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Ornitholidays

2018 - 2019

WORLDWIDE NATURE EXPEDITIONS

Wildlife Experiences Photographic Expeditions Birdwatching Tours Exclusive Nature Estates New Destinations

53

Our Fifty-Third Year


In 1965 the term ecotourism hadn’t been invented but in West Sussex in southern England a man called Lawrence Holloway was hatching plans for a new company that would take people to foreign countries where he would show them the natural wonders which could be found there. He wanted to concentrate on the bird life of these areas, so he coined a name for the company – Ornitholidays. Those first tentative tours were to Lake Neusiedl in Austria and to the Camargue in France. Over the next two years, building on his initial success, he expanded the programme to include Majorca, Ireland, The Netherlands, Guernsey and others. In his first 25 years, he managed to send nature lovers to over 50 countries and other birding companies were spawned on the success of Ornitholidays. He travelled to some amazing countries, such as Ethiopia, Malawi, Jordan, Venezuela, Thailand and China. When you consider how unexplored, by normal tourists, many of these were at the time, these were extraordinary adventures. Without a doubt Lawrence was a visionary. In 1990 an interview with him appeared in The Guardian and in it he mentioned looking for a successor. I took over the reins in September 1990 and I expanded his programme with new destinations for Ornitholidays including Papua New Guinea, Colombia, Vietnam, Japan and Chile. Now 27 years later, I could mention looking for a successor – but I have already found one! Over the last decade we have been working closely with a very progressive group of individuals who have been providing us with ground arrangements and leaders for tours to Italy, Georgia, Spain, Romania and Iran. They already have over ten years of experience themselves of organising such tours and they have also produced a network of reserves across Europe where they have installed a new generation of photographic hides which allow close-up work for many species. Max Biasioli and Sara Genovese are at the head of the operation but they will be ably supported, not only by myself, but also Nicola Scatassi and Luca Boscain – names and faces that many of you who travel with us will be familiar with. The plan is for the current Ornitholidays management, that is myself and Sandy, to be at the helm of the tour programme until the 30th April 2018 and then the new owners will start their programme from the 1st May 2018. Their new programme is outlined in this brochure and as you can see it has some exciting destinations to tempt you. Many of the current Ornitholidays’ leaders will continue to guide the tours, so you can be confident that little has changed, but we hope for an expanding programme of new destinations in the near future. I wish the new owners luck with their endeavour and hope their next 25 years will be filled with as much excitement as mine have been.

Nigel Jones Ornitholidays Managing Director

Ornitholidays was the first company in the world to organize birdwatching and nature tours and, after 52 years it is still a reference point for all nature and travel lovers. Ornitholidays has always been synonymous with high quality standards and competence and, from now on, it is ready to rise a fresh challenge: in May 2018 Ornitholidays will go international! The company will be managed to SKUA Nature Group, thanks to the support given by Nigel and Sandy. SKUA Nature is an innovative company made up of a tight-knit group of people who share their passion for nature and expert tour leaders who have no rivals in the knowledge of world birds and have been travelling around the world for many years. When Nigel and I started speaking about taking-over Ornitholidays, we met in Spain, more than one year ago. To me, Nigel has always been a role model and someone to live up to when developing all the projects my Group creates and manages. I’m extremely honored and excited to be the heir taking over the work he started 53 years ago. It was seven years ago when Nicola Scatassi and I went to visit our first bird-fair, a little lost in that world, searching for contacts. The results of that visit were daunting, to say the least, since only a few of the exhibiting tour operators paid attention to us. However, today we are very proud to represent one of the most quoted English companies and to present our catalogue, with a new graphic lay-out but with the same contents and quality that have always characterized Ornitholidays. To me, it is not about being able to renovate the company, but rather about keeping its ethics, solidity and the high quality standards improving, them year after year. SKUA Nature will still be able to count on Nigel’s and other well-known tour leaders’ competence (Nigel Jones, Richard Coomber, David Walsh, Paul Rogers, Simon Boyes and other guides will lead some of our future tours), but the company will be based in Italy. For this reason, on this catalogue you will find some Italian law certifications instead of ATOL, but they can guarantee the same safety and tranquillity. Thanks to the development of reserves dedicated to Nature tourism all around Europe, SKUA Nature addresses to an international clientele. For this reason, we are not including international flights into the prices written on the catalogue, to give the chance to choose the best option according to the country of origin. However, we will be more than pleased to offer a booking service to those who will need it, thanks to our partnership with Igo Travel. You will be supported in the choice and the purchase of the flights related to all the destinations appearing on this catalogue. This catalogue includes Ornitholidays old destinations and new adventures which have been organized with the same ethics and philosophy which have always characterized Ornitholidays.

Massimiliano Biasioli SKUA Nature Group Managing Director

M. Biasioli


Tours 2018

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA

EUROPE SPAIN PHOTO TOUR Western Iberia

8

GREECE - KOS Eleonora’s Island

10

BELARUS Europe’s Last Great Wilderness LESVOS The Best of Migration

12 14

MONGOLIA Steppes and Gobi desert NEW ZEALAND Kiwis, Kakas & Keas INDIA - 2018/19 Barathpur e Khana INDIA - GOA Birds & Bhajees

PORTUGAL AT LEISURE Hills, Plains and Lagoons in Spring and Autumn

16

PO VALLEY PHOTO TOUR Italy at Leisure From West to East

18

THE AMERICAS

DANUBE DELTA PHOTO TOURS The famous Ultima Frontiera Estate

20

ALASKA The Ultimate Frontier

ITALY - WILD LUCANIA Photo Tour

22

BRAZIL - PANTANAL Hyacinth Macaw & Jaguars

24

BRAZIL – REGUA Atlantic Forest Special

FINLAND Owls, Woodpeckers & Grouse

26

COSTA RICA Classic Neotropical Birding

SPAIN – SOUTHERN CATALONIA Birds and Butterflies

28

ECUADOR Tumbesian & Andean Specialities

SPAIN - PYRENEES Montane Raptorforest

30

CHILE Northern tour

ITALY - BIRDS AND WINE BW and wine tasting from the mountains to the wineyards

32

HUNGARY PHOTO TOUR Photographic hides in Hortobagy National Park

34

HUNGARY IN SUMMER National History Tour

36

SPAIN - CANTABRIAN MOUNTAINS Iberian Wolves, Brown Bears & Wild Cats

38

SPAIN – TARIFA & ANDALUCIA Autumn Migration

40

ESTONIA Autumn Migration Hotspots

42

HUNGARY ONE STOP Crane Spectacular and Wild Goose Chase

44

ITALY Po Delta Tour

SPAIN – ARAGON & CATALONIA - 2018/19 Cranes, Lammergeiers & Wallcreepers HOLLAND - TEXEL The Geese Island

46 48

AFRICA & MIDDLE-EAST GEORGIA Caucasus mountains and steppes ARMENIA The Mount Aragats Valley and more UGANDA Birds & Primates SOUTH AFRICA & BOTSWANA Kruger, Limpopo & Tuli

62 64 66 68

72 74 76 78 80 82

Tours 2019 SOUTHERN SPAIN Iberian Lynx & Eagles

86

ITALY AND SLOVENIA WINTER TOUR Po Delta, Carsic Forests following the Adriatic Coast

87

BLACK SEA EXPEDITION Durankulak lakes - Bulgaria and Danube Delta in Romania SPAIN – CANARY ISLANDS - 2019 Winter Sunshine Break ARCTIC TOUR A photo expedition to the extreme North in Winter ITALY - SICILY AT LEISURE Mediterranean Migration

88 89 90 91

DONANA & EXTREMADURA Spring Tour

92

SRI LANKA Teardrop of the Indian Ocean

93 94

52

JAPAN Birdwatching Tour

54

JAPAN PHOTO TOUR Hokkaido Expedition

95

56

FALKLAND ISLANDS PHOTO TOUR To the Extreme South

96

58

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO Caribbean Paradise

97

GHANA In Search of Picathartes

98

MOROCCO High Atlas and Sahara

99

EGYPT - MARSA ALAM Migratory and desert Birds

100

IRAN Spring in the Persian Gulf

101

CHINA Sichuan & The Tibetan Plateau

102

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Is Ornitholidays Right For Me? There are a large number of factors that have to be considered when booking an escorted holiday, especially one that Involves birdwatching.The first must be whether you are dealing with a reputable company and will your money be safe. Ornitholidays is the longest established birding company in the world, having started in 1965. It has grown gradually over this period to offering around 70 tours a year. From 2018 Ornitholidays will be managed by SKUA Nature Group s.n.c., an Italian company that has collaborated with the old Ornitholidays managers for years. SKUA Nature and its partner IGO Travel are perfectly able to guarantee the best safeguards for your money. I Go Travel is associated with FIAVET (Italian Federation of Associations of Travel and Tourism Company), the trade association par excellence of Travel Agencies and more generally of tourism businesses. It was founded in February 1961 and it is by far the most well-established representative of Italian Travel Agents. Our tours range from short breaks in Europe to three week holidays further afield.To enjoy these holidays to the full, all you need is a love of birds and wildlife and the desire to travel.The vast majority of our holidays are run at a relaxed pace, but each tour has been given gradings to help you make sure you choose the right one. Our tours are escorted, so your leader is a very important ingredient of the holiday.There are many companies offering escorted holidays, but few use full-time leaders. Ornitholidays has a group of professional guides who spend their whole year taking birding parties around the world – most of them have led over 150 tours and some over 250.Their job is to make sure you enjoy your holiday and see the wildlife.They are not taking their annual holiday, but are well paid, highly motivated and dedicated leaders who are there for you and you alone. When booking a holiday consider the advantages of being led by such a leader – there is no choice really! On many holidays we also employ local guides to accompany the group, providing valuable insight into their country, its history and traditions, as well as its birds and wildlife. What about the cost of the holiday – why are some companies cheaper than others for a similar itinerary? When you compare holidays think about what each company is providing.The accommodation we use is often the best available, our tour leaders have years of experience and a very deep knowledge on the destinations and their fauna. All of them are excellent birders and some are expert in other groups of animals too. In our team we also have skilled photographers, able to help you getting the best out of your photographic holiday. We have been organising holidays for a long time, so we know the best ground agents to use and the best areas to visit. How many other companies can boast they have been visiting many destinations for over 41 years?

What about group size? We state our maximum group size on each tour, with a maximum of 12 on most tours. Each tour is different in the number of participants we carry – however, please note that the numbers given are maxima and the average is obviously less than this. We reserve the right, where there is one space left on a tour, to take a couple as the last booking.The maximum group size on any land-based tour though will never exceed 15 clients. Over the last 20 years we have run over 90% of our advertised programme and had to disappoint very few people by cancelling tours. What about the company’s ethos? We try to run a range of holidays to suit all needs. We operate our tours as holidays, not as 24 hours a day marathons. However, please note that bird activity is often at its best early in the morning, so some early starts may be required on some of our holidays. We are there to enjoy, not annoy, the birds. In some circumstances our leaders use tape recorders in order to attract birds, but they do so sparingly. We try to operate holidays which do not damage the environment and which focus on local environmental issues. We donate money to organisations to encourage conservation throughout the world, and we sponsor projects to help protect particular species. We are concerned about the impact of air travel on the environment, so we subscribe to a well-known forest regeneration project in South America to help offset our carbon footprints. Are Ornitholidays’ tours suitable for a beginner? We always carry a range of ages and abilities on any tour. We hope that our holidays will be an enjoyable experience, where we nurture both the beginner and expert alike.The age range we cater for is from 18 to over 80, but the average is probably around 60. You are always made to feel welcome whatever your age or birding experience. Most of our tours have some “first timers” but you may be rubbing shoulders with some of our “old hands” who have travelled with us over 40 times.The fact that we have a number of clients with this tally of Ornitholidays is a great endorsement of our product.The record now stands at 94 tours! At the end of the day you can always speak to us in the office to discuss any queries that you may have, and we have a large stock of reports and diaries from past tours to give you a real flavour of what to expect on an Ornitholiday. Why not ring us on 01794 519445 and ask to speak to Nigel or Sandy?

R. Coomber

2


Brochure Entries & Booking Policy Brochure entries: We make every effort to ensure our brochure entries are as accurate as possible. However, it needs to be pointed out that some of the ground arrangements for our tours are made at least 18 months prior to departure. Inevitably there are occasions when changing circumstances require us to alter published itineraries and hotel bookings. Normally we are able to advise clients of such changes before departure. Similarly, weather patterns in many parts of the world are not wholly predictable and it is virtually impossible to accurately predict the temperatures you will encounter while on tour.Thus it is necessary for there to be a degree of flexibility in our programmes that allows some freedom to do what is best in the particular circumstances.The chances of seeing certain species may also be affected by the vagaries of the weather. It is unlikely that a group will see all the species mentioned in the brochure text. We accept bookings on the understanding that these points are fully understood. Sharing rooms: Many of our clients prefer to book places on a sharing basis, in the interests of both company and economy. However, please note that your booking for a shared room is only accepted on the understanding that, should no room-mate be available, you will accept single accommodation and pay the appropriate single-room supplement (not applicable for cruises). Allocation of room- mates will be made on the basis of the date on which bookings are received. Therefore, the earlier you book the greater the likelihood of being able to share. Single rooms: Many of our clients require single rooms on tours. The single rooms, which we advertise are occasionally not always available in the quantity we need when the tour is run. If you have booked and paid for a single room and it is not available, then a pro rata refund will be made to you post-tour for any nights of such accommodation lost. It should be noted that very occasionally the

standard and location of single rooms can be inferior to those of some twin/double rooms. Hotels: We try to choose hotels that are comfortable, friendly, efficient and well situated. All rooms have a private bath or shower and W.C. unless otherwise stated in the text for a specific tour. Please see the accommodation grading for each tour. Insurance: It is a prerequisite of joining any tour that you have sufficient insurance cover in case of illness or repatriation. Smoking: If you wish to smoke while on holiday, then please refrain from smoking in the coaches and minibuses, as well as when close to the group in the field. Please do not smoke at the table while the group is eating. Also please note that smoking in public places and hotel rooms is now forbidden in some of the countries we visit. Provisional bookings: Provisional bookings: Occasionally we take names for tours before the brochure is produced.The policy is that these have to be confirmed with a booking form and deposit within 14 days of receipt of the new brochure, otherwise the booking will lapse. To make a booking: We suggest that you phone us at the office to ascertain whether there are places left on the tour (From england: +44 20 8144 9814. From other countries: +39 0141918403). Our team speaks a fluent english, as well as spanish, russian and italian of course). If there are available places, then we shall reserve you that place.You should then complete a booking form and send it with a deposit to confirm the booking. Later, depending on the destinations, we can issue you with comprehensive party instructions, bird lists and a past report. Booking Conditions: Please note our booking conditions laid out at the end of this brochure, pages 106 to 109.

Tour Grading For each destination you will find a sort of a guide related to some aspects of the tour:

ONE

STOP Top species you can see or photograph during the tour

Tour suggested for wildlife photography

Tour suggested for birdwatching and wildwatching

number of species to be expected on the tour (approximate)

kind of accommodation related to the tour

vehicle used during the tour.

maximum number of places available

ONE STOP is self-explanatory in that it means the holiday has one base for the duration.That is we arrive at one hotel and stay there for the entire tour. We have found that our clients have been increasingly demanding this style of holiday, so for this year we have included a number of tours that fit this criterion. INNATE Reserves it means that the tour includes the overnightstay and/or visit to one or more INNATE reserves, exclusive locations in the World entirely developed for nature tourism (with a special focus on wildlife photography). PHOTO EXPEDITIONS tour ad-hoc organized to offer the best photographic opportunities. Small groups, professional photo hides, Expert tour leaders and all the time that you need to photograph at leisure. TOUR CONNECTIONS this symbol means that the tour allows participants to connect to another following tour to a nearby destination. Obviously it’s an opportunity to enjoy two different travel experiences saving money and flights.

3


One Stop & At Leisure

ONE

STOP

Our brochure this year contains a number of tours with the ONE STOP logo or else the term At Leisure, or indeed both. In order to clarify what these terms mean a few lines are included here. ONE STOP is self-explanatory in that it means the holiday has one base for the duration.That is we arrive at one hotel and stay there for the entire tour. We have found that our clients have been increasingly demanding this style of holiday, so for this year we have included a number of tours that fit this criterion. At Leisure is slightly more subjective but has been applied to tours where the pace is relaxed and the leaders will ensure that the group does not spend all their time in the field.Therefore, you should return in ample time for a wash and brush up before the evening meal and there should be time for a sundowner. Also, the leaders will endeavour to give some relaxation time during the heat of the afternoon.These tours will not be dawn to dusk affairs. However, as every tour is different the make up of each group will be taken into consideration.

Our Photo Experts Tours Passion for Wildlife Photography is growing more and more among Nature lovers all over the world and birdwatchers are starting approaching this field with interest and will to experiment. This catalogue reflects this trend and the year 2018 will represent for Ornitholidays a period rich of changes, innovation, international approach and new opportunities. SKUA Nature long-time experience in Nature and tourism photography allows us to add to this catalogue exclusive itineraries (and/or one-stop tours with dedicated hides) we have been running for years, prepared ad-hoc to guarantee the best photographic oppotunities and conditions to get memorable pictures. For the most part of our destinations we will fix a maximum number of clients which won’t be more than 7/8 photographers (but mainly not more than 6) in order to offer the best photographic opportunities and to create a friendly, easy and adventure atmosphere. To travel with SKUA Nature means to be led by expert guides, able to find the most strategic places, the best perspectives, backgrounds and lights, in order to satisfy even the most demanding photographers. Our mission is to offer you the best opportunities to practice, experiment and improve your skills for the purpose of making you enjoy your holiday at best and enrich your portfolio.

L. Ercoli

4


Exclusive Tours in our Reserves Since 2011 SKUA Nature has been developing private and public natural areas converting them into nature and photo tourism real paradises. SKUA Nature directly manages logistics and administrative aspects and builds the necessary features in order to make these areas become exclusive and relaxing places where clients can spend week-ends or longer holidays in the pursuit of wildlife watching and photographing. Without any doubt, the marriage of SKUA Nature and Ornitholidays represents a unique case. Our clients will have the chance to book a holiday in one of our estates with no mediators and they will benefit from the organizational and management guarantee that identifies the two companies. Ultima Frontiera is an authentic paradise on Danube delta where nature guides carry you exploring this beautiful land and dedicated hides have been created to allow you to take the best pictures of its numerous species. Finca La Parrilla is located in the hearth of Monfrague National Park. Here you can accommodate in the cozy casa rural and have dinner under the stars while listening to Eagle Owl call. The reserves network constantly grows and it currently includes estates in Spain, Italy and Romania but in 2018 it will involve Latvia and Portugal. Each reserve has the highest grade of exclusivity because no more than 12 clients per week are allowed in the estate at the same moment. You will be immersed in great dimensions natural areas where you will have the chance and the freedom to go around in total autonomy under our experts’ guide.

Discover all our projects on innatenetwork.com M. Ferrari

Green Policy & Conservation Actions SKUA Nature is a private and innovative company with unique characteristics. The team is made up highly motivated naturalists, who strongly believe that the main project carried on by SKUA (Ornitholidays and the INNATE Network) can give important contributions to nature conservancy, through concrete actions and by raising money for local research studies and actions. In all the reserves we develop for the INNATE Project, that are destinations for lots of the Ornitholidays tours, we dedicate to nature conservancy and biodiversity studies using funds coming from nature tourism in collaboration with several public or private organizations. We have proved, in these last few years, that if the work is done in the full respect of habitats and species ecology, and adopting dedicated actions to improve feeding, stop over or breeding sites, the results are immediate and positive also for rare or very localized species. And so our Network’s hides and reserves indeed enlarge the range of opportunities and create an ever-growing laboratory where nature and human activities coexist. Helping nature conservation means also following some good practices when travelling. So, in addition to concrete actions to increase and conserve biodiversity, we do also invest time and resources to costantly improve our working system and most of all to help our clients to reach the best ethical standards while travelling. We are sure we must accept some reponsabilities which are vital to the life of the animals leaving at our holiday destinations: · Protect the environment, particularly its landscape, flora and fauna, and minimise environmental damage by touring in small groups. · Respect local cultures, namely their traditions, religions and heritage. · Benefit local communities by using locally-owned and run accommodation, by consuming local products and by using, wherever possible, local guides.To ensure that local people receive a fair share of the benefits of our tours. · Converve natural resources by eliminating waste and, where possible, consuming renewable rather than non-renewable ones. · Minimise environmental pollution caused by waste disposal, noise and litter. · Educate clients by keeping them well-informed about wildlife conservation issues, endangered species and threatened habitats.

M. Biosioli

5


EUROPE

SPAIN PHOTO TOUR - Western Iberia GREECE ONE STOP - Eleonora’s Island BELARUS - Europe’s Last Great Wilderness LESVOS - The Best of Migration PORTUGAL AT LEISURE - Hills, Plains and Lagoons in Spring and Autumn PO VALLEY PHOTO TOUR - Italy at Leisure From West to East DANUBE DELTA TOURS - The famous Ultima Frontiera Estate WILD LUCANIA TOUR - Orchids & Wildwatching Tour ITALY - Po Delta Tour FINLAND - Owls, Woodpeckers & Grouse SPAIN/SOUTHERN CATALONIA - Birds and Butterflies SPAIN/PYRENEES - Montane Raptorforest BIRDS AND WINE - BW and wine tasting from the mountains to the wineyards HUNGARY PHOTO TOUR - Photographic hides in Hortobagy National Park HUNGARY IN SUMMER - National History Tour SPAIN/CANTABRIAN MOUNTAINS - Iberian Wolves, Brown Bears & Wild Cats SPAIN/TARIFA & ANDALUCIA - Autumn Migration ESTONIA - Autumn Migration Hotspots HUNGARY ONE STOP - Crane Spectacular and Wild Goose Chase SPAIN /ARAGON & CATALONIA - Cranes, Lammergeiers & Wallcreepers HOLLAND - TEXEL - The Geese Island

8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48

Discover our European Tours scheduled for 2019 at page 84

Finland Norway Estonia Holland

Belarus

Hungary Italy

Romania Bulgaria

M. Valentini

Portugal

Spain Greece


M. Biasioli


SPAIN PHOTO TOUR Western Iberia

ONE

STOP

I. Maiorano

Thursday 03 May – Thursday 10 May 2018 Friday 18 May – Friday 25 May 2018

N. Jones

2018 Cost €1620 SRS €160 2018 Cost €1850 SRS €160 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

HIGHLIGHTS

We will have the possibility of observing and photographing many of the most typical birds of the Spanish dehesa of Evergreen, Pyrenean and Cork oaks. First of all the raptors, staring with vultures: hundreds of Griffon and Cinereous Vultures, together with Ravens and Black and Red Kites, inflight, perched, fighting or feeding quite often only a few meters away from the windows of the hides. But also mammals, like Genet, Beech Marten and Red Fox, with the aid of state-of-theart night hides, and a huge number of small passerines like Blue Rock-thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Iberian Magpie, Spotless Starling, Rock Sparrow, Hawfinch and Cirl Bunting. We will lodge in a magnificent “casa rural” where you will be able to spend your spare time relaxing in front of stunning panoramas.

Griffon Vulture Black Vulture Egyptian Vulture Azure-winged Magpie Woodchat Shrike Southern Grey Shrike Western Orphean Warbler Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli & Nigel Jones

OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-4 Days 5-7

100 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Subalpine Warbler Iberian Warbler Spotless Starling Rock Sparrow Blue Rock Thrush Iberian Red Deer

Day 8

Fly to Madrid and transfer to La Parrilla - Accommodation in La Parrilla Las Vinas – Accommodation in La Parrilla Depart from Madrid

INCLUDES

Madrid to Madrid all inclusive. Meals, accommodations, local transports, photo hides, excursions and services of the English-speaking tour leader.

Maximum of 6 clients M. Lorenzo

8

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Days 1 to 4 We fly to Madrid and meet with the local guide, who takes us to La Parrilla estate in Monfrague National Park, in Extremadura. We arrive for a late Spanish lunch and, in the afternoon we will be able to go to the photography hides of the estate. We will stay here four nights in total exclusivity, being the only people in the reserve (apart from the local staff) and with the use of several kinds of photographic hides located in strategic places within the reserve for morning and afternoon photographic sessions. There is an elevated drinking hide set among the foliage where you will be able to photograph Iberian Magpie, Eurasian Jay, Hawfinch and Eurasian Nuthatch and other passerines.Then there are hides set for Crested Lark, Blue Rock Thrush, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, European Serin and much more. The “muladar” hide is ideal for Griffon vultures and Black vultures that can be photographed from at close distance.

Excursions will be organised near the estate in various places at will: humid areas like Saucedilla that are home to Little Bittern, Purple Heron and Purple Swamphen, the territory of the National Park of Monfragüe with Iberian Imperial Eagle, Black Stork and Rock Bunting. We will also visit Santa Marta and Monroy steppes looking for Great Bustards, Little Bustards and Montagu’s Harriers. Excursions program: 04/05 - 12/05 Monfrague National Park - afternoon 05/05 - 13/05 Santa Marta steppes - afternoon 06/05 - 14/05 Saucedilla wetlands - morning Should macro photographers be also present, they would enjoy fascinating hill of the orchids, where we will be able to photograph the endemic Ophrys Apifera var. almaracensis, Woodcock, Common and Black bee-orchid, Common and Small-flowered tongue-orchid. In case of thunder-

M. R. Romero

C. Galliani

M. Biasioli

N. Jones I. Maiorano

Days 5 to 7 Early departure from La Parrilla to reach Las Vinas, close to Portugal border, where the typical Spanish dehesa meets wineyards, vegetable gardens and olive trees. The two drinking hides are set for Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Western Orphean Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Cirl Bunting, Woodchat Shrike. There is an elevated hide which offers the possibility to photograph flying Red and Black Kites with unique perspective and backgrounds. An other hide is dedicated to Griffon Vultures, Black Vultures and Egyptian Vultures.

EUROPE

storms and rain showers, we will also be able to go and look for amphibians such as Iberian ribbed and Southern marbled newt, Western Spadefoot and Perez’s frog.

Day 8 After breakfast, we go to Madrid to catch our afternoon scheduled flight.

M. R. Romero

Website ornitholidays.com

M. R. Romero

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

9


GREECE - KOS

ONE

STOP

Eleonora’s island

M. Biasioli

Thursday 03 May – Thursday 10 May 2018

2017 2018Cost Cost£4,999 €1560 SRS €150 £690 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

GREECE

Athens

HIGHLIGHTS

KOS

European Roller Cretzschmar’s Bunting Black-headesd Bunting Eleonora’s Falcon Lesser Kestrel Long-legged Buzzard Bonelli’s Eagle Slender-billed Gull

TOUR LEADER Paul Rogers

Audouin’s Gull Woodchat Shrike Eastern Orphean Warbler

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2-7 Days 8

150

Kos is maybe a popular tourist destination, but it also appeals to a colourful array of birds that includes European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Cretzschmar’s and Black-headed Buntings. Our previous groups have found, to their amazement, that Eleonora’s Falcon and Lesser Kestrel are the two most numerous raptors. On the nearby island of Nisyros, which we will visit on one day, the active colony of Eleonora’s Falcons inside the volcanic caldera can be spectacular. Long-legged Buzzards are also common on Kos, and with luck we may track down Bonelli’s Eagle. Throughout the tour we will be staying at a most comfortable family-owned hotel.The hotel is located close to a large salt lake, which besides attracting Greater Flamingo, acts as a stopover for migrating herons and egrets, waders and wildfowl. This will be an ‘At Leisure’ tour and conducted at a relaxed pace. Some days we will lunch out at tavernas in contrasting small settlements, such as Mastihari, Kamari and on Nisyros. On other days we will return to the hotel for a midday snack and a chance to take a refreshing dip in the hotel’s pool or just chill out for a couple of hours..

Fly to Kos and transfer to Marmari Marmari Depart Kos

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus. Maximum of 14 clients. M. Biasioli

10

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 Flight to Kos. Our hotel at Marmari is only 15 minutes’ drive from the airport. After settling into our rooms, we will take a stroll outside the hotel, watching out for species such as Black-headed Bunting and Zitting Cisticola, Lesser Kestrel and Red-rumped Swallow, and both Alpine and Pallid Swifts that can be found in and over the surrounding fields.

M. Mendi

drop in. On one day, we will visit the beautiful island of Nisyros. During the hour-long crossing, there is a chance of seeing Cory’s (Scopoli’s) and Yelkouan Shearwaters. Audouin’s Gulls often rest in Mendraki Harbour. Besides its birds, Nisyros offers fine scenery. It is rather like a doughnut ring, the centre being a huge volcanic caldera surrounded by a high ridge-like rim.The last minor eruption here was in the 19th century, but jets of steam, sulphur deposits and the heat of the ground underfoot suggest that, although presently dormant, this remains an active volcano. It also reminds us that this part of the world lies at the junction of three tectonic plates. Indeed, Nisyros is located on the African Plate. The intricately terraced slopes of the island indicate that less than 100 years ago it was a

I. Maiorano

Website ornitholidays.com

highly populated area. But there has been a mass exodus to Australia and the USA and numbers have contracted from thousands to hundreds. The wooded slopes are covered in oak, a habitat not found much on Kos and more reminiscent of Lesvos.They offer breeding opportunities for species such as Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike, and both Eastern Subalpine and Eastern Orphean Warblers. Day 8 We anticipate a leisurely morning either poolside or checking out the salt lake for the very last time.This will be our final chance to spot some unusual migrants. Later, we will make our way to the airport to catch our flights.

M. Mendi

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

A. Conte

EUROPE

Days 2 to 7 During this time, we will make various excursions. One of these will be to the wooded slopes of the Dikeos Mountain, the highest part of Kos rising to over 800m. Here there will be a chance to enjoy the scent of the pine trees, the songs of Eurasian Turtle Dove, European Serin and Eastern Olivaceous Warbler and the sight of Alpine Swift, Red-rumped Swallow and Long-legged Buzzard. Another day will be spent exploring the rocky peninsula at the southern end of the island.The rugged terrain here is home to Chukar, the very scarce Bonelli’s Eagle and the elegant Eleonora’s Falcon, just arrived from a winter in Madagascar. Indeed, Kos is second only to Rhodes in its wealth of archaeological sites.The keener birders can visit Cape Psalidi, its wetland reserve and the cliffed coastline as far as Cape Fokas, a stronghold of Black-eared Wheatear and Blue Rock Thrush. Kos also contains a fair amount of lowland – much of it given over to low-intensive farming. Cut into the limestone beneath these lowlands are intricate networks of wadi-like features that provide sanctuary areas for tired migrants such as Redfooted Falcons, as well as good cover for breeding warblers and buntings.The area to the west of Mastihari is the least intensively farmed part of the lowlands. For this reason, the birding here attracts species such as Stone Curlew, European Beeeater, Whinchat, wheatears and shrikes. Sardinian Warbler and Crested Lark are common, and Greater Short-toed Lark may also breed here. Little Owls pop up on old stone walls, and European Rollers nest in holes in banks. Migrant raptors such as Short-toed Eagle, Osprey and European Honey Buzzard may turn up anywhere. The Tigaki Salt Lake can be especially rewarding in the early morning. Whiskered and Whitewinged Terns, Slender-billed Gull, Squacco Heron, Ruddy Shelduck, Wood and Curlew Sandpipers, Ruff, Black-winged Stilt and Little and Temminck’s Stints are all likely. Broad-billed Sandpipers are also possible.The fringing reedbeds hold Great Reed, European Reed and Cetti’s Warblers, and both Little Bittern and Purple Heron regularly

M. Mendi

11


BELARUS

Europe’s Last Great Wilderness

M. Biasioli

Saturday 5 May – Sunday 13 May 2018

2018 Cost €1880 SRS €230 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Minsk

BELARUS

Sporovo

HIGHLIGHTS

Belovezhskaya Pushcha

Aquatic Warbler Great Grey Owl Pigmy Owl Great Snipe Terek Sandpiper Azure Tit Red-breasted Flycatcher Lesser-spotted Eagle

TOUR LEADER Gabor Orban and local guides

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Turov

Hazel Grouse Capercaille Citrine Wagtail White-backed Woodpecker Middle-spotted Woodpecker Barred Warbler Black Stork

Belarus is one of the prime birding and wildlife-watching destinations in Europe. This country, neighbouring Poland, is second to none in many ways.The variety of birds and mammals including several species very rarely seen in other parts of Europe is only one aspect. Imagine roads taking you through ancient forests, hundreds of meandering rivers, the biggest marshes and fens of the continent, while you hardly meet any traffic or even people. It is truly an unbeatable paradise, remaining intact and wild, so no wonder Belarus conserves healthy populations of Eurasian Lynx and Wolf.We have a good chance to encounter several mammal species including European Bison, Elk, Eurasian Beaver, European Otter, Red Deer, Wild Boar, Eastern Hedgehog, Pine Martin, Muskrat and Red Squirrel.We use good quality hotels situated on site, or close to the best birding areas.Tasty local cuisine, and antiquated rural life and practices in small ancient villages, are part of the appeal of this trip.This country is perfectly safe, yet you can experience an era that has already been left behind in most parts of Eastern Europe. Journey with Gabor and see why we think you will enjoy the untouched wilderness of this part of Eastern Europe.This will be Ornitholidays’fourth tour to Belarus.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-3 Day 4 Days 5-8 Day 9

Fly to Minsk – transfer to Belovezhskaya Pushcha Belovezhskaya Pushcha Sporovo Turov Depart Minsk

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, entry fees, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibuses Maximum of 10 clients. M. Libra

12

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 4 In the afternoon we travel to Sporovo Reserve.The lake and the surrounding marshes are pristine birding areas. We visit the main breeding area of one of Europe’s rarest songbirds, the Aquatic Warbler. Corncrake, Great Grey Shrike, Bluethroat, Great Bittern, Golden Oriole, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Bearded Reedling and Savi’s Warbler are all common here. Less common is Citrine Wagtail, but a few pairs breed. A variety of raptors can be found, including Northern Goshawk and Hen and Montagu’s Harriers, but even Greater Spotted Eagle can be around.

Days 5 to 8 Today we visit the Sielets Fishponds.This birdfilled area holds a great variety of duck and waders, terns and raptors. In particular, we will hope for Gadwall, Garganey, White-tailed Eagle, Caspian Gull, Citrine Wagtail, Great Reed Warbler and Eurasian Penduline Tit. Our last base will be near the famous Pripyatsky National Park. We spend four nights in Turov in a comfortable hotel located on the bank of the river. Several sought-after waders such as Great Snipe and Terek Sandpipers breed on the banks of the untamed Pripyat River that floods vast areas of meadows and forests in spring. Marsh Sandpipers are also here though less easy to find. On Turov Meadow, during migration time, the evenings often produce spectacular gatherings of hundreds of Ruff including many extremely colourful males, plus elegant Black-tailed Godwits and Spotted Redshanks. Watching the Ruffs skirmishing with their neck-feathers raised is a wonderful experience.Various terns search for fish and insects, including Little, Whiskered, Whitewinged and Black. Surely one of the strongest candidates for bird of the trip will be Azure Tit. Belarus is the only place in Europe where we have a good chance to find this stunning bird in its breeding habitat.This is also a good spot for finding the pendulous nests of the masked Eurasian Penduline Tits. Spotted Crakes call but are less easy to see. Mammals we may see: European Bison, Elk, Eurasian Beaver, Wild Boar, Roe and Red Deer and Muskrat. Common Swallowtail, Green Hairstreak, Camberwell Beauty and Map butterflies may also be on the wing. We also have time to discover the ancient oak, spruce and birch forests too. Easy walks can produce Eurasian Wryneck, White-backed, Black, Lesser Spotted, Middle Spotted, Grey-headed and

G. Orban

T. D’Arcangelo

Website ornitholidays.com

S. Giachello

even Three-toed Woodpeckers, but we might also find Collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers, Barred Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper,Thrush Nightingale and Eurasian Golden Oriole. Black Storks and Greater Spotted Eagles are relatively easy to see in this magic place while Eurasian Woodcock is also a possibility. Common Cranes and European Golden Plovers pause here during migration. We can also visit the Beloe Fishponds. This is the only location in Belarus where we might find the beautiful piebald male Smew, along with his red-headed females. Here we can also look for the majestic White-tailed Eagle, in a variety of plumages. We shall also look for both Caspian Gulls and terns, as well as Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes, and “booming” Great Bitterns.There is a good population of Bluethroats and waders may include Terek Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Temminck’s Stint. Day 9 Transfer to the airport for the return flight.

M. Piacentino

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

L. Boscain

EUROPE

Days 1 to 3 After landing at the Minsk airport we start our journey (4hours driving with birding stop) to the famous World Heritage Site, the Belovezhskaya Pushcha ancient forest. Our comfortable hotel is situated in the National Park’s forest, offering birding (right around the hotel) with Black, Greyheaded and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, Eurasian Siskin, European Serin, Crested Tit, Black and Common Redstarts, Hawfinch and much more. We will explore the ‘fairy-tale’-like woods, which hold Great Grey and Eurasian Pygmy Owls, all the European woodpeckers, Eurasian Hoopoe, Woodlark, Common Crossbill and Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers. Uraland Tengmalm’s Owls are here too, though not easy to find. Along Lake Liadskoye Whooper Swan, Wood Sandpiper and Savi’s, River and Icterine Warblers all occur. Raptors include White-tailed, Short-toed and Lesser Spotted Eagles, European Honey Buzzard, Northern Goshawk and both Hen and Montagu’s Harriers.There is a good chance for Hazel Grouse and we will try to see Capercaillie too. On the mammal front: Elk and Wild Boar, and of course, the herds of European Bison.

M. Biasioli

13


GREECE - LESVOS

ONE

STOP

Spring Migration Magic

C. Galliani

Saturday, 05 May – Saturday 12 May 2018

2017 Cost £4,999 2018 €1400 SRS SRS€200 £690

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Cinereous Bunting Cretzschmar’s Bunting Kruper’s Nuthatch Olive-tree Warbler Black-headed Bunting Eastern Orphean Warbler Sombre Tit Isabelline Wheatear

TOUR LEADER Igor Maiornao

Western Rock Nuthatch Eleonora’s Falcon Lesser Kestrel Masked Shrike Ruppell’s Warbler Audouin’s Gull Eastern Bonelli’ Warbler Persian Squirrel

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2-7 Days 8

120

Fly Arrive in Mytilini and transfer to Skala Kalloni Skala Kalloni Depart Mytilini

Although Lesvos is the third largest of the Greek Islands it is still relatively small, being 70km long and 45km wide, making the whole area easily accessible from one centre. Since it is only a long stone’s throw from Turkey, the island’s flora and fauna have a distinct Eastern Mediterranean flavour about them.The island has a friendly and easy-going atmosphere. In early spring, the land is still clad in a cloth of green punctuated by splashes of vivid red poppies and washed by the golden yellow of Spanish Broom. In early May, the migration should be in full flow with large numbers of birds heading north. European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe,Yellow Wagtail and European Bee-eater appear to be alight in the brilliant sunshine.The resident birds are well into their breeding cycle with the air full of song, Cinereous and Cretzschmar’s Buntings in the spectacular scenery of the west, and Krüper’s Nuthatch in the pine woods.There are over eleven million olive trees on Lesvos so it is no surprise that Olive-tree Warbler is another speciality to seek out. A wide variety of habitats including wetlands, woodlands, saltpans, estuaries, meadows and bare uplands are all within reach of our hotel situated at the end of one of the two large bays that penetrate deep into the island. In a good spring the numbers of birds can be breathtaking, all amidst splendid surroundings. No wonder Lesvos has much to offer the naturalist and ornithologist. of birds can be breathtaking, all amidst splendid surroundings. No wonder Lesvos has much to offer the naturalist and ornithologist. One of the delights of our tours is the chance to have a midday break and eat at small tavernas in picturesque settings. Ornitholidays has unrivalled experience to Lesvos and this will be our 44th holiday - more than any other company. Come with us in 2018 to see why everyone travels with Ornitholidays to Lesvos!

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus. Maximum of 14 clients. M. Biasioli

14

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We arrive in Mytilini, the capital on the eastern side of the island.The transfer to our comfortable hotel in Skala Kalloni should take about one hour.This hotel will be our base throughout the holiday.

C. Galliani

cult to come to grips with, but we will do our best. Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sombre Tit and Eurasian Hoopoe share the groves along with Middle Spotted Woodpecker and the valleys echo to the song of Common Nightingale. Above us over the rocky crags Short-toed Eagle and Common Buzzard hang on the wind searching for some unsuspecting lizard or snake. In contrast, the western part of Lesvos is wild and rugged, ravines and gorges ramify the rocky crags and mountains. Spanish Broom covers the boulder-strewn slopes with extravagant splashes of cadmium yellow and the still air is saturated with its heady scent.This is the domain of the bunting. Male Cretzschmar’s seem to be singing their scratchy song from every single rock.The much rarer and sought-after Cinereous Bunting may take a little longer to locate, but the area above Errosos is one of its strongholds and it shares the rocky gullies with Common Rock Sparrow. It is here that the flute-like song of the Blue Rock Thrush may echo hauntingly from the high points of the crags, often patrolled by Long-legged Buzzard.The steep slopes of an extinct volcano, on the top of which the Ipsilou Monastery perches precariously, are home to Woodlark, Northern and Black-eared Wheatears and a few pairs of Isabelline Wheatear. Western Rock Nuthatch hop from rock to rock, whilst Eurasian Crag Martin and Alpine Swift scythe through the air with scimitar wings. The area around the delightful harbour at Sigri offers a chance for watching migrating raptors. Flocks of Lesser Kestrel hawk the fields for insects often accompanied by Red-footed Falcon and maybe an early Eleonora’s Falcon. The orchards are often busy with warblers; Lesser Grey and Masked Shrikes rest before moving off to

M. Biasioli

Website ornitholidays.com

a more permanent spot. Rufous Bush Robin also favour certain sites here and a nearby pool boasts a few breeding pairs of Sedge and Great Reed Warblers. Molyvos at the northern tip of the island not only has magnificent coastal scenery with views to Asia Minor but scrub-covered slopes and with luck we may see Rüppell’s Warbler perched, but keeping a wary eye open for the local Peregrine Falcon. Offshore Audouin’s Gull, Cory’s (Scopoli’s) and Yelkouan Shearwaters are distinct possibilities. Finally, the high pinewoods around Agiassos and Mount Olympus (968m) will be visited in search of the gem in this ornithological crown, Krüper’s Nuthatch. Hopefully, at this time they will still be vocal, making them a little easier to locate. Other inhabitants of the pine forests include European Serin, Short-toed Treecreeper, Eurasian Hoopoe and European Honey Buzzard, with superb Sweet Chestnut woodland nearby having Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler and Common Redstart present. Add to all this, Red-rumped Swallow nesting in the roadside culverts, Red-backed Shrike scattered liberally on spiny shrubs, White Stork nesting on church towers, European Nightjar and Eurasian Scops Owl calling after dusk and it is hardly surprising that this delightful Aegean island is increasing in popularity with birdwatchers. Day 8 We catch our flights from Mytilini.

