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WILDLIFE TRAVEL Wildlife and culture holidays

HOLIDAYS 2012

All our profits are donated to The Wildlife Trusts

www.wildlife-travel.co.uk


www.wildlife-travel.co.uk

HOLIDAYS 2012 Welcome to Wildlife Travel 2012 Has another year really gone by so fast? 2011 has been a good one for Wildlife Travel. OK, so the weather wasn’t as kind as it could’ve been: our visit to Mull coincided with 110 mph winds and the worst May weather in a generation, the group in the Dolomites ’enjoyed’ some particularly heavy rain, while in Cyprus our bus was snowed in one morning!! But the wildlife along the way has more than made up for all that. Over the past year, Wildlife Travellers have enjoyed kick boxing kiwis on a beach in New Zealand, frolicking families of otters in Mull, spectacular spring orchids in Cyprus and ‘best ever’ views of swallowtail butterflies in the Norfolk Broads. One traveller enjoyed ‘the bird watching experience of a lifetime’… which can’t be bad! So how about 2012? We’ve a busy year ahead, starting with a welcome return to Galapagos in January. New itineraries for 2012 include the seabirds and archaeology of Shetland, the White Carpathians of Slovakia, the beautiful Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, an amazing safari to Botswana and a long-overdue return to Crete. As ever, for the most up to date information, please do check our website, where you will find news of our holidays as well as photos and reports from our past trips to help whet your appetite, or why not follow the goings on of our leaders on our blog? We look forward to travelling with you again! Philip, Chris and all at Wildlife Travel

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2012 AT A GLANCE 23 Jan-6 Feb

Galapagos - cruising in Darwin’s footsteps

10-17 March 20-29 March 22-29 March 17-24 April 24 April-1 May

Morocco - Wild flowers and natural history Cyprus - Orchids and historical sites South Portugal - Spring flowers and easy birding Western Crete - Spring flowers and historical sites Catalonia, Spain - Spring migration and natural history

16-25 May 16-23 May 24-30 May 27 May-3 June

Danube Delta - Spring birds and natural history Isles of Scilly - Spring flowers and natural history Isle of Mull - Natural history of the Inner Hebrides Aragon - Natural history of the Spanish Pyrenees

6-15 June 6-13 June 7-13 June 11-20 June 18-27 June 18-29 June June/July 24 June-1 July

White Carpathians & Lake Neusiedl - wildlife by train Vercors - Wild flowers of the French pre-Alps (by train) Burren, Ireland - Wild flowers and historical sites Iceland - Midsummer natural history Bulgaria - Mountain wildlife: butterflies and botany Botswana - Okavango, Chobe and Victoria Falls Shetland - Natural history and historical sites Dorset - Natural history of the Isle of Purbeck

4-9 July 3-13 July

Wiltshire - Natural history and historical sites Spitsbergen - Natural history of the high Arctic

4-11 Sept 8-15 Sept 10-17 Oct Oct-Nov 12-19 Nov

Scilly - Autumn migration and natural history Bulgaria - Autumn migration along the Via Pontica Baltic Coast - Autumn migration in N E Germany Ecuador - Orchids and wild flowers of the Andes Norfolk - Winter wildfowl and natural history

4-21 Jan 2013 1-16 Feb 2013 Dec ‘13/Jan ‘14

Tasmania - Marsupials and wilderness wildlife Costa Rica - Tropical birding and natural history New Zealand - birds, wild flowers and natural history

Depending on demand, we hope to organise additional trips through the year. For up to date information please contact us or look at our website.

