughout the world.

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John Picton John joined our happy team in 2016 and will be guiding in Scotland in 2021. His relaxed style and easy manner make for enjoyable days in the field.

Dave Pullan Dave is an exceptional birder who has vast experience in Scotland and worldwide. He joined Heatherlea in 2006 and has been responsible for many sightings of rarities in Scotland. Dave also leads overseas in Spain, Armenia, India and China, amongst other places. Kevin Shaw Founder of Heatherlea with wife Caryl in 1991, Kevin is around most weeks at The Mountview Hotel in Nethy Bridge when not leading in Scotland or overseas. Kevin tends to pop up unannounced on several overseas holidays each year. Mark Warren Mark joined us from North Ronaldsay in January 2016 and is now a popular member of our team in Scotland and around the world. An experienced birder and tour leader, with extensive wildlife knowledge and boundless enthusiasm, Mark looks forward to guiding again in 2021 and onwards. Stewart Woolley A keen birder and photographer, Stewart joins the Heatherlea team in 2020. Having travelled widely in Europe, the USA and Africa, Stewart concludes that, on the right day, West Beach, Berneray in the Outer Hebrides is the best place in the world!

The whole day was very enjoyable and expertly led. To achieve an award of five stars, a score of at least 85% must be achieved. Heatherlea score at this level or higher in every category, and the award of five stars is confirmed.

VisitScotland Assessment. tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


Our overseas guiding team are dedicated experts in the regions and countries they cover, and when working for Heatherlea are frequently required to provide services which make our trips unique. This might mean gala dinners, upgraded accommodation, cultural elements that we think you will like, and much more. Our office team are in regular contact before every trip, and our overseas agents and guides are always particularly well briefed. This might mean special attention to your diet, medical requirements, extensions to your holiday or anything else we can think of to improve your holiday experience. All are very capable and great favourites of ours!

Peg Abbott We met Peg at Heatherlea, and immediately recognised a first-rate tour leader. Peg has worked in the Yellowstone ecosystem for 30 years, specialising in wolf, grizzly and elk projects. Peg is an experienced birder, leading natural history and birding tours for over 20 years. Suchit Basnet Suchit is one of the most famous and sought-after Leaders in his native Nepal, where his extensive knowledge and sunny disposition brighten every trip.

Wilson Diaz Our agent in Peru, Wilson has developed our unique itineraries in his home country, covering a huge range of spectacular birds and wonderful Machu Picchu. Gerard Gorman Gerard is Heatherlea organiser for Eastern Europe, and also leads for us elsewhere overseas. Well-known as an expert on the world’s woodpeckers, and author of several well-informed birding books, Lancastrian Gerard lives in Budapest. Andy Jones Known to many as 'The Iceland Naturalist', Andy Jones joins Heatherlea as a Guide. Based in Iceland for more than 20 years he has led wildlife holidays and educational field trips to many countries. Andy will lead a number of tours for Heatherlea in the next few years! Tang Jun Has been guiding birding tours in China since 1999 and is a very experienced Leader throughout the country. The owner of our Chinese agent company, and vicechairman of Chengdu Birdwatching Society, we are delighted that Tang can join us personally this year. Johnnie Kamugisha is a vastly experienced Guide, having led wildlife tours across Uganda for 16 years, often in the company of his wife Agnes. Johnnie is a top birder, and President of the Uganda Bird Guides Club. Paco Madrigal Our leader in Costa Rica for many years, Paco is widely regarded as one of the best wildlife guides in the country, with an extremely likeable, easy-going manner, and a complete knowledge of the birds of his homeland. We are delighted Paco will be leading for us again this year.

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Gabor and Andrea Orban Gabor and his wife Andrea guide for us in Mexico and Belize. Gabor is our specialist birding guide, having led birding tours in Central Americas since 2006, and Andrea concentrates on the cultural aspects of the many Mayan sites we visit. Menotti Passarella 'What Menotti doesn't know about the birds of the Po Delta isn't worth knowing' - Bob Scott, 'Where to go birdwatching in the Po Delta'. We are always guaranteed fascinating birding with our Italian expert Menotti, and often gain access to places not normally open to the public. Sergi Sales Sergi is an outstanding Spanish birder, specialising in the birds of the Ebro Delta and steppe areas of his native Catalonia. Able to readily identify virtually everything he sees or hears, Sergi is a fount of knowledge and a valuable addition to our holiday team. Hugo Sampaio Joined the Heatherlea team in 2018. Hugo works with SPEA, studying and monitoring birds across Spain, Portugal & the Azores. He has guided extensively across the region and we look forward to his expertise on our Portugal tour. Rodrigo Tapia Rodrigo has explored Chile’s whole length from the northern Altiplano to Cape Horn while conducting ornithological research and guiding birding tours and pelagics since 1989 and works full-time as a birding and wildlife trip leader. He has spent hundreds of hours with albatrosses, petrels and other seabirds, a group which has always captivated him. Andrés Trujillo is a highly experienced tour guide in Colombia and Ecuador, with a comprehensive knowledge of the birds, mammals and other wildlife of his homeland. Andres has led trips for Heatherlea since 2008. Washington Wachira Washington is an experienced birder and safari guide, awarded the African Sustainable Tourism Fellowship Award in 2016. He has led many birding trips and expeditions across East Africa and has a comprehensive knowledge of the birdlife of his native Kenya.

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…. and in the office ….. Emma, Fleur, Caroline, Lindsay, Jolene and Kevin are here to help, please contact us anytime. Please visit our website to read more about the holiday of your choice, and also to download a free ‘Trip Report’ from a recent holiday. Our office team will be very happy to speak with you by telephone or email, and you can check up-to-date availability and reserve your holiday in person.

tel: 01479 821248 email: info@heatherlea.co.uk web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

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CLIENT FEEDBACK – just some of your recent comments! Dear Kevin, I am writing to thank you for an excellent tour with Heatherlea to Kenya. We appreciated every aspect of the tour with very good accommodation,  in great locations. Washington is a first-class tour guide and we would like to thank him and his team for organizing  every aspect of the trip. A lot of preparation had clearly gone into  the running of  this tour. We enjoyed great birdwatching throughout with 368 species for us, including 170 lifers. This was also our first experience of big game watching. Our highlights were hippos on the lawn outside our room at Lake Naivasha - at 0230hrs one morning, to the fortunate sighting of two leopards on a kill at Lake Nakuru National Park.  However, our visit to the  Masai Mara made the tour complete when we were able to observe a cheetah hunting in the bush into the open plain, to eventually take a young Thomson's Gazelle. This was followed by three hyenas hassling a male lion, whilst three lionesses and several lion cubs feasted on another kill. We thought you could only view these  scenes on Tv! Mr & Mrs PB Kenya – Birding the Rift Valley, 3-12 February

Hello, We have just returned from the wonderful Heatherlea holiday in Costa Rica, it was very enjoyable trip and well organised –THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED. The local guide (Paco) was excellent as was the Heatherlea Guide (Mike). Thanks for a wonderful trip.   Mr & Mrs RD Costa Rica Classic – 11-26 January

What an experience we have had! Mark has done a wonderful job of looking after us all and ensuring that we had the very best views and a memorable trip. Thanks! Ms JC – Up Helly Aa! 25-31 January

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


OVERSEAS BIRDING AND WILDLIFE HOLIDAYS Do it ‘The Heatherlea Way’!

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run ‘The Heatherlea Way’, offering rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Most holidays include at least an element of local guiding, and we always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference. Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst enjoying excellent wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort stops on every holiday. It is important to us wherever possible that everyone in the party sees the bird or animal, and we often seek to get better views for all rather than chase the next ‘tick’. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and our relaxed, informal holidays are great fun. With the help of our local agents and friends across the world. we have developed new practices to modernise for the ‘new normal’, and we see this as a vitally important development to the Heatherlea service. To summarise the key points:

4 Should we feel that a tour is at risk before your balance payment is due, we will contact you to chat through the options. Typically, this will include a full refund or transfer to a different departure, depending on the circumstances surrounding your booking. 4 If we have to cancel a tour due to FCO Travel Advice, because of COVID or any other reason, we will either refund you in full within 14 days, or transfer to a different departure. This applies to all tours, anywhere in the world. (Please note that if you choose to cancel your holiday before we officially cancel a tour, our booking conditions will apply, though you may be able to claim back our cancellation charge from your insurer). 4 For holidays in 2022 or later, you can book any tour without paying any deposit. When the holiday is one year ahead, or earlier should it become full, you will be invited to pay a deposit in the normal way to secure your place on the tour. To help you map out your trips, we are delighted to introduce our ‘Fiveyear Holiday Planner’ (see pages 10-11). This allows you to construct a personal forward diary of Heatherlea holidays, which you can then reserve without initial obligation for those more than one year ahead.

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WHY CHOOSE HEATHERLEA OVERSEAS?

MORE IMPORTANT DETAIL!

The most important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to help you get the best: 4 Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider, and our team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs, so you book the right services, at the best price. See next page for details!

4 If you would like more information before you decide, you can download a copy of the ‘TRIP REPORT’ which includes a copy of the bird list and species seen on the previous year’s departure. Or ring us here in the office and we will post a printed copy to you. For further information and booking details contact us on 01479 821248 or email info@heatherlea.co.uk.

4 We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for 30 seasons and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.

4 A copy of the ‘Tour Info Pack’ will be issued when you book, including information to help prepare for your holiday. Sections headed ‘Flights’, ‘Entering your destination’, ‘Field Clothing’ and ‘Currency’ will help you to plan – you will be very well informed!

4 Many holidays include content which might not seem important before you book but will make a difference when you arrive – examples include an opportunity to photograph lekking Ruff in Finland, taverna meals in Skyros, internal flights in Peru, India and Nepal, and many more.

4 A ‘Final Information Pack’ will be issued prior to travel, containing flight tickets, Guide contact details, airport hotels, accommodation in the destination country including relevant websites, plus health and other useful information you might need whilst abroad.

4 A ‘feel’ of the country we are visiting is an important part of our holidays. This may mean wine-tasting in Chile, or tea at a Saharan community in Morocco. We don’t lose birding time, just offer a little extra so you can enjoy a rounded holiday experience.

4 All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under UK ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or vehicle hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended even further. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.

4 Often our holidays include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels. Please check when comparing! 4 Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience. (NB we reserve the right to increase the number of clients to 13, should a couple wish to book the final place available). 4 Low initial deposit secures your holiday for most destinations.

CHOICE OF AIRPORT Prefer to fly from your local airport? We offer a number of departures from Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Aberdeen and other regional airports. You can often choose to take your pre-flight hotel in your destination country rather than in London and join the rest of the holiday group the following day. If you do not wish to travel from the nominated airport, please contact us to see what we can arrange for the holiday of your choice.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


THE HEATHERLEA PRE-FLIGHT SERVICE Updated and further improved for 2021 ENJOY A PRE-FLIGHT AIRPORT HOTEL and LOUNGE!

FLIGHT UPGRADES

All overseas holidays which include flights also include an overnight airport hotel and lounge before you fly, organised by Heatherlea as part of our service. We will contact you as your holiday approaches to confirm details and anything else you might require. To benefit, book with Heatherlea!

Heatherlea offer great deals for Premium Economy and Business Class passengers, often bookable instantly over the phone. In the Economy Cabin we can arrange a special meal request or organise extra legroom, just ask when you book. Where possible we give you written confirmation of special arrangements to carry with you on the flight.

TAILOR MADE EXTENSIONS

PRE-FLIGHT HOTEL Heatherlea select your airport hotel from our approved shortlist. All offer good en-suite accommodation, evening meals, readily available car parking and transfers to the terminal. If you wish to choose a different hotel, please let us know, and we will try to book it for you (surcharge may apply). At Gatwick, we like to use a hotel adjacent to North Terminal. Our record from bedroom to check-in is three minutes! No queuing for the often cramped ‘hoppa’ bus, no tour of other airport hotels, and Heatherlea book and pay for it too!

YOUR HEATHERLEA GUIDE and AIRPORT CHECK-IN Most holidays have a Heatherlea Guide in attendance to help with your journey through the airport, and you are scheduled to meet at check-in, not at the departure gate. If you need it, we help you through procedures at security, immigration and baggage drop off and collection. Once everyone is safely checked-in, your Guide will join you for a chat in our VIP Lounge.

NEW! PREMIUM SECURITY FAST TRACK We offer Premium Security as standard, so breeze past the queue and towards your VIP Lounge with the minimum of fuss (subject to availability on the day).

PRE-FLIGHT VIP AIRPORT LOUNGE We want your holiday to start early - unwind before you fly! A busy airport terminal is hardly the ideal place to relax, and by the time you've bought food, drinks, newspapers and a magazine to pass the time, can prove expensive too. Why not prefer the comfort of a VIP Lounge, where you can relax for up to three hours before your flight? NEW! You can stay longer than three hours for a small charge, just let us know before you travel. Most of our Lounges offer ample free drinks and snacks, magazines and newspapers, Wi-Fi, TV and comfortable seating amid quiet surroundings, in a secluded getaway from the crowded terminal. If travelling with you, your Heatherlea Guide will join after everyone has checked-in, and you can get to know fellow travellers or just sink into an armchair – the choice and comfort are yours! We confirm arrangements and include admission tickets in your ‘Final Information Pack’. If you've never used a VIP Lounge before, you don't know what you're missing – just don’t get too comfortable and forget to catch your flight!

PARKING Driving to the airport? Book secure car parking with us to save time and money; we offer trusted and good value airport parking services. We can arrange parking at your hotel or at the terminal, and options include valet parking, and a ‘meetand-greet’ service, just ask!

Looking to add extra days before or after your wildlife holiday? You can arrange to stopover at any European hub airport as part of any tour. We organise flights and even hotels and transfers to help you get the most from a second centre. It’s quicker and easier than doing it yourself, and you will benefit from ATOL protection. Just tell us your requirements and we will do the rest!

NEW! POST-FLIGHT SERVICE Most clients want to get home as quickly as possible after collecting luggage. You can however choose a hotel for a few hours to catch some sleep if you wish, just let us know.

PRE-FLIGHT SERVICES, CHARGES AND CREDITS Your holiday price is inclusive of pre-flight hotel and VIP Lounge. We adjust your final invoice downwards if you don’t require the pre-flight hotel, or if an airport lounge is unavailable. Other services, including meals, car parking, upgrades etc. are charged separately if we organise them for you. It is important to remember that extra services (e.g. car parking) can be more expensive as your departure date approaches, so please contact us before your final balance payment is due should you require us to organise any additional service.

QUALITY ASSURANCE All elements of our package holidays are sold under licence (ATOL 6113). Our business partners include British Airways, Delta Airlines, Premier Inn and Hilton Hotels. We have a highly experienced and capable team, and our specialist knowledge will help you get exactly the right services, at the best available price. We offer all your airport needs with just one call, so to save time and money choose Heatherlea, your complete wildlife holiday provider.

With Heatherlea, the Field Guide is free! Our unique Pre-flight Service offers you more, and for most holidays in the ‘Rest of the World’ section of this Brochure, the leading Field Guide relevant to the holiday is included in your holiday price. We include one copy with each room booked. With some titles costing around £40, this is another benefit from Heatherlea which saves you money! All recommended titles reviewed and checked for suitability in March 2020.

Don’t forget, when comparing Heatherlea with others; 4 4 4 4

pre-flight airport hotel INCLUDED pre-flight VIP lounge entry INCLUDED premium security fast-track INCLUDED car parking, upgrades, in-flight special diets ORGANISED AT NO EXTRA CHARGE 4 departure tax (several long-haul destinations) INCLUDED 4 birding Field Guide (destinations not covered by Collins) INCLUDED 4 major tips to Hotels INCLUDED (whip-rounds for drivers/guides always encouraged, but not compulsory). 4 a ‘feel’ of the country and other benefits INCLUDED. 4 Max 12 clients on most holidays. The list goes on!

That’s why we say, ‘Do it the Heatherlea Way!’

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NEW! THE HEATHERLEA FIVE-YEAR HOLIDAY PLANNER 2021 - 2025! We know that many of you appreciate maximum notice, especially when planning the holiday of a lifetime. To help, we are delighted to introduce this very handy ‘Five-year Holiday Planner’, so you can construct a personal forward diary of Heatherlea holidays.

Full details will soon appear on our website, where you will be able to download a template and create your personal interactive Planner. Additions, changes and developments will be advised every month, so you are kept fully up to date.

This Brochure features all our overseas departures in 2021 and 2022. EUROPE See page 12 for holidays available in 2021 (includes 2022 dates), more 2022 holidays on pages 23 – 25. REST of WORLD See page 28 for holidays available in 2021 (includes 2022 dates), more 2022 holidays on pages 48 – 49.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


Register your interest – another great new idea! You may now reserve a place provisionally for any of our overseas tours more than 12 months in advance, without making any obligation or paying a deposit. To do this, please contact our office. We will keep in touch as the tour fills, and you can secure your place at any time by paying a deposit.

Plan ahead with confidence for all your birding tours in the next five years! Another great reason to‌ Do it the Heatherlea Way!

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HEATHERLEA – your natural choice in Europe!

This year we have many new tours, a grand tour of Finland, and some exciting short breaks in Eastern Europe. All great fun and full of birds! More destinations are coming all the time; please keep an eye on our website and newsletters! Most European holidays are led by one of our regular guiding team travelling from the UK, and with more than seven clients you will usually have two Guides. Some Guides are based in the destination country. We are your complete holiday provider, and our ‘Pre-flight Service’ makes arrival at the departure gate easier, so you can feel relaxed and comfortable whatever your needs; read more on page 9. Don’t forget, if you wish to extend the scheduled holiday, our ATOL protection covers your full holiday package. We have added many important elements to our holidays to give you extra value, please check the detail! Here are some examples: • In Po Delta we stay in a wonderful rural hotel, which offers exceptional local produce; we recommend the vegetarian starters! This is also the case in Catalonia, where our two hotels are in places you are unlikely to find other birders or indeed English clientele; try the local paella!

This is part of ‘The Heatherlea Way’, to give you the best available holiday content, in comfort, and with excellent support from our Guiding team. Heatherlea often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Tax and tips to hotels, so if comparing be sure these ‘extras’ are taken into account!

INDEX 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

• In Finland we visit a Reindeer Farm for an unforgettable lunch with stories and traditional fish soup. The birding outside stretches for miles across a panoramic lakeland countryside.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

Georgia, Armenia, Austria Bulgaria in autumn, Bulgaria and N Greece, Romania Estonia winter, Estonia spring, Sweden in autumn Finland and Norway Central European short breaks - Hungary, Czech Rep, Slovakia Skyros, Cyprus, Mallorca Iceland Orcas, Iceland summer, South East Iceland Ireland in Spring, Ireland for Birders, Camargue Svalbard, Italy, Azores Mainland Spain – Catalonia, ‘Birds and Butterflies’, Extremadura


NEW! GEORGIA Eastern specialities and migration MON 19 APRIL – WED 28 APRIL 2021 PRICE: £2595pp SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: £160 MON 18 APRIL – WED 27 APRIL 2022 PRICE: TBA GUIDE: TBA Deposit: £500pp Leader Dave Pullan joined by local guides. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Can be combined with our Armenia tour. Georgia lies on the Eastern Black Sea coast, between Turkey and Russia, and along the Southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, which form the conventional border between Europe and Asia. A country of exceptional beauty, with ancient history and traditions, special hospitality, unique architecture, food and folklore, Georgia is an attractive and hospitable destination, and one of the fastest growing birding destinations in the region. Georgia holds a diversity of habitats and landscapes. On this tour we explore the rich birdlife of snow-capped mountains, dry steppes, intact savannas, barren mountain semi deserts, impressive gorges and canyons, lush deciduous forests and waterfowl-teeming wetlands and lakes. Avian highlights include endemic Caucasian Snowcock, near-endemic Caucasian Black Grouse, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Saker Falcon, Levant Sparrowhawk, Armenian Gull, Wallcreeper, Krüper’s Nuthatch, Güldenstädt’s and Pied Redstart, Rosy Starling, Green and Ménétries’s Warbler, Mountain Chiffchaff, Semi-collared Flycatcher, Red-fronted Serin and Great Rosefinch. Other highlights might include Rock Thrush, Alpine Accentor, Barred Warbler, Velvet Scoter, White and Dalmatian Pelican, Demoiselle Crane, Pallas’s Gull, Pygmy Cormorant, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Spotted and Little Crake, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail, Radde’s Accentor, Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier, Black Vulture, Lesser Kestrel, Scops Owl, Lesser Spotted, Steppe, Short-toed and Booted Eagle, Bee-eater, Roller, Golden Oriole, Black Francolin and many more. We travel at the beginning of the northerly migration season, and many passerines and raptors can be expected in key hotspots such as broad Tergi valley, and we should find a good representation of eastern European species.

ARMENIA Relaxed Eastern European birding in a quiet, unspoilt environment SAT 1 MAY – WED 12 MAY 2021 SAT 30 APRIL – WED 11 MAY 2022 Deposit: £800pp

PRICE: £2595pp PRICE: TBA

Single Supplement: £200 Guide: TBA

Leader Dave Pullan joined by an experienced local guide and translator. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Can be combined with our Georgia tour. A fantastic holiday featuring many of the key species of far eastern Europe, in a beautiful country away from the usual birding venues. This is a comprehensive tour of key habitats and locations, to see a great deal of the birdlife of Armenia and should appeal particularly to bird lovers with an eye for culture. Of over 350 birds recorded in Armenia, more than 200 are breeding, and many will be “lifers” for those who have not visited this remote part of eastern Europe. Among our targets will be such mouth-watering birds as Marbled Teal, White-headed Duck, Pygmy Cormorant, Collared Pratincole, Caucasian Black Grouse, Caspian Snowcock, Levant Sparrowhawk, White-tailed Lapwing, Armenian Gull, Syrian Woodpecker, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Radde’s and Alpine Accentor, White-throated Robin, Finsch’s, Red-tailed Wheatear, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Rosy Starling, Western and Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Caucasian Mountain Chiffchaff, Upcher’s, Eastern Olivaceous, Eastern Orphean, Green and Menetries’s Warbler, Red-fronted Serin, Sombre Tit (these last two species both possible but difficult), Grey-necked and Ortolan Bunting, Armenian Horned Lark, and many more. Many raptors breed here, including Golden, Lesser-spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagle, Lammergeier, Egyptian, and Griffon Vulture, Long-legged and Steppe Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, and Levant Sparrowhawk, and we expect a total of around 180 species, including many migrants heading north in spring.

AUSTRIA Brilliant summer birding with an optional Vienna extension WED 9 JUNE – TUES 15 JUNE 2021 WED 8 JUNE – TUES 14 JUNE 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1995pp PRICE: TBA

Single supplement: £150

Lead by an experienced local Guide. Max. 7 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Vienna extension available to your specification. Austria is excellent for birding, with several 'eastern' specialities, very diverse habitats including lowland wetlands and grasslands, vast old conifer and broadleaved forests, flowery pastures and of course the famous Alps. The scenery is often stunningly beautiful. The pace will be moderate (we will ensure the odd stop for authentic apple or cherry strudel!), with some optional hill walks. We visit when the mountains are free of snow and hence more accessible. Key birds include; Red-backed Shrike, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, Hawfinch, Nutcracker, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Grey-headed, Black, Syrian, White-backed and Three-toed Woodpecker, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Great Bustard, ‘blue-headed’ Yellow Wagtail, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, River, Marsh, Barred, Icterine, Moustached, Savi’s and Great Reed Warblers, Bluethroat, and both Bearded and Penduline Tits. A wide range of waterbirds include Kentish Plover, Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Red-crested Pochard, Garganey, Whiskered Tern, and Mediterranean Gull. Hazel Grouse and Eagle Owl are also possible. This is a seven-day, six-night holiday, allowing time should you wish for an extension in romantic Vienna at the end of the holiday. We will be happy to arrange this for you. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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BULGARIA in AUTUMN Spectacular autumn migration on the Black Sea coast SAT 4 SEPTEMBER – SAT 11 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £1995pp Single supplement: £130 Deposit: £300pp Leader Toby Green, joined by an experienced local guide. Max. 12 clients. Departure from Luton - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. An exciting holiday focusing on the spectacular annual migration of thousands of birds of prey, pelicans, storks and passerines along the Black Sea flyway known as the Via Pontica. First, we visit wetlands around Bourgas, one of Europe’s richest bird areas with over 340 species recorded, where large flocks of White and Dalmatian Pelican roost during migration. At Atanasovsko Lake, a shallow saline lagoon with saltpans, we expect variety with Black-winged Stilt, Broad-billed and Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gull, Gull-billed Tern and many other migrants. Soaring birds following the coastal flyway in autumn can number in the thousands, and huge numbers of White Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Black Stork, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Black Kite, and Montagu’s Harrier take to the air in the right conditions. We also explore coastal riverine forests and sand dunes, and later the oak forests to seek Grey-headed, Middlespotted and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Hawfinch and other species. Hunting raptors should include Levant Sparrowhawk, Saker, Red-footed Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard and we may see Eagle Owl too. On a visit to the Black Sea coast, we look for Little Bittern, Ferruginous Duck, Glossy Ibis and Caspian Tern. Shrubland could produce a diversity including Icterine, River and Barred Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Calandra Lark, Stone Curlew, Isabelline Wheatear, Bee-eater, Tawny and Red-throated Pipit. During spectacular migrant falls, every bush can hold larks, warblers, chats, buntings and shrikes! Hunting raptors should include Levant Sparrowhawk, Saker, Red-footed Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard and we may see Eagle Owl too. This holiday is suitable for beginners and experts alike, with a range of sought-after birds, plus identification challenges and good chances of hard-to-get Eastern scarcities.

BULGARIA & NORTHERN GREECE Great spring birding from the Bulgarian Mountains to Lake Kerkini SAT 8 MAY – MON 17 MAY 2021 PRICE: £2095pp Single Supplement: £140 SAT 7 MAY – MON 16 MAY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £300pp Leader Barry Embling joined by an experienced local guide. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included A ten-day birding tour that combines the highest mountains of Southwestern Bulgaria and the wetlands of Northern Greece, including famous Lake Kerkini and the Axios Delta. The timing of this trip and the sheer range of habitats covered give us the chance to record somewhere between 180 - 200 species; a very good birdlist with many eastern species, not easy at all in Europe! The tour will be split into roughly equal halves in Bulgaria and Greece. The mountains of Bulgaria give us a chance to explore subalpine and woodland meadows, unspoiled coniferous and beech forests, and the river valleys that drain water from the highest mountains of the Balkans to Northern Greece and the Aegean Sea. One of the main targets will be European woodpecker species (all breed except Iberian Green) along with mountain specialists including Hazel Grouse, Pygmy Owl, Spotted Nutcracker, Alpine Chough, Wallcreeper and Shore Lark. Birding in the lowlands and the river valleys of Southwestern Bulgaria should produce good views of Short-toed Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, Calandra Lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Black-headed Bunting, Common Rock Sparrow, Sombre Tit and other exciting birds. Northern Greece is famous for its coastal lagoons and big lakes hosting huge numbers of migratory and resident water birds. Dalmatian and White Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Greater Flamingo, Little Bittern, Purple and Squacco Herons, Spur-winged Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Slender-billed Gull, Gull-billed Tern are all likely to feature. The woodclad mountains are home to many raptors including Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Black Kite, while riverine forests support Levant Sparrowhawk and White-tailed Eagle. The area has a strong Mediterranean influence that benefits species such as Great Spotted Cuckoo, Olive-tree Warbler, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Masked Shrike, Blue Rock Thrush, Western Rock Nuthatch and Black-eared Wheatear.

NEW! ROMANIA & THE DANUBE DELTA birding by both land and ‘floating hotel!’ SAT 5 JUNE – SAT 12 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £2295pp Single supplement: £160

Deposit: £300pp

Leader Gerard Gorman joined by local guides. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. The Danube Delta is a huge riverine area which dwarfs the Camargue and Coto Doñana. Pelicans, ibises, cormorants, egrets and herons breed here in very large numbers and many other birds use the Delta on passage. We are based for three nights in the Delta-side town of Tulcea, followed by four nights on an exclusive ’floating hotel’ house-boat, and will see birds in quantity and quality throughout the holiday. On this unique, well-organised tour we expect to see huge numbers of wetland birds, and some eastern European specialities, ensuring a great mix of species. Target birds include endangered Dalmatian Pelican, large flocks of White Pelican, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Crake, every European species of heron, Ruddy Shelduck, Levant Sparrowhawk, Lesser Spotted and Booted Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, colonies of Collared Pratincole, noisy mixed tern flocks, eight species of woodpecker, abundant Rollers, Calandra Lark, Tawny Pipit, Isabelline and Pied Wheatear, Paddyfield and Olivaceous Warbler, Sombre and Penduline Tit, Golden Oriole, Ortolan Bunting, Rose-coloured Starling, and Spanish Sparrow. By having our own boat, we get right in and around the Delta to the places we want to go, and many birds can be easily photographed. It is the best way to see this massive area! Our houseboat is known locally as a ‘floating hotel’, and has cosy cabins, each containing two beds, private WC, washbasin, shower, and air-conditioning. There is an elevated open birding deck, stable enough to use telescopes, with great views over the vast reedbeds. Sometimes we head off by smaller boat or on foot over one of the islands or dykes. Each night we moor and sleep in a different place. Cuisine is superb and prepared by the boat’s very own cook who uses only local produce; we shall be eating authentic Romanian food in style every night! 14

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ESTONIA – Winter Short Break Owls, woodpeckers and Arctic ducks TUES 30 MARCH – SUN 4 APRIL 2021 PRICE: £1595pp Single Supplement: £95

Deposit: £300pp

Leader Mike Coleman, joined by local guide Uku Paal. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A novel two-centred short holiday concentrating on sea duck and wildfowl on the Baltic coast, and key species including grouse, woodpeckers and owls on the mainland. We visit Saaremaa, the largest Estonian island, and home to some of the most famous birding sites in the country, where one of our tour highlights should be Steller's Eider. This is one of the most reliable places in Europe to see this attractive Arctic duck, and in some winters up to a thousand birds can congregate in tight-knit rafts on the ice-free waters. We have planned carefully to give you the best chances to see Steller's Eider. Birds are often off the seaward side of Saaremaa, furthest away from the ferry point, which means we need time to take the ferry and transfer to the right places. Weather can be a key factor too, so we stay overnight on the island for three nights to maximise our chances. This adds extra cost to the tour, but we believe this an important investment and there are plenty of other birds there too! We also hope to see other seaduck including Velvet Scoter, Smew and Long-tailed Duck plus divers, grebes, auks and Purple Sandpiper as we explore the coast. On mainland Estonia, we look for Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Hazel Grouse in forest habitats. Ural and Pygmy Owl are also possible and late-March/early April can also be a good time to hear woodpeckers drumming. In open areas, skeins of Tundra Bean and Taiga Bean Geese may be passing over along with Common Cranes, while raptors such as Rough-legged Buzzard and White-tailed Eagle may be seen. Passerines including Crested and Willow Tit, Common and Arctic Redpoll, Hawfinch and Snow Bunting are also likely to feature.

ESTONIA IN SPRING A Baltic Birding Bonanza MON 10 MAY – MON 17 MAY 2021 PRICE: £2095pp Single Supplement: £165

Deposit: £300pp

Leader Mike Coleman, joined by local guide Uku Paal. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included.

Estonia is one of Europe’s best destinations for birdwatchers. More than 200 species breed and in spring a heavy passage of wildfowl and waders occurs along the Baltic coast heading north. This is the smallest and least populated of the Baltic states. About 10% of the country is legally protected for conservation reasons, typified by coast, wetlands and forests. There are thousands of ponds, marshes, bogs and lakes and nearly 1,000 offshore islands and islets. About 40% of the land is covered by forest and 20% by bog, and farmland is often managed in a low-intensive manner with many acres of hand-mown meadows and lush pastures. This picturesque rustic scenery only enhances the charm of this little-known country, and we aim to explore each habitat thoroughly to bring you the very best of the birds – a real Baltic birding bonanza. Much depends on the passage of spring migrants and the local availability of rare breeding species, and we stay in three different locations giving us the best possible chances of finding specialities. Targets include White-tailed, Golden, Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Hazel Grouse, lekking Great Snipe, Red-necked Phalarope, Corncrake, Pygmy, Ural and Tengmalm’s Owl (owls are easier in some other destinations), White-backed, Grey-headed, Black and Three-toed Woodpecker, Thrush Nightingale, Savi’s, Marsh, Barred, Icterine and River Warbler, Citrine Wagtail, Nutcracker, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, Red-necked Grebe, Taiga and Tundra Bean Geese, Caspian, Black and White-winged Tern, Temminck’s Stint, Black and White Stork, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike, Penduline Tit and Parrot Crossbill. Other possible species include Capercaillie, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Golden Oriole and Ortolan Bunting.

NEW! SWEDEN IN AUTUMN - FALSTERBO A great new migration holiday. SAT 4 SEPTEMBER – FRI 10 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £2295pp Single Supplement: £275 Deposit: £300pp Leader Mark Warren joined by another from the Heatherlea team with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Falsterbo, at the south-westernmost tip of Sweden, protrudes into the Baltic Sea, and is one of the most iconic European migration watchpoints. Many birds of Scandinavian origin and many from Siberia funnel south through this point, and for both variety and numbers, it is one of the very best places to observe active migration in autumn. Virtually anything can turn up at Falsterbo, September being one of the very best times to visit, particularly for raptors. Up to 23 species have been recorded and our trip is timed to coincide with traditionally the largest movements of Honey Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. Other species likely are Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Common Buzzard and Eurasian Hobby with Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier, Black Kite, Northern Goshawk, Peregrine, Merlin and Redfooted Falcon all possible too. Larger raptors recorded near-annually include Golden, White-tailed, Eastern Imperial, Lesser and Greater Spotted, Short-toed and Booted Eagles with migrating White and Black Stork and ‘bugling’ Common Cranes often occupying the skies too - a superb spectacle! Other species likely are Whinchat, Common Restart, Northern Wheatear, Red-throated Pipit, White and Yellow Wagtail (several races), Bluethroat, Pied, Spotted and Redbreasted Flycatcher, Wryneck, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike, Hawfinch, Brambling, and Marsh, Barred, Yellow-browed and brightly coloured Wood Warbler. Wildfowl and passing waders, gulls and terns offer plenty of variety, and local forests have good birding too. Common (and in irruption years Parrot) Crossbill, Black Woodpecker and Scandinavian forms of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch, (borealis) Willow and (white-headed caudatus) Long-tailed Tit may be seen. We also maintain close contact with the observatory and birding services to find rarities nearby. You will be amazed by the sheer numbers of birds!

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NEW! FINLAND & NORWAY THE HEATHERLEA ‘GRAND TOUR OF FINLAND AND NORWAY’ We offer three exciting holidays in Finland and Northern Norway which can be combined to offer a ‘Grand Tour’, a tremendous opportunity to seek all the key birds and mammals of northern Scandinavia. We begin in the land of the midnight sun, birding Finnish Lapland and the Varanger Peninsula situated some 400km inside the Arctic Circle. Next we enjoy great spring birding in northern Finland rounding up many specialities, and finally concentrate on Brown Bear and Wolverine. Leader Dave Pullan, plus expert local guide. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow or Edinburgh. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. You may choose to combine the tours in different ways, making significant savings:

14 - 29 May 2021 FINLAND and NORWAY ‘GRAND TOUR’ PRICE: £7595pp Single supplement: £670

Deposit: £1000pp

14 - 25 MAY 2021 FINLAND and NORTHERN NORWAY + LATE SPRING BIRDING PRICE: £5395pp Single supplement: £495 Deposit: £1000pp 19 - 29 May 2021 FINLAND LATE SPRING BIRDING + BEARS and WOLVERINES PRICE: £5395pp Single supplement: £495 Deposit: £1000pp

FINLAND and NORTHERN NORWAY Early Summer birding in Finnish Lapland and Norway Fri 14 May – Wed 19 May 2021 PRICE: £2995pp Single supplement: £195 Fri 13 May – Wed 18 May 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit £500pp Leader Dave Pullan, plus expert local guide. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow or Edinburgh. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included.

FINLAND - LATE SPRING BIRDING Great birding with chances of all the northern Scandinavian specials! Wed 19 May – Tues 25 May 2021 PRICE: £3145pp Single supplement: £320 Wed 18 May – Tues 24 May 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA. Deposit £500pp Leader Dave Pullan, plus expert local guide. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow or Edinburgh. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. An outstanding birding trip for a wide range of key European species. During our first two days we target Eagle, Great Grey, Ural, Tengmalm’s, Hawk, Long-eared, Short-eared and Pygmy Owl, and also look for Montagu’s and Pallid Harriers. Migrant and breeding waders feature with Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Ruff, and rare Broad-billed and Terek Sandpiper possible with booming Bittern, calling Corncrake, Caspian Tern, Whooper Swan, Common Crane, Garganey, Dipper, and Citrine Wagtail in similar habitats. A few pairs of Red-backed Shrikes breed, other key birds include White-tailed Eagle and forests give our first chance of Three-toed and Black Woodpecker, Black and Hazel Grouse and Capercaillie. ‘Night singers’ can include Thrush Nightingale, and Blyth’s Reed Warbler. We also visit a hide to see Ruff at the lek, an unforgettable experience, popular with photographers! Our second centre is in Kuusamo, Finland’s top birding destination. En-route we have a delicious lunch at a Reindeer farm, then begin a feast of birding! Vast forests hold Capercaillie and Black, Willow and Hazel Grouse, breeding Goldeneye, Wood Sandpiper and Brambling, though the real draw is the list of eastern and northern species. Possibilities include Red-flanked Bluetail, Little and Rustic Bunting, Greenish Warbler, Siberian Tit and Siberian Jay. Among the other birds we might see are Bohemian Waxwing, Great Grey Shrike, Red-necked Grebe, Common Rosefinch, Pine Grosbeak, Two-barred Crossbill and Parrot Crossbill. Black and Three-toed Woodpecker and Little Gull breed here too. Late nights help us enjoy brilliant birding throughout, though there will be the opportunity to rest up in the afternoon on some days.

NEW! FINLAND - BEARS and WOLVERINES

On this exciting six-day  tour to the land of the midnight sun we divide our time between Finnish Lapland and the Varanger Peninsula, the latter situated some 400km inside the Arctic Circle. The holiday is land-based, beginning at Ivalo, and driving north towards the Finnish/Norwegian border and beyond, overnighting at the fishing town of Batsfjord before continuing to the wildlife rich Varanger Fjord. The weather and key sightings will help dictate our exact itinerary, featuring plans to explore the Lappish forests and bogs, the snowy highlands and a memorable boat trip to see large seabird colonies on Hornøya Island. Speciality northern birds such as Gyrfalcon, White-billed Diver, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, Pine Grosbeak and any available owls will be prime targets. The time of year offers good chances of seeing both King and stunning Steller’s Eider while other key birds should include Long-tailed Skua, Golden Eagle, Ptarmigan, Smew and Dotterel. Breath-taking birding in a magical northern landscape!

Mon 24 May – Sat 29 May 2021 PRICE: £2995pp Single supplement: £240 Mon 23 May – Sat 28 May 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA. Deposit £500pp Leader Dave Pullan, plus expert local guide. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow or Edinburgh. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This holiday offers wonderful prospects to see both Brown Bear and Wolverine, with excellent photographic opportunities. We take you to two excellent sites, each featuring a comfortable especially designed hide, with two overnight vigils in each to give the best chances of seeing and photographing the animals, which are sometimes just metres away! Both species are nocturnal, so we enter the hide in the afternoon and emerge again the following morning. Animals are baited in front of the hides, and it is not uncommon to encounter several individuals during a night, though numbers vary between empty nights and several visits. Birding is largely incremental, usually people stay up almost the whole night waiting for mammals, and don't go to sleep at all, so rest is definitely needed during the days! Bears begin feeding when they wake from hibernation in April, and eat just about anything, including fish, mammals, berries and beetles. Wolverine is a solitary and rare animal, which looks like a small bear with a long tail. Always on the move, they are found in Europe only in the north, and there are perhaps 270 - 300 in Finland. Watching wild Brown Bears and Wolverines is an unforgettable experience, and there are few places in the world which offer this opportunity!

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NEW! HUNGARY SHORT BREAK IN WINTER THURS 18 NOVEMBER – SUN 21 NOVEMBER 2021 PRICE: £1295pp Single Supplement: £80 Deposit: £300pp THURS 17 NOVEMBER – SUN 20 NOVEMBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £300pp Leader Gerard Gorman joined by Bernie Forbes with over 7 clients. Max 12 clients Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This early-winter tour takes us to the quaint and under-birded historic town of Tata, located onehour west of Budapest. Situated at the heart of an internationally important passage and wintering area for wildfowl, Tata is known as the “Hungarian Goose Capital”, and tour highlights should include the presence of thousands of Russian Greater White-fronted Goose, together with “eastern” Greylags and smaller numbers of Tundra Bean Goose. A few Taiga Bean, Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted Goose are also often in the area. Our expert local knowledge will maximise our chances of seeing many of these.

where reedbeds host Bearded Tit, and Penduline Tit are often in adjacent willows. Wintering ducks often include Smew and Caspian Gulls are common. Last, but not least, we will also visit a Long-eared Owl roost, where the birds are often very confiding and photogenic.

This season, with very few leaves on the trees, is a great time to see woodpeckers, and Black, Grey-headed, Green, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted and Syrian are all likely. Raptors include Hen and Marsh Harrier, White-tailed and Eastern Imperial Eagle, Peregrine, Common and Rough-legged Buzzard and Saker Falcon. Other possible birds include Great Grey Shrike, Crested Lark, Hawfinch, “continental” Bullfinch, both Short-toed and Common Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, the latter being continental 'caudatus' birds often with white heads, and flocks of Fieldfare. Tree Sparrow, White Wagtail and Black Redstart are common in the town. Pygmy Cormorant, Great White Egret and Common Bittern are at fishponds

Tata is a quaint laid-back historic town an hour west of Budapest. To its north is the Danube, to the east the limestone Gerecse Hills, dotted with vineyards, and to the south the forested Vertes Hills. Its colourful history is reflected in its baroque and renaissance architecture. Besides Magyars, Tata was been settled by Romans and Ottomans. At its heart is the Old Lake, a protected wetland Ramsar site where thousands of wildfowl roost and drink in autumn and winter. This is a lovely short birding holiday which should be ideal for most Heatherlea birders!

CZECH REPUBLIC - SOUTH MORAVIA A special Wallcreeper and Woodpecker short break THURS 25 FEBRUARY – SUN 28 FEBRUARY 2021 THURS 24 FEBRUARY – SUN 27 FEBRUARY 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1295pp Single Supplement: £100 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Leader Gerard Gorman joined by Mike Coleman with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. An exciting short holiday to an under-explored part of Central Europe, ideal for busy birders who want to see some key European birds in winter. South Moravia is a special region of the Czech Republic rarely visited, though birding can be very rewarding. We seek Wallcreeper, a spectacular bird which winters at low elevations and can usually be seen well at this time of year. With fewer leaves on trees, we have good chances to see woodpeckers. Seven species may be found here: Black, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted and Syrian are our main targets, though Green, Lesser Spotted and Greater Spotted are also present.

of raptors, wildfowl, passerines and perhaps Eagle Owl will add to the excitement. We will not need to rush around, and the tour will be moderate paced. With its Mediterranean-like feel, this is the country’s traditional wine area, and we’ll also have the option to visit an old cellar one evening. A wonderful short break!

Late-February is a great time to visit as winter turns to spring, and South Moravia is blessed with remarkably rich and diverse habitats; broadleaved woodlands, floodplain forests, lakes, fishponds, limestone hills, steppe grasslands, meadows, vineyards, orchards, farmlands - and all within a short drive of our base. A wide range

Group leader Gerard is a well-known expert based in nearby Budapest. He knows this area very well and is also the author of many well-informed books on the subject of Eastern European birding and woodpeckers in particular. This is a great opportunity to make the most of his excellent local knowledge in a brief period!

NEW! SLOVAKIA A bird-filled short break in a quiet corner of Europe THURS 22 APRIL – SUN 25 APRIL 2021 THURS 21 APRIL – SUN 24 APRIL 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1295pp PRICE: TBA

Single Supplement: £75 Guide: TBA

Leader Gerard Gorman joined by Bernie Forbes with more than 7 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This new and original short birding break is aimed to take in the resident, arriving and passage birds of a superb but under-birded corner of Europe. We are based in south-west Slovakia, a region with remarkably diverse landscapes and habitats, and visit Bratislava, one of Europe’s smallest capital cities, a place steeped in history. During two full days we hope to see a wide range of central European birds in a variety of habitats including forests, woodlands, parkland, wetlands, farmlands, orchards and old vineyards. Raptors include Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Marsh Harrier, Hobby and White-tailed Eagle. There is an impressive list of woodpeckers, and we’ll visit sites for Wryneck, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted, Syrian, White-backed, Green, Grey-headed and Europe’s biggest, Black Woodpecker. A good range of wetland dwelling warblers should be in song, including Grasshopper, Sedge, Savi‘s, Reed, Great Reed and Marsh. Other birds of note might include Red-necked Grebe, White Stork, Black Stork, Red-crested Pochard, Pygmy Cormorant, Night Heron, Caspian, Yellow-legged,

Little, and Mediterranean Gull, Black, Whitewinged Black and Whiskered Tern, Green and Wood Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Tawny and Long-eared Owls, Turtle Dove, Golden Oriole, Shorttoed Treecreeper, Common Nightingale, Bearded and Penduline Tit, Crested Lark, Red-backed Shrike, Hoopoe, Black Redstart, Tree Sparrow, Serin, Stonechat, Whinchat, Collared and Spotted Flycatcher, Hawfinch, Corn Bunting, White Wagtail, the nominate blue-headed race of Yellow Wagtail and many other birds. Although not common, there is also a chance of Great Bustard here. After this short but bird-filled break, there are many cultural attractions for those who wish to extend their stay including: the imposing and impressive 15th century Bratislava Castle which overlooks the mighty Danube, and a delightful 18th century pedestrian-only Old Town.