C. Galliani

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

EUROPE

Days 2 to 7 Skala Kalloni is a small resort situated at the north end of Kalloni Bay, into which empty two rivers. Our hotel is situated within walking distance of the sea and of the town itself. Outside of our hotel is a vegetated area of tamarisks and reeds which, when there has been good rainfall, floods and attracts migrant ducks, waders, wagtails and terns. In some years the bird watching is amazing here! The waterside shrubs are a safe sanctuary for Spanish Sparrow but they usually have to share their haven with singing (Eastern) Olivaceous Warblers. Also nearby is Kalloni West River with its salt marshes and numerous brackish pools. Here Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers feed in their stop-start fashion; other waders using the area as a staging point are Curlew Sandpiper (some in brick-red breeding plumage), Pied Avocet and on occasions Collared Pratincole. On the other side of the town, the Kalloni East River is one of the best sites on the island, the raised banks making ideal vantage points to check the river. The reedy fringes, the willows and the salt tolerant tamarisks, with their powder-puff pink flowers, all hold migrants. Little Crake, Little Bittern and Squacco Heron hide amongst the tall reeds, brilliant European Bee-eaters nest in the sandy banks and Stone Curlew crouch cryptically on the stony spit at the mouth of the river. Corn and Black-headed Buntings sing their tinny trills from the taller willows, which may also harbour roosting Black-crowned Night Heron, and Cetti’s Warbler blast out their explosive song from deep cover. Kalloni Saltpans, and the area known as Derbyshire, also offer the chance for more waders and the possibility of White-winged Tern, Ruddy Shelduck and Black Stork. Shorttoed and Crested Larks, Tawny and Red-throated Pipits along with Blackeared Wheatear favour the drier sandy fields and we will spend some time scanning the area for such species. The olive groves around Kalloni are rich in plants, butterflies and of course birds.The gnarled pollarded ancient trees not only provide an abundance of fruit but a suitable breeding habitat for one of the area’s specialities, the Olive-tree Warbler.The harsh repetitive song usually betrays its presence but it is a shy and skulking bird, which can be diffi-

C. Galliani

15


PORTUGAL AT LEISURE

ONE

STOP

Hills, Plains and Lagoons in Spring and in Autumn

Q. D. Barranco

Sunday 06 May - Sunday 13 May 2018 Sunday 16 September – Sunday 23 September 2018 Sunday 28 April - Sunday 05 May 2019

2018 Cost €1830 SRS €225 N. Jones 2018 Cost €1980 SRS €225 2019 Cost From €1830 SRS €225

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Little Bustard Great Bustard Black-winged Kite Azure-winged Magpie Montagu’s Harrier Greater Flamingo Blue Rock Thrush Ring Ouzel Purple Swamphen Short-Toed Eagle Iberian Grey Shrike Tekla Lark Black-bellied Sandgrouse Collared Pratincole Iberian Chiffchaff

TOUR LEADER Frank McClintoch

110 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Santa Clara

PORTUGAL

Faro

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-7 Day 8

Arrival in Faro and transfer to Santa Clara Santa Clara Depart from Faro

To most tourists, a holiday in Portugal means a week or two spent in the southern Algarve with its rash of modern hotels, apartments and restaurants sprawling along the south coast.This new tour reveals an altogether different side to the country. Our base for the week, located in the remote and unspoilt countryside that lies in the border zone between the provinces of the Algarve and Alentejo, is the guest lodge that is owned by Frank and run by his friendly staff. In fact, by hard endeavour spread over a period of 25 years, Frank has converted a few rundown buildings, situated on a scrub-covered slope, into a comfortable and homely lodge set in a lush terraced garden which has won TripAdvisor’s “Travellers’ Choice Award” two years running. All rooms are ‘en suite’ and comfortably furnished.The view out over the man-made lake is stunning; so too the silence which is disturbed only by the song of Common Nightingales and the less musical outbursts of Sardinian Warblers.The whole ambience of the place is warm and welcoming. The food is mainly local produce, home-made and simply delicious. Frank also keeps a modestly priced cellar of Portuguese wines, with a decidedly “ornithological” theme! Added to all this, the garden has been planted with birds in mind. Here there are nesting Red-rumped and Barn Swallows, purring European Turtle Doves and a profusion of European Goldfinches. Subalpine and Dartford Warblers are also often seen. As we are able to cover a range of habitats from this one centre, our bird list will be equally varied from Great Bustard to Zitting Cisticola, from Blackwinged Kite to Azure-winged Magpie. So if it is peace and quiet, comfort, fine scenery, a feeling of being off the beaten track and some colourful birding, then this is likely to be the tour for you. Its appeal is increased if you are interested in other aspects of natural history, particularly wild flowers and butterflies, both of which are abundant at this time of the year.Though there are some early starts to make the most of the possibilities of seeing the shyer rarities, this tour will generally be run at a relaxed pace with three full days away from the Quinta with a picnic lunch and three days spent locally with lunch at the Quinta when there will be a chance to relax, explore the natural history of the area immediately behind the lodge or perhaps take a refreshing dip in the lake.

By minibus. Maximum of 13 clients

16

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Arch. Orn.

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We arrive at Faro on the Algarve coast. We spend a little time looking at the lagoons and saltpans in the vicinity of the airport with their Greater Flamingos, Pied Avocets and Black-winged Stilts before we make the 90-minute drive to our base near Santa Clara a Velha, where we stay for seven nights. Firstly we travel west along the relatively built-up Algarve coast and then north up into the Alentejo. As we do so, the country becomes wilder and more sparsely populated. This is highlighted by the remoteness of our lodge, which is located some four kilometres off the metalled road in a truly idyllic setting. will be much more relaxing than the full days and give us the opportunity to pay more attention to the wild flowers, butterflies and dragonflies we encounter. Clear water streams trickle along valley floors inhabited by noisy Iberian and Edible Frogs and dragonflies such as Blue Emperor and Western Clubtail.The streamside meadows are a riot of colour dominated by French Lavender, Viper’s Bugloss and several Cistus species.The abundance of flowers acts as a magnet to a variety of butterflies, including Spanish Marbled White, Spanish Fritillary, Spanish Gatekeeper, Long-tailed Blue, Cleopatra and the striking Two-tailed Pasha whose larval food plant is the ubiquitous Medronho bush from which the local hooch is made.The valley slopes are dotted with ancient Cork Oaks and stands of the recently introduced Eucalyptus trees, the latter often favoured by Eurasian Golden Orioles, (though there is also a hide in the Quinta’s garden specifically built to view this species). Birds include Common Nightingale, Eurasian Hoopoe, Common Cuckoo, Rock, Cirl and Corn Buntings, Woodchat Shrike, Azure-winged Magpie, Spotless Starlings, Cetti’s and Melodious Warblers and Iberian Chiffchaff. Perhaps the most notable feature of these excursions is the opportunity to walk in an unspoilt rural landscape where the hum of bees replaces the drone of traffic. There will be the opportunity to visit the new Water Rail Hide which overlooks a slow-moving part of the River Mira with reeds bordering the

Website ornitholidays.com

Q. D. Barranco

edges and we regularly have good views of Common Kingfisher, Water Rail, Common Waxbill, Cirl Bunting, European Serin, Rock Bunting and Eurasian Golden Orioles. One day will be at leisure at the Quinta where there is the opportunity to relax with time to explore the walks around the lakes, use the Golden Oriole Hide, catch up on diaries or take photographs. Day 8 After breakfast we will depart for Faro where we catch our return flights.

EUROPE

Days 2 to 7 During our stay here we will make three day-long excursions. One will explore what is literally the extreme south-west corner of mainland Europe. Our route takes us first up into the Serra de Monchique, a range of hills of volcanic origin. A stop at Foia allows us both a wonderful panoramic view as well as a suite of birds that includes Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, Woodlark, Common Stonechat and Winter Wren. On our way down to the west coast, we will visit some pinewoods in search of Short-toed Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit and European Robin (not an easy species in these parts!). We will eat our picnic lunches on a heath-covered cliff-top, keeping an eye on the sea for passing gulls and terns, as well as watching aerobatic Pallid Swifts. Suitably refreshed we will drive down to the Cabo de Sao Vicente. Besides admiring the scenery, we will look for Red-billed Chough,Tawny Pipit and perhaps some late migrants using this location as a stepping stone in their northward journey from Africa. If there is time before heading north again, we will visit two lagoonal areas along the south coast. Hopefully, they will offer us a range of waders and water birds, and some of the local specialities such as Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern, Black-winged Stilt and Little Tern. A second day tour will involve travelling northwest to the coast at Santo Andre. Here we will explore the Lagoa Santo Andre and extend our list of waders and water birds. We would hope to find Purple Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill and Redcrested Pochard, as well as Western Marsh Harrier.The fringing vegetation holds Great Reed and Savi’s Warblers as well as Zitting Cisticola. If the water level is good, we will spend much of the day exploring the shores of the lagoon and its adjacent woodlands and meadows. The return journey will take us through areas of open cork oak woodland, a habitat favoured by Blackwinged Kite. Other raptors we would hope to see during the day include Booted and Shorttoed Eagles and Black Kite. The third excursion will involve exploring the rolling plains of Alentejo that lie to the east.These hold good numbers of Great and Little Bustards. Other notable species include Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Stone Curlew, Iberian Grey Shrike, Montagu’s Harrier, Lesser Kestrel and Little Owl. Five species of lark – Calandra, Crested, Thekla, Greater Short-toed and Wood – can be observed, whilst at the many ponds that dot the landscape, we may find Collared Pratincole, Little Ringed Plover and Gull-billed Tern. As we make our way along the traffic-free roads, we will see that most poles, masts and chimneys are crowned by White Storks nests with Spanish Sparrows often sharing the accommodation. Two of the local days will involve some gentle walks only a short drive from the lodge.They

Q. D. Barranco

M. Mendi

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

Q. D. Barranco

17


PO VALLEY PHOTO TOUR Italy at Leisure From West to East

S. Stignani

Saturday 11 May – Saturday 18 May 2018

2018 Cost €1790 SRS €160

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Kingfisher Bee-Eater Black and Whiskered Terns Purple Heron Squacco Heron Night Heron Sparrowhawk Spotted Redshanks Green Sandpipers Snipes Garganeys Great Spotted Woodpecker Bittern Little Bittern Marsh Harrier Little Crake

Po River Valley hosts several reserves that we will visit in this tour. We will start from the Italian biggest river Delta and we will go back up to the North exploring the rice fields areas around Vercelli reaching Alps slopes at the end. Many will be the target birds of this tour: the colourful Bee-eaters and Kingfishers, all the nine European species of Egrets and the wonderful Red squirrels. we will visit public reserves where local companies have joined SKUA Nature in a profitable cooperation, embracing their projects in the development of nature tourism together with conservation and promotion of these lands. We will also visit private estates, like Cascina Spinola, and this will give us the chance to see which are the great opportunities that nature photography offers. We will take photographs from its latest generation hides facing humid areas. Many species have chosen this reserve to nest and this is a great goal, considering that all the surrounding lands are cultivated, to the detriment of birds. There are dozens of nesting pairs of Black-winged Stilts, Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls and Yellow Wagtails, and take refuge hundreds of other waders, terns, herons and egrets.

TOUR LEADER Luca Boscain OUTLINE ITINERARY

40

Day 1 Days 2-3 Days 4-7 Day 8

Arrival to Bologna Valli di Argenta Rice-fields reserves Departure from Milan

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus. up to 6 people

INCLUDES

all the ground services – accommodation, full board service, entry fees, local transfers, Photo hides, English speaking tour leader, excursions. M. Piacentino

18

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We take a flight to Bologna, where we arrive in the morning and meet our local guide. After a one hour transfer, we reach our hotel. In the afternoon we will transfer to Argenta reserve for a first photo session in one of the several hides of the estate. An electric boat will take us to the The ‘Arca’, a floating hide placed in the middle of tens of Water Lilies.The boat won’t make a lot of noise, allowing us to reach the hide without disturbing the animals. Black and Whiskered Terns, Purple, Squacco and Night Herons often come to the perches and fish where photographers can take beautiful pictures of them.

M. Piacentino

Other hides are dedicated to Sparrowhawks, Waders and, above all, to Kingfishers which can be photographed exactly while they’re fishing under water.

M. Piacentino

M. Premoli

C. Pedriali

M. Premoli

EUROPE

Days 2 to 7 After a brief morning session in the hides, we will have a 4 hours transfer going up the Po Valley to the province of Vercelli We will be accommodated in Fontanetto Po and we will be able to choose among several hides all located in Vercelli Province, inside different photographic reserves: Palude di San Genuario, Fontana Gigante and Brusaschetto, located in Po and Orba National Park, and Cascina Spinola, a private reserve of 12 hectares of wetlands. In Palude di San Genuario, we will be able to stay in Bittern and Kingfisher hide. With some luck, also Little Bittern, Little Crake and Marsh Harrier might show up, since they nest very close to the hide, giving extraordinary photo opportunities. In this period we will be able to see also the parades of the Great Bittern as well as the occasional presence of the typical Reedbed birds, like Great Reed Warbler. In Fontana Gigante, we will observe the birds coming to plain surrounded by a dense lowland forest: Spotted Redshanks, Green Sandpipers, Snipes, Night Herons, Garganeys, etc. At the drinking hide, we will be able to see also the Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay and, above all, the sweet Red squirrels. In Brusaschetto we will photograph a very noisy colony of Bee-eaters and will be able to observe the courtship, the passage of the prey and the fights for the territory that are typical of the beginning of the reproductive season of the species, while our ears will enjoy the call of Nightingale, Melodious Warbler, Golden Oriole and Common Cuckoo. Finally, in Cascina Spinola, we will be able to try hides facing different types of humid areas (basing on water depth): from wet meadows to deep waters suitable for Grebes. Each type of environment hosts different species: from Blackwinged Stilts, to Black Terns and Lapwings with chicks, going through a large variety of waders and wagtails in migration. With some luck we could see and photograph some rare birds like Slender-billed Gull, Grey Phalarope, Citrine Wagtail, Red-throated Pipit, which were all photographed in May from the hides of Cascina Spinola. Day 8 After breakfast, we will transfer to Milano to catch our return flight.

C. Galliani

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Piacentino

19


ROMANIA

ONE

STOP

The Ultimate Danube Delta Ultima Frontiera

A. Maestri

Saturday 12 May - Saturday 19 May 2018 Friday 08 June - Saturday 16 June 2018 Saturday 16 June - Saturday 23 June 2018 Saturday 04 August - Saturday 11 August 2018 Friday 24 August - Saturday 01 September 2018 Friday 31 August - Saturday 08 September 2018

2018 Cost €1590 SRS €140 2018 Cost €1950 SRS €140 2018 Cost €1590 SRS €140 N. Jones 2018 Cost €1510 SRS €140 2018 Cost €1830 SRS €140 2018 Cost €1899 SRS €140

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Collared Pratincole European Roller Bee-eater Grey-headed Woodpecker Black Woodpecker Pigmy Cormorant Dalmatian Pelican White pelican

TOUR LEADER Richard Coomber and local guides

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-7 Day 8

110 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses & Boat

Whiskered Tern Black Tern Glossy ibis Pallas’s Gull Red-necked Grebe White-tailed Eagle Wild Cat Golden Jackal

The newly constructed lodge boasts large rooms, all with their own en suite facilities, and grounds extend to over 2,500 acres of fish ponds, reedbeds, lagoons, riverine forest and salt steppe. On the property there are more than 30 hides that are available for our use. Over 130 bird species will be present when we visit in May/June August and September but you may want to choose which you wish to photograph, as these hides will provide you with some great photographic opportunities for many exciting species.The spring tour will give you the chance to see some nesting birds, with European Rollers laying their eggs and European Bee-eaters starting to excavate their burrows, while European Hoopoes will already be feeding their youngsters.The autumn tour see large numbers of Pygmy Cormorants, waders, egrets, herons, pelicans and terns passing through. On all tours we shall also make use of their “photographic boat”, kitted out as a floating hide and we can hope to take photos of Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Whiskered Tern, Ferruginous Duck and both Black-necked and Red-necked Grebes.There will also be a range of other species to be seen, such as Pallas’s Gull, Bearded Reedling, Penduline Tit and a great variety of ducks, herons, egrets and waders. Mammals you may see include Golden Jackal, Muskrat, Otter and Danube Delta Horse (one of the four “wild horses” of Europe).

Day 8/9

Fly to Bucharest Transfer to Ultima Frontiera and accommodation at the lodge Depart from Ultima Frontiera accommodation at NH Hotel in Bucharest Depart from Bucharest

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, photo hides, entry fees, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 7 clients. M. R. Romero

20

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 Arrival in Bucharest and meeting with the driver. Overnight in Bucharest.

L. Boscain

Pelicans, and to see Whiskered Tern, Caspian Gull, Ferruginous Duck and probably both Black- necked and Red-necked Grebes.The other will be to the edge of the Black Sea where there will be opportunities to see Pallas’s Gulls. The lagoons of Ultima Frontiera are teeming with fish and they provide rich feeding grounds for egrets and herons, and bothPygmy and Great Cormorants. It is here that we might hope to see Otters, which are frequently encountered. In May and June you also have the chance to see Eurasian Wryneck. However, a bird that you will encounter in large numbers is Eurasian Hoopoe as they will be feeding in family groups along the sandy tracks. The lodge provides electric buggies that can be driven between the lagoons and along the pathways and which also act as mobile hides for photographing many of the common species around the grounds. Day 8 We transfer back to Tulcea, using a water taxi, and then drive back to Bucharest. Day 9 Depart from Bucharest

M. Biasioli

M. Steenhaut

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

M. Biasioli

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Valentini

EUROPE

Days 2 to 7 Transfer from Bucharest to Tulcea, where we board a water taxi and make the 90 minute transfer on the Danube to Ultima Frontiera, where we stay for the next six nights. Our time here will be spent visiting the hides and photographing a range of species.There are over 30 hides to use, so we will have to choose which species interest us most while we are here. In May and June, to photograph some of the nesting species there will be hides set up near the nest of European Bee-eaters, European Rollers, Little Owls and Western Marsh Harriers. Other nests are subject to water-levels in the lagoons and also to what stage the birds may be at in their breeding cycles.Thrush Nightingales sometimes come to water at the drinking hide, while Tree Sparrows and Common Magpies are common at the feeders.The extensive sand dunes of Letea are amazing and they hold a number of interesting flowering plants and insect life for macrophotography. In September there will be a large numbers of Pygmy Cormorants present and they make great subjects with a background of flowering yellow nymphea water lilies. Good numbers of Redbacked Shrikes will be present, attracted by handouts of mealworms, while the waterbird numbers will be swollen by many passage waders, egrets and ducks. Common kingfisher will be present feeding in front of a few of the hides, while many European Bee-eaters will be perched on tamarisk bushes. We shall also make two boat excursions, one to the main lagoons (Matita and Merhei) to have close encounters with Dalmatian and White

M. R. Romero

21


WILD LUCANIA Photo Tour

A. Conte

Saturday 12 May – Saturday 19 May 2018

2018 Cost €1740 SRS €140

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Red Kite Black Kite Griffon Vulture Middle Spotted Woodpecker Black Woodpecker Collared Flycatcher Cirl Bunting Subalpine Warbler Lesser Kestrel Sardinian Warbler Cirl Bunting

Southern Italy is still svcarcely known visited by the large public. It is a virgin and underpopulated territory where nature is still king and the local populations have always been intimately connected with the extraordinary place where they live. Throughout history entire cities were dug into the rocks, thus disappearing from sight and blending perfectly with the landscape. Matera is still today a clear example of rock city, still inhabited by both humans and Lesser Kestrels, which have here the largest colony in Europe. Like any peninsula in the Mediterranean sea, also the Italian peninsula hosts a large number of endemic species particularly from a herpetological point of view: Italian Aesculapian snake, Southern spectacled salamander, Italian newt, Appennine yellow-bellied toad, etc. Also estremely interesting are the orchids: over 100 species are reported in Basilicata, among which Ophrys pseudoatrata, Late spider orchid subsp. posidonia and Sombre bee-orchid subsp. lucana.We will also have the possibility to take advantage of the photographic hides of a private reserve “Wild Lucania”.These are dedicated to birds: Red Kite, Black Kite, Griffon Vulture, Cirl Bunting, Subalpine Warbler and many more.Therefore it will be a generalist tour dedicated to both bird and macro photography and landscape photography.This will allow the photographer to get the most of the fascinating region of Lucania and its facet.

TOUR LEADER Antonio Conte

20/40 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus. Maximum of 6 clients

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-7 Day 8

Arrival in Bari Wild Lucania private estate and its surroundings Depart from Bari

INCLUDES

Bari to Bari inclusive. Meals, accommodations, local transports, photo hides, excursions and services of the English speaking tour leader. A. Conte

22

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 Arrival in Bari Karol Wojtyla airport and transfer to Val d’Agri (2.00 hours), where we will stay the whole week. In order to offer the best service possible, we will take some time to listen to each client’s expectations in terms of photography and we will do our best to organize the week logistics in order to satisfy your needs Days 2 to 7 We will be the only group visiting the private reserve “Wild Lucania” (Appennino Lucano-Val d’Agri-Lagonegrese National Park) and its hides.

A. Conte

Hide “Nibbi Cornito” and Hide “Nibbi Sant’Angelo” are dedicated to birds of prey, Red and Black Kites, and, with some luck, Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Black Stork, Red fox, Griffon Vultures and the extremely rare Egyptian Vulture. Other hides are dedicated instead to the Mediterranean passerines: Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian and Subalpine Warbler, Rock, Corn and Cirl Bunting, Stonechat, Woodchat and Red-backed Shrike, Black Redstart, etc.

A. Conte

A. Conte

A. Conte

A. Conte

A. Conte

A. Conte

EUROPE

We won’t visit the reserve only since we will go around Basilicata region exploring its centuriesold trees forests - which host Black Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Collared Flycatcher - the steppes where we’ll have the chance to see and photograph Lesser Kestrel, Red Kite and Calandra Lark – and the rock lands with Blue Rock Thrush, Spectacled Warbler and Blackeared Wheatear. We will also visit the Appennino Lucano-Val d’Agri-Lagonegrese National Park, the Fieghi– Cerrito Forest and the Murgia Materana Regional Park, that are important hotspots for biodiversity, orchids in particular. We will observe dozens of species like the Argolian bee-orchid subsp pollìnensis, Ophrys pseudoatrata, Late spider orchid subsp. Posidonia and Sombre bee-orchid subsp. lucana, and other interesing species as well such as Sicilian iris, Italian oak, Italian alder and Judas tree. Appennino Lucano-Val d’Agri-Lagonegrese National Park, Fieghi–Cerrito Forest and Mount Sirino-Papa are also extaordinary locations for amphibians and reptiles among which Southern spectacled salamander, Four-lined snake, Italian crested newt, Italian wall lizard, Apennine yellow-bellied toad and Italian stream frog. We will also be able to take pictures of the stunning landscapes of this land. We will explore the astonishing “calanchi” of Aliano and Pisticci, the largest badland area in Europe, formed by clayey hills which have been eroded by water, and the beautiful city of Matera, with its Lesser Kestrel colony (the largest in Europe as mentioned above). We will have time to explore the truly picturesque historical centre and the Regional Park of “Chiese Rupestri” (Rock churches). Day 8 Transfer to Bari airport (2.00 hours driving).

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

23


ITALY

Po Delta Tour

M. Biasioli

Saturday 11 May – Saturday 18 May 2018

2018 Cost €1760 SRS €180

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Lesser Kestrel Red-footed Falcon European Bee-eater Collared Pratincole Pygmy Cormorant Ferruginous Duck Greater Flamingo Bearded Reedling Montagu’s Harrier Golden Oriole European Roller Eurasian Hoopoe Red-legged Partridge Mediterranean Gull Sandwich Tern Kentish Plover Slender billed Gull Eurasian Scops Owl

Po Delta Parma

Bologna

ITALY Rome

The Po Delta has been rated as the area with the highest biodiversity in Europe, ranking it as one of Europe’s greatest wetlands.We journey at a time when the breeding birds will be at their nests and there are still migrants to be found passing north on their way to Arctic breeding grounds. Our first days will be dedicated to the Apennine hills of Emilia, to admire Lesser Kestrel and Red-footed Falcon, and if we are lucky, Eurasian Honey Buzzard and Short-toed Eagle.Then we move towards the coast to the huge expanses of reed beds, marshes and rich farmland, with amazing landscapes, where we hope to enjoy such species as European Bee-eater, Collared Pratincole, Pygmy Cormorant, Ferruginous Duck, Greater Flamingo, Bearded Reedling, Montagu’s Harrier, Golden Oriole, all nine species of the European breeding herons, hundreds of waterfowl and lots more!! Two relaxing boat trips are a special feature of this itinerary, which should get us close to many of the waterbird specialities and be excellent for the photographer. Add to this the delicious local food and wine so rightly famous worldwide and the historical villages and abbeys of the area, and you will have the perfect setting for an outstanding, unforgettable and extremely enjoyable birding holiday.

TOUR LEADER Luca Boscain OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

130 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus. up to 12 people

Day 2 Days 3-7 Day 8

Arrival in Bologna and transfer to Parma Parma Estensi Bay Depart from Bologna

INCLUDES

All the ground services – accommodation, full board service, entry fees, local transfers, English speaking tour leader, excursions. M. Mendi

24

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 3 to 7 After a final morning birding in the Parma area for any species we might have missed so far, we make the two hour drive to the Po Delta. Here we’ll spend the next five nights. Among the highlights here will be a visit (one of at least two that we will make) to a famous observation tower from where we are sure to get stunning views directly on the nests of many breeding species, including Pygmy Cormorant, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, all the European breeding herons, Penduline Tit, and possibly White-winged Tern and many others. One day we can visit the Comacchio Valley, a huge lagoon particularly rich in waders but in general a great area especially during this spring migration time for many species. We can explore the area with leisurely walks. After a tasty lunch in a local ‘agriturismo’ we can visit another area with extensive marshlands and more reed beds. Birds should include Greater Flamingo, a variety of waders including Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt and Collared Pratincole, Gull-billed Tern and Bearded Reedling. Overhead we should look for Eurasian Hobbies as they catch soaring dragonflies on the wing. Another area we can visit is a very large complex of wetlands, where from a famous and strategically positioned observation tower, we can have very close views of many interesting species, and where it will be pleasant and rewarding to spend a few hours. In the afternoon we reach one of the last large flooded plain forests in Italy and we explore this fascinating wood with more leisurely walks. Birds present here include Little Bittern, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Garganey and a variety of other ducks, herons and terns, Montagu’s Harrier, Little Crake, European Bee-eater and Golden Oriole. Woodland birds we can look for include Eurasian Wryneck, Short-toed Treecreeper, Melodious Warbler, Eurasian Tree Sparrow and Common Nightingale. On one day we will take a very pleasant and rewarding boat trip in a bird rich area, reaching the sea and having great chances to add more species to our list. Boat rides are always an enjoyable part of any tour, as they are relaxing and often allow a close approach to the birds. It

T. D’Arcangelo

is also an excellent way to explore the area, reaching many parts that cannot be seen from tracks and paths. We shall keep an eye out for the many species of dragonfly that inhabit the marshes and waterways. On our final full day we can search for birds in some saltpans, in the seaside pine woods and along the extensive sandy beaches. Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Kentish Plover, Slender billed Gull, Eurasian Scops Owl, Italian Sparrow and Fan-tailed Warbler are some of the species we may see. In the afternoon there will be another highlight of the tour: an exclusive boat excursion to the Valli di Campotto Natural Reserve usually closed to public. Here we will have the opportunity to see Pygmy Cormorant, Whiskered and Black Terns, and different species of breeding herons, such as Blackcrowned Night Heron and Squacco Heron.

M. Biasioli

Day 8 After some final birding in one of the many productive areas in the delta we head towards Bologna Airport where we catch our return flights.

Website ornitholidays.com

T. D’Arcangelo

EUROPE

Days 1-2 We arrive in Bologna, where we meet our local guide and driver. We then make the one hour transfer to our hotel in the countryside near the historical town of Parma, where we stay for two nights. Depending on our arrival time we may have some time to sample the local avifauna. This is a unique area in Italy with a great rural landscape extremely rich with localised species. The Taro riverbed is particularly productive for Stone Curlew, which is abundant here, while in the rolling hills of the countryside we can look for other typical species, and some real specialities, such as Lesser Grey Shrike, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe and Red-legged Partridge.The next morning we can go bird watching looking for other specialities such as breeding Lesser Kestrel and Red-footed Falcon as well as Shorttoed Eagle, and in the afternoon we can visit a nearby famous LIPU oasis, which will provide exceptional opportunities for photographers, with close views of many species from the hides, such as Black winged Stilt, Squacco Heron and many migrants as well. Lunch will be in a nearby great restaurant that will not disappoint us: Parma and its surroundings are rightly famous world-wide for the quality of the food.

M. Biasioli

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Valentini

25


FINLAND

Owls, Woodpeckers & Grouse

J. Peltomaki

Saturday 19 May – Sunday 27 May 2018

2018 Cost €2920 SRS €340

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Great Grey Owl Tengmalm’s Owl Hawk Owl Ural Owl Pigmy Owl Red-flanked Bluetail Terek Sandpiper Red-necked Phalarope Siberian Tit Siberian Jay Greenish Warbler Blyth’s Warbler Hazel Grouse Black Grouse Capercaille

Kuusamo Oulu

FINLAND

TOUR LEADER Richard Coomber and local guide

160 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Ornitholidays has now been visiting Finland since 1999 in search of the boreal specialities of the region.We arrive at a time when the birds will either be establishing their breeding territories or will already have young at the nest.The itinerary has been designed not to be too ambitious in the distances we travel and also to concentrate on the special birds of the region, especially the grouse, owls and woodpeckers. If rodent populations are at a high density this area of Finland is home to the superb Great Grey Owl, as well as Tengmalm’s, Ural and Northern Hawk. One other star attraction is the chance to look for Red-flanked Bluetail which nests in small numbers in this region.We use just three centres for our stay, and we visit marshes, lakes, vast tracts of coniferous and mixed woodlands, river systems and fields.Throughout the tour we have the assistance of local ornithologists who know the whereabouts of breeding sites for many key birds. For those willing, we can savour a Finnish sauna and sample the local cuisine of reindeer, salmon and local berries! Journey with us on our 13th tour to this fascinating and beautiful area, at a time when the days are long and the air filled with bird song.

Helsinki

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-3 Days 4 to 6 Days 7-8 Day 9

Fly to Oulu Oulu Kuusamo Helsinki Depart from Helsinki

By minibus. Maximum of 7 clients

26

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

J. Peltomaki

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 4 to 6 This morning we transfer northeast to Kuusamo. Here, close to the Russian border, we have the chance to explore wetland areas, which hold Black-throated Diver and Goosander. Another beautiful bird is the Smew. We shall search wooded lakes for the beautiful piebald male and the red-headed females, and on such waters we might also find pairs of Velvet Scoter. Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe and Broad-billed Sandpiper breed here in small numbers, we would be lucky to see them. We visit Oulanka National Park, an area of Siberian taiga forest, home to the Brown Bear. Overhead circle White-tailed Eagle and European Honey Buzzard and the woods resound to the wheezy song of beautiful male Bramblings. This is the area where we can look for many species of owl – we may well find Tengmalm’s,

Ural and Northern Hawk Owls. Black and Threetoed Woodpeckers also haunt these woods, and with luck we should find three special birds here, Siberian Tit, Siberian Jay and the star bird Red-flanked Bluetail, an eastern species with a toehold in the area. Hazel Grouse will be present and both Capercaillie and Black Grouse will be displaying. Beautiful Bohemian Waxwings can often be heard. Rustic Buntings sing from spindly willow bushes, while Little Buntings can often be tracked down by their thin “tic” call. Magnificent Elk are often seen in the woods, and we would also hope to find Reindeer, Red Squirrel and both Brown and Arctic Hares in the Kuusamo Region. Days 7 & 9 Today we take the flight back to Helsinki. Unexpectedly, there is some beautiful countryside right on the doorstep of this busy city on the edge of the Gulf of Finland.To the west of the city we look for some of the southern specialities of the area, in the forests and on the lakes.These include European Honey Buzzard, Red-backed Shrike, Eurasian Wryneck,Three-toed, Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers, Corncrake, Greenish, Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher. Blyth’s Reed, Marsh and River Warblers all breed in this area, as well as Spotted and Pied Flycatchers and Crested Tit. We also have the chance to visit the coast to enjoy the last of the Arctic-bound migration of divers and wildfowl along the Gulf. If weather conditions are suitable we may see large numbers of Black-throated Divers, as well as smaller numbers of Barnacle and Brent Geese and Long-tailed Ducks and Common Scoter.The local Common Eiders will already have ducklings. On the last day, in the morning we go to Viiki, a vast reedbed area crossed by boardwalks linking small wooded islands. Here we should see Great Reed Warbler,Thrush Nightingale and perhaps find a Citrine Wagtail. Later, we catch our return flight.

N. Jones

M. Valentini

M. Biasioli

M. Valentini

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

EUROPE

Days 1 to 3 After landing at the Oulu airport, we transfer to our hotel in Oulu.The marsh of Liminganlahti is well known as one of the best areas near by. Here we shall look for the beautiful Terek Sandpiper.This species has a very restricted breeding distribution in the Western Palearctic and Oulu is the best area for finding it.The Gulf of Bothnia is home to a large range of species, some of which will be breeding while others will still be on passage to their breeding grounds further north. Familiar species such as Redwing, Fieldfare and Pied Flycatcher will be in song and a visit to one wetland area should offer the fantastic sight of lekking Ruff in full breeding plumage.The area also holds breeding Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Red-necked Grebe, Red-necked Phalarope, Goosander, Goldeneye, Wood Sandpiper and Little Gull. Common Crane is seen regularly. The woods here are also home of many species of woodpecker, as well as the of Common Rosefinch and Ortolan Bunting.The owls present in this area and at the next location vary from year to year depending on the population of rodents, but we hope to find Great Grey as well as Northern Hawk, Pygmy, Ural and Tengmalm’s. Birds of prey in this area include Western Marsh and Hen Harriers, Northern Goshawk and Shorteared Owl. Pallid Harrier is now regular in small numbers.

J. Peltomaki

27


SPAIN SOUTHERN CATALONIA Birds and butterflies

M. Mendi

Monday 21 May - Monday 28 May 2018

2018 Cost €1970 SRS €120 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Madrid

La Morera de Montsant

Montsonís Barcelona Ebro Delta

HIGHLIGHTS

SPAIN

Little Bustard Montagu’s Harrier Lammergeier Egyptian Vulture Black Vulture Bonelli’s Eagle Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Lesser Short-toed Lark

TOUR LEADER Steve West

Black Wheatear Iberian Green Woodpecker Crested Tit Audouin’s Gull Slender-billed Gull Purple Gallinule Collared Pratincole Many butterflies

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-3 Days 4-7 Day 8

Arrival in Barcelona and transfer to Montsonís Montsonís La Morera de Montsant Depart Barcelona

This Catalonia tour is particularly focused on the natural history of the southern area. It visits the Montsant range, where lonely hermitages add to the character of the most beautiful and solitary locations in this surprising massif. Unlikely rock formations silently stand guard and small rivers continue their patient work sculpting valleys, gullies and gorges out of sheer rock. According to the Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme no fewer than 86 species of butterfly have been recorded at a single site in this area! Of course we’ll be looking for birds too, including Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush,Western Orphean, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Golden Oriole, European Bee-eater and Eurasian Hoopoe. The Ebro Delta in contrast is flat and rather featureless but compensates for its lack of altitude by an exciting array of wetland birds, including gulls amongst which feature the rare Slender-billed and Audouin’s Gulls as well as waders, herons, terns and much more. The other leg of our Catalonia tour will take us to the foothills of the Pyrenees, from where we are ideally located to explore the plains to the south, the mountains to the north and the almost-hidden valleys and gorges in between.The remnant cereal plains, or drylands, come alive in the spring to the sounds of displaying Little Bustards, European Rollers and larks, and Lesser Kestrels, Montagu’s Harriers, Stone Curlews, Little Owls and more all gather in these areas to feed and breed before the summer harvest.The Pre-Pyrenees occupy the northern horizons, and it is here we need to visit to ensure that we do not miss the chance of seeing all four European vultures in one day: Eurasian Griffon, Egyptian and Eurasian Black Vultures and the stunning Lammergeier.The surprising rocky landscapes, solitary hillsides, tranquil river valleys and bird-rich farmland that make up this area mean that we will never have a dull moment.The landscapes are unique and unforgettable and the wildlife is abundant and stimulating. Throughout the tour you will have the expertise of Steve West, who has been studying the wildlife here since he took up residence in Catalonia, more than 20 years ago.

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibuses Maximum of 7 clients M. Biasioli

28

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Days 1 to 3 We arrive in Barcelona and we meet our local guide, Steve West. Our first stop is on the doorstep of the airport, at one of the Llobregat Delta wetland reserves. Depending on the water levels we can see a variety of wetland species here including ducks, herons, gulls, waders and more, as well as reedbed passerines and maybe a late migrant or two. A short walk down to the nearby beach will soon reveal if there is any interesting movement of seabirds just off the coast. From here it is a relatively short drive, excluding any diversions we may make for birding reasons, to our welcoming hotel in the little village of Montsonís.This will be our home base for our explorations of the local area, which has an exciting variety of birds, butterflies and landscapes to offer us. A morning visit to the cereal plains to the south is the best way of seeing a number of interesting species that might otherwise go unnoticed: Little Bustard, Stone Curlew, European Roller, Montagu’s Harrier, Eurasian Hobby, Lesser Kestrel, and Little Owl could all be expected, along with an extensive supporting cast of larks, shrikes, raptors and more.This can be complemented with an easy-paced tour of nearby rocky gorges, lakes and rivers which should reveal many more birds, such as Short-toed Eagle, Melodious Warbler, Firecrest, Woodlark, Common Nightingale and Cirl Bunting.The best part of the remaining day will be well spent on an incursion into the Pre-Pyrenees, where we have good possibilities of seeing Lammergeier, Eurasian Black and Egyptian Vultures and perhaps Golden and Booted Eagles, all amid spectacular mountain scenery. With a little luck we can complete this already impressive raptor roll call with views of the rather discrete and retiring Bonelli’s Eagle to end a superb day’s birding. During our days here we can look for a good selection of butterflies including Orange and Moroccan Orange Tips, Clouded Yellow, Cleopatra, Wall Brown, Spanish Gatekeeper, Spanish, Glanville and Queen of Spain Fritillaries, Scarce Swallowtail, Adonis Blue, False Ilex and Blue Spot Hairstreaks and Painted Lady

M. Mendi

M. Mendi

by acre upon acre of rice fields, interconnecting a series of reed-fringed lakes and pools, sea bays, sandy spits and beaches, saltings, marshes and open water. Here we can look for birds such as Slender-billed and Audouin’s Gulls, Whiskered, Gull-billed and Caspian Terns, Purple Gallinule, Squacco Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Little Bittern, Great and Cattle Egrets, Glossy Ibis, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Greater Flamingo, Zitting Cisticola, Great Reed Warbler, Red-crested Pochard, Collared Pratincole and Lesser Shorttoed and Greater Short-toed Larks. Day 8 We take leave of our hotel and after some final exploration of the local area we transfer to Barcelona Airport to catch our flights.