www.wildlife-travel.co.uk wildlifetravelling.blogspot.com

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www.wildlife-travel.co.uk

WILDLIFE TRAVEL More than just a wildlife holiday! While we are obviously focussing on the wildlife and its conservation, there’s so much more to the places we visit. Be it cultural sites, local food or meeting the locals, we hope you will join us to discover a new world! We are extremely proud of our holidays and believe that a Wildlife Travel holiday is different to any other. However, there are many travel companies out there organising holidays to wonderful parts of the world. So why, you may ask, should you travel with us? What makes Wildlife Travel different? Our leaders Our expert and experienced leaders ensure that you will have a fantastic holiday at all times. Many of our leaders are drawn from the staff, past and present, of The Wildlife Trusts and all have a wealth of natural history experience and nature conservation knowledge. Of course, they don’t just provide expertise; our leaders also ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable and relaxing time. After all, it is supposed to be a holiday! Nature conservation For us, our conservation credentials aren’t just a case of ‘green wash’, they are central to the way we run our business. Wildlife Travel was set up in 1988 with the express aim of supporting nature conservation. All the profits we distribute are donated to The Wildlife Trusts to support their work here in the UK: there are no shareholders taking their cut. We also make sure that, wherever possible, we work directly with nature conservation organisations to support their activities. For example, our 2012 trips will be supporting the work of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds, the Great Bustard Group and local Wildlife Trusts in Wiltshire, Norfolk and Dorset.

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Eco-tourism Eco-tourism is defined as ‘responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people’. As the detrimental effects of international air travel are increasingly accepted, so we need to ensure even more that all our holidays provide positive gains to the local environments and communities that we visit.


We work with local nature conservation organisations in designing our itineraries, employ local guides who are directly involved in nature conservation to support them in their work and visit national parks and reserves where our entry fees will contribute to their protection. Wherever possible, our preference will always be to stay in locallyowned, environmentally sensitive accommodation, to eat locally sourced food in locally-owned restaurants and to use local transport to get ourselves around. The carbon issue We were one of the first wildlife holiday companies to off-set all our flights as a matter of course. However, we are keen to ensure that we do more than just off-set any damage that our flights cause. We look at ways of making sure that we also bring positive gains to wildlife. Therefore we now mitigate the effects of our flights through the work of the Jocotoco Foundation in Ecuador. Jocotoco are involved in a cloudforest conservation and reforestation project in the Andes near Quito, at a site which those who join our 2012 holiday to Ecuador will have the chance to visit, to see just where our money goes! Flight-free options Wherever possible, we are keen to offer holidays that don’t involve flying. As well as the environmental problems associated with air travel, we are also aware that many people just prefer to travel overland! Therefore, we now offer the option of rail travel for many of our European holidays: in 2012 we will be travelling to France, Germany, Austria, Ireland and Catalunya, all without needing to go anywhere near Heathrow. In many cases, train travel can be an extremely pleasant extension to the holiday, with potential for stop-overs along the way. The Wildlife Trusts From small beginnings in the 1960s, there are now 47 local Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK, with nearly 800,000 members between them, making The Wildlife Trusts the largest UK voluntary organisation dedicated to conserving the full range of the UK’s habitats and species. The Trusts manage thousands of nature reserves and run marine conservation projects around our coasts. They advise landowners on wildlife-friendly land management and every year work with thousands of schools to inspire future generations and educate them about the importance of nature conservation. We are extremely proud of our links with The Wildlife Trusts and would encourage all our travellers to consider joining their local Wildlife Trust.

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www.wildlife-travel.co.uk

HOLIDAYS Focussing on birds

Focussing on wildlife

Focussing on wild flowers

Flight-free option Some longer walks (optional) Worldwide holidays European holidays

UK holidays

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For the most up to date information, including details of additional trips, please contact us or visit our website.


23rd Jan - 6th Feb 2012 (15 days)

GALAPAGOS Cruising in Darwin’s footsteps

“a really wonderful holiday” “5 stars!” “outstanding leaders, incredibly well informed on their subject” Galapagos 2010