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SKYROS Relaxed spring birding on an ‘undiscovered’ Greek island in the heart of the Aegean Sea WED 21 APRIL – WED 28 APRIL 2021 PRICE: £2095pp WED 20 APRIL – WED 27 APRIL 2022 PRICE: TBA Deposit: £300pp

Single Supplement: £160 Guide: TBA

Leader Ian Ford joined by another from our experienced Heatherlea team with more than 7 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. An ideal destination for those who want to enjoy spring migration on an island unspoilt by tourism, and without crowds of other birders. Skyros sits far out in the Aegean, highly visible to migrant birds because of its dominant mountain rising sharply from sea level. Birds drop into sparse cover and small wetlands where they are bottlenecked and easy to see. Fertile areas are greenest in late April, at peak migration time, so birds rest to feed before moving on. Falls of migrants are highly possible, and birding can be exciting! We visit a variety of interesting habitats including rocky heaths and scrub, fields, groves and wetlands, gnarled oaks and maples in the valleys, open slopes, rocky streams and coastal mouths, and of course the open sea. Among the highlights will be our boat charter taking in the rugged coastline and off-shore islets where we will hope to enjoy spectacular views of the largest single breeding colony of Eleonora’s Falcons in the world. We may also see Blue Rock Thrush, Audouin’s Gull, Yelkouan and Scapoli’s Shearwater, plus dolphins and critically endangered Monk Seal. Close birding will include a wide range of spring migrants, with numerous warblers, Collared, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, Woodchat and Red-backed Shrike, Bee-eater, Golden Oriole, pipits, larks and hirundines plus waders and herons arriving daily. Cretzschmar’s Bunting favour the rugged south of the island where we may also see Alpine Swift, Eastern Subalpine Warbler and Little Owl. Among the raptors we expect Bonelli’s Eagle, Pallid, Montagu’s and Marsh Harrier, Long-legged and Honey Buzzard, Redfooted Falcon and (scarce) Levant Sparrowhawk; absorbing birding in a lovely location. In the evenings, we eat at tavernas on a relaxed itinerary. If you want spring migration in a quiet and unspoilt place, this is it!

NEW! CYPRUS Exciting Mediterranean birding for Cypriot endemics and migrants SAT 3 APRIL – SAT 10 APRIL 2021 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1995pp

Single Supplement: £180

Leader Mark Warren joined by Bernie Forbes with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Cyprus is a fabulous birding destination, offering excellent spring migration and notable, sought-after residents including several endemics. This holiday is timed to give us excellent chances of high numbers and variety of passage migrants. The tour is focused on birding, though the island is also noted for its rare butterflies, plants and orchids and we also plan to visit cultural and historical sites including the 'Baths of Aphrodite' and the 'Kykkos Monastery'. These are also great birding spots in their own right, so we keep birding throughout! Staying in just one centre, we are well positioned to visit hotspots including Paphos headland in the southwest, the Arkamas National Park in the northwest, Larnaca in the east and many great sites in between. We spend our days exploring saltpans, coastal scrub on headlands reservoirs, dry riverbeds with residual freshwater pools, traditional farmland and the Troodos Mountains for raptors and endemic subspecies found in the pine forests. A big birdlist approaching 150 species  is very possible as we aim to connect with a mix of northern and eastern European migrants. The sought-after endemics are Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Pied Wheatear and recently split Cyprus Scops Owl. We aim to see all three, plus difficult to find Black Francolin. Our daily birding is exceptional, including herons, wildfowl, waders, crakes and gulls, and interesting passerines such as Isabelline and Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Black-headed, Cretzschmar's and Ortolan Bunting, Ruppell's, Eastern Olivaceous, Eastern Bonelli’s, Sardinian and Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Collared and Semi-collared Flycatcher. We enjoy Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Alpine Swift, Wryneck, Woodchat, Red-backed and Masked Shrike daily, plus many species familiar to UK birders which fare better here, thriving in traditional farmland and picturesque valleys. We also hope to connect with some of the rarities for which the  island is increasingly famous.

MALLORCA Birds of prey, bustards, sandgrouse and brilliant Spanish spring birding SAT 1 MAY – SAT 8 MAY 2021 SAT 30 APRIL – SAT 7 MAY 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1795pp PRICE: TBA

Single Supplement: £145 Guide: TBA

Leader Bernie Forbes joined by another from the Heatherlea team with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departures from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This is an exciting time of year when virtually anything can happen, as many thousands of birds pass through the island, resting and feeding before continuing to mainland Europe. Unexpected rarities can occur anywhere, and there are excellent ‘migrant traps’ such as the fig orchards and fields at Casas Veyas and the Boquer Valley. Rare and much sought species include Black Vulture, Balearic and Moustached Warbler while species seen infrequently in the UK include Balearic Woodchat Shrike, Golden Oriole, Bee-eater, Roller, Wryneck and Firecrest. Elegant Eleonora’s Falcon, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle and Red-footed Falcon occupy the skies along with many hundreds of Honey Buzzards at one time! A huge variety of water birds and passerines, both resident and migrant can also be present and we will be sure of great birding each day. Our base for the week is a family-run hotel in a small village in the north of Mallorca, very conveniently placed for transfer to migration hotspots, yet away from busy tourist areas. Perfectly positioned to visit the mountain, marsh and coastal habitats of the northern part of the island, and with little physical effort, we’ll be able to enjoy some of Europe’s most sought-after species amid beautiful scenery. This trip is ideal for those who want to experience the thrill of spring migration at its best, or who are new to European birding and want to see many of the most iconic species, and those with more experience who want to ‘fill-in’ a few gaps while enjoying warm spring sunshine on a relaxing and laid-back holiday. This gently paced tour has a potential list of over 120 species and a major objective is to get good views of as many as possible. 18

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ICELAND BIRDS, ORCAS AND BOREALIS A short break to Iceland, featuring birds, marine mammals, geology and the Aurora Borealis. THURS 25 FEBRUARY – SUN 28 FEBRUARY 2021 PRICE: £1795pp Single Supplement: £150 Deposit: £500pp Leader Andy Jones joined by another from our team with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A tremendous long weekend in the land of ice and fire in winter. Our base is in Snæfellsnes, west Iceland and we will spend our days exploring the coastal landscapes of this beautiful area. We have a very good chance of finding Killer Whale (Orca) offshore, White-tailed Eagle patrolling the  coastline, Harlequin Duck surfing the rough seas, white-plumaged Ptarmigan in the lava fields and there’s a chance of Gyrfalcon too. There are relatively few birds at this time, though we should see white-winged Glaucous and Iceland Gull, Snow Bunting, Fieldfare and more in a very relaxed environment. We hope to find Orca, both from land and also, if weather permits, from an exciting boat trip. We also hope to see the awe-inspiring aurora borealis, or northern lights, a wonderful experience! At this time of year clear nights often give spectacular auroral displays and we’ll keep our fingers crossed for  the chance. The volcanic geology of Iceland is  not forgotten, and we will explore lava fields and learn of the tectonic forces which shaped, and are still  shaping, this amazing country.

ICELAND IN SUMMER Birds, cetaceans and geology - ‘Complete Iceland’ MON 19 JULY – MON 26 JULY 2021 MON 18 JULY – MON 25 JULY 2022 Deposit: £500pp

PRICE: £2995pp Single Supplement: £425 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Leader Dave Pullan joined by Mark Warren with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This unique holiday is a complete tour of the Land of Fire and Ice. Our trip is designed to give you the very best, as we stay in three centres in an unforgettable and thorough exploration. Want to ‘do’ Iceland? Look no further! Amid dramatic landscapes, we seek Gyrfalcon, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, dazzling Harlequin Duck and Barrow’s Goldeneye. We cover all the birdlife, including White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, Brünnich’s Guillemot, Snow Bunting, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit and Arctic and Great Skua. Recent trips have produced rarities including Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon and King Eider. We also enjoy three whale-watching trips – giving fantastic chances to see Orca, Humpback and Minke Whale, White-beaked Dolphin, and Harbour Porpoise. We may see mighty Blue Whale, plus Sperm, Fin and Sei Whales, and Bottle-nosed and White-sided Dolphins, as these mammals congregate in the food-rich waters of the North Atlantic. Later, you will see the hot spring area of Hveravellir, the dramatic glacial river falls of Gullfoss, the famous geysers at Geysir, and the glaciers, waterfalls and active volcanoes of Eyjafjallajökull and Hekla. The tumbled moraines provide much of interest for botanists and geologists.

NEW! SOUTH EAST ICELAND – BIRDING, VOLCANOS AND GLACIERS A gentle tour of geology and bird life in South East Iceland. SAT 22 MAY – SAT 29 MAY 2021 PRICE: £2995pp Single Supplement: £425 Deposit: £500pp Leader Andy Jones. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A wonderful week’s holiday exploring the southern and south eastern parts of Iceland, including a visit by ferry to the Westman Islands. Great birding includes the world’s largest Puffin colony, Great Skuas, and Icelandic specialities, Harlequin and Barrow’s Goldeneye. There’s always a chance of a Gyrfalcon or two and Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver are some of highlights as we target all available waders, wildfowl and ducks. We also be looking out for whales and dolphins, both from the shore and as we cross to the Westman Islands. We expect to record around 60 different bird species. Geology will be a major feature of the holiday, and we feature hot springs, waterfalls, volcanoes and glaciers, just some of the attractions being the famous geyser at Geysir, the magnificent waterfall at Gullfoss, and the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón, where icebergs from the huge ice-cap of Vatnajökull fill the glacial lake. On the Westman islands, we visit the town where a major eruption occured in the 1970's, and look across the ocean towards Surtsey, one of the world's most recently formed islands. There are huge bird colonies here, and our RIB boat trip takes us close to some of the largest seabird colonies in the world. Our journey takes us across stunning landscapes; fjords, cliffs, coastal lagoons, mountains, glaciers, and the black-sand beaches of Iceland's wild and awe-inspiring southern regions. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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NEW! IRELAND in SPRING Migrants, seabirds and cetaceans. SAT 22 MAY – SAT 29 MAY 2021 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £2295pp Single Supplement: £210

Leader Mark Warren joined by another from our team with more than 7 clients. Max.12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This is an exciting holiday to the Emerald Isle in spring. On this two-centre tour there is huge potential for exciting birding as we seek breeding seabirds, waders in summer plumage, migrant passerines and cetaceans. We explore the south coast, dividing our time between County Cork in the far west, and County Wexford in the east. We begin in Cork, where vibrant green fields meet  rugged coastline to showcase Ireland at its best. May is a busy time for birdlife as migrant birds flood north and seabirds settle to breed. Attractive hotspots including Mizen Head and Galley Head are great birding locations, and one day we visit Cape Clear Island, taking a boat trip for whales, dolphins, Harbour Porpoise, Grey Seal and perhaps even Basking Shark. We also explore this unique place on foot and visit  its famous Bird Observatory. Rewarding birding can be anticipated in a number of superb wetlands and estuaries in both counties, and we expect to see large numbers of waders, gulls, terns and  late-wintering wildfowl, with Chough abundant at many sites. County Wexford reserves such as Tacumshin and Lady’s Island Lake hold legendary status among birdwatchers, and we explore the rarely visited Saltee Islands by foot, for close encounters with Puffin, Gannet and other seabirds. In May, exciting scarce and rare birds from a number of origins  can occur anywhere along the Irish south coast. Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Hoopoe, Woodchat Shrike, Redrumped Swallow, Western Subalpine Warbler, White-winged Black Tern and Red-footed Falcon are just a few recent examples, and if we hear of any we will try to see them, though this tour will run at a relaxed pace (more leisurely than our Autumn  '... for birders'  tour), as we aim to enjoy all wildlife experiences and the beautiful scenery of the Emerald Isle.

IRELAND FOR BIRDERS Migration in County Cork and County Wexford SAT 28 AUGUST – SAT 4 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £2295pp SAT 27 AUGUST – SAT 3 SEPTEMBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Deposit: £300pp

Single Supplement: £195 GUIDE: TBA

Leader Mark Warren joined by another from our team with more than 7 clients. Max.12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A two-centre tour of the southern coast of the Emerald Isle, from County Cork to County Wexford. We run this holiday in a similar style to our popular Scottish ‘for Birders’ tours, seeking rarities in under-watched coastal locations. At this time migrant waders are at their peak, and may include an American vagrant or two. In Cork, we cover many famous birding sites, and though our itinerary depends on weather, tides and recent sightings, Mizen Head, Rosscarbery and Cobh Harbour all have lists of mouth-watering rarities over the years. Ballycotton is another of the best sites, with annual records of Semipalmated Sandpiper, American Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper and Lesser Yellowlegs. An exciting aspect is our dedicated pelagic trip into the Atlantic, chumming from the boat to draw in a range of rare birds. Top targets are Wilson’s Petrel and Great Shearwater, though any number of petrels, shearwaters, skuas and auks are possible, with chances of common and rare cetaceans. Another draw is our day trip to Cape Clear, accessed by foot ferry. This is the most southerly point of Ireland, famous for rare birds, and has produced some huge rarities at this time, with Northern Waterthrush, Yellow Warbler and Solitary Sandpiper all in the last decade. We will spend several hours on foot, checking out the sparse cover and hope to find a rare passerine or two! Once over into Wexford we have two full days birding, covering the famous sites of Tacumshin Marsh, Lady’s Island Lake, Rosslare Harbour and Hook Head amongst others. Superb birding in a beautiful country!

CAMARGUE Wonderful early spring birding in the south of France SAT 6 MARCH – SAT 13 MARCH 2021 SAT 5 MARCH – SAT 12 MARCH 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1895pp PRICE: TBA

Single Supplement: £130 Guide: TBA

Leader Ian Ford joined by Barry Embling with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Join us in one of Europe’s premier birding destinations just as migration begins. From the sweeping marshes of the Camargue reserve and the surrounding plains of La Crau to the limestone cliffs of Les Alpilles and the mountain slopes of Mont Ventoux, we explore all the special places and key sites, returning in the evening to a lovely cosy hotel and traditional food; Heatherlea aficionados will feel right at home! Wintering specialities usually include Wallcreeper, Bonelli’s Eagle, Little Bustard, Citril Finch, Eagle Owl, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Black Woodpecker, Bluethroat, Alpine Accentor and Penduline Tit and we dedicate time to search for them. Flocks of Greater Flamingo, can usually be measured in thousands, and we visit in early spring, so migrants should be arriving daily to join them on the wetlands. Possibilities include Black-necked Grebe, Little Stint, Spotted Redshank, Long-Legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle. Red Kite, Yellow-legged and Slender-billed Gull, Little Owl, Crag Martin, Water and Richard’s Pipit, Blue Rock Thrush, Southern Grey Shrike, Crested Tit, Sardinian Warbler, Firecrest, Serin, Hawfinch, Brambling, Common Crossbill, Cirl and Rock Bunting. A tremendous start to your overseas birding year! Watch out also for the famous Camargue Horses, Camargue Bull, Coypu in ditches, and blundering Wild Boar crashing through vegetation. 20

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SVALBARD – KINGDOM OF THE POLAR BEAR A wildlife adventure featuring birds, mammals and wonderful scenery plus a short birding experience in Oslo. WED 9 JUNE – FRI 18 JUNE 2021

PRICES FROM £4995pp

Deposit: £500pp

Leader Kevin Shaw plus experienced Oceanwide guides. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. In one of the last great wildernesses on Earth, only 600 miles from the North Pole, nothing can prepare you for your first Polar Bear, undisputed king of the Arctic. We hope for prolonged views at close quarters, and fantastic sightings. Our time with Walrus can also be unforgettable; these massive animals can be just a few feet away, another great wildlife experience. This fabulous trip to the 'Kingdom of the Polar Bear' takes place in June 2021, taking advantage of long daylight hours, and coinciding with the height of the breeding season for most birds. Countless seabirds nest on spectacular cliffs, and we watch Little Auk, Ivory Gull, Grey Phalarope, King Eider, Long-tailed Skua and Brünnich’s Guillemot amongst the variety of ducks, geese and seabirds. Sabine’s Gull and American vagrants are possible, and we might also see Arctic Fox, Svalbard Reindeer, four species of seal, beautiful Beluga and Minke Whale and perhaps other cetaceans including Fin Whale. You will never forget the wonderful wildlife of this harsh, beautiful landscape. Our vessel is ice-strengthened and ideal for this voyage, and we use inflatable zodiacs amongst the ice-floes to spend as much time ashore as possible. Expect a friendly intimate atmosphere in a cosy and comfortable onboard environment. As a bonus on this voyage, we include two nights in Oslo. This gives you time to either visit the city or to join us birding for some extra-special species. Possibilities (depending on breeding success) include Great Grey Owl, Tengmalm's Owl and/or Hazel Grouse. An extra benefit of booking with Heatherlea! You will never forget the unique wildlife of this harsh, beautiful land, so join us on the experience of a lifetime!

ITALY – PO DELTA AND VENICE Great birding short break in one of Europe’s most important National Parks, followed by a fantastic few days in Venice THURS 8 APRIL – THURS 15 APRIL 2021 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £2295pp

Single Supplement: £395

Leader Kevin Shaw joined by Dave Pullan with more than six clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This is a unique holiday combining enjoyable birding in the Po Delta area with a three-night visit to Venice, around 120km to the northeast. The Po Delta is one of Europe’s most important national parks. The landscape is flat and wet, so waterbirds predominate, though in early spring passage migrants including raptors and passerines give an interesting dimension. Key birds include Pygmy Cormorant, Marsh Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gull, Black-necked Grebe, Montagu's Harrier and more. We also hope to take a gentle boat trip into the calm, shallow waters of the Adriatic Sea, where waders, gulls, terns and more can be seen from a unique perspective. After four nights in the Po Delta area we transfer to Venice (just two hours away), and spend three nights in this wonderful city, where you have the opportunity to explore at leisure. Your Guide will help you get the most from your visit, advising how to visit the many museums and tourist sites, and arrange tickets for evening entertainment. A three-day waterbus ticket with unlimited travel is included in your holiday package, an invaluable asset as you explore 'la serenissima'. We also arrive and depart via waterbus, perhaps Europe's most romantic airport transfer! Our hotel in the Po Delta is an exceptional 'agritourismo' experience, and the cuisine here is superb. Dinners, breakfast and lunches in the field are delightful; you may get a little carried away! We also use a high quality hotel in Venice, very well appointed and ideally located for navigating the city. Both places are long-standing friends of Heatherlea, and offer a warm welcome and exceptional service.

NEW! AZORES A lovely blend of birds, whales, plants and geology amidst incredible coastal scenery. SAT 21 AUGUST – SAT 28 AUGUST 2021 Deposit: £500pp

PRICE: £1795pp

Single Supplement: £150

Leader Andy Jones joined by another from our team with more than 7 clients. Max. 10 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. The spectacular Azores stretch across the Atlantic almost a thousand miles from the coast of Europe. The climate is mild, the surrounding seas are warm, and the islands shelve steeply into the sea, a combination which makes this one of the best places in the world for whale and dolphin watching. Breeding birds include Cory’s Shearwater, Roseate Tern and, of course, the endemic Priôlo  or Azores Bullfinch, together with the island races of Buzzard, Chaffinch and Goldcrest. The flora of the islands is very interesting with perhaps 60 endemic species of plant. This is a thorough exploration of the Azores archipelago, including two internal flights and a ferry crossing to enable us to stay on three of the islands. We also take two sea trips to watch cetaceans. At this time we hope to see Sperm Whales, perhaps with calves, as well as several dolphin species including Spotted, Common and Risso’s, Beaked Whales and perhaps other marine-life such as flying fish, turtles and sharks. At sea we sometimes encounter Great Shearwater and Bulwer’s Petrel. The geology of the archipelago provides some of the most dramatic coastal scenery to be found anywhere in the world. Overwhelmingly volcanic, the bedrock provides the habitat for the islands’ wildlife and we’ll explore the uplands of Sao Miguel island searching for the Azores Bullfinch, visit hot springs and fumaroles, walk around a wonderful caldera to find endemic plants, stroll around cliffs for shearwaters and terns and learn about the vigorous geology of the archipelago. This holiday is a non-intensive wildlife experience ideal for the birder who wants endemic species and island races, plus western seabirds perhaps easier to find here than in other European locations. It is also ideal for the general naturalist who wants a relaxing holiday on attractive and relatively unspoilt Atlantic islands, featuring very interesting natural history and geology. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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SPAIN- CATALONIA and SOUTH-EAST ARAGON Superb spring birding from the Ebro Delta to the pre-Pyrenees. WED 21 APRIL – THURS 29 APRIL 2021 PRICE: £1995pp Single Supplement: £195 WED 20 APRIL – THURS 28 APRIL 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £300pp Leader Ian Ford plus expert local Guide Sergi Sales with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This is an exceptional eight-night adventure, featuring outstanding Spanish birding covering an impressive number of species, at the time of peak migration. Spring in the Ebro Delta is wonderful, and we should see Slender-billed, Mediterranean and Audouin's Gull, Whiskered, Gull-billed and Caspian Tern, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Flamingo, three egrets, Purple, Squacco and Night Heron, Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Little Bittern, Collared Pratincole, Purple Gallinule, Reed Bunting (rare witherbyii subspecies), Penduline Tit, Savi’s, Moustached and Great Reed Warbler, Red-crested Pochard, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Whimbrel. We search clumps of scrubby bushes close to the beach for falls including Woodchat Shrike, Western Subalpine Warbler, Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Hoopoe and more. At dusk we might search for local Long-eared or Scops Owl. At mountainous Els Port, a spectacular feeding station displays many dozen Griffon Vulture at close quarters. Other birds may include eagles, Egyptian Vulture, Black Kite, Peregrine, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Serin, Red-billed Chough, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Rock Sparrow and Crag Martin. We also hope to see rare and beautiful Spanish Ibex. Finally, we enjoy outstanding birding in plain, steppe and mountains. Key birds include Little Bustard, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Lammergeier, Booted, Bonelli's, Short-toed and Golden Eagle, Black Vulture, Roller, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, warblers including Melodious, Western Bonelli's, Western Subalpine, Western Orphean, Cetti's and Spectacled, larks including Calandra, Thekla, Short-toed and Lesser Short-toed, Black Wheatear, Pallid Swift, Penduline Tit, Cirl Bunting, Turtle Dove, Stone Curlew, Woodchat and Iberian Grey Shrike, Eagle and Little Owl, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Cuckoo … the list goes on! We have good chances of Great Bustard and Dupont's Lark, and even an outside chance of Wallcreeper. A true birding feast on one of the very best European itineraries available. We stay in two rural Catalonian hotels, featuring genuine Catalan dishes in places where the English language is rarely heard. A fascinating and very rewarding holiday!

SPAIN – BIRDS AND BUTTERFLIES Relaxed days in Catalonia & S.E Aragon enjoying birds and butterflies WED 19 MAY – WED 26 MAY 2021 WED 18 MAY – WED 25 MAY 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1795pp PRICE: TBA

Single Supplement: £160 Guide: TBA

Leader Catalunian expert Carles Oliver joined by another from the Heatherlea team with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A delightful holiday in late spring/early summer to see both birds and butterflies. Habitats include dry sedimentary cliffs and scrub, rich mixed deciduous forest extending high up the slopes, alpine grasslands and meadows, steppe landscapes combining rich bushland, traditional farming areas, natural steppe patches, and riverside forests and slopes recovering from recent fires. These places hold a variety of birds and butterflies, including many highly desirable yet hard to find key species. Birding should produce a varied selection of western European specialities including Lammergeier, Little Bustard, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed and Golden Eagle, Eurasian Griffon, Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Eagle Owl, Lesser Kestrel, Black Woodpecker, Wryneck, Roller, Bee-eater, Turtle Dove, Calandra, Thekla, Short-toed and Lesser Short-toed Lark, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Iberian Grey Shrike, Alpine and Red-billed Chough, Rufous-tailed and Blue Rock Thrush, Black Wheatear, Spectacled, Western Subalpine, Melodious, Dartford and Orphean Warbler, Crested Tit, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Citril Finch, Ortolan and Rock Bunting, and one morning we will look for scarce and difficult to find Tengmalm’s Owl. Butterflies include Apollo, Two-tailed Pasha, European, Spanish and Scarce Swallowtail, Cleopatra, Duke of Burgundy, Lesser Purple Emperor, Camberwell Beauty, Mountain Small White, Western Dappled White, Moroccan Orange Tip, Mountain Clouded Yellow, Knapweed, Niobe, Spotted, Glanville, Lesser Spotted and Queen of Spain Fritillary, Lefèbvre`s Ringlet, Pyrenees Grassy Ringlet, Piedmont Ringlet, Iberian Marbled White, Dusky and Pearly Heath, Rock Grayling, Large Grizzled and Southern Marbled Skipper, Turquoise, Baton, Little and if lucky, Gavarnie Blue. We enjoy good quality accommodation and food throughout.

SPAIN - EXTREMADURA Birds of prey, bustards, sandgrouse and brilliant birding SAT 17 APRIL – SAT 24 APRIL 2021 SAT 16 APRIL – SAT 23 APRIL 2022 Deposit: £300pp

PRICE: £1995pp Single Supplement: £160 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Leader Toby Green joined by Barry Embling with more than 7 clients. Max. 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Some of the best birding in Europe, featuring many of Europe’s rarest and most endangered species. We expect outstanding raptor watching with all five Spanish eagles; Bonelli’s, Golden, Booted, Short-toed and endangered Spanish Imperial, and three vultures; Black, Egyptian and Griffon. During our days in the steppes, we watch the spectacular breeding display of Great Bustard, as males almost turn themselves inside out and look like huge white balls of feathers. Other sought-after specialities here are Little Bustard, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse. Other birds likely in this tremendous area include Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole, Black and Black-eared Wheatear, Rock Bunting, Southern Grey Shrike, Golden Oriole, Little Owl, Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Calandra, Wood and Short-toed Lark, Tawny Pipit, Woodchat Shrike, Crested Tit, Melodious Warbler, Rock Bunting, Iberian Grey Shrike, Rock Sparrow, Hawfinch and Penduline Tit, and we take you to breeding places for both White and Black Stork. We expect very good views of almost all these birds. Around rocky pinnacles, Red-legged Chough, Black-shouldered Kite, Blue Rock Thrush, Thekla Lark, Crag Martin and Alpine Swift are found, and Eagle Owl can often be seen. From our elevated vantage point we look down onto the trees of the corkwood dehesa, and north over the arid plains of La Serena. The dehesa holds Hoopoe, Great Spotted Cuckoo and Azure-winged Magpie, and if we have been lucky with spring rains, will be a carpet of dazzling colour as flowers bloom in the brief, warm spring. In the Monfrague National Park, Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Spanish Sparrow and Savi´s, Sardinian, Bonelli’s, Subalpine, Dartford, Spectacled, Western Orphean, Melodious, and perhaps shy Olivaceous Warbler are in our sights too. A brilliant experience brim full of birds, and we also expect close views of Spanish bulls! 22

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EUROPE 2022 The previous section contains 2022 dates for holidays which are regular favourites with Heatherlea clients. This section features new and returning tours which are planned for 2022, though not for 2021. Provisionally reserve any of these holidays without payment of deposit until later!

BRAND NEW TOURS NEW! FINLAND and NORTHERN NORWAY

Mon 14 March – Sat 19 March 2022

Early spring in Finnish Lapland and Norway offers a unique atmosphere, as increasing levels of daylight and the first returning spring migrants produce wonderful birding. The highlights may be good numbers of King and Steller’s Eider in stunning breeding plumage, flocks of other wildfowl including Common Eider and Long-tailed Duck, plus large seabird colonies on Hornoya Island, where Brunnich’s Guillemot and Puffin will be returning to their breeding cliffs. Among other key species of the far north are Hawk Owl, Gyr Falcon, White-tailed Eagle, Glaucous and Iceland Gull, Purple Sandpiper, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, Arctic Redpoll and Pine Grosbeak. There is a chance of encountering the Aurora Borealis too! We stay at three centres amid snowy scenery on this lovely short birding holiday.

NEW! ESTONIA in AUTUMN

Sat 24 September – Sat 1 October 2022

At the end of the short summer, millions of Scandinavian and Arctic birds begin their southward migration. Many pass over the long Estonian coastline, which with an abundance of sheltered bays and wetlands attract many species, while adjacent forest habitat welcomes weary passerines. Commoner species fly in their hundreds of thousands along the peninsulas and chains of islands that extend into the Baltic, providing a unique migration experience which needs to be seen to be appreciated! The peak of migration through Estonia is usually around the end of September or beginning of October.  On a visit to the Matsalu National Park, thousands of cranes and tens of thousands of geese and swans can be seen at one time. We also look forward to visiting the Kabli Bird Observatory, an important site near the Latvian border for migrant passerines and forest birds. A stay on Saaremaa Island offers seawatching and visible migration opportunities and we may try evening drives for Ural, Pygmy and Tengmalm’s Owl at several locations to boost our chances. A great new tour, featuring Eastern European birdlife in both variety and density.

NEW! BULGARIA & NORTHERN GREECE in WINTER

Mon 31 January – Mon 7 February 2022

This tour offers exciting birding in neighbouring countries boasting a diverse range of habitats and species. Winter is a great time to visit, and we look for resident/semi-resident species alongside migrants in the wetlands, forests and mountains. Based in three centres, we explore the rich coastal wetlands around Bourgas, the famous shores of Lake Kerkini, the forests and woodlands of Dadia Forest National Park, and Sakar Mountain. Birding will be exciting and varied, the flocks of Greater Flamingo, Dalmatian and White Pelican, Whooper Swan, Red-breasted and White-fronted Geese initially drawing the eye. Internationally important numbers of Pygmy Cormorant and globally threatened White-headed Duck rely on local wetland sites, and we expect to see Pallas’s and Slender-billed Gull in abundance too. A visit to a feeding station for Griffon and rare Black Vulture is a highlight, and we search the established stronghold for Eastern Imperial Eagle, with Golden and Whitetailed Eagle, Long-legged and Rough-legged Buzzard and other raptors likely. Eagle Owl, diminutive Sombre Tit and up to seven species of woodpecker may also feature on this great winter tour for beginners and experts alike.

NEW! POLAND

Sun 22 May – Sun 29 May 2022

A must-visit destination, and our carefully planned itinerary includes two fantastic areas. We visit Bialowieza, one of the last old-growth lowland forests in Europe, and adjacent forest and boggy river valleys. Later, we enjoy two full days in the Biebrza River Basin, where the marshes, meadows, pastures and scrubby fens are home to a rich range of breeding and passage birds. Key birds include Aquatic Warbler, Three-toed, White-backed, Grey-headed, Black, Lesser and Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Hazel Grouse, both Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Marsh Sandpiper, Citrine Wagtail, Red-breasted and Collared Flycatcher, Nutcracker, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Corncrake, Thrush Nightingale and River, Barred, Savi’s, Icterine and Marsh Warbler, with chances of Greenish too. Our bird list will be high, with Whiskered, Black and White-winged Tern, Slavonian, Black-necked and Red-necked Grebe and Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owl also present. Special excursions to watch Great Snipe, Ruff and Black Grouse at the lek will be memorable, and we might also encounter forest dwelling European Bison, Elk and Beaver. An incredible feast of wildlife!

HUNGARY in SPRING

Sat 14 May – Sat 21 May 2022

Fabulous birding, in three different areas. We visit the forests of the northern Zemplen hills, the lowland grasslands of the Kiskunsag NP and the lowland wetlands of the famous Hortobágy National Park, and all hold their own avian delights which we aim to enjoy to the fullest. At a time of year when anything can turn up, we expect to see scarce owls and woodpeckers sometimes at the nest, breeding wetland birds including marsh terns, waders and herons, speciality passerines including warblers, Bluethroat and reedbed specialists, key European targets such as Great Bustard, raptors including Lesser Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagle, Red-footed Falcon and many other passage migrants. There is something for everyone on this varied and sometimes hectic birding experience!

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NEW! PO DELTA and NORTHERN ITALY

Mon 4 April – Mon 11 April 2022

We explore the Po Delta to find Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Glossy Ibis, Marsh Sandpiper, Slenderbilled Gull, Caspian and Gull-billed Tern, Black-necked Grebe and other Adriatic waterbirds, followed by high altitude Alto Adige/Dolomites. Lammergeier, Wallcreeper, Snow Finch and others are possible while migrants throughout the tour could include Montagu’s Harrier, Black Kite, Hoopoe and several races of Yellow Wagtail. This is predominantly a birding holiday, though on previous tours we have enjoyed good views of Coypu and up to 20 species of butterfly including European and Scarce Swallowtails, Mallow Skipper, and Eastern Dappled White. Beginning in Bologna and ending in Venice, where you can choose a city extension. An exciting holiday, timed at the beginning of spring migration.

NEW! MADEIRA

Sat 21 May – Sat 28 May 2022

Madeira offers great birding and relaxing, serene scenery. Interesting wildlife can be found both on land and offshore, and varied birding even though our species tally will be limited to less than 50! Venturing into the famous laurel forests skirting volcanic hills we seek endemic Madeiran Firecrest and Trocaz Pigeon along with (Macronesian) Plain Swift, Spectacled Warbler, Bertelot’s Pipit and a few other landbirds. Among more familiar birds with endemic sub-species status, critically threatened Macronesian Sparrowhawk is important, given its extensive habitat loss due to fire. No tour to Madeira would be complete without pelagic trips. We journey a short distance into the Atlantic Ocean with good opportunities for seabirds, the main target being endemic Zino’s Petrel. With less than 100 pairs, it is arguably Europe’s rarest seabird and if conditions allow, we will attempt to visit the colony at night. Also possible are Cory’s, Great and Macronesian Shearwater, Fea’s (Deserta’s) Petrel, Bulwer’s Petrel, White-faced and Madeiran Storm Petrel. Cetaceans are likely, with dolphins (of several species) possibly performing close to the boat. We have a good chance of seeing Short-finned Pilot Whale and could get lucky with a sighting of Bryde’s, Fin or Sperm Whale. We look for endemic Mediterranean Monk Seal while the floral display of Madeira can be stunning in May, with the bonus of endemic butterflies too!

Most of these tours are well-established Heatherlea favourites, rested in 2021 but returning in 2022. Full details on our website! BOOK NOW, PAY DEPOSIT LATER!

BELARUS

Wed 27 April – Wed 4 May 2022

Exciting eastern birding in the marshes and forests of 'White Russia'. Rich in breeding birds, Belarus is widely tipped to become one of Europe's most popular birding destinations. The sheer diversity at this exciting time of year is almost unrivalled across Europe; expect between 150 - 175 species including many of the soughtafter Eastern specialities, such as Terek Sandpiper, Great Snipe, Greater Spotted Eagle, Great Grey Owl, Aquatic Warbler, Citrine Wagtail and Azure Tit.

CANARIES

Sat 19 February – Sat 26 February 2022

An exciting experience in the Canaries as we explore three of the seven islands of the archipelago Tenerife, La Gomera & Fuerteventura. We have an emphasis on the endemics, interesting subspecies and races, with a focus on seabirds and desert species otherwise found in North Africa. There are also a few Macaronesian species which can be only seen here or in the Azores or Madeira. Besides birds, we will see a rich panoply of flora, reptiles, sea mammals and other wildlife. The islands are all volcanic in origin and offer a spectacular landscape of volcanoes, lava fields and rocky coasts, giving a memorable scenic aspect to our tour as well as the prospect of excellent birding throughout.

CROATIA

Sat 9 April– Sat 16 April 2022

More raptors migrate across the Straits of Gibraltar annually than at any other site in Europe. During this exciting holiday we watch spectacular migration from a variety of viewpoints. There may also be significant passerine migration during our visit, or perhaps rarities such as Paddyfield Warbler and Broad-billed Sandpiper. Target raptors include Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Red Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli`s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Pallid and Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel and Eastern Imperial Eagle. This is a real feast of birds in a warm and inviting Mediterranean environment.

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SPAIN – ANDALUCIA

Sat 3 September – Sat 10 September 2022

More raptors migrate across the Straits of Gibraltar annually than at any other site in Europe. During this exciting holiday we watch spectacular migration from a variety of viewpoints. There may also be significant passerine migration during our visit, and as an additional focus, we also take time to find key local resident birds rare or unknown elsewhere in Europe. Target raptors include Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Red Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli`s Eagle, Booted Eagle, Montagu`s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel and Spanish Imperial Eagle.

SPAIN – BIRDING and LYNX

Sat 8 January – Sat 15 January 2022

This is a combined birding and mammal trip, with a special focus on seeing endangered Iberian Lynx in the wild. We think this itinerary is one of the best available for this beautiful yet elusive cat, as it includes two classic Spanish destinations, giving  you more opportunities to see the animals.  You also have the advantage of excellent birding in both places, including many Spanish resident speciality birds, and absorbing birding in pleasant weather is a very enjoyable part of this holiday.  Birding in the excellent  marismas  of Coto Donana, and in Sierra de Andujar, part of the larger Sierra Morena Natural Park, is exceptional.

SWEDEN for BIRDERS in WINTER Sat 29 January - Thurs 3 February 2022 Most birders will at some time have dreamt of seeing Scandinavia's specialities, particularly the Owls; here’s a birders' trip with a focus on finding them! Exhilarating encounters with these special birds are possible in one of the wildest environments Europe has to offer. Incredible snowy scenes add to the experience, as does the possibility seeing of a host of other top-quality species. We will birdwatch mainly in the Taiga forests searching for owls, woodpeckers, raptors and grouse, but also looking for highly sought-after passerines including Nutcracker, Siberian Jay, Great Grey Shrike, Waxwing and Pine Grosbeak.

SPAIN – PICOS

Sat 10 September– Sat 17 September 2022

This holiday is an exciting wildlife experience, as we target some of Spain’s most sought after montane and forest birds coupled with excellent chances of seeing Iberian Brown Bear in the wild. Key species include Egyptian Vulture, Short-toed Eagle and Booted Eagle, Snowfinch, Wallcreeper, Alpine Accentor, Red-billed Chough and Alpine Chough to name but a few. The scenery is spectacular, walking relatively easy, and the birding and wildlife promises to be memorable.

PORTUGAL in SPRING

Sat 9 April – Sat 16 April 2022

Portugal has a warm climate, superb scenery and an impressive diversity of breeding birds, including a number of species with restricted range in Europe. We have organised this spring tour to the south to include a wide range of birds in a mixture of wetlands, grasslands, oak forest, scrub, heath and rocky habitats. In addition to first class birding at a relaxed pace throughout, this tour promises a fine show of spring flowers including orchids, good weather and the opportunity to sample Portuguese wines and tasty local cooking.

FAROES

Sun 24 July – Sun 31 July 2022

The Faroe Islands lie in the north Atlantic, approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland. This holiday offers a blend of birds, whales, plants and geology amidst incredible coastal scenery. We take more than a passing glance towards the history and culture of the people, who are mainly of Norse, but with some Celtic descent. Our itinerary is non-intensive, but don’t underestimate the ability of the Faroes to delight and entrance – this is a lovely, relaxing holiday.

LESVOS

Sat 23 April – Sat 30 April 2022

A return to the primary hotspot for Eastern Mediterranean specialities and migrants. Lesvos is a classic destination, one of those 'must do' places reaching a wonderful peak when we visit during spring. We find the speciality birds including Kruper’s Nuthatch, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and Cinereous Bunting, show you newly arrived summer visitors such as Subalpine, Orphean and Ruppell’s Warbler, and enjoy wonderful migration all around this beautiful island. Expect around 150 - 160 species including many of the most sought-after birds of Europe.

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HEATHERLEA – your natural choice throughout the world!

Every ‘long-haul’ holiday is carefully planned to give you a memorable wildlife experience. We see this as part of ‘The Heatherlea Way’, which aims to give you the best available content, in comfort, and with excellent support. Most are led by one of our regular Guiding Team travelling from the UK, though some are based in the destination country, and with more than seven clients you will usually have two Guides. On ‘long-haul’ holidays, it is particularly important to choose an operator with good back-up services. With Heatherlea, hotels, meals and activities are usually booked directly in the destination country, helping to guarantee smooth running. We employ very experienced local ground agents, who offer a warm welcome, and who give invaluable advantages which will enhance your holiday, particularly when we need to find difficult-to-see wildlife. We have a highly experienced and capable team throughout the world, and the emphasis is firmly on personal attention, with our UK office available at short notice for tour operations. Also, Heatherlea often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes, tips to hotels, a night walk, or a boat safari through prime habitat. The cost of these things can be significant, so if comparing, take them into account! We are your complete holiday provider, offering upgrades, seat selection, catering for in-flight dietary requirements, and other services so you can feel relaxed and comfortable whatever your needs on a long flight. Should you wish to extend the advertised holiday, our ATOL protection covers your full holiday package, and our ‘Pre-flight Service’ makes arrival at the departure gate easier – you can read more on page 9. Many holidays begin with a flight in the evening, and end with return to the UK in the afternoon, so you may take your complimentary airport hotel on your return should you wish. You may even ask us to arrange a day-time airport Pod-hotel after an overnight flight – a great way to recover! This year we have many well-established favourites, many enhanced with new experiences, and also brand-new destinations featuring carefully planned itineraries which we can’t wait to run for you. We will be adding more all the time, please keep an eye on our website and newsletters, and don’t forget to use our new planner (see p10).

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INDEX 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Trinidad, Tobago and St Lucia Morocco, Gambia Kenya Tanzania, Seychelles Botswana, South Africa Costa Rica Peru, Colombia Ecuador Brazil, Chile East China, Borneo Bhutan, Nepal India Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan Australia


With Heatherlea, the Field Guide is free! Our unique Pre-flight Service is developing all the time, and we now include a FREE Field Guide with all ‘Rest of the World’ holidays (excluding Morocco, where the Collins European guide is a good choice). We will supply one field guide for each room booked. With some titles costing around £40, this is another benefit from Heatherlea which saves you money! All recommended titles reviewed and checked for suitability in March 2020.

We add many important elements to our holidays to give you extra value, please check the detail! Here are some examples: * In Costa Rica we take gentle boat trips through the brackish mangrove swamps at Tortuguero, where rarities such as Agami Heron can be found at close quarters. We do the same at the Tarcoles River, where giant American Crocodiles are often lazing on the bank. Another added extra is the chance to sample Costa Rican fruits that are not usually found in Europe, Heatherlea will treat you to some of these as we travel, purchased directly from local sellers, washed and prepared for your delectation! * In Nepal, we include a flight from Koshi Tappu back to Kathmandu, avoiding a long road journey. * In Morocco we sometimes visit a Saharan community for tea in the desert. This is a very unusual experience for western travellers, when the local community welcome us with a very valuable commodity – hot water! * In India, convenience is again important, as we use internal flights to minimise travelling. We also visit some of the very best Tiger reserves, and our itineraries also allow for much rewarding birding.

TRINIDAD, TOBAGO AND ST LUCIA Our unique three island Caribbean adventure- now with egg-laying Leatherback Turtles! THURS 22 APRIL – TUES 4 MAY 2021 PRICE: £4795pp Single Supplement: £595

Deposit: £800pp

Leader from the Heatherlea team, joined by expert local guides on each island. Max. 12 clients. Departures from London Gatwick. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A significant improvement on the traditional combination of Trinidad and Tobago, this top-value itinerary also includes St Lucia, where birding is excellent, and six endemics and other Antillean specialities make for a great experience. This carefully designed and well-planned tour offers a fantastic way to enjoy the birdlife of these islands. Not too much exertion, yet rewarding and exciting as we seek a big list of neotropical species. In St Lucia we seek the endemic Parrot, Wren, Oriole, Black Finch, Warbler, and Antillean Pewee. Other specialities include St Lucia Nightjar, Antillean Bullfinch, Purple-throated Carib, Green-throated Carib, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, White-breasted, Scaly-breasted and Pearly-eyed Thrasher, Gray Trembler, Antillean Euphonia, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher and Lesser Antillean Saltator. On Trinidad, the Asa Wright experience is unforgettable. Each day here begins with birding from the famous balcony, and birding in the immediate vicinity is superb. Some days we will be in the forest close to the Centre, and birds include Tufted Coquette, Barred Antshrike, Violaceous Trogon, Channel-billed Toucan, Golden-headed Manakin, Bearded Bellbird, Chestnut Woodpecker, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and rare Moriche Oriole among many others. We enjoy key ‘Trini’ experiences including Scarlet Ibis coming to roost, the Oilbirds in Dunstan Cave, the Caribbean coast, open grasslands, and the birdlife of the northern primary forest. We also seek key species including endemic Trinidadian Piping-guan and visit a secluded beach to watch giant Leatherback Turtles egg laying. Tobago is beautiful and laid-back, a fitting final destination for our holiday. We explore the forested areas to find specialities including Blue-backed Manakin and White-tailed Sabrewing and visit the jewel of Little Tobago in a glass-bottomed boat to see boobies, frigatebirds and tropicbirds. Spectacular scenery, particularly during our visit to Little Tobago, means an unforgettable visit to a genuine Caribbean paradise with picture-postcard views every day. On each island we are joined by the best available local experts, with whom we have worked for many years. All are adept birders who know how to produce key species with a minimum of exertion! Experience a kaleidoscope of bird life, butterflies and wild flowers, set against the impenetrable tangle of the forest on a relaxed and enjoyable holiday. A classic Caribbean birding experience! Our days are generally leisurely, and we enjoy good local FREE! ‘Birds of Trinidad and Tobago’ by Richard food and give you an additional French is included in your holiday price (one copy per authentic feel of the unique culture room booked). of each island. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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MOROCCO

A big birdlist with a real flavour of North Africa!

SUN 21 MARCH – WED 31 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £2095pp Single Supplement: £180 SUN 20 MARCH – WED 30 MARCH 2022 Deposit: £300pp Leader Dave Pullan with experienced local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. An eleven-day delight, covering the birdlife of desert, mountain, coast and wetland, plus the spectacle of spring migration. Morocco has specialities and near-endemics only found in the south of the Western Palearctic and could have been designed for birding! Habitats include stony deserts, sand dunes, lakes, rivers, estuaries and the immense Atlas Mountains. In late March passerines are migrating to Europe and the beautiful Moroccan landscape explodes into bloom, helping birds such as Nightingale, warblers and buntings on northward migration, adding an extra dimension to the tour. Morocco still has a rural style of life lost in most European countries, which has helped birdlife for centuries. By fully exploring all these habitats we should find a mouth-watering list of species. Key birds include Tristram’s Warbler, Desert Sparrow, Bald Ibis, Houbara Bustard, Moussier’s Redstart, Fulvous Babbler, Hoopoe Lark, African Desert Warbler, Brown-necked Raven, Spotted, Little and Baillon’s Crakes, Black-crowned Tchagra, Marbled Duck, Glossy Ibis, Common Bulbul, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Cream-coloured Courser, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Rufous Bush Robin, European Roller, Pin-tailed, Spotted, Crowned and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Thick-billed, Bar-tailed, Desert, Thekla, and Temminck’s Horned Lark, Black, White-crowned Black, Red-rumped and Desert Wheatear and Trumpeter Finch. Raptors should include Lanner, Long-legged Buzzard, Booted Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Golden and Bonelli’s Eagle and possibly Lammergeier. A birdlist with a real flavour of North Africa! We visit many special places, including the High Atlas Mountains at Oukaimeden, where we search the snowline for handsome Crimson-winged Finch. At the famous Tagdilt Track, careful searching could reveal Houbara Bustard, Creamcoloured Courser, Black-bellied and Crowned Sandgrouse, Thick-billed, Bar-tailed, Desert and Temminck’s Horned Lark. Our secluded auberge at Merzouga is right on the edge of the Sahara, and we pass numerous wadis and palmfringed oases, with Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Lanner Falcon and Eagle Owl before reaching the edge of the red sand dunes of the Erg Chebbi, the largest dune system in Morocco. A major prize is elusive Desert Sparrow, and other species here include Fulvous Babbler, Hoopoe Lark, African Desert Warbler and Brown-necked Raven. There are sometimes seasonal lakes, which attract numerous wildfowl and waders, an amazing sight out here in the desert. You will travel from the snowline to Sahara on this holiday! We stay in comfortable en-suite accommodation throughout. An optional visit to Marrakech city may be possible one evening. We don’t include a Field Guide here, we recommend ‘Collins Bird Guide to Europe’.