EUROPE

Days 4 to 7 Taking leave of our hotel at Montsonís today we head south towards Lleida. We will spend much of the day birding different areas to the south of the city, given the variety of birds and habitats on offer.The dryland areas here are home to a small population of Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, and there

are Lesser and Greater Short-toed Larks, as well as Thekla and Calandra Larks, Black and Blackeared Wheatears, Red-billed Chough and more. In an area of open farmland with irrigation channels, scrubby margins and avenues of plane trees we will look for Iberian Green Woodpecker, Penduline Tit, Iberian Grey Shrike and perhaps the erratic Black-winged Kite which appears here some years.Then we complete our last leg of the day’s journey by driving to the peaceful village of La Morera de Montsant, in an idyllic setting where we stay for four nights. We are now at the heart of the delightful Montsant range, and to start our exploration of the region we will take a short drive to the village of Siurana. Here we can delight our senses on a walk around the cliffs and the village itself and look out for raptors and other birds including the Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Peregrine Falcon, Blue Rock Thrush, Alpine Swift and a local speciality in the shape of the attractive Red-rumped Swallow. Later we skirt around the edges of the Montsant range, passing picturesque villages and rocky mountainsides, all the time looking for an encounter with interesting birds such as Golden Oriole, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Rock Sparrow and Woodchat Shrike. We can amble along quiet winding roads to discover the little known scenery of this Mediterranean massif.Terraced hillsides, pinewoods and little streams are dominated by imposing rock faces and huge crags. Along the way we will take the best opportunities that present themselves to stop and search for butterflies, plants and birds in these lovely hills. Some of the butterflies we may see include Swallowtail, Bath and Western Marbled Whites, Marsh, Spotted and Knapweed Fritillaries, Purple Shot Copper, Spanish Festoon, Berger’s Clouded Yellow, Small Blue and Southern White Admiral. A peaceful walk just off the road could reveal a good number of the following bird species including Crested Tit, Rock Bunting,Tawny Pipit, European Serin, Western Bonelli’s, Western Orphean, Sardinian, Dartford and Subalpine Warblers, Common Crossbill, Rock Sparrow, Short-toed Treecreeper, Cirl Bunting, and Grey Wagtail.The wildlife is fascinating, but this might be the moment to finish at a reasonable time in order to be able to participate in an early-evening guided visit and wine-tasting at a local Priorat wine cellar, in this land of worldfamous wines. For one full day we can make our way to the Ebro Delta, a vast flat land formed

M. Mendi

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Lorenzo

29


SPAIN PYRENEES Montane Raptorfest

M. Mendi

Saturday 02 June - Saturday 09 June 2018

2018 Cost €1970 SRS €120 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Bilbao Villafranca

Isaba

Madrid

HIGHLIGHTS

SPAIN

Dupont’s Lark Middle-spotted Woodpecker Tekla Lark Lesser Kestrel Lammergeier Short-toed Eagle Booted Eagle White-winged Snowfinch

TOUR LEADER Steve West

Citril Finch Wallcreeper Great Bustard Little Bustard Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Black-bellied Sandgrouse Chamois Alpine Marmot

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-3 Days 4-7 Day 8

This two centre holiday allows us to explore a wide range of habitats and hopefully find some of the more elusive birds of the Pyrenean ranges, foothills and dry steppe. At this time of year the mountains will also have a fine show of butterflies and plants to complement the avifauna.We can search oak forest to look for European Honey Buzzard, Iberian Chiffchaff and Middle Spotted Woodpecker, while the dry grasslands hold Stone Curlew, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Greater Short-toed, Lesser Short-toed, the rare and elusive Dupont’s,Thekla and Calandra Larks,Tawny Pipit, Lesser Kestrel, Black-eared and Black Wheatears, Spectacled Warbler and European Nightjar. Birds of prey are a particular attraction on this holiday, and over 16 species have been recorded, including Lammergeier, Golden, Short-toed and Booted Eagles, Northern Goshawk, Red and Black Kites and Montagu’s Harrier. At high levels, one can expect other species, such as White-winged Snowfinch, Alpine Accentor, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Citril Finch, Alpine Chough, Ring Ouzel and Water Pipit. In the foothills and on the plains, White Stork, Black Woodpecker, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Blue Rock Thrush, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Melodious, Dartford, Sardinian, Subalpine and Western Bonelli’s Warblers, Crested Tit, Golden Oriole,Woodchat Shrike, Red-billed Chough, Common Rock Sparrow and Cirl, Rock and Ortolan Buntings can all be expected. In particular, we will make a special effort to find Wallcreeper, that most sought after of mountain birds. We shall make a special effort to look for some of the myriad butterflies found in this region at this time of year. Chamois and Alpine Marmot also make for two interesting additions to the mammal list.

Arrival in Bilbao and transfer to Villafranca Villafranca Isaba Depart from Bilbao

110 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

INCLUDES

Madrid to Madrid all inclusive. Meals, accommodations, local transports,, excursions and services of the English-speaking tour leader.

Maximum of 7 clients N. Jones

30

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 4 to 7 Today we travel north-east from Villafranca into the Pyrenees towards our base at Isaba in the Roncal Valley, where we stay for four nights. It’s not a long journey, but we will be taking our time to get there.That’s because along the way there are plenty of birds to be seen in Mediterranean scrubland, riverside woodland, rocky gorges and pastureland. Birds today may include Redbacked Shrike, Sardinian and Melodious Warblers, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red and Black Kites, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, European Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Red-billed Chough and Spotless Starling. During the following days we will make a selection of excursions, setting out

from our base at Isaba. One day we will drive along the upper reaches of the Roncal Valley, over the mountain pass and into France. Our main target will be to reach the high altitude birds and enjoy the marvellous mountain scenery.The lower reaches of the pastures, bordered by patches of woodland, are home to Rock and Cirl Buntings, Yellowhammer, Eurasian Bullfinch and Marsh Tit, while White-fronted Dippers are quite easy to spot at strategic points from the river bank. As we ascend towards the French border there are areas with extensive woodland, home to Black and White-backed Woodpeckers. Water Pipit, Alpine Chough, Citril Finch, Common Crossbill, Ring Ouzel and Alpine Accentor all feature on the interesting list of mountain birds that can be seen on the upper reaches of this route, while raptors could include Golden Eagle and Lammergeier. Chamois and Alpine Marmot can also be found here, along with White-winged Snowfinch. Time can be spent walking and exploring the lush and leafy mixed forests, in search of woodland birds. Black Redstart, Firecrest, Crested Tit, Rock Sparrow, Short-toed Treecreeper, Western Orphean and Western Bonelli’s Warblers, Common Crossbill, Little Owl and Ortolan and Rock Buntings are all possibilities. Fast-flowing streams are a feature of the area, and the riverside forests and fields hold European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Melodious Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Wryneck plus Grey Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover and Common Kingfisher along the streams. Overhead we must keep an open eye for raptors which may include Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Red and Black Kites and Booted Eagle.The Hecho Valley lies to the east in Aragón, and shares much of its mountain birds with the Roncal Valley. We hope to see many species of raptor, such as Lammergeier, Egyptian and Eurasian Griffon Vultures and Short-toed and Golden Eagles. We shall explore high mountain pastures, woodland and crags to find Citril Finch, Crested Tit, Common Crossbill and one of the most emblematic birds of the region, the Wallcreeper. Some of the butterflies we should see during the week include Common Swallowtail, Cleopatra, Southern Gatekeeper, Spanish Purple Hairstreak, Blue-spot Hairstreak, Berger’s Clouded Yellow, Camberwell Beauty, Southern White Admiral, Large Tortoiseshell, Cardinal and Long-tailed Blue, plus a variety of graylings, skippers and fritillaries.

M. Mendi

M. Mendi

Day 8 Today we say our fond farewells to the village of Isaba and depart towards Bilbao airport. Luckily, however, the birding is not yet over, as before reaching the airport we travel to the forest reserve of Izki to look for Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Iberian Chiffchaff and European Honey Buzzard. Later we catch our return flights.

EUROPE

Days 1 to 3 We arrive in Bilbao, where we meet up with our guide, Steve West, and travel to our hotel near Villafranca, where we stay for three nights. We make an early start the next morning, as out on the steppes it can get quite warm by midday. However, our time at the Bardenas Reales should be very rewarding, as target birds here include both Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, virtually all the Spanish larks including even the rare Dupont’s, Blackeared and Black Wheatears, Lesser Kestrel, Spectacled Warbler,Tawny Pipit and Stone Curlew, amongst others. After lunch we will head to an inland lake close to our hotel. The open cereal fields and dry terrain surrounding the lake are home to Montagu’s Harriers and some of the birds we may have seen in the morning.The lake itself is usually well-stocked with birds, which at this time of the year should include Red-crested Pochard, Great and Little Bitterns, Bearded Reedling, Purple Heron, Western Marsh Harrier, Black-necked Grebe, Cetti’s Warbler, Penduline Tit and Black-winged Stilt. For our second full day in this area we walk through a riverside woodland bursting with birdsong mainly from Cetti’s Warbler, Common Nightingale and Blackcap and look for some interesting bird species such as Eurasian Wryneck, Lesser Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Common Kingfisher, Melodious Warbler, Eurasian Golden Oriole and Penduline Tit. Nearby there are wide expanses of undulating, non-irrigated farmland and rough pastures, ideal habitat to house the small remnant populations of Great and Little Bustards of Navarra. If we have any time left over after birding these areas we can investigate a Mediterranean hillside to get to grips with its typical warblers and other birdlife.

S. West

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Mendi

31


BIRDS AND WINE From mountains to the countryside

M. Mendi

Saturday 9 June – Saturday 16 June 2018

2018 Cost €1980 SRS €225

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Ferruginous Duck Rock Partridge Sacred Ibis Lammergeier Short- toed Eagle Stone Curlew Alpine Swift Alpine Accentor

TOUR LEADER Luca Boscain

Rock Thrush Western Bonelli’s Warbler Lesser Grey Shrike Nutcracker Snowfinch Citril Finch Black-headed Bunting Chamois

An amazing tour dedicated to birdwatchers who love nature and good wines. 8 days of pure birdwatching in the lands of wine.You will have the chance to watch many interesting and rare bird species combined with high quality wine tastings and visits to local cellars in some of the best wineries of the area.Thanks to the closeness of different kind of Italian landscapes you will experience 3 days in the Alps, with its rugged mountains, forests, meadows and flowing streams, and 4 days in the Monferrato area, lowlands where to explore hilly landscapes, the river valleys of the Po, the woodlands and rice paddies in order to have a complete overview of the attractive bird species living in Northern Italy. Accommodations are the top of the top, you will enjoy a mountain-style hotel in the first part of the journey, to then relax in a wonderful wine resort and spa in a little village in the Monferrato hills. Butterflies are particularly abundant to add to this tour a wildwatching experience too.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Fly to Milan and transfer to Valnontey Days 2 to 3 Valnontey - Alps Days 4 to 7 Camino - countryside Day 8 Depart from Milan

140 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibus. up to 7 people T. D’Arcangelo

32

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 2 to 3 From our base in the scenic Aosta Valley, over the next two days we will make a couple of drives into different valleys allowing us to explore this delightful park, bordered to the north and west by the high Alps and Mont Blanc massif.Visiting sites up to 2000m in altitude at La Thuile,Valsavaranche and Mont Avic we will have constantly changing landscapes: snow-capped mountains, alpine forests and streams and rich alpine meadows. Birdlife is varied and we will hope for a number of alpine specialists: Alpine Chough, Lammergeier, Golden Eagle, Rock Thrush in the open areas; Nutcracker, Crested Tit, Firecrest and Lesser Redpoll can be found in the pine forest, over which Goshawks sometimes soar; on the streams we will hope to find bobbing Dippers feeding their scaly young and all the time Serins and Black Redstarts sing from rocks, wires or village buildings. By June snow will be restricted to the high mountain peaks, and in the rough rocky places we will have a great chance of seeing the alpine race of Ring Ouzel, pale Northern Wheatears, Water Pipits, Whinchats, Rock Buntings, Citril Finch, plus Alpine and Red-billed Choughs that wheel above in mixed flocks. Crag Martins are often found zapping around bridges or villages. In the highest places Snowfinches will be nesting, whilst there is always a chance of the butterfly-like Wallcreeper in narrow gorges or rock faces – by June they are often nesting. In such a rich environment there is much to look for beyond the birds: butterflies are particularly abundant and our sightings should include alpine specialities such as Apollo, Mountain Clouded Yellow, Piedmont and de Prünner’s Ringlets, Alpine Grayling and Shepherd’s Fritillary. On lower meadows and woods, Black-veined White, Green

Hairstreak, Purple Emperor, Hungarian Glider, Scarce Copper and many others should all be about in the warmer days of summer. As Golden Eagles quarter the slopes, we will no doubt hear the alarms of Alpine Marmots and find them lolloping about; Alpine Chamois and Alpine Ibex should be seen well, sometimes in small groups with plenty of young. If the season is not late, the rich meadows can be truly spectacular for flowers.The high meadows are often bedecked with swathes of Alpine Pasque-flowers, Globeflowers, Common Butterworths, Burnt-tip and Elder-flowered Orchids, Alpine Sainfoin,Trumpet and Spring Gentians, St Bernard’s Lilies – too many to mention... The Aosta Valley is Italy’s smallest winemaking region and the Valdigne area south of Courmayeur at 1300m is home to the highest elevated vineyards in Europe. 75% of the area’s production is red wine made mostly from the pinot noir, gamay and petit rouge varieties. A white wine is made from the indigenous prié blanc grape. We will taste some of the local wines with our fine evening meals and we plan to visit a wine cooperative. Days 4 to 7 This morning we have a last chance to enjoy alpine landscape, before we drive to Piedmont region, where Po River flows at Alps foothills. Our base is a great central base for our three days spent exploring the region and its bird- and wildlife (and the many fine wines of the region, for example at Vignale an organic winery wellknown for its Barbera Superiore). Over the next three days, we can explore not just the wines but also the local countryside.The Apennine foothills are home to an interesting selection of birds including Moltoni’s Warbler (a race of Subalpine, considered by many to be a separate species), Red-backed Shrike, Ortolan, Cirl and, luckly, Blackheaded Buntings, Black Kite, European Honey Buzzard and colourful species such as Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater and European Roller. By the Po and the Scrivia River, the flood plains are good for various wetland species, and we will spend at least one morning birdwatching and looking at flowers and butterflies. One of the most common birds in this particular area is the Bee-eater and in this area they dig nesting holes

M. Mendi

in level ground rather than in embankments – like some other species of bee-eaters. At the rivers themselves, Stone-curlews and Little Ringed Plovers nest; Black-winged Stilts wade in the shallow waters, whilst Hobbies and Black Kites are often about in good numbers after the many dragonflies.The Po is known for its paddies growing rice, with the famous Arborio rice coming from this region – from Arborio believe it or not! The San Genuario Reserve is a superb sanctuary for wildlife and here we will search for Great and Little Bitterns, Squacco and Purple Herons, maybe hear a Little Crake or two (even luckier if we see them), Night Heron and Little, Great and Western Cattle Egrets.The reeds are home to good numbers of ‘brown’ warblers, including Great Reed, Reed, Marsh and Cetti’s. Nearby is an interesting area that is managed to attract breeding Black-tailed Godwits – of the continental race, in decline in Europe. Also locally there is a large colony of breeding herons, and numbers can be very impressive with over 3,000 pairs of Night Herons thought to breed, plus many egrets, Grey and Purple Herons, an increasing number of Glossy Ibis and Eurasian Spoonbills. White Storks are sometimes seen in the area too. This region produces a great number of fine Italian wines and we will do well not to over-indulge – we will be checking the numers of birds called out at the daily checklist carefully. We will have a number of chance to savour the wines, at meals and at a couple of tastings, where Cortese, local Chardonnay and Barbera Superiore are likely to be much-appreciated.

EUROPE

Day 1 Today we will depart to reach Milan. Here we will meet our english-speaking local tour leader and make the 2.5 hour transfer to our hotel in Valnontey in the Aosta valley region, on the edge of the famous Gran Paradiso National Park. In the afternoon, we will breath the fresh alpine air, we will explore the valley environments and botanic garden for some of the local birds that should include Serins and Red-backed Shrikes. In the evening will enjoy good wine and a lovely meal prepared by locals.

Day 8 Depending on the flight schedule we might have time for some final birding in a nature reserve along the way, where we will look for ducks – including Red-crested Pochard and Ferruginous Duck, grebes and terns, as well as a local speciality Lesser Grey Shrike. After our tasty picnic lunch, we sadly have to make our way back east to Milan, from which we catch our return flight.

N. Jones

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Mendi

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

33


HUNGARY PHOTO TOUR Hortobagy National Park

ONE

STOP

L. Ercoli

Thursday 19 June – Monday 25 June 2018

2017 Cost £4,999 2018 €1320 SRS SRS€200 £690 GENERAL DESCRIPTION This photo expedition in one of the oldest destinations for bird photography from dedicated hides.We have been running photo tours in this area for a number of years and the amazing variety of species and the stunning photo opportunities have always guaranteed an unforgettable experience.We will see and photograph rare and localized eastern species from fantastic photo hides inside the famous Hortobágy National Park, in the heart of hungarian puszta, the Pannonian steppe: Red-footed Falcon, Black Stork, Bee-eater, many species of woodpeckers including Black and Middle Spotted, Collared Flycatcher and much more. June is the top season for colourful birds such as Redfooted Falcons, Rollers and Hoopoes.

Balmazujvaros Budapest

Hortobágy National Park

HIGHLIGHTS

HUNGARY

Red-footed Falcon Spotted Redshank Ferruginous Duck European Roller Black Stork Bee-eater Sparrowhawk Hoopoe Middle-spotted Woodpecker Lesser-spotted Woodpecker Clooraled Flycatcher Golden Oriole

TOUR LEADER Local Guide

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-6 Day 7

40 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus & By 4x4 vehicles

Fly to Budapest - transfer to Hortobagy National Park Hortobagy National Park Depart from Budapest

INCLUDES

Budapest to Budapest all inclusive. Accommodation, meals, local transport, the use of unique photo-through panorama hides, local English speaking guide. Possible SKUA Tour leader service in case the minimum number of clients is reached.

Maximum of 6 clients. M. Libra

34

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We will fly to Budapest and meet the local guide, who will take us to Hortobágy National Park. Depending on the arrival time, we might be able to start trying a few hides. In the evening, the local guide will brief us advising some details and providing a detailed weekly plan based on the participants’ expectations and needs. Everyday, participants will be able to try different hides or concentrate on a particular species as well. Days 2 to 6 The famous “Red-footed Falcon Tower” allows close views as well as a unique opportunity to witness this species breeding behaviour, with prey exchanges, courtships, mating, feeding and so on. Another hide, in a deep water area, will give us the chance to take stunning photos of Pygmy Cormorant, Great Egret, Ferruginous Duck, Marsh Harrier, Little Crake, etc. One hide is in front of a shallow little lake, and is therefore excellent for Egrets, Black Stork, Spoonbill and Night Heron, etc. Various drinking hides will let us photograph many more species such as Sparrow hawk, Black, Green, Lesser and Middle-Spotted Woodpeckers, Collared Flycatcher, various warblers, Golden Oriole, Hawfinch,Yellowhammer and many more. Waders are the main species for another hide, which, depending on the day, will host Spotted Redshank, Ruffs, as well as White-winged and Whiskered Terns: some of these species stay here for a few days during their migration, but also local breeding species will be present, like herons, Black-winged Stilts, Lapwings and Avocets.There are also mobile hides dedicated to Hoopoe, Roller, Bee eater and many others. Daily routine will vary depending on which hides will be used; Photographic sessions can last the whole day, from 4 a.m. to late afternoon (breakfast and lunch will be provided) or just lasts half a day.Timing is fixed to allow you to photograph during the best light hours.

L. Ercoli

M. Valentini

M. Valentini

M. Valentini

M. Valentini

L. Ercoli

Website ornitholidays.com

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

EUROPE

Day 7 Depending on the flight schedule, a last quick photo session might be possible, before leaving the estate.

L. Ercoli

35


HUNGARY IN SUMMER Natural History Tour

ONE

STOP

M. Biasioli

Friday 06 – Friday 13 July 2018

2017 Cost £4,999 2018 €1980 SRS SRS€125 £690 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Budapest

HUNGARY

HIGHLIGHTS

Kiskunság National Park

Saker Falcon Eastern Imperial Eagle Syrian Woodpecker Middle-spotted Woodpecker Lesser-spotted Woodpecker Eurasian Roller Eurasian Bee-eater Red-footed Falcon

TOUR LEADER Gabor Orban

Golden Oriole Montagu’s Harrier Great Bustard Long- legged Buzzard Ferruginous Duck Bearded Reedling Moustached Warbler European Souslik

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-7 Day 8

140 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Ornitholidays has been visiting Hungary for many years and for 2017 we are repeating the highly successful summer tour we pioneered in 2015, a one-centre holiday staying at Kondor Eco-Lodge in the scenic Kiskunsag National Park. Less well known than the similar Hortobagy, it teems with wildlife and preserves parts of the once continuous Eurasian steppe, the so called ‘puszta’.The Kiskunsag hosts one of the biggest populations of Great Bustards on the continent and is also home to Saker Falcon, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Pygmy Cormorant and Syrian Woodpecker.The number of European Rollers, European Bee-eaters, Red-footed Falcons and Lesser Grey Shrikes is staggering! The tour is a general natural history holiday and in early July we can expect to see the special birds of the area as well as a good number of butterflies and dragonflies which include several exotic species not found at home, such as Lesser Purple Emperor, Cardinal,Yellow-spotted Emerald and Large White-faced Darter.

Fly to Budapest and transfer to Kiskunság National Park Kiskunság National Park Depart from Budapest

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodations, local transports, excursions and services of the Englishspeaking tour leader.

By minibus Maximum of 12 clients. M. Valentini

36

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We arrive into Budapest and we meet Gabor. We will have dinner in a well appointed restaurant, and make the short journey to our lodge.

M. Biasioli

ded Reedlings inhabit the reedbeds. Waders may include Pied Avocet and Blackwinged Stilt. Whitetailed Eagles hunt here and we shall keep an eye out for this magnificent raptor. Areas of impressive forest are home to European Honey Buzzard, Black Stork, both Short-toed and Eurasian Treecreepers as well as Black, Lesser Spotted and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. Small, Southern and Willow Emerald Damselflies are all relatively numerous. In the clearings we search for Map Butterfly, Duke of Burgundy Fritillary and Common Glider. Lesser Purple Emperors frequent the riverine woods along the Danube and we hope to find them. On one day we visit the reserve at Lake Kolon. We may have the chance to see bird ringing and thus, with luck, a Moustached Warbler, one of the local specialities. A relaxing boat trip on the lake should allow us to see the plethora of dragonflies. Large White-faced Darter breeds in numbers here although they are more numerous in May and June. We can expect to see Southern Migrant and Norfolk Hawkers, Lesser Emperor, Yellow-spotted Emerald, White-tailed Skimmer and Southern Darter.There are numerous wild flower meadows where we can walk looking for more butterflies which may include Nettle-tree Butterfly, Lesser Fiery Copper, Mallow Skipper, Knapweed Fritillary, Chestnut Heath, Short-tailed and Idas Blues, and both Swallowtail and Scarce Swallowtail. In the garden of Kondor Eco-Lodge is a wildlife viewing and photographic hide, available for our use. On one evening we will run a moth trap and marvel at the quantity and variety of insects! On another, we may take a short walk to look for European Nightjar.

M. Valentini

Website ornitholidays.com

Day 8 Depending on the flight schedule, a last quick photo session might be possible, before leaving the estate.

G. Orban

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Valentini

EUROPE

Days 2 to 7 The whistles of Eurasian Golden Orioles and purring of European Turtle Doves will be audible from our rooms! Before breakfast we have our first chance to stroll in the grounds; Black Redstarts breed on the buildings, butterflies include Queen of Spain Fritillary, Cardinal and Dryad and, around the pond, we should find Dainty Damselfly and Scarlet Darter. On our first full day we explore the grasslands close to the lodge. On the wires will be colourful European Rollers and Red-backed Shrikes. Areas of short grasslands are the home of European Susliks, the ground squirrel of the area and the main food item of many of the local birds of prey. European Bee-eaters will be calling overhead, and we have the opportunity to visit a nesting colony and watch the comings and goings as they bring food to the breeding holes. They certainly decimate the local dragonfly population! White Stork, Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Hoopoe, Crested Lark,Tawny Pipit, Montagu’s Harrier and Syrian Woodpecker are other avian possibilities. Eastern Bath White, Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow, Silver-studded Blue and Lesser Spotted Fritillary are amongst the many butterflies. We visit the puszta on more than one occasion as it is exceptionally rich in wildlife, making a special effort to locate parties of Great Bustard. We hope to find males in groups and also non breeding birds; it takes three or four years before they reach breeding age. If we are lucky we may encounter an Eastern Imperial Eagle or a Longlegged Buzzard soaring above the grasslands. Lesser Grey Shrikes are common throughout whilst beautiful Red-footed Falcons can be seen as they hunt the steppe; we should have the privilege of witnessing this species in several breeding colonies. Another species of raptor we shall make a special effort to see is the Saker Falcon which has taken to breeding in the nest boxes provided for them on pylons. Vast wetlands, fishponds and alkaline lakes play host to breeding colonies of Whiskered Tern, Pygmy Cormorant, Eurasian Spoonbill and Blackcrowned Night-Heron. On the open water we should find Black-necked Grebe, Garganey, Ferruginous Duck and Red-crested Pochard whilst Great and Little Bitterns, Purple and Squacco Herons, Great and Little Egrets, Great Reed and Savi’s Warblers, Eurasian Penduline Tits and Bear-

C. Galliani

37


SPAIN–CANTABRIAN MOUNTAINS Iberian Wolves, Brown Bears and Wild Cats and birding

M. R. Romero

Wednesday 29 August – Wednesday 5 September 2018 Oviedo Villablino

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Riaño Picos de Europa National Park

Madrid

HIGHLIGHTS

SPAIN

Iberian Brown Bear Iberian Wolf Iberian Ibex Wild Cat Blue Rock Thrush Rufous- tailed Rock Thrush Honey Buzzard Short-toed Eagleone

TOUR LEADER SKUA’s and local guide

2018 Cost €1980 SRS €130

Booted Eagle Alpine Swift Citril Finch Snow Finch Lammergeier Ortolan Bunting

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-5 Days 6-7 Day 8

Fly to Bilbao and transfer to Riaño Riaño Villablino Depart from Bilbao

This holiday will be a Natural History tour of Northern Spain, but focused mainly on the observation of two of the great carnivores of the Cantabrian Mountains, the Iberian Wolf and the Brown Bear.We will visit some of the best preserved habitats, as the Cantabrian range is an unexplored part of Spain, yet is a wild natural landscape with a rich mixture of rugged terrain and extensive forests.The Riaño mountain range, in the Picos de Europa, is one of the best places in the word for observing family groups of Iberian Wolves which, at the end of the summer, strive to feed their young in the vicinity of the den.Wolf watching in the Iberian Peninsula is a very exciting and intense experience, requiring patience, but providing fabulous rewards, as these iconic creatures astonish us with their sharp eyes fixed on the lenses of our telescopes. Riaño is now famous because from late July to mid October, wolf observation is virtually guaranteed because of the high density of animals in this area.We will also have the opportunity to watch other interesting mammals, such as the Cantabrian Chamois, Iberian Ibex,Wild Boar and Red and Roe Deer, quite abundant.We will also have the opportunity to observe the Wild Cat in the valley meadows, when they are hunting rodents during the early hours of the morning. For these observations we will be employing local wolf experts who have spent much time locating dens and who will take us by 4x4 vehicles onto private land not normally accessible to the general public. Later we visit the western Cantabrian Mountains, looking for Brown Bears.The Brown Bear Foundation patrols will help us to locate these animals and we can enjoy watching them while they feed on bilberries or Rhamnus alpine berries. Again, the observation of bears during this period in the year is virtually guaranteed, and it will be a wonderful end for our trip to the Cantabrian Mountains. We will hopefully enjoy pleasant temperatures and sunny days in this time of the year.When we are not looking for wolves or bears, we can spend some time observing the other fauna and flora of the area.

80 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. Small coach, minibus and 4x4s

INCLUDES

all the ground services – accommodation, full board service, local transfers, english speaking tour leader, excursions.

Up to 6 people Wildwatching Spain

38

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY geier, as part of the reintroduction programme. In the flower filled alpine meadows there will be Red-backed Shrikes hunting and along the banks of the streams there will be Pied Flycatchers, Melodious Warblers and Crested Tits. Days 6 & 7 Today we make the transfer to the village of Villablino where we stay for the next two nights. From here we can join up with one of the guides from the Brown Bear Foundation who will take us to areas where we can scan for the bears as they begin to feed up on berries before they hibernate during the winter months. Bear conservation in Spain has been amazingly successful and the population of the country is now in the low hundreds and will probably reach the maximum population that the habitats can carry in the next decade or two. The mountain scenery around the area is very beautiful and we should also find Chamois, Red Fox, Red and Roe Deer and if we are lucky perhaps a sighting of a Common Genet. Birds should include Golden and Short-toed Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Griffon Vulture and a bevy of buntings, including Rock, Cirl, Ortolan and Corn. Both Alpine and Red-billed Choughs can also be found in the area. The small villages we pass through are great examples of a way of life that is fast disappearing in rural Spain.The houses are stone built, with thatched roofs and windows that seem ill- equipped for the cold that the winter must bring. Farming is still carried out as it has been for centuries with sheep grazed on the high summer pastures, tended by shepherd and dogs, with the flocks being brought lower as the cold weather arrives.

Wildwatching Spain

M. Biasioli

Day 8 We leave Villablino, hopefully with some time to do some more observations before we return to Bilbao for our flight back home. A. Canela

EUROPE

Days 1 to 5 We fly to Bilbao and We then drive up scenic mountainous roads, with fast-flowing streams, to our hotel near Riaño, where we meet with our local guides, and where we stay for the next five nights. Right outside the hotel we have a rushing stream and alpine meadows. We can look for White-throated Dipper here and walk a short distance down the road to scan the cliffs for Blue Rock Thrush, Eurasian Crag Martin and the group of Iberian Ibex that live here. We can spend the early morning and late evenings on our quest for views of the Iberian Wolves. Our local guides will know of a few dens where there should be small pups at this time of the year.The pups will not be venturing far from the mouth of the dens yet, so we should be able to take positions where we can view the comings and goings of the packs as they bring food back to the dens. In some of the more open riverine meadows we can look for Wild Cats, which have a large population here.They can often be seen hunting small rodents and birds and we will hopefully obtain some good views. When we are not looking for mammals we can spend time on the other natural history aspects of the area.This will be a great time to look for butterflies and there should be Apollo, both Common and Scarce Swallowtails, Spanish Festoon, Bath White, Mountain Dappled White, Berger’s Clouded Yellow, Cleopatra, Ilex Hairstreak, Scarce Copper, Short-tailed and Baton Blues, Southern White Admiral, Large Tortoiseshell, Cardinal, and many other interesting fritillaries, skippers and browns. Birds should include Eurasian Honey Buzzard, Short- toed and Booted Eagles, Alpine Swift, Blue and Rufous-tailed Rock Thrushes, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Western Bonelli’s Warbler. We will make a journey to one of the higher elevation areas in the Picos de Europa, where we can hope to find Wallcreeper, Citril Finch, Alpine Accentor and Snow Finch all together in a relatively small area where they all breed.There is also the chance to see Lammer

N. Jones

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. R. Romero

39


SPAIN - TARIFA Y ANDALUCIA Autumn migration

M. Biasioli

Wednesday 12 September - Wednesday 19 September 2018 2018 Cost €1970 SRS €120 GENERAL DESCRIPTION SPAIN Madrid Seville Martín de la Jara

HIGHLIGHTS

Tarifa

Malaga

Marbled Duck White-headed Duck Greater Flamingo Black Wheatear Huge numbers of Honey Buzzards Egyptian Vulture Iberian Chiffchaff

TOUR LEADER Steve West

Balearic Shearwater Black-winged Kite Spanish Imperial Eagle Bonelli’s Eagle Bald ibis Slender-billed Gull Little Swift Spanish Ibex

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-5 Days 6-7 Day 8

Arrival in Malaga and transfer to Tarifa Tarifa Martín de la Jara Depart from Malaga

A visit to Southern Spain in autumn provides the opportunity to witness many birds moving south to their wintering grounds in Africa.We have put together a two-centre tour, where we should see some great visible migration at Tarifa, and then on to the surrounds of Fuente de Piedra, an interesting area with much added interest in terms of birds, including White-headed Duck, Redcrested Pochard, Greater Flamingo, Azure-winged Magpie and Black Wheatear, plus Spanish Ibex and striking scenery. Geographically,Tarifa lies at the southern-most tip of Europe, with the African coast visible just over 10 miles away.This small town with Moorish architecture has been a strategic military viewpoint for hundreds of years. Nowadays, in the autumn, this area becomes the focus of attention for literally tens of thousands of storks, herons, bee-eaters and birds of prey making their way from their northern breeding areas to their winter quarters in Africa.This tip of the Iberian Peninsula gives them the shortest over-sea crossing to Morocco and, given the right wind and climatic conditions, the visible migration on the hillsides above Tarifa can be awesome. It is estimated that perhaps 700,000 large soaring birds (raptors and storks) use this crossing point each autumn. For the second part of the holiday we drive to the northeast of the province of Malaga for a new twist to this tour.The area around the town of Fuente de Piedra is bird-rich and scenically varied and well warrants our attention.The lagoon of the same name, six kilometres long and three kilometres wide, is the largest natural lagoon in Spain and home to a large breeding population of Greater Flamingo. On smaller, less saline lakes nearby there are usually good numbers of Redcrested Pochard and the rare White-headed Duck.We’ll also seek out interesting birds such as the Azure-winged Magpie along river gorges and the surrounding countryside, and search spectacular karst formations for the likes of Black Wheatear, Rock Bunting and the Spanish Ibex.Throughout the holiday you will have the expertise of Steve West who has been studying the bird life in Spain since he took up residence there, more than 20 years ago and has led many Ornitholidays’ tours over the last few years.

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibuses Maximum of 7 clients M. Biasioli

40

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Northern Wheatears. We can also search for some of the smaller migrants which occur in the area, as well as some of the resident species. We would hope to see Eurasian Crag Martin, Iberian Chiffchaff, European Serin, Sardinian Warbler, Thekla Lark, Common Quail, Woodchat Shrike, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Common and Black Redstarts, Eurasian Hoopoe, Hawfinch, Crested Tit, Cirl Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush and Short-toed Treecreeper. From Tarifa we can take a boat trip out into the Straits of Gibraltar to look for dolphins and seabirds. We may find Common, Striped and Bottle-nosed Dolphins and the local pod of Long finned Pilot Whales. We should also find the larger Scopoli’s (Cory’s) Shearwater as well as the smaller Balearic Shearwater, plus some Northern Gannets and perhaps Arctic Skua. La Janda was once a vast lagoon before it was drained for agriculture. However, its patchwork of ditches, channels, rough pastures and ricefields still manages to retain much of interest for the visiting birdwatcher. Recent visits here have shown it to be an excellent site for raptors, including Montagu’s Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle and Lesser Kestrel, in addition to a variable selection of wetland and farmland birds. A short drive away from La Janda is a well-known site for the endangered Bald Ibis, now successfully breeding in the region after reintroduction of captive birds, mostly from Jerez zoo. We will dedicate one full day to exploring the area to the north of Cadiz, and the fringes of the Doñana Natural Park.The Bonanza saltpans are a great attraction for large numbers of waders, such as Pied Avocet, Kentish Plover, Little Stint and more. Here we also hope to see Slender-billed Gull, Caspian Tern, Osprey and an almost nonstop parade of bird life that will keep us occupied for hours! We can also explore nearby pools for White-headed and Marbled Ducks, as well as a variety of herons and egrets.The rest of the day can be taken up by visiting a coastal site to look for the very localized Little Swift and also a small park where previously we have seen Mediterranean Chameleon and Spanish Pond Turtle.

M. Biasioli

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

M. Biasioli

Days 6 to 7 After breakfast we depart for the mountains and the unique and spectacular setting of Ronda. After a stop here to breathe in some of the atmosphere we head northwards to try our luck at spotting some of the small population of Great Bustard which still inhabits Andalusia, before driving the final stretch to our rural hotel and the last birding of the day. We spend the last day exploring the variety of different settings and bird communities that this area has to offer.The Fuente de Piedra lagoon usually has little water until the autumn or winter rains arrive, nevertheless flocks of Greater Flamingos still crowd in the remaining patches of water, where we may observe other species such as Pied Avocet and Common Shelduck. Smaller freshwater lakes nearby often hold important populations of White-headed Duck and Redcrested Pochard, and offer the chance of seeing ducks, herons and raptors associated with this kind of habitat. Then we turn our attention to the abrupt limestone mountains and secluded river gorges to look for an array of birds, some of which could be new for the tour.The list of possible species includes Black Wheatear, Common Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Red-billed Chough, Dartford Warbler and Blue Rock Thrush, while Spanish Ibex lead the mammal interest. Elsewhere we may still have time to seek out Azure-winged Magpie if we haven’t seen it already, before returning to our hotel.

EUROPE

Days 1 to 5 We arrive in Malaga and then make the two hour drive to Tarifa and check into our hotel, where we stay for the next five nights. During our time here we can visit some of the migration watch-points on the hills above Tarifa.The southern migration is very dependent on wind direction.The two winds that tend to dominate here are the Poniente, a warm dry westerly wind and the Levante which is an easterly wind.These two winds produce cross-winds for the birds wishing to move south, so depending on which direction the wind is blowing from may determine where the birds will try to depart from on their crossing. We hope to witness some large departing flocks of White Storks which have bred in Europe. Over 110,000 have made this crossing in recent years and they make an impressive sight as they gain height on a thermal and pass southwards. Without a doubt we shall also find some small flocks feeding in local fields.There should also be a few Black Storks making the migration as well. Birds of prey are the most exciting species to look for and we can hope for some impressive numbers of European Honey Buzzards as this should be their peak period for migration – often over 5,000 birds can move in a single day. Eurasian Griffon Vultures are common in southern Spain and they have been joined recently by a few Rüppell’s Vultures from sub- Saharan Africa. We shall make sure we check all vultures for this rare visitor.Their smaller cousins, the Egyptian Vulture can also be seen at this time of year. Short-toed and Booted Eagles and Black Kites will also be obvious, and we can hone our identification skills as the birds pass overhead. Smaller birds of prey include Common and Lesser Kestrels, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Eurasian Hobby. We can also hope to see Osprey, Montagu’s and Western Marsh Harriers Peregrine Falcon, Common Buzzard and maybe some scarcer species such as Northern Goshawk, Long-legged Buzzard, Black-winged Kite or perhaps an Eleonora’s Falcon or two. It is not only storks and raptors that are on the move at this time of year. Large numbers of colourful European Bee-eaters stream southwards, along with thousands of Barn and Red-rumped Swallows,Yellow Wagtails and

Day 8 It is only an hour’s drive that separates our hotel from Malaga Airport, so depending on the flight time we can have a relaxed breakfast and take the scenic route to Malaga via some delightful mountain scenery and hopefully a bird or two before catching our flights.

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

41


ESTONIA

Visible autumn Migration

L. Zuntini

Monday 01 October – Monday 08 October 2018

2018 Cost €1950 SRS €250

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Tallinn

ESTONIA Matsalu Bay Parnu

HIGHLIGHTS

Kuressaare

Rough-legged Buzzard White tailed Eagle Tengmalm’s Owl Great Grey Shrike Waxwing Yellow-browed Warbler Pigmy Owl Hazel Grouse

TOUR LEADER Richard Coomber and local guide

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Grey-headed Woodpecker Black Woodpecker White-backed Woodpecker Black Grouse Capercaille Bohemian Waxwing Huge numbers of passerines, cranes, ducks, geese

Over 10 per cent of the country is protected in an effort to preserve its flora and fauna and so many areas remain wild and unspoilt.This autumn tour allows us to witness one of the planet’s great spectacles – that is the visible migration of literally hundreds of thousands of birds as they move from their northern arctic breeding areas to their winter quarters, via strategic land masses in Estonia. Our itinerary explores the western coastal headlands, where these large numbers of migrants pass. It will not only be the visible migration that we hope to see as we shall look for some of the other exciting species to be found here at this time of year which may include White-tailed Eagle, Hazel Grouse, Grey-headed, Black and Whitebacked Woodpeckers,Tengmalm’s and Eurasian Pygmy Owls, Great Grey Shrike, Bohemian Waxwing and possibly Yellow-browed Warbler.There is also the possibility we may see an influx of species such as Spotted Nutcracker or Common Crossbill. Of course there will be mammals too, which may include Elk, Raccoon Dog,Wild Boar and Red and Roe Deer.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8

Arrive in Tallinn, to Pärnu Kihnu island Kabli & Soometsa, to Saaremaa island Sõrve & Viidumäe Sõrve, to Haapsalu Matsalu National Park Põõsaspea & Haapsalu Departure

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, entry fees, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 12 clients M. Biasioli

42

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 2 After breakfast we drive to Munalaiu harbour where we take the ferry to Kihnu island.The crossing takes about one hour and already from Munalaiu harbour you may spot the first Sparrowhawks crossing the sea and White-tailed Eagles hunting the seaduck.The ferry trip also produces good views of Greater Scaup,Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck. Although Kihnu island is the least-visited migration point by local birders, the most southern tip of the island, Cape Pitkänä, is definitely one of the most interesting place for migratory passerines and raptors in Autumn. On the last week of September and first two weeks of October, days with over 100,000 migrants are not rare.You can encounter here masses of Chaffinches moving over the sea, accompanied by Bramblings, Siskins and pipits. Kihnu island is the best place to witness raptor migration in Estonia. On 2nd October 2012, 1,000 raptors were counted in a single day, including 955 Sparrowhawks, 17 Merlins, 10 Hen Harriers, 3 Hobbies, a late Honey Buzzard and a Rough-legged Buzzard. Each day can bring new surprises! We will stay at the southern point until our lunch break, which is a real cultural experience – the local women still wear the national costume. Kihnu is the largest island in the Gulf of Riga and the seventh largest in Estonia. Originally used by seal hunters and fishermen Kihnu is now a culturally significant and essentially matriarchal society. Women guard the cultural heritage whilst the men go off to sea and fish. UNESCO has proclaimed the Kihnu marriage ceremony as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. We will return to the mainland in late afternoon and eat our dinner at the hotel restaurant. Day 3 We depart early in the morning and visit the Kabli bird station near the Latvian border.This is the oldest bird station in Estonia, equipped with a huge 18m-high Helgoland type bird trap dating from 1969. Here, one can witness bird-ringing and often see birds in the hand, including stunning white-headed europaeus race Long-tailed Tits, Willow Tits, Crested Tits, Nuthatches and other woodland passerines as well as Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and eastern vagrants such as Yellow-browed and Pallas´s Warblers. It is worth visiting early in the morning because Tengmalm´s Owls are caught here regularly but they are released early in the morning. After a very nice lunch in Häädemeeste village, we will visit a lookout tower and wooden pathway in the Tolkuse bog. We can enjoy the misty mystery of bog lakes and colourful patterns of peat mosses, which in combination with crane and geese migrating under a deep blue sky will epitomise our special northern autumn experiences… As the Soometsa woodlands hold a nice mixture of deciduous as well as coniferous trees, an afternoon here is remarkably good for finding several interesting forest birds. Grey-headed, White-backed and Black Woodpeckers, Hazel Grouse and Nutcracker are all frequently encountered here. Later in the afternoon, we drive to Virtsu harbour where we take the ferry to Muhu island and

drive to Kuressaare town in Saaremaa island. After checking-in and a short rest we will eat our dinner at the hotel. Day 4 This morning we drive to the Sõrve Peninsula and Sääre Spit. It is over 50 km long and a narrow peninsula stretching south-westerly from the rest of the island.This is where birds “take-off” and the surrounding open sea and islets are excellent points for watching seabirds. It is the best place in the country to watch Skuas, Waders, and diving ducks.The Sõrve is famous for its frequent sighting of rare birds and, especially during autumn migration, the chances are good. Migrant raptors can be seen in good numbers, especially Sparrowhawk, Buzzards, Harriers, Falcons but also Lesser Spotted and other eagles. The migration of passerines at peak times often includes enormous numbers. It is an unforgettable experience to follow the passage of hundreds of thousands of Chaffinches, Bramblings and Siskins from the watch point atop an old Soviet military concrete fortification. In the cape, there are bird stations for ringing and observing migration and we also visit a ringing station where we can see some birds in the hand – perhaps even eastern rarities. After lunch at the hotel and a short rest we visit Viidumäe Nature Reserve where we can see or hear Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Great Grey Shrike, Rough-legged Buzzard and, hopefully,Tengmalm´s and Pygmy Owl. Day 5 After breakfast we continue our birding at Loode coast and Lõu Bay and also have a short visit to Sõrve Bird Observatory again. We return to the mainland in late afternoon and drive to the northern shore of Matsalu Bay. Day 6 Following our coastal pursuit of migratory and staging waterbirds we reach Matsalu National Park.This is the most famous birding area in Estonia, known as one of the most important breeding and stop-over areas for waterfowl and shorebirds in the whole of Northern Europe. Over 40 sq km wide, this reserve consists of large open floodplains and coastal meadows, riparian and coastal woodlands, river delta and marshlands and shallow Matsalu Bay with 3,000 hectares of reedbeds, numerous islands and seven birdwatching towers around it.This makes this reserve wonderful as migratory staging place for vast numbers of coastal and waterbirds. Matsalu Bay is typically covered with the white spots of about 10,000 Whooper and Bewick Swans, tens of thousands of Goldeneye, Pochard, Wigeon,Teal and waders. Also, several thousand Barnacle, Bean, Greylag and White-fronted Geese harvest the grass of local meadows and fields.The Matsalu area is also well known as an autumn Common Crane staging area. As many as 20,000 birds gather around the bay and feed in the adjacent fields (peak time is mid-September!). We will drive to the Puise Peninsula in the early morning and explore a variety of Põgari-Sassi coastal habitats. We also visit Haeska watchtower. Besides passerine migration we hope to improve our bird list with several raptors, such as Roughlegged Buzzard and maybe even Hawk Owl! When it gets darker, we shall watch from viewing platforms and while enjoying the geese or late Cranes we’ll also look out for White-tailed Eagles, Harriers – and Elk.