A true ‘wildlife holiday of a lifetime’, exploring the Enchanted Islands of the Galapagos. When Charles Darwin first arrived in the Galapagos on board The Beagle in 1835, he described ‘a broken field of black basaltic lava, thrown in the most rugged waves and crossed by great fissures… nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance.’ On this holiday, we will show you that appearances can be deceptive, as we explore the wonderful natural history of the ‘enchanted isles’, the world famous islands of the Galapagos. The centrepiece of our trip is a week long cruise on a 16berth motor yacht. Our itinerary extends from the wonderful seabird colonies of Espanola and North Seymour to the classic views of Bartholome, from the wonderful snorkelling around Floreana to the unique land iguanas of Santa Fe. The opportunities to enjoy the wildlife from the boat and on walks on the islands are truly magical. Specialities of the Galapagos include comical blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, waved albatross and Galapagos penguins as well, of course, as Darwin's famous finches and the giant tortoises. Snorkelling to discover the amazingly rich marine life in these waters is optional (cost included) but promises close encounters with turtles, sea lions and (friendly) sharks. After our fantastic time on the boat, we regain our land legs with a three day stay in Puerto Ayora on the island of Santa Cruz. This gives us a different insight into the life of the islands, with time to explore the highland cloud forest and the bizarre arid zone vegetation at a relaxed pace. This trip is already proving very popular, with only one or two cabins left at the time of writing. Contact us now if you would like to join this year’s trip or to reserve your place for April 2013.

Price £4215 Single Room Supplement £200 (hotels only) Full board Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Day 4-9

Day Day Day Day Day

10 11 12 13 14

Day 15

flight to Guayaquil Pacific Coast flight to Baltra highlands of Sta Cruz board our boat cruising the Galapagos inc. Floreana, Sta Fe, Espanola, Bartholome, S.Plaza & N.Seymour disembark highlands of Sta Cruz Puerto Ayora return to Guayaquil Cerro Blanco, flight back to UK arrival UK

Leaders Philip Precey and Fausto Rodriguez

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10th-17th March 2012 (1 week)

MOROCCO Wild flowers and natural history

“accommodation was excellent in every way: a beautiful place to stay” “carpets of flowers - lovely!” Morocco 2011

An introduction to the natural history and wild flowers of southern Morocco, in partnership with Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Based for the week at the wonderful Atlas Kasbah in southern Morocco, our holiday is an excellent introduction to the flora, fauna and culture of this fascinating country. The short flight to Agadir, 20 minute transfer to the hotel and relaxed pace of the week make this trip ideal for anyone wanting a taste of Morocco in the company of expert leaders whilst enjoying a high standard of accommodation and easy, comfortable travel. March is the best time for enjoying many of the flowers, both on the coast and in the mountains. With Mediterranean, Macaronesian and African influences, this area has a fascinating mix of plants including palms, succulent euphorbias, chrysanthemums, toadflaxes, mulleins, irises, ornithogalums and interesting shrubs. The birdlife is very interesting and we should see some of the local specialties such as the rare northern bald ibis, Moussier’s redstart and black-crowned tchagra. We will look out for elephant shrews, ground squirrels and tortoises as well as many butterflies. Our traditionally and sustainably-built and run hotel, the Atlas Kasbah, has spacious rooms with lovely views of the surrounding countryside, attractive patios and herb gardens and also a swimming pool. It is situated within the protected argan forest and we will have time to enjoy this area and grounds of the hotel as well as excursions to the coast, mountains, oases, small villages and the attractive town of Taroudant, a ‘mini Marakesh’, to experience the local Berber culture. We will also visit the very important national park of the Sous Massa.

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Price £1395 Single Room Supplement £120 or £140 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

flight to Agadir Cap Rhir, Tamri Taroudant, Taoute Sous Massa western High Atlas Anti Atlas local walks return to UK

Leaders Dr Tim Upson and local guides wild flowers, natural history, culture


20th-29th March 2012 (10 days)