GAMBIA

The best of Gambia, a great introduction to African birding

TUES 9 NOVEMBER – FRI 19 NOVEMBER 2021 PRICE: £2595pp Single Supplement: £350 TUES 11 JANUARY – FRI 21 JANUARY 2022 Deposit: £500pp Leader Ian Ford, joined by another from the Heatherlea team with more than 9 clients, plus experienced local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. The Gambia is a superb option for British birders. It offers the nearest tropical forest to the UK, easy access from London, is largely very safe and friendly to British tourists, and has comfortable hotels close to outstanding birding. There are a wide variety of habitats within just a few miles: estuary, mangrove swamp, riverine forest, marshland, and the edge of the West African Forest. Always an enjoyable and straight-forward introduction to African birding, in 2021 we are delighted to expand our very successful holiday to cover even more exciting habitats and birdlife, spanning eleven days and now based at three centres. We can do this thanks to recent major road improvements and a new bridge across the Gambia River, meaning we now venture onto the north bank to explore new areas full of bird life. Our first hotel is close to the beach; creek, woodland and pasture is immediately available and teeming with birds. We quickly see Red-billed and Grey Hornbill, Broad-billed Roller, Senegal Coucal, Beautiful Sunbird, Hooded Vulture and many more, and become familiar with a wide range of raptors, doves, rollers, kingfishers, herons and passerines. Highlights might include African Paradise Flycatcher, African Green Pigeon, Senegal Parrot, Violet Turaco, Yellow-throated Leaflove, Klaas’ Cuckoo, many sunbirds, roosting Northern White-faced Owl and Long-tailed Nightjar. Next we make a short journey inland to a new lodge, designed with birding in mind. There is abundant birdlife, and key species might include Egyptian Plover, Finfoot, Woollynecked Stork, White-Crested Tiger Bittern and Martial Eagle, in an area with over a dozen other raptor species. Around the lodge and in the savannah grasslands we expect Pygmy Long-tailed Sunbird, Ground Hornbill, Savile’s Bustard, Black-bellied Bustard and Black-crowned Crane. Our final centre is Mandina, a luxurious eco-resort where we stay for three nights. Here we explore a large protected forest area and take guided canoe trips along mangrove-lined creeks full of birds, including herons, egrets and kingfishers. There are several species of bee-eater, roller and hornbill within the large grounds, we keep checking raptors floating overhead, and easily visible and abundant wildlife is all around, including Agama and Monitor Lizards, baboons and monkeys, with ideal opportunities for prolonged views and photography. This third location well deserves its place in ‘1001 Escapes to Make Before You Die’ and is ideal for relaxation as well as fabulous birding!

FREE! ‘Birds of Senegal and The Gambia’ by Nik Borrow and Ron Demey, Helm, is included in your holiday price (one copy per room).

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tel: 01479 821248

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KENYA Kenya has a huge birdlist, and a magnificent heritage of big game. Habitats and wildlife change quickly over short distances, and on all these tours you should see a great deal! We have some cracking trips, each ideal for birders and those with a general interest in African wildlife. All tours are led by expert UK-based Guides, accompanied by excellent local Guides and drivers. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included.

NEW! KENYAN ULTIMATE BIRDING TOUR A Massive birdlist including many endemics SUN 28 NOVEMBER – SUN 12 DECEMBER 2021 PRICE: £5295pp Single Supplement: £700 Deposit: £1000pp Leader Mark Warren. Max 12 clients.

MASAI MARA SHORT BREAK WED 4 NOVEMBER – TUES 10 NOVEMBER 2020 PRICE: £2995pp Single supplement: £195 Deposit: £800pp WED 3 FEBRUARY – TUES 9 FEBRUARY 2021 WED 3 NOVEMBER – TUES 9 NOVEMBER 2021 Leader Peter Cosgrove. Max 12 clients.

A massive and mouthwatering birdlist of 450+, as we visit many of the country's top birding spots in search of sought-after Kenyan species. These include national endemics Jackson's Francolin, Snowy Barbet, Aberdare Cisticola, Grant’s Wood Hoopoe, Turner’s Eremomela, Kikuyu White-eye and Sharpe's Longclaw. East African endemics include Grey-crested Helmetshrike, Red-throated Tit, Northern Pied Babbler, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Abbott’s Starling, Kenrick’s Starling, Jackson’s Widowbird, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Hunter’s Cisticola, Black-lored Babbler and Kenya Rufous Sparrow. ‘Near endemics to Kenya’ include Golden-winged Sunbird, Parrotbilled Sparrow, Fire-fronted Bishop and Donaldson Smith’s Sparrow-Weaver.

A memorable visit to one of the world's premier wildlife destinations, featuring unforgettable wildlife and excellent services at a very attractive price. This carefully researched itinerary includes two nights in Nairobi, three nights in 'the Mara', and an experienced Guide from the UK supported by top quality local guides. These elements combine to help make the most of our time while allowing you to relax. Substantial, comfortable vehicles where everyone has a window seat, and excellent hotels and food throughout. This is the ideal short Kenyan safari for those with a general interest in African wildlife. We begin at Nairobi National Park, then travel to the Masai Mara, a breathtaking savannah punctuated by scattered shrubs and meandering river courses. We enjoy the panoramic spectacle of Africa's top nature reserve, as wandering Wildebeest roam the plains with Zebra, Cape Eland and gazelles. On their trail, resident predators include Lion, Cheetah and Leopard, and we often experience breathtaking and unforgettable experiences including kills and mating. At the river itself, Nile Crocodile lie in wait, and many Hippos laze in the shallows. Everywhere you turn, there will be amazing game to enjoy, including African Elephant, Common Warthog, Banded Mongoose, Thompson's Gazelle, Topi, Cape Buffalo and Maasai Giraffe. Expect 200+ bird species.

Kenya is also considered to be “Best Territory” in Africa for some other birds, Somali Ostrich, Black-faced Sandgrouse, White-headed Mousebird, Blue-headed Bee-eater, Somali Bee-eater, Jackson’s Hornbill, Taita Fiscal, White-bellied Tit, Hunter’s Sunbird, Somali Sparrow, Golden Palm Weaver, Northern Masked Weaver, Grey-headed Silverbill, Golden Pipit, Steel-blue Whydah, Pangani Longclaw, William's Lark, Moorland Francolin, Friedmann’s Lark, Chapin’s Flycatcher, Hinde’s Babbler, Abyssinian Wheatear, Kakamega Greenbul and Olive Ibis. Add a vast range of other African birds, and you have the ideal tour for the birder seeking a comprehensive list. Big game is incidental but unavoidable, and you will enjoy good views.

FREE! 'The Birds of East Africa' by Terry Stevenson is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

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TANZANIA

Wonderful East African birding and wildlife

WED 28 APR – FRI 7 MAY 2021 PRICE: £4495pp Single Supplement: £375 Deposit: £800pp Leader Peter Cosgrove with experienced local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Tanzania is an East African country famous for its vast wilderness and protected areas. This new tour takes you to some of the world's most iconic destinations as we follow a fascinating route filled with a good array of habitats and specialist species including many endemic birds and key African mammals. Perhaps the two most famous locations are the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), and majestic Ngorongoro Crater, one of the wonders of Africa, and a 'must visit' location. We should also enjoy (good weather permitting) views across to Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Other key locations include Lake Manyara, a pristine soda lake in the Rift Valley where a range of wetland species may be encountered, and Tarangire National Park, a superb, largely unexplored location, renowned for its high density of Elephant and Baobab trees. Birdlife abounds, and endemics and near-endemics alone include Tanzania Red-billed Hornbill, Yellow-collared Lovebird, Ashy Starling, Fischer’s Lovebird, Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Rufous-tailed Weaver, Usambiro Barbet, Swahili Sparrow and Karamoja Apalis. Other birds include Grey Crowned Crane, Secretarybird, Kori and Black-bellied Bustard, Yellow-throated and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, Coqui, Hildebrandt’s and Shelley’s Francolin, Crested Guineafowl, Double-banded, Temminck’s and Two-banded Courser, Crowned and Martial Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, Eastern Chanting Goshawk, Greater Kestrel, Pygmy Falcon, Woodland Kingfisher, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Great White Pelican, Yellow-billed and Saddle-billed Stork, Goliath Heron, Great Painted Snipe, Pied Avocet, Caspian and Chestnut-banded Plover, Knob-billed Duck, Cape Teal, White-headed Mousebird, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Mottled Spinetail, Southern Ground Hornbill, Silverycheeked Hornbill, Meyer’s Parrot, African Olive Pigeon, White-naped Raven, Schalow’s and Purple-crested Turaco, Black Coucal, Bare-faced Go-away-bird, African Scops-Owl, Superb, Waller’s and Hildebrandt’s Starling, White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Magpie Shrike, Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Northern White-crowned Shrike, Grey-crested Helmetshrike, Hunter’s Cisticola, Abyssinian Wheatear, Red-throated Tit, Miombo Wrenwarbler, Green Woodhoopoe, Brubru, Red and Yellow Barbet, Abyssinian Scimitarbill, Slate-coloured Boubou, Golden-winged and Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Cinnamon Bracken Warbler, Banded Parisoma, Southern Citril, Thick-billed Seedeater, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Rosy-breasted Longclaw, Steel Blue Whydah, Rufous Chatterer, Silverbird, African Penduline Tit, Southern Grosbeak Canary and Blue-capped Cordon-bleu. A true feast of African birding!

Herds of wild animals are plentiful, and we watch for Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Savannah Elephant, Black Rhino, Golden Jackal (now called African Golden Wolf), Serval, Common Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Nile Hippo and Wildebeest. You can look forward to excellent birding with a sizeable list, plentiful herds of wild animals and many memorable wildlife encounters on this rewarding and enjoyable holiday.

FREE! 'The Birds of East Africa' by Terry Stevenson is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

NEW! THE SEYCHELLES Birding for endemics in an Island paradise THURS 14 OCTOBER – SAT 23 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: TBC Single Supplement: TBC Deposit: TBC Leader Toby Green with experienced local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A new and different birding destination, the tropical islands of The Seychelles! Enchanting wildlife, blue water lapping at the palm-lined white sandy beaches, lush forests rising into cloudless skies, quality accommodation and a relaxed pace throughout combine to make this a superb once in a lifetime holiday. We spend time on several of the inner islands, the oldest oceanic islands in the world. Twelve endemics and a number of other rare birds are found here, plus we enjoy the commoner birds on land and the more pelagic whilst taking boats between the islands. There is also a wide variety of endemic and interesting flora, amongst which is the Coco de Mer - a palm tree which bears a fruit with the largest nuts of any plant in the world, and also the amazing Seychelles Pitcher Plant. On the main island of Mahe we look for Seychelles Scops Owl, Seychelles White-eye, Seychelles Sunbird, Seychelles Kestrel, Seychelles Blue Pigeon, Malagasy Turtle Dove, Crab Plover and other waders. On La Digue, we have our best chance of critically endangered Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, while Praslin is home to Seychelles Black Parrot, the national bird, plus Seychelles Bulbul, Seychelles Swiftlet, Madagascar Fody and Seychelles Fruit Bat. On the island of Cousin, rare Seychelles Warbler, Seychelles Fody and Seychelles Magpie-robin can be seen while seabirds include Brown and Lesser Noddy plus terns, tropicbirds and frigatebirds. On land there are a selection of skinks and geckos, including the world’s largest, Giant Bronze-eyed Gecko. There will also be opportunity on this holiday to relax, enjoy your beach surroundings and even snorkel should you wish. Memories of birding in paradise will certainly last forever, long after you leave the Seychelles!

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FREE! 'Birds of the Seychelles' by Adrian Skerrett & Tony Disley is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


NEW! BOTSWANA A fantastic safari, including Okovango and Victoria Falls FRI 3 DECEMBER – SUN 19 DECEMBER 2021 PRICE: £6795PP Single Supplement: TBC

Deposit: £800pp

Leader Pete Cosgrove, joined by expert local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included Botswana is a sparsely populated, landlocked and wild country in the centre of the southern African plateau. This is a safari holiday for both birds and big game, where we travel in luxury mobile tents, and visit a wide variety of habitats in a stunning series of beautiful protected areas, including the world-famous Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls. We begin in the Moremi Game Reserve where we explore the eastern fringes of the Okavango Delta. This is a superb area for raptors, waterbirds (especially crakes), as well as critically endangered Slaty Egret and Wattled Crane. Our journey follows the Khwai River, where Leopard, Serval and Lion are common predators, and we enjoy good birding at the riverside, floodplains and into the mopane veld and woodlands which make Khwai one of the most scenic areas of the Okavango. This is amongst the best game reserves in Africa for seeing endangered African Wild Dog. We visit the magnificent Dombo Hippo Pools en-route to our next destination, the Khwai River Concession Area, one of Botswana’s top birding areas, with uncommon species such as Rosy-throated Longclaw and Bat Hawk. We then explore the desert-like landscapes of Chobe National Park, where on a series of game drives we have good chances of seeing Cheetah hunting, and also Lion and Hyena. Heading to the Chobe River, the birding shifts to broad-leaved miombo woodland, where new targets include Grey Tit-flycatcher, Paradise Flycatcher, Amethyst Sunbird and Violet-backed Starling to name but few. We end our tour in fine style with a few days beside the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, where the birding is very special. Here we seek a series of rare, elusive and otherwise difficult to see species and of course enjoy the dramatic spectacle of the falls themselves - one of the seven wonders of the world! This adventure to Botswana is also remarkable in that our accommodation comes with us! We stay in luxury, mobile safari tents at locations specially selected by our ground team, offering additional wildlife encounters. Tents are large, with comfortable beds, bedside tables, LED lights, en-suite with washbasin and shower, and a covered veranda area with relaxing chairs to watch the African sun rise and set each day. Our professional safari staff cater for every need, while our chefs produce mouth-watering meals. The mobile tented safari experience is one to remember in this trip of a lifetime!

'The Birds of Southern Africa' fourth edition, by Ian Sinclair et al is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

NEW! SOUTH AFRICA A birding tour of the Western and Eastern Cape THURSDAY 2 SEPTEMBER – SUNDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £5495pp Single Supplement: £375 Deposit: £1500pp Leader Toby Green, joined by experienced local guide. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow - other regional departures may be available. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included This is predominantly a birding tour based in the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces to amass a big birdlist, including as many as possible of the 34 endemics. On this exclusive, carefully planned tour we cover an astounding array of birdlife in a myriad of habitats, and also spend time on safari for important and hard-to-see mammals, not forgetting one of the world's most memorable locations for a pelagic bird trip, featuring many seabirds and perhaps Southern Right Whale. We visit a wide range of habitats in three key climatic regions, without travelling huge distances. Just some of the birds: African Fish Eagle, Black Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Jackal Buzzard, Red-breasted Sparrowhawk, African Goshawk, Malachite and Southern Double-collared Sunbird, Forest Canary, Swee Waxbill, Cape Batis, Northern Royal, Black-browed, Shy, Atlantic Yellow-nosed and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Northern and Southern Giant-Petrel, Spectacled, Cape and White-chinned Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Great Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Cape Gannet, Brown Skua, Cape and Grey-winged Francolin, Ostrich, Black-shouldered Kite, African Marsh Harrier, White-backed Mousebird, Cape Penduline Tit, Cape Bulbul, Cape and Karoo Robin, Layard’s Titbabbler, Grey-backed and Cloud Cisticola, Long-billed Crombec, Grassbird, Bokmakierie, Cape Weaver, White-throated Canary and Cape Bunting. We begin around the Cape Peninsula in the Fynbos, a region of natural heath and shrubland, one of the most distinctive habitats of South Africa. Endemic species include Cape Sugarbird, Cape Rockjumper, Ground Woodpecker and African Penguin. We include a brilliant pelagic trip to see petrels, shearwaters, albatrosses and cetaceans including Southern Right Whale, a highlight of our tour. At magnificent Langebaan Lagoon, we search for Black Harrier and Southern Black Korhaan. We then head for the wild, rugged, dramatic and breathtakingly beautiful landscape of Cederberg to explore the arid Tankwa Karoo in search of rocky and gravel plains specialists. Our next base is Swellendam, from where we explore the Bontebok National Park and De Hoop Nature Reserve to look for Blue Crane, Denham’s Bustard and Cape Vulture. Heading eastwards we enter The Garden Route National Park, switching from arid to more verdant surroundings, where woodland species come to the fore. The Addo Elephant National Park will provide an exciting climax, as we take both day and night safaris to find rare and hardto-see mammals including Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Caracal, Spotted Hyena, Black Rhinoceros, Aardwolf, Honey Badger, Caracal, Porcupine and perhaps Aardvark. With wonderful cuisine, wine and the advantages of an excellent tourist infrastructure, this is a full and rewarding South African wildlife experience. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

'The Birds of Southern Africa' fourth edition, by Ian Sinclair et al is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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COSTA RICA

This is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with pristine beaches, wonderful tropical wetlands, lowland rainforest, high cloudforest festooned with orchids and bromeliads, and cool, misty mountain tops. There are more bird species to the square mile here than any other country on earth, and the experience is simply stunning. There are so many birds we can only list a few here: Orange-collared Manakin, Long-tailed Manakin, Flame-coloured and Crimson-collared Tanager, Collared Trogon, Torrent Tyrannulet, Volcano Hummingbird, Gray-tailed Mountain Gem, Scarlet Macaw, Tiger Heron, parrots, orioles, macaws, Roseate Spoonbill, Anhinga, six kingfishers, Crested Caracara, Mangrove Black Hawk, endangered Great Green Macaw, Sunbittern, Black-faced Grosbeak, Snail Kite, Wood Stork, Boat-billed Heron, Limpkin, Turquoise-browed Motmot, White Hawk, Brown-hooded Parrot, Lanceolated Monklet, Golden-olive Woodpecker, many hummingbirds, three toucans, three tinamous, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Black and White, Spectacled, and Pacific Screech Owl, Great Potoo, Nighthawks, and mammals, insects and interesting flora abound. Highlights include our visit to the Savegre River Cloudforest, where we hope to find startling Resplendent Quetzal, one of the world’s most striking birds. We also visit world famous La Selva Biological Station, where the number and sheer diversity of birds can be overwhelming. On the Pacific coast we enjoy a leisurely birding boat trip in Carara National Park, and also look for macaws, manakins and more in the tropical forest. At Ensenada we explore tropical forests in a hot, dry environment, with endlessly rolling plains reminiscent of central Africa, a complete contrast to all other places we visit. Spectacular Arenal Volcano is unforgettable, and we stay very close to the volcano itself in the splendid Observatory Lodge, watching tanagers, woodpeckers, jays and oropendolas on balcony feeders with the caldera directly behind. At wonderful Tortuguero, where the Caribbean Sea is just 200 metres from extensive freshwater lagoons, we leisurely explore the mangrove swamp in boats, and Agami Heron, Sloths, Monkeys and Neotropical River Otter are just some of the delights we hope to encounter. We stay in comfortable en-suite hotels and lodges throughout, all with great birding immediately to hand. Our local agents here are amongst the best we've found anywhere in the world, and their meticulous organisation and excellent guides ensure a really first-class holiday.

CLASSIC TOUR SAT 9 JANUARY – SUN 24 JANUARY 2021 SAT 8 JANUARY – SUN 23 JANUARY 2022 PRICE: £5195pp Single Supplement: £525

Deposit: £1000pp

Leader Paco Madrigal with Peter Cosgrove. Max 12 clients. Ideal choice for the first-time visitor to Costa Rica or for your first long-distance birding holiday. Birding is generally very easy, and the pace is relaxed and laid-back. This is not an intensive birding holiday, rather a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience. Other wildlife includes monkeys, sloths, lizards, crocodiles, Agouti, Coatimundi, bats, amphibians, turtles, snakes, a vast range of butterflies and a wealth of flora!

COSTA RICA CLASSIC TOUR - PLUS! SAT 6 NOVEMBER – WED 24 NOVEMBER 2021 SAT 5 NOVEMBER – WED 23 NOVEMBER 2022 PRICE: £5595pp Single Supplement: £585

Deposit: £1000pp

Leader Paco Madrigal with Ian Ford. Max 12 clients. Our ‘Classic Tour’ with three extra nights, so we can include more experiences as we stay longer in some very special places. With more time, we add desirable extras, including baby Green Turtles hatching on the beach, additional Hummingbird sites and the chance of some rare birds otherwise not available, a fascinating forest night walk (optional) for all kinds of wonderful wildlife, a visit to a chocolate plantation (also optional), where you will watch and participate in the organic process, and above all an enhanced birdlist.

COSTA RICA: BIRDING TOUR SAT 27 NOVEMBER – SUN 12 DECEMBER 2021 SAT 26 NOVEMBER – SUN 11 DECEMBER 2022 PRICE: £5195pp Single Supplement: £575

Deposit: £1000pp

Leader Paco Madrigal with Dave Pullan. Max 12 clients.

WITH HEATHERLEA IN COSTA RICA …. THE VALUE IS EXCEPTIONAL! 4 Choose from three very different holidays, plus two new itineries in 2022, see page 44. 4 Includes a Guide from the UK with more than 7 clients, guaranteeing a high level of personal attention. Max 12 clients. 4 All holidays include Tortuguero, the most expensive destination, though unforgettable! 4 Excellent rooms in very good hotels. All meals are included, as are all tours and entrances, and a selection of lesser known Costa Rican fruits and water on the bus. 4 Flights direct from London Gatwick, regional departures may be available. 4 Pre-flight airport hotel, VIP Lounge and field guide included. 32

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This ‘Birders’ Tour’ features more birding, as we use the available time to maximise our lists. We will spend a lot of time in the field, with much shorter afternoon breaks, featuring more early morning starts and evening outings. We hope for well over 400 species!

FREE! ‘Birds of Costa Rica’ by Richard Garrigues & Robert Dean is included in the holiday price (one copy per room booked).

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


PERU: SOUTHERN BIRDING AND MACHU PICCHU SAT 16 OCTOBER – SUN 31 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £5295pp Single supplement: £545 SAT 15 OCTOBER – SUN 30 OCTOBER 2022 PRICE: £5295pp Single supplement: £545 Deposit: £1000pp Leader Ian Ford joined by expert local Guide Wilson Diaz with 9 or more clients. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Wonderful Peruvian birding from the Pacific coast near Lima to the unique Manu Biosphere, together with an exploration of Cusco, Aguas Calientas and the ancient city of Machu Picchu, at the very heart of the Inca Empire. We recently extended this tour by five extra nights, allowing us to take more time to build an unforgettable experience in this wonderful country. We spend most of our time in the south, and visit humid, unspoilt temperate forests where flocks of brightly-coloured birds can be expected among the forest canopy of bromeliads and mosses. Hummingbirds, tanagers, toucans, raptors, finches and fruiteaters, the birdlife is astounding, and we plan to see a large selection in one of the world's most bird-rich regions. It would be very difficult to cover all the birdlife of southern Peru during one holiday, and we concentrate on the area around Cuzco to combine our birding experience with the cultural treasures of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the city of Cuzco itself. In this south-eastern part of the country, the Inca influence is particularly strong, and tradition still rules the daily lives of people, who are very proud of their heritage. Excursions are at a slow pace, and you will have plenty of time inside Machu Picchu for photographs, and to enjoy local birds including Inca Wren, and Cuzco Brush-Finch. Our hotels have been chosen carefully both for birding and for easy access to the city of Cuzco. The second part of the trip takes us to the cloud forests of the fabulous Manu National Park in the Andean foothills. We visit an area where altitudes range between 1500 and 3000 metres, offering a high diversity of mountain birds. The main attraction here is the Cock-ofthe-Rock lek located just outside the lodge. We also include a day on arrival to see Humboldt's Penguin and Inca Tern, and the entire trip should be of great interest to all who want a bird-filled holiday with important cultural heritage viewing, and a real flavour of Peru, all conducted at a non-intensive pace.

FREE! ‘Birds of Peru’ by Schulenberg et.al, is included in your holiday price (one copy per room booked).

NEW! COLOMBIA An exceptional birding tour from Colombia’s central and western Andes & Cauca Valley to the endemic- rich Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta SAT 23 OCTOBER – SUN 7 NOVEMBER 2021 PRICE: £6795pp Single Supplement: £795 Deposit: £1000pp Leader Andreas Trujillo joined by Dave Pullan with 9 or more clients. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Colombia has nearly 2000 bird species, more than any other country in the world, and its diverse geography and landscape make this a wonderful destination. On this tour we cover the eastern, central and western slopes of the Andes, plus birding at the hotspot of Magdalena Valley, the Santa Marta mountains and the superb Guajira Desert to give a good selection of both habitats and birdlife. We anticipate perhaps over 500 species, more than on any other Heatherlea tour, including chances for over 35 Colombian endemics. The tour features colourful mixed flocks of tanagers, woodpeckers, toucans, fruiteaters, plus antpittas and hummingbirds as we visit many different habitats including beautiful reserves and breathtaking landscapes in various regions of the country, from high-altitude locations for Buffy Helmetcrest to the coast for many shorebirds. This is a busy trip by Heatherlea standards with a number of centres, though this is important to cover the many specialities on this relatively high-activity tour; our itinerary will be most suited to those with a strong birding perspective. Highlights are many; rare Yellow-eared Parrot is a key target and we could even see wonderful Andean Cock of the Rock on the same day! We find time to appreciate a myriad of hummers, bizarre Oilbird, colourful mixed flocks of tanagers, woodpeckers, toucans and fruiteaters and migrant North American passerines. The volume of available species can be overwhelming, though being a Heatherlea tour we also take time to enjoy some cultural aspects, including a bird-friendly Colombian coffee tour. Accommodation has been carefully selected for quality and prime position for wildlife activities. Colombia is a large country though the inclusion of internal flights is an important feature to maximise both comfort and birding.

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Your Guides Andres and Dave are veterans of many Heatherlea tours in Ecuador and Galapagos, and Colombian national Andres is particularly looking forward to leading our tour here in his home country.

FREE! 'The Birds of Colombia' by Miles McMullan is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

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MAINLAND ECUADOR Relaxed birding with a huge number of species in a beautiful country. Add an extension to the Amazon Rainforest for the trip of a lifetime. FRI 27 AUGUST – THUR 9 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £4695pp Single supplement: £375 Deposit: £1500pp AMAZON RAINFOREST EXTENSION PRICE: £1395pp Single Supplement £195 Leader Andres Trujillo joined by Peter Cosgrove with nine or more clients. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included.

We take you from snow-covered mountain peaks and high páramo moorlands down through Andean valleys and many gradations of temperate and subtropical forest, as we visit the key habitats and iconic locations of this world-famous bioregion. Important places include Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Antisana Ecological Reserve, San Isidro and Wildsumaco. Ideal for those who wish to experience the incredible avian diversity of Ecuador, we see many hummingbirds (well over 40 species), unforgettable Andean Condor, spectacular and colourful Cockof-the-Rock, strange-looking Oilbird and incredible Long-wattled Umbrellabird and maximize our list while staying in very comfortable hotels and lodges, where birders and photographers alike will appreciate hummingbird feeders from just feet away. We fly from Quito to Coca city located in the Amazon Basin near the Napo River at only 820 feet above sea level. From the tiny airport we transfer to a motorized canoe which takes us along the Napo to begin our trip in the Amazon. The river is wide and muddy brown, with floating branches and hidden shallows to be negotiated, and we marvel at the dense forest which crowds the shoreline, seeming impenetrable only a couple of feet from the water. We will see some birds including herons, kingfishers, terns and other shorebirds, and perhaps Swallow-winged Puffbird, White-banded Swallow, Palm Swift and Drab Water Tyrant. Raptors might include Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Black Caracara, Yellow-headed Caracara and King Vulture. Arriving at Yasuní Kichwa Ecolodge, we will be warmly welcomed before taking a short walk down to the banks of the Napo River to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beaches and islands. We have two full days to explore the different paths and observation tower to appreciate the exuberant wealth of birdlife in the area. One highlight will be our visit to an amazing ‘clay lick’, which could be frequented by many different parrot species. We also climb an observation tower (optional!) where we are likely to see a wide range of birds such as Whitethroated Toucan, Many-banded Aracari, Plum-throated and Spangled Cotinga, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Orange-crested Manakin and Long-billed Woodcreeper among many others. We also take small ‘keels’ downriver on a spectacular adventure to see nightjars, pottos and spectacular Caimans at close quarters, all the while experiencing the many strange sounds of this charming place. We stay in a comfortable lodge with excellent cabins surrounded by beautiful natural gardens, and enjoy local, national and international food at mealtimes.

FREE! ‘Birds of Ecuador’ by Robert Ridley and Paul J Greenfield in included in your holiday price (one copy per room booked)

THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS & MAINLAND ECUADOR A superb land and sea trip to one of the World’s foremost ecotourism destinations MON 13 SEPTEMBER – TUE 5 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £8695pp Single supplement: £925 Deposit: £1600pp Leader Andres Trujillo joined by Dave Pullan with nine or more clients. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included We take you from snow-covered mountain peaks and high páramo moorlands down through Andean valleys and many gradations of temperate and subtropical forest, as we visit the key habitats and iconic locations of this world-famous bioregion. Important places include Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Antisana Ecological Reserve, San Isidro and Wildsumaco. Ideal for those who wish to experience the incredible avian diversity of Ecuador, we see many hummingbirds (well over 40 species), unforgettable Andean Condor, spectacular and colourful Cock-of-the-Rock, strange-looking Oilbird and incredible Long-wattled Umbrellabird and maximize our list while staying in very comfortable hotels and lodges, where birders and photographers alike will appreciate hummingbird feeders from just feet away. Next, we transfer to the fabulous Galapagos Islands, where nothing compares to the sense of wonder and privilege felt with animals which don't run or fly away when humans approach, truly unique treasures of our earth. We explore at a relaxed pace among spectacular scenery to see endemic birds and reptiles in the wild. The holiday is land based, using local boat services to visit other islands, amid the company of passing petrels, shearwaters, boobies, gulls, dolphins, turtles, seals and sharks.

Española noisy Sea Lions and curious Hood Mockingbirds greet us as we land, and we see boobies, Swallow-tailed Gull and endemic Marine Iguanas. Steep cliffs rise out of the sea, and we watch the famous blowhole. The Waved Albatross colony will be active, Galápagos Dove, Large Cactus-Finch, Sally Lightfoot Crab and Galápagos Hawk should be seen, and Red-billed Tropicbirds will be overhead. On Floreana we search for Medium Tree Finch and visit the famous Post Office Bay.

Isabela is the largest island, and we visit a pristine ecosystem of tidal lagoons to see Darwin’s finches, Mangrove Warbler and others. Flightless Cormorants and Brown Pelicans nest along the coast. There are lava fields down to the sea’s edge where we hope to find Galápagos Penguin, Blue-footed Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird, Audubon Shearwater, Galápagos Hawk, Galapagos Rail, Woodpecker Finch, Green Warbler Finch, Small Tree Finch and Galapagos Flycatcher and Paint-billed Crake. We also see Giant Tortoise in the wild and visit the Charles Darwin Breeding Centre. On

You'll enjoy thrilling encounters with animals, up-close and in large numbers, completely at ease among human visitors, here in one of the last truly wild places on Earth.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

FREE! ‘Birds of Ecuador’ by Robert Ridley and Paul J Greenfield in included in your holiday price (one copy per room booked)

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


BRAZIL - THE PANTANAL Superb birding and mammals in the heart of Brazil THURS 8 JULY – MON 19 JULY 2021 PRICE: £5495pp Single Supplement: £450 Deposit: £1500pp Leader Toby Green and local guide(s). Max 12 clients. Departure from London. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included Brazil's Pantanal is one of the world's largest tropical wetlands, and undoubtedly one of the greatest wildlife areas in South America. This vast ecosystem is home to around 740 birds, 150 mammals and 480 reptiles. We visit in July, when travel is relatively easy, and wildlife generally is at its most accessible. Birding is our main focus and a list of around 250 species can be reasonably expected. Helmeted Manakin, Dot-eared Coquette, Cinnamon-throated Hermit, Blue-winged, Red-shouldered Macaw, Red-and-Green Macaw, Blue-winged Macaw, Blue-headed Parrot, Swallow Tanager, Yellow-billed Blue-Finch, Bat Falcon, Euler’s Flycatcher, White-backed Fire-eye, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Russetcrowned Crake, Chapada Flycatcher, Collared Crescentchest, Rufous-sided Pygmy Tyrant, Rufous-winged Antshrike, Shrike-like Tanager, Small-billed Tinamou, Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Coal-crested and Red Pileated Finches and Black-throated Saltator are just some of the birds. Brilliant blue Hyacinth Macaws, the world’s largest parrot, breed in and around some of the lodges where we stay, and they provide a superb distraction during an afternoon siesta. Unlike tropical rainforests, where birds are usually high up in trees, the dominant open savannah-like and river edge habitats mean that most are at eye-level and usually confiding. There is nowhere else like it in the world. Although birding is undoubtedly fabulous, we also take time to target key mammals, including Giant River Otter, Giant Anteater, Brazilian Tapir, and especially Jaguar. The Pantanal holds one of the largest remaining populations of Jaguar, and our tour includes two full days on the river systems where they are most likely to be seen, giving excellent chances. We may see up to 30 mammal species in total. We stay at a number of locally owned and run lodges and hotels along the length of the famous 'Transpantaneira', supporting their superb conservation efforts. Much wildlife is easily viewed from the Transpantaneira itself, often using the famous wooden bridges as viewing platforms, giving great photographic opportunities, and we also take two morning boat trips at other locations. The pace is relaxed throughout, with minimal walking, and should be suitable for most visitors. A wealth of tropical wildlife awaits! Heatherlea Leader Peter Cosgrove says “I cannot recommend the Brazilian Pantanal highly enough. This is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth and yet strangely it is not on most people's 'must do list'. It easily rivals East Africa for a brilliant safari and has a fraction of the number of tourists”.

FREE! ‘Birds of Brazil’ by Ber van Perlo is included in your holiday price (one copy per room booked).

CHILE An exciting and comprehensive tour concentrating on birds and wildlife MON 11 OCTOBER – THURS 28 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £7995pp Single Supplement: £845 Deposit: £1000pp Leader Mark Warren, joined by experienced local guide Rodrigo Tapia. Max 12 clients. Departure from London. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. A fantastic adventure to discover Chilean birdlife amid spectacular scenery. We tour from the high Andes and arid desert near Santiago to Pacific islands and the birds of the cooling Humboldt current, the tundra and subAntarctic rainforest of Tierra del Fuego, and glacial waters of the far south. Birding can frequently be breath-taking, including many of the most spectacular and desirable species in the world, truly a ‘lifetime experience’! In the central Andes we look for Diademed Sandpiper-Plover and Andean Condor, and in scrub gullies Chilean Tinamou, Chilean Mockingbird and skulking White-throated and Dusky Tapaculos. At the coast and on a memorable pelagic we seek Inca Tern, Humboldt Penguin, Seaside Cinclodes, Peruvian Booby, Guanay Cormorant and Grey Gull, plus shorebirds and waterfowl in productive wetlands. We fly to Chiloe Island for four nights. There are many endemics, a few being Black-throated Huet-huet, Chucao, Ochre-flanked and Magellanic Tapaculos, Patagonian Tyrant, Des Murs Wiretail, Chilean Pigeon, Chilean Hawk and Green-backed Firecrown, and mammals include rare Darwin's Fox. A boat trip takes us to a mixed breeding colony of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins, plus sealions, dolphins, petrels, shearwaters, pelicans and terns. A second flight takes us to Punta Arenas, for one of the world’s most sought-after waders, Magellanic Plover. Other specialities include Lesser Rhea, Least Seedsnipe, Band-tailed Earthcreeper, Chocolate-vented Tyrant and White-bridled (Canary-winged) Finch. At one of the most scenic places on Earth, Torres del Paine, we hope to see Black-chested Buzzard, Southern and Chimango Caracara, Ashy-headed and Upland Goose, Spectacled Duck, South American Snipe, Austral Parakeet, Austral Pygmy Owl, Striped Woodpecker, Chilean Flicker, striking Magellanic Woodpecker, Thorn-tailed Rayadito, White-throated Treerunner and Austral Blackbird. Lakes hold Great, Silvery and White-tufted Grebe, Andean Duck, Silver Teal and recently re-discovered Austral Rail. We scan fast-flowing rivers for remarkable Torrent Duck, and there may be the chance to watch Puma. Our final, spectacular destination is Tierra del Fuego and Magdalena Island, in the Straits of Magellan, to visit the huge colony of over 150,000 Magellanic Penguin. Other seabirds include Imperial and Rock Cormorant, Dolphin and Kelp Gull, Chilean Skua, Patagonian Tinamou, King Penguin, Ruddy-headed Goose, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Austral Canastero, Magellanic Plover and stunning Whitebridled Finch. At sea we watch for Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Cape and White-chinned Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Magellanic Diving Petrel, Chilean Skua, Kelp, Dolphin and Brown-hooded Gull and South FREE! Field Guide to the Birds of Chile, American Tern. Including the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands We enjoy tasting sessions at vineyards which produce world-class wines, and visit wooden and South Georgia, by A Jaramillo et al is included in Chiloe churches, made entirely of native timber with extensive use of wooden shingle, a unique your holiday price. One copy per room booked. architectural phenomenon. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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NEW! SOUTH EAST CHINA Spoon-billed Sandpiper and much more! FRIDAY 17 SEPTEMBER – MONDAY 27 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £3895pp Single Supplement: £325 Deposit: £1000pp Leader Dave Pullan. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Arguably the world’s most desirable wader, Spoon-billed Sandpiper has fascinated ornithologists for generations since its remote breeding grounds in NE Russia were first discovered almost 140 years ago. Nowadays, Spoon-billed Sandpiper is one of the most endangered birds in the world. Its population has been in free-fall during the first decade of the present century, but may have stabilised due to intensive conservation action across many countries. Many organisations have been involved in Spoon-billed Sandpiper research and conservation and we are now beginning to see the fruits of such efforts. Without such concerted action, the species would now be on the cusp of global extinction. Instead, conservation action has made a substantial difference to Spoonbilled Sandpiper, their habitats and other similarly threatened birds. Away from its breeding grounds, perhaps the best place to see Spoon-billed Sandpiper is in China during the bird’s migration between mid-August and mid-October. Recent surveys have revealed up to 150 individuals using the Yellow Sea coast in Jiangsu Province, just north of Shanghai. This unique Heatherlea trip aims to visit this area during peak migration time, when we hope to see Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordman’s (or Spotted) Greenshank, Great Knot, Chinese Egret, Saunder’s Gull and a whole host of other exciting waterbirds. This time of year also coincides with Eastern Palearctic passerine migration and the coastal bushes and marshes can (depending upon the weather) be full of exciting songbirds, that would elicit chartered helicopters/planes were they appear on Shetland or Scilly! The rest of our trip will be focused on inland sites, where many Chinese specialists will be our targets. This is very much a special birders’ trip and will help to save Spoon-billed Sandpipers directly through support for the work of conservation bodies involved (a donation will be made with each booking) and also by demonstrating the value of responsible Spoon-billed Sandpiper tourism in China itself. If you wish to extend your holiday and perhaps take in FREE! Field Guide to the Birds of China by some Chinese cultural highlights, then we John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps is included in are happy to arrange this for you. your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

NEW! BORNEO Exciting birding and mammal watching including Orang Utan THURS 12 AUGUST – SAT 28 AUGUST 2021 PRICE: £5995pp Single Supplement: £995

Deposit: £1000pp

Leader Mike Coleman with experienced local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. With returning explorers and naturalists telling tales of vast, pristine jungles full of strange animals and indigenous tribes, the very word ‘Borneo’ is synonymous with tropical adventure. The third largest island in the world, Borneo has some of the oldest rainforests on the planet, stretching for miles to distant mountains shrouded in mist and rainclouds. Its rivers slowly snake through dense jungles where strange sounds emanate from endemic birds and some of the most endangered and sought-after mammals in Asia. On this we spend as long as possible at the best wildlife watching sites, improving our chances of seeing the widest variety of exciting and endemic birds and many diurnal and nocturnal mammals. We stay in the heart of the rainforest, at well-maintained lodges with excellent reputations, some of which have won global awards for their sustainable approach to ecotourism. Among the 250+ birds (including many of the 60 endemics) we may expect, highlights could include strange Bornean Bristlehead, and many hornbills, trogons, broadbills, barbets, woodpeckers, frogmouths, owls, partridges, pittas, spiderhunters, flowerpeckers, sunbirds and raptors. Without doubt, the most sought-after mammal of Borneo is the  Orang Utan. We maximise our chances by exploring  four different locations where they may be found naturally, as well as the renowned rehabilitation centre at  Sepilok. Borneo is fantastic for mammals,  and we hope to see Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Leopard Cat, Bornean Tarsier, Bornean Slow Loris, Lesser Oriental Chevrotain, Proboscis Monkey, Southern Pig-tailed Macaque, Maroon Langur, Muller’s Gibbon, Sunda Flying Lemur and several  species of squirrel and civet. We explore the rainforest of Kinabalu National Park, one of the most important biological sites in the world, holding 326 bird and around 100 mammal species. Lowland rainforest offers different wildlife, and here we might see (or smell) a flowering ‘Rafflesia’.  We visit Sepilok and  Sukau, with their impressive canopy walkways,  take two cruises down the Kinabatangan River  and include  a dusk visit to the Gomantong Caves where hundreds of thousands of Wrinkle-lipped Free-tailed Bats undertake a mass exodus. We head to Tabin, a rarely visited location  where 250 bird species and many endangered mammals dwell including three cat and nine primate species, some of which we hope to see on a nocturnal excursion. Our final base may be the most impressive; Danum Valley is set in virgin rainforest with abundant wildlife, and we see a huge myriad of new birds and mammals, a  wonderful place to conclude this  memorable jungle adventure.

FREE! 'Birds of Borneo' (2nd Edition) by Susan Myers is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


NEW! BHUTAN Birds, Mammals & Culture FRI 9 APRIL – WED 28 APRIL 2021 PRICE: £5995pp Single Supplement: £495

Deposit: £1000pp

Leader Mike Coleman with experienced local guides. Max 12 clients. Departure from London. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Bhutan is one of the last pristine pockets of the entire Himalaya. Largely untouched by the modern world, Bhutan is an enigmatic mountain kingdom of beautiful scenery, high, snow-capped mountains, vast, primeval, lush green forests, picturesque, traditional villages, mighty dzongs (a distinctive type of fortress architecture), monasteries overlooking crystal clear rivers and an abundance of wildlife. The people are welcoming, and live a deeply Buddhist and traditional way of life, where Gross National Happiness (GNH) is the national philosophy that guides the government, including an index used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of the population. This comprehensive tour takes us wildlife watching in many types of forest and habitat at different altitudes, giving opportunities to observe over 350 of the unique birds of this rarely-visited nation, as well as visiting some of the country’s most impressive religious and cultural sites. The wealth of birdlife in Bhutan is incredible, and we stay longer at some of the better wildlife locations, giving us excellent chances of many rare and elusive species. These include Himalayan Monal, Ward's Trogon, Rufous-vented Laughingthrush, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, White-hooded and  Buff-breasted Babbler, and critically endangered White-bellied Heron, perhaps the rarest bird in Bhutan. Regularly seen birds include Ibisbill,  Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Asian Barred Owlet,  Little Forktail,  Scaly Laughingthrush, Rusty-fronted Barwing, White-gorgeted and Pygmy Blue Flycatcher, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, Streaked Spiderhunter, White-naped Yuhina, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Satyr Tragopan, Fulvous Parrotbill, Snow Pigeon, Blood Pheasant, Fire-tailed Sunbird, Firetailed Myzornis, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, White-throated Redstart  and Himalayan Beautiful Rosefinch. Rare and sought-after mammals might also be encountered. Red Panda is present, as are Himalayan Black Bear, Common Leopard and rare Golden Langur. There  will be cultural highlights too, including visits to the impressive Punakha Dzong and the superb Tharpaling Monastery. Bhutan's dramatic scenery is second to none, and some of the views from mountain passes are some of the best and most accessible in all the Himalayas. We stay in hotel accommodation throughout (much more comfortable than camping, the traditional alternative), and have included extra days within Bhutan compared to some other tours so we can enjoy a better wildlife/travel balance to improve our personal GNH! We will meet many smiling, happy people, and enjoy plenty of fresh, local food and drink; billed as 'the happiest place in the world', a visit to Bhutan really is a lifetime experience!

FREE! 'Field Guide to the Birds of Birds of Bhutan and the Eastern Himalayas' by Carol Inskipp, Richard Grimmett et al is included. One copy per room booked.

NEPAL A wealth of birds and mammals in early Spring THURS 11 MARCH – WED 24 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £3795pp Single Supplement: £475

Deposit: £1000pp

Extension feat. Mount Everest Flight Price: £495pp Single Supplement: £125 Leader top Nepalese guide Suchit Basnet joined by Heatherlea guide Kevin Shaw with more than 7 clients. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Memorable and often enchanting, this tour is filled with birds, mammals, landscape and lifestyle experiences. Key places include the country's two finest reserves, Chitwan National Park and Koshi Tappu. We also have an excellent day birding at BOTH ends of the tour, as we drive to the 2,740-metre summit of Phulchowki close to Kathmandu, where our birdlist will grow quickly our expert guides; on this trip, you have friends in high places! The holiday is primarily focused on birding, including wintering wetland birds, passerines from Siberia and high Himalayan breeders plus many resident species. Expect well over 200 birds including woodpeckers, minivets, warblers, flycatchers, laughing-thrushes, yuhinas, fulvettas, sunbirds and flowerpeckers. We look for rare Ibisbill and may see sought-after and delightful Eurasian species including Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Rubythroat and Wallcreeper. Other fantastic birds include Cutia, Swamp Francolin, Tickell's Red-breasted Blue Flycatcher and many more - a big list of special species! Chitwan holds a wealth of mammals, and we find many of these as we explore by jeep, rubber boat and on foot. Greater One-horned (Indian) Rhinoceros, Wild Boar, Sambar, Muntjac, Spotted and Hog Deer, Indian Grey Mongoose, Rhesus and Common Langur Monkey are among the commoner mammals, and Sloth Bear and Gaur may also be seen, as may Gharial, Mugger Crocodile, Ganges River Dolphin and if we are lucky, Bengal Tiger. At the end of the holiday there is an optional extention to take a thrilling Mount Everest panoramic flight, plus a fascinating visit to some of Kathmandu's famous monumental sites, often regarded as a highlight of the trip by many. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

FREE! ‘Birds of Nepal’ by Richard Grimmett and Carol Inskipp is included in your holiday price.