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Piacentino

M. Mendi

Day 7 We will start from the most north-easterly point, Cape Põõsaspea.This small north-stretching spit is situated at the migratory crossroads where masses of waterbirds coming from the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland meet. Cape Põõsaspea is the best place for autumn passage waterbirds. During one season, nearly 2.5 million Arctic-breeding wildfowl passed this narrow bottleneck, with daily totals sometimes exceeding 100,000.The biggest daily counts here include 8,400 Velvet Scoter, 6,000 Greater Scaup, and over 2,000 Red-throated and Black-throated Divers. Around 300,000 Long-tailed Duck pass the point during the first two weeks of October. Rare waterbirds seen from this location include White-billed Diver, King Eider, Grey Phalarope and Little Auk. Rare or scarce passerines have included Desert Wheatear and Yellow-browed and Dusky Warblers. After a lunch at Roosta, we will visit Haapsalu town, nearby.This region has many shallow sheltered bays, coastal lagoons, marshlands and reedbeds.The spectacular view from the coastal promenade over Haapsalu Bay can deliver tens of thousands of Goldeneye, Coot, Greater Scaup, Tufted Duck, Wigeon and other wildlfowl, including Smew. Regular distractions include White-tailed Eagles, and Common Cranes, swans, waders and other exciting birds are all present

EUROPE

Day 1 We arrive in Tallinn and transfer to Pärnu town. After checking-in we have our first dinner at the restaurant.

Day 8 On our way back to Tallinn, we will make a short visit to some old-growth coniferous and mixed forest where we hope to be entertained by Black Grouse, whilst other attractions in this area include Capercaillie, Hazel Grouse, Wryneck, and some interesting woodpeckers. We will return to Tallinn by late morning and have a pleasant guided tour of Tallinn Old Town.Tallinn was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 on account of its medieval city centre, the finest in Northern Europe, with cobblestone streets and buildings that date back to the 15th century. We will have some free time for shopping before driving you to the airport for your flight.

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

43


HUNGARY ONE STOP Crane Spectacular and Wild Goose Chase

ONE

STOP

M. Biasioli

Thursday 02 November – Wednesday 08 November 2018

2017 Cost £4,999 2018 €1600 SRS SRS€200 £690

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Balmazujvaros Budapest

Hortobágy National Park

HIGHLIGHTS

HUNGARY

Red-breasted Goose Lesser White-fronted Goose Bean Goose Eastern Imperial Eagle Saker Falcon Rough-legged Buzzard Great Bustard Syrian Woodpeckers

TOUR LEADER Gabor Simay

Black Woodpeckers Middle-spotted Woodpeckers Long-eared Owl Bearded Tit Gret Grey Shrike Lapland Bunting Crane

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-6 Day 7

100 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Hungary is just a short flight from many European cities but the country still possesses vast riches for the birdwatcher and naturalist, as it is still easy to find those “wild places” that are now so rare in Britain.The vast Hortobágy National Park is an enormous mosaic of marshes, wooded river valleys, wetlands and commercial fishponds, interspersed with farmland and the ancient puszta the grasslands of the fertile Hungarian plain.We have timed this tour so that we are here before the winter snows, but at a time when the Hortobágy teams with birds.The main species to be found here at this time is the Common Crane, with perhaps 70,000 present.The evocative calls and the sights of vast flocks flying over our heads to roost is one of world’s great wildlife spectacles.We also visit at a time when geese, ducks and raptor numbers are high. During our five full days in the Hortobágy, we are likely to see Great Bustard, Saker Falcon, Rough-legged Buzzard, Eastern Imperial and Black, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted and Syrian Woodpeckers.We also witness the return movement of waders and the returning geese, mainly White-fronted,Taiga Bean and Greylag, with small flocks of Lesser White-fronted amongst them. By visiting in early November we can also find one of the world’s most beautiful geese, the Red-breasted.The new lodge we use is excellent, the roads and motorways quick and efficient, and the food and wine are all very good.

Fly to Budapest and transfer to Balmazujvaros Balmazujvaros Depart from Budapest

INCLUDES

Accommodation, meals, local transport, local English speaking guide.

By minibus Maximum of 14 clients. M. Biasioli

44

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

C. Galliani

on weather conditions in Northern Europe.The Hortobágy is a very exciting place at this time of year, and there is always something new to be found on each visit. One of the local villages has become a great attraction for the visiting birdwatchers in the late autumn and early winter as it has a roost of up to 80 Long-eared Owls. We can watch these beautiful birds as they sit in back gardens, orchards and willow trees, and gaze back at us, at close quarters, with their lovely orange eyes. We shall make sure we visit the Debrecen Great Forest, where amongst the enormous old oaks we can look for Black, Middle Spotted and Great Spotted Woodpeckers as well as Short-toed Treecreeper and the pale headed race of Longtailed Tit. Overhead we often hear the “clip” note of Hawfinch, and we may be lucky to see small parties feeding on the ground as they look for cherry stones. Syrian Woodpeckers are expanding their range here and we should find them as we take a stroll in one of the local parks. Day 7 After breakfast we transfer from Hajduszoboszló to Budapest.

M. Valentini

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

EUROPE

Days 1 to 6 We transfer from Budapest to our new lodge near the national park.This will be our base for the next six nights for exploring the Hortobágy. The views from the lodge are amazing and we may well have thousands of geese right outside our bedroom windows. We begin our exploration of the vast Hortobágy National Park, which is a mosaic of marsh, wooded valley, wetland and commercial fishpond, interspersed with agriculture. Here we shall look for Saker Falcon, Eastern Imperial Eagles and Rough-legged Buzzards that will be learning to hunt in this rich feeding area. This area can also hold 70 White-tailed Eagles in the autumn and winter period, so we should have frequent sightings of these enormous raptors.There is also the chance of finding a Greater Spotted Eagle, which is becoming an increasingly regular visitor here in the early winter period. Rough-legged Buzzards and Hen Harriers will have arrived from their northern breeding areas to these wintering grounds, and we may also see Northern Goshawk, Merlin and Common Buzzard.The lakes of the Hortobágy provide good feeding sites for migrant waders and we shall search for Marsh Sandpiper and other rarities amongst the more common species. Great Bittern and Great Egrets will still be present, and Eurasian Penduline Tits and Bearded Reedlings will be numerous, as they roam amongst the phragmites and typha heads. Black-necked Grebe and Ferruginous Duck may be on the open water, and we can scan the gulls to see if we can find some Yellow-legged amongst the numerous Caspian.The geese will have arrived from their northern breeding grounds, travelling in family parties, and we shall scan the flocks of White-fronted, Greylag and Taiga Bean to look for the rarer Lesser Whitefronted Goose, as well as for the small flocks of the delightful Red-breasted Goose. If the mixture of birds of prey and wildfowl are not enough, then the sight and sounds of the enormous numbers of Common Cranes will surely be the highlight of the tour. We visit at a time when these flocks are peaking and one of the best moments of this tour will be watching the evening movement of perhaps 40,000 birds as they fly overhead on their way to their roost.The ancient puszta is still guarded by Csikos horsemen, who herd the Grey Cattle and Racka sheep. We have the services of one of the local wardens who will help us to find the Great Bustards that still occur in good numbers here. On the puszta we may find flocks of Twite and Lapland Buntings depending

M. Biasioli

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. R. Romero

45


ARAGONA & CATALUNIA Cranes, Lammergeiers & Wallcreepers

M. Mendi

Saturday 10 November - Saturday 17 November 2018 Saturday 09 February - Saturday 16 February 2019

2018 Cost €1970 SRS €120 2019 Cost from €1999 SRS €120

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Bierge Daroca

Barcelona

Madrid Ebro Delta

HIGHLIGHTS

SPAIN

Huge numbers of Common Cranes Bonelli’s Eagle Lammergeier Alpine Accentor Citril Finch Little Bustard Great Bustard

TOUR LEADER Steve West

140 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Black Wheatear Audouin’s Gull Slender-billed Gull Glossy ibis Greater Flamingo Bluethroat

Spain in the colder months can be magical as this time of the year sees the gathering of thousands of Common Cranes at their single most important stopover site in Western Europe.These birds breed in the swamps and marshes of Scandinavia, Finland and Russia. Some stop over on their annual migration, which will take them between their breeding grounds and the dehesas of Extremadura, while others will stay around Gallocanta to benefit from the safe haven provided by the lagoon and the food available in the surrounding fields.We shall be treated to one of the world’s great spectacles as these birds fly in large flocks overhead, trumpeting as they go. Spain can also offer some other superb specialities in the colder months, as Wallcreepers descend from their high mountain breeding areas to winter at lower levels. Spain’s mountains can also tempt us with Bonelli’s Eagle, Lammergeier, Alpine Accentor and Citril Finch. Moreover, this itinerary has other surprises in store, as we visit the grasslands and plains to spot both Little and Great Bustards and Black Wheatear, and the Ebro Delta for Audouin’s and Slender-billed Gulls, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Bluethroat and many other wetland species.We stay at three very comfortable and well-located hotels.This tour is packed with some great birds and some little visited locations and our local guide Steve West will make sure you have a memorable and bird-filled holiday, so why not visit Catalonia and Aragon and enjoy Spain in the winter.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-3 Days 4-5 Days 6-7 Day 8

Fly to Barcelona and transfer to Bierge Bierge Daroca Ebro Delta Depart from Barcelona

INCLUDES

Madrid to Madrid all inclusive. Meals, accommodations, local transports, excursions and services of the English-speaking tour leader.

Maximum of 7 clients P. England

46

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Days 1 to 3 We leave London, or regional airports, on a flight to Barcelona, arriving around midday. We meet up with Steve West and drive out towards the plains near Lleida where we can begin our birding. Among the birds we can look for are species such as Little Bustard, Northern Goshawk, Penduline Tit, Hen Harrier, Black-winged Kite, Iberian Green Woodpecker (sharpei race), Calandra Lark and White Stork. We then continue our drive towards the mountains and to Bierge in the Sierra de Guara, where we stay for three nights.This eyeopening mountain range is a large Natural Park and has a couple of very special birds that most of us will be very keen to see – Wallcreeper and Lammergeier. We visit a number of sites where both of these emblematic species are regularly encountered, and at close quarters at this time of the year. Over the next two days we can bird along the mountain roads and valleys, exploring tracks and streams for the local birdlife.The mountain scenery will be spectacular and we should be able to see Alpine Accentor, Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush,Thekla Lark, Common Rock Sparrow, Rock Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Hawfinch, Firecrest, Dartford and Sardinian Warblers and Crested Tit. Another option for the last day in this area is to drive into the Pyrenees proper to look for species such as Citril Finch, Black Woodpecker, Whitethroated Dipper and Alpine Chough.

Days 6 - 7 We take leave of Daroca and make our way to our hotel in the Ebro Delta, where we stay for two nights.The choice of route is open to us although one of the most interesting options would be to seek out the rather secretive Bonelli’s Eagle in one of its placid and scenic mountain haunts before reaching our final destination. We spend our last full day of birding in the rice fields, reed beds, lagoons and sandy shores of the Ebro Delta, where we can hope to see Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Cetti’s Warbler,

M. Mendi

Zitting Cisticola, Moustached Warbler, Bluethroat, Kentish Plover, Audouin’s Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Greater Flamingo, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill and lots of waders and ducks. Day 8 We leave the Ebro Delta after some final birding and then make our way back to Barcelona. If we have time we can visit the small reserve of the Llobregat Delta close to the airport.This reserve of lagoons and tamarisk bushes has excellent hides where we could find a good array of wetland species to complement those seen in the Ebro Delta. Alternatively, we could make a rapid incursion into the Garraf massif to search for more raptors or songbirds, and commanding views over the Barcelona coastline – time will tell which option prevails before our transfer to the airport for our flight back.

EUROPE

Days 4 - 5 Today we transfer to Daroca for a stay of two nights.The shortest route between two points is a straight line, but “short” is not the best option if you are a birder! We will choose our route and timing to give us the best options of enjoying a wide variety of interesting birds, which could include the likes of Great Bustard, Golden Eagle, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, and Calandra,Thekla, Crested and Lesser Short-toed Larks. We should also encounter additional species like Iberian Grey Shrike and Little Owl. Our route is likely to take us past the locality

of Belchite where, among its bombed out ruins (from the Spanish Civil War), we can spot birds such as Crag Martin, Blue Rock Thrush, Serin, Black Redstart and others. If time permits we can visit a nearby secluded gorge, where the Spanish Ibex roam and where a further selection of interesting birds awaits.The next day we can visit the Gallocanta area and look for the large flocks of Common Cranes, and it would take a hardhearted naturalist not to be thrilled by the sights and sounds of flock after sonorous flock flying overhead to and from the lagoon, and etching their slender silhouette on the skyline above the high plateau.The lagoon of Gallocanta itself doesn’t always contain much water, but when it does it is home to a variety of ducks and waders, which may include Black-necked Grebe, Ruff and Kentish Plover.The surrounding open steppe-type farmland holds a regular population of Calandra and Crested Larks and numbers of Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Raptors are often noteworthy, and in the course of a day it would not be unusual to see species such as Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Merlin, Western Marsh Harrier and Red Kite.The afternoon is usually spent visiting a secluded and picturesque gorge, inhabited by Rock Buntings and Red-billed Choughs, and then to finish the day a late return visit to Gallocanta is highly recommended, to witness one of the spectacles of nature, as thousands of Common Cranes descend in noisy formations on their roosting spot in the lagoon.

C. Galliani

Website ornitholidays.com

C. Galliani

C. Galliani

S. West

M. Mendi

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

47


HOLLAND

ONE

STOP

Texel: The Geese Island

M. Biasioli

Saturday 01 December - Saturday 08 December 2018

2017 Cost £4,999 2018 €1490 SRS SRS€180 £690

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

HIGHLIGHTS

Texel is a birdwatchers’ paradise all year-round but winter time offers the best opportunities thanks to the awesome confluence of aquatic birds. We’ll visit some of the best European hot-spots for the Geese,Waders and Ducks overwintering. Photographic opportunities are excellent in terms of birds, stunning winter landscapes and the island quiet atmosphere. We’ll explore this beautiful wild island looking for its rarities and we’ll have the opportunity to get daily information about sightings and to reach the sighting points. In the last years species like Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk Owl, Lesser Yellowlegs have been seen. Texel Island is one of the European birding hotspots that birdwatchers and Nature photographers can’t miss.

Red-breasted Goose Pink-footet Goose Lesser White-fronted Goose Brent Goose Smew Rough-legged Buzzard Bewick’s Swan Whooper Swan

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli

Shore Lark Glaucous Gull Purple Sandpiper Snow Bunting Winter Rarities

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-7 Day 8

90 Residential bungalow

Arrive in Amsterdam and transfer to Texel by minibus Texel Depart from Amsterdam

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodations, local transports, excursions and services of the Englishspeaking tour leader.

By minibus Maximum of 10 clients. M. Biasioli

48

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We arrive at Amsterdam airport and we then transfer to Texel island by minivan. On the island we’ll be accommodated in a typical country house and this is a great chance to enjoy the true athmosphere of this unique place. Day 2 We’ll take a stroll around the island exploring the different environments that make this place unique: cultivated fields where numerous flocks of Geese can be seen, the harbours which host many aquatic birds and Seagulls,Texel unspoiled sandy beaches where we will look for Snow Bunting, Shore Lark ad other species. Day 3 The North Holland Dam will be the target of the morning.This majestic engineering work allowed to protect the coast from the recurring oceanic floods. The internal stretch of water it is possible to see hundreds of Smew and Seaducks giving us the chance to watch something difficult to find somewhere else. During coldest winter water freezes giving the appearance of an Arctic landscape. In the afternoon we’ll go exploring the Friesland flatlands where rare Gesse can be seen: Lesser White-fronted Geese, Pink-footed Geese, Red-breasted Geese and Brant Geese (in all its subspecies) hide among thousands Whitefronted Geese and Greylag Geese. Day 4 We’ll go around the island and we’ll visit the Ecomare center, where we’ll have the possibility to see how seals are saved and looked after. With some luck we will be able to witness the Seals feeding and this is a great opportunity to see several Gulls like Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and the less common Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull.

for other rarities. At this time we will have been visiting the island for some days and our check-list will already be full of new species but we will be able to enrich it even more. Day 6 Lawersmeer Region is the target of the day.This area includes Lawersmeer National Park, which expands for 6000 hectars and hosts several species of Geese, together with White-tailed Eagles and Rough-legged Buzzards among rivers, meadow and rushes. The park is equipped with several sighting points. Day 7 This last day on the island will be dedicated to a last scouting of the island in search of rarities and stunning landscapes to photograph. During the last years, species like Snowy owl, Northern Hawk owl and Lesser Yellowlegs have been spotted and these are just a few of the species we can see on this last scouting day. Day 8 After breakfast, we bid our farewell to Texel Island and we take our way to Amsterdam where we take our flight back home.

M. Biasioli

EUROPE

Day 5 We’ll come back to Friesland where we’ll look

M. Biasioli

M. Biasioli

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

49


AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST GEORGIA - Caucasus mountains and steppes ARMENIA - The Mount Aragats Valley and more UGANDA - Birds & Primates SOUTH AFRICA & BOTSWANA - Kruger, Limpopo & Tuli

52 54 56 58

Discover our African Tours scheduled for 2019 at page 84

M. Valentini

Georgia Armenia Iran

Marocco Egypt

M. Valentini

Ghana

Uganda

M. Valentini

Botswana South Africa


M. Valentini


GEORGIA

Caucasus Mountains & Steppes

Georgia + Armenia

G. Rajebashvili

Sunday 6 May - Tuesday 15 May 2018

2018 Cost €2120 SRS €200

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Caucasian Snowcock Caucasian Black Grouse Great Rosefinch Guldenstadt’s Redstart Caucasian Chiffchaff Red-fronted Serin Levant Sparrowhawk Semi-collared Flycatcher

TOUR LEADER Nicola Scatassi and local guide

170

Syrian Woodpecker Finsch’s Wheatear White-throated Robin Black Francolin Menetrie’s Warbler Imperial Eagle Pied Wheatear

Georgia, previously part of the USSR, is now an independent republic. It is a country situated at an intersection between different biogeographical regions, and this is reflected in the richness of its nature and wildlife: there is a high number of endemic or localized species, and a wonderful mix of northern, eastern and Mediterranean elements. Asia and Europe come in contact here, and the varied and rugged environment guarantees a wide selection of habitats in which to look for birds.The greater Caucasus mountain range lies in the north of the country, and its highest peak here reaches over 5,000 metres! Lying within the Western Palearctic, the country possesses some fascinating species and we shall search for many of these, including Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Caucasian Chiffchaff. There is a strong supporting cast, with Wallcreeper, perhaps 25 species of bird of prey, choughs, Corncrake, and even possibly a sighting of Grey Wolf or Brown Bear.The scenery is spectacular, with huge snow-capped peaks, and we shall make sure we look at some of the old churches and monasteries that are a feature of the country. Journey with Nicola our expert english speaking tour leader and see why Georgia keeps being a great addition to the Ornitholidays’ suite of tours.

OUTLINE ITINERARY

Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to Stepantsminda Days 2-3 Stepantsminda Day 4 Tbilisi Days 5-6 Chachuna Days 7-9 Tbilisi Day 10 Depart from Tbilisi Day 1

Comfortable, in twin/double and single room facilities with private facilities. The 2 nights at Chachuna will be spent in a more basic accommodation but each room has its own shower. Coach and 4x4 vehicle up to 14 people

INCLUDES

all the ground services – accommodation, full board service, transfers, english speaking tour leader, excursions, entry fees. G. Rajebashvili

52

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 4 After a final morning of exploring the mountain we head back over the pass to Tbilisi, where we stay overnight.We can make several stops looking for Red-breasted and Semi-collared Flycatchers and Black and Syrian Woodpeckers in a woodland area. Days 5 & 6 Today we leave Tbilisi again, this time heading southeast to Chachuna.The area around Chachuna has a fantastic landscape with savannah-like open areas, mixed with rolling hills, rocky outcrops and riverine forests: an exciting place in which to look for great birds. Carnivores are well represented here with Golden Jackal and Jungle Cat, but any mammal sighting will be a matter of luck, but the abundance of birdlife will keep us busy. Rufous- tailed Scrub-Robin, Chukar, Black Francolin, Black-headed Bunting,

Finch’s Wheatear,Woodchat Shrike,White-throated Robin, European Roller, European Bee-eater and Ménétries’Warbler are among the birds we will look for. Chachuna is also noted for one of the largest communities of breeding birds of prey in the Caucasus – raptors include Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser and Common Kestrels, Black Kite, Egyptian, Eurasian Black and Eurasian Griffon Vultures, Levant and Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Northern Goshawk, European Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Imperial, Lesserspotted, and Short-toed Eagles, Eurasian Hobby and Saker Falcon. Quite an impressive list: although not all of them can be guaranteed, we will try our best! We stay here for two nights.

M. Biasioli

Days 7 & 8 We return to Tbilisi, birding on the way, and looking out for opportunities to stop and scan the open steppe.We stay in Tbilsi, for three nights.The next day we have a full day to explore the David Gareji area.The landscape is Mediterranean-type, with multi-coloured clay hills covered with shrub and steppe-like vegetation.The area around the David Gareji monastery, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world, is one of the most spectacular sites in Georgia, where historical and wildlife attractions are located side-by-side and can be viewed at the same time. It is the site of breeding colonies of Eurasian Griffon and Egyptian Vultures as well as Blue Rock Thrush and large numbers of European Bee-eater, Rose-coloured Starling and Rock Dove. Other interesting birds include Calandra Lark, Isabelline, Finsch’s and Pied Wheatears,Western Rock Nuthatch, Lesser Grey Shrike and Spanish and Rock Sparrows. Day 9 Drive to Javakheti. (250 km) Birdwatching on the way.This is a mountain grassland area in southern Georgia, along the border with Armenia.The lakes and their surroundings support breeding populations of many bird species.This site gives birdwatchers a great opportunity to enjoy observing velvet scoter, ruddy shelduck, ferruginous duck, and many other duck species. Drive toward Tbilisi through Vardzia caves.Vardzia is a famous cave complex in southern Georgia, in the upper part of the river Mtkvari (Kura) valley, close to the border with Turkey. The area has a number of typical east– Mediterranean species. Most remarkable are vultures and several species of reptiles. It is possible to observe; Griffon, Egyptian and bearded vultures, golden eagle,

M. Biasioli

M. Biasioli

sort– toed snake eagle, and long– legged buzzard are a common sight. Other birds of prey are Levant sparrowhawk and peregrine falcon. In surroundings of the area, chukars are relatively common. Other birds are crag martin, black–eared wheatear, blue rock thrush, orphean warbler, lesser whitethroat, rock nuthatch, lesser grey shrike, rose–coloured starling, rock sparrow, black– headed and ortolan buntings and other songbirds typical for semiarid landscapes. European bee– eater and hoopoe are other common birds of the area. Day 10 Return to the airport to catch our flight back.

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

Days 1 & 2 We arrive in Tbilisi and meet our local guides and driver.We follow the old Georgian Military Highway northwards, through spectacular scenery toward the mountains. As we travel surrounded by rugged terrain, we cross over the Jvari Pass, and can look for birds beside the road which may include Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and Black Redstart.The mountain areas in and around Stepantsminda (formerly Kazbegi) rightly famous for being the best place to see fantastic species such as Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch and Güldenstädt’s Redstart. The scenery here is amazing, with steep mountainsides and a very interesting river bed with mixed shrubs.We shall be looking for Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Blue Rock Thrush, Alpine Accentor,Wallcreeper, Ring Ouzel,Twite, Horned Lark (penicillata race) and White-winged Snowfinch. Early May is the best time of year to see the target species mentioned above together with a number of migrants such as Barred, Eastern Orphean and Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, as well as breeding Corncrakes, Caucasian Chiffchaff and Red-fronted Serin. Birds of prey are a feature of these mountains, with some species using the passes for their northward migration we can look for Lammergeier, Levant and Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Montagu’s,Western Marsh and Pallid Harriers, Golden, Booted and Lesser Spotted Eagles and Eurasian Hobbies. Mammals may include the East Caucasian Tur, with a chance of Grey Wolf or Brown Bear.We stay in the Stepantsminda area (elevation 1,740m) for three nights, with views of the Kazbegi Mountain, and its glacier, at 5,033m.

G. Rajebashvili

G. Rajebashvili

Website ornitholidays.com

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

53


ARMENIA

Birdwatching and Wildlife Photography on the slopes of Mount Aragats

M. Biasioli

Friday 18 May – Sunday 27 May 2018

2018 Cost €2220 SRS €190

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION A full week to explore a wonderful country, rich in interesting birds and evocative landscapes: we will explore many different areas, mainly mountainous, but not only, including gentle cultivated hills, countryside, rocky outcrops and beautiful canyons, and we shall visit a few beautiful christian monasteries.We will go through the slopes of mount Aragats, where we should be able to find Finsch’s Wheatear and the gorgeous White-throated Robin, and then, higher up, Radde’s and Alpine Accentor, Bluethroat and Horned Lark.We will visit wetlands like the Armash fish ponds, a private area that can be visited thanks to special permits, teeming with birds like White-tailed Lapwing, Paddy field Warbler and Blue-cheecked Bee-eater, but also the immense Lake Sevan, holding the world’s largest concentration of Armenian Gull. We will look for very localized species such as Grey-necked Bunting, Upcher’s Warbler and Persian Nuthatch, in the arid hills and gorges of Vedi. Birds are everywhere in Armenia, and we will be astonished by the numbers of common species like swifts, swallows and martins, and the same is true for species like Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike, Ortolan, Corn and Black-headed Bunting. Accommodation is very good, all the rooms have en suite facilities and the food very fresh and tasty, with a lot of local vegetables, cheese and meat. Road conditions are already fairly good on average.

Finsch’s Wheatear White-troathed Robin Radde’s Accentor Menetries’s Warbler Upcher’s Warbler Horned Lark White-tailed Lapwing Paddifield Warbler Blue- cheecked Bee-eater Armenian Gull Grey-necked Bunting Eastern Rock Thrush Bimaculated Lark Asia Minor Ground Squirrel

TOUR LEADER Nicola Scatassi

OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-2 Days 3-4 Day 5 Days 6-8 Day 9

Fly to Yerevan Hermon village Dilijan Areas near Yerevan Depart from Yerevan

180 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, entry fees, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibus. Maximum of 6 clients. M. Biasioli

54

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 3 Today we’ll visit the famous wetland of Armash, an extremely bird-rich area, with the specialities being White-tailed Lapwing and Blue-cheecked Bee-eater, and many other interesting species, especially during migration. Great, Common and Paddy field Warblers are all very common, but perhaps is the number of Bearded Reedlings that will really surprise us. Ferruginous Duck and Red-crested Pochard are particularly numerous, while White-headed Duck is rare but present and breeding here, as well as Pigmy Cormorant, Slender-billed Gull and Glossy Ibis. After the picnic lunch, we’ll explore the hilly area near Vedi, rightly famous for being the best place for some rare and localized species: Persian Nuthatch, Grey-necked Bunting, Upcher’s Warbler, Pale Rock Sparrow and Trumpeter Finch are among them.The scenery here is truly fascinating and with a distinct “asian” feeling. Before dinner we’ll reach the village of Hermon, after Vayots Dzor, where we’ll spend two nights in the beautiful Lucy Resort. Day 4 Today we’ll explore a few areas of central Armenia, among spectacular rocky gorges and open bushy areas, as well as visiting Noravank, an amazing old monastery, settled in a beatuful area also very produyctive for birds, where Rock Nuthatches, Black-eared Wheatear and Common rose finch are usually present; a rich area for birds of prey too.The surroundings of the Lucy Resort are very good for birds too: Golden Oriole, various warblers, Syrian Woodpecker, Dipper and Red-fronted Serin are usually present, and not far from here there is a good vantage point from where the Bezoar goat can be seen.These areas are also good for the handsome Levant Sparrowhawk, and large predators such as Wolf and Brown bears are present and even numerous, though of course we would need to be very lucky to see one. Day 5 In the morning we’ll drive towards the Selim pass, with some en route stops: the area of the pass itself is very scenic and can be particularly good during migration times, with passerines and raptors passing

from here. Long legged buzzard is one of the species to look for here, together with Common rose finch and various shrikes and warblers including possible Eastern Orphean. An amazing very old caravanserrai is situated just before the pass, and, apart form breeding Rock sparrows and Crag martins, it is a fascinating building to visit. After the pass, and before reaching lake Sevan, we pass through an area of high altitude open grassland and marshes, with ancient vulcanoes towering: a truly beautiful area where we can hope to find Ruddy Shelduck and a few other ducks, as well as passerines such as White- winged snow finch and Hopefully the rare Citrine Wagtail. The Sevan lake is one the largest high altitude lakes, being at over 2000 metres: here there is the largest number of breeding Armenian Gulls in the world, and we’ll be able to see and photograph these intriguing species in all possible plumages and different framings. Marsh terns will be numerous above the lake, and various waders will be passing from here,with possible species including also Broadbilled and Terek Sandpipers. Apart from a number of ducks, grebes and other waterbirds, also passerines are interesting here, and they might include Common Rose finch, Sedge and Savi’s warbler and the localized Caucasian Chiffchaff. In late afternoon we’ll drive to Dilijan, less than an hour away, for a complete change of scenery: we will be in the middle of a large forested area. Day 6 We’ll explore today the Dilijan area, where forests are predominant, with Oriental beech and various maple trees being the commonest species. Here, in the deep forest as well as in mixed areas near the village, we shall be able to find interesting species such as Red-breasted and Semi-collared Flycatchers, pretty numerous and at times quite easily approachable. Middle Spotted and Black Woodpecker are also present, as well Green Warbler, particularly common in this area. Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, Goshawk and Honey Buzzard are present.We will visit a nice little lake in the forest to then drive the way back to Yerevan, passing through beautiful mountain landscapes, where Lesser Spooted Eagles and Lanner Falcons can be seen, as well as the rare Asia minor ground squirrel. Day 7 Depending on which species we’ll have already seen and photographed, we will decide where to go today: options are, for instance, a second visit to the Armash wetland or another exploration of the interesting Vedi hills. Another very scenic and amazing monastery might also be well worth a visit: Khor Virap, in an arid area at the base of the mighty Ararat vulcano, where birds such as Black-headed

M. Biasioli

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

M. Biasioli

Bunting, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and Menetries’ Warbler are present. Day 8 In the morning we will visit the beautiful area of Garni, where an incredible rocky gorge, with amazing basaltic rocks, is home to many hundreds breeding hirundinids and Alpine swifts, and where Blue Rockthrush is also common. A really unforgettable place. Not far from here there is the Geghard monastery, another beautifully located old christian church, in a mountainous area where Lammergeier and Golden Eagles are common. Perhaps we might also go back to the foothill of the Aragat mountain in order to look for some interesting passerines and get more photos of them.

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

Days 1 & 2 Arrival in Yerevan and transfer to the hotel.The next day on the early morning we leave for mount Aragats, along a good asphalt road reaching up to 3000 metres. Some stops en route will allow us to explore different habitats and see many interesting species, such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Lammergeier, Bimaculated Lark, Rock Nuthatch, Radde’s Accentor, Horned lark, Bluethroat, Ortolan Bunting,Whitethroated Robin and many others.

Day 9 Departure from Yerevan.

M. Biasioli

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Biasioli

55


UGANDA Birds and Primates

M. Valentini

Sunday, 01 July - Thursday 12 July 2018

2018 Cost €4700 SRS €500

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Shoe-billed Stork African Green Broadbill Green-breasted Pitta Nahans Francolin Black Bee-eater Ruwenzori Turaco Puvel’s Iladopsis Red-rumped Tinkerbird Nkulengu Rail Warthog Waterbuck Uganda Kob Lion Semuliki Mountain Gorilla National Park Queen Elizabeth National Park

UGANDA

Fort Portal Kibale Forest National Park

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

TOUR LEADER Marco Valentini

360 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus. Maximum of 12 clients.

56

This country of forests, lakes and mountains sits astride the Equator and combines influences from eastern and central Africa.The great beauty of Uganda led Sir Winston Churchill to call it “the Pearl of Africa”. On this tour we travel to the forests of Kibale, land of hundreds of bird species, through the stunning landscapes around the crater lakes, then to the open savannah of the Queen Elizabeth National Park, and finally visit the great Impenetrable Forest of the south-west. For a small country, Uganda holds an unrivalled variety of primates and is currently one of the few places in the world where Mountain Gorillas can be seen fairly easily. Bwindi’s Impenetrable Forest is home to these magnificent creatures and (for those who wish to) we can spend a day tracking them through the dense forest. To observe them from just a few metres, as they go about their daily routine of sleeping, grooming and feeding is probably the ultimate thrill of a lifetime. During our time at Kibale we may also have a chance to see our other close relative the Chimpanzee.

Kampala Entebbe Lake Victoria

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4

Arrival in Entebbe Entebbe - Murchinson Falls NP Budongo Forest Murchinson Falls NP - Fort Portal Day 5 Semiliki NP - Kibale Forest Day 6 Crater Lakes & Bigodi Swamp Day 7 Kibale Forest - Queen Elizabeth NP Day 8 Queen Elizabeth NP Days 9-11 Bwindi Forest - Kampala Day 12 Mabamba Swamps - Departure

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

M. Valentini

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 2 Today we will transfer the most beautiful protected area in Uganda: Murchison Falls National Park.We will make a stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for lunch. In the afternoon arrival in Budongo Forest, in the southern part of the national park. Here you will make a guided forest walk for a first introduction with the rich birdlife in Uganda. Day 3 Full day dedicated to birding in Budongo Forest Reserve.With 360 different species, Budongo is famous for its biodiversity in birds and is home to the rare Puvel’s Illadopses which is an endemic species to this area. Other species include the Chocolate-backed Kingfishers and Chestnut Crowned Eremomera. We will also go on one of the best of Uganda’s bird watching spots, the Royal Mile.This is Uganda’s King’s historically known leisure spot, hence the name Royal Mile. Here the forest has been cut back a few meters along the sides of the main trail creating a particularly good viewing area in this excellent forest. Uganda Special Bird species in Budongo include White-thighed and Black-and-white-casqued Hornbills,Yellow-spotted and Yellow billed Barbets,Western Black-headed Oriole, along with Red-tailed and Blue Monkeys. Overhead, Sabine’s and sometimes Cassin’s Spine tails soar over the clearings.As we walk quietly along the trail, Red-tailed Ant-Thrushes skulk in the shadows, as do Red-tailed Bristle bill, Scaly-breasted, Pale-breasted and Brown Illadopsis. Greenbuls are always a challenge and include Cameroon Sombre, Slender-billed, Honey guide and Spotted Greenbul, whilst other regular species are SpeckledTinker bird,Yellow-crested Woodpecker, Green Crombec, Rufous-crowned Eremomela, Yellow-browed Camaroptera, Buff-throated Apalis, and both White-breasted and Grey-headed Negro finches. Lower down we should see Chocolate-backed and African Dwarf Kingfishers.White-spotted Fluff tails and the elusive Nahan’s Francolin, believed to be one of the most handsome of all Ugandan birds.

Day 4 We depart Murchison Falls and head towards Fort Portal with lunch en route.The lovely town of Fort Portal rests in the shadow of the fabled Mountains of the Moon and is famous for the many tea plantations. Day 5 After breakfast we drive to Semliki National Park for birding.The scenic, winding road will lead us through green mountains and will offer us a magnificent view at the River Semliki and Congo.There are more than 400 species of birds recorded in this protected area, including many West Africa forest species such as four different hornbill species that are nowhere else seen in Uganda. Also the Red Rumped Tinker Bird and Palm Greenbul are endemics. Birdlife is especially spectacular in Semuliki with 441 recorded species, representing 40% of Uganda’s total bird species and 66% (216) of the country’s forest bird species.The list is expanded by the riverine habitat and a fringe of grassland in the east of the park.There are numerous rarities; 46 Guinea-Congo biome species are found nowhere else in East Africa while another 35 can be seen in only two or three other places in Uganda. Five species are endemic to the Albertine Rift ecosystem. In the afternoon we return to Fort Portal and we accommodate at Primate Lodge Kibale where we’ll spend 2 nights. Day 6 We’ll have a relaxing breakfast before we head off for an exploration of the crater lakes.We’ll enjoy the beauty of the numerous small lakes, surrounded by gentle hills, and the stunning views. At Lake Nkuruba we will have the chance to see different species of birds. We return to the lodge for lunch and transfer to Bigodi Swamp.This wetland is a great attraction for birders with over 200 bird species, including the popular Great Blue Turaco. Day 7 After a delicious breakfast we calmly transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park. We’ll have lunch and relax at the pool before going on a game drive in search of warthogs, buffaloes, waterbucks, elephants and a variety of birds.We’ll spend two nights at Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge. Day 8 The day begins early as we start with a morning game drive and head to the mating ground of the Uganda Kobs.This is not only an area for excellent game viewing since it offers a lot to birders.We move through open grassy plains which support large flocks of White and Abdims Stork as well as the spectacular Saddle Billed Stork during the migratory season. In the afternoon we take on a boat cruise along the Kazinga

M. Valentini

Channel, a natural channel between Lake Edward and Lake George.Watch hundreds of hippos, elephants and many migratory bird species, such as the Grey headed Gulls, African skimmers,Water Dikkops and the Great White and Pink-Backed Pelicans. Day 9 We leave Queen Elizabeth National park and head on to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home of the Gorillas.We will go through the Ishasha Wilderness which is famous for its tree climbing lions. Proceed on to check into Haven Lodge Bwindi, where we’ll spend two nights. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to relax or to go for an optional (guided) forest walk for a first introduction with Uganda’s unique flora and fauna. Day 10 We wake up early today and prepare for the highlight of our safari, an unforgettable encounter with the Gentle Giants! After breakfast we transfer to the national park offices and, after a pre-tracking briefing by our guide and appropriate safety precautions, you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure. Expect to walk between 2 and 8 hours in steep and sometimes muddy conditions with rain overhead, which can be tough and require a degree of (average) fitness. However, the thrill of coming face to face with a giant Mountain Gorilla silverback completely makes up for the effort! Upon sighting the gorillas, we’ll spend one hour with them as they go about their daily life; feeding, moving, playing, raising their young and sometimes wrestling by the juveniles – it is a totally unique and unforgettable experience!

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

Day 1 We arrive at Entebbe Airport where we will be welcomed by our local representative and transferred to your accommodation in Entebbe. From the time we arrive at the airport we must be on the lookout for the weaverbirds, swallows, common bulbul, African Thrush, Hadada Ibis and the Pied Crow, , Dusky long-tailed Cuckoo,Yellow-browned Camaroptera, Black-headed Paradise Flycatcher, Slender-billed Greenbul, Green Crombec and Forest Robin. On this particular safari, you will have thr chance to see Uganda’s TOP TEN sought after bird species: Shoe bill stork, African green Broadbill, Green-breasted Pitta, Nahans Francolin, Brown chested pullover, Karamoja Apalis, Black Bee Eater, Ruwenzori Turaco.

Day 11 After breakfast we calmly transfer back to Kampala. We will pass the equator where we will stop for photos and some souvenir shopping. Late in the afternoon we arrive in Kampala.

M. Valentini

Website ornitholidays.com

R. Coomber

Day 12 Early transfer to Mabamba Swamp, 50 km west of Kampala. Mabamba Swamp is one of the best places to spot the rare Shoebill Stork but also many other species can be found here, like the Allen’s Gallinule, Grey herons, African Water Rail, Goliath, Purple and a variety of egrets and ducks.The best way to enjoy the rich birdlife is by canoe. After this activity continue to Entebbe Airport for our international flight.

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

57


SOUTH AFRICA & BOTSWANA Kruger, Limpopo & Tuli

M. Valentini

Saturday 10 November – Thursday 22 November 2018

2018 Cost €4950 SRS €1100

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Black-fronted Bush-shrike Cape Parrot Knysna Turaco Chorister Robin-char Verreaux’s Eagle Bateleur Bath Hawk Wahlberg’s Eagle Lion Leopard Elephant African Wiildcat Brown Hyena Spotted Hyena

TOUR LEADER Bert Palthe

130

Mapungubwe National Park Pafuri Camp, Kruger National Park Tuli Block

BOTSWANA

Magoebaskloof Polokwane

Shingwedzi Camp, Kruger National Park Letaba, Kruger National Park

Johannesburg

SOUTH AFRICA

OUTLINE ITINERARY

6

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibus.