CYPRUS Orchids and historical sites

“Yiannis and Philip were excellent” “an unexpected treat” Cyprus 2011

Exploring the diverse Cypriot orchid flora at its springtime best. This early spring trip to Cyprus has been one of our most popular and repeated trips for the last 16 years and rightly so. In the words of one of our travellers, ‘the holiday even surpassed my hopes and expectations’. March is the best month to enjoy the island’s wild flowers, particularly the orchids with just a handful of late- and early-flowering species being missed. There will also be a good selection of other flowers to enjoy, from colourful bulbs and herbaceous species to attractive shrubs, including endemics from various families. Whilst obviously focussing on the wonderful wild flowers, we won’t be missing out on any of the other wildlife this island has to offer. Birds, butterflies and reptiles will all be a feature of our days. As well as its biological treasures, Cyprus has a rich history. We will spend time at a variety of historical sites, dating back some three thousand years to the Cypriot Kingdoms. Our base is a pleasant hotel on the coast not far from Paphos, from where we can explore the Akamas Peninsula and other nearby areas of botanical interest. We will also visit the world heritage archaeology of the Paphos Peninsula and explore the open juniper forest at Peyia. The Cypriot flora has elements from both Europe and Asia and the relative isolation of the island has allowed an endemic flora to develop - of around 1910 plant species in Cyprus, almost one in ten are endemic. Our excellent, expert leader for this trip is Dr Yiannis Christofides, a Cypriot with an intimate knowledge of the island’s flora, and author of a well-respected guide to the orchids of Cyprus.

Price £1425 Single Room Supplement £95 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

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flight to Paphos Kritou Terra Baths of Aphrodite Peyia Forest Tombs of the Kings Polis Paphos Forest Droushia and Inia Smygies return to UK

Leaders Yiannis Christofides and Philip Precey orchids, wild flowers, culture

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22nd-29th March 2012 (1 week)

SOUTH PORTUGAL Spring flowers and easy birding

“an excellent wildlife experience” “delicious scenery and marvellous birding” Portugal 2011

Wonderful displays of spring flowers and impressively easy birding in the wetlands and steppes of southern Portugal. Our holiday will start on the Algarve, where we will be based in an historic hotel set in the heart of the Rio Formosa national park. From here we will explore the coastal wetlands and salt pans, home to birds such as purple swamp-hen, greater flamingo and collared pratincole as well as lesser short-toed lark, a real local speciality. Underfoot we will seek out interesting local plants, including the delicate Leucojum trichophyllum and the bizarre ‘brownbell’, Dipcadi serotinum. A day away from the coast will take us inland to the limestone hills of the Barrocal, where we will enjoy a variety of spring orchids and the spectacular Paeonia broteroi. From here, we will travel round the rugged Atlantic coast, stopping along the way to take in more of the area’s special orchids and visit Cape St Vincent, the southwesternmost point of mainland Europe. Many of the plants we will find here are real Lusitanian specialities, restricted to this corner of Portugal and North Africa. The second part of our holiday is based in an idyllic ‘get away’ hotel in the lower Alentejo, from where we will take excursions into the extensive steppe and cork oak forests. Bird highlights should include some of Europe’s most threatened species: great and little bustard, blackbellied sandgrouse, Spanish imperial eagle and black vulture are all possible out in the rolling hills. Nearer to home we will find a variety of cistus and lavender species and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of the hotel. Our holiday will end with a train journey back down to Faro, from where we fly home.

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Price £1395 Single Room Supplement £145 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

flight to Faro Barrocal Castro Marim Atlantic Coast Alentejo Hills Alentejo Plains relaxing free day Faro, return to UK

Leaders Charlie Rugeroni and local guides spring orchids, Lusitanian flora, birds of the steppe and wetlands


17th-24th April 2012 (1 week)