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

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INDIA - GOA A relaxed and enjoyable birding tour from the Konkan coast to the Western Ghats. SAT 13 NOVEMBER – SUN 28 NOVEMBER 2021 SAT 12 NOVEMBER – SUN 27 NOVEMBER 2022 Deposit: £1000pp

PRICE: £3695pp Single Supplement: £425 PRICE: TBA Single Supplement: TBA

Leader Toby Green plus local guide. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. Goa is India's smallest state by area, located on the southwestern coast within the region known as Konkan, geographically separated from the Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. The State is characterised by its relative wealth, with the highest GDP per capita in India, and ranked top for 'best quality of life in India' by the National Commission on Population. Goa is extremely rich in birdlife, boasting a huge variety despite its small size. Key habitats are concentrated, and our itinerary features many small, easily worked areas. We visit all the best sites and stay at just three centres, so that relatively little travel is involved. There are approx 28 endemics within the Western Ghats, with many regional specialities and nearendemics also. We seek Malabar Whistling Thrush, Malabar Barbet, White-bellied Blue Flycatcher, Malabar Trogon, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-rumped Flameback, Verditer Flycatcher, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Golden-fronted Leafbird to name but a few. Key Asian migrants including Citrine Wagtail, Greenish and Paddyfield Warbler, Bluethroat (red-spotted race) and several species of pipit may be seen along with up to eight species of Kingfisher. Bee-eaters are stunning birds and if lucky we will encounter Bluetailed, Chestnut-headed, Little Green and others. In wetlands and on the coasts, we look for Terek and Marsh Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, Lesser and Greater Sandplover with beautiful Painted Snipe perhaps also featuring on our lists, which are likely to exceed 200 species on this enjoyable holiday. This is the ideal choice for the first-time birding visitor to India. Goa’s infrastructure is well developed, making it easy to get around, and we expect our stay to be comfortable and enjoyable. Weather conditions are usually warm, dry and sunny at this time of year, and our itinerary will be very flexible as we find time to enjoy some memorable cultural experiences without detracting from the birding. We visit the 12th century Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla - the oldest Hindu temple in Goa, and take a walk around Old Goa, the former capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site where historically significant buildings include the magnificent Sé Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus. Your Leader, popular Heatherlea Guide Toby Green, has birded Goa extensively, and this is one of his FREE! ‘Birds of Southern India’ by Richard favourite birding destinations in the world. He is very much looking forward to showing you the birdlife Grimmet and Tim Inskipp, is included in your and culture of this superb destination! holiday price (one copy per room booked).

INDIA – BIRDS, TIGERS and TAJ MAHAL Bharatpur, Chambal, Agra & Bandhavgarh MON 1 MARCH – THURS 11 MARCH 2021 MON 28 FEBRUARY – THURS 10 MARCH 2022 PRICE: £3495pp Single Supplement: £375 Deposit: £800pp Leader Dave Pullan joined by experienced local guide Leio De Souza. Max 12 clients Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This holiday is an enjoyable combination of mammal watching, birding and sightseeing, as we pass through fascinating cities, pastoral landscapes and protected forests on a splendid introduction to the wildlife and culture of northern India. We begin at two of the best birding sites in the north Indian Plains, Bharatpur, India’s most famous bird sanctuary, and the Chambal River, one of the healthiest river environments in India. Birding at Bharatpur is varied and exciting, with wetland birds on man-made lakes and marshes, including Sarus Crane, Blacknecked and Painted Stork, Indian Spot-billed and Comb Duck, Black Bittern, Indian Scops-owl, Orange-headed Thrush and Siberian Rubythroat in a mosaic of habitats. The Chambal River, a serene stretch of water that feeds India’s agricultural heartland, is home to Indian Skimmer, as well as the curious Gharial and Ganges River Dolphin. We visit the magnificent Taj Mahal and Red Fort in Agra, before driving back to Delhi to take an internal flight between Delhi and Jabalpur, avoiding a long road journey. Bandhavgarh National Park is perhaps the most reliable reserve for Tiger sightings in India, and six game drives in jeeps for our exclusive use will provide excellent chances for memorable Tiger encounters. As we drive through the jungle and grasslands we will encounter a whole host of other mammals, which might include Leopard, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Grey Langur, Rhesus Macaque, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, and if we are lucky perhaps Sloth Bear or a pack of the secretive Dhole (Indian Wild Dog). More than 250 bird species are known from the reserve, and Lesser Adjutant, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Emerald Dove, Brown Fish Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Shahin Falcon, Orange-headed Thrush and Tickell's Blue Flycatcher may be seen. Safari space at the best reserves is limited, and at Bandhavgarh, where chances of Tiger sightings are very good, we need to book well in advance. We use good accommodation, comfortable transport in what can be an uncomfortable country, the services of a professional India-based ground agent and an experienced Heatherlea guide accompanied by a knowledgeable local naturalist throughout. Two internal flights maximise time available in the field, and once you arrive in India, you will be aware how much all these things add to the experience! This itinerary is ideal for the enthusiast who wants to see Tigers whilst enjoying excellent birding and key elements of India’s rich heritage. 38

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FREE! ‘Birds of the Indian Subcontinent’ by Carol Inskipp and Richard Grimmett, is included in your holiday price (one copy per room booked).


NEW! SRI LANKA A comprehensive tour including birds, mammals and culture. FRI 12 NOVEMBER – TUES 29 NOVEMBER 2021 PRICE: £3995pp Single Supplement: £695 Deposit: £1000pp Optional Whale Watching Extension PRICE: £795pp Single Supplement: £100 Leader Mike Coleman joined by experienced local guides. Max 12 clients Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This fantastic 19-day holiday around the friendly tropical island of Sri Lanka is ideal both for serious birders who wish to focus on the endemics, and also more general enthusiasts who will appreciate the comprehensive overview of Sri Lanka’s diverse mammal life. We also take time to visit some of the most impressive cultural and historical sites in the country, and there is an optional extension to take boat trips into the Indian Ocean to see cetaceans, including mighty Blue Whale. We visit lush rural landscapes, rice fields, misty, rolling tea plantations, pristine protected forests and montane grasslands, and pass through fascinating colonial towns steeped in history, incredible sites of Buddhist culture, and idyllic tropical palmfringed coastlines as we enjoy the stunning scenery of this beautiful country. We maximise our birding by seeking all 33 endemics, including Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Red-Faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka Chestnut-backed Owlet, Yellowfronted and Crimson-fronted Barbet, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Bush-warbler, Sri Lanka White-eye, Sri Lanka Scimitar-babbler, and Sri Lanka Spot-winged Thrush to name a few. In addition, general birding is superb and we will see a wide selection of resident and overwintering species, perhaps including Indian Pitta, Orangeheaded Thrush, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Crested Tree-swift, Common, White-throated and Storkbilled Kingfisher, Coppersmith and Brown-headed Barbet, Green Imperial Pigeon, Jerdon’s and Golden-fronted Leafbird and Malabar Pied Hornbill among many others. We also include a number of mammal safaris in four National Parks, giving us chances to find many soughtafter species. A close encounter with Leopard might be the mammal highlight, and we hope to see Asian Elephant, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, Toque Macaque, Jungle Cat, Crested Porcupine and shy Red Slender Loris. There is an optional extension to take boat trips into the Indian Ocean to see cetaceans; Sperm, Bryde’s and Fin Whale are all possible, plus Orca and various dolphins and very possibly a sighting of the world’s largest living creature – Blue Whale! We also take time to visit some of the most impressive cultural and historical sites in the country, including the Dambulla Golden Rock Temple, where the cave complexes hold 160 statues and impressive Buddhist murals. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been a place for sacred pilgrimage for over 2200 years. We will sample a range of local food and drink, most likely including fresh coconut water and Arak, the local alcohol distilled from the nectar of coconut flowers.

FREE! ‘Birds of Sri Lanka’ by Deepal Warakagoda, Richard grimmett and Tim and Carol Inskipp, is included in your holiday price (one copy per room booked).

NEW! UZBEKISTAN & KYRGYZSTAN A journey through the heart of the Great Silk Road. THURS 10 JUNE – THURS 24 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £3995pp Single supplement: £350 Deposit: £800pp Leader Mike Coleman joined by an experienced local guide. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. On this unique Heatherlea holiday we explore the rich birdlife and rugged beauty of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan at a relaxed pace. This is an important ancient crossroads between east and west, the very heart of the Great Silk Road, with fabled historical sites and extravagant and beautiful architecture. While predominantly a birding tour, we enjoy a mixed focus, with superb general wildlife, unique culture and history, awesome landscapes, and inquisitive, friendly locals. There are some early mornings to give us the best chances of seeing target wildlife at its most active, but generally the pace is relaxed, with great photographic opportunities. We explore a variety of habitats from high mountain to desert, and birdlife is special, including Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Long-tailed Shrike, Rufous-naped and Yellow-breasted (Azure) Tit, White-tailed Lapwing, Ménétriés’ Warbler, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Hume’s Lark, Persian Nuthatch, Finsch’s and Variable Wheatear, White-throated Robin and enigmatic Pander’s Ground Jay. We begin in Samarkand, where we combine excellent birding (White-crowned Penduline-Tit, Whitecapped Bunting) with the cultural delights of the ancient city, including its elaborately tiled, painted and carved buildings. We then head to Bukhara, one of the most important early trading centres, with its bustling traditional bazaars, turquoise blue domes and towering minarets, and extensive reedbeds and wetlands where we add many more birds to our list. We make an early morning visit to the Kizilkum Desert, where Pander’s Ground Jay is our target, before heading to Tashkent and the lush, wooded Chimgan Hills, where we see various raptors, tits, warblers and thrushes amongst other species. We then fly to Kyrgyzstan, where we explore Bishkek for Pallas’s Gull, Masked Wagtail, Daurian Shrike, Demoiselle Crane and Pallas' Sandgrouse, and Karakol, where we head into the Tien Shan Mountains. Through rich floral meadows, and high above the tree line, we hope to see Lammergeier, Ibisbill, Whitetailed Rubythroat, Altai and Brown Accentors, and the jewels in the crown, White-browed Tit Warbler and Güldenstädt’s Redstart. Along the dry zone bordering the dark blue Issyk Kol Lake, we will see an abundance of butterflies and plants, some extraordinary, multi-coloured rock formations and geology, and new birds including Mongolian Desert Finch and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, before returning to Bishkek, and the splendid Ala Archa National Park, with chattering tits and warblers, the highly vocal Blue Whistling Thrush, and butterflies everywhere, including seven species of Apollo! We use hotel accommodation throughout, meaning no shared tents unlike some other itineraries, and choose places with good cuisine and interesting local delicacies. An exciting new addition to our calendar!

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FREE! 'Field Guide to the Birds of Central Asia' by Manuel Schweizer et al is included. One copy per room booked.

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‘GRAND TOUR’ OF QUEENSLAND, S.E AUSTRALIA & TASMANIA Australia holds a huge range of bird families and species, many of which are endemic to the continent. The sheer scale of vast distances and logistical issues mean that most birders need to be selective, so in 2020 we have concentrated on two key areas to offer tours which can be seen as alternatives, or which can be combined to offer a ‘Grand Tour’ covering some of the most sought-after places on the continent. Our

tour runs in the Australian spring, featuring pleasant temperatures, longer days and migratory birds arriving from their northern winter grounds. Should you wish to extend your holiday, perhaps travelling onwards to other parts of Australia or New Zealand or making a stopover en-route, we can arrange flight and hotel options to suit your requirements under our ATOL Licence 6113, please ask.

NEW! GRAND TOUR Both of the below itineraries including transfer from Cairns to Melbourne. THURS 12 NOVEMBER – TUES 8 DECEMBER 2020 PRICE: £9995pp Single Supplement: £1690 THURS 11 NOVEMBER – TUES 7 DECEMBER 2021 PRICE: TBA Single Supplement: TBA Deposit: £1600pp Leader Phil Knott plus local guide. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Gatwick. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included.

NEW! QUEENSLAND THURS 12 NOVEMBER – MON 23 NOVEMBER 2020 PRICE: £4995pp THURS 11 NOVEMBER – MON 22 NOVEMBER 2021 PRICE: TBA Deposit: £1000pp

Single Supplement: £695 Single Supplement: TBA

Leader Phil Knott plus local guide Max Beckenbridge. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. This outstanding itinerary takes us to some amazingly significant areas, many with World Heritage status. We begin in Cairns, staying here for a couple of nights to acclimatise before heading for the Atherton Tablelands, a fertile plateau which contains several small remnants of protected rainforest, classified by BirdLife International as one of Australia's Important Bird Areas, with several endemic birds and mammals. We stay here four nights before heading for the famous Daintree River area, where we add many more birds and mammals. Perhaps a highlight will be our visit to The Great Barrier Reef, the largest, most spectacular coral reef system in the world. We are birding here, though giant clams, turtles and an array of colourful fish can be seen as we pass through the coral gardens. Birds may include Southern Cassowary, Australian Bustard, Lovely Fairy-wren, Victoria’s Riflebird, Superb Fruit-Dove, Sarus Crane, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Pacific Baza, Spotted Harrier, Lesser Sooty Owl, Southern Boobook, Tooth-billed Catbird, Fairy & Brown Gerygones, Chowchilla, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Pale-headed Rosella, Bluewinged Kookaburra, Azure Kingfisher, Fairy Martin, Papuan Frogmouth, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Helmeted Friarbird, and a chance of rare and localised Great-billed Heron. Mammals and reptiles may include Striped Possum, Long-nosed Bandicoot, Musky Rat Kangaroo, Green Ringtail Possum, Red-legged Pademelon, Agile Wallaby, Saltwater Crocodile, Amethystine Python & Common Tree Snake.

TASMANIA & S.E AUSTRALIA SAT 21 NOVEMBER – TUES 8 DECEMBER 2020 SAT 20 NOVEMBER – TUES 7 DECEMBER 2021 Deposit: £1500pp

PRICE: £6795pp PRICE: TBA

Single Supplement: £995 Single Supplement: TBA

Leader Phil Knott plus local guide Max Beckenbridge. Max 12 clients. Departure from London Heathrow. Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are included. We begin on mainland Australia, covering a variety of habitats all within a few hours easy drive of Melbourne. Target birds include Emu, Laughing Kookaburra, White-naped, Painted and Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Speckled Warbler, Black-eared Cuckoo, Little Lorikeet, Long-billed Corella, Zebra Finch, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, White-winged Chough, Galah, Brolga, Rufous Bristlebird and delightful Southern Emu-wren. Wetland birds are abundant and flocks of over 1000 Pink-eared Ducks are possible. Mammals include Black and Red-necked Wallaby and Eastern Grey Kangaroo, and we may be fortunate enough to encounter Koala. We enjoy a night excursion to seek Brush-tailed and Ring-tailed Possum and, if very fortunate, Sugar Glider. Our Tasmania tour is a superb tour of the island, covering its habitats from the mountains through primary forest down to the rich coastline, with a wealth of birding and wildlife opportunities. We visit exceptional places to seek rare wildlife, and endemic birds include Scrubtit, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Pink Robin, Green Rosella, Tasmanian Native Hen, Black Currawong, Tasmanian Thornbill, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Dusky Robin, Forty-spotted Pardalote and oddly adorned Yellow Wattlebird. One of the most exciting aspects is our optional pelagic cruise into the Southern Ocean. Although weather dependent, it is sheltered from the prevailing winds and has a good chance of going all the way to the continental shelf, where we could encounter between 20-30 species of tubenose, with numerous species of albatross and shearwater likely, as well as Seals, Dolphins and Whales. Mammals and marsupials include Common Wombat, Tasmanian Pademelon, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Long-nosed Potoroo, Eastern and Spotted-tailed Quoll and both Short-beaked Echidna,and bizarre looking Platypus, Australia’s two egg-laying montreme species. One of Australia’s most threatened and charismatic mammals is Tasmanian Devil, and FREE! ‘Birds of Australia’, by Ken Simpson and we have an excellent opportunity to view and photograph these elusive creatures. Nicholas Day, is included in your holiday price.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

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2022 HOLIDAYS – your natural choice throughout the world! The previous section contains 2022 dates for holidays which are regular favourites with Heatherlea clients. This section features new and returning tours which are planned for 2022, though not for 2021. Provisionally reserve any of these holidays without payment of deposit until later!

BRAND NEW TOURS

AFRICA KENYA BIRDING the RIFT VALLEY FEBRUARY 2022 This is a very exciting and also very comfortable holiday, featuring unforgettable wildlife and excellent supporting services. We think this is the ideal Kenyan safari adventure both for birders and those with a general interest in African wildlife. Kenya has the second highest bird list for any African country with over 1000 species (around one tenth of the world’s birds) and you stand every chance of seeing well over 300 on this exciting holiday. Our focus is primarily on birding, with a secondary focus on big game, spending our time in the Rift Valley, and visiting key sites including Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivaisha, Lake Baringo and the famous Nairobi National Park. Big game are almost incidental, requiring little direct effort, and we should see many key mammals including Giraffe (both Maasai and Rothschild's), Zebra, Hippo, Nile Crocodile, Warthog, Cape Buffalo, White Rhino and perhaps Black Rhino. This holiday does not by any means cover all the wildlife of Kenya, but offers a big selection in a relatively short visit, and is designed to give a memorable experience full of wildlife and wild places in a wonderful country

NEW! GHANA FEBRUARY 2022 Ghana is a must visit destination for any birding and nature enthusiast, with over 760 bird species. From coastal lagoons, grassland savannah and upper guinea rainforest, moving northwards through broad-leaved guinea woodland and finally touching the Sahel savannah plains in the far north. Ghana offers all the core west African habitats and key locations we visit include Kakum National Park, the Shai Hills and Ankasa Reserve, the Abrafo Forest and the superb Mole National Park where over 300 bird and 100 mammal species have been recorded! Birding is exceptional, with 12 of the 15 Upper Guinea Endemic bird species recorded in Ghana and highlights will include the legendary Yellow-headed Picathartes and stunning Egyptian Plover. Our itinerary is focused on birding at relaxed pace, though we will enjoy a big birdlist with many speciality species, with Nkulengu Rail, Forbes Plover, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Black Dwarf Hornbill, Great Blue Turaco, Yellow-footed Honeyguide and Black-collard Lovebird, African Pitta, Yellow-bearded Greenbul, Rufous-winged Illadopsis, Green-tailed Bristlebill, Yellow-winged Pytillia and Wilsons Indigobird among the possibilities.

NEW! WESTERN SAHARA FEBRUARY 2022 As the largest hot desert in the world, the Sahara has long fascinated both explorers and wildlife enthusiasts for centuries. Often regarded as a significant hurdle for palearctic migrants as the journey north or south, the region also boasts its own birding highlights. We explore the Western Sahara, where from two centres we journey to the desert region of Aousserd and will also be in prime position for birdwatching the coast around the Dakhla peninsula. In the deserts, rare and highly prized Golden Nightjar is a key target having recently been discovered breeding, and other specialities include Cricket Warbler, African Dunn’s Lark, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Greater HoopoeLark, Bar-tailed, Thekla, Thick-billed, Temminck’s and Desert Larks, Black, Desert, Red-rumped and White-crowned Wheatears, Trumpeter Finch, Cream-colored Courser, Fulvous Babbler, African Desert Warbler and Desert Sparrow. Dedicating time birdwatching to the coast, gives us chances of rare Kelp Gull, with Slenderbilled Gull and Audouin’s Gull, Caspian Tern and West African Crested Tern and plentiful waders to see too. Rare mammals may also feature, with Ruppell’s Fox, Lesser Egyptian Jerboa, Lesser Egyptian Gerbil and Desert Hedgehog in the desert, and cetaceans including the critically endangered Atlantic Humpback Dolphin possible offshore in calm seas. A tour unique in so many ways, offering superb wildlife experiences in a one of the most remote environments on the planet!

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UGANDA JANUARY 2022 Straddling the equator and with a wealth of Birds and mammals, Uganda is one of the most attractive destinations in East Africa for the wildlife enthusiast. This holiday is a carefully designed safari through many of its most important and wildlife-rich locations. We visit the Bigodi and Mabamba Wetlands and no fewer than four national parks – namely Queen Elizabeth, Kibale, Lake Mburo and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Birding and mammal watching both feature, and there will be excellent opportunities for photography too. Uganda boasts over 1000 species and a wide diversity of birds, including many specialities and endemics. The most iconic is the Shoebill which we aim to see by canoe, while also possible are African Finfoot, Green-breasted Pitta, Narina Trogon, Sabine’s Spinetai, White-spotted Flufftail and many more as we seek a large birdlist. A key highlight will be the opportunity to see both Mountain Gorilla and Chimpanzee on the same tour, while other large mammals of interest include Lion, Leopard, Hippo, Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Giant Forest Hog plus Nile Crocodile.

NAMIBIA SEPTEMBER 2022 With its fantastic landscapes, excellent infrastructure and superb wildlife, Namibia has become a favoured birding destination in recent years. Desert, coastal lagoons and mountains will give us an abundance of wildlife in a country full of fantastic scenery and although Namibia is home to only one endemic species, a large number of near-endemics and specialities may be found within its borders. The Namib Desert is he home of the endemic Dune Lark, naturally a key target of this tour. We also visit the Namib-Naukluft National Park for near endemic Ludwig’s Bustard and Burchell’s Courser, Walvis Bay, where the coastal lagoons attract some of the largest concentrations of waterbirds in Africa and the Erongo Mountains to search for specials such as Hartlaub’s Spurfowl, Herero Chat and Damara Rockrunner. Etosha National Park boasts an abundance of both birds and wildlife and Waterberg Plateau support tricky to see Rüppell’s Parrot and Violet Wood-Hoopoe alongside many more widespread species. All in all, a superb new Heatherlea African adventure!

SOUTH AFRICA: KRUGER JANUARY 2022 Covering an area approaching 20,000km2, Kruger National Park is one of the largest, and one of the most famous game reserves in all of Africa. Established late in the nineteenth century and originally known as the Sabi Game Reserve, the first three tourist vehicles entered the park in 1927 and since then many have enjoyed its wonderful wildlife and in 2022, that number will include Heatherlea! Famed for its ‘big game’, Kruger is home to more species of large mammal than any other African game reserve. Lion, Leopard, Rhinoceros (South-central Black and Southern White), African Elephant and Cape Buffalo make up the so called ‘Big Five’, and with an extended stay of 5 nights in the park, we have excellent chances of multiple encounters with many mammals. Over 500 species of bird have also been recorded in Kruger, of which half are resident and several threatened or range restricted. We have many targets, and of these Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Ground Hornbill and Pel’s Fishing Owl (and as such often referred to as the ‘Big Six Birds’) are difficult to see elsewhere. But there is so much more to this tour, and before entering Kruger we explore bird rich locations to its west including Mount Sheba Nature Reserve, the Dullstroom grasslands and Blyde River Canyon – the latter being the third largest canyon in the world! Crossing into the National Park, safari drives can also be great for birding, offering close views and with extra time at Skukuza, on the Sabie river loop we should encounter a wide range of species at this time of year. Later at Wakkerstroom (where difficult to see Rudd’s and Botha’s Lark are possibilities) we will be well placed, as an exciting array of migrants begin to pass through. With 250-300 bird species and perhaps as many as 50 mammals, this superb new tour to one of the most famous African destinations is not to be missed.

CANADA, USA and CENTRAL AMERICA FLORIDA APRIL 2022 Florida is home to a huge variety of species and a great range of habitats, offering an ideal introduction to North American birding. To the north, hardy temperate forest dominates, while warm waters surround the rest of the state. Together, both climate and geography isolate Florida from the rest of the country, and because of its geographically unique position, it is a crossroads between temperate north and sultry Caribbean south. Indeed, about a dozen birds of West Indian origin reach the northern limits of their range here, and many of these live nowhere else in the United States. Also, due to its southerly position and proximity to the Gulf Stream, the southeast corner of the Sunshine State hosts an incredible assortment of warblers, vireos, flycatchers, raptors, and shorebirds -- up to twenty-five warblers and ten flycatchers have been recorded in a single winter season.

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tel: 01479 821248

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ARIZONA MAY 2022 This is a two-week trip to one of America’s most stunning destinations, featuring amazing cacti desert and ‘sky-island’ mountain landscapes. We begin our trip at the indescribably beautiful Grand Canyon, then travel south to savour the legendary birding of Southeast Arizona. There is a diversity of fabulous birds to match the scenery, from desert and Mexican specialities, to many gorgeous hummingbirds and gaudy breeding plumaged American wood warblers heading northwards into the mountains. This is a trip every birder should do at least once! Migration will be in full swing and the excitement is unparalleled as wave upon wave of new birds arrive around us and join plentiful resident species. There are many potential highlights, and among species we hope to see are Roadrunner, Gambel’s and Scaled Quail, Crissal and Curve-billed Thrasher, Cactus Wren, Painted Redstart, Elegant Trogon, Inca Dove, Cassin’s Kingbird. We may be lucky to encounter Califorina Condor, having recently been restored to the state through conservation projects, of perhaps Black Bear and rare Mountain Lion in the hills.

YELLOWSTONE IN SUMMER JULY 2022 This is a tremendous tour of both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, as we visit spectacular locations to see a fantastic range of birds and mammals. This relaxed and nonintensive holiday gives you the chance to experience this marvellous place in all its grandeur. Visiting three States (Utah, Wyoming and Montana), you will enjoy a comprehensive tour of all the key places. Summer is a time of abundance in Yellowstone, and we should see high numbers of mammals daily. Grey Wolf, Black and Grizzly Bear, American Bison at the rut (July is peak time for this), Red Fox, Coyote, Pronghorn Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Elk, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, River Otter, American (Pine) Marten, American Beaver, American Badger – no wonder Yellowstone has been compared to a safari in Africa! Though best recognized for its mammals, birds are spectacular too, and among those we may see are Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, White-faced Ibis, Ruffed and Dusky Grouse, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Bald and Golden Eagle, Steller’s Jay, Red-naped Sapsucker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Mountain Bluebird, Clark’s Nutcracker, American Dipper, Western Tanager and Lazuli Bunting. There is a long birdlist, and you will also love the open spaces and vistas amidst a real feeling of solitude.

NEW! VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2022

NEW! CAPE MAY for birders SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022

Vancouver Island one of the most spectacular places to view wildlife in the Americas and we will take several boat/ferry trips to look for iconic species, including the Vancouver Island Big 5: Black Bear, Killer Whale, Gray Whale, Stella’s Sea Lion and Sea Otter. There will be many exceptional birds including flocks of breeding plumaged Surf Scoter, Harlequin Duck, White-winged Scoter, Pacific Diver, Pacific Cormorant, Glaucous-winged Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Black Oystercatcher, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, Cassin’s Auklet and Marbled Murrelet on the water between the numerous islands. On dry land Vancouver Island’s regional and national parks are home to Bald Eagle, American Robin, Belted Kingfisher, Townsend’s Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Slate-colored Junco, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Goldencrowned Sparrow, Rufous Hummingbird and the sublime Varied Thrush.

Listed by National Geographic as a World’s Best destination for birding, Cape May is a superb location because the narrow peninsula acts as a bird funnel, bringing in songbirds during their spring and autumn (fall) migrations. As such, large numbers may occur and in the right conditions and birding can be especially varied and enjoyable. Very much a location for the migration enthusiast, instead of heading to Shetland, Orkney or Scilly in the hope of finding a rare American bird, why not join us on the other side of the Atlantic for autumn. Our time will be well spent, searching for, find and identify dozens of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flickers, kingbirds, tanagers, orioles, raptors, seabirds and shorebirds. The good days are spectacular, while the exceptional ones can be thrilling and defy belief. This trip is targeted at those UK/European birders who have poured over North American field guides and dreamt of ‘finding their own Yank’.

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GUATEMALA JANUARY 2022 Guatemala is Central America’s most populated country, though only 2% of its landmass is urbanised, making for exciting birding. We travel through some incredible scenery and habitats, ranging from densely wooded mountains, cloud forests, mighty steaming volcanoes, vast coffee plantations, arid deserts, savannahs, wetlands, mirror-like mountain lakes and lowland rainforests. Over 760 bird species have been recorded in Guatemala, and we expect perhaps 300 on this tour. Of those breeding in the highlands, about 10% are endemic to the North Central American Highland, including Green-throated Mountain-gem, White-throated Hummingbird, Rufousbrowed Wren and Blue and White Mockingbird. The Horned Guan is another such species, and there will be the option of taking a day’s hike into its volcano forest habitat, which though challenging is well worth the effort when seen! Later in the tour, special birds include Azurerumped Tanager, Pink-headed Warbler, Bearded Screech-Owl, and Black-capped Siskin and Guatemala's national bird – the Resplendent Quetzal, a species considered so special within Guatemala it adorns the national flag and the national currency is named after it! This tour will generally relaxed and easy-paced incorporating many classic Guatemalan images: Mayan ruins, villagers in colourful traditional clothing, and fabulous, ancient colonial cities, as well as offering some of the finest neotropical birding for hard-to-find and localised species in Central America.

NEW! COSTA RICA WILDLIFE and WELLNESS OCTOBER 2022 Wildlife and Wellness is a new holiday idea from Heatherlea, combining absorbing natural history with the chance to completely relax. In Costa Rica, we visit several carefully selected parts of the country, some of which are featured in our existing holidays, others of which are new, chosen for their focus on Wellness and the availability of treatments. Most days will begin with optional walks before breakfast. Later we make the most of local wildlife opportunities in the morning, and after lunch enjoy free time (or you can carry on birding with your guide), during which you might like to benefit from treatments, which can be pre-booked before you travel. Transfer days will involve wildlife as we go, and a chance to relax in the afternoons at our new destination. On this itinerary you benefit from excellent local food throughout, often cooked to order, and also can sample fresh juices and fruits not normally available in the UK. The plan is to give you an exciting and rewarding wildlife experience (including baby turtles on the beach), and a relaxing time in this beautiful and rewarding country.

NEW! COSTA RICA SLOW NOVEMBER 2022 All our Costa Rican tours operate at a relaxed pace, though this itinerary is especially suitable for those who don't want to walk too far. Very short walks are the order of the day, and we feature boat rides in several places to get close to wildlife. We also utilise the many feeding stations at hotels and other places, to guarantee a wonderful list of hummingbirds and other beautiful passerine species of Central America. You won't miss out, we expect a birdlist in excess of 300 species, and should also see three monkey species, both sloths, a variety of reptiles and amphibians, and interesting mammals such as Coatimundi. We utilise our vehicle to reach key places, and often will be very close to the bus so you can minimise walking. Porterage is available throughout, and you will tour Costa Rica in comfort and safety.

MEXICO NOVEMBER 2022 Enjoy great birding and winter sunshine in the Caribbean! This twelve-day holiday covers varied birding habitats and is timed to coincide with the passage of Neotropical migrants. With the prospect of colourful endemic species, tasty Mexican food, well-located hotels in the northern and central Yucatan we focus upon tropical birding at a leisurely pace. Our targets include endemic Yucatan Bobwhite, Yucatan Wren and Mexican Sheartail, plus regional specialities including Yucatan Jay, Yucatan Woodpecker, White-bellied Wren, Ocellated Turkey, Canivet’s Emerald, Black Catbird and Orange Oriole. Caribbean specialities include Caribbean Eleania, Western Spindalis, Caribbean Dove and Bananaquit. We also enjoy a boat trip into mangrove lagoons at Rio Lagartos to see waterbirds including Bare-throated Tiger-heron, Boat-billed Heron, Caribbean Flamingo and more, and expect to see a range of migrating North American warblers and shorebirds throughout. This holiday also has a strong cultural aspect as we also visit amazing worldfamous Mayan archaeological sites at Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Coba. A fantastic combination of culture and wildlife.

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SOUTH AMERICA and CARIBBEAN

NEW! ST LUCIA & ST VINCENT JANUARY 2022

CUBA MARCH 2022

Building on our very popular trip to St Lucia, we will also visit nearby St Vincent in the Lesser Antilles for the perfect introduction to Caribbean birding. With many endemic birds featuring, and stunning Magnificent Frigatebird and Red-billed Tropicbird overhead, this tour offers both thrilling and relaxing birding at the same time.

Cuba is one of the most important and rewarding Caribbean birding destinations. The island is over 1200km long, and with relatively low population density, is largely quiet and unspoilt. Handily placed for north/south American migration, Cuba also contains a fascinating range of breeding birds, many of which are endemic or nearendemic, and each day will offer new birds and exciting possibilities with 285 species occurring regularly. Around half of the c.26 endemics are endangered, and some of these will be memorable highlights of our tour. In Bee Hummingbird we aim to see the world’s smallest bird, and other highlights may include rare Fernandina’s Flicker, the stunning Cuban Tody and striking Cuban Trogon, the latter displaying all the colours of the national flag!

On St Lucia, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Purple-throated Carib and Greenthroated Carib should all be seen in our hotel garden. We tour the island with superb local guides, and among the species we hope to see are Scaly-naped Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, St Lucia Parrot, Mangrove Cuckoo, Caribbean Elaenia, Lesser Antillean Flycatcher, St Lucia Pewee, Black-whiskered Vireo, Carib Grackle, St Lucia Oriole, Lesser Antillean Saltator, Lesser Antillean Bullfinch, St Lucia Blackfinch, Tropical Mockingbird, Pearly-eyed Thrasher, White-breasted Thrasher, Grey Trembler, Rufous-throated Solitaire and St Lucia Warbler. On St Vincent we will target St Vincent Parrot and Whistling Warbler in the Vermont Forest Reserve. Other Caribbean endemic species we will try to see include Lesser Antillean Swift, Grenada Flycatcher, Brown Trembler, Lesser Antillean Tanager and Antillean Euphonia, and all in the most beautiful Carribean surroundings.

Our itinerary gives an opportunity to see a wide range of birds at an easy pace, with walking mostly on flat terrain. We travel through a great variety of landscapes visiting all the major habitats, from lush forests to craggy hills and vast wetlands. The holiday is focused upon birding, though incidental opportunities for photography are good, and the cultural aspects are well worth noting as we enjoy ourselves in this lovely country.

NEW! PUERTO RICO FEBUARY 2022 Nestled between the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands, this lush Caribbean island is home to many Puerto Rican and other Caribbean endemics. On this easy-paced birding trip, we will visit a range of protected sites to look for Puerto Rican Woodpecker, Key West Quaildove, Yellow-breasted Crake, Puerto Rican Screech Owl, Puerto Rican Parrot, Puerto Rican Tody, Puerto Rican Lizard-cuckoo and Puerto Rican Flycatcher Yellow-shouldered Blackbird amongst others. Coastal plains encircle most of the island, but inland mountains reach 1,338m in height and support deciduous, semi-evergreen, and evergreen rainforests and elfin woodlands, where many of the special birds are found. There we will target two endemic hummingbirds: Puerto Rican Emerald and Green Mango, Elfin Warbler, Puerto Rican Bullfinch, Puerto Rican Spindalis, Puerto Rican Vireo and Puerto Rican Tanager. In the drier, lowland forests we will search for the endangered Puerto Rican Nightjar among many other desirable species.

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NEW! COLOMBIA - NORTH OCTOBER 2022

NEW! SOUTH EAST BRAZIL - THE ATLANTIC RAINFOREST JUNE 2022

Colombia has more bird species than any other country in the world, and this tour promises top quality birding in some key sites in the north of the country. We will be concentrating on the endemics, near-endemics and other specialities of northern Colombia, as we visit many different habitats including beautiful reserves and breathtaking landscapes, from high-altitude locations for birds of the tropical forests to the coast for many shorebirds.

The Atlantic Rainforest in SE Brazil is arguably the most threatened rainforest in the world. It is one of the planet’s richest places for bird diversity and should be on most birders' ‘to-do' list. The remnant protected areas, on which we focus, are home to over 900 bird species, of which 140 are endemic and another 105 near endemic, and most of these are threatened, and by visiting these protected areas we will be actively supporting their important conservation work.

We stay in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, a mecca for Ecuadorian birding, where the huge list of possible endemics includes Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Screech-Owl, White-tailed Starfrontlet, Santa Marta Woodstar, Rusty-headed Spinetail, Santa Marta Antpitta, Brown-rumped Tapaculo, Santa Marta Bush-Tyrant to name but a few. The Minca, Riohacha and Camarones areas and the Flamencos National Park offer even more birding opportunities. These include Black-backed Antshrike, Black Hawk-Eagle, Military Macaw, Scarlet-fronted and Orange-chinned Parakeet, Red-billed Parrot, White-collared and Chestnutcollared Swift, Collared Aracari, Keel-billed Toucan, Cinereous Becard, Masked Tityra, Rusty Flowerpiercer, Whooping Motmot and many more avian gems.

We visit Itororo Lodge for literally hundreds of hummingbirds and tanagers, and we birdwatch in high, middle and low altitude rainforest trails targeting some of the iconic Atlantic Forest species including Three-toed Jacamar. We transfer by air to Belo Horizonte and drive to Santuario do Caraça, where we hope to see Maned Wolf while Trilha dos Tucanos is another superb bird filled location with wonderful feeding stations and trails. At Cananeia, we seek Fasciated Tiger-heron, Crypic Antthrush and Helmeted Woodpecker before concluding our tour at Caverna do Diabo State Park and Intervales State Park for raptors including Ornate Hawk Eagle, and highly desirable birds such as Royal Flycatcher, Sharpbill, Long-trained Nightjar, Rufous-sided Crake and Red and White Crake and more. An enthralling Brazilian rainforest adventure, timed to coincide with the best weather and time of year for birding, where we hope to see in excess of 350 birds, many present nowhere else in the world.

NEW! CHILE - ATACAMA and ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND OCTOBER 2022 Fast becoming a popular birding destination, on this new, specially designed tour we combine the spectacular birdlife of the Atacama and Altiplano regions in the north, with an enthralling stay on Robinson Crusoe Island for endemics and seabirds. On the fringes of the world’s driest desert, we plan to visit all the birding hotspots of Northern Chile including Lauca National Park (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), Las Vicuñas Nature Reserve and the Azapa, Lluta, Camarones and Chaca valleys near Arica. Targets include Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, Peruvian Thick-knee, Band-tailed, Rufous-bellied and Grey-breasted Seedsnipes, Chilean, Andean and Puna Flamingo, Tamarugo Conebill, White-browed Chat-Tyrant, Sparkling Violetear and Andean Hillstar, Black-hooded, Mourning and Ash-breasted Sierra Finches, Peruvian Sheartail, Oasis Hummingbird and tiny Chilean Woodstar - Chile´s smallest bird! A special pelagic trip into the Humboldt Current gives us chances to see Peruvian Diving Petrel, Elliot’s, Markham’s, Wedge-rumped and Hornby’s Storm Petrels, plus endangered Peruvian and stunning Inca Tern. The second leg of our tour sees us transfer by plane west from Santiago, to Robinson Crusoe Island lying within the Juan Fernandez archipelago. Famed as the inspiration behind Daniel Defoe’s novel, we explore the islands sub-tropical forests for endemic Juan Fernandez Firecrown, Juan Fernandez Tit-tyrant, plus Austral Thrush and the endemic race of American Kestrel. Seabirds will feature heavily, and from coastal viewpoints and on our second dedicated pelagic trip we may see De Filippi's, Stejneger’s, Kermadec and Juan Fernandez Petrel, Pink-footed Shearwater, Antipodean Albatross and Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, White-bellied Storm-Petrel, Sooty Tern and also endemic (and formerly virtually extinct) Juan Fernandez Fur Seal. As a part of this tour, there may also be the opportunity of an extension to Easter Island for more seabird and cultural delights – watch this space!

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ASIA NEW! INDONESIA - HIGHLIGHTS OCTOBER 2022 This new and exciting Heatherlea wildlife experience takes us to the fourth most populous nation on Earth, and with 17,000 islands spread along the Equator, there is plenty of landmass for wildlife to flourish in the world’s largest archipelago. With an incredible array of endemic species, the geographical spread of Indonesia makes it the perfect location. We travel to both sides of the Wallace Line, looking for endemic species amongst the myriad of bird life on all the islands and a wealth of endangered animals including Orang Utan, Proboscis Monkey, Komodo Dragon (on the island of Rinca), Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran Rhino, and maybe even Sumatran Tiger. On Bali we target rare Bali Starling, Black-winged Starling, Cerulean Kingfisher and Javan Banded Pitta amongst the rich birdlife and beautiful scenery as we visit several National Parks. On Flores, as well as splendid birding including Wallace’s Hanging Parrot and Glittering Kingfisher, we will see flowerpeckers, sunbirds, pittas, doves, honeyeaters, warblers and orioles. The very vocal Bare-throated Whistler is another target and we witness sunrise over spiritual volcanic lakes and aim to see Wallace’s Scops Owl after dusk. Relocating to the unspoilt rainforests of Borneo, we search for Orang Utan in their natural environment, plus Proboscis Monkey, various gibbons, macaques and langurs and a wealth of tropical birds, including kingfishers, hornbills and trogons. Our grand finale takes place on the island of Sumatra where we spend three days exploring the famous Way Kambas National Park. Home to more than 300 bird species, including rare White-winged Wood Duck, Oriental Bay Owl, Sunda

and Reddish Scops Owls and Buffy Fish Owl as well as Gould’s, Sunda, Blyth’s and Large Frogmouth, Hooded and Malayan Banded Pittas, Railbabbler, Crested Fireback, Banded and Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crowned Forktail and Rufous-tailed Shama. The diverse and plentiful birdlife, combined with large and sought-after mammals, make this a wildlife location never to be forgotten!

NEW! JAPAN JANUARY 2022 Japan is a fascinating destination, from the subarctic north to the tropical south. This new holiday includes all the classic winter birding highlights, as we visit three of the main islands; Honshu, Hokkaido and Kyushu, aiming to see as many East Asian speciality birds as we can, plus mammals including Japanese Macaque (the famous ‘Snow Monkey’), with optional extra time in Tokyo to enjoy some cultural landmarks, city birding and the juxtaposition of extremely modern and extremely old architecture side-by-side. This comprehensive tour takes you to all the key birding destinations. Targets include dancing and displaying Red-crowned Crane, enigmatic Blakiston’s Fish Owl, gigantic Steller’s Sea Eagle and the rare and localised Ryukyu Minivet. We seek endemic Copper Pheasant and Japanese Woodpecker, plus Japanese Accentor, Japanese Grosbeak, Japanese Bush Warbler and a wide variety of eastern buntings, East Asian passerines, Pacific and Arctic gulls, wildfowl, auks and plenty more besides. A visit to Japan will create birding and cultural memories which last for a lifetime.

NEW! CHINA - QINGHAI PROVINCE and the TIBETAN PLATEAU JUNE 2022 Often described as ‘The Roof of the World’, the Tibetan Plateau has long held a fascination for western birders, and we are delighted to offer this spectacular tour visiting the major birding sites both here and also in Xining, the capital of Qinghai province in central China. We travel during summer, when birds are at their most active and the weather should be relatively mild among wonderful high-altitude scenery. We begin in Xining the westernmost province of China, progressing to Chaka, the Rubber Mountain, Er La Shan Pass, Nangqian, and finally Yushu from where we transfer by air to Lhasa, the centre of the Tibetan Buddhist world for over a thousand years. There are many endemic and localised species to look for, including Szecheny's Monal Partridge, Tibetan Snowcock, Himalayan Snowcock, Tibetan Eared-Pheasant, Prince Henri's (Browncheeked) Laughingthrush, Giant Babax, Black-necked Crane, Ibisbill, Tibetan Sandgrouse, Tibetan Lark, Mongolian Lark, Pink-tailed Finch, Pere David's, Henri's and Blanford’s Snowfinch and many more. We also plan to devote time looking for mammals including the rare and beautiful Snow Leopard.

NEW! NORTH WEST INDIA FEBRUARY 2022 Steeped in history and culture, the states of Rajasthan and Gujurat in the North West of India are dry and harsh, but due to the diminishing arid grassland and desert habitats, are home to some of the Indian subcontinent’s most sought-after endemic birds, vast numbers of overwintering waterfowl, and some fascinating and secretive mammals. We begin by exploring the Thar Desert, our main target being ‘Critically Endangered’ Great Indian Bustard, although we also hope to see the prized Stoliczka's Bushchat, a variety of larks, raptors and sandgrouse, Yellow-eyed Dove, a scarce Central Asian winter visitor, Crab Plover, and the vast accumulation of overwintering Demoiselle Cranes (up to 20,000) in the area. Mammal sightings may include Indian endemic Blackbuck (a resident of the same habitat as the bustard), Bengal Fox and Desert Fox, Chinkara, and secretive Desert Cat. We may also catch a glimpse of a scurrying Indian Desert Jird – a diurnal relative of the gerbil.

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NEW! SOUTH KOREA TUES 12 JANUARY – TUES 26 JANUARY 2022 Join us on an exciting holiday to one of the recently-discovered hotspots of Asian winter birding! The safe, modern society, high quality infrastructure, and relative ease of travelling between destinations means we will see a lot of the country on this trip, featuring many hard-to-find East Asian specialities and large numbers of other soughtafter birds. Around 500 species have been recorded in the country, many of which can be seen on the coasts.  We  visit a  range of major wildlife habitats;  tidal flats, coastal lagoons, rice fields, rocky shorelines, headlands, rivers, open country, forests and scrubland including the DMZ, the land that time forgot between South and North Korea! Timed to coincide with the presence of winter specialities, the world’s largest concentration of Baikal Teal (half a million birds!) and highly-prized Scaly-sided Merganser and Steller’s Sea Eagle are important targets.  Flocks of Red-crowned, White-naped and Hooded Crane will also be sought, as will Solitary Snipe, Ancient Murrelet, Temminck’s Cormorant, Ancient Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Spectacled Guillemot, Relict and Saunders’s Gull, Cinereous Vulture, Asian Rosy Finch, Pallas’ Rosefinch and Siberian Accentor. Likely to become a major birding destination in the not-too-distant future, join Heatherlea at the start of this new wave, and discover the beauty of this hitherto littleknown wildlife hotspot.

NEW! BIRDS & MAMMALS of WEST NEPAL TUES 22 FEBRUARY – TUES 8 MARCH 2022

CHINA - SICHUAN & BEIJING APRIL 2022

This new holiday highlights the vast wealth of wildlife to be found in the grasslands, ancient forests and foothills of the Himalayas, as we visit three distinct geographical areas within this wonderful, friendly country. We take internal flights to limit the travel time between sites and explore two remarkable National Parks on foot and in jeeps to maximise the wildlife watching time available.

China is a vast country with an extremely varied mix of habitats, containing the broadest range of sub-tropical habitat in the world. Because of its physical size and topography China is abundant in birdlife, ranking behind only a few South American countries in terms of number of species. The Himalayas along southern Tibet divide the mainland into north and south, and into two geographic realms for fauna, Oriental and Palaearctic.