Limpopo province Day 1 Days 2-3 Letaba, Kruger National Park Shingwedzi Camp, Kruger Days 4 National Park Days 5-6 Punda Maria, Kruger National Park Days 7-8 Mapungubwe National Park Days 9-11 Mashatu, Botswana Polokwane Day 12 Depart Johannesburg Day 13

Well described in The Elephant’s Child by Rudyard Kipling, the famously ‘great grey, green, greasy Limpopo River’ marks the border between South Africa and its northern neighbours of Botswana and Zimbabwe, forming a great arch from its humble beginnings in the south-west to its merge with the Indian Ocean at Xai-Xai in Mozambique. It’s an enigmatic river, sometimes barely more than a dirty trickle and at other times spreading out to be several kilometres wide on the floodplains of its lower course. All along its 1750 kilometre length it is the life blood of the surrounding areas, providing precious water for both humans and animals, especially in the west where conditions are harsh; where a birds-eye-view will show a strip of green along the riverbanks contrasting with the dusty brown of the surrounding veld. Our journey takes us upstream, from the wildlife-rich far northern Kruger to the primordial Sandstone and Baobab dominated landscapes of the Mapungubwe / Tuli Game Reserve region of South Africa and Botswana. Wildlife is abundant in the areas we visit, including big game such as Lion, Leopard and Elephant. Smaller mammals are also plentiful, including the endearing Rock Hyrax, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox, African Wild Cat, Brown Hyena, Springhare and, with some luck, Aardvark or even Pangolin. Birds to be seen include a fantastic range of savannah species, such as a variety of Shrikes, Rollers, Bee-eaters and Hornbills; forest specials such as Black-fronted Bush-Shrike, Cape Parrot, Knysna Turaco and Chorister Robin-Chat; and raptors such as Verreaux’s Eagle, Martial Eagle, Bateleur and perhaps even the elusive Bat Hawk. In addition to the fauna and flora, the landscapes are simply spectacular, and the photographic opportunities are superb.You’ll need a range of lenses to make the most of what’s on offer, and both amateurs and more serious photographers will find this safari immensely rewarding.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 11 clients. L. Marais

58

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 2 & 3 Moving on from Magoebaskloof, we’ll enter the Kruger National Park about half way up, via Phalaborwa Gate.We’ll then make our way on to Letaba Rest Camp. Situated on a bend in the Letaba River, this camp has an incredibly scenic setting and will allow us to experience one of the classical rest camps of the Kruger. Here we’ll have from sunrise to sunset to explore the area, embarking on morning and afternoon game drives with rest-periods during the heat of the day, perhaps spending time enjoying the view of the river and watching animals come down to bathe and drink. Birds we’ll be looking out for include Red-winged Pratincole, Greater Flamingo, Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl, Red-headed Weaver, African Palm-Swift, a host of Flycatchers and Green-capped Eremomela, among others, while we’ll also hope for sightings of Lion, Leopard and other big game. Day 4 After a short morning drive along the Letaba River we’ll have breakfast and then make our way northwards to Shingwedzi Rest Camp, a small public rest camp situated on a weir in the Shingwedzi River.The camp has recently been refurbished after being flooded out during a cyclone in January 2013, and will provide a great one night stop and a chance to explore the surrounding region.We’ll concentrate our efforts on the river drives, where mature riparian vegetation growing on the alluvial soils provides a welcome respite from the endless Mopane Veld stretching out in all directions.The area is well known as the haunt of big tusker Elephant bulls, and we’ll be on the lookout for some impressive specimens. Birds we’ll be looking out for include Goliath Heron, Saddle-billed Stork,Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Water Thick-knee, Mosque Swallow, Red-headed Weaver and others. Back at camp we’ll enjoy dinner and breakfast the following day at the restaurant overlooking the river before continuing on to our next port-of-call. Days 5 & 6 Moving on, our next port-of-call is the northernmost public camp, Punda Maria Rest Camp. Punda

Maria is situated at the base of a large rocky ridge, which rises up behind the camp, while in front there’s a small waterhole which attracts game species such as Buffalo and Elephant. It’s a small camp, popular among birders especially as it offers access to the famous Pafuri region, which is rated as the top birding spot in the park due to the presence of a handful of species which are not found further south in the Kruger, such as Meve’s Starling, Greyheaded Parrot, Black-throated Wattle-eye,Tropical Boubou and Böhm’s Spinetail.We should arrive in the mid-afternoon, and after getting settled in we will head out on a game drive, probably doing the Mahonie Loop, which circles around the ridge behind the camp. On our full day we’ll head out on a day trip to the Pafuri region, where game viewing and birding along the banks of the Levhuvu River can be fantastic.We’ll stop off for a bite to eat at the Pafuri Picnic Site, and if it’s accessible, might push on to Crook’s Corner, where the countries of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique come together. We’ll then head back to camp, and if time allows, will head out on a short afternoon drive followed by some time to freshen up before dinner. Days 7 & 8 After an early breakfast we’ll continue with our journey, making our way to Mapungubwe National Park.This arid park is located along the Limpopo River where the countries of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana converge at the junction of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, the former immortalised in Rudyard Kipling’s tale The Elephant’s Child, when the Kolokolo Bird said, with a mournful cry,‘Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, and find out’. Mapungubwe is also a World Heritage Site, where the remains of an African Civilization are to be found on Mapungubwe Hill.This particular civilization was at its peak between 1200 and 1270 AD, while the general area was inhabited by iron-age peoples from 900 AD, who were even trading with the East at that time.The Park offers guided cultural trips to Mapungubwe Hill.The park is divided into eastern and western sections, with the eastern section dominated by spectacular orange sandstone formations while the west has some spectacular gallery forest along the banks of the Limpopo River. Game species to be seen include Elephant, Lion, Giraffe, Klipspringer, the desert-adapted Gemsbok, and Eland, Africa’s largest antelope.We have two nights at Leokwe Camp, and will spend our time out of morning and afternoon game drives, interspersed with some rest and relaxation in the camp.

M. Biasioli

Limpopo at Pontdrift Border Post and head into the Northern Tuli Game Reserve in Botswana, one of the most spectacular of Southern Africa’s wildlife regions.We have three nights at Mashatu Tented Camp, with two open-vehicle safaris per day, where we will be searching for a wide range of game species from the famed ‘Big Five’ to smaller and rarer creatures such as Bat-eared Fox, Cape Fox, African Wild Cat, Aardwolf, Brown Hyena, Porcupine, Springhare and others.With the lunar-like weathered sandstone formations, primordial Baobabs and incredible wildlife, this should be the cherry-on-thetop experience of this fantastic safari. Day 12 After a last activity at Mashatu we’ll head back across the Limpopo, where we bid farewell to Kipling’s river, and drive through the city of Polokwane, our last port-of-call for the tour. If time allows on the afternoon of arrival we can have a drive through the Polokwane Nature Reserve, best known as one of the bests spots for finding Short-clawed Lark, while the arid busveld habitat holds a plethora of exciting bird species, such as Crimson-breasted Shrike,Violeteared and Black-cheeked Waxbills, Green Woodhoopoe, Acacia Pied Barbet and many others. There’s also a wide range of antelope to be seen in the reserve, including Tsessebe, Red Hartebeest, Roan and Sable.

Days 9 to 11 Moving on from Mapungubwe we cross over the

Day 13 After breakfast we’ll plan on a last few birding sessions before the tour comes to an end at O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, with the day’s exact plans depending on the departure time.We may have time for another visit to the Polokwane Nature Reserve, in case the Short-clawed Lark eluded us the previous day, while the Zaagkuisdrift Road can provide several hours of birding to fill up the bulk of the day before we undertake the last push through to the airport.

L. Marais

M. Valentini

N. Jones

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

AFRICA & MIDDLE EAST

Days 1 & 2 After arrival at O. R.Tambo International in Johannesburg we’ll drive northwards into Limpopo Province and into the escarpment, where we spend the first night at a quaint little hotel in the forest. Depending on the time of arrival, we may head up to Woodbush Forest for a birding walk, to look for Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Cape Parrot, Bat Hawk, Chorister Robin-Chat, Knysna Turaco, African Emerald Cuckoo, Square-tailed Drongo and Orange Ground Thrush.

59


ASIA & AUSTRALASIA MONGOLIA - Steppes and Gobi desert NEW ZEALAND - Kiwis, Kakas & Keas INDIA - Barathpur e Khana INDIA - Goa

62 64 66 68

Discover our Asian Tours scheduled for 2019 at page 84

N. Jones

Mongolia

China

N. Jones

Japan

India

Sri Lanka

N. Jones

New Zeland


M. Biasioli


MONGOLIA Steppes and Gobi desert

T. Humbaa

Sunday, 27 May - Saturday, 09 June 2018

2018 Cost €4300 SRS €450 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Ulaanbaatar

MONGOLIA

Ogii Lake

Gobi Desert

Terelj National Park

Hustai National Park Dalanzadgad

HIGHLIGHTS

Yoliin Am

Black-billed Capercaille Greater Sandplover Oriental Plover Pallas’s Fish Eagle Relict Gull Altai Snowcock Henderson’s Ground Jay Saxaul Sparrow

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

175

OUTLINE ITINERARY

15

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minivan. Maximum of 6 clients.

62

Pallas’s Sandgrouse Amur Falcon Damoiselle Crane White-naped Crane Przewalski’s Horse Argali sheep Siberian Marmot Siberian Ibex

Mongoliais situated in the heart of the great continent of Asia, sandwiched between China in the south and Russia in the north, and it shares a short border with Kazakhstan to the west.With its size of 1.5 million sq. kms and population of 2.5 million people (with 1.5 million living in Ulaanbaatar), it is one of the least densely populated countries on the planet.The vast open spaces give a wonderful feeling of freedom and loneliness, but also of true wilderness. Nature here is shaped by the climate which, except in the spring, is nothing but harsh. Bitterly cold winters with temperatures as low as -50°C and baking hot summers at over 50°C have resulted in huge deserts and steppes with little vegetation. Mongolia is home to a great variety of wildlife and some of the rarest animals in the world are found here – Snow Leopard, the only true wild camels, Argali Sheep,Wild Ass and the recently re-introduced Przewalski’s Horse. But we are here for the birds and what birds they are – Black-billed Capercaillie, Greater Sandplover and Oriental Plovers, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, Pallas’s and Relict Gulls, Altai Snowcock, Henderson’s Ground Jay, Saxaul Sparrow, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Azure Tit, Citrine Wagtail, Saker and Amur Falcons, Demoiselle and White-naped Cranes and many more.To see all this variety we visit various habitats – the vast steppe, some steppe lakes, taiga forests, sand dunes with saxaul trees and rocky gorges.This itinerary has been designed so that it is not too strenuous, but will give a real insight into the wilderness of the country and we stay mainly in ger (yurt) camps to experience the true Mongolian lifestyle.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14

Arrival in Ulanbator – Gorodok Gun Galuut Gun Galuut – Khustai NP Khustai NP- Bayan Lake Ogii lake Ogii lake – Elsen tasarkhai UB-Dalanzadgad flight Khan-Uul hotel – Yol valley Khanbogd Juulchin – Bayan pond Khongor sand dunes Khongor – Gegeet valley Gobi mirage – Khadat pond Return to Ulaanbaatar Departure

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, domestic flights, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

T. Humbaa

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 2 We Drive to Mungun and spend the whole day there. Black Billed Capercaillie, Pine Bunting, Hazel Grouse,Tits, Daurian Redstart, Long-tailed Tit, Booted Eagle are the main target of the day. We come back to Gun Galuut in time for dinner at the tourist camp. Day 3 Today we leave Gun Galuut and we drive to Hustai Nation Park, which is located on the north side of the Tuul River, about a two hour drive west of Ulaanbaatar. Hustai National Park consists mainly of vast open spaces, with very few trees, low and wide open valleys and small creeks where we will look for the recently reintroduced Przewalski’s Horse, Red Deer and with luck White-tailed (Mongolian) Gazelle and Siberian Marmot.The Tuul River also runs through the park where Long-tailed Rosefinch and Whitecrowned Penduline Tit can be found. Mongolian Larks are common here. Other birds visible in Khustai national park are Аmur Falcon, Black Vulture, Black Stork, Mongolian lark, Small snow Finch, Lesser Kestrel, Daurian Partridge. Days 4 & 5 We wake up early and drive to Bayan lake where we will see Bearded Tit, Pallas’s Fish Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Dalmation Pelican and water birds. We’ll then drive to Ugii lake where we following day exploring the lake hoping to see Pallas’s Fish Eagle – one of Mongolia’s special birds. Whitetailed Eagle might also turn up, and Steppe Eagles and Upland Buzzards can be seen.The

lake supports Bar-headed Geese, large numbers of duck as well as Demoiselle Crane, Mongolian and Relict Gulls, perhaps thousands of migrating White-winged Terns as well as shorebirds. Blackthroated Diver and Dalmatian Pelican are also possible. Day 6 After a birdwatching morning at Ugii lake, we drive to Ulanbator. Day 7 We take a morning flight to Dalanzadgad in the south of Mongolia, in the great Gobi Desert. We will visit Dalanzadgad city’s central park, forestry park, Dalan pond & Shavartai pond where we might see Hodgson’s bushchat, Orangeflanked bush robit, Siberian Rubythroat, Blackthroated Thrush, Red-throated Thrush, Chaffinch, Eversmann’s Redstart, Fieldfare, Hawfinch, Longtailed Rosefinch, Common Reed Bunting, Siberian Accentor, Penduline Tit, etc. Day 8 We have an early start to reach our main area today – the spectacular gorge of Yolin Am (literally ‘Valley of the Lammergeiers’). It is also the home of the Altai Snowcock – another Mongolian highlight. We may be able to see the calling males from the point where our vehicles drop us. Other birds we can look for in the gorge are Bearded and Himalayan Griffon Vultures, Wallcreeper, Beautiful Rosefinch, Koslov’s Accentor, Golden Eagle, Hill Pigeon and Rock Sparrow. Siberian Ibex is also found there. As the sun raises, the big carnivorous birds who spent the night in Yol valley, such as Himalayan Griffon, Black Vulture, Bearded Vulture gather around in the sky. Days 9 &10 Today we drive to the famous Khongor sand dunes. On the way we can see numerous sandgrouse, , Saxaul Sparrow, and Desert Warbler. Blacktailed (or Goitered) Gazelles are also found in the area but we have to be fast to spot them as they disappear quickly. We stay for two nights in Gobi Erdene camp. We expect to see the Henderson’s Ground Jay – a fascinating corvid that builds a small nest inside an almond bush in a dry watercourse. Desert Wheatear, Isabelline Shrike, Ruddy Shelduck, Lesser Kestrel and Shore Lark are common

T. Humbaa

Day 11 Today we reach Gegeet valley, which is a mountain valley crossed by a little river. Here we can spot some little mountain birds such as Mongolian Finch, Godlevskii Bunting, Chukar, Rock Trush but also Ibex, Wils sheep and Gazelles can be seen. Day 12 Today we move to Khadat pond where we can see Hodgson’s bushchat, Orange-flanked bush robit, Siberian Rubythroat, Black-throated Thrush, Red-throated Thrush, Chaffinch, Eversmann’s Redstart, Fieldfare, Hawfinch, Long-tailed Rosefinch, Common Reed Bunting, Siberian Accentor, Penduline Tit, etc.This area is surrounded by great taiga forests. At the eastern edge one of the rare Mongolian volcanoes is situated.The landscape in the west, around the saline lakes, is shallower. Day 13 We move back to the capital, Ulaanbaatar with time for birding before dinner that might produce Lesser Spotted and White backed Woodpeckers, Azure-winged Magpies and Azure Tit as well as any migrant passerines passing through the area.

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA

Days 1 & 2 We arrive in Ulaanbaatar and we drive to Gun Galuut through Gorodok. Around Gun Galuut lakes, we will see Demoiselle and White-naped Cranes, the beautiful Goldeneye, Bar-headed Geese,Velvet Scotter, White-winged Black tern, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Red-throated Thrush, Daurian and Common redstarts, Daurian Jackdaw, Olive-backed Pipit, Eyebrowed Thrush, Long- tailed Tit (the white-headed form), and Black-faced Bunting. Also Goosander and Ruddy Shelduck. Red billed Chough. Sometimes Great Bustard and Relict gull may be seen. We will sleep in Steppes Nomads Tourist Camp and this is a wonderful experience which allows us to feel the real nomadic atmosphere.

Day 14 Departure

T. Humbaa

T. Humbaa

Website ornitholidays.com

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

T. Humbaa

63


NEW ZEALAND Kiwis, Kakas & Keas

M. Valentini

Wednesday 31 October, Saturday 17 November 2018

2018 Cost €6170 SRS €890

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Takahe Kakapo Black Stilt Yellow-eyed Penguin Fiordland Penguin Great Spotted Kiwi Fernbird New Zealand Kaka Parkinson’s Petrel Cook’s Petrel King Shag Wrybill Okarito Brown Kiwi Royal Albatross Yellowhead

Auckland Tongariro National Park

NEW ZEALAND

Lake Taupo

Paraparaumu

Picton Arthur’s Pass Franz Josef Lake Milford Ohau Sound Lake Te Anau

Kaikoura

Dunedin Stewart Island

TOUR LEADER Mark Ayre

120 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Days 6-7 Day 8 Days 9-10 Days 11-12 Day 13 Days 14-15 Days 16-17 Day 18

The islands of New Zealand have been isolated for almost 80 million years, resulting in the evolution of a fascinating array of unique plants and wildlife.The islands’ avifauna evolved in the virtual absence of mammals; consequently the birds occupied niches, which on other land areas were taken up by browsing mammals, squirrels and mice. It is these unique birds for which New Zealand is renowned – the flightless Kiwi, the endangered Takahe, and perhaps the most enthralling, the Kokako.The waters around New Zealand are home to a wide array of oceanic species; seven species of albatross and two-thirds of the world’s penguins breed here.With the arrival of people came rats and stoats, and the island haven that had served ground-dwelling vertebrates and invertebrates for so long was destroyed. Many species became extinct; many more continue to be at risk and are steadily declining in number. Despite this, the human impact has fortunately been less than in most other comparable countries. Nowhere else in the world is there such a rich diversity concentrated in so small an area. Over half of the flora and more than 70 bird species are endemic.They include some of the rarest in the world – Takahe, Kakapo, Black Stilt and the world’s rarest penguins, the Yellow-eyed and the Fjordland. So, there is nothing quite like New Zealand – its birds, its scenic diversity and grandeur, its character, its equable climate and its friendly people. All of these make it one of the most pleasurable and rewarding countries to explore. Ornitholidays has travelled to New Zealand on over 23 previousoccasions and our local guide for 2018 will be Mark Ayre, an ornithologist and naturalist, who has led our tours for many years.

Auckland Taupo Tongariro National Park Picton Kaikoura Arthur’s Pass Franz Josef Lake Ohau Dunedin Stewart Island Lake Te Anau Downs Depart from Dunedin

By coach Maximum of 12 clients.

64

INCLUDES

accommodation, meals, local transport, entry fees, service of the leaders.

M. Valentini

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 3 Within an hour’s drive southeast of Auckland lies Miranda Wildlife Sanctuary, a fine feeding ground for many wading birds, which migrate from the tundra of the arctic regions for the northern winter. Among the thousands of Bartailed Godwits on the shellbanks or silt flats, we may view Red Knot and South Island Oystercatchers, the rare endemic Wrybill, the endangered Red-breasted Dotterel, Far Eastern Curlew,Whimbrel, several sandpipers, Caspian and Little Terns and Sacred Kingfisher. Later this morning, we travel towards Lake Rotorua, where New Zealand Grebe, New Zealand Scaup and Little Black Cormorant are often feeding or roosting. Rotorua is situated in the central plateau of the North Island, a region of much geothermal activity.We stay overnight at Taupo. Day 4 We have a dawn start this morning, in order to experience the haunting call of the endangered Kokako in its natural, misty rainforest environment. Pureora Forest Park contains one of the finest areas of podocarp forest in the country, as well as a large variety of native invertebrates, like the curious Peripatus, and numerous birds.We will have most of today to gain more insight into the nature and conservation of this special forest, and to enjoy the sounds of the New Zealand Kaka,Yellowfronted Parakeet,Tomtit, New Zealand Robin, Long-tailed Koel, New Zealand Falcon,Whitehead and Grey Gerygone. Later, our day winds up in Tongariro National Park where we stay overnight Day 5 This morning we head for the tributaries of the Wanganui River to look for the endangered Blue Duck. Later we may see the endemic Fernbird and

R. Coomber

Rifleman against spectacular mountain backdrops. Our journey continues southwards to Wellington, where we will embark on a ferry crossing to the South Island.Three hours, however, is at times not enough for all the wildlife watching to be done! Wandering and Shy Albatrosses often pass by, as do giant petrels, and many shearwaters.Towards the entrance to the Marlborough Sounds Little Penguins, Spotted Shags, and sometimes dolphins can often be seen. A short evening drive will take us to Picton where we stay overnight. Days 6 & 7 The waters and inlets of the Marlborough Sounds will be our playground this morning. A charter vessel will carry us through Queen Charlotte Sound to a small rocky islet, where a small colony of the rare King Shag breeds and roosts. Close by lies a meeting place of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean, where we will be able to see several pelagic species at close quarters as they swarm around this rich feeding ground. Before returning to Picton, we will land to introduce ourselves to the curious Weka. Later we drive to Kaikoura, where we stay for two nights. Kaikoura is a breath-taking place where the continental shelf drops abruptly very close to shore, resulting in upwellings of nutrients from the sea’s depths, attracting a rich and abundant marine life. Marine mammal options include seeking out Sperm Whales, or Common and Dusky Dolphins. An excellent opportunity for birdlovers and generalists alike is a seabird excursion, where we can see flocks of cawing albatrosses, and numerous petrels and shearwaters, just metres from the boat.The afternoon will be at leisure to stroll on Kaikoura Peninsula. Day 8 Our journey carries us across the vastness of the Canterbury Plains, and over the main divide via Arthur’s Pass, a route once used by the Maori. Blackfronted Terns are regularly seen on the flats leading up to the pass, and in Arthur’s Pass National Park we may encounter the cheeky Kea. We stay in Arthur’s Pass region this evening and search for Great Spotted Kiwi tonight. Days 9 & 10 This morning we will travel down the wild and wet West Coast on avenues framed by the green lushness of rainforest. Amongst this landscape is our next stop, the Okarito Lagoon, where in gentle wetlands Fernbirds may be found, as may the striking White-faced Heron, or Great Egret. We may also venture into the forest, to enjoy its greenness and perhaps see the New Zealand Brown Creeper.We stay at Franz Josef two nights. The next day we have the chance to relax in the vicinity of the renowned Franz Josef Glacier with an evening excursion to look for the endangered Okarito Brown Kiwi. Days 11 & 12 The next day we travel to Lake Moeraki where a delightful walk to the coast brings us onto a golden beach, where a northern colony of the rare Fiordland Penguin breeds. Later, we leave the West Coast to travel to Lake Ohau, where we stay for two nights.The southern beech forests of Haast Pass may provide us with further opportunities to view forest species such as the endangered Yellowhead. Thereafter we leave the forest behind, journeying through the vast rolling Otago landscape of schist rock, and the tussock land and clear turquoise lakes of the MacKenzie Basin.The braided

Website ornitholidays.com

R. Coomber

rivers in this region are the habitat of the endangered Black Stilt, and we will look also for Wrybill and a range of inland waterfowl. Day 13 We have further opportunities to enjoy the inland waders before the drive down to the east coast and Dunedin where we stay overnight.We take a late afternoon cruise down Otago Harbour to Taiaroa Head. Here at Taiaroa is the only mainland colony of an albatross species.The Royal Albatross, one of the world’s largest flying birds, has a small colony. Just below them is a colony of several thousand Bronze Shags and near them smaller colonies of Spotted Shags and Little Pied Cormorants. Days 14 & 15 We leave Dunedin for Invercargill travelling via the Catlins coast.We stop at the Tautuku Estuary to look for Fernbird. In the mid afternoon we take a flight across to Stewart Island where we stay for two nights. In the evening we make a trip to view Stewart Island Brown Kiwi.The next day we take a charter cruise around the coast of Stewart Island then out into the Pacific Ocean to look for Shy Albatross, Sooty Shearwater, Broad-billed Prion, Mottled Petrel and Brown Skua.The rare Yelloweyed Penguin may be seen before we return to the more sheltered waters of Paterson Inlet.We land on Ulva Island for excellent viewing of most of the South Island forest birds such as Weka, New Zealand Kaka, Yellow-fronted and Red-fronted Parakeets and New Zealand Brown Creeper.

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA

Days 1 & 2 We arrive into Auckland, where we are met by our guide and then travel a short distance to our hotel, where we stay for two nights. Here we can rest and freshen up after the long flight.We escape from the city to enjoy a gentle introduction to New Zealand birds.We shall watch Australian Gannets soaring towards their rock stack colonies, then stroll through the Kauri forests on the Waitakere Ranges. Here a range of introduced and native birds co-exist including Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eastern Rosella, New Zealand Pigeon and Grey Fantail.The next day we take a trip to Tiritiri Matangi, an island sanctuary in the Hauraki Gulf, just north of Auckland. Sailing by ferry to the island we may be passed by Australian Gannets, Parkinson’s and Cook’s Petrels, and Buller’s Shearwater. Many of New Zealand’s rare and endangered species now only remain on islands such as this, as the habitat can be protected from introduced predators such as rats and possums. Re-introduced rare species such as the Saddleback, Stitchbird,Whitehead and Red-fronted Parakeet occur here as well as the unique Takahe and Brown Teal.

Days 16 & 17 After an early morning flight back to Invercargill we depart for Fiordland National Park, New Zealand’s largest and grandest national park.The landscapes are unrivalled in New Zealand and the Red Beech forests of northern Fiordland are home to an excellent array of forest birds.They are the last stronghold of the Yellowhead, while we may also see an early arriving Shining Bronze-Cuckoo.We stay at Te Anau Downs for the next two nights.The next day, weather and snow permitting, we visit the Upper Hollyford Valley through which the famed Milford Road passes, which contains superb subalpine herbfields and boulderfields. We will look for Rock Wren, one of New Zealand’s more secretive birds, which inhabits the boulderfields and cirque basins.These are home to the threatened Kea.There will also be time today for an optional cruise on Milford Sound. Day 18 We return across the southern South Island to Dunedin Airport for our flight to Auckland where we connect with our flights.

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

65


INDIA - BARATPUR & KHANA Tigers and birds

M. Biasioli

Thursday 8 November – Monday 19 November 2018 Thursday 7 February – Monday 18 February 2019

N. Jones

2018 Cost €4390 SRS €360 2019 Cost From €4390 SRS €360

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Sarus crane Red Junglefowl Black Bittern Indian Courser Asian paradise flycatcher Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Brown fish owl Shikra

TOUR LEADER Nicola Scatassi and local guides

200

Oriental honey buzzard Indian pitta Cotton pigmy goose Siberian rubythroat Greater spotted eagle Greater painted snipe Tiger Jungle Cat

One of the wonders of this journey is India’s amazing wildlife, which we discover as we explore the sal forests and bamboo thickets of renowned Kanha National Park, haunt of the Royal Bengal Tiger and the marshes of Keoladeo-Bharatpur, India’s famous bird reserve. Our journey promises to be a memorable experience. Bharatpur is famous for being one of the best wetlands areas in the world, and any visit to this wonderful place is always a memorable experience for any birdwatcher and nature lover, and many of the birds offer stunning photo opportunities. Besides birds such as Sarus crane, various storks and herons, wintering ducks and raptors including Greater spotted and Steppe eagles, siberian wintering passerines and local colourful species, this is also a good place for mammals: Jackals, Nilgai, Rhesus macaque, Chital and Sambar are numerous and normally quite easy to spot. But talking about mammals, of course Kanha stands out as one of the best places in the world for seeing a tiger, and not only! During are numerous jeep safaris, guided by expert local guides, we will see many different species, from the endangered local subspecies of Barasingha, to Barking deer and the huge and fascinating Gaur; Common Langur are also present, as well Sloth bear and Dhole. Obviously the Tiger will be our many target and we will maximize our chances by going on early morning and late afternoon jeep safaris, hoping to see this majestic animal crossing our track or hunting for a prey.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2 Days 3-5 Day 6 Day 7 Days 8-10 Day 11 Day 12

Arrive Delhi Delhi-Bharatpur Bharatpur Bharatpur-Delhi-Raipur Raipur – Kanha Kanha National Park Kanha-Raipur-Delhi Depart from Delhi

Very comfortable, in twin/double/single rooms, with private facilities. In Bharatpur we stay in the compounds of an old royal palace by minibuses driven by local drivers and scheduled domestic flights Maximum of 12 clients.

INCLUDES

Domestic flights, Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, Entry fees with camarasM. Biasioli

66

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 2 After breakfast we will leave Delhi by coach for Bharatpur, a few hours away.We will arrive and transfer to The Bagh Bharatpur, our beautiful and peaceful accommodation, whose gardens and grounds are a good habitat for many species, from Oriental magpie robin to Indian grey hornbill, from Indian scops owl to siberian wintering passerines. After lunch we will have our first taste of Keoladeo Ghana National Park by cycle rickshaw; we will be immediately captured by the peculiar atmosphere of this area, and birds will be very soon almost everywhere around us! Day 3 Bharatpur Keoladeo Ghana National Park, known simply as Bharatpur, was originally a vast wetland developed for duck shooting. Coaches are not allowed inside the park, so we’ll explore the 29 square kilometers on foot, and by bicycle-rickshaw (peddled by someone else!). Those whose overriding memories of bird watching abroad are dusty and bumpy roads and whistle-stop stake-outs will find this a marvelously relaxing time. Nevertheless, it will be very rewarding, with the possibility of over 150 species ranging from Sarus Crane to Small Minivet and Ruddy-breasted Crake to Whitetailed Eagle. Among the numbers of water birds, Black-necked and Painted Storks, Intermediate Egret, Cotton Pygmy-goose and Darter will vie for our attention as we search for less usual species such as Ferruginous and Red-crested Pochards and Greater Painted-snipe. In the trailside trees we’ll look for Marshall’s Iora,Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Common Wood-shrike, Asian Paradise-flycatcher,Whitebellied Drongo, Coppersmith Barbet, and Ashy Prinia. Beneath the bushes the slightest movement could herald a Blue throat or, with luck, an Orangeheaded Thrush or Siberian Ruby throat. In the sky above might be Greater Spotted Eagle, Red-headed Vulture or Crested Serpent Eagle. Dusk may bring us Collared Scops-Owl, Dusky Horned-Owl or a nightjar or two. It is also an excellent place to watch mammals like Golden Jackal, Striped Hyaena, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Nilgai, Sambar, Blackbuck and wild Boar.The park is also rich in Otters, Monitor Lizards and during the cool winter months it is also possible to see large Indian Pythons sunning themselves. After a very rewarding day we will drive back to our comfortable hotel, a few minutes drive, where we will have another very tasty dinner. Day 4 Today we will do more birdwatching inside the park in the morning, and at the hotel we will have the chance to enjoy a very interesting cooking class followed by lunch. In the afternoon there is the chance to relax, enjoy the hotel’s gardens and grounds, or go back to visit the park, or perhaps the interesting local village. In the evening we shall witness Rass Leela dance performance at the hotel followed by dinner. Rasa Leela dance is dance drama of Krishna described in Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana and literature such as the Gita Govinda, where he dances with Radha and her sakhis (friends).Very interesting and picturesque indeed!

Ghana National Park, perhaps exploring new areas where we haven’t been yet, or taking more time enjoying the more approachable species, or trying and take great photos of them! Days 6 & 7 After breakfast at the hotel we will drive to Delhi (approx. 4 hrs drive depending upon the traffic), have lunch at local restaurant at Delhi and then continue to airport in time for flight to Raipur, where we shall arrive shortly after 7 pm and transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Next day after breakfast we will drive to Kanha National Park (approx 4 hrs drive): we will have lunch at our accommodation, the Baagh Resort, very close to the entrance of the park. In the afternoon, we will have a visit to the local village, with its nice houses and other interesting features. Again, the hotel grounds and surroundings are well worth exploring for birds and other wildlife, such as amphibians, butterflies and dragonflies. Not to mention that Indian wolf has been seen just outside the hotel! Day 8 Very early in the morning we will have our first game viewing safari by opern jeeps inside the national park, an area of outstanding beauty and filled with wildlife. Kanha National Park is one of the largest national parks covering 1945 sq. km including a “core zone” of 940 sq. km. It is also the part of Project Tiger, one of the India’s most important conservation efforts. Safari through different habitats, including Sal Forest, Bamboo Thicket, Dadar (plateau grasslands), meadows and mixed forests.This beautiful area of forest and lightly wooded grassland with many rivers and streams supports an excellent variety of wildlife. Some of the species we may encounter include the endangered Hard-ground Barasingha (this being the only place where this sub species of deer persists), Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, the largest of all bovines Gaur, Golden-backed Jackal, Jungle Cat, Common Langur, Sloth Bear,Wild Boar, Dhole or Asian Wild Dog, and the elusive Chowsingha. Kanha National Park also have a rich collection of bird species such as Asian Paradise Flycatcher,White Rumped Shama,White Bellied Drongo, Spangled Drongo. Racket Tailed Drongo,Twany Babbler, Jungle Babbler, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Grey Francolin, Painted Francolin, Black Naped Flycatcher,Common Iora, Eurasian Blackbird, Gold Mantled Chloropsis, Jerdon’s Leaf Bird, Golden Oriole, Black Hooded Oriole, Common Grey Hornbill, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Asian Brown Flycatcher,Tickell’s Flowerpecker,Verditor Flycatcher,Twany Fish Owl, Barred Jungle Owlet, Spotted Owlet, Brown Fish Owl, Indian Scops Owl, Mottled Wood Owl, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra, Common Kestrel, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Pariah Kite,White Eyed Buzzard, Oriental Honey Buzzard and Indian Pitta. After lunch and some real back at the hotel we will depart for afternoon safari.

M. Valentini

We will then have a very good indian dinner at hotel in a beautiful setting. Day 9 Today we will have again two jeep safaris, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, inside the park. Our local guides are extremely knowledgeable about animal behaviour, and they can often tell if a tiger is present somewhere near according to the various reactions and calls of the other wildlife, such as monkeys and deers: they can also spot all signs and tracks of the tiger, therefore we do stand excellent chances of seeing one or more of these marvellous creature. Brown fish owl, among birds, is a fantastic species which can sometimes be seen sitting on a branch overlooking a stream, not far from the bridge that we cross with our vehicle: in which case, great photo opportunities are guaranteed. Day 10 Today is our last full day inside Kanha National park, and depending on what we have already seen and what we have missed so far, we can decide to explore new areas of the park or remain in the best areas for tigers. As usual we will have two safaris, one early in the morning and one in the afternoon, until sunset: shortly after that all vehicles must leave the park and let the wildlife take full control of the area without any human disturbance. Day 11 Today we will have a relaxing early morning birding in and around the hotel before to return to the hotel for breakfast and then drive to Raipur airport (approx 4 hrs drive), in order to catch our flight to Delhi in the evening, where we will stay overnight. Day 12 Today we will catch our return flight bringing home very good memories of this indian adventure.

Day 5 Today we will have another full day visit to Keoladeo

Website ornitholidays.com

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA

Day 1 Arrive in Delhi and welcome by local staff that will take us to the hotel near airport Radisson Blu Plaza New Delhi. First briefing about the tour.

M. Biasioli

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

67


INDIA - GOA Birds and Bhajees

M. Valentini

Thursday 23 November – Tuesday 03 December 2018 Mumbai

Arpora

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

India

GOA Backwoods Camp

HIGHLIGHTS

Patnam

Crested Serpent Eagle Green Imperial Pigeon Malabar Barbet Malabar Hornbill Asian Fairy-bluebird Asian Openbill Cotton Pigmy-goose Indian Pitta

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

260

2018 Cost €2950 SRS €360

Crimson-backed Sunbird Slaty-breasted Rail Cinnamon Bittern Greater Painted Snipe

A former Portuguese colony, the State of Goa is situated on the west coast of India.The distances between birding sites are never great and, compared with much of India, the road system is surprisingly good! Our tour differs from those of many other companies as we use three centres rather than the traditional two.We start by spending three nights in south Goa, which is surprisingly under-watched given the superb woodland habitat at Cotigao and Netravali in the foothills of the Western Ghats. Next we move north-east to the famous Backwoods Camp for three nights in the heart of an impressive forest, before heading west to end the tour with four nights near the coast at Arpora, from where we can explore a variety of wetland sites.We visit Goa at the best time of year for birding, as temperatures are relatively cool and the endemic breeding species are joined by wintering birds from further north.The pace will be leisurely; on most days we will be in the field early and late, taking a siesta in between.The birds are likely to include many new species for everyone, including those who have previously visited northern India or Sri Lanka. In addition to the wonderful avifauna, there are beautiful butterflies and dragonflies as well as some exciting mammals. Some clients have rated the tasty Goan food as the ‘best ever on a bird tour’! Travel with us to this delightful region and see why Goa remains popular both with welltravelled birdwatchers and those visiting Asia for the first time.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-3 Days 4-6 Days 7-10 Day 11

Patnem Backwoods Camp Apora Depart from Goa

INCLUDES

accommodation, meals, local transport, entry fees, service of the leaders, VAT

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By coach Maximum of 12 clients. D. Walsh

68

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 4 to 6 Leaving south Goa, we visit Curtorim Lake and its surrounding paddyfields and marshes.This is one of Goa’s largest wetland areas and we should find a splendid selection of species such as Cotton Pygmy-goose, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Asian Openbill, Oriental Darter, Little Cormorant and River Tern and, if we are lucky, a Comb Duck or a Grey-headed Lapwing. Later we continue to Backwoods Camp, surrounded by Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary which covers about 240 square kilometres of monsoon forest comprising both deciduous and evergreen vegetation. We spend three nights at the camp: each cottage has its own private facilities. Species we hope to find in this area include the colourful Indian Pitta, Blue-capped Rock Thrush, Malabar Parakeet, Crimson-backed Sunbird and Blue-eared Kingfisher and the ground-dwelling Grey Junglefowl and Indian Peafowl. Bulbuls include Grey-headed and Square-tailed Black, open areas support seed-eating birds such as Red-headed Bunting and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, whilst the range of woodpeckers includes the aptlynamed Heart-spotted. If we are lucky we may find a roosting Brown Fish Owl. At the camp itself, the bird bath provides a great opportunity to watch, and photograph, Orangeheaded Thrush, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Flame-throated Bulbul, Puff-throated Babbler and White-rumped Shama,

D. Walsh

whilst the delightful Malabar Giant Squirrels will be a constant source of entertainment. At dusk we will listen out for Jerdon’s Nightjar, Brown Hawk Owl and Oriental Scops Owl.The forest supports an outstanding variety of colourful butterflies as well as distinctive dragonflies: their names will both baffle and amuse us! Days 7 to 10 Today we leave Backwoods and, en route to the coast, visit Bondla which despite being the smallest of Goa’s forest reserves often produces some of the best birding! In an open area we may find Crested Hawk Eagle, Blue-faced Malkoha, Indian Robin, Rufous Woodpecker, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Malabar Woodshrike and Jacobin Cuckoo, whilst further into the forest species include Crested Treeswift, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Orange Minivet, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Black-naped Monarch and the jewel in the crown, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. We continue on for lunch at a fascinating spice plantation before heading to coastal north Goa where we check-in to our hotel for a four-night stay.There is a wide variety of habitat very close to our base. Baga Hills contain remnants of dry forest where we hope to find Indian Yellow Tit, Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, Plum-headed Parakeet and Spot-breasted Fantail.The pockets of woodland are relatively small but can nevertheless hold species such as Indian Golden Oriole,Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Jerdon’s Leafbird, Coppersmith Barbet,Vigors’s Sunbird, Nilgiri Flowerpecker and Black-rumped Flameback.The local fields often hold Long-tailed and Brown Shrikes, Siberian Stonechat and Pied Bushchat as well as several species of pipit including Blyth’s, Richards and Paddyfield which will challenge our identification skills! One marshy area is adjacent to a hotel where we can relax with a late afternoon drink and wait for Greater Paintedsnipe, Black-headed Ibis, Cinnamon Bittern, Striated Heron, Pin-tailed Snipe and Spotted Owlet! Nearby we may be lucky and see both Indian and Greater Spotted Eagles in the sky together, an awesome sight. Three well-known sites are each little more than half an hour’s drive away from our base.To the east, Carambolim Lake is often teeming with wildfowl, egrets and herons and we hope to find Indian Cormorant, Lesser Whistling-duck, Purple Swamphen, Pied Kingfisher and both Pheasanttailed and

Website ornitholidays.com

L. D. Souza

Bronze-winged Jacanas. North of Arpora, the sandy beach at Morjim is famous for waders: Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers will be side by side for comparison, with Pacific Golden Plover,Terek Sandpiper and Small Pratincole all likely.The area is also a roosting place for Caspian, Lesser and Great Crested Terns as well as Pallas’s, Heuglin’s, Steppe, Slender-billed and Brown-headed Gulls.The grasslands behind the beach are home to both Barred and Yellowlegged Buttonquails.Travelling south we will visit Fort Aguada, built in 1612, which stands on the top of a headland. Offshore we look for the resident pods of Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins whilst the open bushes around the fort are a good place to see species present throughout Goa, such as subtle Blyth’s Reed and Greenish Warblers, as well as more colourful birds such as Small Minivet and Asian Paradise-flycatcher. One of many highlights on this tour is a boat trip up the Zuari River. White-bellied Sea Eagles will be sailing overhead, whilst kingfishers include Storkbilled, Black-capped and the localised Collared. Imposing Lesser Adjutants and Woolly-necked Storks perch on the bushes, Streak-throated Swallows search for insects and Western Reef Egrets feed on the mud. We may be lucky enough to see a Slaty-breasted Rail scurrying through the twisted roots of the mangroves, which are also the home of Marsh Mugger Crocodiles! Not far from the river we search an interesting lava plateau hoping to find Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, Oriental Skylark and Rosy Starling.