WESTERN CRETE Spring flowers and historical sites

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

A relaxing week of orchids, spring flowers and gentle wanderings through the lanes and meadows of Crete. Wildlife Travel’s very first holiday, way back in 1988 was to see the wild flowers of Crete and we are very happy to be returning to this wonderful part of the world. The island is renowned for its wild flowers: of the 1600 species present, almost one in ten is endemic! April is the best month to enjoy the island’s wild flowers, as well as the northwards bird migration, while the temperatures should be very pleasant. We will be based in the lovely seaside town of Plakias, with sweeping views from our hotel over the bay. We never need to travel far from ‘home’, as we explore the quiet lanes and footpaths through the surrounding hills, finding endemics such as Cretan ebony, Cretan cyclamen, Cretan birthwort and Cretan arum along the way. Further afield, we will visit the famous ‘Spili bumps’, an area of limestone hills rich in orchids: twenty or more species can be found here on a good spring day, alongside Cretan iris and the beautiful red Tulipa doerfleri. In the Imbrou Gorge we have yet more endemics to find, while keeping our eyes peeled for a passing lammergeier. We will also visit a number of historical sites, notably the Minoan complex at Phaistos, the Venetian castle of Frangokastello and the orthodox monastery at Preveli, whose monks played an active part in the resistance against the Germans in the Second World War. Our botanical guide will be Yiannis Christofides, who many of you will know from our regular visits to Cyprus. Yiannis will be putting his knowledge of the eastern Mediterranean flora to good use on this holiday.

Price £1395 Single Room Supplement £125 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

flight to Hania Kourtaliotiko & Preveli Mirthios Spili Akrotiri Kakomouri Phaistos Imbrou Gorge return to UK

Leaders Philip Precey and Yiannis Christofides orchids, archaeological sites, relaxed walking

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24th April-1st May 2012 (1 week)

CATALONIA, SPAIN Spring migration and natural history

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

Migration season in the Ebro Delta, one of Europe’s most important wetlands. The proudly autonomous region of Catalunya has some splendid wildlife habitats, complementing the rich culture of the area. The River Ebro has carved an extensive valley that is a major fly-way for migrating birds and, on reaching the Mediterranean, forms the expansive Ebro delta, the most important wetland in the western Mediterranean. The delta is a mixture of permanent wetland and seasonally flooded rice fields, which at this time of year plays host to amazing numbers of birds. Herons and egrets, the comical purple swamp-hen, ducks and waders, gulls and terns are all present in large numbers: around 70% of the world’s Audouin’s gulls nest in the delta, together with collared pratincole, gull-billed tern, greater flamingo and glossy ibis. We will spend three days exploring the delta, to ensure we make the most of this wildlife spectacle. Just inland from the delta are the limestone mountains of Els Ports: we will spend a day here, starting with a visit to a vulture feeding station, where large numbers of griffon vultures gather together with red kites and red fox all allowing amazing views. The Delta is a rice growing area well known for its local food and our hotel here reflects the local character and the meals provide a taste of the region’s specialities. It is situated in a small village surrounded by rice fields and marshes and a short walk from the birds. It is possible to travel to Barcelona by train as well as to extend your stay to explore the cultural highlights of this wonderful city: please contact us to discuss the options.

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Price £tbc

Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

flight to Barcelona Sebes & Flix Els Ports transfer to Ebro Delta Ebro Delta Ebro Delta Ebro Delta Llobregat Delta return to UK

Leaders Nick & Frankie Owens and local guide

spring bird migration in the Ebro Delta, spectacular vulture feeding station


16th-25th May 2012 (10 days)

“breathtaking… birdwatching experience of a lifetime”

DANUBE DELTA Spring birds and natural history

“a wonderful way of exploring the Delta” Danube 2011

One of very few holidays to include a week on a ‘floating hotel’, exploring the spectacular wildlife of the Romanian Danube Delta. At the end of a 1700 mile long journey across Europe, the great Danube River empties its water into the Black Sea. Here, the Danube splits into numerous channels and canals, creating the second largest delta on the continent. Vast expanses of swamps and forests, as well as a scattering of pretty lakes surrounded by thick reed beds, provide a perfect sanctuary for over 300 species of birds, many year round residents, plus summer breeders and spring and autumn migrants. On this tour it should be possible to see up to 175 different bird species: our 2009 trip enjoyed sightings of great black-headed gull, red-footed falcon, paddyfield warbler and collared flycatcher as well as huge numbers of herons, pelicans and terns. In the Delta, we stay on a very comfortable ‘travelling’ houseboat, which as well as being equipped with all the ’mod cons’ we might need, also has a lovely open deck for bird-watching and relaxing in the open air. As well as enjoying the wildlife, we will learn much about the local conservation projects and how the people of the Delta, many living in remote fishing villages, play a crucial role in the wetland ecosystem. This will be our ninth visit to the area and we are delighted to be returning once again. The holiday is aimed at providing a unique visit to one of the last remaining wilderness areas of Europe. Our local guides are experienced ecologists: their natural history expertise, together with that of our leader, will enable general wildlife enthusiast to enjoy this tour as well as those with a more specific interest in birds.