We hope to see plenty of Asian mammals including Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Greater Onehorned Rhinoceros, Sloth Bear, Asiatic Golden Jackal , Assamese and Rhesus Macaque, Terai Langur Monkey, Yellow-throated Marten, Sambar, Indian Muntjac, Spotted and Hog Deer, Hoary-bellied Squirrel, Northern (or Five-striped) Palm Squirrel, Asiatic Golden Jackal and Indian Grey Mongoose. Of around 300 bird species, possible are Spiny Babbler (the only endemic in Nepal), stunning Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Great Hornbill, Cutia, Kalij Pheasant, as well as various species of forktail, laughing thrush, babbler, bulbul, flowerpecker, flycatcher, sunbird, raptor and much more. This is a super new holiday for those with an interest in all wildlife.

VIETNAM MON 21 NOVEMBER – SAT 10 DECEMBER 2022 Vietnam is attracting more and more attention as a birding destination, and its unique and exotic avifauna make it an enticing destination. The country boasts 350 spcies including many endemics and near-endemics, and on this tour we concentrate on key birding sites in the southern and central parts of the country. In Cat Tien National Park we search for pheasants, pittas, woodpeckers, broadbills, babblers and much more, the Dalat Plateau is home to several endemics and many distinctive local subspecies while Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park bordering Loas supports recently described Limestone Leaf-warbler and Sooty Babbler. Tricky to Chestnut-eared Laughing-thrush is another target, and other uncommon birds include Rufous-faced Warbler, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Grey-headed Parrotbill and Blackcrowned Barwing, the latter another recently discovered species. Birdwatchers visiting Vietnam can very much expect a tour of discovery!

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China also holds around 25 million hectares of wetlands, lakes, mudflats and salt marshes, all of which are important habitats for breeding, migrating and wintering waterfowl. Our tour will focus heavily on resident and migratory breeding birds, though we should also see a range of birds passing through on their way north. This tour concentrates on the province of Sichuan, bordered to the west by Tibet and to the east by the Red Basin, and holding more than half of Chinese endemic species, a wonderful mixture of Palearctic and Oriental birds.


NEW! WESTERN AUSTRALIA OCTOBER 2022 Covering an area of almost 1 million square miles, Western Australia is the country’s largest state and it is rich in wildlife! Over 500 bird species, including 18 endemics, many near endemics, migratory and highly soughtafter species have been recorded here and as such it is a ‘must visit’ for the global birder! We focus our tour on the south-western corner, where most of the endemics are present as can we pursue a large birdlist. Our endemic targets include Western Bristlebird, Carnaby's and Baudin's Black Cockatoo, Western Corella, Western Whipbrid, Noisy Scrubbird, Red-winged Fairywren, Western (rufous) Field-wren, Red-eared Firetail, Western Wattlebird, Gilbert’s Honeyeater, White-breasted Robin, Western Rosella, Western Spinebill and Western Thornbill. Difficult to see Painted Buttonquail and Black-tailed Native-hen will be searched for and we plan to visit the ‘mound’ of the Malleefowl, hoping to glimpse this distinctive bird (the only surviving member of its genus) and if lucky witness a part of its unique breeding behaviour. Mammals may also be encountered, including Western Brush and Tammar Wallaby, Southern Brown and Western-barred Bandicoot, Boodie, Brush-tailed Possum, Short-beaked Echidna, Woylie and Rufous and Banded Hare-wallaby and there will be numerous frogs, reptiles and plants of interest on this exciting tour. This itinerary has been designed to adjoin our Tasmanian endemics and mammals tour.

NEW! OMAN At the edge of the Western Palearctic, the Sultanate of Oman is situated between Europe, Africa and Asia. It has spectacular and varied scenery including sandy beaches, lagoons, mudflats, agricultural fields, sand dunes, stony desert and mountains and this diversity is reflected in the very special birds likely to be seen. We will explore and bird Oman from the capital Muscat in the north to Salalah in the south via Al Qurm National Park, desert locations including as Al Balid Farm, Muntasar, Qatbit and the Dhofar mountains. The list of special birds on this journey is remarkable and we will look for many specialist species including Socotra Cormorant, Demoiselle Crane, Egyptian Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Verreaux’s Eagle, Arabian Partridge, Sand Partridge, Spotted Think-knee Crab Plover, Lesser and Greater Sand Plover, Whitetailed Plover, Cream-coloured Courser, Spotted Eagle Owl, Lichtenstein’s, Crowned, Spotted and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, African Rock Martin, Blackstart, South Arabian, Red-tailed and Hume’s Wheatear, African Paradise Flycatcher, Arabian Babbler, Singing Bush Lark, Black-crowned Finch Lark, Desert Lark, Goldenwinged Grosbeak, African Silverbill, African Rock Bunting and Yemen Serin to name but a few.

ANTARCTIC & SOUTH SHETLAND NOVEMBER 2022 Antarctica is perhaps the ultimate destination for any traveller. Virtually the entire continent is south of the Antarctic Circle, and it forms the coldest, driest, highest and windiest land mass on our planet. With no permanent human residents, and no evidence of any pre-historic indigenous population, Antarctica is an unspoilt gem; a silent, frozen land under clear unpolluted skies. The inhospitable scenery has a grandeur unlike anywhere else; a stark, silent and frozen tableau of towering mountains, ice-bound headlands, vast panoramic landscapes and colossal icebergs. A wilderness which must be seen to be believed. This Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands cruise delivers you into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife.

NEW! NEW ZEALAND New Zealand is very much a once in a lifetime destination, featuring some of the most unique, diverse and extraordinary flora and fauna on the planet! On this tour we plan to travel the length of the country, exploring the differing North and South islands, plus several of the offshore islands. On North Island, walking through the Dinosaur Gondwanan Forests (little changed in over 100 million years) feels like a step back in time while Tiritiri Matangi Island is home to a number of rare birds, including North Island Saddleback, Takahe, Brown Teal, Red-crowned Parakeet and Stitchbird and is widely considered one of New Zealand’s most notable conservation successes. The archipelago is famed for its seabirds and as we relocate to South Island, we aim to take a pelagic trip from Kaikoura. Close views of Northern and Southern Royal, New Zealand Wandering, Black-browed, Campbell, White-capped, and Salvin’s Albatrosses are possible, along with a variety of petrels, Northern Giant-petrel and the endemic Hutton’s Shearwater and perhaps Sperm Whale too. Working our way south through Aoraki Mount Cook National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) we enter an Alpine environment with new possibilities before continuing towards the Otago Peninsula and Dunedin. Off the countries southern tip lies Stewart Island, within which the Rakuira National Park is home to Brown Kiwi – one of the most sought-after species of the tour! Nearby Ulva Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most threatened birds including South Island Saddleback and Stewart Island Robin. We may also see New Zealand Kaka here, while other endemic or rare species we have chances of seeing at various stages of this tour include Blue Duck, Kea, Weka, Bellbird, Tui, Wrybill, Yellow-eyed Penguin, New Zealand Falcon, New Zealand Rock Wren and Tomtit. With such a thrilling array of wildlife and experiences, this is your chance (perhaps the one and only) to visit New Zealand with Heatherlea and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!

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‘SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS’ WITH HEATHERLEA Your gateway to Scottish birds and wildlife!

Heatherlea are Scotland’s premier birding and wildlife holiday operator. Founded in 1991, we have enjoyed 30 full seasons here in the heart of the beautiful Cairngorms National Park, in the magnificent Scottish Highlands. Our HQ is The Mountview Hotel in Nethy Bridge, and we offer birdwatching and wildlife holidays every week from January until late November. You can come at any season; wildlife is always great in this part of the world. Stunning and varied habitats are close at hand, and from mountains and ancient forest to wonderful coastline and beautiful islands, you will visit Britain’s most breathtaking scenery. We are not ‘intensive’ or ‘twitchers’, but dedicated to showing you wildlife, and above all, we have fun. You won’t feel out of place if you have less experience than others, and many of our guests become friends visiting year after year. We take care to make sure everyone enjoys an unforgettable holiday. We show you all the wildlife, and look after all accommodation, food, travel, access fees and ferry charges. You get terrific value from our fully inclusive holidays, so book with confidence – there are no hidden extras! Our full-week ‘Scottish Highlands’ holidays take you to places close to our Hotel, where wildlife is special. Many also include a night or two in a second centre for your comfort, as far away as Handa, the Orkneys, Skye, Mull, or the isles of Lewis and Harris. This is a unique way to see the ‘Highlands and Islands’ during one visit, made possible with Heatherlea because we own our hotel and keep your room secure while you bird the islands.

Above all, your holiday includes the services of a Heatherlea Guide, a very valuable asset. We are famous for great guiding and personal care, and our expert leaders know the really important part of any holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Much more than a friend to help you identify birds, your Heatherlea Guide plans your entire holiday, from briefing on the first evening to round-up on the last. They organise everything to suit wildlife, weather and your progress through the week, and because our groups are small, have time to care about your personal experience. This isn’t just whether or not you saw the bird or animal, but whether you are getting the most from your holiday. We maintain the emphasis on personal service, with a limit of just seven clients per guide on all our full-week Scottish trips. Heatherlea are the first mainland Wildlife Experience to be awarded five stars, the highest possible rating, by visitScotland.

Choose Heatherlea, the Scottish birding specialists with everything you need. GROUPS Heatherlea organise group holidays for magazines, RSPB Members Groups, wildlife organisations, other holiday operators, and groups of friends. We are very experienced and can take the hassle away from holiday organisation and delivery. Just relax and let us look after you! Group holidays can be tailored exactly to suit your needs. You can bring any number of people, any time of year, to see any combination of birds and mammals, and we offer very attractive terms. If you would like to chat over the possibilities, please ring. You will be surprised how easy it is with Heatherlea!

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= tremendous quality and value

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CHOOSE HEATHERLEA GUIDES FOR SCOTTISH WILDLIFE Our resident Guides are very experienced Scottish leaders with unbeatable local knowledge. Jenna Berry, Mike Coleman, Pete Cosgrove, Ian Ford, Toby Green, Holly Page, Dave Pearce, John Picton, Dave Pullan, Kevin Shaw, Mark Warren and Stewart Woolley are highly skilled birders and real ‘people people’, who can’t wait to show you the wonderful wildlife of the Scottish Highlands! We are birding continuously, building knowledge each week as the seasons unfold. Where is the best place for Crossbills this year? Which Blackcock lek is still going strong? Where are Golden Eagles actually being seen? Your Heatherlea Guide knows where the birds have been showing, and the best way to maximise your chances. We gather an enormous reservoir of information not available anywhere else, and always try to make sure everyone sees the birds. Heatherlea work alongside local landowners and estates to develop brilliant birding close to hand, often with unique access, and there are some extra benefits too. As an example, we never leave before 6am to see Black Grouse and Capercaillie. Relax and enjoy your holiday as we look after the details and find wildlife for you. No wonder our groups have a happy and friendly atmosphere! Don’t forget that our holidays show you all Scotland’s birds and other wildlife. We have a huge choice, with full-week holidays and short breaks for busy birders. Whichever you choose, all include everything you need. You may be tempted to ‘do it yourself’, but don’t forget how much more you will spend on fuel, guided trips, lunches, ferries and access to reserves – and that’s before you find the wildlife you came to see! Heatherlea travel by roomy minibus, important for birders. Passengers get lots of leg room, good all-round visibility, the chance to reach out for optics, and great views when we need to stay inside. We probably see Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Red Grouse and Short-eared Owl better inside the minibus than from outside!

NETHY BRIDGE, the centre of Scottish birdwatching You can’t beat Nethy Bridge as a Scottish birding base, as seen recently on BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch! We are on the edge of the Abernethy Forest, and a casual stroll can produce Capercaillie, Scottish Crossbill and Crested Tit before breakfast. Red Squirrel, Siskin and Great Spotted Woodpecker are regular on our feeding station, Osprey and Buzzard pass overhead, and Dipper breed on the clear River Nethy 200 metres away. Kestrel, Hobby, Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and even Golden Eagle, Goshawk and White-tailed Eagle are on our ‘hotel list’. Woodcock are common in spring and summer, Grey Wagtail, Goldeneye, several breeding waders, and even Otter and Pine Marten have all been spotted within a mile or two, especially along the nearby River Spey. In summer we have Tawny Owl and perhaps Long-eared Owl with young, and Black Grouse and Ptarmigan are within a few miles. With extensive local walks and trails in this unspoilt and delightful Highland location, early morning and evening birding is an exciting optional extra! Nethy Bridge has an excellent general store/post office, with postcards, presents, newspapers and all the other little things you might wish. ‘Nethy’ is just right – brilliant for birding, close to services, yet unspoilt and delightful in character. A real Highland village at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park! We have carefully designed each holiday to give you the best wildlife watching according to changing seasons. That’s why our ‘Spring into Scotland’ holidays in April are very different from our ‘Eagles, Divers and Dotterel’ weeks in July, and our ‘Highlands in Autumn’ trips in October differ again. You can count on Heatherlea to find key Scottish wildlife whenever you visit – a wealth of wonderful experiences! Ideally placed to reach every important habitat, we can easily transfer east or west, to see that special bird which puts the cap on a great week.

‘Exceptional’ VisitScotland

‘The whole day was very enjoyable and expertly led. To achieve an award of five stars, a score of at least 85% must be achieved. Heatherlea score at this level or higher in every category, and the award of five stars is confirmed.’ VisitScotland. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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THE MOUNTVIEW HOTEL – your perfect birding base! Our ‘Scottish Highland’ holidays are based at our own property, The Mountview Hotel, a 3-star Edwardian Country House Hotel in the charming village of Nethy Bridge, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. The Mountview is certainly well named; the peak of Cairn Gorm can be seen from our front door, and glorious views of three ranges extend many miles across the Cairngorms, Monadhliaths, and the four Kincardine peaks. The ancient Caledonian Forest begins behind the Hotel, and the clear River Nethy is just 200 metres away. The Mountview is set in two acres of attractive grounds featuring native Scots Pine and Silver Birch. Guests are welcome to explore, and in season you will find blaeberry and chanterelle. Our busy bird feeding station attracts Crested Tit, Siskin, Redpoll, Goldfinch and our local Red Squirrel population, and our wildflower meadow holds Moonwort and Northern Marsh Orchid. You are also welcome to view our highly productive kitchen garden, which provides our table with seasonal herbs, salad greens and vegetables. From the moment you arrive you will be made to feel at home. Inviting public rooms include a welcoming lounge with deep seated, comfortable sofas and open log fire; a peaceful reading room stocked with natural history books and magazines; a private residents’ dining room with fresh flowers and a well-stocked restaurant bar with glorious mountain views. Guests enjoy attractive en-suite bedrooms with comfortable beds, crisp white linen and fluffy towels, freeview TV, hairdryers and a hospitality tray. WIFI is free of charge. Good company, perhaps with your choice from a well-stocked bar, is an important feature of evenings after dinner. Above all, when birding is over for the day, we have attentive staff who take care and really make you welcome. Non-birding guests are welcome.

GREEN HEATHERLEA Our kitchen is a hive of activity, and we pride ourselves on the artisanal nature of our Hotel. Caryl makes all our jams and jellies herself and sources soft fruit from local farms, handpicks rowanberries in local woodland and chooses just the right fruit for our preserves. Strawberry, damson, worcesterberry, rhubarb and ginger, rowan jelly, apple jelly, marmalade and lemon curd are just a selection, and from the local forests we gather blackberries, chanterelle, porcini, and blewits. Over the years our list of home bakes has become extensive; as well as our renowned flapjacks and shortbreads, we also make banana bread, ginger cake, fruit cake, carrot cake and many different sponge cakes. Baskets of homemade bread and rolls accompany dinner, and these may include buttery brioche, wholemeal plaited bread, Italian-style ciabatta, spelt bread, pain brie, granary rolls, bath buns or ale bread. As part of our policy of using the best, freshest produce, we manage our own vegetable garden, where produce is grown according to organic principles. Our garden provides most of our herbs, and almost everything in summer has a flavour from our garden. Expect a selection from mange-tout peas, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, Swiss chard, courgettes, garlic, pak choi cabbage, beetroot, broccoli, potatoes, curly kale, lovage, tarragon, thyme, fennel, dill, landcress, rocket, sage, lemon balm, ginger mint, applemint, spearmint, and cos, curly endive, freckles, lollo rosso, green salad bowl and red salad bowl lettuces. Our own Kitchen Garden reduces food miles and our salads and vegetables taste great too!

Our award-winning kitchen team is led by Caryl and highly skilled Head Chef Ettienne Els. Expect a wide selection of fresh Scottish produce, bought locally where possible, and prepared with skill and imagination by highly trained chefs. If you have special dietary needs, we cater personally for you and offer imaginative vegetarian and vegan dishes. Dinner is usually at 7pm, allowing time to relax after an exhilarating day in the field, and our groups eat together in our Residents’ Dining Room. You can expect a variety of traditional food, full of flavour and offering a delicious taste of Scotland. To accompany your meal, our Wine List offers high quality wines, and you can also choose from a wide selection of local beers, malts, other spirits (try our range of Scottish gins!) and soft drinks.

THE MOUNTVIEW RESTAURANT Non-residents are welcome in our popular Restaurant. Many of our birding friends join us for dinner here, especially either side of a SCOTTISH ISLAND holiday. Nonresidents/guests are welcome to join you for dinner. See our website mountviewhotel.co.uk for full details including Restaurant Menu.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


CAPERCAILLIE and the ‘Heatherlea Private Estate’ Guidelines for watching Capercaillie have been issued by the Scottish Capercaillie Group, a national body whose members include RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Forestry, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Scottish Land and Estates. Heatherlea fully supports these guidelines, which are published on our website, and we look for Capercaillie in a safe and responsible manner. We feel our methods give the best opportunity in Scotland to see these spectacular birds. Much of Scotland’s remaining population is within a few miles of Mountview Hotel, and we see the birds all year round. Our experienced and capable guides have their ear to the ground, and our local knowledge and strong contacts give you the very best chances whenever you come. A key advantage is our relationship with local landowners, especially our unique ‘Private Estate’ access, currently in its 25th season. We enter through secure gates, and stay inside our ‘mobile hide’ minibuses, which are high enough to allow good views above the berries carpeting the forest floor, as we drive along tracks with keen eyes to all sides. In spring, birds are often perched in trees, snipping new growth from the branches, and may ‘freeze’, allowing superb views. In summer and autumn, birds are more frequently seen on the ground, and often stand to attention, or slowly walk into the forest. We pay note to areas recently cleared of trees, where berries are exposed and Capercaillie come to feed. Using vehicles is very sensible, as the birds do not generally regard our buses as a threat. Secondly, our group is kept together, so often the bird is enjoyed by everyone, rather than by one or two people at the front of a group on foot, when birds are highly likely to take flight. We are the only wildlife/birding tour operator authorised to look for Capercaillie inside these lands. Our record of finding the birds is very good, however we do not accept specific commissions to look for Capercaillie at any time, so please do not ask us to 'show you a Capercaillie', you should instead join one of our advertised tours, and we will pick the best day to look for the birds. Our highly professional Guides and many clients are equally keen to keep the best interests of the birds in mind, and whilst sightings are not guaranteed, we have a very high success rate over many years – you really can see Capercaillie!

GETTING HERE IS EASY Reaching Nethy Bridge is easy. Here are some suggestions to help you plan. BY CAR

From the west travel north to Perth. From the east travel via Forth Road Bridge and M90 to Perth. From Perth take A9 signposted Inverness and exit north of Aviemore. Follow signs northeast through Boat of Garten to Nethy Bridge (10 miles). In Nethy Bridge, drive through the village, over the River Nethy, and you will see our sign 200 metres ahead on the right.

BY COACH

Scottish Citylink (www.citylink.co.uk 0871 266 3333) Coach travel is possible from England but takes a long time – most of our guests prefer rail or air travel.

BY RAIL

The best train to Aviemore is the ‘Highland Chieftain’ operated by London North Eastern Railway. This leaves London Kings Cross at 12.00, arriving Aviemore at 19.27. This train stops at York (13.54), Darlington (14:23), Newcastle (14.56) and Edinburgh (16.34). Change of train may be required at Edinburgh. We recommend you connect with this service if possible. From the west, travellers can reach Edinburgh direct from Plymouth, Bristol, Birmingham, Crewe or Preston. In general, rail travel via Edinburgh is easier than via Glasgow, where a trip across the city between stations is needed, often followed by a change at Perth. Return trains to Edinburgh leave Aviemore at 08.30 (fast train to London – recommended), and 10.20. Please check details before you travel. Rail enquiries: 03457 484950, www.nationalrail.co.uk.

BY AIR New flights to Inverness are becoming available all the time, for latest info call our office. Fly from: Heathrow – British Airways www.ba.com. (0844 493 0787) Gatwick, Luton, Bristol – Easyjet www.easyjet.com (0330 365 5000) Birmingham, Manchester – Loganair www.loganair.co.uk (0344 800 2855) Amsterdam – KLM www.klm.com Travel from Inverness Airport to Nethy Bridge by taxi, or by rail from Inverness to Aviemore. We can provide current details by phone or email. Disclaimer: This information is published to help you, though we offer no guarantee of services. Please check all details before you travel!

Transfers between Nethy Bridge and Aviemore – FREE! Our courtesy collect and return service runs between Aviemore and The Mountview Hotel. Pick-up is at 16.30 hours and 19:30 hours, and drop-off at 08:20 hours and 10:20 hours, on SATURDAYS ONLY. Please give at least 24 hrs notice when booking.

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PICTURE CREDITS Our thanks go to many people who provided images for use in this brochure. Our apologies to anyone we have missed! Photos: Peg Abbott, David Acfield, Adventure Birding, Jolene Allan, Suchit Basnet, Rod Baker, Nigel Bewley, Birdlife Belarus, Birding Korea, Mark Brazil, Colin Brown, Paul Carter, Mike Coleman, Peter Cosgrove, Peter Csonka, Wilson Diaz, Sally Ducker, Knut Eisermann, Euan Ferguson, Mags Fewkes, Finnature, Jeff Fisher, Ian Ford, George Gay, Dimiter Georgiev, Simeon Gigov, Gerard Gorman, Toby Green, Chris Grady, Chris Hughes, Andy Jones, Rob Jordan, Tang Jun, Phil Knott, Letaka Safaris, Lucas Lombardo, Minh Luyen, Janet Lynch, Paco Madrigal, Leon Marais, Emma McBride, Neil McIntyre, Chrys Mellor, Brahim Mezane, Heather Mills, Derek Mills, Adrian Mills, Scott O’Hara, Carles Oliver, Gabor & Andrea Orban, Holly Page, Jari Peltomaki, Heinz Plenge, Jonny Pott, Matt Prophet, Dave Pullan, Stephen Rutt, Josele Saiz, Kevin Shaw, Ted Smith, Greg Smith, Nigel Sprowell, Richard Stansfield, Matt Sullivan, Judy Swift, Rodrigo Tapia, Chris Townsend, David Tillman, Andres Trujillo, Machiel Valkenburg, Mladen Vasilev, Washington Wachira, Mark Warren, David Whitaker. Cartoons for ‘Getting here is easy!’ Clive Francis.

BINOCULARS and TELESCOPES We recommend you bring your own binoculars and telescope. As an extra service, Heatherlea offer a loan service of high performance Swarovski binoculars FREE OF CHARGE for the duration of your holiday. Your guides are also equipped with Swarovski telescopes which they are happy to share, though of course you might have to wait for a look! Please book loan binoculars in advance; availability is limited and cannot be guaranteed.

‘You have an excellent working relationship with Swarovski Optik who have provided some very expensive binoculars that you offer on free loan to your guests; this is an excellent extra service.’ VisitScotland

MORE BY APPOINTMENT TO HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II SWAROVSKI OPTIK SUPPLIER OF BINOCULARS

NL PURE ONE WITH NATURE SEE THE UNSEEN

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

08.07.20 09:10


Field Notes – Scottish Highlands ‘Scottish Highlands’ holidays include everything you need for a great birding holiday. En-suite accommodation, all food including breakfast, packed lunch and dinner, all minibus transportation, ferries, access charges, guidance and much more are included in the price.

Your holiday (based on a full week itinerary) includes: 4 seven nights en-suite accommodation. A VisitScotland approved three-star hotel, The Mountview Hotel in Nethy Bridge has comfortable en-suite rooms including TV and hospitality tray. 4 THERE IS NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT, and guests are never expected to share. Single guests may be upgraded to a double room at no extra charge. Deposit is £200pp. 4 Some Mainland Scotland holidays include a second centre for either one or two nights, usually in hotels, occasionally in good quality B&Bs. Most of these have hosted Heatherlea holidays for many years, and we know them well. 4 six days birding with Heatherlea, including full Scottish breakfast, a substantial packed lunch (six days) and a delicious dinner. 4 The services of your Heatherlea Guide during six full days birding, including optional early and late excursions. Maximum group size seven clients per Guide (or eight clients during four-night holidays). 4 All transport by comfortable minibus. 4 All access fees, ferry charges and transfers. 4 Saturday courtesy pick-up and return service to Aviemore. 4 A checklist specifically prepared for your holiday to record your sightings and notes. There are no hidden charges. Expenses including travel to The Mountview Hotel, insurance, drinks and other items of a personal nature are not included in your holiday price.

How our Scottish Highlands holidays work: u Breakfast is usually at 7.30am or 8.00am. Sometimes we organise an earlier breakfast if we have a distance to travel, you will be given full information during the holiday. We leave for a full day (with a substantial packed lunch!), returning about 5.30pm – 6.00pm for dinner at 7.00pm. Dinner on arrival date may be a little earlier or later to suit train timetables, and early breakfast is available on the final day. u Expect a wide variation of weather, whenever you visit Scotland! Bring warm clothing, waterproofs, and walking boots or shoes. Bring binoculars and a telescope if possible. A camera may be useful too! You don’t need flasks for hot drinks, or wellies.

WALKING Walking is generally light to moderate, and if you can walk a couple of miles in half a day you will find these holidays very comfortable. Many days contain hardly any walking at all, as we take you directly to key sites. An exception is our mountain day, where walking can be strenuous, particularly in the months May – July when we usually require a long walk to see Ptarmigan and especially Dotterel. You can ‘optout’ of this day if you wish. An ‘Easy Walking’ itinerary is available on specified holidays, and we take you to a different location to look for Ptarmigan.

BITING INSECTS Biting insects are not expected January to May, or October to December. In the months June to September, biting insects are not generally a problem. We don’t linger around standing water, and if insects do occur, we move away!

TURNING THE TIDE AGAINST PLASTIC Picnic lunches prepared at Heatherlea are virtually free of disposable plastic (clingfilm is used sparingly). We don’t use plastic water bottles or cutlery, and reusable lunch boxes and mugs are provided for drinks. We ask all partner agents and hotels around the world to do the same.

IMPORTANT NOTES The interests of wildlife come first on a Heatherlea holiday. We never disturb or alarm wildlife, and fully support countryside and birdwatching codes of conduct. We also respect the wishes and instructions of landowners and ask our guests to adopt the same approach.

All itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (e.g. weather).

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SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS HOLIDAYS

On our Scottish Highland weeks you can expect 100 – 135 species depending on the season, including all the key Scottish birds. For more details including a Trip Report see our website www.heatherlea.co.uk . If you have any questions, please contact us, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Emma, Fleur, Jolene, Lindsay, Caroline and Kevin are here to help.

Weekly holidays begin with dinner on Saturday evening, though you are welcome to arrive any time after 2pm. The holiday finishes after breakfast on the final Saturday. Don’t forget our courtesy collection and return service to Aviemore on Saturdays – see ‘Getting here is Easy’.

Your guide(s) will be a member of the Heatherlea team: Jenna Berry, Mike Coleman, Pete Cosgrove, Ian Ford, Toby Green, Holly Page, Dave Pearce, John Picton, Dave Pullan,, Kevin Shaw, Mark Warren and Stewart Woolley.

INDEX 57 57 58 59 59 60 60 61 61 62 62 63 63 64 64 65

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Hogmanay Birding Festival New Year Birdlist Booster Short Breaks and Birders Blasts Highland Winter Birding Highlands and the East Coast Highlands and the West Coast Highland Birding in March Spring into Scotland including Mull Highlands and Skye Birding the Highlands in May Highlands and Corncrake High Season across the Highlands Highlands and Orkney The Outer Limits in Summer NEW! Ultimate Scotland Highlands and the Isle of May

tel: 01479 821248

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65 66 66 67 67 68 68 69 69 70 70 71 71 72 72 72

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Highland Wildlife Eagles, Divers and Dotterel including Mull Highlands and Wester Ross Highlands and the Bass Rock NEW! Birds & Mammals inc Perthshire NEW! Birds & Mammals incl Eigg & Muck Highlands and the Outer Hebrides NEW! Autumn in the Highlands with ‘Easy Walking’ Twenty Scottish Specials in Autumn NEW! Autumn Migration in the Highlands Raptors & Grouse The ‘Outer Limits’ Adventure Highlands and Skye in Autumn Highland Autumn Birding Birding the East Coast in Autumn Solway Firth


HOGMANAY BIRDING FESTIVAL TUES 29 DEC 2020 – TUE 5 JAN 2021 TUES 28 DEC 2021 – TUES 4 JAN 2022

PRICE: £1295pp PRICE: £1395pp

‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Come to the Highlands and enjoy fantastic birding both before and after New Year. We explore in Strathspey, at the coast and perhaps further afield, depending on weather. During local days we concentrate on finding Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill and Ptarmigan, with Golden Eagle soaring over the often snow-covered hills, scattering coveys of Red Grouse off the summits. Both guides and guests frequently comment that this is the best time of year to see many Scottish species, with prolonged and confiding views of flighty birds such as Crested Tit, Goldcrest and Treecreeper. If weather allows we will head to the West Coast to give our New Year list a real boost with top targets including Great Northern and Black-throated Diver, Black Guillemot and White-tailed Eagle. A real chance of Otter too in some of the most stunning scenery in Scotland. We also enjoy a day in the glens as we target Golden Eagle, Dipper and hopefully a good range of other upland birds, which may include Peregrine, Goshawk or Hen Harrier. Red Deer and Mountain Hare should also show well in beautiful Highland surroundings. Excursions to the coast, perhaps the Black Isle, the Moray Coast or even Aberdeenshire, may yield a range of farmland and coastal species. In these habitats, winter lists can reach 60 species in a day, where wildfowl, waders and passerine flocks can often number into the hundreds. We aim to round up any rarities within reach, perhaps including Ring-billed Gull, Surf Scoter, Great Grey Shrike, Snow Goose, Waxwing and any other northern surprises. Hogmanay is a time of great celebration in the Highlands, and we may visit a nearby village party, which could typically involve live music and dancing. For those who prefer to stay indoors we will clear a space in our restaurant and celebrate ‘The Bells’ in the warmth. Breakfast is usually slightly later on the morning of 1 Jan, though with a brand new birdlist to begin you may wish to be up early! Total species approx. 90. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal, Mountain Hare, and possibly Otter.

Seven nights at Mountview Hotel Combine with: SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Short Breaks in Winter (p58)

NEW YEAR BIRDLIST BOOSTER SAT 9 JAN – SAT 16 JAN, SAT 16 JAN – SAT 23 JAN 2021 PRICE: £1295pp ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. This holiday is great fun, ideal for both the serious birder or beginner, and a chance to get your 2021 British Yearlist off to a cracking start! Key birds are those you have to visit Scotland to see, so we target Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Scottish Crossbill, Black Grouse and Golden Eagle. Next, we seek a host of northern winter visitors, and during the rest of the week round-up rarities, including adventures at under-watched coastal spots. We spend a lot of time at the coast, where American Wigeon and King Eider are regular, and at this exciting time of year anything can turn up, including exceptional rarities. By the end, you should have 'done' Scotland for your yearlist. Target 110+ species, including many 'difficult' birds you might otherwise miss.  The holiday is based at Heatherlea’s HQ here at the Mountview Hotel in Nethy Bridge, which gives us full flexibility to maximise our birding. We aim to spend two days in the forests and glens targeting the Scottish specials, striving for good views of all of the tough Highland species, a real boost to any British yearlist! We include a trip to either the rugged West Coast in search of White-tailed Eagle and divers or visit the arable and flat Aberdeenshire coast. Key Targets: Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Ptarmigan, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Golden Eagle, Whitetailed Eagle. Probables: Whooper Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Greater Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Red Grouse, Redthroated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Red Kite, Golden Plover, Purple Sandpiper, Iceland Gull, Peregrine, Dipper, Hooded Crow, Raven, Tree Sparrow, Lesser Redpoll, Common Crossbill, Snow Bunting and Yellowhammer. Highly possible: Tundra Bean Goose, Barnacle Goose, King Eider, Surf Scoter, Grey Partridge, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Merlin, Black-throated Diver, Glaucous Gull, Waxwing, Great Grey Shrike, Brambling, Twite and Corn Bunting.

Outside chance/rarities (by no means a definitive list, all these have been seen at this time in the past few years): Ross’s Goose, Red-breasted Goose, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, American Coot, American Black Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Black Scoter, Harlequin Duck, White-billed Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Greater Yellowlegs, Parrot Crossbill, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Kumlien’s Gull, Ross's Gull, Ivory Gull, Brünnich’s Guillemot and Little Auk. Seven nights at Mountview Hotel. Combine with: SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Short Break in Winter (p58), Birders Blast (p58).

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SHORT BREAKS & BIRDERS BLASTS BIRDING SHORT BREAKS IN THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Price: see panel. No single supp. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Ideal for your first wildlife holiday, or for busy birders who don't have a full week to spare, these holidays are an exciting ‘dip’ into the birdlife of the Highlands, which should find many of the key specialities, and a host of northern birds difficult to see elsewhere in Britain. Our extensive local knowledge will take us to the best places to maximise our birding time. All include four nights DBB (Dinner, Bed and Breakfast), plus three full days birding with an experienced Heatherlea Guide. Great fun and superb birding! SHORT BREAKS are easy-paced and target the birds which make Scotland such a special destination for so many birdwatchers. Great for beginners. BIRDERS’ BLASTS are perfect for all levels of birding ability, but run at a slightly faster pace, packing in a lot of birds and lots of sites.

Outline Itinerary:

SHORT BREAKS IN WINTER Tues 5 January – Sat 9 January, Sun 31 January – Thurs 4 February, Thurs 4 February – Mon 8 February 2021

Price: £795pp

BIRDERS’ BLAST IN WINTER Sat 23 January – Wed 27 January, Wed 27 January – Sun 31 January, Mon 8 February – Fri 12 February, Fri 12 February – Tues 16 February, Tues 16 February – Sat 20 February 2021

Price: £795pp See Capercaillie, Golden Eagle, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Black Grouse and more. Add waders, seaduck, divers, waders, gulls and farmland birds, and you have an absorbing and rewarding few days of winter birding.

SHORT BREAKS IN EARLY AUTUMN Sat 14 August– Wed 18 August, Wed 18 August – Sun 22 August, Sun 22 August – Thurs 26 August 2021

Price: £795pp Sea and coastal birding should be memorable as we catch early migration on an exciting pelagic birding adventure across The Minch to the Outer Hebrides. We also round-up the best birding inland in August.

SHORT BREAKS IN AUTUMN Sat 31 October – Wed 4 November, Sun 8 November – Thurs 12 November 2020

DAY 1: Arrival, welcome, dinner and briefing. Don’t forget our courtesy collect and return service to Aviemore. DAY 2: LOCAL SPECIALITY DAY A pre-breakfast outing for Black Grouse, and we should also see Red Grouse. After breakfast, we visit ‘hotspots’ to see Crested Tit and other pinewood species. Scottish Crossbill are usually present in small numbers though tricky to identify. We also seek Capercaillie in our private estate. Red Squirrel are on our Hotel feeders most days. DAY 3: EAGLE DAY A favourite day looking for Golden Eagle, our top target. Other species might include Peregrine, Red Grouse, White-tailed Eagle and Raven, with Dipper at lower elevations. We should see Red Deer, Roe Deer, feral goats and Mountain Hare. Many guests say this is the day they were hoping for when they chose to holiday in Scotland! DAY 3 Early Autumn only: WEST COAST SEATRIP Travel with us all the way to the Outer Hebrides! Seabirds might include Great and Arctic Skua, Storm Petrel, Sooty and Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Kittiwake, terns, gulls and auks including Puffin and Black Guillemot. Scarcer possibilities may include Leach’s Petrel, Sabine’s Gull and both Long-tailed and Pomarine Skua. Close to land, we have chances of White-tailed Eagle and Hooded Crow. Minke Whale, Basking Shark, Bottle-nosed and Common Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are often seen too. Enjoy Scottish pelagic birding with experienced guides at the best time of year! DAY 4: COASTAL DAY The Moray Coast, where winter birding is excellent, good numbers of Long-tailed Duck, Eider and rafts of Common and Velvet Scoter should feature. Goosander, Redbreasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe, Red-throated and Great Northern Diver can also be seen offshore, and in recent years rarities included King Eider, Surf Scoter and White-billed Diver too. Iceland and Glaucous Gull are regular and many waders and wildfowl can be expected. This is an excellent time to see farmland birds, including Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Grey Partridge, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer, with occasional Twite amongst the Linnets. DAY 5: FINAL DAY Breakfast and depart This outline itinerary is a guide only, actual holiday content may vary according to elements beyond our control (e.g. weather).

Price: £745pp Sat 30 October – Wed 3 November, Sun 7 November – Thurs 11 November 2021

Price £795pp

BIRDERS’ BLAST IN AUTUMN Wed 4 November – Sun 8 November, Thurs 12 November – Mon 16 November, Mon 16 November – Fri 20 November, Fri 20 November – Tues 24 November 2020

Price: £745pp Wed 3 November – Sun 7 November, Thurs 11 November – Mon 15 November 2021

Price: £795pp See Capercaillie, Golden Eagle, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Black Grouse and much more. Add rare geese, seaduck, divers, waders, gulls and farmland birds, and you have an absorbing and rewarding few days birding during November.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

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HIGHLAND WINTER BIRDING SAT 20 FEB – SAT 27 FEB, SAT 27 FEB – SAT 6 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £1395pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. February is an exciting month for birding in the extreme north of the British mainland, and this holiday is something a little bit different, featuring remote northern hideaways as we locate the very best Scottish birdlife in winter. Our speciality birds include Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Golden Eagle and White-tailed Eagle, and we look for these during approx. two absorbing days birding the Scottish interior, which may be frozen and/or snowcovered at this time. Flocks of Waxwing, Redpoll, Twite and Brambling are very possible, and northern rarities including Great Grey Shrike and perhaps uncommon geese and gulls are often found inland at this time. We visit local glens with Golden Eagle our top target, and Buzzard, Treecreeper, Siskin, Hen Harrier, Red Grouse, Sparrowhawk and White-tailed Eagle are more than possible. Ptarmigan are all white in winter, as are Mountain Hare. Sutherland and Caithness are the most remote counties in Britain. On the way, Glaucous and Iceland Gull are regular in harbours, and we may get lucky with a Ring-billed or even Bonaparte’s, Ross’s or Ivory Gull. In secluded coastal bays, wintering divers are occasionally joined by a beautiful Whitebilled, or storm driven Grey Phalarope or Little Auk. The far north supports large flocks of winter thrushes and Starlings, and also lots of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting within which Twite, Brambling and Snow Bunting can lurk. This is a real birding adventure, depending on our skills, weather and a slice of luck – our list in recent years includes Common Crane, American Wigeon, Greenland White-fronted Goose, Ring-necked Duck, Long-billed Dowitcher and Bonaparte’s Gull. Other local birds are Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, ‘real’ Rock Dove, Raven, Hooded Crow, Black Guillemot Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel and Great Northern Diver. in Thurso We visit nearby coastal sites too, for Common and Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and divers, and previous holidays have yielded Kumlien’s Gull, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Surf Scoter and Combine with: King Eider. We may find Corn Bunting, flocks of grey geese and waders perhaps including Purple SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Sandpiper, and Golden Plover. Waxwing and Great Grey Shrike are often seen, with good numbers of Birders Blast (p58), Highlands & the East Coast (p59). seabirds, waders, geese and farmland birds, expect around seventy species on this varied day. SCOTTISH ISLANDS Total species for the holiday approx 120. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Mull & Islay (p76). Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal, Mountain Hare, and possibly Otter.

HIGHLANDS and the EAST COAST SAT 6 MARCH – SAT 13 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £1395pp No single supp. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. This late winter holiday combines favoured birding areas with some new and exciting sites. With two nights away on the east coast, this gives us a superb opportunity to fully explore rural and coastal Aberdeenshire, featuring some of the best birding areas in Scotland. Our coastal birding will focus heavily on waders and wildfowl, with a good amount of time spent seawatching. We have excellent chances of finding our own rarities and will build a healthy birdlist from the mountains down to the sea. We will spend time exploring Royal Deeside too, a great birding area with rich pinewoods, stunning rivers, and glens with the Winterwatch site of Mar Lodge right at its heart. Top local targets include Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Crested Tit and Golden Eagle, with local Dippers near nest sites and Goosander and Goldeneye on the rivers. Local goose flocks often contain migrant birds and we are vigilant for stray Bean, White-fronted, Snow or Ross's amongst the commoner Pinkfeet and Greylags. In Aberdeenshire, we have time to explore, working a good selection of favoured harbours and bays, with journeys between the sites being through mixed open land favoured by finches, waders and a farmland birds. This whole coastline is massively under-watched, with very few resident birders. We have excellent chances of rarities, this being a good time for White-billed Diver, King Eider and rare gulls. Offshore we should find good numbers of Scoter, Divers and Auks, with the bonus of Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone. We return west through mixed farmland, birding near the River Dee and Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel around the previous Winterwatch site of Mar Lodge. With luck we may pick up Scottish or Common on the east coast. Crossbills, Goshawk, Golden Eagle and Red Grouse amid stunning scenery. Combine with: We look for Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting, using telescopes to locate the birds before walking closer SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS (late snow or heavy melt can make conditions difficult). Local waders should be returning, and LapHighland Winter Birding (p59), Highlands and the West wings and Oystercatchers may be displaying in rough pastures. Coast (p60). Our final day may be in Strathspey, dropping down to the Black Isle or perhaps even an extended SCOTTISH ISLANDS day over on the west coast, where we look for White-tailed Eagle, Otter and Black-throated Diver. Mull & Islay (p76). Total species approx. 120. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

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HIGHLANDS and the WEST COAST SAT 13 MARCH – SAT 20 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £1395pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. An exciting spring holiday including an overnight visit to the rugged and remote West Highlands. As spring arrives, we celebrate the season with visits to all of the best birding and wildlife sites. This holiday takes in some of our most stunning and iconic scenery, all the while enjoying superb birding and general wildlife. Local birding should produce Black Grouse popping and cooing at the lek, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Dipper, Buzzard and Goldeneye. We head west, working remote sealochs, bays and beaches as we go. Rugged Wester Ross offers iconic scenery, and we have excellent chances of Otter. There could be good numbers of Great Northern, Black-throated and Red-throated Diver, plus Slavonian Grebe, Common Scoter and Red-breasted Merganser, and passage waders and gulls that often include Iceland and Glaucous. Next day we target eagles, with Golden and White-tailed both likely. Mid-March is also good for passage Merlin, with early Wheatears if winds are favourable. We have another chance for Otters, whilst scanning for rarer seaduck or divers. This time of year can also be a good for White-billed Diver on the under-watched west coast and we will check Great Northern Divers carefully for their rarer cousins. Our exclusive private estate woodlands offer chances of Capercaillie. Later we search for moorland specialities including Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin and as spring develops, Wheatear. The day finishes with a moorland drive for Red Grouse. We seek Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Goldeneye and Peregrine, and birchwoods hold Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. Lingering Waxwing and Whooper Swan are sometimes present too. Birds on the Moray Coast can include Osprey, Eider, Goosander, Merganser, Stonechat, Common and Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern and Redthroated Diver, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover, many moulting into summer plumage.

Watch out also for Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Grey Partridge. We often see Bottle-nosed Dolphin, and with auks, Gannet, gulls and more, this is a rewarding day! Total species for the holiday approx. 110. Mammals may include Otter, Common and Grey Seals, Mountain and Brown Hare, Red Squirrel, Red and Roe Deer and perhaps Harbour Porpoise or Bottle-nosed Dolphin. Six nights at Mountview Hotel. One night at a comfortable hotel on the west coast. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and the East Coast (p59), Highland Birding in March (p60).

HIGHLAND BIRDING in MARCH SAT 20 MARCH – SAT 27 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £1395pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. An exciting holiday across the Highlands, designed to maximise our birding as winter turns to spring. Speciality species include Capercaillie, Scottish Crossbill, Crested Tit, Black Grouse, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Ptarmigan, and good chances of three or even four diver species in breeding plumage at the coast. Winter birds are still with us in good numbers, and one of the main advantages of birding this far north is the opportunity to see many species, perhaps including Longtailed Duck, and Velvet and Common Scoter at close quarters or in sheltered harbours. We will also pay attention to rarities within reach, and this can be an excellent time for ducks, geese and passerines to augment an already outstanding birding experience. Quality local birding includes Black Grouse at the lek, Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill in local Caledonian pinewood, and during these weeks we have good chances of Capercaillie. Other birds inland include Golden Eagle, Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Peregrine, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. The first returning Osprey are possible, and breeding wader species include Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Curlew, Common Snipe and Golden Plover. There is the chance of lingering Waxwing and Whooper Swan too. With all nights at Mountview Hotel, we have maximum flexibility to plan according to weather, tides and rare bird reports. The outline itinerary allows three days at the coast and three days in Strathspey, though if we are successful with key targets locally we may change this to maximise our birdlist. A highlight will be a stunning visit to the west coast - we will pick the best day possible; there is nowhere better on a nice spring day! This holiday really does take in some of our most stunning and iconic scenery, while enjoying superb birdlife as the season turns to spring. Total species c. 120. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. 60

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

Seven nights at Mountview Hotel. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and the West Coast (p60), Spring into Scotland (p61).