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA

Days 1 to 3 We arrive in Goa where we meet our local guide and set out on a drive of around an hour and a half to Patnem in south Goa. Our first birds are likely to include Indian Pond Heron, Black and Brahminy Kites, Redwattled Lapwing, Indian Roller, White-throated Kingfisher, Green Bee-eater, Redwhiskered Bulbul and Oriental Magpie Robin. We have a full day to explore Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, one of Goa’s less well-known forest reserves, where a network of trails provides easy access to the mixed deciduous forest.The vegetation here is noticeably drier than elsewhere, and we will look for birds associated with this habitat type, including our first regional endemics. Key species here include Crested Serpent Eagle, both Green and Mountain Imperial Pigeons, Malabar Barbet, Whitebellied Woodpecker, Malabar Pied and Malabar Grey Hornbills, Asian Fairy-Bluebird, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater,Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Forest Wagtail.Troops of inquisitive Southern Plains Grey Langurs and Bonnet Macaques will be widespread and, if we are very lucky, we might encounter a group of Indian Bison or even a Leopard. Ending the day by a river we may find a gathering of Blyth’s Starlings in the bamboo, a Malabar Whistling Thrush on the water’s edge and several swifts and hirundines overhead. Our other full day is spent at Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary. Described as perhaps the most scenic drive in Goa, the quiet road climbs to the peak of the rounded hills allowing access to some untouched forest thick in places with cane and lianas.This is the most reliable site in Goa for Rufous Babbler, an endemic of the Western Ghats more commonly found further south.The forest supports an exceptional diversity of birds, including vocal groups of Indian Scimitar Babbler and three of the most sought-after species of the entire tour: Malabar Trogon, Indian Blue Robin and Sri Lanka Frogmouth. Rufous Treepie,Vernal Hanging Parrot, Loten’s Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo are all present whilst more open areas provide a good opportunity to scan for raptors which might include Black Eagle, Crested Goshawk and Legge’s Hawk Eagle.

Day 11 After some final birding, with the chance both to see new species and revise those with which we have become familiar, we bid farewell to Goa.

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

D. Walsh

69


THE AMERICAS ALASKA - The Ultimate Frontier BRAZIL - PANTANAL - Hyacinth Macaw & Jaguars BRAZIL – REGUA - Atlantic Forest Special ECUADOR - Tumbesian & Andean Specialities COSTA RICA - 2018/19 - Classic Neotropical Birding CHILE - Northern Tour

72 74 76 78 80 82

Discover our American Tours scheduled for 2019 at page 84

M. Apollo

Alaska

M. Valentini

Trinidad & Tobago

Costa Rica Ecuador M. Valentini

Brazil

Chile

Falkland Islands


R. Coomber


ALASKA The Last Frontier

M. Biasioli

Saturday 02 June - Saturday 16 June 2018

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Barrow

ALASKA Nome

Anchorage

HIGHLIGHTS

Homer

2018 Cost €5990 SRS €850

Seward

Bristle-thiged Curlew Snowy Owl Spectacled Eider Sandhill Crane Horned Puffin Tufted Puffin Kittlitz’s Murrelet Marbled Murrelet

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Pigeon Guillemot Gyrfalcon Steller’s Sea Lion Humpback Whale Killer whale Musk Ox Grizzly OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-2 Days 3-6 Day 7 Days 8-9 Day 10 Day 11 Days 12-13 Day 14 Day 15

Anchorage Nome Anchorage Seward Homer Anchorage Barrow Anchorage Depart from Anchorage

Alaska can justifiably claim to be North America’s ‘final frontier’.The scenery can be described as awe inspiring and certainly amongst some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Alaska has breathtakingly beautiful and dramatic scenery and is a remote wilderness of ice-blue fjords, vast forests, towering snow-capped mountains (including the gigantic Mt. McKinley) remote tranquil bays and wide-open stretches of tundra.This massive US state has several time zones, and has a climate that at best can be called challenging, with short summers and extremely cold winters. However, its wildlife can be described as some of the richest on Planet Earth, with millions of birds spending their summer here to breed and taking full advantage of the abundant food supply.We begin the tour in Anchorage visiting well known birding sites such as Westchester Lagoons, where species could include Hudsonian Godwit and Red-necked Grebe.We then travel to Nome, a small town surrounded by tundra, whose location lies just below the Arctic Circle, is our next venue, where we shall enjoy watching the abundance of shorebirds which breed on the open tundra We take a boat trip into the Kenai Fjords National Park from Seward to experience a marvellous variety of seabird species.The diversity of breeding auks is quite unique – from Horned Puffins to Marbled Murrelets and there is also the possibility of some fine sea mammals, which could include Orca, Humpback Whale and Steller’s Sea Lion.The holiday then reaches a magnificent conclusion at Barrow in the High Arctic, where the vast stretches of tundra are ideal habitat for Red (Grey) Phalaropes, Baird’s and Pectoral Sandpipers, Sabine’s Gull, Pomarine Skua, Snowy Owl, Snow Bunting and King and Spectacled Eiders, in fact all four species of eider are possible. A superb wilderness birding adventure in Alaska! The holiday will be run in conjunction with Avian Adventures.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, ldomestic flights, ocal transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 12 clients. M. Libra

72

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 3 to 6 This morning we catch a flight to Nome, a small tundra town lying just below the Arctic Circle and a fabulous birding area where we stay for four nights. Not only is there a superb selection of North American birds making this their summer home, but also species from Siberian Russia that regularly turn up and breed here. Our days here are spent travelling the several routes out of town, each route having its own treasure chest of avian gems. Even on the outskirts of town there can be species such as Northern Pintail, Long-tailed Duck, Red-throated Loon (Diver), Semipalmated Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Greycheeked Thrush, Savannah Sparrow and Common Redpoll. Driving much further along Council Road there is the opportunity to discover much more. Sandhill Crane, Pacific Diver, Gyrfalcon, Aleutian Tern, Semipalmated Plover, Western Sandpiper and Black Turnstone are regularly seen - even Emperor Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Red-necked Stint and Eastern Yellow Wagtail turn up here.The two other roads out of town, the Teller Highway and Kougarok Road, have a wonderful array of breeding species, including ones that are common in parts of Northern Europe, such as Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Bluethroat, Lapland Bunting, and Northern Wheatear. However one of the much sought after breeding species here, is Bristle-thighed Curlew, which is certainly a target bird. But this marvellous environment has much more to offer, supporting a star cast of other bird species, including Tundra Swan, Pacific Diver, both American and Pacific Golden Plovers, Rock and Willow Ptarmigan, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Longtailed and Arctic Skuas, Northern Waterthrush, Arctic Warbler, American Tree, Fox and Goldencrowned Sparrows and Arctic Redpoll.The area often has good numbers of Caribou and Musk Ox and there is always a chance of Grizzly Bear.

that is worth scanning, regular bird inhabitants include Common Loon (Great Northern Diver), Barrow’s Goldeneye, Greater Scaup and Arctic Tern. Other birds in and around Seward include Black Oystercatcher, Glaucous-winged Gull, Steller’s Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Whitewinged Crossbill and Pine Grosbeak.The next day, weather permitting, we take a cruise into the Kenai Fjords National Park, where a profusion of seabirds breed, including Horned and Tufted Puffins, Kittlitz’s and Marbled Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemot and Red-faced Cormorants. Many cruises encounter Humpback Whales and there are several other sea mammal species that occur, such as Steller’s Sea Lion, Orca and Sea Otter. Day 10 We drive this morning south-west to Homer, where we shall stay for the night.The area is renowned for its concentration of Bald Eagles at this time of year and we can hope for some close encounters, with good photographic opportunities. A walk along some woodland tracks may produce Varied Thrush, Orange-crowned Kinglet, Pine Siskin, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Boreal Chickadee, Whitewinged Crossbill and the local dusky form of the Fox Sparrow. Out to sea, and along the shoreline, we may find Common Loon, Pelagic Cormorant, Black-legged Kittiwake and Glaucous-winged Gull. Day 11 After a little time around Homer we take a leisurely drive back to Anchorage, for an overnight stay. Days 12 & 13 Today we catch a morning flight to Barrow, the most northerly town in the USA and located well beyond the Arctic Circle. First impressions of Barrow may leave one thinking, that how can this dumpy little town and its environment be a good birding place, but it certainly is.The tundra that surrounds Barrow is a mecca for breeding

M. Apollo

shorebirds and wildfowl. Depending on lemming N. Jones and vole populations there can be good numbers of Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas and Snowy Owls. At this time of year the sea pack ice is only just beginning to break up and the melt water on the tundra forms icy pools on the permafrost, which are a haven for breeding ducks. One such species is the amazing Spectacled Eider and along with pairs of King Eiders on tundra pools, close to the road, certainly gets the adrenalin flowing. Add to this another beautiful eider – Steller’s, plus Common Eider, Surf Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and Northern Pintail and birdwatchers will be left in awe.The shorebird show can also be fantastic, with many species displaying, including American Golden Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, Baird’s, Pectoral and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Red-necked and Red (Grey) Phalaropes. Although uncommon Yellow-billed Loon (White-billed Diver) and Sabine’s Gull are possible Day 14 We have most of the day for further encounters with the birdlife of Barrow, before catching our evening flight to Anchorage, where we stay for our last night in Alaska.

AMERICAS

Days 1 & 2 We arrive in Anchorage and transfer to our hotel for a stay of two nights.The next day our first port-of-call is likely be Westchester Lagoons which is a very good birdwatching venue. We can hope to see one or two pairs of gorgeous Rednecked Grebes, as well as Greater Scaup, Greater Yellowlegs and sometimes the splendid Hudsonian Godwit. Lake Hood is close to our hotel and usually supports a variety of birdlife. Regular wildfowl species include Greater and Lesser Scaup, American Wigeon and Greenwinged Teal. Pacific Divers also occur along with Spotted Sandpiper.The fringes of the lake have trees and vegetation, which provide suitable habitat for American Robin and Lincoln’s and White-crowned Sparrows.The woodland of Hillside Park is a good site for Varied Thrush and Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

Day 15 After a morning at leisure we transfer to Anchorage airport for our return flights.

Day 7 We can enjoy several hours of birdwatching in Nome before we have to transfer to the airport to catch an evening flight back to Anchorage where we overnight. Days 8 & 9 This morning we drive south to Seward, for a two night stay. En route we may stop at Potter Marsh, where Mew Gull, Lesser Yellowlegs, Alder Flycatcher,Yellow Warbler and Lincoln’s Sparrow can usually be seen. Further on, Indian Creek is always worth a look, as American Dippers usually nest there.Tern Lake is another site

Website ornitholidays.com

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Apollo

73


BRAZIL - PANTANAL Hyacint Macaw and Jaguar

Pantanal + Regua

M. Valentini

Monday 18 September – Thursday 27 September 2018

2018 Cost €4700 SRS €450

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Red-legged Seriema Horned Sungem White-rumped Tanager Collared Crescentchest White-eared Puffbird Jabirù Sunbittern Bare-faced Curassow Chestnut-bellied Guan Band-tailed Nighthawk Helmeted Manakin Rufous Casiornis Pale-crested Woodpecker Hyacint Macaw Jaguar

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

300

BRAZIL Serra das Araras Pouso Alegre

Chapada dos Guimaraes Cuiaba Rio Negro

São Paulo

The Mato Grosso has so much to offer birders as it is blessed with vast wetlands and large tracts of Amazonian rainforest – in the wetlands of the Pantanal we can watch Jabirus, Sunbitterns, Hyacinth Macaws (right outside one of our lodges) and large gatherings of herons, egrets and storks right next to our hotels in this birding paradise.We’ve been visiting the Pantanal for more than 10 years now and in recent years we have encountered Jaguars during our birding excursions along the Transpantaneira and from boats on the banks of rivers as we watched Barefaced Curassows, Chestnut-bellied Guans and Nanday Parakeets with Band-tailed Nighthawks gathering to feed over the river as dusk fell! We may be lucky again this year but the chances of other mammals like Giant Otters, Giant Anteaters or Tapirs are good too - some years ago we even saw a Puma. The spectacular tablelands of Chapada dos Guimaraes where Cerrado birds take centre stage will give us the opportunity to see Red-legged Seriema, Horned Sungem,Whiterumped Tanager, Collared Crescentchest and Whiteeared Puffbird, to mention just a few of the birds typical of this rarely visited habitat. Then it is to Serra das Araras which has become famous as having one of the most accessible Harpy Eagle’s nest in South America.We are hoping that in 2018 the nest will be active and both parents will be in attendance. But it’s not all wetland birding in the Pantanal as we will also spend some time in gallery forest in search of Helmeted Manakin, Rufous Casiornis and Palecrested Woodpeckers.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

4

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Day 2 Day 3 Days 4-5 Day 6 Days 7-9 Day 10

Arrival at the airport in Cuiana and transfer to Pouso Alegre Pouso Alegre Porto Jofre Poconé Serra das Araras Chapada dos Guimaraes Transfer to the airport in Cuiaba. (The actives will depend the flight departure)

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 9 clients. M. Valentini

74

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Day 3 We transfer to Porto Jofre, land of the Jaguar, where we. We will go out for a boat excursion in the afternoon and on the following morning. The variety of birds and mammals species is incredible: Jabiru, Whistling, Agami, white-necked and Cocoi Heron, Great Egret, Roseate Spoonbill, Hyachint Macaw,Toca Toucan, King Vulture, Black-collared Hawk, Southern Crested Caracara, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Amazon Kingfisher, Bluecrowned Trogon, Wattled Jacana, Chestnuteared Aracari, Orange-backed Troupial, Crimsoncrested Woodpecker, just to mention some. From the boat we could be lucky enough to see and photograph Jaguars, but also Giant Otters, South-America Tapir, Black Owler Monkey, BlackStriped Capuchin.

M. Valentini

Days 7 & 9 As we make the drive to the tablelands of Chapada dos Guimaraes, the scenery becomes more and more spectacular. Our hotel sits at the periphery of the plateau with a breathtaking view across the Cerrado and we stay here for three nights. We may get time for some Cerrado birding before heading for the viewpoint to watch the pre- roost gathering of Blue-winged and Red-and-green Macaws, as well as Great Dusky and Biscutate Swifts. We have two full days to explore the Cerrado and woodlands near Chapada. In the transition between the Cerrado and the Amazon rainforest, the Guimaraes plateau acts as the dividing line between the Paraguay and Amazon River basins. It forms an ecosystem of great ecological interest and fascinating geological formations. The Cerrado is one of the South American lowland endemic centres for birds and we shall spend the first day mostly in this habitat. Some Cerrado specialties here at Chapada include White-eared Puffbird, Curl-crested Jay, Grey Monjita, Rufouswinged Antshrike, White-rumped and White-banded Tanagers, Black-throated Saltator, Coal-crested and Blue Finches.The monotonous song of the Collared Crescentchest will attract us to this charming relative of the tapaculos and we will cover the area in search of the tiny, long-tailed Horned Sungem. Recently we have found Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant here but these seem to be sporadic in their occurrence at Chapada. Lunchtimes will be relaxing but there are often Swallow-tailed Kites over town and it’s quite possible we will see White Hawk, King Vulture or Bat Falcons near the hotel too. More “raptor action” may come in the form of the

Days 4 & 5 We make our drive to Poconé, locally known as Cidade Rosa (the Pink City) due to the bloom of its Ipê trees (Handroanthus), Poconé is the main gateway into the Northern Pantanal. It’s the launching point for the Transpantaneira, a 150km stretch of dirt road linking Poconé to Porto Jofre - a journey which provides some of the best opportunities to view wildlife.The stunning rural landscapes, the two rivers Cuiabà and Paraguai which meet in this point and the great varieties of birds species will surprise you. Days 6 This morning we make the drive to Serra das Araras and what could be the highlight of the tour as we hope there will be an active Harpy Eagle nest close to the lodge. We can spend the afternoon in the area watching for these enormous eagles around this nesting area.

Website ornitholidays.com

brutish Black- chested Buzzard-Eagle but it’s more likely we will see that over the Cerrado. The Amazonian influence is evident with our records of Pavonine and Pheasant Cuckoos, White-backed Fire-eye, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Swallow-wing and Red- bellied Macaw but understandably these birds are scarce here at the southern edge of their range. We visit a lek of the gaudy Band-tailed Manakin and hopefully find the Fiery-capped Manakin too. Raptors are more of a challenge to find in these forested environments but we have had some luck with Ornate HawkEagle in the past. Birding in the semi-deciduous and gallery forest we may be rewarded with Cinnamon- throated Hermit, Yellow-ridged Toucan, Lettered Aracari, Blue-crowned Motmot, Ochre-cheeked Spinetail, Plain Antvireo, Southern Antpipit, Sirystes, Fiery-capped Manakin, Planalto Tyrannulet, White-lined, Guira and Grey-headed Tanagers, Saffron-billed Sparrow and Sharp- tailed Streamcreeper.

AMERICAS

Days 1& 2 We arrive in Cuiaba and meet our transport and local guide. We then transfer to Pouso Alegre, where we stay for two nights. Birds are seemingly everywhere in the Pantanal with Snail Kites on fence posts and White Woodpeckers and Campo Flickers prolific in the borders of the fields. We shall be alert for the raucous calls of the magnificent Hyacinth Macaw as we near our lodge as they are quite common in this area. Small birds will not go unnoticed though as the roadside ponds are good places to find Chotoy and Yellow-chinned Spinetails. Scanning across the tall vegetation may reveal the presence of the superb Scarlet-headed Blackbird. We can take a walk across the ranch into an area of dry woodland and check any pools for birds coming to drink in the dry conditions. We may get time to look for Tropical Screech-Owl or Common Pauraque in the evening. Hyacinth Macaws call noisily as we stir this morning and after early morning coffee we will take a pre-breakfast stroll around the Pantanal ranch.The yard of the ranch is a good spot to see the impressive Great Rufous Woodcreeper as well as Greycrested Cachalote. Greater Rheas strut across the open grasslands and flocks of whistlingducks and Brazilian Teal fly around in the distance. Naturally the focus will be on waterbirds here in the Pantanal, however the arid forests are worthy of attention with Green- backed Becard, Blue-crowned Trogon, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, the bizarre Pale-crested Woodpecker, Planalto Woodcreeper, Rufous Casiornis, Planalto Slaty-Antshrike and Chestnut-vented Conebill all possible not too far from the lodge

Day 10 This morning we will take the short journey back to Cuiaba for our flights.

M. Valentini

M. Valentini

M. Valentini

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

M. Valentini

75


BRAZIL - REGUA

ONE

STOP

Atlantic Forest Special

D. Walsh

Thursday, 27 September – Friday 05 October 2018

2018 Cost €2740 SRS €240

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION White-necked Hawk Crescent-chested Puffbird Brazilian Tanager Pin-tailed Manakin Black-cheeked Gnateater Frilled Coquette Giant Snipe Black Jacobin Blue-winged Macaw Three-toed Jacamar Black-and-gold Cotinga Hooded Berryeater

BRAZIL

REGUA Rio de Janeiro São Paulo

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

300 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses Maximum of 9 clients.

76

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-8 Day 9

Arrival to Rio De Janeiro REGUA Depart from Rio De Janeiro

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Brazil is one of the world’s most exciting birding destinations.The Atlantic Forests in the south-east of the country have been seriously depleted over the last two centuries; nevertheless, the majority of Brazil’s endemic birds are found in this region, with over 60 of them on the checklist for our tour. Just 90 minutes from Rio de Janeiro, REGUA (Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu) aims not only to protect the rainforest and its biodiversity from deforestation, hunting and the removal of forest products but also restore habitat using local resources. A mouth-watering 470 species have been recorded on the reserve, probably more than at any site in Brazil outside the Amazon region.We are indeed fortunate to be able to spend our one- centre tour at REGUA’s comfortable lodge where we will be well-looked after, with lovely home cooking, attentive staff and outstanding local guides; after a great day in the field we can cool off in the swimming pool or relax with a glass of Caipirinha, a delicious Brazilian cocktail. The lodge’s garden is home to a superb variety of hummingbirds and tanagers, whilst the adjacent wetland teems with wildlife.There is an extensive network of trails accessed by foot or after a short ride in the vehicle, and we hope to see a great variety of Atlantic Forest endemic birds which may include White-necked Hawk, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Brazilian Tanager, Pin-tailed Manakin, Blackcheeked Gnateater and Frilled Coquette. In addition, an evening excursion to look for Giant Snipe will live long in the memory! As well as exploring the trails and wetland close to our lodge we will make three or four day-trips not only to see extra species but also experience a different range of habitat and scenery.We will look for Restinga Antwren, Sooretama Slaty Antshrike and numerous waterbirds along the coast near Cabo Frio, whilst Three-toed Jacamar, Blue-winged Macaw and other dry forest specialities can be seen near Carmo. Green-crowned Plovercrest, Black-and-gold Cotinga and Hooded Berryeater are just three of the most sought-after species in the mountain forests near Nova Friburgo. From gaudy toucans, through brightly coloured tanagers, manakins and hummingbirds, to the secretive antbirds of the forest, plus furtive crakes, roosting owls and the daily spectacle of roosting herons and egrets, there really is something for everyone on this tour! Please note that this part of Brazil is non-malarial and there is no yellow fever. The September holiday can be extended by joining our Pantanal tour; please ask for a special price.

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

P. Davis

find Redcowled Cardinal, White-rumped Monjita, Long-billed Wren, Whistling Heron and Limpkin. Here and elsewhere the numbers of vultures and caracaras will impress us. Last but not least, REGUA is a great place to find the poorly known Giant Snipe, so on one afternoon we will head to the grasslands, enjoying the sights and sounds as dusk approaches before looking for our main quarry once it is almost dark.The town of Nova Friburgo is the starting point from which to explore the highlands. At the Macae de Cima reserve we transfer from our minibus onto a truck and, heading uphill, we make for a remote garden in the forest, the former home of a renowned naturalist. Having replenished the hummingbird feeders, we hope to enjoy superb views of White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Scale-throated Hermit and, best of all, Green-crowned Plovercrest. Along the track we search for a number of sought-after species including Blackand- gold Cotinga, Hooded Berryeater, Surucua Trogon, Bertoni’s Antbird, both Golden-crowned and White-rimmed Warblers and a number of tyrannulets and woodcreepers. It is possible that we may make a second excursion into the hills, to Pico de Caledonia, one of the highest peaks in the Serra dos Orgaos range.Targets here include Swallow-tailed and Grey-winged Cotingas, Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Diademed Tanager, Rufous-tailed Antthrush and Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, whilst both Orangeeyed Thornbird and Cinnamon Tanager are found in the more open areas. After an early start, our longest journey takes us north to a remnant of dry forest near Carmo in search of the rare Three-toed Jacamar. The arid environment is in stark contrast to the more humid forest near our lodge and supports a different suite of birds. Serra Antwren, Sepiacapped Flycatcher, Grey Pileated Finch, Glittering-bellied Emerald and Rufous-fronted Thornbird provide an excellent supporting cast to the jacamar.Travelling through the grassland landscape we can look for the weird Red-legged Seriema that roams the

Website ornitholidays.com

open areas as well as White-tailed Hawk, Bluewinged Macaw, Whiteeyed Parakeet, White-eared Puffbird and the aptly-named Firewood-gatherer. Southern Yellowthroat and the spectacular Streamer-tailed Tyrant both inhabit damper areas. On one day we head towards the town of Cabo Frio on the coast east of Rio de Janeiro. Urban development means that only ten percent of the Restinga habitat remains, but in its bushes, ferns and palms rich in bromeliads we have a good chance of finding Restinga Antwren as well as Sooretama Slaty Antshrike, Hangnest Tody- Tyrant and Tropical Parula. Overhead Magnificent Frigatebirds will provide a distraction from the passerines! Nearby we will visit some coastal lagoons, home to a variety of waterassociated species such as Kelp and Grey-headed Gulls, Royal and Cayenne Terns, White-backed Stilt, White-cheeked Pintail, Roseate Spoonbill, Little Blue Heron,Yellowish Pipit and perhaps some passage waders.

AMERICAS

Days 1 to 8 We leave London on a direct flight to Rio de Janeiro, arriving in the evening. Having been met by our driver, we make the 90 minute journey to our well-appointed lodge at REGUA, situated next to an area of restored wetlands and set against the backdrop of forested mountains. We stay at the lodge throughout this tour. Our program is flexible; advised by our local guides, we will complement birding along the trails near our base with some day-trips by minibus. On our first morning, birds will appear in the halflight in the lodge’s garden! Swallow-tailed Hummingbird,Violet-capped Woodnymph and Glittering-throated Emerald will be whizzing around the hummingbird feeders, whilst Violaceous and Orange-bellied Euphonias, Sayaca Tanagers and Red-rumped Caciques take advantage of the bananas on the bird tables. Common Marmosets appear regularly, often in family groups. A huge variety of birds come and go in the garden’s trees, from Blue Dacnis and Orangewinged Parrot to Crescentchested Puffbird and the stunning Brazilian Tanager. It will be hard to tear ourselves away, but a short walk to the bird-rich wetland will continue our well-paced introduction to the area’s avifauna. Masked Water Tyrant, Bandtailed Hornero,Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher, Black-capped Donacobius and Yellow-chinned Spinetail inhabit the bushes near the water, and we will spend time getting to grips with the birds themselves and their long names! The more open areas provide opportunities to scan the sky for raptors before, keeping alert for Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Channelbilled Toucan and White-bearded Manakin in the trees, we turn our attention to the water. Amazon, Green and Ringed Kingfishers, Capped Heron, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Anhinga, wild Muscovy Duck and White-faced Whistling Duck are all likely, with Capybaras and Broad-snouted Caimans providing alternative entertainment. On at least one afternoon we return to the wetland in search of Rufous-sided Crake and Blackish Rail before marvelling at the spectacular roost of herons and egrets, visible from a tower just a minute’s walk from the lodge.The dusk sounds of Pauraque, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl and Slatybreasted Wood Rail will become familiar. REGUA has a number of excellent trails within 15 minutes’ drive of the lodge.The Waterfall Trail is worthy of almost a full day as it heads into the heart of the forest, so we will take a packed lunch. Slowly but surely we begin to increase our bird list as each corner and recess reveals different Atlantic Forest specialities. Southern Antpipit and Red-legged Honeycreeper are two of numerous possibilities in an open area, whilst Saw-billed Hermit, Pin-tailed and Blue Manakins, Blackcheeked Gnateater, Black-throated Trogon, Pale-browed Treehunter, Black-capped Becard, Rufous-capped Motmot and Spot-billed Toucanets are targets once we are inside the forest proper.The loud clanging song of Barethroated Bellbird will resound in the canopy. Brazilian Laniisoma (Shrike-like Cotinga) is a REGUA speciality, but it is an altitudinal migrant and even harder to see in September than in July.The Waldenoor Trail is shorter but also reaches excellent forest habitat. As elsewhere, if we find a feeding flock we can expect Brassy-breasted, Red-necked and Green-headed Tanagers as well as various woodcreepers and flycatchers, whilst Star-throated Antwrens scold from the undergrowth. If we are lucky we may find the diminutive Frilled Coquette feeding on flowers in one of the clearings. Outside the forest, the lowland fields in and around local villages are worthy of exploration and we hope to

Day 9 After a final morning’s birdwatching in the REGUA reserve we leave for the airport at Rio de Janeiro.

D. Walsh

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

P. Davis

P. Davis

77


COSTA RICA Classic Neotropical Birding

R. Coomber

Saturday 10 November – Saturday 24 November 2018 Saturday 02 March – Friday 15 March - 2019 Cano Negro

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Arenal Volcano National Park Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui

Rancho Naturalista

San José Tarcoles

COSTA RICA Savegre Highlands

HIGHLIGHTS

N. Jones

2018 Cost €4600 SRS €600 2019 Cost From €4600 SRS €600

Resplendent Quetzal Sunbittern Snowcap Black-crested Coquette Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher Scarlett Macaw Green Macaw Baird’s Trogon

TOUR LEADER Nigel Jones

400 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Turquoise-browed Motmot Snowy Cotinga Howler Capuchin Spider Capuchin White-headed Capuchin

Ornitholidays has been visiting Costa Rica for over 20 years now, and we have run over 35 tours to this bird-rich country. Costa Rica is only a small country, but it has an astonishing range of habitats and birdlife.Ten per cent of the land area comprises national parks and a further ten per cent is protected as biological or forest reserves. Cloud forest, lowland tropical forest, dry savannah, mangroves and freshwater marshes are all covered, and this new itinerary takes in lodges with a wider range of altitudes, giving us greater bird diversity. Some of the star birds we would hope to see include Resplendent Quetzal, Sunbittern, Snowcap, Blackcrested Coquette, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Scarlet and Great Green Macaws, Baird’s Trogon,Turquoise-browed Motmot, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan and Snowy Cotinga to mention just a few. Distances are comparatively short, allowing more time in the field. Several factors make this an especially attractive tour, including the friendliness of the local people, the great profusion of wildlife and the government’s enlightened attitude towards it. In addition, our agents provide a highly efficient, expert and personal service, and supply very experienced naturalist guides. As is usual on tropical tours we will be up early most mornings to take advantage of the coolest and clearest time of day.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-3 Days 4-5 Days 6-7 Days 8-10 Days 11-12 Days 13-14 Day 15

Fly to San José Cano Negro Arenal Volcano National Park Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui Rancho Naturalista Savegre Highlands Tarcoles Depart San José

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 12 clients. R. Coomber

78

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY

Days 2 & 3 We start with some early morning birding in the grounds of the hotel, where we should find our first Clay-coloured Thrush, Red-billed Pigeon, Bandbacked Wren and Hoffmann’s Woodpecker. After breakfast we visit La Paz, a park with a hummingbird garden where we hope to find Coppery-headed Emerald,Violet Sabrewing, Green Hermit, Green-crowned Brilliant and Blackbellied Hummingbird. We then transfer to the Cano Negro Natural Lodge, where we stay for two nights. While here we can take a couple of boat trips and look for Sungrebe, Ringed, Amazon and Green Kingfishers, and many species of herons, egrets and rails. A feature of Cano Negro is its night birds and we may find Common and Great Potoos, and both Striped and Black-andwhite Owls. Days 4 & 5 This morning we will take a boat trip at Mesio Queso, where Pinnated Bittern is highly likely, before we head for the Arenal Observatory Lodge, where we stay for two nights, with great views of the smoking volcano and Arenal Lake.The lodge is located within the Arenal Conservation Area and offers the chance to explore the Caribbean Slope’s rainforest. Birding around the observatory can produce Green and Shining Honeycreepers, Hepatic Tanager, Gartered Trogon, Black-crested Coquette, Green Thorntail,Violetheaded Hummingbird, Pale-billed, Smoky-brown and Goldenolive Woodpeckers, Grey-headed Kite, White Hawk, Crested Guan, Great Curassow, Grayheaded Chachalaca and Montezuma’s Oropendola. The trails into the primary forest often produce species such as Spotted and Bicoloured Antbirds, Nightingale and Stripe-breasted Wrens, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Streak-crowned Antvireo and Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush. Days 6 & 7 We spend part of the morning in the area of Arenal Dam, where a quiet road traverses good forest. Mixed flocks may contain Streak-crowned Antvireo, Slaty Antwren, Spotted Woodcreeper, Northern Barred-Woodcreeper, and a variety of tanagers and wintering warblers. Other birds to be found here include Keel-billed, Rufous and Broad-billed Motmots, Purplish-backed Quail-Dove, Shorttailed, Grey and White Hawks and occasionally Ornate Hawk-Eagle.There are also Howler, Spider and White-faced Capuchin Monkeys. Later, we transfer to Selva Verde Lodge at Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui for a stay of two nights.The next day we visit the wooded trails of the research station of La Selva, where we will be spoilt for choice: Great Curassow, Crested Owl, Tiny Hawk, Slaty-breasted Tinamou, Red-footed Plumeleteer, Crowned Woodnymph, Broadbilled Motmot, Black-throated Trogon, Keel-billed Toucan, White-fronted Nunbird, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Snowy Cotinga, Rufous Piha, Rufous Mourner, White-collared Manakin and Shining Honeycreeper can all be found here.

and food and great birding right on its doorstep, set in the pre-montane rainforest zone of the Caribbean Slope. From the balcony we can see Grey-headed Chachalaca, Passerini’s and Crimson-collared Tanagers and Montezuma’s Oropendola. We can spend part of the next two days watching the hummingbird feeders and the bathing pools – each evening Violet-crowned Woodnymph and the amazing Purple-crowned Fairy come in to bathe. as they keep their bodies clean from the debris of their hectic lives. Other species visiting here include the Tawny-throated Leaftosser and Great Tinamou.The lodge hosts a large list of birds seen from its trails and some of its specialities include:Tawny-chested Flycatcher, Purplish-backed Quail- Dove, White-crowned Manakin, White-throated Flycatcher, Scarletrumped Cacique, Dull-mantled and Spotted Antbirds,Thicket Antpitta and Blackthroated Wren. Certainly two species that everyone wants to see here are the diminutive Snowcap hummer and the delightful Sunbittern and we shall make sure that we make a special effort to have good views of both of these species. Days 11 & 12 After some final birding around the lodge we briefly visit Tapanti National Park. Here we may find some highland specialities including Golden-browed Chlorophonia and Prong-billed and Red-headed Barbets. We then move to the oak highlands of the Savegre Valley, staying at the lovely Trogon Lodge for two nights, set in the Cerro de la Muerte region of the Cordillera de Talamanca.This is another beautiful setting, at an altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level (2200 meters) and surrounded by unspoiled nature.Trogon Lodge sits amidst dazzling flowers, showing amazing shades of colors and where centennial oak trees show their impressive roots. At the hummingbird feeders we can look for Whitethroated Mountain-gem, Green Violet-ears and Magnificent,Volcano and Fiery-throated Hummingbirds. In the tall pines around the lodge we may find Yellow-bellied Siskins and Sulphurwinged Parakeets. We shall make a short excursion to look for one of the key birds of the country – the amazing Resplendent Quetzal.The males are dazzling with their iridescent green plumage and elongated tails (over two feet in length). Here there are also Black-and-yellow and Long-tailed Silky-Flycatchers, Black-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Barred Becard, Collared Redstarts, Flame-throated Warbler, Acorn and Hairy Woodpeckers, Ruddy Treerunner and Sootycapped Bush-Tanager.

Days 8 to10 After some final local birding we travel to the premier birding lodge in the country, Rancho Naturalista, where we stay for three nights.This lodge is a birding paradise, with lovely rooms

Website ornitholidays.com

N. Jones

R. Coomber

Days 13 & 14 Today we head for the Pacific Coast and spend the next two nights at the Hotel Villa Lapas, near Tarcoles.The emphasis on our stay here will be to visit the Carara National Park - in the warm tropical air we may find groups of raucous Scarlet Macaws, Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, Baird’s Trogon,Turquoise-browed Motmot and male Orange-collared Manikins snapping at their lek. Exploring the park could reveal Blue-black Grosbeak, Painted Bunting Chestnut-backed Antbird and Dot-winged and Slaty Antwrens.There is a good variety of neotropic bird families represented in the forest including Gartered Trogon, Graychested Dove, Bright-rumped Attila, Greenish Elaenia, Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Eye-ringed Flat-bill and Blue-throated Goldentail

AMERICAS

Day 1 We arrive into San José in the evening and make the short transfer to our hotel for a stay of one night.

Day 15 We take a morning boat ride on the Rio Tarcoles. Here, the density of herons, egrets and kingfishers is remarkable. In particular, we can look for American Pygmy Kingfisher, Mangrove Hummingbird, Southern Lapwing and Doublestriped Thick-knee. Flocks of White Ibis fly up ahead of the boat and Royal Terns, Laughing Gulls and various waders rest on the beach. Raptors include Osprey, Mangrove Black Hawk and Crested and Yellowheaded Caracaras, while enormous American Crocodiles haul out on the muddy banks. Later we transfer to San José where we catch our return flights.

R. Coomber

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

R. Coomber

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ECUADOR

Tumbesian and Andean Specialities

M. Valentini

Monday 22 October – Monday 5 November 2018

2018 Cost €4960 SRS €340

GENERAL DESCRIPTION ECUADOR

Guayaquil Cuenca

HIGHLIGHTS

Buenaventura

Vilcabamba Jorupe Copalinga Tapichalaca Reserve

Pale-headed Brush-finch El Oro Parakeet Jocotoco Antpitta Horned Screamer Long-wattled Umbrellabird Club-winged Manakin Rufous-headed Chachalaca Neblina metaltail

TOUR LEADER Marco Valentini

450 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses

Masked MountainTanager Pacific Royal Flycatcher Pacific Hornero Esmeraldas Antbird Violet-bellied Hummingbird

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-3 Days 4-6 Day 7 Days 8-9 Days 10-11 Days 12-13 Day 14 Day 15

Arrive Guayaquil Buenaventura Jorupe Vilcabamba Tapichalaca Copalinga Cuenca Guayaquil Depart from Guayaquil

With a diverse combination of habitats and a mouth-watering list of specialties it is no surprise that the southern Ecuador circuit has become very popular in recent years.This tour will take in everything from lowland marshes to high elevation paramos while offering the chance to see some of the rarest birds in the world. Species we will target will include the recently re-discovered Pale- headed Brush-Finch, the incredibly rare El Oro Parakeet and the iconic Jocotoco Antpitta. We will also concentrate on the tumbesian endemics, those species only found in the dry tumbes forests that cover southern Ecuador and northern Peru.The tour begins in the humid marshes that surround the city of Guayaquil, where we look for the ungainly Horned Screamer, before quickly moving on to the cloud forests of the Buenaventura Reserve. The verdant hillsides here represent one of the most southerly outposts of the great Choco bioregion that covers much of western Colombia and Ecuador. They offer a unique opportunity to see Choco specialties such as Long-wattled Umbrellabird and Club-winged Manakin, alongside Tumbesian specialities such as Rufous-headed Chachalaca. We then strike south into the dry forests that so characterise the Tumbes region where we spend several days. Following this we head up into the cool temperate highlands of Cerro Toledo and the Tapichalaca reserve where we can search out a small suite of rare and exciting species including Jocotoco Antpitta, Neblina Metaltail and Masked Mountain-Tanager.The last few days see us drop down to the edge of the Amazon for some foothill birding around the very pleasant Copalinga Lodge, before once again ascending to the wild and windswept paramos of El Cajas National Park. We also find time to squeeze in a visit to the small Yungillas reserve situated in an arid inter-Andean valley and finish the tour with a final visit to a dry scrub reserve right on the edge of Guayaquil where we can hope to enjoy our final few hours, once again enjoying some of the Tumbesian specialties.This will be Ornitholidays fourth tour with this itinerary.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 8 clients. M. Valentini

80

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Day 1 We arrive in Guayaquil where we arrive later the same day. On arrival we transfer to our hotel where we have dinner and stay overnight.

Days 4 to 6 We spend a final morning at Buenaventura before making a fairly long drive south to Jorupe where we stay for three nights at Jorupe Lodge. We can break the journey up by stopping in the El Empalme area where we hope to find such species as Baird’s Flycatcher, Tumbes Hummingbird and White-headed BrushFinch.The next day we bird the trails and feeding stations around Jorupe Lodge. Targets include Henna- hooded and Rufous-necked Foliage-gleaners, Blackish-headed Spinetail, Pale-browed Tinamou (visiting the feeders!), Watkin’s Antpitta, Slaty Becard and Whiteedged Oriole. On our last full day we visit the higher elevation Sozoranaga and Utana areas where we can look for Chapman’s Antshrike, Black-cowled Saltator, Puira Hemispingus, Bay-crowned Brush-Finch, Jelski’s Chat-Tyrant and Black-crested Tit-Tyrant. We also hope to enjoy Rainbow Starfrontlet and Purple- throated Sunangel at the hummingbird feeders. Day 7 We spend a final morning in the Utana Reserve looking for Grey-headed Antbird and any species we did not see on the previous day. We then drive to Vilcabamba where we overnight. On route we can stop in the Catayamo Valley where we will look for such specialties as Drab and Parrot-billed Seedeaters and Tumbes Sparrow.

M. Valentini N. Jones

close up views of this spectacular species. We spend the rest of the day birding the trails looking for Golden-plumed Parakeet, Orangebanded Flycatcher, White- throated QuailDove and Chusquea Tapaculo. We also visit the hummingbird feeders where we will look for Chestnut-breasted Coronet and Flamethroated Sunangel.

high elevation El Cajas National Park. We can look for Violet-throated Metaltail,Tit-like Dacnis and Giant Conebill. We hope to find a good mix of commoner paramo and temperate forest birds including Tawny Antpitta, Stoutbilled Cinclodes and Andean Tit-Spinetail. In the afternoon we drive down to Guayaquil where we spend our last night.

Days 10 & 11 After a final morning birding at Tapichalaca we drop down into the foothills where we spend two nights at Copalinga Lodge. We spend the afternoon in the grounds of the lodge where we can concentrate on the hummingbirds that visit the flowering bushes and which can include Wire- crested Thorntail and Spangled Coquette.The next morning we can bird the Rio Bombuscaro entrance to Podocarpus National Park. We hope to find Foothill Eleania, White-breasted Parakeet, Equatorial Graytail, Amazonian Umbrellabird and Black-streaked Puffbird. We will return to Copalinga for lunch and then bird watch in the immediate area in the afternoon where we hope to find a selection of tanagers.

Day 15 Our final morning is spent in the small Cerro Blanco Reserve on the outskirts of Guayaquil. This offers us a last chance to look for any Tumbesian species we may have missed including White-tailed Jay, Black-capped Sparrow and Superciliated Wren. We then have time to return to the hotel to shower and change before transferring to the airport.

AMERICAS

Days 2 & 3 We spend the morning birding at the Manglares Churute Reserve on the outskirts of Guayaquil. We should enjoy good views of Horned Screamer and a selection of wetland birds, while the nearby scrub may hold Pacific Royal Flycatcher, Jet Antbird and Orangecrowned Euphonia. We will also look out for our first Tumbesian specialities such as Pacific Pygmy Owl and Pacific Hornero. We will leave the site mid-morning and undertake a fairly long drive south to the Buenaventura Reserve. In the early evening we arrive at our lodge at Buenaventura where we spend two nights. We will spend one full day exploring the trails at Buenaventura. Our main target will be the critically endangered El Oro Parakeet but we will also look for Long- wattled Umbrellabird, Esmeraldas Antbird and Club-winged Manakin. We will also take some time out to enjoy the spectacular hummingbird feeders which can hold 50 or more individual hummingbirds at any one time, including such species as Violet-bellied Hummingbird, Green Thorntail and Green-crowned Woodnymph.