Price £1845 Single Room Supplement £300 Full board Day 1 Day 2

flight to Bucharest travel to Delta inc Babadag Forest Day 3-8 Danube Delta inc Sfantu Gheorghe Sacalin Island Day 9 Macin hills Day 10 Bucharest and home

Leaders Nick Acheson and local guides birds, natural history, culture 7 nights aboard ‘floating hotel’

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16th-23rd May & 4th-11th Sept 2012 (1 week)

ISLES OF SCILLY Spring flowers/autumn migration

“a wonderfully relaxed air… an uplifting week” “a superb experience” Scilly 2011

Explore the long lost land of Lyonnesse, enjoying the best of the islands’ wildlife. Once believed to be the lost land of Lyonnesse, the beautiful Isles of Scilly lie just 30 miles due south west of the Land’s End Peninsula. Under the influence of the Gulf Stream, the islands have an equable climate with very mild, frost-free winters so many Scillionian plants and animals are species that have a more southern, even Mediterranean distribution. Exotic plants from warmer climes can also grow in the open in Scilly: in places you may think you’ve wandered into the Eden Project! We are offering two trips to Scilly in 2012. May is a perfect time to explore the islands, with spring flowers at their best and seabirds nesting. In September, the heaths are ablaze with colour, autumn lady’s tresses abundant in the dunes and bird migration at its peak. We will walk from unspoilt coves to dazzling white sand beaches, across springy ‘waved’ heathland and through quiet country lanes. There are archaeological sites everywhere, many also rich in wildlife. Our leader for these trips is Rosemary Parslow, author of the recent New Naturalist book on the Isles of Scilly. Rosemary knows the islands intimately and is the botanical recorder for the area. We will be staying at our usual guesthouse, a listed building situated in Hugh Town, the island ’capital’, with views out over the bay. We use the local boat services to visit the islands: one of the delights of the trip is that we don’t have to rely on a bus for our excursions - once we have reached the island by boat of course! These holidays start and finish in Penzance.

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Price £995 Single Room Supplement £100 Half board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

cross from Penzance St Agnes Bryher Tresco St Martin’s Eastern Isles St Mary’s return to Penzance

Leaders Rosemary Parslow, with Claire Roper (May) and 2nd leader tbc (Sept) wild flowers, birds, natural history, culture


24th-30th May 2012 (7 days)

ISLE OF MULL Natural history of the Inner Hebrides

“Superb… Nick and Frankie were both 5-star guides and charming hosts” Mull 2011

The spectacular coastal scenery and superb wildlife of the west coast of Scotland. Mull is renowned as the most beautiful and most varied of the Inner Hebrides, second only in size to Skye, measuring 25 miles long by 26 miles wide, with an indented coastline more than 300 miles long and with its highest point at Ben More, 3172 feet above sea level. Mull has a variety and abundance of wildlife hard to match elsewhere. More than 800 species of flowering plants grow on the island, including sword-leaved helleborine and oysterplant. Birds include hen harrier, golden eagle, twite and black guillemot, together with corncrake on Iona and several pairs of white-tailed eagles: a sighting of one of these massive ‘flying barn doors’ would be amongst the highlights of our trip. Around the coast, otters and both common and grey seals are regularly seen, whilst offshore there is always the chance of spotting a minke whale or basking shark. As well as exploring Mull itself, we will also spend time on the smaller islands of Iona, Ulva, Staffa and Lunga. Iona is famous for its Abbey and the Christian heritage established by Saint Columba more than 1400 years ago. The highlight of our visit to Staffa will no doubt be the magical Fingal’s cave, immortalised by Mendelssohn and an impressive natural wonder. Lunga is home to nesting puffins, guillemots and razorbills, while the privately owned ‘wolf island’ of Ulva is the location of ‘Sheila’s Cottage’ and a heritage museum that provides an insight into the history of the island. Together with the fantastic wildlife, Mull has some spectacular landscapes and we will have time to enjoy the variety of scenery and the pace of island life.