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


SPRING into SCOTLAND including MULL SAT 27 MARCH – SAT 3 APRIL, SAT 3 APRIL – SAT 10 APRIL, SAT 10 APRIL – SAT 17 APRIL 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supp. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Perhaps the ultimate spring wildlife experience in Scotland! All our resident birds are displaying or breeding, winter birds are still here in good numbers, and summer visitors arrive daily. We also enjoy a two-night expedition to the magical Isle of Mull, where the birding is fabulous and scenery unforgettable. Close to our hotel we visit exclusive private estate woodlands, and staying inside our roomy minibus, have reasonable chances of seeing Capercaillie. Moorland specialities include Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin and as spring develops, Wheatear, Ring Ouzel and roadside Red Grouse and Black-throated Diver. Mull is a ‘must see’ place, and this holiday includes a thorough exploration. As we travel, Black Grouse, Greenshank, Hooded Crow and Common Seal are possible. On arrival, we target Whitetailed and Golden Eagle, may see Short-eared Owl and Raven, and off the rugged shore usually find Otter. We have a full day to enjoy the island, with Hen Harrier, Redpoll, breeding Golden Plover, Slavonian Grebe, Twite, Black Guillemot and Stonechat all more than possible. Later we look for Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting, Red-throated Diver, Goldeneye, Peregrine, Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill. Local birchwoods hold Lesser Redpoll and Siskin flocks, and Osprey, Slavonian Grebe, Whooper Swan and waders combine for the best of local birding. Waxwing are sometimes present, and our guides work hard so we don’t miss any rarities. Coastal birding is particularly enjoyable, newly arriving migrants complementing remaining winter visitors. Sightings can include Osprey fishing, rafts of Common Eider, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Common and Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, Glaucous and Iceland Gull, and spring waders including Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. We often see Bottle-nosed Dolphin, and with auks, up to four species of tern, Gannet, gulls, Corn Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Grey Partridge and more, this is a really rewarding day. Total species for the holiday approx. 120 - 125. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal, Mountain Hare and Otter. Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible.

Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on Mull. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highland Birding in March (p60), Highlands & Skye (p61).

HIGHLANDS and SKYE SAT 17 APRIL – SAT 24 APRIL, SAT 24 APRIL – SAT 1 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. An adventure including two nights on Skye, a rewarding time to be on this most popular of Scottish islands before the busy tourist season. Birds are settling down to breed and as migrants pass too through we enjoy eagles, seabirds, waders, Otter and spectacular scenery. A costeffective way of including Skye in your Highland birding holiday! Our award-winning hotel is close to a very active Black Grouse lek, which we visit on our first morning. A local walk takes us to Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill. In quiet moorland we seek Black and Red-throated Diver and Red Grouse, Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Osprey, Peregrine, Ring Ouzel, Slavonian Grebe and waders including Golden Plover. Our private estate may be visited in our mini-bus mobile hides to seek Capercaillie, a responsible way to search for the wonderful ‘Horse of the Forest’. Travelling to or from Skye we seek roadside Ptarmigan on a mountain pass if weather allows. On arrival on the ‘Misty Isle’, we visit wild and remote corners where birders seldom venture, with plenty of time to scan for Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin and Hen Harrier. Along the miles of coastline, we catch up with Great Northern Diver and Black Guillemot, and migrants are possible at these under-watched locations, often showing very well. These may include scarcities such as Whimbrel, Greenshank and White Wagtail, with Wheatear, Stonechat, Whinchat and Meadow Pipit turning up everywhere on the heaths and rough pastures. We have chances of Otter, with seals and Harbour Porpoise offshore too. We have chosen our timing carefully, targeting three diver species (very occasionally four with White-billed!) in full summer plumage. One day we visit the mountain for Ptarmigan if needed, and possibly Snow Bunting. On a roundup day we target missed species or visit the Moray Coast for exciting birding. This time of year produces a high birdlist, with large numbers of wintering birds overlapping with those arriving to breed. Total species for the holiday 120 - 130. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal and Mountain Hare. Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on Skye. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Spring into Scotland inc

Mull (p61), Birding the Highlands in May (p62). SCOTTISH ISLANDS North Ron & Orkney in Spring for birders (p76), Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77).

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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BIRDING THE HIGHLANDS in MAY SAT 1 MAY – SAT 8 MAY, SAT 8 MAY – SAT 15 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Birding the wonderful Scottish Highlands in May is one of the greatest pleasures available in the UK. With summer visitors arriving in good numbers, and key speciality birds still displaying or breeding, there is so much going on. We enjoy six tremendous days of wildlife watching, and all within striking distance of our Hotel here in Nethy Bridge. Ideal for the firsttime visitor or the seasoned expert, all the special birds of the Scottish Highlands are targeted, and this is a perfect option to make the most of this wonderful time of year. Birding the Highlands in May also includes an exciting birding boat trip! Local Black Grouse are popping and cooing at the lek, followed by a walk for Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill. We stay locally for Osprey, Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Red Grouse, Black-throated Diver, Lesser Redpoll, Peregrine and Slavonian Grebe. In our private estate we seek Capercaillie, and in secluded locations Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin and Ring Ouzel. A perfect start with many key birds on our first day! An exciting boat trip below Troup Head is sure to be a highlight, visiting one of the largest seabird colonies of the British Isles and mainland Scotland’s only Gannetry. We seek Puffin, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill and ‘real’ Rock Dove, with a chance of passage skuas, gulls, terns and even White-billed Diver if very lucky! On the Cairngorm plateau, Ptarmigan have paired up and Dotterel are arriving, the latter often giving exceptional views in early May. Look out for Snow Bunting too. Great birding in a very special habitat. The rugged West Coast holds both White-tailed and Golden Eagle. Other birds may include Hooded Crow, Twite, Great Northern and Black-throated Diver and Black Guillemot. On the Black Isle, Red Kite, Tree Sparrow, Wigeon and Teal may be joined by migrating Bar and Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Knot and Sanderling with perhaps lingering Iceland and Glaucous Gull or an unexpected rarity! The Moray coast holds Osprey fishing, rafts of Common Eider, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser and perhaps late departing Long-tailed Duck or Common and Velvet Scoter.

Sandwich, Common, Arctic and Little Tern are joined by auks, divers, and spring waders, including Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit and Knot moulting into summer-plumage. Farmland specialities on this fertile coastline include Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Grey Partridge - a really rewarding day! Total species for the holiday 120 - 130. Mammals should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal and Mountain Hare. Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. Seven nights at Mountview Hotel. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and Skye (p61), Highlands & Corncrake (p62).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ron & Orkney in Spring for birders (p76), Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77) Shetland in Spring for birders (p77), NEW! Birding the North Coast 500 (p78), Shetland Island Explorer (p79).

HIGHLANDS and CORNCRAKE SAT 15 MAY – SAT 22 MAY, SAT 22 MAY – SAT 29 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1595pp No single supplement. Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55.

May is a wonderful month for wildlife watching in the Highlands. Summer visitors have all arrived, the breeding season is in full swing, and the weather is normally warm and pleasant. On this exciting two-centre holiday we spend time enjoying all the species which make Scotland so special. We combine the tranquil Caledonian pinewoods and the vast Cairngorm mountain plateau with two nights on the Outer Hebrides, as we add sought-after Corncrake to our enviable target list. A unique holiday, this is our only seven-night itinerary which combines all the key Scottish mainland species with Corncrake, a unique opportunity! Each year Heatherlea watch Corncrake on the Outer Hebrides from early May, so by these dates we know where the birds have been showing, with excellent chances to see them before the vegetation grows too high and obscures the view. On this brief visit Corncrake are our principal target, though with a full day to explore, both White-tailed and Golden Eagle can be expected in reasonable weather. Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl are frequently seen, and on our ferry crossings we can expect any of the four skuas plus auks including Puffin and Black Guillemot, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Shag, Fulmar and Kittiwake. Waders in bright breeding plumage, and birds of the ‘machair’ including perhaps Corn Bunting will add to a memorable experience. Back home in Strathspey, all the specialities are settled and breeding, and we search with care for Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Snow Bunting, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Osprey, Ring Ouzel, Dipper, Goldeneye, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, and many more. We visit a variety of habitats from the Caledonian pinewoods adjacent to Mountview Hotel, open moorland, lochs, rivers and fields of Strathspey and neighbouring areas which hold these special birds. We will spend most of one day on the Cairngorm plateau targeting key species and another birding the Moray Coast where farmland birds and perhaps a rarity may feature! Total species c. 120. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Minke Whale, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. 62

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights on the Outer Hebrides. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Birding the Highlands in May (p62), High Season across the Highlands (p63)

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77), Shetland in Spring for birders (p77), Mull, Iona & Treshnish Isles (p78), Birding the North Coast 500 (p78), Shetland Island Explorer (p79), Islands on the Edge (p79), Orkney Island Explorer (p80), NEW! Ultimate Skye & Mull Explorer (p80).


HIGH SEASON ACROSS THE HIGHLANDS SAT 29 MAY – SAT 5 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55.

A tremendous two-centre holiday for all the species that make Scotland so special. We visit many habitats including the seabird colony of Handa Island. It really is time to enjoy High Season ACROSS the Highlands! In the Abernethy we seek Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill, where adults with fledged young may be found at this time. Forests also hold migrant Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipit, and resident Treecreeper and Goldcrest. Lochs and rivers, birchwoods and moorland may produce Osprey, Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Red Grouse, Black-throated Diver, Lesser Redpoll, breeding waders and Slavonian Grebe. Handa is a birding treat. Puffin, Guillemot and Razorbill mingle with Fulmar, Kittiwake and Shag on the cliffs. Arctic Skua ‘dive-bomb’ the boardwalk if we are too close, and with Gannet, Great Skua, Black Guillemot, Raven, Red Grouse, ‘real’ Rock Dove, Snipe, Lesser Redpoll, Sedge Warbler, Eider, Hooded Crow and Great Northern and Red-throated Diver too, every minute is absorbing. We stay overnight on the west, giving maximum time on Handa, and a second day to explore the underwatched north-west coast. Your guides choose the best locations in the freedom of the most stunning landscape in Scotland. Black-throated Diver are on remote lochs, Twite, Wheatear and Whinchat on the moorland and Golden and White-tailed Eagles soar over imposing crags. In June, hen Capercaillie are more likely than cock birds. We visit secluded locations with Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Merlin, Red Kite and Ring Ouzel in mind. On the high plateau we head to the right spots for Ptarmigan and Dotterel, and our record in May and June is very good. We also look for breeding Snow Bunting. At the coast Osprey fishing, Common Eider, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Stonechat, Redthroated Diver, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, occasional summering Common Scoter, Sandwich, Common, Arctic and Little Tern can be found. We also seek rarities within reach, perhaps a rare wader at this time. A fitting finale to a great week’s birding!

Combine with:

Total species c. 120. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible.

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Six nights at Mountview Hotel. One night at a comfortable hotel on the west.

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and Corncrake (p62), Highlands and Orkney (p63). Shetland Island Explorer (p77), Islands on the Edge (p79).

HIGHLANDS and ORKNEY SAT 5 JUNE – SAT 12 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. Further details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. As Scottish summer gets into full swing we visit Orkney, where special breeding birds include Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Red-throated Diver and Twite. With auks, skuas, terns and gulls, our three-day journey is full of excitement amid stunning coastal scenery. We also search the Caledonian pinewoods and rugged glens to find many special birds. We begin locally, looking for Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill in the forests. Your list may include Osprey, Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Red Grouse, Black-throated Diver, Lesser Redpoll, Peregrine, breeding waders and Slavonian Grebe. The beauty of divers and grebes in breeding plumage spellbinds many of our guests, and we often admire at close quarters. We enjoy two nights on Orkney giving us a real flavour of this fertile archipelago. We visit tiny fishing villages where a late staying Iceland Gull or breeding Black Guillemot is possible. Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl breed, and we often enjoy great views of both quartering rough grasslands and heaths. With the sound of Skylark and Meadow Pipit all around, we may add hunting Merlin to our lists too. We have a full day to visit the stunning seabird colony of either Marwick Head or Brough of Birsay, as well as birding numerous bays where we often find summer-plumaged Sanderling and Turnstone and a late Great Northern Diver. Although primarily a birding trip, there may be the option to visit World Heritage sites such as ‘Ring of Brodgar’ and ‘Stones of Stenness’. Ferry crossings should yield Great and Arctic Skua among the seabirds and in recent years we have seen Orca, Minke Whale, dolphins and Otter, so don’t miss a minute! Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on Orkney. Capercaillie! We visit exclusive private estate woodlands where in June hen birds are Combine with: more likely. Later we seek Golden Eagle, Peregrine and Ring Ouzel to complete a lovely SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS day. At coastal haunts, expect Osprey, Eider, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, High Season across the Highlands (p63), The Outer Limits in Stonechat, Red-throated Diver, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Grey Partridge, plus Summer (p64). NEW! Ultimate Scotland (p64) any rarities within reach. NB, we don’t visit the Cairngorm plateau during this itinerary. Total species approx. 110. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal and Otter. Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible.

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Orkney Island Explorer (p80), Shetland & Orkney (p81).

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Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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THE OUTER LIMITS in SUMMER SAT 12 JUNE – SAT 19 JUNE, SAT 19 JUNE – SAT 26 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. An exciting summer itinerary to see the birdlife of mountain, moor, forest and coast, with special attention paid to the rugged beauty and desolate vistas of the islands of Harris and Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, voted as the best island destination in Europe! On this two-centre holiday we enjoy glorious scenery, long evenings and some of the best summer birding in Britain as we combine the summer birds of the mainland with a three-day, two-night visit to the northern Outer Hebrides, one of the most spectacular island destinations in the world! During our time at the Mountview Hotel, we comb all the special habitats, including tranquil pinewoods and the vast Cairngorm mountain plateau. Target birds include Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Osprey, Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Red Grouse, Black-throated Diver, Lesser Redpoll, Peregrine, breeding waders and Slavonian Grebe. Our exclusive private estate woodlands often produce hen Capercaillie in June, and we use our minibus as a hide as we drive slowly along the forest tracks. We spend a full day on the Cairngorm plateau for Ptarmigan and Dotterel, and at the inner Moray Firth seek fishing Osprey, Eider, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Redthroated Diver, Yellowhammer, Sandwich, Common, Arctic and Little Tern, Gannet, Guillemot and Razorbill, and waders may include Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit and Red Knot in breeding plumage. On Harris and Lewis our activities will suit the weather and any known rare birds. We visit the Butt of Lewis to search for seabirds and vagrants and explore the remote west coast and the peatlands, checking a few hidden lochans that hold nesting waders. White-tailed and Golden Eagle, Merlin and Hen Harrier are realistic targets on the vast moorlands, with Golden Plover and the occasional Greenshank and divers on the peatlands. Our last morning may be spent looking for eagles, Otter and perhaps Cetaceans from viewpoints such as Tiumpan Head. Two very different ferry crossings promise varied and exciting birding, with Manx Shearwater, Great and Arctic Skua, Black Guillemot, other auk species, gulls, terns and Gannet to entertain. A great birding adventure! Total species for the holiday approx. 110. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal and Otter. Mountain Hare, Minke Whale, Basking Shark, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on the Outer Hebrides.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and Orkney (p63), Highlands & the Isle of May (p65), Highland Wildlife (p65).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Islands on the Edge (p79), Outer Hebrides and the Shiants (p82).

NEW! ULTIMATE SCOTLAND TUES 15 JUNE – SAT 26 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £2995pp Single Supplement £195 Deposit: £300pp ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. This unique and exciting tour is specially designed to seek out the Western Palearctic birds which make Scotland so special. Ideal for UK birders who want the ‘specialities’, this tour is also perfect for those who want time to appreciate the local species of our wildlife rich country. Designed for the 'complete birder', this holiday should also appeal to  birders based in North America who want to see all our birds including more common species. During this exciting two-centre tour we spend a week based in Nethy Bridge, the home of ‘BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch & Winterwatch’ in 2019, and arguably the capital of Scottish birding. We visit a variety of habitats searching for desirable species from the mountain tops through tranquil Caledonian pinewoods and out to stunning coastal locations. An exciting seabound voyage to auk cliffs will be a highlight, as will a three-night stay on the glorious Outer Hebrides, for some very special targets including Corncrake. There will be many highlights, especially for beginners or the first-time visitor to Europe. Up to 80% of the Western Palearctic species we are likely to see have never, or only very rarely been recorded in North America which makes it an ideal trip to consider for our clients from the USA. We take extra time to enjoy our local birds on this tour, though some key targets include Corncrake, White-tailed Eagle, Rock Ptarmigan, Eurasian Dotterel, Black Grouse, Red Grouse and Western Capercaillie (please note we never try to see Capercaillie at lekking sites, these birds are increasingly rare and difficult to see in Scotland). This tour offers a real birding spectacle as we travel around the Highlands to see all the Western Palearctic species which might be overlooked on a shorter birding trip. Traditionally in the Scottish Highlands during June, summer visitors have all arrived and settled for breeding, and the weather is normally warm and pleasant. This is a wonderful time for birding the Scottish Highlands!

Combine with:

Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the indispensable 'Collins Bird Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe' (2nd Edition) by Svensson, Mullarney et al.

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Seven nights at Mountview Hotel. Three nights at a comfortable hotel on the Outer Hebrides and one night in Inverness. 64

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & Isle of May (p65), Highland Wildlife (p65). Outer Hebrides and Shiants (p82), Ultimate Outer Hebrides (p82).


NEW! HIGHLANDS and the ISLE of MAY SAT 26 JUNE – SAT 3 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1595pp No single supplement. Full holiday details are available on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55.

On this two-centre holiday we offer some of the best birding available in the Highlands, including our first visit to the iconic Isle of May. Just over one mile in length, the island is located in the outer Firth of Forth, about five miles off the coast of Fife, and is owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve. We visit at the height of the breeding season, when the Isle of May can host around 200,000 seabirds, including Puffin, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, Fulmar, Eider, Oystercatcher, plus several gull and tern species. We plan to spend time on the island, working closely with the Observatory team to search out other wildlife including late migrants. Seabirds will feature highly; the Isle of May is famed for its Puffins and other nesting species and we enjoy birding from both land and sea. On our three-day adventure south to Fife we will also explore coastal hotspots for waders and farmland birds, enjoy summering Common and Velvet Scoter, with Little Gull and rarities including Roseate Tern also possible. In the Highlands, summer months are a good time to see many speciality species perhaps including female Capercaillie, and we drive forest tracks to search for them responsibly. Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill and visiting migrants breed in the woods and we will look for scarce Black-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe on local Lochs, and Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Osprey and Peregrine in the hills. We also plan to spend a day on the Cairngorm mountain, exploring the plateau for Ptarmigan, Dotterel and Snow Bunting. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel in Fife.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Outer Limits in Summer (p64), NEW! Ultimate Scotland (p64) Eagles, Divers & Dotterel (p66).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Inner Hebrides (p81), Ultimate Outer Hebrides (p82)

HIGHLAND WILDLIFE Natural History of Northern Scotland Birds, mammals, insects and plants – ideal for the all-round enthusiast! SAT 26 JUNE – SAT 3 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1395pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. A cracking celebration of wildlife covering the birds, mammals, insects and plants of this fantastic area. Aimed at the natural history all rounder and the birder who wants to see something extra, our itinerary is designed to be a leisurely and thoroughly enjoyable exploration at a relaxed pace. Stretching from the high tops of the Arctic-alpine mountains, to the summer plants and birdlife of the Moray Coast, this will be a celebration of all the wildlife of the Cairngorms National Park and beyond. We also visit key sites outside the Park for rare dragonflies, butterflies and flora. In our grounds you may see Moonwort, Northern Marsh Orchid, Creeping Ladies’ Tresses and Chanterelle. We check our moth trap daily, finding nationally scarce moths, though for many Poplar Hawk-moth is a highlight. We bird for Capercaillie, Scottish Crossbill and Crested Tit, and see Twinflower, Serrated and Common Wintergreen, Field Gentian and orchids including Fragrant, Coralroot, Greater and Lesser Butterfly. At the coast we search for orchids and wintergreens plus Scots Lovage and Oysterplant. Insects include Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Northern Brown Argus, Dark Green Fritillary, Common Hawker, White-faced and Black Darter, Northern Damselfly, Four-spot Chaser and Northern Emerald. On the mountain are Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Ring Ouzel, Snow Bunting and Mountain Hare, and rare alpines including Moss Campion, Trailing Azalea, Dwarf Cornel, Alpine Ladies’ Mantle, Alpine Saw-wort, Lesser Twayblade, Scottish Asphodel, Alpine and Interrupted Clubmoss and Climax forest of Least Willow, with a chance of Black Mountain Moth. We visit Troup Head by boat to see mainland Scotland's only mainland Gannetry, and breeding Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Black Guillemot, Kittiwake, Shag, Fulmar, and occasional marauding Great Skua or flashing Peregrine. Minke Whale, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are also possible. In moorland habitats we seek Osprey, Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Red and Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe and Red Grouse. Orchids include Frog and Small White, plus Grass of Parnassus, Starry Saxifrage, Sundew, Butterwort, Intermediate Wintergreen, Water Lobelia and Stagshorn Clubmoss. Beautiful Yellow Underwing is a speciality moth, and we visit a loch famous for rare dragonflies. We should see Red and Roe Deer, and perhaps White-tailed Eagle.

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

In Highland Perthshire our top target is Mountain Ringlet butterfly, plus Golden-ringed Dragonfly and ‘scotica’ Large Heath. Later we visit one of the best flower meadows in the UK, hoping to see Small Cow-wheat and Birds-nest Orchid.

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Total birds for the holiday c. 100, plus a vast range of mammals, insects and plantlife! Seven nights at Mountview Hotel. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Combine with: Outer Limits in Summer (p64), Ultimate Scotland (p64), Eagles, Divers and Dotterel (p66). Inner Hebrides from Canna to Iona (p81), Ultimate Outer Hebrides (p82).

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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EAGLES, DIVERS and DOTTEREL including Mull SAT 3 JULY – SAT 10 JULY, SAT 10 JULY – SAT 17 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Where do you go in the ‘quiet’ birding weeks of summer? Glorious scenery, long evenings and the best summer birding in Britain await you with Heatherlea in July. We take you from magnificent mountain-top to the scenic grandeur of Mull, where we search for Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Peregrine, fishing Osprey, Slavonian Grebe, Red and Black-throated Diver, Ptarmigan, Dotterel and more. Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill are among our early targets, followed by Dipper, Buzzard, Goldeneye, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Tree Pipit. Rocky crags may hold Ring Ouzel, Stonechat and Wheatear, plus upland specialities including Red-throated Diver, Lesser Redpoll, Red Grouse, Slavonian Grebe, Stonechat, Common Sandpiper and Osprey plus both Brown and Mountain Hare and Red Deer stags are coming into full velvet. Land of eagles and otters, Mull is truly magical in High Summer, with young eagles newly on the wing. We should enjoy excellent views of both White-tailed and Golden Eagle, with good chances of other raptors including Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Merlin and Shorteared Owl. We aim to find Otter and usually pick up a selection of warblers and chats, with good chances of Twite. As we travel the coast, watch out for Black Guillemot, Common Seal and Hooded Crow. A great adventure! Private woodlands may produce hen Capercaillie, and we stay in our minibus for undisturbed views. Your raptor list should be impressive, perhaps between eight and twelve species by the end of the week. If weather allows, we head up the hill for Ptarmigan and particularly Dotterel, both perhaps with piping young running behind. We also visit Troup Head, to see breeding Gannet at close quarters. Amongst the Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake will be a few breeding Puffin, and the occasional passing Great or Arctic Skua and Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and Rock Pipit are also present. We also round-up any rarities within reach on this coastline, perhaps a scarce wader or gull featuring at this time. Total species approx. 110. Other wildlife might include Red Squirrel, Roe Deer, Red Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal and Otter. Mountain and Brown Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible.

Six nights at Mountview Hotel. One night at a comfortable hotel on Mull. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & the Isle of May (p65), Highland Wildlife (p65), Highlands & Wester Ross (p66).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides and the Shiants (p82), Ultimate Outer Hebrides (p82), Coll & Tiree in Summer (p83), NEW! Shetland in High Summer (p84), Orkney in High Summer (p84).

HIGHLANDS and WESTER ROSS SAT 17 JULY – SAT 24 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. An exceptional holiday, combining birding with three days exploring remote places on the rugged west coast. We take our time in picture-postcard villages including Applecross, Shieldaig, Pennan and Crovie, giving a different flavour of wildlife and culture on an easy-paced birding tour. We enjoy two nights on the west, watching for Golden and White-tailed Eagle, and perhaps a fleeting Merlin. Black-throated Diver are gathering in sheltered bays, Kittiwake and auks are on the water, a Great Skua may be following terns, and we scout for Otter. Near Applecross we hope to find Ptarmigan, enjoying magnificent views across to Skye, and even the Outer Hebrides on a clear day. We tour to Shieldaig, and other beautiful locations and return via Torridon to Nethy Bridge. Purple heather moors, deep greens in the ancient pinewoods and long days make this a lovely time in the Scottish Highlands. You should see Red Deer stags at their very best before the approaching rut, and we seek Slavonian Grebe, Red-throated Diver, Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill while hen Capercaillie may show in our private estate. On the Black Isle we look for Red Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit in bright colours, with perhaps a scarce wader like Curlew Sandpiper hiding among their number. Red Kite and Tree Sparrow are found at favoured sites, and we may see Bottle-nosed Dolphin on the turning tide. On the east coast, Gannets are probably the most populous bird on the cliffs, which may also hold a few Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Shag, Corn Bunting and Rock Pipit. We may see Shorteared Owl feeding large chicks on the open moorland, find Black Grouse beginning to return to their lek, Red Grouse in families with large chicks or a passing Hen Harrier - there are many possibilities!

Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on the west coast.

Total species approx 110. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible.

66

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Eagles, Divers & Dotterel (p66), NEW! Birds and Mammals incl Perthshire (p67), Highlands and the Bass Rock (p67).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

St Kilda & the Hebrides (p83), Coll & Tiree in Summer (p83), NEW! Shetland in High Summer (p84).


HIGHLANDS and BASS ROCK SAT 24 JULY – SAT 31 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. On this two-centre holiday we visit tranquil Caledonian pinewoods and the vast Cairngorm mountain plateau, enjoying glorious scenery, long evenings and some of the best summer birding in Britain. We also include two nights in Lothian and take a memorable boat trip to the Bass Rock, home of the largest ‘single rock’ Gannet colony in the world, holding over 150,000 individuals. We watch locally for Golden Eagle, Slavonian Grebe, Red and Black-throated Divers, Peregrine, Scottish Crossbill, Crested Tit and more including Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Dipper, Buzzard and Goldeneye. In early July our private estate woodlands often produce hen Capercaillie, seen safely from Heatherlea mobile hides. Breeding Ptarmigan and Dotterel should give us a great day on the mountains, and we also utilise the evening light to seek out quartering Short-eared Owl over local heather moorland and look out for waders including Dunlin, Redshank and Common Sandpiper in smart summer plumage. Our visit to Lothian begins with a drive south through Perthshire, where we may visit Loch of the Lowes or other sites of interest to view nesting Osprey. We take a memorable boat visit to The Bass Rock, famous as the home of the largest Gannet colony in the world. We circumnavigate the island, obtaining wonderful views of Gannet at close quarters, and also enjoying great views of many other seabirds including Puffin. We also visit Musselburgh, where breeding terns and the first early autumn migrants can be expected on return passage and take our time on the return journey to Nethy Bridge for the best available birding. A great new itinerary, with very limited availability. Numbers are restricted, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Total species c.120. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel in Lothian.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & Wester Ross (p66), Highlands & Outer Hebrides (p68). NEW! Birds & Mammals ft Eigg & Muck (p68).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Orkney in High Summer (p84), Shetland in High Summer (p84).

NEW! BIRDS & MAMMALS featuring PERTHSHIRE SAT 24 JULY – SAT 31 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details available on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. An exciting new summer holiday, targeting Pine Marten, European Beaver and Highland birdlife. We divide our time between Strathspey and under watched Angus and Perthshire, with a daytrip to the spectacular west coast. Dedicated evening visits to a Pine Marten hide and a Beaver viewpoint give us good chances of connecting with these key species, and we also hope to see Otter, Mountain Hare, Red Squirrel, seals, cetaceans and commoner mammals too. Highland birds might include Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, White-tailed Eagle, Slavonian Grebe and Black-throated Diver amid spectacular surroundings. In Angus and Perthshire, we seek Ptarmigan at close quarters, Black and Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear and raptors perhaps including Golden Eagle and Goshawk. On the coast, Little Gull can be present in high numbers and we search through tern flocks for postbreeding Roseate and Little Tern. Montrose Basin is a famous birding destination, and late summer is a good time to see returning wader flocks on migration (perhaps holding a rarity), with many still in summer plumage. Moulting Common and Velvet Scoter flocks can often contain a Surf Scoter and we also search for Osprey, Dipper, Whinchat and Common Crossbill in the extensive Perthshire forests. Total species c.120. Mammals may include European Beaver, Pine Marten, Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible.

Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel in Angus or Perthshire Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & Wester Ross (p66), NEW! Birds & Mammals featuring islands of Eigg & Muck (p68), Highlands & the Outer Hebrides (p68)

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

NEW! Shetland in High Summer (p84), Orkney in High Summer (p84).

Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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NEW! BIRDS & MAMMALS featuring the Islands of EIGG & MUCK SAT 31 JULY – SAT 7 AUGUST 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details available on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. A holiday for the wildlife enthusiast with a special emphasis on some of the most sought-after mammals of the Highlands. We seek Otter, Common and Grey Seal, cetaceans including Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and dolphins during a two-night three-day excursion to the stunning west coast. We use our contacts and experience in west coast areas to give us the best possible chance of success. While in our Nethy Bridge base, we have more opportunities to add to our mammal list, with Mountain and Brown Hare, Red Squirrel and three species of deer possible plus evening excursions locally for Daubenton’s Bat and/or to watch Badgers. Speciality birds include Ptarmigan, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Golden and Whitetailed Eagle, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Slavonian Grebe, Black-throated Diver, Dotterel and perhaps breeding Snow Bunting. On a dedicated boat trip visiting the islands of Muck and Eigg, we aim to see a variety of seabirds including Puffin and Black Guillemot, rafts of Manx Shearwater, all three divers in summer plumage, raptors including Merlin, Peregrine, Hen Harrier and both eagles plus breeding Twite, Wheatear, Whinchat and Rock Pipit. With over 100 species of bird and 15 species of mammal  possible, this is a trip designed to give us many chances to see exciting mammals with great birding along the way! At the end of the holiday, you may like to spend another day in Nethy Bridge to enjoy the famous  Abernethy Highland Games, just a short walk away in our beautiful village! If so, please leave your vehicle and/or luggage with us at Mountview Hotel Total species c.120. Mammals may include Daubenton’s Bat, Badger, Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain and Brown Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on the West Coast.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & The Bass Rock (p67), NEW! Birds and Mammals incl Perthshire (p67), Highlands & the Outer Hebrides (p68)

HIGHLANDS and the OUTER HEBRIDES SAT 31 JULY – SAT 7 AUGUST, SAT 7 AUGUST – SAT 14 AUGUST 2021 PRICE: £1495pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. The Scottish Highlands, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Skye, all in one action packed holiday! We target specialities in Strathspey, and enjoy raptors, waders, flocks of passerines, seabirds and sea mammals on the Outer Hebrides. In our private estate, hen Capercaillie may be taking berries and nearby we look for Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Siskin, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Redpoll. On the Cairngorms, Ptarmigan are skulking in the corries and we explore the moorlands, with Golden Eagle, Raven, Slavonian Grebe, Red Grouse and perhaps Short-eared Owl and Black-throated Diver to entertain. We head west to our ferry, and as we cross The Minch watching for passage seabirds, including petrels, skuas and shearwaters, perhaps with a Sabine's Gull, Great Shearwater or Basking Shark to cap an exciting voyage. On arrival we have a full day to enjoy the delights of the Outer Hebrides in High Summer. Large numbers of migratory waders can be found on the machair, beaches and mudflats, divers feed offshore and good numbers of Twite, Linnet and hopefully Corn Bunting in the arable areas. We have good chances of Hen Harrier, Merlin and Short-eared Owl, and all should have fledged young on the wing. Corncrake and Red-necked Phalarope are present but very hard to see this late in the season. A scarce migrant could feature, perhaps Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs or White-rumped Sandpiper and we have even been lucky to see Snowy Owl on this trip in the past! We make the most of the long summer day with extended time in the field, returning via Skye to target any species outstanding plus Golden and White-tailed Eagle once more. Later we visit the Moray Coast or head east to Aberdeenshire. Expect Gannet, fishing Osprey, gulls, terns and auks, plus occasional Great or Arctic Skua. Passage waders might include Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover, many in breeding plumage. We look for farmland birds and round-up rarities within reach. Total species approx. 110. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal, Otter, Mountain Hare, Minke Whale, Basking Shark, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights on the Outer Hebrides 68

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Short Break in Early Autumn (p58), Highlands and the Bass Rock (p67), NEW! Birds and Mammals incl Perthshire (p67), NEW! Birds & Mammals featuring Eigg & Muck (p68) Autumn in the Highlands with ‘Easy Walking’ (p69).


AUTUMN in the HIGHLANDS with EASY WALKING SAT 14 AUGUST – SAT 21 AUGUST, SAT 21 AUGUST – SAT 28 AUGUST 2021

PRICE: £1395pp

No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Would you like to see all the special birds of Scotland, but without too much exertion? On this new ‘Easy Walking’ itinerary, we look for all the Scottish specials including Ptarmigan, perhaps the most inaccessible of our native birds. We explore the dramatic west coast, search for southbound migrants and enjoy a fantastic seabird trip to the Outer Hebrides, on a tour which involves very little walking, and on some days hardly any walking at all. We are based entirely at the Mountview Hotel, giving us flexibility to choose the best day for each of our activities. You can enjoy all the great birding the Scottish Highlands has to offer, visiting many special places by comfortable minibus and getting close to the best birding sites. As well as Ptarmigan, we seek Highland specialities including Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Crested Tit, Scottish Crossbill, Golden Eagle, Whitetailed Eagle, Osprey and much more. Early Autumn is a great time of year when bird numbers and diversity are high, with local breeders joined by migrants originating from Scandinavia as they begin to flood south towards warmer climes. We visit a range of superb coastal sites to search for birds within some of the most attractive regions of Scotland while our boat trip should give us exciting encounters with seabirds including Gannet, Sooty and Manx Shearwater, Storm Petrel, any of four skuas, auks and perhaps a rarity. The Minch is a great stretch of sea for Cetaceans, with Common, Risso’s and Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise and Minke Whale all possible at this time of year. Seven nights at Mountview Hotel

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Short Breaks in Early Autumn (p58), Highlands & Outer Hebrides (p68), Twenty Scottish Specials (p69)

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ron & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85), Outer Hebrides in early Autumn for birders (p85).

TWENTY SCOTTISH SPECIALS in AUTUMN SAT 28 AUGUST – SAT 4 SEPTEMBER 2021

PRICE: £1395pp

No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55.

This holiday is designed for those who would like a holiday in Scotland to see northern speciality birds, and we target '20 Scottish Specials' to give the holiday a fun focus. Ideal whether you keep a UK birdlist or not, on this holiday we concentrate on rounding up as many key birds as possible, at a relaxed pace on days which are also great fun. Key targets;

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Golden Eagle White-tailed Eagle Capercaillie Black Grouse Red Grouse Ptarmigan Crested Tit

8. Scottish Crossbill 9. Dipper 10. Peregrine 11. Black Guillemot 12. Hooded Crow 13. Raven 14. Black-throated Diver

15. Red-throated Diver 16. Osprey 17. Great Skua 18. Arctic Skua 19. Tree Sparrow 20. Hen Harrier

... and perhaps a few mammals too, including Otter, Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Brown Hare, Mountain Hare, Red Squirrel, Grey Seal, Common Seal, Red Deer and Roe Deer. Early September is a great time to visit the Highlands; all of our Scottish specials have fledged chicks, so bird numbers are at their peak and with dependent young it also means they can be easier to find than in the middle of summer. We also have the excitement of migration, with waders and wildfowl numbers building, with chances of rarities being found too. We visit the West Coast, to find Red and Blackthroated Diver, Black Guillemot, Hooded Crow and White-tailed Eagle, amid stunning late summer scenery. We also have two days around more local coastlines, visiting the Black Isle or Moray Coast to give us the best chances of skuas chasing the soon to depart terns and Kittiwakes, and also to see Ospreys fishing before they head back to Africa for the winter. The rich arable farmland here is good for Tree Sparrow, and with luck we should find Corn Bunting, Stock Dove, Yellowhammer and Grey Partridge too. Around the Cairngorms we work hard to find all four UK grouse species, as well as pinewood specialities such as Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill, with good chances of Golden and White-tailed Eagles over the crags, and the possibility of a roaming Hen Harrier over the moorland. Seven nights at Mountview Hotel

combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Autumn in the Highlands with Easy Walking (p69), Raptors & Grouse (p70), NEW! Autumn Migration in the Highlands (p70)

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ron & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85).

Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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NEW! AUTUMN MIGRATION in THE HIGHLANDS SAT 4 SEPTEMBER – SAT 11 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £1395pp No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. A fantastic new holiday featuring the special resident birds and exploring migration on both the west and east coasts of the Highland. With Northern breeders on the move, it is an exciting time and we visit some of the best places and habitats for birdwatching on both land and sea. Close to our Highland base, we seek, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Osprey, Scottish Crossbill and more. It’s a great time of year, with bird numbers at their highest all year as juvenile birds boost the local populations. At this time anything can turn up and on a dedicated day exploring the attractive Tarbet Peninsular and we will also likely visit the Moray and Black Isle coasts too. All support high densities of farmland birds at the same time offering vast potential for migrant passerines and with busy estuaries and sea lochs nearby, we will accumulate a high day list on these days. An overnight stay on the west coast, gives us more time to search for top quality birds including Golden and White-tailed Eagle, three species of diver, seaduck and perhaps Twite if we are lucky. Otters are possible too, and on our seatrip across the Minch we have chances of cetaceans and hope to see Petrels, Shearwaters, Skua’s or perhaps a rarity among commoner seabirds. Absorbing birding during a busy period in the Scottish birding calendar. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two night on the West Coast. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

20 Scottish Specials (p69), Raptors & Grouse (p70), The Outer Limits Adventure (p71).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ron & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85), Outer Hebrides in early Autumn for birders (p85).

RAPTORS & GROUSE SAT 5 SEPTEMBER – SAT 12 SEPTEMBER, SAT 12 SEPTEMBER – SAT 19 SEPTEMBER 2020

PRICE: £1395pp

SAT 4 SEPTEMBER – SAT 11 SEPTEMBER, SAT 11 SEPTEMBER – SAT 18 SEPTEMBER 2021

PRICE: £1495pp

No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. This is a superb time to come to Scotland – autumn migration is in full swing; the tree and heather colours are turning, and our target birds are at their highest numbers with all youngsters fledged. On this itinerary we seek an ambitious list of raptors heading to the best sites to look for them. The list is mouth-watering: White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Buzzard, Osprey, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel with chances of Merlin, Goshawk and Short-eared Owl. To maximise our chances we include an overnight stay on Magical Mull, a superb place to gain close views of many raptors in stunning Hebridean scenery! Our grouse targets are Capercaillie, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse and Red Grouse, the four naturally occurring species in the British Isles. The Highlands of Scotland is the only place to see them all! We seek Capercaillie in remote woodlands, with several options if we aren’t in luck first time. Ptarmigan will be in high corries of the Cairngorms and this is the time of peak numbers so we stand a good chance. Red Grouse are found commonly on the moors around our Hotel in Nethy Bridge, while rarer Black Grouse are active locally. Other specialities inland include Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill while other birds likely on our Mull adventure include Black Grouse, Black Guillemot, Hooded Crow, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Goosander, Redpoll, Stonechat, Twite and more. September birding along the Moray Coast and on the Black Isle is particularly enjoyable, as newly arriving winter migrants complement remaining summer visitors. Birds may include Osprey fishing, rafts of Common Eider, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Stonechat, returning Common and Velvet Scoter, Black and Red-throated Diver, autumn waders including Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. We search for any rarities within reach and have seen Pectoral Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper and Little Gull at this time. In farmland habitats there are building numbers of Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Linnet and Tree Sparrow, and Merlin visit, perching on bales and fenceposts waiting for flocks of Meadow Pipits and other passerines. Total species c. 120. Mammals may include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Grey Seal, Common Seal. Otter, Mountain Hare, Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise are possible. Six nights at Mountview Hotel. One night on Mull 70

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

20 Scottish Specials (p69), NEW! Autumn Migration in the Highlands (p70), The Outer Limits Adventure (p71).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ron & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85), Outer Hebrides in early Autumn for birders (p85), Shetland in Autumn for birders (p86).


THE ‘OUTER LIMITS’ ADVENTURE SAT 12 SEPTEMBER – SAT 19 SEPTEMBER, SAT 19 SEPTEMBER – SAT 26 SEPTEMBER, SAT 26 SEPTEMBER – SAT 3 OCTOBER 2020 PRICE: £1395pp SAT 11 SEPTEMBER – SAT 18 SEPTEMBER, SAT 18 SEPTEMBER – SAT 25 SEPTEMBER, SAT 25 SEPTEMBER – SAT 2 OCTOBER 2021

PRICE: £1495pp

No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. A real adventure, including two nights in the island wilderness of Lewis, Harris and Skye. With Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Ptarmigan, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill, seabird flocks, migration all around the coast and the possibility of rarities, this is a unique and very exciting holiday. In the Caledonian pinewoods there are good numbers of Crested Tit with roaming Scottish Crossbill also in small flocks. Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel are in the glens and the Red Deer rut reaches its peak. We make a three-day visit to the northern Outer Hebrides, frequently chosen by guides and guests as one of the highlights of the Heatherlea year. We scan for Manx Shearwater, Great and Arctic Skua, Storm Petrel, Gannet, auks and more from our ferry. Sooty Shearwater, Leach’s Petrel, Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua, Grey Phalarope plus Minke Whale, Bottle-nosed, Risso’s and Common Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise and Grey and Common Seal are all possible too. On Harris we may see eagles whilst checking sheltered bays for seaduck may reveal rare Surf Scoter, King Eider, three diver species and Slavonian Grebe. On Lewis we visit headlands for seabirds, waders, Twite and migrant passerines, walk the woods for Hebridean races of Wren and Song Thrush, and target boggy lochans for American vagrants. We may get falls of southbound migrants, with Pink-footed Goose, Snow and Lapland Bunting possible. Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Hen Harrier and Merlin are also frequently seen.

Back in the Strath, Black Grouse are returning to the lek, and our private estate woodlands hold Capercaillie. We also visit the Moray Firth to search the concentrations of seabirds that make this coast such a magnet for birders. Common and Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and Red-throated Divers are all possible, as are many waders in autumn. Ptarmigan are our target on the mountain day and Snow Bunting may be seen. Total species approx. 115. Other wildlife should include Red Squirrel, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Mountain Hare and other sea life. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on the Outer Hebrides. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

NEW! Autumn Migration in the Highlands (p70), Raptors & Grouse (p70), Highlands & Skye in Autumn (p71).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ron & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85), Shetland in Autumn for birders (p86), Outer Hebrides in Autumn for birders (p87), Unexplored Orkney (p87).

HIGHLANDS and SKYE in AUTUMN SAT 3 OCTOBER – SAT 10 OCTOBER, SAT 10 OCTOBER – SAT 17 OCTOBER 2020

PRICE: £1395PP

SAT 2 OCTOBER – SAT 9 OCTOBER, SAT 9 OCTOBER – SAT 16 OCTOBER 2021

PRICE: £1495PP

No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Autumn on Skye is magical from mountain top to sea, and perhaps the best time for eagles, as young birds make the most of autumnal winds. Waders move through in good numbers, and moorland birds have formed flocks and are ranging on the coast. Back home in Strathspey, specialities and newly arriving thrushes, geese and waders provide superb birding during a classic week. We begin with Capercaillie and Blackcock, in private estate woodlands or other favoured spots depending on where birds are showing. A walk in the nearby Abernethy Forest may produce Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill, and moorland specialities include Peregrine, Red Grouse, Merlin and Hen Harrier, with Goosander and Dipper on the rivers. After breakfast we work slowly west via mountainous Torridon with its long sealochs and quaint villages, favoured coastlines for Otters, waders and wildfowl. In autumn on Skye, magical low light and changing weather give us picture-postcard views around every turn, with concentrations of Golden and White-tailed Eagles, and good chances of Hen Harrier and Merlin. Divers will be returning to the coastline, with good numbers of Great Northern in particular and a wide range of birdlife includes Black Guillemot and Twite. In the hills we concentrate on Ptarmigan, and rarely fail to find the birds. Local birding gives excellent chances of Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch and woodland species, already in winter flocks. Nearby fields often hold freshly arrived Redwing and Fieldfare, and flocks of finches and buntings that may contain Brambling. Autumn along the Moray Coast can be stunning. Rafts of seaduck include Velvet and Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, Eider and Red-breasted Merganser. We search for rarities, which in recent years have included Surf Scoter, King Eider and (just once), Steller’s Eider. Geese will be in good number and waders should include Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. With luck farmland will be busy, with chances of Grey Partridge, Corn Bunting and perhaps Whooper Swans. A marvellous feast of autumn birding! Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on Skye. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

The Outer Limits Adventure (p71), Highland Autumn Birding (p72).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Shetland in Autumn for birders (p86), Unexplored Orkney (p86), Outer Hebrides in Autumn for birders (p87), Islay and Jura (p87).

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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HIGHLAND AUTUMN BIRDING SAT 17 OCTOBER – SAT 24 OCTOBER, SAT 24 OCTOBER – SAT 31 OCTOBER 2020 SAT 16 OCTOBER – SAT 23 OCTOBER, SAT 23 OCTOBER – SAT 30 OCTOBER 2021

PRICE: £1295pp PRICE: £1395pp

No single supplement. ‘Early Birder’ discounts may apply, contact us before booking! Full details and a Trip Report are on our website. Please read FIELD NOTES on page 55. Exciting ‘local’ birding plus a three day adventure to remotest Aberdeenshire, one of the best yet most under watched birding counties in the UK! We cover all habitats from mountain to sea, giving a full flavour of how good birding can be in the Highlands in Autumn. Particular focus is given to the key spectacle of large numbers of wildfowl, recently arrived from breeding grounds. We enjoy the numbers, and look closely for rarities hidden amongst the commoner species! With big rafts of seaduck, fields full of geese and a good range of migrant and resident birds, this is an unforgettable week.

just about anything can turn up. Passerines originating in Scandinavia can arrive en masse in east winds and in favourable conditions we spend time in coastal scrub searching for them. We work the under-watched Loch of Strathbeg carefully. Often there is a bigger autumn birdlist here than at Titchwell or Minsmere! Scarce wildfowl are regular, and we spend time looking through ducks in particular. In arable farmland we hope to find Grey Partridge, Corn Bunting, Stock Dove and Tree Sparrow, and in busy harbours Iceland and Glaucous Gull. Royal Deeside, famous for Balmoral Castle, is good for crossbills, Goshawk and Golden Eagle, and moors hold Red Grouse and a few Mountain Hare. On high hills we search for Ptarmigan and rarely fail to find them. Snow Bunting are possible too, especially when the tops are snow covered. Five nights at Mountview Hotel. Two nights at a comfortable hotel on the east coast.