Days 12 & 13 We look for birds along the old Loja-Zamora road and we hope to find Coppery-chested Jacamar,Vermilion Tanager and Ecuadorian Tyrannulet. In the afternoon we drive to Cuenca where we spend two nights. From Cuenca we visit the Yungillas Reserve where we hope to find the critically endangered Pale-headed Brush-Finch and a suite of commoner species and have an outside chance of locating the rare Little Woodstar. Day 14 We spend most of the day birding in the

Days 8 & 9 We spend the morning birding at Cerro Toledo near Vilcabamba where we hope to see such high Andean specialties as the endemic Neblina Metaltail and the scarce Masked Mountain- Tanager. We will also look out for Grey-breasted Mountain-Toucan, Red-hooded Tanager and Mouse-coloured Thistletail In the afternoon we drive to the Tapichalaca Reserve where we stay for two nights.The next day we visit the famous Jocotoco Antpitta worm feeding station where we hope to enjoy

Website ornitholidays.com

M. Valentini

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

J. Ilianes

M. Valentini

81


CHILE

Land of the Condor

M. Biasioli

Thursday 20 September – Thursday 04 October

HIGHLIGHTS

Arica Putre

Diademed Sandpiper-plover Andean Condor Magellanic Woodpecker Inca Tern Andean Tinamou Golden-spotted Ground-dove Andean Lapwing Chilean Mockingbird Aplomado Falcon Mountain Paraket Crag Chilia Humboldt Penguin Seaside Conclodes Antarctic Giant Petrel Peruvian Pelican Pink-footed Shearwater

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

240 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses up to 6 people

San Pedro de Atacama

CHILE Quintero Santiago

Temuco Puerto Montt

2018 Cost €7290 SRS €670

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Chile is a land of huge contrasts. On this birding adventure we explore Chile’s diverse habitats and we marvel at some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. From arid coastal hills and lush rainforests to the impressive lakes and volcanoes of south-central Chile. Our search for the avian specialties of this long and narrow country take us from the high Andes of the far north to the cold and productive waters of the Humboldt Current.We will find many interesting species, some with very restricted distributional ranges and some that are little known outside of Chile. In central Chile, we birdwatch amongst the dramatic and breathtaking mountain scenery of El Yeso, where we search for one of the most beautiful wading birds of the world, the Diademed Sandpiper-Plover. Overhead, we observe magnificent Andean Condors soaring in search of carrion. Our journey takes us to a variety of habitats and landscapes in an important area for birds that are endemic to South America, and we hope to show you a significant proportion of their specialties. Our trip to the north of Chile takes us to the driest desert in the world, the inhospitable Atacama, on the border with southern Peru.We explore the Azapa valley and then drive to Putre, situated in the altiplano at more than 3,500m (10,500ft) above sea level. Finally, we journey in dense temperate rainforests, in a landscape dominated by impressive mountains and volcanoes. Here the forests are dominated by the imposing Araucarias, the enigmatic monkey-puzzle trees. Journey with us on Ornitholidays 20th tour to this fascinating country.

OUTLINE ITINERARY

Arrival to Santiago, fly to Calama to reach San Pedro de Atacama. Days 3-4 Arica Days 5-6 Putre Days 7-8 Santiago Days 9-10 Quintero Days 11-12 Temuco Day 13 Puerto Montt Day 14 Santiago Day 15 Depart from Santiago Days 1-2

INCLUDES

all the ground services – domestic flights, accommodation, full board service, local transfers, tour leader, excursions, entry fees. Fantastico Sur

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For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITINERARY Days 1& 2 We will arrive in Santiago airport and meet our local guide. Later we fly to Calama and drive the short distance to the village of San Pedro de Atacama, our base for the following two nights. During the afternoon we visit Salar de Atacama, one of the largest saltpans in the world. We can look for Puna, Chilean and Andean Flamingos as well as Andean Avocet, Puna Plover and Andean Gull.The next day we have an early start and visit some altiplano water bodies which are home to Horned Coot. Later we continue towards Salar de Talar and hope to see several high-altitude specialists including Andean Tinamou, Lesser Rhea, Golden-spotted Ground- Dove, Mountain Parakeet and Red-backed Sierra-Finch. We can look for Mountain Vizcacha and Vicuña herds as well.

Days 5 & 6 After some further birding at Arica and along the coast, we ascend to the pre-puna zone at more than 3,500m above sea level. As we travel, we may find Peruvian Thick-knee, Andean Swift and Grayish Miner.The town of Putre is our base for two nights. Sparkling Violetear, Dark-winged and Canyon Canasteros, Giant Conebill, Blue-and- yellow Tanager, Golden-billed Saltator and Hooded and Thick-billed Siskins all occur here. We spend the rest of the day birding around Putre and hope to locate Aplomado Falcon, Mountain Parakeet, Bare-faced Ground-Dove, Andean Hillstar, White-throated, Plain-breasted and Straight-billed Earthcreepers, White-winged Cinclodes, Blackthroated Flowerpiercer, Chiguanco Thrush, D’Orbigny’s and White- browed Chat-tyrants, Band-tailed Seedeater and Black-hooded, Mourning and Ash-breasted Sierra-Finches.The next day we visit Lauca National Park which supports a great diversity of Andean specialities such as Puna Ibis, Andean Goose, Puna Teal, Giant and Andean Coots, Rufous-bellied and Grey-breasted Seedsnipes, Andean Lapwing, and Diademed Sandpiper- Plover. We may also encounter Andean Gull, Andean Flicker, Cordilleran Canastero, Puna and Whitefronted Ground-Tyrants, Andean Negrito, Whitewinged Diuca-Finch and Black Siskin. Days 7 & 8 This morning we catch a flight back to Santiago where we stay for two nights. During the afternoon we search for Mountain Caracara, White-sided Hillstar, Rufous-banded and Creamy-rumped Miners, Cinereous, Black-fronted, White-browed and Rufous-naped Ground-Tyrants plus Greater Yellow-Finch and Grey-hooded and Band-tailed Sierra-Finches. We can also look for the endemic Chilean Tinamou and Chilean Mockingbird and we have the chance of seeing Red-backed (Variable) Hawk and Aplomado Falcon. We have a full day

M. Biasioli

exploring the surroundings of El Yeso reservoir in the Andean foothills, where we can look for the endemic Crag Chilia and our first Andean Condors, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Black-winged Ground-Dove, Grey-flanked Cinclodes, Black-billed Shrike-Tyrant and Yellow-rumped Siskin. Careful scanning of grasslands and streams may produce the stunning Diademed Sandpiper-Plover, our main target species for the day.This is a lovely mountain spot where we also have a chance of seeing flocking Mountain Parakeets. Days 9 & 10 Early in the morning, we visit La Campana National Park, where we look for Dusky-tailed Canastero, Moustached Turca and Dusky and White-throated Tapaculos. We are also likely to encounter the remarkable Giant Hummingbird, Striped Woodpecker, Austral Pygmy-Owl and Chilean Pigeon. Later, we head westward to visit the Chile’s scenic Pacific coast where we can search for the endemic Seaside Cinclodes. During the afternoon we continue exploring the coastal areas, visiting a protected breeding colony of Humboldt Penguin. We can stop at a coastal marsh to look for a variety of waterfowl including Red Shoveler,Yellow-billed Pintail, Speckled Teal and Chiloe Wigeon, all three lowland coot species, Spot-flanked Gallinule and Plumbeous Rail. We stay the next two nights at Quintero.The next day we make an unforgettable visit to the cold waters of the Humboldt Current, considered to be one of the world’s finest pelagic birding locations. We can expect to see a great variety of tubenoses such as Black-browed and Salvin’s Albatrosses. On recent trips we have often recorded Buller’s, Chatham, Wandering and both Northern and Southern Royal Albatrosses. We should also find Southern and Northern Giant Petrels, Pintado, Masatierra, White-chinned and Westland Petrels, Pink-footed, Buller’s and Sooty Shearwaters, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel and Peruvian Diving-Petrel. Other seabirds we may encounter include Red (Grey) Phalarope, Sabine’s Gull and Chilean Skua.

Nature Reserve is located just outside the gates of our hotel and here we attempt to find Blackthroated Huet-huet, Chucao, Ochre-flanked and Magellanic Tapaculos, Des Mur’s Wiretail and the local and rare Rufous-tailed Hawk.The sight of these magnificent Araucaria Monkey-puzzle trees and the temperate rainforest amidst the fantastic mountain backdrop is simply breathtaking. Here we look for Magellanic Woodpecker, Austral Parakeet, Green-backed Firecrown, White-throated Treerunner, White-crested Elaenia and Patagonian Tyrant, Great Shrike-Tyrant and Spectacled Tyrant. Day 13 Today we drive to Puerto Montt, where we stay for one night. We visit the Lahuen Ñadi Nature Reserve and scan the mudflats for Flightless Steamer-Duck, Black-necked Swan, Silvery Grebe and Snowy-crowned Tern. Day 14 In the morning a visit to Chiloe Island, taking the ferry across the Chacao Channel.This short 30minute journey gives us the opportunity to look for Antarctic Giant Petrel, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters, Imperial and Red-legged Shags, Peruvian Pelican and South American Terns as well as Peale’s Dolphin and South American Sea Lion. Later we take a short boat trip to the interesting location of Puñihuil, where we circumnavigate one of the islets to see one of the few mixed breeding colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins. We can try to see Marine Otter, as well as Rock Shag, Kelp Goose and Flightless Steamer-Duck. In the early evening we catch the flight back to Santiago where we stay overnight. Day 15 After breakfast we transfer to the airport where we catch our flight back home.

Days 11 & 12 This morning we visit the coastal wetlands where we concentrate on finding Stripe-backed Bittern, Black-headed Duck and Many-coloured Rush Tyrant, as well as having the chance to find the scarce and local Warbling Doradito. We return to Santiago and take a short flight to Temuco, where we stay for two nights.The grasslands, orchards and meadows are ideal for Black-faced Ibis, the endemic Slender-billed Parakeet, Chilean Flicker, Rufous-tailed Plantcutter, Common Diuca-Finch and Grassland Yellow-Finch.The Cerro Ñielol

Website ornitholidays.com

AMERICAS

Days 3 & 4 We cross the hyper-arid Atacama Desert to Antofagasta and fly to Arica, Chile’s northernmost city where we stay for two nights.The following morning we investigate the valleys to look for such specialities as Croaking Ground- Dove, Chilean Woodstar, Peruvian Sheartail, Oasis Hummingbird, Tamarugo and Cinereous Conebills,Vermillion Flycatcher, Peruvian Meadowlark and the strange Slender-billed Finch. During the afternoon we visit the rocky coast where we hope to see Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Booby, Guanay and Red-legged Cormorants, Inca Tern and Band-tailed and Gray Gulls. Along the desert coast we look for flocks of Willet, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Surfbird, Franklin’s Gull and Elegant Terns.

N. Jones

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

Fantastico Sur

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TOURS 2019 EUROPE SPAIN - COTO DONANA Y SERRA DE ANDUJAR - Iberian Lynx & Eagles ITALY AND SLOVENIA - From the Po Delta to the Carsic Forests following the Adriatic Coast BLACK SEA EXPEDITION - Durankulak lakes - Bulgaria and Danube Delta in Romania SPAIN - CANARY ISLANDS - Winter Sunshine Break NORWAY - ARCTIC TOUR - A photo expedition to the extreme North in Winter ITALY - SICILY AT LEISURE - Mediterranean Migration SPAIN - Coto Donana y Extremadura

86 87 88 89 90 91 92

ASIA & AUSTRALASIA SRI LANKA - Teardrop of the Indian Ocean JAPAN - Birdwatching Tour JAPAN PHOTO TOUR - Hokkaido Expedition CHINA - Sichuan & The Tibetan Plateau

93 94 95 102

THE AMERICAS FALKLAND ISLANDS PHOTO TOUR - To the Extreme South TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - Caribbean Paradise

96 97

AFRICA & MIDDLE-EAST GHANA - In Search of Picathartes MOROCCO - High Atlas and Sahara EGYPT - MARSA ALAM - Migratory and desert Birds IRAN - Spring in the Persian Gulf

98 99 100 101

Contact our International Office for info and reservations We speak English, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian Paola Traspedini

Secretary & Logistic Coordinator

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please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403 Office time: Monday to Friday - 09.00AM to 06.00PM


SOUTHERN SPAIN Iberian Lynx & Eagles

C. Jensen

Thursday 24 January – Thursday 31 January 2019

2019 Cost from €1740 SRS €120

GENERAL DESCRIPTION SPAIN Madrid

Seville

Sierra de Andújar

HIGHLIGHTS

El Rocio

Spanish Imperial Eagle Black Vulture Griffon Vulture Red-knobbed Coot Marbled Teal White-headed Duck Purple Swamp Great Spotted Cuckoo

TOUR LEADER Cristian Jensen

Iberian Green Woodpecker Blue Rock Thrush Azure-winged Magpies Dartford Warbler Iberian Lynx Otter

We have travelled to Spain on many occasions over the last 41 years visiting many different areas.We now have a tour based upon seeing one of the country’s most endangered mammals, the Iberian Lynx. Our tour leader is Cristian Jensen, who has been guiding groups to see these fascinating small cats for a number of years. Our two-centred tour will be a combined birding and mammal holiday, with a special focus on seeing the Iberian Lynx in the wild. In January, Lynx are at their most active during the daytime as they seek a mate before becoming nocturnal in the hotter months.We shall visit areas where these cats can be viewed from strategic vantage points; being a feline in the wild it can not be 100% guaranteed but chances are high.The birdlife in this area of rolling mountains and hills is also interesting with Spanish Imperial Eagle, Eurasian Griffon Vultures and Hawfinch often in view. The Coto Doñana will give us some great winter birding with thousands of wildfowl present, as well as egrets, herons and birds of prey. Species anticipated on this trip include Red-crested Pochard, Red-knobbed Coot, Marbled Teal,Whiteheaded Duck, Golden and Spanish Imperial Eagles, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Blue Rock Thrush, Dartford Warbler, Firecrest, Crested Tit and Cirl Bunting.We can also enjoy the mild winter sunshine of southern Spain and visit these two contrasting areas at a relaxed pace.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-4 Days 5-7 Day 8

Fly to Seville and transfer to Sierra de Andujar Sierra de Andujar El Rocio Depart from Sevilla

120 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibuses Up to 7 clients M. Mendi

86

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITALY & SLOVENIA by winter From the Po Delta to the Karstik forests following the Adriatic coast

L. Boscain

Saturday 23 February – Saturday 2 March 2019

2019 Cost from €1820 SRS €160

A tour located on the Upper Adriatic region, touching the best habitats for wintering of birds during the cold season.The Po delta, valle Vecchia, valle Cavanata, mouth of Isonzo and Skocjanski Zatok hold every flocks of wintering geese steadily increasing: not only thousands of common Greylag and White-fronted Geese, but also Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted Goose are becoming year by year more regular. Among the common species, we will search rarer species, having as target species Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Scaup, Slavonian Grebe, Caspian Gull and many more.The environmental restoration of valle Vecchia, mouth of Isonzo and Skocjanski Zatok are plenty of ducks, geese and Lapwings, while we will have a look on the wide reed beds to watch interesting species as Bittern, Moustached Warbler, Bearded Reedling and Penduline Tit.We will transfer then to the Slovenia mountains, where hundreds of kilometers square of virgin forests still hold the majority of the European big mammals, from Red Deer to Brown Bear, to Golden Jackal, to Grey Wolf, to Lynx.We will encounter a large number of forest and mountain species, while we will do targeted researches to locate woodpeckers and owls, particularly Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker and Ural Owl. Raptors are not rare in these areas and we will have the possibility to see Golden and White-tailed Eagle, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon and Merlin.

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Black-throated Diver Slavonian Grebe Pygmy Cormorant Red-breasted Goose Smew White-fronted Goose Ferruginous Duck Red-crested Pochard

TOUR LEADER Luca Boscain

White-tailed Eagle Ural Owl Black-woodpecker Grey-headed Woodpecker Middle Spotted Woodpecker Moustached Warbler Crested Tit Spotted Nutcracker

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4

120 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8

Arrival to Venice Airport, Chioggia and the Po delta; Riverbeds of Meduna-Cellina, valle Vecchia of Caorle; Mouth of Aussa-Corno, Grado, Isonzo mouth; Mouth of Isonzo, Skocjanski Zatok of Koper; Planinsko Polje, Trnovska planota; Rakov Skocjan, Cerknica lake; Return from Venice Airport

By minibuses Up to 7 clients L. Boscain

Website ornitholidays.com

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

87


BLACK SEA EXPEDITION

Durankulak Lakes – Bulgaria and Danube Delta in Romania

M. R. Romero

Saturday 9 February – Sunday 17 February 2019

2019 Cost from €1680 SRS €146

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

HIGHLIGHTS

A unique experience along the Black Sea coast, seeing flocks of Red-breasted Geese in Bulgaria and White-tailed Eagles and Golden Jackals in the Danube delta in Romania, with good chances of getting great shots of both species in the snow. In winter, a large part of the total world population of Red-breasted Geese (1020.000 individuals) comes to spend the cold months here in the area of the Durankulak and Shabla lakes, in northeast Bulgaria. It’s a lowland area where they find perfect conditions for wintering, with relatively mild temperatures, thanks to the Black Sea, and with large extensions of wheat fields close to the lakes.We will see spectacular gathering of various geese species as well as seeing other interesting species such as Black-necked Grebe,Whooper Swan, Long-legged and Rough-legged Buzzard, Syrian Woodpecker and EagleOwl.

Red-breasted Geese White-tailed Eagles Black-necked Grebe Whooper Swan Bittern Long-legged Buzzard Rough-legged Buzzard Syrian Woodpecker

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli

Black Woodpecker Grey-headed Woodpecker EagleOwl Bearded Reedlings Smews Dalmatian Pelicans Golden Jackals Otter

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-3 Days 4-7

60 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses & Boat

We will then move to Romania,in the Danube delta, where we will stay in the amazing Ultima Frontiera property, being able to use the numerous photo hides present here. Not only White-tailed Eagles and Golden Jackals, but also 4 species of woodpeckers, Bearded Reedlings, Smews, Dalmatian Pelicans and (Whiteheaded) Long-tailed Tits.The lodge in Ultima Frontiera is in a remote, wild and beautiful area, with all facilities and comforts; the lodge in Bulgaria is again of very good quality and located in the very heart of one of the best areas for birds.

Day 8

Fly to Bucharest airport and transfer to Bulgaria Bulgaria and the Durankulak area Ultima Frontiera (Romania) photographic estate Depart from Bucharest airport

INCLUDES

all the ground services – accommodation, full board service, transfers, english speaking tour leader, photographic hides, excursions.

Up to 6 clients C. Galliani

88

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


THE CANARY ISLANDS Winter Sunshine Break

L. Ercoli

Saturday 23 February – Saturday 2 March 2019

2019 Cost from €2150 SRS €120

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Tenerife

Lanzarote

Fuerteventura Gran Canaria

La Gomera

HIGHLIGHTS

The Canary Islands provide us with the chance of seeing some special birds in welcome late winter sunshine! Remarkable for the wealth of unique plant and animal life, this isolated archipelago has an endemic avifauna not found in any other part of the world.The Canaries are made up of seven islands and five islets, which fall conveniently into two main groups – the Western Islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, El Hierro, Gran Canaria) and the Eastern Islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and five islets).This natural division is based on the physical characteristics which the islands exhibit and we plan to visit three of them during our tour.Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and its varied landscapes reflect its volcanic origins. Here, and on the adjacent island of La Gomera, the prevailing winds produce a climate conducive to ancient laurel forests and open pines.The eastern island of Fuerteventura is completely different and more like North Africa, being much drier with scrubby vegetation, rocky gorges and desert-like scenery. The Canary Islands hold a number of endemic (and near-endemic) species, including Fuerteventura Stonechat, Atlantic Canary, Blue Chaffinch and Bolle’s and Laurel Pigeons. In addition, there is a healthy population of Houbara Bustard and we hope to see this species in its spectacular display alongside Cream-coloured Courser and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Additionally, there is the chance to spot some interesting seabirds and cetaceans.The tour leader will be David Walsh who has made more than 16 winter visits to the Canary Islands.

CANARY ISLANDS

La Palma

Fuerteventura Stonechat Houbara Bustard Cream-coloured Courser Black- bellied Sandgrouse Trumpeter Finch Atlantic Canary Bolle’s Pigeon Laurel Pigeon

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

80

Canary Islands Chiffchaff Blue Chaffinch African Blue Tit Plain Swift Barbary Falcon

OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-4 Days 5-7 Day 8

Tenerife Fuerteventura Depart from Fuerteventura

INCLUDES

Domestic flight, accommodation, meals, local transport, services of the tour leader.

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses Up to 7 clients L.Ercoli

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

89


ARCTIC PHOTO TOUR Finnmark & Finnish Lapland (Norway & Finland)

M. R. Romero

Thursday 14 March – Thursday 21 March 2019

2019 2017 Cost from Cost€2500 £4,999SRS SRS€290 £690

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

King Eider Steller’s Eider Long-tailed Duck Puffin Razorbill Brunnich’s Gullemots Siberian Jay Siberian Tit

TOUR LEADER Igor Maiorano

Pine Grosbeak Arctic Redpoll Iceland Gull Glaucous Gull Gyrfalcon White Tailed Eagle Hawk Owl Snow Bunting OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

150

Days 4 – 6

Fly to Ivalo and transfer to the fisherman’ village of Kongsfjord Kongsfjord Photo hide and transfer to Vadso Vadso and excursion to Hornoya island Ivalo and surroundings Depart Ivalo

twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Day 7 Day 8

By minibus & boat

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, Eider’s photohide VAT

up to 7 people

Arctic Scandinavia and, in particular, theVarangerfjord area are classic destinations for birdwatchers, ususally during late spring, when most migrant species have arrived on their breeding grounds but more northern species have already gone further north to even more polar latitudes. Our tour has a different timing, as we will visit the area towards the end of the winter season, thus seeing an unusual Varangerfjord, still largely covered in snow, and therefore even more f ascinating.We will have the rare chance to see and photograph the not many, but extremely charismatic species which dare to spend the winter in these re- mote areas:King Eider, Steller’s Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Iceland Gull,White-tailed Eagle, Gyrfalcon,SiberianTit,Siberian Jay,Pine Grosbeak,Ptarmigan and more.We shall visit seabirds colonies where we will closely approach Puffins, Brunnich’s and Black Guille- mots, Kittiwakes and Shags. Already actively displaying and busy nding a par tner.We will experience an unusual Varangerfjord, being able to photograph some of the more sought-after northern species with a snow-white background, while days are already long enough, and mild enough, to allow great photo oppor tunities while enjoying this arctic paradise.

INCLUDES

M. Biasioli

90

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


ITALY SICILY AT LEISURE Mediterranean Migration

M. Biasioli

Saturday 6 April – Saturday 13 April 2019

2019 Cost from €1890 SRS €160

GENERAL DESCRIPTION SICILY

Mount Etna Catania Gela Syracuse

HIGHLIGHTS

Sicily is located in the heart of the Mediterranean, and in many ways it epitomises its characteristics, with its sunny beaches, a very pleasant climate all year round, gardens and orchards full of flowers and vegetables, and its relaxed way of life.Yet it is hard to put down in words the magic of Sicily: the combination of the charm of its ancient Greek ruins with the more recent architectural splendour, as well as the wonderful landscapes combined with the wealth of birdlife, make for an unforgettable destination for any nature lover. Add to all of this the world famous quality of Sicilian food and its fantastic wines, and well, it’s hard to resist! Bird watching in Sicily is very good all year round, but probably April offers some of the best chances of seeing both migrating and breeding species: at this time of year the passage of passerines can be spectacular, with many species of warblers on show, including Subalpine, Spectacled and Sardinian, as well as larks, shrikes and the first European Bee-eaters and Eurasian Golden Orioles.Waders and ducks are also numerous, with the more widespread species accompanied by less frequent ones, such as Stone Curlew, Collared Pratincole and Ferruginous Duck. Other interesting species include Common Rock Sparrow, Sicilian Rock Partridge and Audouin’s Gull. Also, Sicily is home to the last Italian population of Bonelli’s Eagles with 20 pairs still remaining and there are also some breeding Lanner Falcons. We will explore the extensive wetlands, headlands and rocky areas near Syracuse, where we will be based for the first five nights, including a visit to the foothills of the majestic Etna volcano; the last two nights will be spent near Ragusa. From there we will visit the Gela area in order to take in some different bird habitats.

Spectacled Warbler Golden Oriole Stone Curlew Collared Praticole Ferruginous Duck Rock Sparrow Sicilian Rock Partridge Audouin’s Gull

TOUR LEADER Nicola Scatassi and local guide

Bonelli’s Eagle Lanner Falcon Greater Flamingo Slender-billed Gull Purple Swamphen Lesser Kestrel Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-5 Days 6-7 Day 8

Fly to Catania and transfer to Syracuse Syracuse Ragusa Depart from Catania

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibuses Up to 12 clients L. Ercoli

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

91


DOÑANA & EXTREMADURA Spring Tour

M. Valentini

Wednesday 10 April - Wednesday 17 April 2019

2019 Cost from €1999 SRS €120

GENERAL DESCRIPTION SPAIN Torrejón el Rubio

Madrid

Seville

HIGHLIGHTS

Villamanrique de la Condesa

Spanish Imperial Eagle Purple Swamphen Marbled Duck White-headed Duck Red-necked Nightjar Azure-winged Magpie Black Vulture Egyptian vulture

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli

Black Stork Great Bustard Little Bustard Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Black-bellied Sandgrouse

This tour allows us to explore these two rich and contrasting areas.The Coto Doñana is justifiably famous as one of the major wetlands in Europe.The area around Matalascañas, El Rocío and Almonte is a superb complex of open water, reed bed, sand dune and mixed woodland which allows a highly diverse range of species to survive here. Spanish Imperial Eagle, Purple Swamphen, Marbled Duck (now scarce), Azure-winged Magpie and Red-necked Nightjar all breed in this area, and the whole region acts as a staging post for an enormous number of migrant waders and passerines on their journey northwards at this time of year. Extremadura holds one of Spain’s most interesting national parks - Monfragüe. It is one of the best sites for seeing Eurasian Black Vulture and Black Stork.The grasslands of this region are threatened by modern agricultural methods, but large areas still remain untouched and we shall be able to enjoy views of both Great and Little Bustards and with luck both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse. Ornitholidays possesses unrivalled experience in these areas of Spain and we have been running tours here since the 1960s.

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1

Days 2-4 Days 5-7 Day 8

Fly to Madrid and transfer to Torrejón el Rubio Torrejón el Rubio Villamanrique de la Condesa Depart Seville

170 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minibuses Maximum of 7 clients M. Biasioli

92

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


SRI LANKA

Teardrop on the Indian Ocean

Bird and Wildlife Team

Tuesday 09 January - Wednesday 22 January 2019

2019 Cost from €3500 SRS €400

There can be no more attractive destination in the middle of a European winter An abundant birdlife flourishes in a great variety of beautiful tropical habitats from palm-fringed coasts to relic patches of lowland rainforest; from the cool, mountainous tea-estates to the sun-baked lagoons of the arid southeast.We will re-discover all these delights in an itinerary that is based upon our previous experiences plus up-to-date input from our experts on the island. In addition to the wildlife, we will learn something of the rich culture and history of the fascinating and friendly country by visiting ancient sites (often excellent for birds too). Nature conservation has an ancient history in Sri Lanka, since King Devanampiya Tissa became a convert to Buddhism over 2,000 years ago and joyfully declared his hunting preserve a wildlife sanctuary. Now one-tenth of the island is set aside as national parks, nature reserves and other sanctuaries.There have been exciting taxonomic changes here recently, resulting in the island now having 33 endemic birds, almost all of which we should find. Many others from northern climes visit the country during November to March, so we can be sure of both an avian and cultural feast.We have been fortunate in obtaining the services of Deepal Warakagoda, the country’s foremost ornithological guide (and author of the Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka), who led our last eight holidays.

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Serendib Scops Owl Chestnut Backed Owlet Ceylon Spurfowl Ceylon Frogmouth Red-faced Malkoha Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot Legge’s Flowerpecker Sri Lanka Crested Drongo Ceylon Hill Myna Crested Hawk-Eagle Dusky Blue Flycatcher Plum-headed Parakeet Crested-tree Swift Jerdon’s Nightjar Asian Elephant Sri Lankan Leopard Sloth Bear Indian Grey Mongoose

TOUR LEADER

David Walsh & Deepal Warakagoda

230 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By coach

SRI LANKA Kandy Colombo Kitulgala Weddagala

Nuwara Eliya

Udawalawa

Tissamaharama

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-3 Days 4-7 Day 8 Days 9-10 Days 11-12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15

Colombo Kitulgala Sinharaja Udawalawa Tissamaharama Nuwara Eliya Kandy Colombo Depart from Colombo

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 10 clients. M. Valentini

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

93


JAPAN

Birdwatching Tour

Japan BW + Hokkaido

N. Jones

Wednesday, 13 February - Wednesday 27 February 2019 2019 Cost from €6500 SRS €550

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Steller’s Sea Eagle Blakiston’s Fish Owl Red-crowned Crane Hooded Crane White-naped Crane Saunders’s Gull Black-faced Spoonbill Japanese Woodpecker Japanese Wagtail Japanese Accentor Copper Pheasant Japanese Macaque Sika Deer

HOKKAIDO

Yoroushi Nemuro Peninsula

JAPAN

Tokyo Mount Fuji Kamakura-Ofuna

SHIKOKU KYUSHU

Izumi

NANSEI ISLANDS

Amami

Okinawa

TOUR LEADER Nigel Jones and Kaz Shinoda

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By coach Maximum of 9 clients.

OUTLINE ITINERARY

Arrival at Tokyo Tokyo Karuizawa Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park Kyushu Kagoshima – transfer to Hokkaido Days 10-13 Hokkaido Day 14 Tokyo (Free day) Day 15 Departure from Tokyo Day 1 Day 2 Days 3-4 Day 5 Days 6-8 Day 9

Japan comprises a chain of islands that span 1,600 miles and encompass many different vegetation zones. Stretching from the sub-arctic of Hokkaido to the sub-tropics of Nansei Shoto, these beautiful islands with their jagged and broken coastlines possess some of the most striking scenery in eastern Asia.This tour will offer a unique insight into the natural history and culture of this fascinating country. We will see Hokkaido in the grip of winter, a magical land of snow and ice (the dry atmosphere is a pleasant surprise for those used to the damp of Britain’s cold weather), with all the thrills of arctic birding but without the disadvantages of very short days, and with a gathering of birds to whet any appetite. Imagine the flocks of graceful Red-crowned Cranes dancing in the snow.Think of sea-eagles soaring close overhead and not only the White-tailed Eagle, but also the commoner, larger and far more spectacular Steller’s Sea-Eagle, perhaps the world’s most impressive bird of prey.The thrill of watching a Blakiston’s Fish-Owl dropping into icy water to catch its dinner is a sight never to be forgotten. At the opposite end of the country in Kyushu we will watch and listen to the gathering of the attractive White-naped and Hooded Cranes, and enjoy birding our way through flocks of thrushes and buntings.This is winter birding at its finest. An added attraction will be a visit to see the Snow Monkeys (Japanese Macaques) as they bathe in the warm waters of thermal pools against a snow-covered mountain backdrop. To visit Japan is to have a complete cultural experience. Birding aside, the country is a fascinating one, and for those with a spirit of adventure and a willingness to adapt to new ways of doing things, it is the holiday of a lifetime. Even day to day aspects, such as sleeping (on a futon), bathing (in an ofuro and even an outdoor hotspring in Hokkaido) and eating (Japanese-style) all take on a new significance and become fun events. But don’t worry, the Japanese-style living will be interspersed with western-style accommodation and food, and throughout the journey our local guide, Kaz Shinoda, will be there to point out and explain not only the birds and wildlife, but also cultural points of interest. Photographically this will be a great tour with many interesting and close subjects – see our last tour report or our website for photos taken on this holiday.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, domestic flights, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT L. Ercoli

94

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


JAPAN PHOTO TOUR Hokkaido Expedition

L. Ercoli

Thursday 28 February – Thursday 07 March 2019

2019 Cost from €4400 SRS €400

This northernmost of Japan’s main islands is also the harshest, coldest, and least settled. Its vast primeval forests covers 70 percent of the island but each area of the island offers a different scene: huge plains, clear lakes, smoking volcanoes with fresh hot springs, and rare animals in their natural habitats. Hokkaido in winter gives its best and it is truly stunning. Especially for nature photographers. Our tour focuses on the target species of this remote land: Red-crowned Cranes, Steller’s Sea Eagle,Whooper Swan and Blakinston Fish Owl but we will travel covering a large surface of the island visiting mountains, snow-clad fields, clear volcanic lakes, coastal areas and all this will produce the possibility to see and photograph many other species. The fauna of this beautiful island will be our main target but it will be a real pleasure to enjoy and photograph the stunning landscapes it can offer.

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Steller’s Sea Eagle White-tailed Eagle Whooper Swan Blakiston’s Fish Owl Red-crowned Crane Harlequin Duck Glaucous-winged Gull Different Auks Red Fox Sika Deer

HOKKAIDO

Yoroushi Nemuro Peninsula

JAPAN

Tokyo Mount Fuji Kamakura-Ofuna

SHIKOKU KYUSHU

Izumi

NANSEI ISLANDS

Amami

Okinawa

TOUR LEADER Igor Maiorano

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-3 Day 4

70 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By coach

Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8

Arrival in Hokkaido Otawa Bridge, Akan Centre, Tsurui-ito. Kussharo and Mashu lakes. Transfer to Furen lake. Furen and Sunset lake Sunset lake. Transfer to Rausu. Shibetsu Departure from Hokkaido

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 6 clients. L. Ercoli

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

95


FALKLAND ISLANDS To the Extreme South

S. Sli

Saturday 16 February – Saturday 02 March 2019

2019 Cost from €7000 SRS €850

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

King Penguin Striated Caracara Antarctic Skua Magellanic Penguin Rockhopper Penguin Macaroni Penguin White-tufted Grebes Silvery Grebe

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli & Paul Rogers

200 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses Maximum of 12 clients.

Wandering Albatross Royal Albatross Black-browed Albatross Ruddy-headed Goose Sea Lion Elephant Seal Killer Whale Dolphin

The 1982 conflict in the Falkland Islands had very little effect on the resident wildlife but it did have an enormous impact on tourism. Over 25 years later, flights now transport visitors on a regular basis, and the wildlife tourism that has developed is proving beneficial to the upkeep of the islands and their residents.There can be few bird watchers and naturalists who have not dreamt of wandering near vast, noisy colonies of penguins and of obtaining eye-to-eye views of albatrosses - this holiday will allow you to accomplish those dreams in comfort.These remote islands, 500km east of Tierra del Fuego in the South Atlantic, do not boast a large bird list (about 50), but they do have five species of nesting penguin, and some marvellous sea birds and wildfowl, as well as fabulous mammals. Southern Elephant Seals loaf and bellow on many of the sandy beaches, and there is always the chance of sighting a pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) cruising past, looking for their next victim.The warmth of the welcome that will greet you upon your arrival in this small bastion of Great Britain has become legendary, and you will not be disappointed by the superb wildlife spectacle that awaits you amongst the tussac grass and sandy beaches of this archipelago.The opportunities for photography are outstanding, and many of the birds are so tame that they run towards you! This will be Ornitholidays’ 16th tour of the islands.

OUTLINE ITINERARY

Arrival in Falkland islands transfer to Sea Lion Island Days 2-4 Sea Lion Island Days 5-7 Bleaker island Days 7-10 Pebble island Days 10-13 Carcass Island Days 13-14 Stanley Day 15 Departure Day 1

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, domestic flights local transport, services of the leaders, VAT R. Evans

96

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO Caribbean Paradise

R. Coomber

Monday 1 April – Friday 12 April 2019

2019 Cost from €4480 SRS €780

Trinidad and Tobago – the sputhernmost pair of islands in the Carribean – make up one of the world’s smallest states.The national language is English and the birds are typically South American.These islands provide an easy introduction to a bewildering new set of families that confront the first-time visitor to Latin America.We visit a wide range of habitats on these small islands, including elfin forest, montane and lowland rainforest, savannah grassland, mangrove, fresh and saltwater swamps, ocean beaches and coral reefs. Our stay on Trinidad will be based at the famous Asa Wright Nature Centre.This is a former coffee, cocoa and citrus plantation where it is a delight to stay.The view from veranda over the Arima Valley is breathtaking, and to be able to see seven species of hummingbird visiting the feeders outside the window is something never to be forgotten.The Centre is conveniently situated near the island’s Nothern Ranges – essentially a spur of the Andes – and is excellent for many montane bird species. Later, our stay on Tobago will enable us to see a few specialities that do not exist on Trinidad, and we shall be able to explore an excellent sea-bird island and some beautiful coral reefs. Bring your mask and snorkel if that takes your fancy! Without a doubt, these tours will offer not only excellent birding, but also good food and a warm welcome from these Carribean people.We have now run over 60 tours to the islands, and we are proud to announce that Ornitholidays has carried more birdwatchers to Trinidad and Tobago than any other birding company in the world. Our experience here is unrivalled and we believe we have the right formula to make sure that this is a holiday that you will never forget!

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Trinidad Piping Guan Trinidad Motmot White-bearded Manakin Bearded Bellbird White Hawk Oilbird Scarlet Ibis Red-billed Tropicbird Savannah Hawk White-tailed Sabrewing Scrub Greenlet Ruby- topaz Hummingbird White-fringed Antwren Little Tinamou Tufted Coquette

TOUR LEADER Richard Coomber

TOBAGO Scarborough

Speyside Roxborough

Blanchisseuse Port of Spain Caroni Swamp

Asa Wright Centre Arima

Nariva Swamp

TRINIDAD

OUTLINE ITINERARY Days 1-8 Days 9-12 Day 13

Trinidad Tobago Depart Tobago

200 Comfortable, in twin/double/single rooms, with private facilities at the Asa Wright Centre and Blue Waters Inn. by private coach and minibus. Maximum of 14 clients.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, domestic flights local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

R. Coomber

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

97


GHANA

In search of Picathartes

L. Lombardo

Friday 01 March – Thursday 14 March 2019

2019 Cost from €3600 SRS €400

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION Yellow-headed Picathartes Congo Serpent Eagle Black-headed Bee-eater Blue-headed Bee-eater Pel’s Fishing Owl Standard-winged Nightjar African Finfoot Spotted Creeper Blue Cuckoo-shrike Martial Eagle African Elephant Bushbock Waterbock Warthog

Ghana is an independent republic with a democratic government, lying on the Gulf of Guinea.The country has a great system of National Parks and they have just begun to realise the importance of eco-tourism.What makes the country special for us is the variety of habitats that it encompasses: there is the coastal wetland zone, the dry Sahelian savannah, the Upper Guinea Forest and some pristine broad-leaved Guinea Woodland. Our 14-day tour gives us the chance to explore these habitats, as well as visiting the famous Kakum canopy walkway.There will be exciting species here, such as Yellow-headed Picathartes, Congo Serpent Eagle, Black and Blueheaded Bee-eaters, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Standard-winged Nightjar, African Finfoot, Spotted Creeper and Blue Cuckoo-shrike – to name just a few! The birds of this country will not be the only focus of our attention, as the other fauna and flora are excellent.The sheer number of butterfly species to be found here is outstanding. Couple this with a colourful backdrop of Ghanaian life and a visit to some of the costal forts made infamous during the slave-trading period and you have the basis for a fascinating holiday.

Mole National Park

GHANA Kumasi

Kakum National Park

Koforidua Accra

TOUR LEADER Victor Owusu OUTLINE ITINERARY

340 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By coach and minivan.

Day 1 Days 2-6 Day 7 Days 8-11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14

Arrival in Accra Kakum National Park Kumasi Mole National Park Kumasi Koforidua Depart Accra

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 12 clients. W. D. Vries

98

For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


MAROCCO High Atlas and Sahara

D. Walsh

Tuesday 09 - Tuesday 18 April 2019

2019 Cost from €3000 SRS €200

Morocco is just a short flight from Europe but has birds, culture and scenery which seem a world away! Our spring tour focuses on the mountains and deserts of inland Morocco, avoiding the long drives to and from the coast. April is an excellent time to visit the country, as we will not only see a superb array of sought-after resident species, but also a range of migrants heading north from sub-Saharan Africa to Europe.The variety of scenery on this trip is truly aweinspiring! During our stay we will visit a wide range of habitats: high mountains, inland lakes, pine forests, spectacular gorges, stony desert and, perhaps most exciting of all, breath-taking sand dunes on the very edge of the Sahara.We hope to see some real specialities including African Crimson-winged Finch, Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Egyptian Nightjar, Spotted Sandgrouse, Desert Sparrow, African Desert Warbler, Creamcoloured Courser, Fulvous Babbler, Moussier’s Redstart and several wheatears and larks. Ornitholidays has now visited this country over 30 times, and the tour will be led by David Walsh who has been to Morocco on many occasions.