Capercaillie and Blackcock are targets in exclusive private woodlands and favoured spots. A walk in the nearby Abernethy Forest for Crested Tit and Scottish Crossbill is followed by a search for moorland specialities including Peregrine, Red Grouse, Merlin, Hen Harrier and Golden Eagle. Mountain Hare, Raven, and White-tailed Eagle are frequently seen. We head east to the Ythan estuary, where goose flocks can be in the thousands, perhaps containing rarities such as Snow or Red-breasted Goose. Vast rafts of Common and Velvet Scoter are possible, with good chances of rarer Surf, Black or White-winged Scoter and King Eider. More usual are Great Northern and Red-throated Diver and seabirds, sometimes being chased by a late Pomarine or Great Skua. Waders include Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and Ringed Plover and

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Short Breaks in Autumn (p58), Highlands and Skye in Autumn (p71), Birding the East Coast in Autumn. (p72).

BIRDING the EAST COAST in AUTUMN SAT 31 OCTOBER – SAT 7 NOVEMBER 2020 SAT 30 OCTOBER – SAT 6 NOVEMBER 2021 SAT 29 OCTOBER – SAT 5 NOVEMBER 2022 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Toby Green.

PRICE: £1495pp PRICE: £1595pp PRICE: TBA

Single supplement: £175 Single supplement: £195 Guide: TBA

Grebe and divers are possible, and wader numbers will be significant, including wintering Purple Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit and possible American rarities. Residents include Golden Eagle, Black Grouse, Red Grouse and Stonechat in the Angus Glens, Hawfinch, Bittern, Grey Partridge, Corn Bunting, flocks of Snow Bunting, Twite, Fieldfare and Redwing, perhaps Waxwing, and there is a chance of White-tailed Eagle. Mammals might include Otter, Grey and Common Seal, Red and Roe Deer, Red Squirrel, Brown Hare and perhaps newly resident European Beaver! Number of centres: 4.

Top birding in a part of the country not usually explored by visitors. Much underwatched, particularly at this time of year, there is excellent birding from glen to open sea, as residents are joined by flocks of migrants in every habitat, and rarities are possible in favourable winds. Unexpected duck, gulls, geese and passerines will cross our path as we explore the whole north-east coast from Loch of Strathbeg to harbours of the East Neuk of Fife. Large goose flocks should contain Pink-footed, Barnacle, Greylag, White-fronted and Brent. We check for Bean, and perhaps Red-breasted, Snow or Ross's Goose. Regular gulls include Glaucous and Iceland, and we may find Ivory or Ross's Gull. On the open sea, large flocks of Common and Velvet Scoter often contain a single Surf Scoter, and King Eider are sometimes found on open water and in quiet estuaries. Red-necked

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Short Breaks in Autumn (p58), Highland Autumn Birding (p71), Solway Firth (p72).

SOLWAY FIRTH SAT 7 NOVEMBER – THURS 12 NOVEMBER 2020 PRICE: £1395PP SAT 6 NOVEMBER – THURS 11 NOVEMBER 2021 PRICE: £1395PP Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per leader. Leader Ian Ford A vast, internationally important area for wildfowl, Solway Firth offers great birding. Caerlaverock is alive with tens of thousands of geese. We scour flocks of Barnacle Goose for rarities including Red-breasted, Richardson's Cackling and Snow Goose, or perhaps a Lesser White-fronted. At the daily feed, the spectacle of wild Whooper Swan is something to both see and hear! RSPB Mersehead holds many Barnacle Goose and wintering ducks including Pintail, and feeders have Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow. We have to be lucky to connect with large Starling murmurations, though we hope to see them as the light fades, and Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Hen Harrier and Peregrine are regular. Westward at Loch Ryan we seek flocks of Scaup, Common Scoter and Eider, with Long-tailed Duck, Black Guillemot, Red-breasted Merganser, plus wintering divers and grebes. Waders include Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Knot, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover, and Pale-bellied Brent Geese winter in small numbers.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

Single supplement: £100. Single supplement: £100.

We close beside a large area of rough grassland, where Hen Harrier, Merlin and the odd Short-eared Owl roost. The Ken-Dee Marshes host Greenland White-fronted and Greylag Geese. Later at the local Red Kite feeding station, expect a very close first-hand experience of these gregarious birds. In the Galloway hills the major prize is locally scarce Golden Eagle, and Merlin, Peregrine, Siskin, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Redwing, Fieldfare and Common Crossbill are found. Five nights in a very comfortable country house hotel and the services of your Heatherlea guide make this a perfect late-autumn break. Total species c. 90. Number of centres: 1.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Birders Blast (p58), Birding the East Coast in Autumn. (p72).

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


SCOTTISH ISLAND HOLIDAYS

Birding and wildlife The Scottish islands are simply stunning, and with Heatherlea the best wildlife watching experiences are readily available. Fancy seeing Corncrake on Coll? How about shearwaters as you cruise to Canna? Many itineraries are unique, and in 2021 we offer more holiday choice than ever, all designed to give you the best of wildlife at the best time of year. You don’t even need a car to visit some of the most beautiful and wildlife-rich places on earth, we take care of your travel arrangements including transfers (see below).

Ideal for birders and general wildlife enthusiasts alike These holidays are ideal if you want to see some of the rarest and difficult-to-find birds of the British Isles. Some holidays target specific species, including Corncrake and White-tailed Eagle, though on all we are keenly interested in mammals (especially Otter and cetaceans), insects, flora and more. We move at a leisurely pace, giving you time in the evenings before a relaxed dinner, though we move quickly when rare migrants and vagrants are in our sights. We also take time to enjoy the scenery; after all, we are visiting some of the most beautiful places on the planet!

If using public transport, we provide a courtesy transfer service between Aviemore and The Mountview Hotel. We pick-up at 16.30 hours and 19:30 hours, on SATURDAYS ONLY. If arriving by public transport on a different day, you can transfer to your overnight hotel by taxi (please contact us for up-to-date taxi details). Morning drop-offs to Aviemore train station are until 10.30am on the day of departure. As an alternative you can join the holiday at a point closer to our destination if that is more convenient - Oban, Aberdeen, Fort William and Uig on Skye are regular meeting points on some itineraries.

Combination holidays You can take any SCOTTISH ISLAND holiday singly, but most are conveniently arranged to be enjoyed alongside either a Heatherlea week in the Highlands, or a second holiday elsewhere on the islands. If you combine, you make good use of time and minimise travel expenses too. Many Heatherlea clients choose this option, and there are lots of possible combinations; please see individual holiday text for suggestions. NORTH

SHETLAND

RONALDSAY

Personal Service We have a maximum number of seven clients per guide for most holidays. This means more personal attention, and more time with your Guide to help you get the best possible sightings. Heatherlea is a small company run BY birders FOR birders, where our clients really do come first. Come and see!

ORKNEY OUTER HEBRIDES

What’s included in each holiday ◆

◆ ◆

comfortable en-suite accommodation. Any exceptions will be identified in advance. We choose from our personally inspected shortlist, where birders are welcome, and the hospitality is special. Guests are never expected to share. Full details with your joining pack. all meals from dinner on arrival, then packed lunch each day, until breakfast on the final day. all ferries, other boat trips and flights as stated in the itinerary. Please note that transport to the joining point is not included, nor are flights from mainland airports to islands (e.g. Aberdeen – Shetland). All access fees. the services of your Heatherlea Guide.

ST KILDA SKYE ABERDEEN

CANNA

NETHY BRIDGE

COLL TIREE

Transfers included

MULL

COLONSAY

Many holidays, particularly to northern islands, begin here in Nethy Bridge, with courtesy transfers to ferry points or airports, saving you money. This is often the most economical way to visit the remotest parts of Scotland – Heatherlea make it easy and give you real savings. You may book an extra night’s stay at either end of your holiday, and drivers may leave vehicles safely parked at Mountview Hotel free of charge. Please note that extra nights are rarely available within Mountview Hotel, which has only twelve guest rooms. Our near neighbours Nethy Hotel are within easy walking distance, and we can transfer luggage on request. See ‘Getting Here is Easy’ on p53 for suggestions to help you reach Nethy Bridge.

SOLWAY FIRTH

ISLAY

More Detail We can’t put everything in this brochure, there just isn’t space! To read an ‘Tour Info Pack’ or a ‘Trip Report’ with more information, please visit www.heatherlea.co.uk or ask our office for a printed copy.

Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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SCOTTISH ISLAND HOLIDAYS … ‘for birders’

The Scottish islands are wonderful for wind-blown rarities and sometimes ‘mega’ birds, perhaps never before or very rarely seen in the UK. Many Heatherlea birders have enjoyed exceptional birding on the islands, where we always expect the unexpected!

them. You will need a reasonable level of mobility to appreciate these holidays to the full. At all times, we observe the Birdwatchers’ Code of Conduct, following common sense and good practice in the interests of both wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts.

Heatherlea offer several spring and autumn itineraries where we concentrate particularly on the birds which can take your British list to new heights, and these are designated ‘for birders’ in this Brochure. Select specific ‘for birders’ holidays to North Ronaldsay, Outer Hebrides, Cornwall, Isles of Scilly and Shetland!

Our exceptional guides have a massive amount of experience in finding rare birds in Scotland. George Gay and Mark Warren have previously been employed at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, Peter Cosgrove works in conservation on Shetland, and Mike Coleman, Ian Ford, Toby Green and Dave Pullan have been birding Scotland’s outlying islands for many years. Keep in touch with our sightings by subscribing to our social media.

During these holidays we maintain our ‘less intensive’ approach, and sometimes birds are trapped at observatories where we can observe them closely at leisure or are available in roadside locations. At other times, birds are flighty or in places which might be difficult to reach, and then we change plan and move more quickly to find

Here are just some of our recent postings from the Scottish islands! Stunning weather again for our '#Shetland in Spring' group as we explored NW Mainland. Red-throated Divers galore, fab scenery and a nice #rarity find with this Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Eshaness. We enjoyed great views of Golden Oriole on the way home too. MW Weather has really set in now on North Ronaldsay, but today has produced Barred & Yellow-browed Warbler, Pied & Spot Fly, Rosefinch and this American Golden Plover smashing day so far! SO'H Marsh, Yellow-browed and Barred Warblers were today's highlights, in addition to an Otter by the hotel, Porpoises, Purple Sandpiper, breeding plumage Great Northern Diver and non-breeding Red-throated Diver. SO'H & PC Stunning scenery and plenty of Eagles have become the norm in the last two days of our 'Wild #Skye' adventure. Taking time to enjoy commoner species has paid off too, our group enjoying bonus views of two #Corncrake while pausing to watch this Whinchat! MW The mixed weather today didn't do anything to dampen our spirits! With highlights of 30 mins watching a fishing Otter; Melodious Warbler at Lunna; ending the day at the Sumburgh Quarry with Marsh & Yellow-browed Warblers! SO'H & PC St Kilda & Hebrides trip in June - An incredible place to spend 48 hours with magnificent seabirds, endemic St Kilda Wren and the bonus Snowy Owl. @StKildaNTS MW & FW Another spectacular day on Unst with incredible views of a Peregrine, a superb summer plumage American Golden Plover, RIVER WARBLER (what a monster find by Pete Alley's group) and Pied Flycatcher. What a day! SOH & PC A wonderful day on Fetlar for our Shetland group, where we were thrilled to find a Wryneck! Two Common Cranes were also nice and though migrant numbers have been lower than usual on Unst, we've enjoyed the seabirds and unearthed a dusk Green-winged Teal a couple of days ago. MW Another great day despite the weather here in Shetland with highlights of: Marsh Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, LANCEOLATED WARBLER, 8+ Great Northern Divers and PIED-BILLED GREBE. SO'H & PC More Highlights from the last few days on the Outer Hebs: 41 Red-throats, 4 Black-throats & a Great Northern from the ferry; 3 Minke, 25+ Risso's, 5+ Bottlenose & 2 Porpoise from Tiumpan Head; raft of 10 Black-throats; 2 drake Surf Scoters; and lots of passage waders! SO'H Brilliant day exploring #Westray on our #Orkney trip. #Puffins stealing the show first then Gannets and Risso's Dolphins @RSPBScotland Noup Head. Super birding checking wader flocks in the bays & fields leading to the discovery of a Pectoral Sandpiper at Bay of Tuquoy! MW Wow Mega on #North Ronaldsay our group enjoyed stunning views of this Mourning Dove this evening ! Happy Guests!! TG

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


SCOTTISH ISLAND HOLIDAYS INDEX Shetland – Up Helly Aa! Mull and Islay North Ron and Orkney in Spring for birders Outer Hebrides in Spring Shetland in Spring for birders Mull, Iona and the Treshnish Isles NEW! Birding the North Coast 500 Shetland Island Explorer Islands on the Edge Orkney Island Explorer NEW! Ultimate Skye & Mull Explorer Shetland and Orkney Inner Hebrides from Canna to Iona

75 76 76 77 77 78 78 79 79 80 80 81 81

Outer Hebrides and the Shiant Isles Ultimate Outer Hebrides St Kilda and the Hebrides Coll and Tiree in Summer Orkney in High Summer NEW! Shetland Wildlife in Summer North Ron and Orkney in Autumn for birders Outer Hebrides in early Autumn for birders Shetland in Autumn for birders Unexplored Orkney Outer Hebrides in Autumn for birders Islay and Jura

82 82 83 83 84 84 85 85 86 86 87 87

UP HELLY AA! – SHETLAND IN WINTER FRI 21 JANUARY – THURS 27 JANUARY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £300pp Price excludes flight from Aberdeen. Max 7 clients. Leader Toby Green. Rugged Shetland is a wild and beautiful place throughout the year, and this tour explores the isles in winter, its hardy wildlife and the unique Viking heritage. The Up Helly Aa Viking Fire Festival is famous the world over, a real spectacle which will be a feature of this holiday as we take in cultural experiences, marvel at the parades and enjoy local music and storytelling. We mainly focus on coastal wildlife, wildfowl featuring strongly, and we will search local goose flocks for scarcer species such as Tundra and Taiga Bean, Barnacle and White-fronted (both races). Birdwatching in sheltered bays and off the coasts offers Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Long-tailed Duck and Eider, Black Guillemot (Tysties), Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone. Glaucous and Iceland Gull occur anywhere the fishing industry is active, and there is a chance of Little Auk too. Passerines are scarce at this time, but we should see Twite and Rock Pipit, with Snow Bunting and Waxwing possible, while raptors are likely to include

dashing Merlin and speedy Peregrine. Shetland is renowned for rarities and in recent winters White-billed Diver, Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, Ring Necked Duck, King Eider, Surf Scoter, Brunnich’s Guillemot, Snowy Owl and Gyrfalcon have all been recorded. On the moors a few Red Grouse might stand out from the heather and Mountain Hare can be found on the higher ground such as Ronas Hill. It’s a great time of year to look for Otter as individuals wander the coast and lochs in search of food. Cetaceans are fast becoming a feature of a Shetland winter too with Humpback, Fin and Killer Whale more regular in recent years. We will be keen to follow up on any reported animals and we may well see dolphins, Harbour Porpoise, Common and Grey Seal. With dark skies and little light pollution, winter can also be one of the best periods to witness the stunning Aurora Borealis – there can be no guarantees of course, but with luck we might get a show!

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MULL & ISLAY SAT 27 FEBRUARY – FRI 5 MARCH 2021 PRICE: £1645PP Single supplement: £150 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader from our experienced team. A late-winter itinerary combining two of our favourite island destinations! We have timed this holiday so the winter wildfowl spectacle of tens of thousands of geese, ducks and waders on Islay can be coupled with both White-tailed and Golden Eagle, plus Hen Harrier, divers and Otters on Mull. A healthy birdlist on two scenic and wildlife-rich islands; what a way to complete your winter birding! Both islands are incredibly beautiful, and with the lovely glow of Scottish light in March, this is a photographer’s dream. We start on Mull, enjoying relatively empty roads to cover many of our favoured wildlife watching areas. Heatherlea have been visiting Mull in March for many years, and we know just the right spots to find our key targets whatever the tide, wind and weather. After a few days of gentle exploration, we head back to the Mainland, making a slow transfer to deepest Argyll. We then board the ferry for our transfer to Islay. The crossing takes around two hours, heading first down West Loch Tarbert, excellent for Great Northern Divers and Slavonian Grebe. This is a stunning voyage and in the right light is absolutely breathtaking. Islay is rightly famous for its wildfowl, we should see many thousands of geese, plus good numbers and diversity of waders and ducks. Islay is much more fertile and low lying than Mull, though we still expect to see eagles. With so much wildfowl diversity the raptors can’t stay away! This period is a key time for scarce winter visitors too, with good chances of Glaucous and Iceland Gull, Purple Sandpiper and Long-tailed Duck, with every possibility of a rarity. In recent years Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Cackling Goose and Gyr Falcon have all been recorded at this time of year. Number of centres: 2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highland Winter Birding (p59), Highlands & the East Coast (p59)

NORTH RONALDSAY and ORKNEY in Spring for birders SAT 24 APRIL – FRI 30 APRIL, SAT 1 MAY – FRI 7 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1595pp Single supplement: £130 SAT 23 APRIL – FRI 29 APRIL, SAT 30 APRIL – FRI 6 MAY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Pete Cosgrove This holiday features the best of Orkney in spring, including the fabulous migration outpost of North Ronaldsay. The birding potential here is tremendous, who can forget the 2017 Red-winged Blackbird or the 2019 Mourning Dove! – both enjoyed by Heatherlea groups! We hope to tap into prime-time spring passage, when this tiny island is a magnet for large numbers and a great variety of birds. We transfer from Heatherlea to mainland Orkney with our ferry crossing offering a variety of seabirds. Our first full day in the field will be spent birding Mainland Orkney where we hope to find nesting birds including Red-throated Diver, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl and an abundance of waders. We will take in some of the seabird colonies and if we get word of any scarce migrants or Orca nearby can be flexible. The short (15 minute) flight to North Ronaldsay, in the 8 seat, Islander plane offers a unique opportunity to see the beautiful Orkney Islands from above. We stay at the Bird Observatory, the perfect base where we can witness and learn about the daily ringing and bird census throughout our stay. Our birding schedule will be dictated by weather. The island is flat, with good roads and easy access to most ‘hotspots’. In the right conditions, fantastic falls of Scandinavian bound migrants can arrive, with Tree Pipit, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and a wide variety of warblers and finches. Scarcities including Dotterel, Wryneck, Bluethroat, Red-backed Shrike, Icterine Warbler, Lapland Bunting and Common Rosefinch often turn up during this period. We have timed our visit with one of the best periods for rarities in the last few years. Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper, Subalpine Warbler (both races), Black Kite, Glossy Ibis, American Wigeon, Pectoral Sandpiper, Thrush Nightingale, Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll, Red-throated Pipit and Little Bunting all recorded recently. Breeding birds include Twite, Black Guillemot, Raven, Arctic Tern and Fulmar, while thousands of migrant waders can be present with huge flocks of Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin, Knot and Sanderling, mostly in stunning summer plumage. Please note that this is a Birders tour, principally focused on finding and identifying rare birds of our own. For those who would like a more general tour of North Ronaldsay & Orkney, we recommend our Orkney Island Explorer (p58) or Orkney in High Summer (p63) holidays. Total species c. 90. Number of centres: 2. 76

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Short Breaks in Autumn (p58), Highlands and Skye (p61).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77), Shetland in Spring for

birders (p77).


OUTER HEBRIDES in SPRING SAT 1 MAY – FRI 7 MAY, SAT 8 MAY – FRI 14 MAY, SAT 15 MAY – FRI 21 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1595pp Single supplement: £60 SAT 30 APRIL – FRI 6 MAY, SAT 7 MAY – FRI 13 MAY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per leader. Leaders Ian Ford & Stewart Woolley This cracking holiday celebrates the tremendous birding available here in spring. We stay for six nights on the Outer Hebrides and popular target species include Corncrake, both eagles, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, four Skuas, waders in summer colours, Otter and perhaps the first returning Red-necked Phalarope or lekking Ruff, on the islands of South Uist, Benbecula, and North Uist. We also target any rarities on the southern Hebrides during our visit, and these can be special; Black-billed Cuckoo, White-winged Tern, Snowy Owl, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Arctic Redpoll, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and American Wigeon have all been recorded in recent years, and Dotterel are possible too – a great six days! We cross the famous Skye Bridge, travelling through the island to Uig. Sea-watching as we cross The Little Minch to Lochmaddy might include skuas, Manx Shearwater and Fulmar, Gannet, Black Guillemot and the other breeding British auks are expected. Everyone who has ever joined this holiday has seen Corncrake, and we target this special bird almost as soon as we arrive. Corn Bunting, Ringed Plover, Meadow Pipit and Skylark make the machair a special habitat – full of song! Summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver are likely, as are ‘real’ Rock Dove and Raven. Arctic Skua breed, Great Skua are usually seen, and in westerly winds often see passage of Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua offshore, sometimes by the hundreds – unforgettable! Gull numbers are good, with a scattering of scarcities thrown in, such as Iceland and Glaucous Gull. Mountains hold both Golden and White-tailed Eagle, meadows and fields support Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl and we often watch Otters playing on the coastline. Rare and delicate Red-necked Phalarope are expected from the middle of the month, and other waders should include good numbers of Whimbrel, both godwits, and thousands of Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling and Turnstone, many in summer plumage. We return via Skye, before returning to Nethy Bridge on Friday evening after a feast of birds! We stay in comfortable en-suite accommodation throughout. Total species c. 90. Number of centres: 1.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and Skye (p61) Birding the Highlands in May (p62), Highlands & Corncrake (p62).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ronaldsay & Orkney in Spring for birders (p76), Shetland in Spring for birders (p77), NEW! Birding the North Coast 500 (p78), Shetland Island Explorer (p79), Islands on the Edge (p79)

SHETLAND IN SPRING for birders SAT 8 MAY – SAT 15 MAY 2021

PRICE: £1745pp Single supplement: £195

SAT 7 MAY – SAT 14 MAY 2022

PRICE: TBA

Guide: TBA

Deposit: £200pp Price excludes flight from Aberdeen. Max 7 clients per leader. Leader from our experienced team. This holiday combines the long days of late spring with superb birding. May is a great time, with migrants arriving daily (sometimes in impressive 'falls' of hundreds of birds), many in fine breeding colours. We dedicate time to searching for our own rarities, and typical scarce birds include Red-backed Shrike, Bluethroat, Common Rosefinch, Wryneck, Rustic Bunting and Subalpine Warbler, with ‘overshoots’ from the Mediterranean expected. If the winds shift to the south east, birds of Eastern Europe or even Siberia might be found. Anything is possible! A visit to Hermaness is always superb, with Great and Arctic Skua and nesting waders such as Golden Plover, Snipe and Dunlin at close range on a moorland walk. At the cliffs we have incredible views down into a bustling gannetry and enjoy other seabirds in high numbers at the most northerly part of Britain! Other key destinations include Sumburgh Head, one of the best land-based watchpoints for Killer Whales, and Fetlar, a good place for Otters though more famous for nesting Red-necked Phalarope, which return about this time. We take time to bird many of the voes and inlets, looking for passage seaduck and Great Northern Diver. White-billed Diver and King Eider are annual, and on headlands in the west we may see a late Snow or Lapland Bunting, or Dotterel. There is the possibility of Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua on passage in westerlies and our groups have struck lucky in the past, such as in 2019 when they found a spring Buff-breasted Sandpiper! There are many nesting waders, with Redshank, Lapwing, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover at high densities, large numbers of Twite, Rock Pipit and Wheatear, and rare nesting birds including plentiful Red-throated Diver, Whooper Swan and Whimbrel; a feast of birding! This holiday is best suited to birders, because should a rarity turn up, or if we need to spend time identifying a tricky bird, that takes precedent. Historical sites, shops and cultural aspects take a backseat on this holiday in favour of superb birding! Number of centres: 2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Birding the Highlands in May (p62), Highlands & Corncrake (p62).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ronaldsay & Orkney in Spring for birders (p76), Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77), Shetland Island Explorer (p79).

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Twitter: @heatherleabirds

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MULL, IONA and the TRESHNISH ISLES TUES 11 MAY – SAT 15 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1595pp Single supplement: £195 TUES 10 MAY – SAT 14 MAY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Ian Ford.

Mull is a wildlife paradise, with higher densities of Golden and White-tailed Eagles than anywhere else in Britain, plus Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Raven and a range of northern moorland species. The fields hold many waders, including Snipe, Golden Plover, Curlew, Lapwing and Oystercatcher, and we also intend to spend time Otter watching. All this amongst magnificent scenery, featuring towering cliffs, picturesque shorelines, rocky foreshores and beautiful pristine beaches. The coastal habitat is extra special, and we enjoy a thrilling boat trip to the Isle of Staffa, where we have enough time to visit Fingal’s Cave and also scan for Great Skua. Later we go to the tiny isle of Lunga, where the ‘Puffin experience’ is one of the best in the British Isles. Passing right by the burrows, the birds are tolerant, and a careful birder can enjoy views at just a few feet. Further along, other auk species, Shag and gulls can be safely appreciated at close range. Photographers will love this! A quiet walk away from the main cliffs and we may hear Twite, Rock Pipit and Wheatear singing. From the boat, we enjoy the breeding seabirds at ‘their level’ and also perhaps Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater and perhaps tiny Storm Petrel, Great Skua and Arctic Tern. As well as thoroughly exploring Mull itself, including a special place or two rarely visited by birders, we visit the small island of Iona. Any lingering Great Northern Diver will be superb in summer finery, and an absorbing day should once again include both eagle species and Red Deer. On Iona at this time the grassy fields around the ancient Abbey hold Corncrake. There can be up to 20 males calling, and although we can’t guarantee a sighting, we are often rewarded with a glimpse or two and should hear the birds rasping. On recent trips we have seen Common Dolphin, Minke Whale, Basking Shark and even a Bearded Seal – a really exciting holiday. Total species c. 70. Number of centres: 1.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Highlands & Corncrake (p62).

NEW! Birding the NORTH COAST 500 SAT 15 MAY – SAT 22 MAY 2021

PRICE: £1695pp Single supplement: £125

SAT 14 MAY – SAT 21 MAY 2022 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Ian Ford.

PRICE: TBA

Guide: TBA

Wonderful wildlife amid some of Scotland’s finest scenery is firmly on the agenda on this spectacular journey around some of the country’s most northerly coastal points, feted by holiday-makers and travel writers alike as one of the best road trips in the world. Our tour takes you to the best places for wildlife. There will be many highlights, such as Handa Island, Dunnet Head and Duncansby Head for their seabirds. The Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland is a fantastic and unique, often deemed to be as important a habitat as the Amazonian Rainforest! At RSPB Broubster Leans, breeding waders and passerines are on territory and passage Whimbrel, Short-eared Owl, Merlin and Hen Harrier may be seen. Many other excellent sites on northern coasts are visited on this holiday including Loch Fleet for passage birds, Icelandic bound waders in summer plumage on any number of pristine golden beaches, and Applecross for eagles, and Ptarmigan. Otters and perhaps cetaceans may be encountered off the rugged coastline; this holiday really does offer a huge range of the best wildlife northern Scotland offers in spring! Above all, this is an exciting birding adventure in underwatched places of the country. Visits to seabird colonies featuring Puffin, Guillemot and Razorbill densely packed and huddled together on cliff ledges, many will be about to lay eggs. Kittiwake, Fulmar, Shag and ‘Rock Dove’ can be expected too, the sound and smell of these northern colonies complete the experience. Good numbers of nesting waders and waterfowl, including scarce northern species such as Red-throated Diver, Blackthroated Diver, Hen Harrier, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Black Guillemot, Twite and much more will keep us entertained as we travel. Our tour begins either here in Nethy Bridge or in Inverness, convenient for flights and rail connections. We don’t follow the exact route of the ‘North Coast 500’, preferring deviations to cater for wildlife and birding considerations.

Combine with:

Number of centres 3.

Birding the Highlands in May (p62), Highlands & Corncrake (p62).

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77).

78

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


SHETLAND ISLAND EXPLORER SAT 15 MAY – SAT 22 MAY, SAT 22 MAY – SAT 29 MAY 2021 PRICE: £1995pp Single supplement: £195 SAT 14 MAY – SAT 21 MAY, SAT 21 MAY – SAT 28 MAY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Price excludes flights from Aberdeen to Sumburgh Max 7 clients. Leader Mark Warren (1st departure) and (2nd departure). Shetland is rugged, windswept and wild, and is best explored in late-spring in either May and June, when long, evenings give way to an ethereal twilight known as the ‘Simmer Dim’. There will be lots of highlights on this trip. We stand on the very far north of Unst, with views past white rocks covered with nesting Gannets to the lighthouse at Muckle Flugga, the most northerly British islands. Another day, we stand by the lighthouse at Sumburgh, Shetland’s most southerly tip, with views to Fair Isle. In-between, our time is devoted to these islands of rolling hills, jagged sea-cliffs and secluded sheltered havens for wind-blown birds. We also take several spectacular boat trips to visit the more remote offshore islands, all busy with birds. The Shetland Isles are the summer home to some of the biggest seabird colonies in Britain. At this time Gannet, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill and Black Guillemot number over half a million in total. Offshore Kittiwake, Common and Arctic Tern are harassed by marauding Great and Arctic Skua to relinquish their catch. The (endemic) ‘Shetland’ Wren is common, as are breeding Wheatear, Meadow and Rock Pipit and Twite. Moorland lochs host Red-throated Diver in stunning breeding plumage, plus wildfowl and waders. Two birds of national significance which breed here are Whimbrel and Red-necked Phalarope, both with very small populations but we have every chance of finding them at known sites. Many guests list a visit to the Storm Petrel colony on Mousa as their highlight. To stand in the best kept iron-age broch in the world at dusk, as tiny Storm Petrels flit around and churr from the walls and stone beaches is truly magical. Shetland is a very good place to see Otters and both Common and Grey Seals too. Cetaceans including Harbour Porpoise, Minke Whale and Orca occur annually, and we will follow up on reports if nearby. We take two dedicated birding boat trips plus several scheduled ferries as we cover the birdlife of at least seven islands. You will visit Fetlar, Mousa and Noss (non-landing), as well as birding extensively on Unst, Yell and Mainland. Truly a holiday for the ‘island explorer’, as we witness some of the most impressive scenery and wildlife in the country; a fantastic experience in the long, northern summer. Total species c. 65. Number of centres: 2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Birding the Highlands in May (p62), Highlands and Corncrake (p62), High Season across the Highlands (p63)

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides in Spring (p77), Shetland in Spring for birders (p77), NEW! Ultimate Skye & Mull Explorer (p80).

ISLANDS ON THE EDGE from Coll and Tiree to the Uists SAT 22 MAY – SAT 29 MAY, SAT 5 JUNE – SAT 12 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £1995pp Single supplement: £195 SAT 21 MAY – SAT 28 MAY, SAT 4 JUNE – SAT 11 JUNE 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per departure. Leader Toby Green (1st departure). This eight-day, nine-island tour takes us to North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula, Berneray, Barra and Eriskay and boasts three nights on Coll and Tiree. With the machair coming into full bloom, Corncrake rasping, Snipe drumming, Redshank, Arctic and Little Terns vociferously guarding territories, and Basking Shark, Minke Whale and Common and Grey Seals around the white, sandy shorelines, this holiday is a wonderful celebration of Scottish island wildlife. The holiday begins in Nethy Bridge. We cross Skye, taking the ferry to the Outer Hebrides, watching for cetaceans and seabirds in ‘The Minch’. We explore North and South Uist, Berneray, Benbecula and Eriskay, to see Otter, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Red-necked Phalarope, terns, skuas, auks, waders, Corncrake, Great Northern Diver, Common Redpoll, and Black Guillemot. Rarities could include Ring-necked Duck, American Wigeon, Glaucous or Iceland Gull, or even Snowy Owl. We reach Barra via Eriskay, and after exploring this small island take the ferry to Tiree, watching again for cetaceans, Basking Shark, auks, divers, Gannets and perhaps Storm Petrel. Everyone loves to see Corncrake, and Tiree is home to more calling males than anywhere else in Britain. Tiree also has a nationally important population of breeding waders, and the machair is full of Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Snipe and Ringed Plover chicks. Pintail is a rare breeder, and sounds at night could include the buzzing song of Grasshopper Warbler, the bizarre call of Water Rail, the liquid song of Quail or even the ‘whip-lash’ call of rare Spotted Crake. On nearby Coll, we listen and look for Corncrake, and search for Basking Shark and Otter along the coasts. Perhaps the most under-visited of all large Scottish islands, Coll and Tiree are special places. Our final ferry takes us between the Ardnamurchan Peninsula and Mull to Oban, keeping our eyes open for Harbour Porpoise, Bottle-nosed, Common and Risso’s Dolphins, Minke Whale and a host of seabirds including Manx Shearwater. From Oban, we drive back to Nethy Bridge. Total species c. 90. Number of centres: 4. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & Corncrake (p62), High Season across the Highlands (p63), Outer Limits in Summer (p64).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

NEW! Ultimate Skye & Mull Explorer (p80).

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

79


ORKNEY ISLAND EXPLORER Westray, Hoy, Rousay, Burray and both South and North Ronaldsay SAT 29 MAY – SAT 5 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £1945pp Single supplement: £150 SAT 28 MAY – SAT 4 JUNE 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Mark Warren. This dedicated trip to Orkney is a wide-ranging exploration of these fabulous islands. The main focus is on birding, though scenery and archaeology are important too on this enjoyable holiday. Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl will be settling to breed, and Peregrine and Merlin hunt along the meadow fringes. Eight species of duck, including locally uncommon Shoveler and Pintail plus a variety of waders, including breeding Black-tailed Godwit and Snipe and Water Rail also frequent these areas. We visit seabird cliffs, and see waders, divers and ducks inland, plus Brown Hare, and Common and Grey Seal. Island hopping is a key feature of this thorough exploration of Orkney. We visit Westray for its special seabirds, Rousay is famed for archaeology and Hoy is unique in the archipelago; three very different islands all with very different habitats and associated flora and fauna. On Mainland we have many options selecting the best sites for increased variety, dedicating time to the excellent Birsay Moors, the Loons RSPB and other great wildlife hotspots known to our guides. Another highlight will be our ‘Islander’ flight to the tiny island of North Ronaldsay. Famed for its seaweed eating sheep, we stay at the Bird Observatory, a perfect base to work closely with the wardening team and learn about ‘island life’. In previous years we have seen scarce migrants including Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole, Nightjar, Icterine or Marsh Warbler, Bluethroat, Common Rosefinch and even a summering Grey Phalarope. It isn’t all birding though and we have plenty of time to enjoy the unique feel of this enchanting small island. Total species c. 80. Number of centres: 2. On this holiday we also visit some of the finest archaeological sites in Britain. The World Heritage Site settlement of Skara Brae is a must-see, as are Maes Howe, the 6-metre high Standing Stones of Combine with: Stenness and the 5000-year-old Ring of Brodgar. All entry fees are included in your holiday price and SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS we will also plan to visit the Italian Chapel, Scapa Flow Museum, Tomb of the Eagles (if time allows) Highlands & Corncrake (p62) Highlands and Orkney (p63). and historic Kirkwall for its sites and for a spot of souvenir hunting in the narrow lanes.

NEW! ULTIMATE SKYE & MULL EXPLORER A complete tour, including a total of eleven islands and offering a multitude of wildlife. SUN 30 MAY – TUES 8 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £2395pp Single supplement: £250 SUN 29 MAY – TUES 7 JUNE 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Toby Green. A grand tour of two of the best places to watch wildlife in Scotland, Skye and Mull! Our targets will be diverse as eagles, harriers, Corncrake and Grasshopper Warbler, and supported by a full suite of western Scottish wildlife, including breeding Puffin, many other seabirds, cetaceans, seals and Otter. A trip for the ‘island bagger’, we plan to visit by land or sea an impressive total of eleven Hebridean islands, landing on nine, and including some rarely visited and hidden gems. We begin on the large island of Skye, dedicating time to explore the Trotternish peninsula to the north, famed for eagles, dramatic views and geology. With time for a thorough exploration, less visited places to the west hold much potential, as does the seldom-visited island of Raasay to the east. During exciting boat trips to the south we plan to visit the sea the islands of Muck, Eigg, Canna, Rum and Soay, and anticipate regular sightings of seals and cetaceans. Relocating to Mull, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, both eagles and divers in summer plumage are all likely, and the island is arguably one of the best places in the country to watch Otter. On one day, we take an exciting boat trip to the Treshnish Isles lying to the west, visiting Fingal's Cave on Staffa before making landfall on Lunga for one of Britain's outstanding seabird experiences. Walking among the dense Puffin colony, we should also see Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, Shag and skuas. Our final island of a holiday full of highlights will be Iona, where we hope to see Corncrake and spend time relaxing with a look around its iconic Abbey. We stay at three centres on this island odyssey, also enjoying wildlife rich Combine with: Ardnamurchan and Morvern on the Scottish mainland, and also spend time searching for Ptarmigan on the Applecross ridge. A wonderful adventure of the west, not to SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS be missed! Highlands & Corncrake (p62)

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Shetland Island Explorer (p79), Islands on the Edge (p79).

80

tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


SHETLAND and ORKNEY SAT 12 JUNE – SUN 20 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £2295pp Single supplement: £310* SAT 11 JUNE – SUN 19 JUNE 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide TBA Deposit: £200pp Price excludes flight from Aberdeen. Max 7 clients. Leader Toby Green. Join us to enjoy some of the most impressive scenery and wildlife in Britain, and indulge in the culture, history and archaeology of these ancient lands. A fantastic experience in the long northern summer. We fly Aberdeen to Sumburgh and explore south Mainland, including a seawatch where we hope to see Puffins, and have a chance of Minke Whale, Harbour Porpoise and Orca. A visit to local lochs should produce Red-throated Diver and skuas, breeding Golden Plover, Whimbrel and Curlew, ‘real’ Rock Dove, Black Guillemot, Twite and ‘Shetland’ Wren. We make a late evening visit to the Storm Petrel colony on Mousa, a spectacular show of sight, sound and smell! We expect close-up views of Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin and Kittiwake by the thousand, and it is the sheer numbers which impress the most. Confiding Arctic Skua are present, and Harbour Porpoise are likely from land or boat. We make ferry trips to Unst, the most northerly inhabited island, and Fetlar, where dainty Red-necked Phalarope may be seen, and we have a good chance of Otter here too. At Hermaness, a walk through the world’s second-largest Great Skua colony takes us to the northernmost cliffs of the British Isles. From the 400ft high cliffs, we overlook the lighthouse of Muckle Flugga and around 140,000 breeding seabirds! At another site we also look for Edmondston’s Chickweed (Shetland Mouse-ear), one of the world’s rarest plants, endemic to Shetland. After a great few days on Shetland watching birds in the ‘simmer dim’, we transfer to Orkney. With the archipelago Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl quarter moorland in search of Orkney Vole, and Peregrine and Merlin hunt waders and passerines along the meadow fringes. Uncommon breeders include Shoveler and Pintail, Black-tailed Godwit and Snipe with Water Rail also found on inland pools. Rich in archaeological interest the 6-metre high Standing Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar, 5000 year old Skara Brae are must visit sites and we will also plan to include Maes Howe, Scapa Flow, the Churchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel in a thorough exploration of these amazing islands. All access fees included. Return by air to Aberdeen. Total species c. 75. Number of centres: 3.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Highlands & Orkney (p63).

INNER HEBRIDES from Canna to Iona FRI 18 JUNE – FRI 25 JUNE 2021 PRICE: £2045pp Single supplement: £195 FRI 17 JUNE – FRI 24 JUNE 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader from our experienced team. This exciting journey through the Inner Hebrides takes you to seven beautiful islands, Canna, Eigg, Muck, Mull, Staffa, Lunga and Iona. We also visit remote Ardnamurchan, and travel through the scenic west coast between Mallaig and Morvern, a wild area of spectacular natural beauty. The wildlife is truly outstanding, and our days will be filled with seabirds, eagles, otters and cetaceans. The holiday is relaxed, and we stay at three centres as we make our way south from Mallaig to Mull. We enjoy a day exploring Canna by foot, looking for eagles, skuas and other birdlife of the basalt cliffs, sea caves, green meadows, stacks and sandy shores. Minke Whale is an important target on an unforgettable boat trip across the sea to Eigg and Muck, and Basking Shark, Manx Shearwater, Black Guillemot, Raven, and maybe a tiny darting Storm Petrel ensure a wildlife day to remember! We may see ‘real’ Rock Dove, Hooded Crow, Red-throated Diver, thousands of Guillemot, Razorbill, a few Puffin, lots of Gannet, Kittiwake... birds all the way! Ardnamurchan peninsula is often overlooked, yet blessed with wonderful wildlife, and we have access to remote wilderness sites here, where we seek Otter. On Mull, a true wildlife paradise and with more eagles than anywhere else in Britain we can expect excellent views along with Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Raven and a range of northern moorland species. It is also excellent for flowers and insects, with a good range of species, including Marsh and Dark Green Fritillaries. We enjoy another thrilling boat trip, first visiting the Isle of Staffa, where we can see Fingal’s Cave and also scan for breeding Great Skua. Any lingering Great Northern Diver will be superb in summer finery and continuing on to the tiny isle of Lunga next, the ‘Puffin experience’ is one of the best in the British Isles! Finally, we visit Iona, where the grassy fields around the ancient Abbey hold Corncrake. There can be up to 20 males calling, and although we can’t guarantee a sighting, we should hear the birds rasping, and may get lucky with a glimpse or two! Total species c. 75. Number of centres: 3.

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Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & Isle of May (p65), Highland Wildlife (p65).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides and the Shiant Isles (p82).

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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OUTER HEBRIDES and the SHIANT ISLES Skye, Harris, Lewis, and the Shiant Isles SAT 26 JUNE – FRI 2 JULY 2021 SAT 25 JUNE – FRI 1 JULY 2022 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Ian Ford.

PRICE: £1995pp Single supplement: £175 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

A real adventure, taking in some of the most remote and isolated parts of the British Isles, including chartered boat trips to rarely visited Little Bernera, and the Shiant Islands. We travel across Skye, where highlights include both eagles, Otter and a quiet spot for Adders. We also search for Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl on remote back roads. Depending on weather, we may explore Harris, where stunning beaches and superb mountains make the island so famous, with picture-postcard views around every corner or head to Berneray across the Sound of Harris to see the dunes and machair. On Lewis, we take a RIB boat trip to Little Bernera, a fascinating and under visited island west of Lewis featuring good flora and fauna in breathtaking scenery. The overwhelming feel is of space and solitude, and you are unlikely to meet many other tourists! On Lewis, we explore the rarely visited southwest corner, targeting Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Merlin, Twite, Wheatear, Red-throated and Blackthroated Diver, Cuckoo, Eider, Greenshank and other waders, Common and Grey Seal and Otter. Other highlights are a visit to the Callanish standing stones and ancient Dun Carloway broch. At the Butt of Lewis, seabirds fly around the north-western edge of the British Isles and we enjoy great views as they pass. Twite, Rock Pipit and Wheatear breed and rarities can arrive at any time on this exposed headland. A major destination is the Shiant Isles, twelve miles from the northern tip of Skye. This is a very important Puffin site, hosting around 240,000 birds, two percent of the world’s population! We charter our own RIB boat, and as we travel, the seas can teem with birds: Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Great Skua around the ‘flurries’ of fish, many Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake, the occasional Storm Petrel, and more! We have excellent chances of Rock Dove, Peregrine and White-tailed Eagle here and on our final morning during a visit to Tiumpan Head, a great seawatching spot, with a long list of recorded cetaceans. Our holiday concludes with a return crossing of the Minch with further wildlife opportunities. Total species c. 80. Number of centres: 3.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

The Outer Limits in summer (p64), NEW! Ultimate Scotland (p64), Eagles, Divers and Dotterel (p66).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Inner Hebrides from Canna to Iona (p81), Ultimate Outer Hebrides (p82).

ULTIMATE OUTER HEBRIDES SAT 3 JULY – MON 12 JULY 2021 PRICE: £2345pp Single supplement: £250 SAT 2 JULY – MON 11 JULY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader from our experienced team. A complete 10-day tour of the Outer Hebrides, from the Butt of Lewis at the northernmost point, to Mingulay at the very southern end of the island chain. A comprehensive tour through the isles in high summer, we pay special consideration toward general natural history, including birds, cetaceans, insect life, abundant flora, and also key historical and cultural sites, all at a leisurely pace. Lewis is a fascinating island, internationally important for divers, Greenshank, eagles and other raptors. We head to the northernmost point, the famous Butt of Lewis, a superb seawatching spot, then work our way down the west coast, calling in at Dun Carloway broch and the Standing Stones of Callinish. We take minor roads to Uig for Golden and Whitetailed Eagle and take to the water to explore the coastline and sealochs thoroughly. With luck we may connect with cetaceans and perhaps our first Otter and seals. Harris is a scenic gem, with a different feel to Lewis, and a full range of rugged habitats, long sweeping beaches and dune systems. We spend a full day exploring, and have good chances of Raven, Peregrine and perhaps a fleeting Merlin, plus both eagles. Our ferry to the southern half of the Outer Hebrides takes a slow journey through islets in the Sound of Harris. We spend a morning on Berneray, and head south to Balranald RSPB reserve on North Uist. Famous for its nesting waders, rich machair and seascapes, this is a favourite place on our Hebridean adventures. We take a boat trip down to Mingulay, the largest of the uninhabited islands at the extreme south of the Outer Hebridean archipelago. Superb for seabirds and general scenery, this promises to be an exciting day on the water. On South Uist we look for Otter, and Hen Harrier, continuing south one afternoon Combine with: to Eriskay, another beautiful island now joined by causeway. We travel by ferry to Barra, and this island of rich, white sand backed by vibrant green crofting land dotted SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS with outcrops of rock, is perhaps one of the most photogenic destinations in Highlands & Isle of May (p65), Highland Wildlife (p65). Scotland. Finally, we take the ferry from Barra to Oban, with good chances of Minke SCOTTISH ISLANDS Whale or a Basking Shark en-route. Number of centres 4. Outer Hebrides and the Shiants (p82).

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email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

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ST KILDA and the HEBRIDES FRI 9 JULY – FRI 16 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1995pp Single supplement*: £40 FRI 8 JULY – FRI 15 JULY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA *single supplement is for the land only section of the holiday. Shared cabins. Deposit: £200pp Max 10 clients. Leader from our experienced team.. A fabulous six-day cruise aimed at wonderful St Kilda, one of Scotland’s World Heritage Sites. Your chances of reaching the islands are excellent, because we travel with a skipper based on the land nearest to St Kilda itself. Operators based further away are more susceptible to weather conditions which may deny the opportunity to reach the islands. From Nethy Bridge we cross The Minch to Stornoway, where we relax with a walk through nearby woodland looking for island races of Wren and Song Thrush. On Saturday, we board our comfortable vessel for six nights on the ocean wave, climaxing in our expedition westwards to the outpost of St Kilda. There are no guarantees, but in reasonable weather we moor overnight in village bay, and spend a full day on the largest island, Hirta. This should give us time to find St Kilda Wren, a distinctive subspecies, 2-3g heavier than mainland birds. Soay Sheep, St Kilda Field Mouse and the history of this remote community will also be of great interest, and sunrise and sunset are spectacular in good weather. Everyone should visit St Kilda at least and the islands are famous for its huge seabird colonies. The spectacle and clamour of a million birds at the height of their breeding season, in northwest Europe’s largest colony, is unforgettable. Highlights include Puffin (more than 250,000 – the largest colony in Britain), Manx Shearwater, Fulmar (more than 100,000 – the largest colony in Western Europe), Guillemot and Razorbill. The Gannet colony is the largest in the world, estimated at over 120,000 birds and growing! As we sail, Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Great Skua for feeding frenzies around the ‘flurries’ of fish alongside Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake. We should see Storm Petrel too - the seas can teem with birds. We should encounter Otter on rocky beaches and inlets, and Minke Whale, Basking Shark, Harbour Porpoise, Bottle-nosed, Common and Risso’s Dolphin are all possible too. There is no fixed itinerary for the rest of the holiday, though spectacular island scenery is all around, and we will visit remote bays and unspoilt beaches where birdlife is likely to include all three divers in breeding plumage, waders including Greenshank and Golden Plover, White-tailed and Golden Eagles, Merlin and Twite. We explore the machair and its flora, with rare orchids in flower as we embark on day trips to other depopulated islands perhaps including Scarp, Little Bernera, Taransay or perhaps the Monarch Isles. Total species c. 65. Number of centres: 2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands & Wester Ross (p66).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Orkney in High Summer (p84), NEW! Shetland Wildlife in Summer (p84)

COLL and TIREE in SUMMER MON 12 JULY – SAT 17 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1695pp Single supplement: £175 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Mike Coleman. A delightful holiday visiting two of Scotland’s remotest and most westerly islands. We will pick out sites carefully based on tide, wind and weather enjoying a relaxed paced, natural history based exploration of these hidden gems! Basking Shark is an important target, we are here at perhaps the best time for this strange and impressive large fish. The waters around Coll and Tiree hold some of the highest numbers in the UK, and we may also see them from ferries between Oban and the islands. Seawatching can be excellent too, and our ferry journeys may also produce Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater and many auks – excitement all the way! On Coll we look for Otter, breeding Hen Harrier and also plants of the machair. The island has an abundance of orchids with Pyramidal and Frog being key target species, and Common Centaury, Field Gentian and Grass of Parnassus will be sought too. A full day here will be spent looking for wildlife from waders in bright summer plumage, to insects of the machair, including rare Great Yellow Bumblebee and very rare Red Shanked Carder Bee. During our transfer to Tiree we again look out for Basking Shark. cetaceans and seabirds, arriving on a breathtakingly beautiful island with a ‘big sky’ feeling. Orchids again feature on ‘the machair’ along with Lesser Meadow Rue and other sandy specialists. Seabirds, Corncrake, waders, passerines, rare plants and insects - there is so much to see and do on Coll and Tiree! Both islands have a high density of nesting waders, and with young having fledged most will be in large post-breeding flocks, which can harbour rarities. Corncrake will still be present, though this late in the season are harder to find in tall grass being less vocal or territorial having attracted a mate. We do of course still have a chance, taking an optional evening drive, listening out for their rasping calls and for Spotted Crake which has bred previously on Tiree. The holiday begins and ends in Oban, though transfers from Nethy Bridge are also available. No of centres: 2. Facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Eagles, Divers & Dotterel (p66), Highlands & Wester Ross (p66).

Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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ORKNEY in HIGH SUMMER Westray, Hoy, Burray and both South and North Ronaldsay SAT 17 JULY – SAT 24 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1945pp Single supplement: £150 SAT 16 JULY – SAT 23 JULY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Mark Warren. Orkney is superb in summer, and this island-hopping trip throughout the archipelago will be full of highlights. Botanists will be delighted at tiny and rare Scottish Primrose (in their second flowering period) and other flowers in coastal locations, whilst insect lovers can enjoy rare Greater Yellow Bumblebees at the same time! Birding is good throughout, with an extra special opportunity to see Storm Petrel at close quarters. We transfer from Heatherlea to Orkney via ferry watching for seabirds and cetaceans from the open deck. Once we arrive, we begin wildlife watching and visit the wonderfully crafted Italian Chapel. Our next few days will see us island hopping, taking in the full range of Orcadian habitats on fertile Westray, where we enjoy the Gannets of Noup Head and Puffins at another site. On Hoy, we walk through the Great Skua colony to view the famous ‘Old Man’ stack and have excellent chances of seeing breeding Hen Harrier and Red-throated Diver, plus also White-tailed Eagle which has only recently returned after a 100year absence. On Mainland Orkney, post-breeding waders, Twite and raptors including Merlin are top targets again and we visit many of the finest archaeological sites in Britain from the 5000year old Skara Brae settlement, immaculate Maeshowe, Broch of Gurness, Tomb of the Eagles (if time allows), the 6-metre high Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar -perhaps the most iconic. All entry fees are included, and we also visit Scapa Flow and the Churchill Barriers with time in Kirkwall or Stromness for their respective historic sites, or a spot of souvenir hunting in the narrow lanes. An exciting part of this holiday is our trip to North Ronaldsay, beginning with an 8-seater Islander flight to the island offering a unique opportunity to see the Orkney Isles from above. Here we hope to see Storm Petrels, and our visit coincides with the period for ringing studies where large nightly catches, perhaps of over 100 birds might include a rare Leach’s Petrel too! An unforgettable experience, though netting sessions are weather dependent. The birding is always great here and rarities at this time can include Balearic, Great and Cory’s Shearwater, Roseate Tern, Spoonbill, Pacific Golden Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, White-winged Black Tern and Two-barred Crossbill - on North Ronaldsay anything is possible! Total species c. 80. Number of centres: 2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Eagles, Divers & Dotterel (p66), Highlands & The Bass Rock (p67), NEW! Birds and Mammals incl Perthshire (p67)

NEW! SHETLAND in HIGH SUMMER SAT 10 JULY – SAT 17 JULY, SAT 17 JULY – SAT 24 JULY 2021 PRICE: £1995pp Single supplement: £195 SAT 9 JULY – SAT 16 JULY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Price excludes flights from Aberdeen to Sumburgh. With so much to do and see, summer is a superb time to visit Shetland. On this wide-ranging natural history holiday there is something for all, and our varied itinerary will be of interest to birdwatchers, general wildlife enthusiasts, botanists and island baggers alike. During the holiday you will see some of the most densely populated seabird colonies in the country; Gannet, Shag, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Kittiwake, Arctic Skua, Common and Arctic Tern are all represented, some in abundance. An evening excursion to the Storm Petrel colony on Mousa will be an exciting highlight, as will a special boat trip to wild Foula off the west coast. There, the waters offer much potential for cetaceans and we also plan to cruise under the sheer cliffs  plus explore on foot the  home of the largest Great Skua colony in Britain! Freshwater lochans host breeding Red-throated Divers and we seek rare breeding waders including Whimbrel, Golden Plover and delicate Red-necked Phalarope. Shetland is a good place to see both Otter and Grey Seal, while rare plants could include Oysterplant and Edmunston’s Chickweed, the latter growing only on Unst! We take in all the flora and fauna we encounter, with plenty of opportunity for scenic photography as we go. We intend to see as much of the rugged archipelago as possible, and this tour is definitely one for the island bagger, visiting eight islands, with dedicated trips to both Mousa and Foula. We also plan to visit Yell, Fetlar, Noss and Bressay, from our bases on both Unst and Mainland Shetland. This tour will run at a relaxed place incorporating some of the fascinating historical, cultural and archaeological heritage of the islands within Shetland. We plan to visit the Combine with: Jarlshof site, Mousa Broch, a replica Viking longboat and longhouse on Unst and see the SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS town of Scalloway, the  ancient capital and home to the Shetland Bus operation during Eagles, Divers & Dotterel (p66), Highlands & Wester Ross (p66), the Second World War. With hotels in the best locations, those who wish to enjoy early NEW! Birds and Mammals incl Perthshire (p67), Highlands and or late  wanders will never be bored, and in July, long evenings give way to an ethereal Bass Rock (p67). twilight known as the ‘simmer dim’, a fantastic experience in the long, northern summer.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


NORTH RONALDSAY and ORKNEY in Autumn for birders SAT 21 AUGUST – FRI 27 AUGUST 2021, PRICE (2021): £1595pp Single supplement: £130 SAT 20 AUGUST – FRI 26 AUGUST 2022 PRICE (2022): TBA SAT 11 SEPTEMBER – FRI 17 SEPTEMBER, SAT 18 SEPTEMBER – FRI 24 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE (2021): £1595pp Single supplement: £130 SAT 10 SEPTEMBER – FRI 16 SEPTEMBER, SAT 17 SEPTEMBER – FRI 23 SEPTEMBER 2022 PRICE (2022): TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per departure. Leader from our experienced team. Few birders venture to this remote outpost, so expect peace and quiet with a strong sense of exploration, and depending on the predominant wind direction, birds from east or west. Choose our early autumn date for the beginning of return passerine migration or the latter dates when migration is in full swing. In favorable conditions, passage migrants may include Willow, Garden and Wood Warbler, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Whinchat, Tree Pipit and other common passerines. Island habitats are varied, offering fantastic wader passage and joining commoner species can be Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood, Green, Common and Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint while regular rarities have included American Golden Plover, Pectoral and Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope. Osprey, Marsh and Hen Harrier, Merlin and Short-eared Owl frequently visit too, and while can be no guarantee of any particular species, North Ronaldsay is always surprising and very rewarding. We work alongside the highly skilled Bird Observatory staff, who will be out birding and ringing, depending on the weather. We will have the option of joining in these activities most days. A completely different birding holiday destination, North Ronaldsay is easy to reach with Heatherlea and in good weather, regular scarcities might include Redbacked Shrike, Richard’s Pipit, Wryneck, Bluethroat, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Barred, Icterine, Yellow-browed and Marsh Warbler, Common Rosefinch, Ortolan, Lapland and Little Bunting. Rarities might include Great Snipe, Citrine Wagtail, Pechora Pipit, Radde’s, Greenish, Eastern Olivaceous, Arctic, Sykes and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Brown Shrike, Yellow-breasted and Rustic Bunting and Arctic Redpoll. Seawatching can be exceptional, and the early date is traditionally a good time when large movements of Sooty Shearwater, Storm Petrel and skuas can take place with this also the best time for Great, Cory’s and Balearic Shearwater. We also enjoy birding around Orkney, visiting hotspots known to our guides where anything can happen! If there is time we may visit the impressive standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar and stop at the delightful Italian Chapel. This is a Birders’ tour, principally

focused on finding and identifying rare birds. We will have some time for cultural, historical and retail requests, but birding comes first. For a more general tour of North Ronaldsay & Orkney, we recommend our Orkney Island Explorer (p58) or Orkney in High Summer (p63) holidays. Total species c. 90. Number of centres: 2. Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Autumn in the Highlands with Easy Walking (p69), Twenty Scottish Specials (p69), Raptors & Grouse (p70), NEW! Autumn Migration in the Highlands (p70), The Outer Limits Adventure (p71).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

Outer Hebrides in Early Autumn for birders (p85), Shetland in Autumn for birders (p86), Unexplored Orkney (p86).

OUTER HEBRIDES in EARLY AUTUMN for birders SAT 29 AUGUST – FRI 4 SEPTEMBER 2020 PRICE: £1595pp Single supplement: £95 SAT 28 AUGUST – FRI 3 SEPTEMBER 2021 PRICE: £1645pp Single supplement: £145 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per leader. Leader from our experienced team. Early autumn is excellent for migration within the Hebrides and is a fantastic, quieter time to visit. Waders may dominate, with an abundance of Dunlin, Knot, Sanderling, both godwits, moulting Golden Plover and more and scarce migrants might include Grey, Phalarope, Pectoral and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Dotterel and American Golden Plover. This time of year is also excellent for rare passerines such as Barred Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Greenish Warbler, Red-backed Shrike and Lapland Bunting. The mouth-watering list of rarities found on these islands in recent times during this period includes Nearctic wanderers including Baird’s, White-rumped, Semi-palmated, Solitary, Spotted and Western Sandpiper (seen by our 2016 group), Lesser Yellowlegs, Ring-necked Duck, Snowy Owl, Glaucous Gull, Hawfinch, Common Rosefinch, Hoopoe, Sabine’s Gull, American Wigeon, Laughing Gull, Pacific Golden Plover and Britain’s first and only Purple Martin. We also investigate flocks of seaduck off Harris, where Surf Scoter might be found amongst the commoner species. Birding starts on Skye, perhaps with a Golden Eagle. On the ferry to Lochmaddy all four skuas are possible. Fulmar, Gannet, Black Guillemot and other auks can be expected along with Storm Petrel, Manx and perhaps Sooty, Balearic or even Great Shearwater. The ferry through the Sound of Harris may produce divers at close quarters, both seals and White-tailed Eagle. Harris is stunning, and we bird scenic bays and iconic beaches before continuing through to Lewis. Here we visit Tiumpan Head and the Butt of Lewis, and a network of shallow lochs, wader rich bays and lochans. Even if migration is slow we have Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, rafts of seabirds, Eider, and divers to find. Not forgetting Hebridean races of Song Thrush and Wren and key species such as Corn Bunting, Twite and Rock Pipit. Our itinerary will be flexible and we move around (within reason!) according to the best birding. Number of centres: 2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Autumn in the Highlands with Easy Walking (p69), NEW! Autumn Migration in the Highlands (p70).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ronaldsay & Orkney in early Autumn for birders (p85).

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Twitter: @heatherleabirds

Instagram: @heatherleabirds

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SHETLAND in AUTUMN for birders SAT 18 SEPTEMBER – SAT 25 SEPTEMBER, SAT 25 SEPTEMBER – SAT 2 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £1745pp Single supplement: £195 SAT 17 SEPTEMBER – SAT 24 SEPTEMBER, SAT 24 SEPTEMBER – SAT 1 OCTOBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Deposit: £200pp Price excludes flight from Aberdeen. Max 7 clients per leader. Leaders TBA This exciting holiday offers the chance to see a variety of rare and scarce migrants amid spectacular scenery. We stay in two centres, one on Shetland Mainland, and one on Unst, Britain’s most northerly island, allowing us to spread our wings and locate highly desirable rare birds more easily. We will cover all the key birding locations for autumn migration including the outer isles, if the weather and ferry availability allow! Possibilities are almost endless, with American and Siberian birds coming through on favourable winds, often at the same time! Previous goodies have included Pallid Harrier, Surf Scoter, Little Auk, American Golden Plover, Buff-breasted, Spotted and Pectoral Sandpipers, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Grey Phalarope, Wryneck, Bluethroat, Red-backed and both Lesser and Great Grey Shrikes, Short-toed Lark, Pechora, Richard’s, Olive-backed and Buff-bellied Pipits, Citrine Wagtail, Redbreasted and Taiga Flycatchers, White’s Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Veery, Red-flanked Bluetail, Yellow-browed, Yellow-rumped, Marsh, Barred, Lanceolated, Arctic and Blyth’s Reed Warblers, Arctic Redpoll, Common Rosefinch, Little, Rustic and Lapland Bunting. A real feast of birding! Exactly what turns up depends upon the weather, so there are no guarantees, but we’ll try and find our own birds and twitch good ones as we travel around the islands. If the wind is in the east, then large falls of finches, thrushes and crests are also likely. Please note that this is a Birders tour, principally focused on finding and identifying rare birds of our own, with frequent trips to see the rarities others have found. We will have some time for cultural, historical and retail requests, but birding comes first on this particular holiday. For those that want a more general tour of Shetland, we thoroughly recommend our Shetland Island Explorer (p57) or our Shetland and Orkney (p59) holiday. Total species c. 80. Number of centres:2.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Raptors & Grouse (p70), Outer Limits Adventure (p71), Highlands and Skye in Autumn (p71).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ronaldsay & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85).

UNEXPLORED ORKNEY Westray, Papa Westray & Sanday SAT 25 SEPTEMBER – FRI 1 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £1745pp Single supplement: £190 SAT 24 SEPTEMBER – FRI 30 SEPTEMBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. An exploration of the more remote parts of the archipelago, focused on birding while also enjoying some of the outstanding heritage of the islands. Birding possibilities are great, as early October is a rich time for southbound migrants, and local expertise gives us every chance of connecting with rare and scarce visitors. This exciting itinerary includes birding on Papa Westray and Sanday, remote and stunningly beautiful islands with huge potential, not previously available to birding groups. Most terrain is flat and easy to negotiate, while largely unrestricted access allows us to ‘get off the beaten track’ and explore. Our daily schedule may include sea-watching, with passing Sooty and Manx Shearwaters, skuas, divers and auks possible. General birding might bring Pink-footed, Greylag and Barnacle Geese plus other wildfowl. Waders feature strongly, with coastal bays, beaches and harvested fields often full of birds, there will certainly be plenty to look through in the hope of unearthing our own rarities! Raptors are very much a feature, with Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine and Short-eared Owl the most likely. At this time, large numbers of thrushes will be on the move from Scandinavia, as will finches and warblers. Just about anything is possible in the right conditions, and rarities vary each year depending on the prevailing winds, though the location of the islands makes Orkney ideal to receive wandering species from north, south, east and west – a brilliant birding experience. As Orkneys reputation grows a number of rarities have been found in autumn recently, including Siberian Accentor, Red-flanked Bluetail, Rustic and Little Bunting, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and American Golden Plover. On this holiday we spend two nights on Westray, giving time to fully cover the island, its habitats, and places us in prime position to visit nearby Papa Westray where pioneering birding awaits. Orkney offers stunning scenery and historical interest, and we visit important Neolithic sites on the mainland, and also the wonderfully well Combine with: preserved Knap of Howar on Papa Westray while the beaches on Sanday SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS Outer Limits Adventure (p71), Highlands & Skye in Autumn (p71). are among the best in Britain. No of centres: 2.

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

North Ronaldsay & Orkney in Autumn for birders (p85), Outer Hebrides in Autumn for birders (p87).

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


OUTER HEBRIDES in AUTUMN for birders SAT 2 OCTOBER – FRI 8 OCTOBER 2021 SAT 1 OCTOBER – FRI 7 OCTOBER 2022 Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per leader.

PRICE: £1645pp Single supplement: £145 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

The Outer Hebrides are famous for rarities in autumn, and this is a real birders’ treat as we seek wind-blown rarities at the best time of year. A good amount of our time will be spent looking for rare birds, checking patches of cover, ditches and gardens, whilst working through the flocks of waders, ducks or passerines, as many vagrants hide amongst their commoner cousins. Our recent finds have included a good number of American vagrants following westerly gales, with White-rumped, Baird’s, Pectoral and Spotted Sandpipers, American Golden Plover and Lesser Yellowlegs. Our best recent find has been a Red-eyed Vireo in a remote plantation! If winds are from the east Yellow-browed Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling, Arctic Redpoll and Red-breasted Flycatcher occur annually. Almost anything is possible here, with incredibly rare birds recorded at this time in recent years including Wilson’s Warbler, Hermit Thrush, White’s Thrush, Buff-bellied, Pechora and Olive-backed Pipits, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Snowy Owl, Ovenbird and Long-billed Dowitcher. If migration is slow we will not be bored, with a superb resident list of Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Hen Harrier, Merlin and Twite, not forgetting Otters! Regular, expected migrants at this time of year include all three divers, Long-tailed Duck and scoters, Snow Bunting, Jack Snipe and good numbers of Purple Sandpiper, Golden Plover and Sanderling, with Whooper Swans and Barnacle Geese arriving from the north. With the Atlantic Ocean to scan, and The Minch to cross twice, we are sure to pick up a good list of seabirds, which in recent years has included Sabine’s Gull, Sooty Shearwater, Leach’s Petrel and Pomarine Skua alongside the commoner petrels, shearwaters, auks and Combine with: skuas. Cetaceans have included Minke Whale and Common and Bottle-nosed Dolphins. Our exact itinerary is will be based on your Guide’s judgement regarding wind, tide and SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS recent sightings. With stunning autumnal light on the rugged landscape, we are sure of a Outer Limits Adventure (p71), Highlands and Skye in Autumn (p71).

SCOTTISH ISLANDS

memorable trip. Total species c. 85. Number of centres: 2.

Unexplored Orkney (p86).

ISLAY AND JURA SAT 16 OCTOBER – THURS 21 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £1595PP Single supplement: £120 SAT 15 OCTOBER – THURS 20 OCTOBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Islay is beautiful, with soft, rolling scenery and wonderful birdlife. We see large goose flocks including thousands of Barnacles and Greenland White-fronted. The sight and noise is unforgettable, and our mobile-hide minibus is invaluable when scouring flocks at close quarters. We may find Brent (pale-bellied), Greylag, Pink-footed and perhaps wild Canada Goose, but our real effort will go into rarity hunting! Snow, Red-breasted, and races of Lesser Canada and Cackling Goose have all been seen. Chough breed on Islay, and we should see them floating on the breeze at very close quarters. Other regulars include Twite and Snow Bunting. We search for three diver

species, Black Guillemot and other auks, and ducks with numbers of Scaup, Eider and perhaps a few Long-tailed and Common Scoter. We watch for local Golden and White-tailed Eagle and also present are Hen Harrier, Peregrine and regular Merlin. Waders include Golden Plover, Curlew, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling and a few Purple Sandpiper, with the chance of American rarities. Jura is well worth a visit for the scenery alone and is renowned for its population of Red Deer and we search for Otter along the coastline. Total species c. 80. Number of centres: 1.

Combine with:

SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

Highlands and Skye in Autumn (p71).

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HOLIDAYS in the rest of the UK

Heatherlea offer a few carefully selected holidays around the British mainland. We explore remote, little-known corners where birding is excellent, and all are ideal for birders and general wildlife enthusiasts alike, of any level of experience Everyone is welcome!

Each holiday has a maximum number of seven clients per guide. This means more personal attention, and more time with your Guide to help you get the best possible sightings. Heatherlea is a small company run BY birders FOR birders, where our clients really do come first. Come and see!

INDEX

What’s included in each holiday

West Sussex and Kent Norfolk and Suffolk Forest of Dean and the Somerset Levels NEW! Cornwall in Spring NEW! Isles of Scilly in Spring Northumberland in High Summer NEW! North Wales in Summer West Cornwall in Autumn for birders Isles of Scilly for birders Lancashire

89 89 89 90 90 91 91 92 92 93

4 comfortable en-suite accommodation. Any exceptions will be identified in advance. We choose from our personally inspected shortlist, where birders are welcome, and the hospitality is special. Guests are never expected to share. Full details with your joining pack. 4 all meals from dinner on arrival, including packed lunches, until breakfast on the final day. 4 all ferries and other access fees as stated in the detailed itinerary. Travel to the joining point has been carefully considered for your convenience, details on our website. 4 the services of your Heatherlea Guide. To read a Heatherlea Tour Pack with more information please visit our website or ask our office for a printed copy.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


WEST SUSSEX and KENT in WINTER SAT 30 JANUARY – SAT 6 FEBRUARY 2021 SAT 29 JANUARY – SAT 5 FEBRUARY 2022

PRICE: £1695pp Single supplement: £175 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Deposit: £200pp Max group size 7. Leader Bernie Forbes.

Sussex is delightful, with huge potential and an array of mixed winter habitats. We explore the Selsey peninsula, including famous RSPB Pagham Harbour, with huge numbers of wintering waders, ducks and geese. Chichester Harbour has many good sites such as East Head, Dell Quay and Fishbourne, as does newly created RSPB Medmerry. Our list could top 120 species, and we target Bewick's Swan, Dark-bellied Brent Goose (flocks of thousands), among which Black Brant is regular. Offshore we have chances of all three divers, Slavonian Grebe and both scoters, while a feature is the huge flocks of wintering Mediterranean Gulls, often over 100 individuals. Waders include Avocet, Golden Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Jack Snipe and both godwits. Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper may be seen, and wintering Sandwich Tern and Cattle and Great White Egret are becoming regular. It's not uncommon to find a Snow Bunting or Black Redstart, while sheltered copses can hold Firecrest, Chiffchaff and scarce Siberian Chiffchaff. The West Sussex Downs offer large winter flocks of Yellowhammer, Linnet, Chaffinch, Reed and Corn Bunting and in most years, Brambling. This area holds a high density of Grey Partridge, and plenty of prey for raptors including Hen Harrier, Red Kite, Peregrine, Merlin, Short-eared, Barn and Little Owl. Dartford Warbler is another target, we may find a Great Grey Shrike,

and Dean Woods might give us Hawfinch, Common Crossbill  or Marsh Tit, and an early displaying Goshawk. In the east, we explore Rye Harbour LNR and Pett Level, great sites for wildfowl  and waders, and often include Russian White-fronted Goose The unique Dungeness peninsula is the largest shingle promontory in Europe. This area holds important wintering numbers of grey geese and ducks including Scaup, Long tailed Duck, Smew, Goosander and Goldeneye. The sea can be busy with birds as Redthroated Diver, Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet, Kittiwake and Fulmar. This is one of the best places in the UK to see Caspian Gull, and often Glaucous and Iceland Gull are present too. Long-eared Owl can be found roosting in quiet places and Bearded Tit and Water Rail are frequently seen or heard. Bittern and Kingfisher may be seen, and Dungeness has a history of attracting a rarity or two! Number of centres: 2.

NORFOLK and SUFFOLK in WINTER SAT 6 FEBRUARY – SAT 13 FEBRUARY 2021 SAT 5 FEBRUARY – SAT 12 FEBRUARY 2022 Deposit: £200pp

PRICE: £1495pp Single supplement: £140 PRICE: TBA GUIDE: TBA

Max 7 clients per leader. Leader Toby Green with Mark Warren if more than 7 clients. An exciting new holiday to some of the UK’s premier winter birding destinations. East Anglia offers a wide variety and unrivalled birding potential at this time of year with a high species list and superb wildlife encounters are likely. We’ll spread our time between established reserves and also visit many superb lesser known sites, well away from the beaten track. Norfolk and Suffolk are both home to some of the best wetlands in the UK. Bittern will be a top target, and we also hope to see Common Crane in the fields, and as they come to roost in the Broads. Wildfowl will feature highly, with Whooper and Bewick’s Swan and vast numbers of wintering geese. By day we’ll search through Pink-footed and Dark-bellied Brent Geese for scarcer species including Taiga and Tundra Bean, both races of White-fronted, Barnacle and Black Brant, while mass dusk flights will be a true spectacle. Offshore a variety of sea-duck, divers, grebes and auks make for excellent sea-watching, while in rougher conditions storm driven species might include Little Auk, skuas (such as Great and Pomarine) or perhaps Grey Phalarope.

Internationally important wader numbers feed on the tidal estuaries, with Knot and Dunlin dominating though Avocet, Golden and Grey Plover, Spotted Redshank and Purple Sandpiper are likely. Beaches and saltmarsh hold Twite, Snow Bunting, Water Pipit and Shorelark, while Bearded Tit and Cetti’s Warbler can be found at several sites. Any wintering rarities will be on our radar too and in recent years these have included Great Grey Shrike, Parrot Crossbill, Hume’s and Pallas Warbler and Arctic Redpoll. Farmland, heaths and ‘the Brecks’ offer a fantastic change of scenery with a range of declining species available and there’s also the chance of Brambling, Woodlark, Hawfinch and Crossbill. This is a trip with something for everyone as we check local gulls for rarer species, and raptors will feature strongly. Hen and Marsh Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Peregrine, Merlin and Goshawk are all possible along with five Owl species if really lucky. A fantastic winter holiday! Total species c. 100+. Number of centres: 2.

FOREST of DEAN and THE SOMERSET LEVELS SAT 20 FEBRUARY – SAT 27 FEBRUARY 2021 PRICE: £1795pp Single supplement: £195 SAT 19 FEBRUARY – SAT 26 FEBRUARY 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients per guide. Leader Barry Embling joined by another member of the Heatherlea team with more than 7 clients. An opportunity to enjoy some of the best winter birding in England, as we search for elusive and sought-after forest species, and also seek wintering waders and wildfowl in estuary and wetland locations. Rewarding birding in three fascinating and very different habitats in the south-west of England. We first visit the Forest of Dean, around 35 square miles of mixed woodland nestled between the River Severn and River Wye on the Gloucestershire/Welsh border. The Forest holds some of the oldest Oak woods left in England and is arguably the best place in the country to see Hawfinch and Goshawk, two of the UK’s hardest-to-find breeding species. In March, resident Hawfinch numbers are boosted by continental wintering birds. They favour a small number of favourite feeding places, thereby increasing our chances of seeing them. The Forest also holds perhaps the highest density of Goshawk in the country, and the birds will be starting to display at this time. We know ‘secret’ places to find these elusive species, often over-looked by visiting birders, and local contacts will also be useful for up to date information. The Forest of Dean also supports an established population of over 200 free-living British Wild Boar; this is probably the

best place to see them in the country. Next we explore the Severn estuary, an excellent place for wintering wildfowl and waders, and we may see Greenland White-fronted Geese, Bewick's Swan, godwits, raptors and more. We visit WWT Slimbridge, Peter Scott's flagship reserve, and also visit Symonds Yat viewpoint, home to a resident pair of Peregrine. In the Somerset Levels we'll be looking for wintering wildfowl and wetland species, including Bittern, Water Rail, Marsh Harrier, thousands of wintering duck, Little and Great White Egret, Pochard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal and Goldeneye amongst many others. We will also be looking for the population of Common Crane which call the levels home, and of course the UK's largest Starling roost with up to a million birds which if attacked by raptors will go into their mesmerising murmuration, a truly unforgettable experience! This holiday starts in Gloucester and ends in Bridgewater. Number of centres: 2.

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NEW! CORNWALL in SPRING THURS 15 APRIL – THURS 22 APRIL 2021 THURS 14 APRIL – THURS 21 APRIL 2022

PRICE: £1695pp Single supplement: £95 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Deposit: £200pp Max group size 7. Leader Mark Warren. Join us for great birding in Cornwall, one of the most under-watched counties in the UK! Its 400 miles of superb coastline, steep cliffs, beautiful valleys and estuarine habitat all offer good birding. Based in Penwith in the far west, we explore many  birding sites with northbound summer migrants high on our agenda. Seabirds, wildfowl, waders and  passerines will feature, and if lucky we may connect with a rarity, there are many possibilities. Our schedule will be flexible around up-to-date local bird news and of course the weather. April is a great time to visit, and extensive knowledge of all the birding hotspots and lesser known sites gives us great chances. Key sites include Marazion Marsh, a wetland site for wildfowl and waders, Garganey and Cetti’s Warbler; ‘valley birding’ will begin at Porthgwarra, the most south-westerly point of Mainland Britain, and we bird for migrants, checking patches of trees and scrub. Passing Cuckoo, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Whinchat, Redstart, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, hirundines, pipits, finches, thrushes and a variety of warblers are all possible. Land’s End is one of the best birding locations in the UK. Isolated bushes and scrub are sparser than in the valleys, and the track record for rarities here is incredible, with Dotterel, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Common Crane, Black Kite, Montagu’s Harrier, Alpine Swift, Snowy Owl, Woodchat, Red-backed and Brown Shrike, Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Short-toed Lark, Tawny and Red-throated Pipit, Western Subalpine, Melodious and Icterine Warbler, Ortolan and Little Bunting all recorded in recent springs! We visit the Lizard Peninsula where Chough famously first made their return and Dartford Warbler are found. We also enjoy a pelagic boat trip  into Mount’s Bay where Gannet, auks including a few Puffin, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua and terns are likely to be around. seals, cetaceans and perhaps Basking Shark may be encountered, and we may even see peculiar Sunfish or frantic Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna. A great trip! A special feature will be our search for Cirl Bunting. With a very small and rangerestricted population, this is a rare and difficult to see bird in the UK. The species is now breeding again in parts of southern Cornwall and we make a special effort to see them. Number of centres: 1.

Combine with: ‘Isles of Scilly in Spring’ (p91)

NEW! ISLES OF SCILLY in SPRING FRI 23 APRIL – THURS 29 APRIL 2021 FRI 22 APRIL – THURS 28 APRIL 2022 Deposit: £200pp

PRICE: £1795pp Single supplement: £160 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Max 7 clients with leader Mark Warren, joined by another from our team with over 7 clients. The Scillies are without doubt one of the most stunning and idyllic parts of the United Kingdom, a ‘must visit’ location boasting a diverse range of wildlife opportunities. 28 miles south-west of Land’s End, with shallow waters and a climate more akin to the Mediterranean, this is a fabulous place for birding as migrants move north. On this spring itinerary, we stay on the largest Island, St Mary’s, visiting the four other inhabited islands on daily excursions. The Scillies are famed for attracting rarities at any time of year, and while we plan to birdwatch at a more leisurely pace than our … for birders … tour in autumn, we may see attractive Mediterranean overshoots such as Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Night Heron or Woodchat Shrike. On Tresco, entry to the world-famous Abbey Gardens is included, and we bird along beaches for Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone, Greenshank, Whimbrel and Mediterranean Gull. If time allows, we venture to Castle Down where Merlin and Peregrine may be hunting, and Golden Plover, Wheatear, Stonechat, pipits and wagtails may be found on moorland between two ruined castles. Bryher and St Martin’s are quieter places offering superb birdwatching potential while the views out over the reefs from tiny St Agnes are spectacular. During a special boat trip to a sixth island, uninhabited Annet, Puffins will be a highlight, as these enchanting birds settle down for their breeding season, with other seabirds, seals and perhaps cetaceans also featuring. Northbound migrants can be varied, and in the right conditions large numbers of birds can make landfall resulting in exciting birdwatching. Famed for rare and scarce vagrants the possibilities are endless and Wryneck, and Red-rumped Swallow are regularly recorded each spring. The trip will run at a relaxed pace, with time to enjoy the scenery and beauty of each island (and a local ice cream and Cornish Pasty too!) as well as its wildlife. Our guides are experienced here, and a flexible approach as we explore on foot allows us to make the most of each island within the archipelago. Number of centres: 1.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

Combine with: NEW! Cornwall in Spring (p90).

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


NORTHUMBERLAND IN HIGH SUMMER Including the Farnes, Coquet Island, Lindisfarne and Kielder Forest SAT 19 JUNE – SAT 26 JUNE 2021 SAT 18 JUNE – SAT 25 JUNE 2022

PRICE: £1795pp Single supplement: £275 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA

Deposit: £200pp Max 14 clients. Leader Mike Coleman with more than 7 clients. joined by another from the team with more than 7 clients. Northumberland is one of the most picturesque and unspoilt corners of England, and this slow-paced single-centre holiday takes in the natural highlights of the coast, islands, uplands, farmland and forest of this beautiful region in summer, including visits to iconic cultural and historical sites along the way. The Farnes are our primary target, gauging our best day to visit by tide and weather conditions. This is one of Britain’s greatest wildlife spectacles, especially during the summer with thousands of terns, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Eider, Kittiwake, Shag and Atlantic Grey Seal. We aim to spend all day visiting the two main islands, Staple Island in the morning, and Inner Farne in the afternoon. Some birds will have fledged young, others small chicks whilst some will be on eggs. A photographer’s paradise with time to fully enjoy and appreciate the experience. In the Cheviot Hills, a land of few people but a number of narrow secluded valleys that penetrate into the heart, we explore the typical upland habitat and birdlife including Dipper, Raven, Peregrine, Red Grouse, Grey Wagtail, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Common Sandpiper and maybe a few Wild Goats. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is an undoubted highlight, and if tides are suitable, we will intentionally become stranded as the causeway floods twice daily. Derwent Valley is a great area to see Red Kite, with river and woodland species nearby. At RSPB Saltholme and Seal Sands we seek one of the northernmost colonies of breeding Avocet and may see Bittern and Marsh Harrier. Another highlight will be a boat trip (tide dependent) around Coquet Island, home to 90% of the UK’s very rare Roseate Tern. We also visit Kielder Forest and Kielder Water, for forest, woodland and moorland birds with up to three pairs of breeding Osprey, and a raptor watchpoint particularly known for Goshawk. Our return takes us along the Military Road, running parallel to Hadrian’s Wall where we may have time to walk a section. If weather conditions affect our plans, we have many other places, habitats and experiences to fill an absorbing week in and around Northumberland, with a potential birdlist of over 100+ species.

NEW! NORTH WALES IN SUMMER Anglesey, Bardsey and Snowdonia National Park SAT 19 JUNE – SAT 26 JUNE 2021 SAT 18 JUNE – SAT 25 JUNE 2022 Deposit: £200pp

PRICE: £1695pp PRICE: TBA

Single supplement: £195 Guide: TBA

Max 14 clients. Leader Mark Warren, joined by another from the team with more than 7 clients. North Wales is wildlife rich, and we explore by both land and sea on this exciting holiday, dividing our time between coastal locations and the famous Snowdonia National Park. Habitats are varied, and we visit estuarine hotspots, coastal bays, beaches, freshwater lakes and the spectacular bird-rich islands of Anglesey and Bardsey. Inland lakes, fast flowing rivers, forest and mixed woodland, open moors and Snowdon Mountain itself offer different opportunities on this enjoyable tour. Anglesey is a large island of great excitement, and at South Stack Puffin, Black Guillemot and other seabirds are to the fore, with Chough, Raven and Peregrine overhead. Later, we visit an internationally important site for rare Roseate Tern. Bardsey is a fascinating, bird rich island noted for its Manx Shearwater. We plan to land on this beautiful island and explore by foot. We enjoy the Puffins, listen out for Chough and search the scrub and bushes for passerines and any late migrants. We work closely with the Observatory team to make the most of our visit. The Great Orme has a growing reputation for good birding with a number of migrant and scarce birds recorded recently. We walk around the headland where Chough may be seen before checking the waders on the nearby estuary, and pools for Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint. We visit Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, and may take the train to the summit for stunning views, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Raven and Peregrine. The mountain is also home to rare Alpine plants, including the aptly named Snowdon Lily. If we spend less time on the mountain, attractive wooded valleys with fast flowing streams hold Dipper, Ring Ouzel, Grey Wagtail, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper and more. Picturesque Welsh Moors hold a substantial Black Grouse lek where we hope to see displaying birds. Breeding Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Whinchat, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and a few Twite are also present. A day at RSPB Ynys Hir gives chances to see deciduous woodland specialists including Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Cuckoo, Jay, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Lesser Redpoll. The holiday begins and ends at Bangor, where rail transfers will be available. Number of centres 1.

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WEST CORNWALL IN AUTUMN for birders FRI 2 OCTOBER – FRI 9 OCTOBER 2020 PRICE: £1495pp Single supplement: £150 FRI 1 OCTOBER – FRI 8 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £1595pp Single supplement: £95 FRI 30 SEPTEMBER – FRI 7 OCTOBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max group size 7. Leader Mark Warren. West Cornwall is a birders' playground, with a strong reputation as one of the best British birding counties in autumn. The Penwith peninsula at the ‘end of the land’ is ideally placed as a filter for southbound migrants and rarities, and with beautiful valley habitats and rugged coastline, it’s one of the great places for birdwatchers to explore. October is one of the best times to visit and extensive knowledge of all the birding hot-spots, plus some hidden gems will give us a great chance to enjoy migration over both land and sea. Our daily schedule will be flexible, planning days around local, up to date bird news and of course the weather. Based in the far west we shouldn’t need to travel much either, with great sites such as Porthgwarra, Cot Valley, Nanquidno, Hayle, Marazion and Drift nearby there’s great birding on our doorstep, and we plan to visit the Lizard Peninsula where Choughs famously first made their return to the county. Species possibility is broad depending upon luck and the prevailing weather. Birds vary every year, but Africa-bound passerines including a variety of warblers, Redstart, Wheatear, Pied and Spotted Flycatcher should be encountered, along with Firecrest, Black Redstart and migrant finch, lark and pipit flocks. We might find our own Wryneck, Red-backed Shrike, Red-breasted Flycatcher or perhaps something even rarer from the east. Winds from the west might yield an American wader or something really 'mega', recent examples being Grey Catbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Hermit Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Britain’s first Alder Flycatcher. Sea-watching can be excellent, and our boat trip into Mount's Bay will give great views and possibly cetaceans too. Exciting birding, relatively warmer weather and great coastal scenery in a massively under-watched part of the UK! Our schedule will be based on up-to-date local bird news and of course the weather. We won’t need to travel much as great birding is right on our doorstep! Number of centres: 1.

Combine with: ‘Isles of Scilly for birders’ (p93)

ISLES OF SCILLY for birders SAT 10 OCTOBER – SAT 17 OCTOBER 2020 PRICE: £1795pp Single supplement: £200 SAT 9 OCTOBER – SAT 16 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £1845pp Single supplement: £200 SAT 8 OCTOBER – SAT 15 OCTOBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients with leader Mark Warren, joined by another from our team with over 7 clients. Steeped in birding folklore the Isles of Scilly are one of the ‘must visit’ places in the UK. Shallow waters, golden sands and a climate often more akin to the Mediterranean, it’s a fabulous place to be when birds are on the move. The Scillies are in prime position to receive migrants heading south and also storm driven vagrants from all directions. Birders visiting the islands since the 70’s have been responsible for finding a number of ‘British firsts’ particularly those of Nearctic origin. We will be especially flexible, and our daily activities will depend largely on up to date bird news. We will do our best to follow up on sightings as and when they happen but at the same time, we’ll select a different island to explore daily so as to see as much of the Scillies as possible during your holiday. Our guides are experienced here and will choose the best time to visit St Mary’s, St Agnes, Tresco, St Martin’s and Bryher, in order to make the most of the weather and bird news on any given day. The birdwatching can be fantastic and with a roll call of such ‘megas’ from recent years including Blyth’s Pipit, Dusky Thrush, Caspian Stonechat, Pallid Swift, Yellowbilled Cuckoo,  Red-flanked Bluetail, multiple Red Eyed Vireos, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Sora, American Herring Gull, Caspian Tern plus Britain’s second Palelegged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler we’ll be hoping for something special on  our next tour. Prevailing weather dictates which rare/scarce birds arrive, no years the same. Solitary Sandpiper, Cream-coloured Courser, Snowy Owl, Wryneck, Little Bunting, Richard’s, Red-throated, Olive-backed and Buff-bellied Pipit, Yellow-browed, Blackpoll, Barred and Melodious Warbler are among the regularly recorded scarcities. General birding will expect us to encounter up to 100 species of a wide variety from seabirds, to migrating waders, wildfowl and gulls. We’ll see plenty of passerines and land-birds on their way south plus regular scarcities. It’s a holiday where truly anything is possible!

Combine with: West Cornwall in Autumn for birders (p92).

Number of centres: 1.

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tel: 01479 821248

email: info@heatherlea.co.uk

web: www.heatherlea.co.uk


LANCASHIRE TUES 20 OCTOBER – FRI 23 OCTOBER 2020 PRICE: £925pp Single supplement: £120 TUES 19 OCTOBER – FRI 22 OCTOBER 2021 PRICE: £945pp Single supplement: £120 TUES 18 OCTOBER – FRI 21 OCTOBER 2022 PRICE: TBA Guide: TBA Deposit: £200pp Max 7 clients. Leader Ian Ford. Autumn sees a fascinating and often spectacular migration of wintering birds to the wetlands and grasslands of north-west England. Wildfowl and waders will be moving around and passing through as we visit Leighton Moss, Morecambe Bay, the Ribble Estuary and Martin Mere. Whooper Swan, Great and Little Egret, Pink-footed and Greylag Goose, Ruff, Black- and Bar-tailed Godwits, Gadwall, Pintail, flocks of Wigeon and Teal, and maybe an occasional American Wigeon graze on the saltmarshes, and Red-breasted Merganser and Eider may be drifting offshore. The variety and sheer numbers will give constantly changing birdlife at the larger reserves, with plenty of opportunity for grey winter-plumage wader identification. You will visit reserves managed by RSPB, WWT and Lancashire Wildlife Trust, and all are supported by our visits, as your entry fee is included if you are not already a member. Raptors include Peregrine, Merlin and both Marsh and Hen Harrier, and a range of wintering woodland passerines include Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Tree Sparrow, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin. Fieldfare and Redwing will be exploiting winter berry crops, and we may find Waxwing or other Scandinavian migrants including Brambling. Twite, Cetti’s Warbler and Kingfisher may be found in exposed stretches or marginal wetland, and we may encounter Red Deer, Roe Deer and Otter.

Based a few miles south of Lancaster, our hotel offers lovely accommodation and excellent food. This quiet backwater offers a great base to head north or south, and we are directly on the towpath of Lancaster Canal’s Glasson Branch, within walking distance of the River Conder, a small river which winds its way towards the mouth of the much larger River Lune a few hundred yards away from our hotel. Greenshank, Shelduck and a range of other ducks and waders change places daily here. We also plan to visit the key tidal locations of Glasson on the south side of the river Lune, and spectacular Sunderland Point on the north side, where tidal flooding of the only access road offers excellent birding, but means we have to plan our visit very carefully! A relaxing and rewarding short break as autumn turns to winter, featuring many of the migrant and resident birds which characterise this part of the UK.

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DEPOSIT PAYMENT

Date holiday begins

I enclose my deposit of £______ per person to secure my booking. Deposit amount is identified on relevant holiday page. (Cheques to ‘Heatherlea’ please). OR please charge my debit card (credit cards no longer accepted) .......................................................................................................................................................... start date ………........................................... issue number ………............(if given)

............/............/............ Date holiday ends ............/............/............

expiry date………......................................... 3 digit security code....................................

I have read and accept your TERMS AND CONDITIONS. (Copies of Heatherlea TERMS AND CONDITIONS can be downloaded at www.heatherlea.co.uk, or please telephone for a copy before you sign this BOOKING FORM).

OUR SERVICE TO MAKE SURE OF YOUR COMFORT When you complete and sign the Booking Form, we will confirm in writing within seven days of receipt. At this time our Terms and Conditions become effective. We will also ask about diets (your specific dietary requirements are welcome at Heatherlea).

Signature ...................................................................................................................................

Please return this form when complete to HEATHERLEA BIRDWATCHING, THE MOUNTVIEW HOTEL, NETHY BRIDGE, INVERNESS-SHIRE PH25 3EB


birding and wildlife holidays

Tel: 01479 821248 website: www.heatherlea.co.uk email: info@heatherlea.co.uk twitter: @heatherleabirds facebook: heatherleabirdwatching

Heatherlea The Mountview Hotel Nethy Bridge Inverness-shire PH25 3EB

This recyclable Brochure is printed on paper from responsible sources. All postage is made by recyclable envelope or polylope.

Printed by J. Thomson Colour Printers 0141 429 1094

Profile for Heatherlea Birdwatching

Heatherlea Brochure 2021/22  

Heatherlea Brochure 2021/22  

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