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION African Crimson-winged Finch Levaillant’s Green Woodpecker Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Pharaoh Eagle Owl Egyptian Nightjar Desert Sparrow African Desert Warbler Tristram’s Warbler Cream-coloured Courser Maghreb Wheatear MOROCCO Casablanca Moussier’s Redstart Marrakech Boumalne Spotted Sandgrouse du Dadès Stone Curlews Ouarzazate

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

150 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. By minibuses (and 4x4 vehicle on day 7)

Merzouga

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Days 4-5 Days 6-7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10

Arrive in Marrakech Marrakech Ouarzazate Boumalne du Dadès Merzouga Ouarzazate Marrakech Depart Marrakech

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 8 clients. S. Smith

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

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EGYPT

Migratory and desert Birds

M. Biasioli

Saturday 14 September - Saturday 21 September 2019

2019 Cost from €1500 SRS €200

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Goliath Heron Lappet-faced Vulture African Collared Dove Namaqua Dove Crab Plover Bridled Tern Lesser Crested Tern White-cheeked Tern

Hume’s Owl Barbary Falcon Black-winged Kite Clamorous Reed Warbler Lanner Falcon Nile valley Sunbird

Just imagine to spend an entire week immersed in the desert magic athmosphere and one of the richest seas of the world. Every day will be unique. We will visit Wadi El Gemal National Park, where we will have the chance to see the fascinating Hume’s Owl and Cream-coloured Coursers.We will navigate on Nile river watching White Kingfishers and Nile Valley Sunbirds. We will swim in Qulaan Islands Sea among turtles, clownfish and parrot fish. We will visit Bridled, Lesser Crested and White-cheeked Tern colonies. We will have the chance to see Lapped-faced Vultures going to Egypt Southernmost point, which is the only place in Western Paleartic where it is possible to observe these birds. We will see Crab Plovers feeding their chicks close to the bay turquoise waters. Just imagine all this, while the post-reproduction migration will be underway. Just imagine and be ready to be surprised by any rarities that may appear in front of you when you don’t expect them.This is Marsa Alam.

TOUR LEADER Max Biasioli & Igor Maiorano OUTLINE ITINERARY

130 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities.

Arrival at Marsa Alam Day 1 Day 2 - 7 Marsa Alam Departure from Marsa Alam Day 8

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, services of the leaders, VAT

By minivan and boat. Maximum of 12 clients. M. Biasioli

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For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


IRAN

Spring in the Persian Gulf

M. Biasioli

Sunday 3 March – Tuesday 12 March 2019

2019 Cost from €3950 SRS €670

Iran is a huge country, around five times the size of the UK, situated at the edge of the Western Palearctic region, and inside its boundaries exists a very large diversity of habitats, from high mountains to sea coasts , from immense wetlands to forests and semi-deserts.We have concentrated on areas which are able to offer the best set of Iran’s birdlife, which is of course highly varied and particularly appealing for the Western European birdwatcher. During our time in Iran we can look for some of the regions sought-after birds including See-see Partridge, Black Francolin, Indian Pond Heron, Steppe Eagle, Shikra, Great Stone Curlew, Crab Plover, Egyptian Nightjar, Indian Roller, Grey Hypocolius and Hume’s Wheatear, to name but a few. Iran is a perfectly safe country to visit, in spite of the perception we might have in Western Europe: people are extremely friendly and always willing to help out and have a chat. Infrastructure and logistics are almost invariably very good: paved roads are virtually everywhere, and hundreds of kilometres can be driven in a few hours.The domestic flight network is also very well developed. Accommodation quality is very good and all rooms have western-style en-suite facilities; food is also excellent, with the typical meal being kebab with rice and vegetables. Iran is likely to become the next new great birding destination in the Middle East: be one of the very first western birdwatchers to visit this fascinating country, where there is still a lot to be discovered in terms of wildlife and where you can still experience a feeling of real exploration!

HIGHLIGHTS

GENERAL DESCRIPTION See see partridge Black francolin Grey Francolin Indian pond heron Steppe eagle Shikra Crab plover Egyptian nightjar Indian roller GreeBee-eater Great stone curlew White-throated Kingfisher Pleske’s Ground Jay * Hume’s wheatear Iraq Babbler Turkestan Shrike Wild Ass * (*)Species visible in case of 2 days tour extencion

TOUR LEADER Marco Valentini and local guides.

160 twin/double and single rooms, with private facilities. by minibuses driven by local drivers; domestic scheduled flights Maximum of 11 clients. M. Biasioli

Website ornitholidays.com

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-3 Days 4 Day 5 Days 6-7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10

Arrival at Tehran Ahwaz Khoramabad Tehran Bandar Abbas Qeshm Tehran Depart from Tehran

INCLUDES

Domestic Flights, accommodation, meals, transport, entry fees, service of the leaders.

NOTES

Please note that alcohol is illegal in Iran. Women visitors are required to wear a head scarf, trousers and a lightweight, longsleeved coat or garment that reaches to the knees. Men are required to wear longsleeved shirts and not allowed to wear shorts.

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

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CHINA

Sichuan and the Tibetan plateau

T. Jun

Friday 3 May –Friday 17 May 2019

2019 Cost from €4450 SRS €490 GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Tibet

Lhasa

Beijing

CHINA Ruoergai Maerkang Wolong Erlangshan

Dujiangyan Chengdu

HIGHLIGHTS

Longcanggou

Emei Liocichla Temminck’s Tragopan Lady Amherst’s Pheasant Firethroat Wood Snipe Chinese Monal Tibetan Snowcock Grandala

TOUR LEADER David Walsh

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Himalayan Rubythroat Tibetan Lark Upland Buzzard White-browed Tit-warbler Black-necked Crane Red Panda Himalayan Marmot Plateau Pika

Not least because of its ancient cultural traditions, China has always had a particular fascination for Western travellers. Ornitholidays’ second tour to the country for over a decade heads to Sichuan, a province noted both for having some of the most spectacular scenery in the world and for its superb cuisine! Bordered to the west by Tibet and to the east by the Red Basin, the avifauna of Sichuan is a mixture of Palearctic and Oriental birds.We shall be visiting areas first introduced to a Western audience by the French missionary Père Jean Pierre David in the second half of the 19th Century. Starting south of Chengdu in a littleknown sub-tropical forest, we hope to find a range of parrotbills and warblers as well as laughingthrushes including Emei Liocichla.The stunning Temminck’s Tragopan, Lady Amherst’s Pheasant and Firethroat are three of the mouth- watering specialities at Erlangshan, before we head to Wolong, famous for its Giant Pandas. On the high mountain slopes towards Balangshan we will search for Wood Snipe, Chinese Monal,Tibetan Snowcock and Grandala, with White-browed Tit Warbler and Himalayan Rubythroat found just over the pass. Pheasants and rosefinches are amongst the targets in some wonderful coniferous forests before, along the rim of the Tibetan Plateau, we round off our holiday searching for species typical of the high level grasslands including Black-necked Crane,Tibetan Lark and Upland Buzzard. David Walsh visited Sichuan with Ornitholidays in 2006 and has travelled extensively throughout Asia in recent years.Tang Jun is one of the most sought- after ornithological guides in China and is ideally placed to lead us on what is widely recognised as one of the most exciting and fulfilling birding tours in this continent: do join us!

OUTLINE ITINERARY Day 1 Days 2-4 Days 5-6 Days 7-9 Days 10-11 Days 12-13 Day 14 Day 15

Arrive Chengdu Longcanggou Erlangshan Wolong Maerkang Ruoergai Dujiangyan Depart from Chengdu

Comfortable with private facilities By minivan.

INCLUDES

Meals, accommodation, local transport, entry fees, services of the leaders, VAT

Maximum of 10 clients. T. Jun

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For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


Our Team of Leaders MARK AYRE lives on the South Island of New Zealand and has been a keen birder for most of his life. He is originally from the UK, where he worked as a warden on various bird reserves. Mark is very active in the local Royal Forest and Bird Protection Societies and is particularly involved in the conservation management of the endangered Mohua (Yellowhead). He has led our tour to New Zealand for the past 13 years. SIMON BOYES was brought up and learnt his birds in the Cotswolds. He graduated in Classics (helpful for scientific names of birds!) from Oxford University in 1974, and took his Master’s Degree in Environmental Conservation in Edinburgh. Before leaving college he had already travelled round Kenyan and Tanzanian game parks, overland to India and round Scandinavia. In 1976 he worked for the RSPB as a summer warden on Fetlar and at Minsmere. In 1977 Ornitholidays invited him to co-lead a tour to the Seychelles, which turned out to be the first of many international tours. Since then he has become one of Ornitholidays’ principal leaders and has now led over 300 tours to all seven continents. There can be few bird tour leaders in the world that rival Simon’s knowledge of world birds. He is especially interested in bird-song and taxonomy; and his other interests include swimming, snorkelling, wildlife gardening, cricket and playing the mandolin. He lives with his family in the Welsh borders. RICHARD COOMBER has been associated with Ornitholidays for over 40 years as in 1968, as a young bank clerk on the Isles of Scilly, he showed Lawrence Holloway and one of our early groups to the islands an Upland Sandpiper that he had discovered on St. Mary’s. By 1974 he had given up banking to run a guesthouse on the Isle of Mull, where in 1976 he hosted our first tour to the island. On moving back to the south in the 1980s he joined the Ornitholidays team and has now led over 250 tours covering all seven continents, visiting over 50 countries watching birds and wildlife. He is a past winner of the Dusk to Dawn section of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and willingly shares his knowledge of digital photography with clients on tour. In addition to birds and photography he is interested in other aspects of wildlife, especially flora, butterflies and moths.When not on tour he gives illustrated talks to RSPB and other groups. He now lives near the New Forest in Hampshire where he is an active member of the Hampshire Moth Group. NIGEL JONES His interest in birds and natural history led to a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, then to employment as Assistant Warden on Fair Isle in the Shetlands and as an ornithologist working in the Camargue, France. Subsequent posts in teaching and research have finally culminated

in his position running Ornitholidays since 1990. He has travelled extensively to all seven continents in search of birds. GABOR ORBAN became interested in birding whilst a young boy and later widened his interests to botany, geology and zoology. During the 80’s and 90’s he led several tours firstly in Hungary, then in other Eastern European countries and Western Europe as well. He lived and worked for years in the US criss-crossing the continent several times. He became a licensed professional birdwatching and nature guide, and since 2006 he has spent six months every year in Latin America and six months in Eastern Europe. He has a passion for Africa as well and has led many of our Ethiopian tours. He leads birding, nature, cultural, butterfly and photographic tours worldwide. He is passionate about sharing his knowledge of nature and the culture of different countries and his hobbies include nature and wildlife photography, birding and travelling to hidden places. VICTOR OWUSU was born in Eziama in the Western Region of Ghana close to Ankasa Reserve surrounded by the upper guinea rainforest. His childhood was spent exploring the forests around his community and is the main reason for his exceptional ability to identify and find the most difficult species. He is a very experienced guide having led over 100 tours and his calm and professional style ensures a smooth and enjoyable trip for all the tour participants. Now in his mid-thirties Victor knows all the birds by song and call and can identify all the West African species. He has a love of nature and is also very knowledgeable on the culture and history of Ghana which he enjoys sharing with clients. BERT PALTHE is a long-standing registered guide and has many years of experience, both in tourism and wildlife conservation. After qualifying as a specialist in Nature Conservation, he went on to manage exclusive game reserves in the previous Eastern and Northern Transvaal. He is now a full time tour leader based in Cape Town. Bert has a passionate interest in wildlife, birds and nature conservation, and genuinely enjoys sharing his wealth of knowledge with others. He has led our Natural History tours to the Cape region for the past few years and he has proved very popular with our groups. PAUL ROGERS has had a life-long interest in natural history, which is underlined by his qualifications in Ecology and Animal Behaviour gained at London University. He is a principal leader for Ornitholidays and has led over 230 tours. He now has the privilege of living at Shorelands on Anglesey, the former home of wildlife artist Charles Tunnicliffe. He is widely travelled in Europe, North America and Africa and lectures on ornithology, ecology and all aspects of natural history.

David Walsh UK

Richard Coomber UK

Simon Boyes UK

Nigel Jones UK

Marco Valentini Italy

Nicola Scatassi Italy

Max Biasioli Italy

Igor Maiorano Italy

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

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NICOLA SCATASSI has been interested in birds, and nature in general, since he was young. He is an excellent birdwatcher, as well as a very good all-round naturalist. His ornithological interest is perfectly combined with his great passion for travelling through the Italian Peninsula and to all continents, including trips to Iran. Since 2000 he has been guiding nature and bird watching tours. He speaks fluent English and he has co-led our tours to Italy and Georgia for the past few years. IGOR MAIORANO is a nature lover since he was young. He has been travelling around Western Palearctic for years birdwatching in many countries from the Arctic to the deserts of Northern Africa. He is passionate about sharing his love for nature and birds to other people and he loved being a guide in SKUA Nature Ultima Frontiera and Spain reserves for one year. He speaks fluent English. KAZ SHINODA has been integrally involved in the logistics and planning of our Japan birdwatching tour. He was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1957. From age 11 to 14 he lived in South Africa with his family and often went on safari where he learned about the fascinating world of wildlife. He later became a birdwatcher, and has now been a keen birder for about 20 years. Kaz graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo, and then taught English to high school students for more than two decades before dedicating himself to guiding visiting birders in the Tokyo area and around Japan. As a birding guide with more than a decade of experience, he has led birders throughout the Japanese Archipelago. As a nationally licensed English-speaking Tour Guide, Kaz is knowledgeable not only about birding in Japan, but also about Japanese geography, history, and especially culture, important subjects that help enhance a birding trip to this culturally unique country. His guiding experience has taken him throughout the country from Hokkaido to Okinawa and many places in between including Tobishima, Karuizawa, Mount Fuji, Hachijo & Miyake-jima, Kyushu, and Amami. Kaz’s considerable organizational and logistical skills are key to the success of our summer tour in Japan, while his philosophy of giving clients an enjoyable and rewarding birding experience makes him an extremely popular guide. GÁBOR SIMAY has been interested in birds and nature conservation since his first years in primary school. During his studies at the University of Debrecen he deepened his knowledge on birds, carried out research on ground-nesting birds of the Hortobágy National Park, spending most of his time in the field. His favourite area is the Bihar Plain and the Hortobágy. In 2008 he started to work for the Hortobágy National Park as a full time warden in the Bihar Plain area. He is also a member of the Hungarian Rarity Committee. He frequently visits other parts of Hungary as well as many sites of the Carpathian Basin to study birds. As a keen birdwatcher and photographer, he has visited several different Western Palearctic countries (e.g.Turkey, Spain, Egypt, Jordan), as well as Namibia, Mexico, Vietnam, Cambodia,Thailand, Malaysia and India. He speaks perfect English and some German. DAVID WALSH has recently retired from teaching and lives in Suffolk. He has been a keen birdwatcher for most of his life. Over the last few years he has led many tours to Europe, Africa and North America. His other interests include butterflies and dragonflies. David has proved very popular with Ornitholidays’ clients on the tours he recently led to Brazil, Morocco, Hungary, Corsica, Camargue and the Canary Islands. He has travelled widely in Asia and South America and the other countries he has visited include China,Tibet,Vietnam,Thailand, Indonesia, Peru and Venezuela.

DEEPAL WARAKAGODA is one of Sri Lanka’s top birdwatching tour guides and the author of the new Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. He will be happy to show us virtually all of the country’s endemic birds on our tour. He has been the leader on our last 11 holidays to Sri Lanka. STEVE WEST first started birding on his walks to and from school when he was a seven year old schoolboy in Hampshire, England. He had his first taste of foreign birding in Spain in 1983 with the UEA bird club while studying for his degree in Ecology at the University of East Anglia. Further foreign trips led him around different parts of Europe before he settled in Spain in 1988. Steve has combined teaching, translating and conducting bird surveys with leading bird tours around Spain since 1996. Fluent in both Spanish and Catalan, he is also the author of two books,Where the birds are in northeast Spain and Flying over the Pyrenees, standing on the he is also the author of two books,“Where the birds are in northeast Spain” and “Flying over the Pyrenees, standing on the plains”. MARCO VALENTINI Marco Valentini, Italian born, is a nature photographer based in Rome. He has been able in a few years of digital photography to glean more than 1200 species of birds, and several mammals, visiting nearly 100 countries. He has been involved in conservation matters since many years, as well as in environmental education. He is s fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese. LUCA BOSCAIN is one of SKUA Nature’s guides who has worked at Ultima Frontiera in the Danube Delta in Romania, as well as on some of the Spanish photographic estates. He is fluent in a number of languages, including English, and is a great birder with a good sense of humour. ENRIQUE COUVÉ is an Industrial Design Engineer by profession, but a naturalist at heart and has been birdwatching for more than 40 years. He is extremely knowledgeable about Chilean birds, having travelled from the High Andes in northern Chile to the frozen Antarctic seas. He is extremely skilled in finding and identifying birds in the field. Enrique is also the main author of the forthcoming book entitled Field Guide to the Birds of Chile and also author of Birds of Patagonia,Tierra del Fuego and Antarctic Peninsula. He is an excellent nature photographer, having one of the most complete photographic collections of Chile’s birds and other wildlife. He is a partner and Director of Fantastico Sur and lives in Punta Arenas with his wife Cecilia and their four children. MASSIMILIANO BIASIOLI is SKUA Nature Group Managing Director. He’s been interested in nature since he was young and he has delved deeper into ornithology, herpetology, entomology, therology and botany. He has developed various conservation and popularization projects qorking with public and private companies and organizations. He is also the author of several books about conservation and ornithology. For years he’s been travelling around Western Palearctic and beyond and he is an expert guide able to get clients involved into the research and discovery of every gift nature can offer. FRANK McCLINTOCK was born in Africa and educated in England. He emigrated to Portugal over 20 years ago and bought some scrubland and a few ruins overlooking a vast, man-made lake. He has turned this property into Paradise in Portugal, a guest lodge, which, in addition to a view to die for, offers excellent eco-friendly accommodation. He has always had a passion for nature and has been a professional bird guide for over 10 years.

M. Valentini

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About Us and our Partners New Ornitholidays goes pink​! Sara and Paola will be in charge for logistics and in contact with local agencies around the world, guides and companies we deal with. A tight-knit team that will be able to count on SKUA Nature Group experience. Max, Managing Director of this group, supported by Igor and Nicola, will lead this new project with passion and its huge experience in nature tourism, developing fresh itineraries and starting new international partnerships for the purpose of offering you the most exclusive tours. SARA GENOVESE Since passion for natural world and wildlife grew in me, I’ve been wishing to share my interest in animals and wild destinations. I graduated in Natural Science from Pavia University and then I got my phd in Sustainable and Responsible Tourism (A phd in Nature Tourism didn’t exist in Italy). Since 2008, year of the constitution of SKUA Nature Group, I have been in charge for tours logistics, marketing and promotion management and clients and BtoB relations. I have lived abroad for many years and I speak English, Spanish and, of course, Italian. I will co-manage Ornitholidays and I must admit I’m really excited to start this new and thrilling experience! I look forward to speaking with you to give to you my best advices and informations about our worldwide and exclusive tours. PAOLA MARIA TRASPEDINI My life is guided by two great passions: travels and nature (botany, in particular). I studied foreign languages at Milan University and I got the RHS Level 2 from the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh School. Before joining SKUA Nature team, I worked in the commercial department of some big companies for 20 years and I travelled around the world. I speak English, French, Spanish and Russian. The tattoo on my right wrist represents the Americas: here are the two places I loved most during my trips:The Grand Canyon and Amazonia.

Sara Genovese

Paola Traspedini

MASSIMILIANO BIASIOLI is SKUA Nature Group Managing Director. He’s been interested in nature since he was young and he has delved deeper into ornithology, herpetology, entomology, therology and botany. He has developed various conservation and popularization projects qorking with public and private companies and organizations. He is also the author of several books about conservation and ornithology. For years he’s been travelling around Western Palearctic and beyond and he is an expert guide able to get clients involved into the research and discovery of every gift nature can offer. IGOR MAIORANO is a nature lover since he was young. He has been travelling around Western Palearctic for years birdwatching in many countries from the Arctic to the deserts of Northern Africa. He is passionate about sharing his love for nature and birds to other people and he loved being a guide in SKUA Nature Ultima Frontiera and Spain reserves for one year. He speaks fluent English and Spanish.

Max Biasioli

NICOLA SCATASSI has been interested in birds, and nature in general, since he was young. He is an excellent birdwatcher, as well as a very good all-round naturalist. His ornithological interest is perfectly combined with his great passion for travelling through the Italian Peninsula and to all continents, including trips to Iran. Since 2000 he has been guiding nature and bird watching tours. He speaks fluent English and he has co-led our tours to Italy and Georgia for the past few years.

Nicola Scatassi

I Go Travel is a family-run tour operator specialized in planning and fulfilling travel experiences recalling the nature of authenticity, art of living and tradition. In order to do so I Go Travel has chosen Italy as its base, a land of undeniable worth and priceless beauty.The teamwork of excellent collaborators who put their experience and knowledge at your disposal is the frame of a unique context of which we will avail, thus creating a “haute de gamme” experience able to give emotions, seduce, and give back to you the sense of “small things”. I Go Travel is associated with FIAVET (Italian Federation of Associations of Travel and Tourism Company), the trade association par excellence of Travel Agencies and more generally of tourism businesses. It was founded in February 1961 and it is by far the most wellestablished representative of Italian Travel Agents.

Igor Maiorano

M. Valentini

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

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CONDITIONS OF BOOKING

Conditions of Booking 1. INTRODUCTION: CONCEPT OF TOURISTS AND TOURIST SERVICE I GO TRAVEL proposes the sale at an inclusive price of the following tourist services: a. transport b. accommodation c. tourist services not ancillary to transport or accommodation It’s a tourist and/or client to the effects of these general conditions, the party requesting to I GO TRAVEL availability of the tourist services proposed, each of the parties listed by the applicant as the beneficiary of the tourism services, each of the beneficiary parties of the services offered by I GO TRAVEL. 2. AUTHORISATIONS The technical organization is I GO TRAVEL’s which carries on business as a result of SCIA January 23, 2013. I GO TRAVEL signed with Generali S.p.a. policy no. 332128010 on January 14, 2013, Insurance for General Liability. 3. INFORMATION REQUIRED TO THE TOURIST: TECHNICAL SHEET I GO TRAVEL prepares a technical sheet in the programme out of print, even on electronic support or on-line. The elements required to be included in the technical catalogue or off-catalogue programme are: a. extremes of S.C.I.A.; b. Civil Liability insurance policy details c. period of validity of the catalogue or programme out of print, or any travel; d. terms and conditions for the replacement of the traveller; e. parameters and criteria for adjusting the cost of the trip; I GO TRAVEL will also be able to enter any further conditions of the tourist services offered into the technical sheet. Following the conclusion of the contract and, in any case, before the departure, I GO TRAVEL inform passengers about the identity of the actual carrier/s. 4.a. RESERVATIONS AND CONCLUSION OF THE CONTRACT BY WEBSITE The request for availability of the tourist service shall be edited on ​​ the appropriate information form on this website www.igotravelnetwork.com, completed in its entirety. After receiving this request of information and availability, I GO TRAVEL send a contract proposal with the characteristics of the tourist service offered and its price to the email address provided by the customer in the form. The client, accessing the private area of the website www.igotravelnetwork.com with the credentials received in the proposal referred to in paragraphs above, will confirm the tour package by clicking on ACCEPT and will make the payment of the price in the manner set out in Article. 5. The contract shall be considered concluded when I GO TRAVEL will have an understanding of the accepted proposal. It being understood that the successful conclusion of the contract, in accordance with the preceding paragraph, I GO TRAVEL, before the departure, it will send to the customer, by email, the document containing details of the tourist service purchased and the information not provided previously and not included in the catalogue, in the contractual documents, brochures or, in any case, on the website www.igotravelnetwork.com. 4.b. RESERVATIONS AND CONCLUSION OF THE CONTRACT BY E-MAIL The request for availability of the tourist service must be performed either by filling in the information request form, available on the website www.igotravelnetwork.com, completed in all its parts, or by submitting a free request by e-mail. Receiving that request for information and availability, I GO TRAVEL will send, to the email address of the customer, the following documentation: - Contract proposal with characteristics of the tourist service offered and its price; - General terms and conditions of I GO TRAVEL; - Privacy form; - Acceptance form - The offer submitted by i go travel will be considered valid for the duration of 72 h. - The acceptance of the proposal by the customer, is made in accordance with the following procedures : - acknowledgement of contract proposal, general terms and conditions, privacy form and acceptance form to be sent via email by i go travel; - after viewing the documents the client will fill in and sign the special acceptance form in its entirety; - after filling out and signing the acceptance form, the customer will trinsmit the same by email to the e-mail address info@igotravelnetwork.com - the contract is considered concluded when i go travel will receive the acceptance form, completed and signed, and the price is paid by bank transfer, with the rules of art. 5. After the successful conclusion of the contract in accordance with the preceding paragraph, I GO TRAVEL, before the departure, it will send electronically to the customer the documents containing the details of the purchased tourist service and the information not previously provided and not in the catalogue, in contractual documents, brochures or, in any case, on the website www.igotravelnetwork.com. 5. PAYMENT AND DEPOSIT The customer, when accepting the tourist service pursuant to in art. 4, should make the full payment in the manner specified by I GO TRAVEL on its website. The customer can make the payment: - Directly on the website, by electronic basket, following the instructions provided by I GO TRAVEL (in the case that the reservation has taken place entirely on the site); - By bank transfer in favour of I GO TRAVEL, to be made not later than 72 hours since the quotation is accepted; The failure of the payment at the moment of the confirmation of the proposal constitutes an express termination clause of the contract.

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For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


6. PRICE The cost of the tourist service is indicated in the proposal. The price could be changed by I GO TRAVEL up to 20 days before the date of the departure and only as a result of changes in: - Transportation costs, including the cost of fuel; - Duties and taxes on certain types of tourist services, such as dues, landing taxes, embarkation or disembarkation fees at ports and airports; - Exchange rates applied to those services. For the changes the organizer refers to the cost of the exchange rate and costs mentioned above in effect on the date of publication of the programme, as reported in the technical file of the catalogue or on the date shown in the updates. The increasing revision cannot be more than 10% of its original amount. The price of the proposal is expressed in Euro. Unless otherwise stated, the price does not include: vaccination costs, insurance, drinks (water, wine, coffee, etc.) not included in the travel proposal, excursions out of programme, tips and personal expenses. 7. MODIFICATION OR CANCELLATION OF TOURIST SERVICE PRIOR TO DEPARTURE Before the departure I GO TRAVEL, if there is a need to change significantly one or more elements of the contract, gives immediate notice in electronic writing to the tourist (indicating the type of change and the changing price that follows) for the purposes of acceptance. In case the tourist doesn’t accept the proposed amendment referring to the preceding paragraph, he can alternately require the return of the sum already paid or the enjoyment of the offer of a replacing tourist service pursuant to art. 8. Tourists can employ the above rights also when cancellation depends on causes of force majeure and fortuitous events, related to the tourist service purchased. For cancellations due to different causes from force majeure, fortuitous events, as well as for those different from the non-acceptance by the tourist of the tourist service offered alternatively, I GO TRAVEL returns to the tourist the double sum of the deposit equal to 25% of the price. It should not be considered as significant changes, referring to the last chapter, those relating to a different hotel from that one indicated in the tour proposal, provided that the new facility is of the same level and is situated in the same geographical and cultural area as originally proposed. In the last case I GO TRAVEL will communicate to the tourist references and details of the different hotel facilities, while the tourists will have no rights of withdrawal.

CONDITIONS OF BOOKING

The parties expressly agree that the sum of 25% of the price paid by the visitor shall be deemed as a security deposit pursuant to art. 1385 of the Civil Code Any charges for the credit of the amounts provided have to be paid by the consumer. The documentation required for the trip will be sent to the customer after the payment of the price.

8. WITHDRAWAL OF TOURIST AND PENALITY The tourist can withdraw from the contract without penalty, in the absolute hypotheses below: a) more than 10% of increase of the price referred to art. 6; b) significant modification of one or more elements of the contract considered fundamental to the enjoyment of the whole tourist service and proposed by the organizer after the conclusion of the contract but prior to departure, and not accepted by tourists. In the cases mentioned above the tourist has alternately right: - To make use of an alternative tourist service, with no extra cost or with refund of the price if the second tourist service has a lower value than the first; - To the return of the price already paid. The refund must be made within seven working days since the request for reimbursement is received, the tourist must communicate his decision (to accept the change, or withdraw) no later than two working days since he received the communication of increase or change. In the absence of express notice within the time limit, the proposal made by the organizer is considered accepted. In the case in which the tourist withdraws from the contract before the departure, out of the cases listed at paragraphs a) and b) of this article, I GO TRAVEL retains the following penalties: - In case of cancellation after the booking, the organizer will keep the amount equal to 25% of the price referred to Article. 6, paid pursuant to art. 5 and can hold an additional sum equal to 5% of the price paid, as penalty for the reimbursement of the cost of individual practice management, cost of insurance coverage required at the time of conclusion of the contract or other services already given, except, in each case, the claim of the major damage pursuant to Art. 1382, paragraph 1, of Civil Code; - In case of withdrawal from 119 days to 90 days before the departure, the organizer will keep an amount equal to 50% of the price paid; - In case of withdrawal from 89 days to 60 days before the departure, the organizer will keep an amount equal to 75% of the price paid; - In case of withdrawal from 59 days to day of departure an amount equal to 100% of the price paid will be retained to the tourist. The withdrawal terms and penalties mentioned above are valid for land services. The flight tickets are always 100% non-refundable. The conditions expressed above (point n.8) are considered valid unless otherwise specified by the organizer. It is, however, expressly excluded - pursuant to art. 32, paragraph 2, Code of tourism - the right of withdrawal of the customer as provided for in Art. 64 and ss. Legislative Decree no. 206/2005. 9. CHANGES AFTER DEPARTURE If after the departure there is inability to provide an essential part of the services included in the contract, for any reason, except for a cause of the tourist, I GO TRAVEL will provide alternative solutions without additional cost to the contractor and, if the services provided are of a lower value than those provided, will refund the difference. If there are no alternative solutions, or the solution proposed by the organizer is refused by the tourist for proven and justified reasons, I GO TRAVEL provides, at no additional cost, a vehicle equivalent to the original one for the return to the starting point or other place as may be agreed upon, depending on the availability of resources and means, and refund the difference between the cost of benefits provided and the services performed up to the time of early return. 10. ASSIGNMENTS OF CONTRACT The tourist who renounces can assign the contract to another person provided that: a) the organizer is informed about it in writing at least 10 working days before the date set for the departure, receiving communication of the reasons for the change and the substitute’s personal details; b) the substitute satisfies all the conditions for the use of the service and in particular the requirements for passports, visas, health certificates;

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

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CONDITIONS OF BOOKING

c) the same services or other substitute services can be provided as a result of the substitution; d) the substitute reimburses the organizer for all additional expenses due to the substitution process which will be quantified before the sale. The tourist and the substitute shall be liable for the payment of the balance due and the amounts referred to subparagraph d) of this Article. Any additional terms and conditions of substitutions are indicated in the technical file. 11. TOURISTS AND CONSUMERS’ OBLIGATIONS During the negotiations and before concluding the contract, all general information in writing of the date of publication of the catalogue, relating to health requirements and necessary documentation to travel abroad will be provided to the Italian and foreign citizens. Foreigners have to get the relevant information through their diplomatic missions and/or their official government information channels. In any case, the tourists will provide, before the departure, to verify the updates with the competent authorities (for Italian citizens, the local police headquarters or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the site www.viaggiaresicuri.it or the Central Office Telephone number 06.491115 ) adapting to them before the trip. In absence of such verification, the intermediary or the organizer have no responsibility if one or more customers are not able to depart. Consumers must inform I GO TRAVEL about their citizenship and, at the time of departure, will definitely make sure to own their vaccination certificates, individual passport and every other document valid for all countries and places visited, as well as stay visas, transit and health certificates that may be required. In addition, in order to assess the health and security of the countries of destination and, therefore, the objective usability of the services purchased or to be purchased, the tourist will retrieve (using the information sources listed in paragraph 2) the official general information at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which expressly suggests if the destinations are or aren’t subject to formal discourage. Consumers will also have to follow the rules of prudence and diligence and to those specifications in force in the countries of destination, all the information provided to them by I GO TRAVEL and regulations, administrative or legislative instructions relating to the service tourism. Consumers will be liable for all damages that I GO TRAVEL, the organizer and/or the intermediary also may suffer because of the non-compliance with the obligations listed above, including the costs necessary for their return. The tourist is required to furnish to I GO TRAVEL all documents, information and evidence in its possession relevant to the exercise of the right of subrogation to third parties responsible for the damage and is responsible to I GO TRAVEL of injury caused to the right of subrogation. The tourist also communicate in writing to I GO TRAVEL, at the time of the inquiry and in any event prior to conclusion of the contract, any special personal requests that may be subject to specific agreements on travel arrangements, provided that the implementation is possible. The tourist is always required to notify I GO TRAVEL of any needs or special conditions (such as, but not limited to, pregnancy, food allergies, disabilities) and to explicitly specify the request for personalized services. 12. HOTEL CLASSIFICATION The official classification of hotels is provided in the catalogue or other informative material only on the basis of explicit and formal indications by the competent authorities of the country where the service is provided and in accordance with national and Community law. 13. ASSISTANCE OBLIGATION I GO TRAVEL must provide the assistance to the tourist imposed by the criterion of professional diligence only in respect of obligations required by law or contract. I GO TRAVEL is exempt from all responsabilities when non-compliance of the contract is chargeable to the tourist or third parties due to unforeseen or unavoidable facts, or was caused by a fortuitous event or force majeure. 14. CLAIMS AND COMPLAINTS Any failure in the contract must, on pain of forfeiture, to be contested by the tourists to I GO TRAVEL while travelling through timely submission of written complaint, even for the purposes of art. 1227 cc, so I GO TRAVEL, its local representative or the guide may promptly remedy the situation. Otherwise the breach of the contract cannot be contested. The tourist must, under penalty of forfeiture, complaint by sending a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt, or other means to ensure proof of receipt to I GO TRAVEL, not later than ten working days after returning to the location of departure. i go travel is not responsible for any inconvenience caused by: - lost, stolen flight tickets; - not presentation or presentation of expired documents (identity card, visa, passport, certificate of vaccination), not valid documents or not in accordance with the applicable laws at the time of arrival to customs or during the check-in. - unexpected accident caused by a third party: wars, political upheavals, strikes. technical problems outside i go travel, traffic on the streets or in the air space, hijacking, adverse weather conditions, delay, damage of the engine of the means of transport, theft of luggage or personal objects or something else. no refund of any kind will be made as a result of delays and itinerary changes and accidents of the above mentioned - for example change in length of the planned route or connection. any additional expenses (fees, hotel, parking) will be charged to the customer. 15. INSURANCE COSTS OF CANCELLATION AND VARIOUS RISKS Unless otherwise specified, no insurance is included in the prices that we offer. I GO TRAVEL advices to tourists signing with insurance companies and/or Third Parties special insurance policies for all risks, but not limited to, expenses and damages arising from the cancellation of tourist service, from injury, from diseases, loss and other events relating to the luggage. Tourists can also stipulate insurance contracts and/or assistance covering the cost of repatriation in case of accident, illness, incidentals and/or force majeure with insurance companies and/or Third Party. The tourist will employ the rights arising from such contracts exclusively against Insurance Companies and Third Parties stipulating the conditions and in the manner provided by such policies. 16) GUARANTEES TO THE TOURIST I GO TRAVEL informs that organized tourism contracts are supported by appropriate guarantees provided by the Organizer and the Travel Agent which, for both international and national travels, guarantee the refund of the price paid for the purchase of the tourist package and the immediate return of the tourist in case insolvency or bankruptcy of the intermediary or organizer in accordance with II or III comma of art.. 50 Decreto Legislativo 23 May 2011 n. 79: Consorzio FOGAR - Filo Diretto Assicurazioni - Policy N°

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For further information please call from UK: 020 81449814 from other Countries: +39 0141 918403


17. OPERATIONAL CHANGES Considering the catalogs containing information on how to use the services are published very far ahead of the departure, it should be noted that the timetables and flight routes indicated in the proposal of the services may be subject to variations as they are in any case subject to a subsequent validation. Therefore, the tourist / traveler must request confirmation of the services at his / her agency prior to departure. The Organizer shall inform the passengers about the identity of the actual carrier(s) within the timeframe and in accordance with the provisions of Art. 11 of Reg.EC 2111/2005. (referred to in Article 3). ADDENDUM - GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SINGLE TOURIST SERVICE SALES CONTRACT a) Legal provisions Contracts that have the sole purpose of providing a single transportation service, accommodation only service, or any other separate tourist service, as they cannot be considered as a negotiating arrangement of a travel organization or a tourist package, are regulated by the following provisions of the CCV : Art. 1, n. 3 and n. 6; articles from 17 to 23; articles 24 to 31 (limited to parts of these provisions that do not refer to the organization contract) and other arrangements specifically related to the sale of the single service contracted. A vendor who undertakes to provide to a third party a separate tourist service, which may be done in electronic form, is obliged to issue to the tourist all documentation pertaining to the service, which shall include the sum paid for the service, shall in no way be considered as travel organizer.

CONDITIONS OF BOOKING

5002002211L

b) Contract conditions The following clauses of the general terms and conditions of the sale of the above-mentioned tourist packages are also applicable to these contracts: art. 4, paragraphs 1 and 2; art. 10; art. 15. The application of these clauses does not absolutely determine the configuration of the relevant services as the subject of a tourist package. The terminology of the aforementioned clauses relating to the tourist package contract (organizer, travel etc.) should therefore be understood with reference to the corresponding figures in the sales contract of individual tourist services (vendor, stay, etc.). Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and the subsequent amendments Personal data processing, which is required for the conclusion and execution of the contract, is carried out in full compliance with the European Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and subsequent amendments in paper and digital form. The customer may at any time exercise the rights of that particular European Directive by contacting the data controller: I Go Travel Snc., con sede in Tronzano Vercellese, Via Monte Grappa 14, Fiscal Code and VAT number 02529930022, email: info@igotravelnetwork.com Obligatory notification pursuant to Article 17 of the Italian Law No. 38/2006. “Italian law punishes with imprisonment crimes involving prostitution and child pornography, even if committed abroad.” Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. I GO TRAVEL snc Headquarter: via Monte Grappa n. 14 comune di Tronzano Vercellese cap 13049 Itlia: (+39) 0161 1681122 – World (+39) 0161 1681123 www.igotravelnetwork.com; e.mail: info@igotravelnetwork.com VAT N°: 02529930022 C.C.I.A.A. of Vercelli N. 02529930022

Website ornitholidays.com

E-mail info@ornitholidays.com

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Enjoy a New kind of experience at ULTIMA FRONTIERA

Merce R. Romero

Merce R. Romero

In the Wildest part of Danube Delta, Romania, the most Equipped place in Europe for Wildlife Photography and Nature Tourism welcomes you!

2 Weeks Pack

1 Month Pack

Friday 6 - Saturday 21 April 2018 Friday 10 - Saturday 25 August 2018

Friday 3 August - Saturday 1 September 2018 Friday 31 August - Saturday 29 September 2018

â‚Ź 3800

All inclusive JOURNEYS from Bucharest to Bucharest - weekly excursions and electric vehicles included.

Contact Us at info@skuanature.com

M. Biasioli

â‚Ź 2700

M. Biasioli

Ultima Frontiera is a Project developed by SKUA Nature Group More info on skuanature.com - innatenetwork.com

Merce R. Romero

Merce R. Romero

12 People max each week 30 Photographic Hides 2400 Acres of Private Property 50.000 Acres of Wilderness to Explore


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” SKUA Nature Group s.n.c.

Via Valle N° 4 - 15020 Castelletto Merli (AL), Italy tel/fax +39-0141/918403 www.skuanature.com info@skuanature.com

Winston Churchill

EDITOR Massimiliano Biasioli DEPARTMENT EDITORS Massimiliano Biasioli, Sara Genovese, Nicola Scatassi, Igor Maiorano TEXTS Massimiliano Biasioli, Sara Genovese, Nicola Scatassi, Sergio Stignani, Antonella Negrini, Luca Boscain, Antonio Luca Conte, Alessandro Polinori, Marco De Silvi, Igor Maiorano, Ilario Zuccolo, Josè Luis Rodriguez, Jacopo Angelini, Danilo Selvaggi, Dario Zocco, Eduardo Zorrilla, Carlos Sanchez, Fundacion Naturaleza Y Hombre, Nigel Jones. TRANSLATIONS & TECHNICAL REVIEWERS Sara Genovese, Nicola Scatassi GRAPHIC DESIGN SKUA Nature Group ILLUSTRATIONS Daniel Steenhaut PHOTO CREDITS Fabrizio Filippini, Fondaciòn Naturaleza Y Hombre, Nigel Jones, Massimiliano Biasioli, Sergio Stignani, Daniele Giuliani, M. Mendi, Tiziana D’Arcangelo, Luca Boscain, Ilario Zuccolo, Carlo Galliani, Patrik Dieudonne, Marco Andreini, Martin Steenhaut, Marco Affini, Mario Vigo, Marco Valentini, Marino Premoli, Daniel Petrescu, Basilio Gil, Staffan Widdstrand, Andrea Battisti, Emanuele Natali, Carlo Romano, Alberto Carati, Jon Egert, Maurizio Ferrari, Iosto Doneddu, Roberto Sindaco, Sara Genovese, A. Verdugo, E. Micò, T. Németh, Paco Jaez, L. Quaresma, Guido Bissattini, Carlo Alberto Conti, Maurizio Ravasini, Matteo Gagliardone, Cristiano Pedriali, Renzo Dionigi, Alberto Luca Conte, Ralph Christian Rosenbauer, Massimo Piacentino, Pablo Serrano, Antonio De Stefano, Lorenzo Zuntini, Franco Baccelli, Dayana Nicolae, Marco De Silvi, Amedeo Altomare, Andrea Benedetti, Silvia Cerisola, Jacopo Angelini, Josè Luis Rodriguez, Nicola Scatassi, Giorgi Rajebashvili, M. Libra, Ornitholidays.

Merce M. Romero


Starting from 2018 Ornitholidays is a new Project developed by SKUA Nature Group

skuanature.com skuanature.es innatenetwork.com ornitholidays.com General Headquarters

Cascina Picus - Via Valle 4 - 15020 - Castelletto Merli (AL) Piedmont - North West of Italy - Italy Tel/Fax: from UK 020 81449814 other Countries +39 0141918403 info@skuanature.com - info@ornitholidays.com

Operational Partner

Cover Photo: Steller’s Sea Eagle in Hokkaido - Lorenzo Ercoli

ORNITHOLIDAYS 2018/2019 BROCHURE  

From may 2018 SKUA will run the famous Ornitholidays tour operator. Lots of worldwide birding/wildwatching tours and photographic expedition...

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