Price £970 Single Room Supplement £95 B&B and lunch Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

arrival. Tobermory Loch Frisa. Ulva. Staffa and Lunga Torosay & Loch Buie Iona Dervaig & Calgary return to Oban.

Leaders Nick & Frankie Owens with local guide birds, botany, natural history, local culture start/finish in Oban

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27th May-3rd June 2012 (1 week)

ARAGON Natural history of the Spanish Pyrenees

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

The impressive scenery of the Pyrenees is the setting for a relaxed week of wildlife. We spend our time exploring the Echo valley and nearby areas. From the high alpine meadows at the head of the valley, via the spectacular Boca de Infierno gorge and the pretty villages of Echo and Siresa, down to the gentler landscapes of the valley floor, there is so much to be seen on our doorstep, travel will be kept to a minimum. Wild flowers should include a good variety of orchid species, with lady, burnt, greater butterfly and Lang’s orchids all common wayside plants. Local specialities include Pyrenean vetch, Pyrenean flax, Pyrenean hyacinth and the lovely ramonda. The flowers in turn attract a plethora of butterflies. Puddles along the tracks high up the valley attract clouds of skippers and blues, while Apollo and clouded Apollo are both present on the rockier slopes. Lower down we will look for Spanish fritillary, Spanish heath and southern white admiral. There is always the chance of stumbling across a ladder snake, while green lizards sun themselves amongst the rocks. These high mountains are home to two of Europe’s most enigmatic and sought-after birds, the wonderful lammergeier with its ten foot (!!) wingspan and the cliffnesting, butterfly-like wallcreeper. The Echo valley will give us as good a chance as anywhere in Europe to find these two specialities, while citril finches feed on the road verge and griffon and Egyptian vultures circle overhead. Our base for this week is a friendly, family-run hotel with amazing views of the Echo valley. We will spend much of our time walking at a relaxed pace through the scenic countryside along quiet lanes and good paths, taking picnic lunches with us to make the most of the days.

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Price tbc

Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

flight to Bilbao Selva de Oza Alastuey. Echo Gabardito Val d’Espetal. Siresa San Juan de la Peña Valle de Echo return to UK

Leaders Philip Precey and Nick Acheson spring flowers, abundant butterflies, high mountain birds, spectacular scenery, walking


6th-15th June 2012 (10 days)

WHITE CARPATHIANS and Lake Neusiedl: wildlife by train

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

A leisurely introduction to the wildlife of Mitteleuropa, exploring two contrasting but equally wildlife-rich areas. We start with a few days around Europe’s largest salt steppe lake, the Neusiedl-see and the surrounding nature reserve that straddles the border between Austria and Hungary. This mosaic of dry steppe plains and shallow lakes provides an ideal habitat for birds including great bustard, white-tailed eagle, red-footed falcon and a wide variety of wetland species. We should also find plenty of dragonflies and interesting wild flowers. From here we move north into the White Carpathians, shared between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Much of the area is protected within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is famed for its patchwork of flower-rich meadows and extensive mixed forests. It is not surprising that this is one of the best areas in Europe for butterflies. Flowers are also abundant here and local meadows are amongst the richest in Europe. We will split our time between two friendly, comfortable, family-run hotels, both ideally situated to minimise travelling time for our excursions. Our international travel will be by train, first by Eurostar to Paris and then by sleeper train through to Munich. We will take a morning train through the Alps, enjoying spectacular scenery along the way, before arriving in Vienna. Our return journey will be by night train from Vienna to Cologne, and then on via Brussels to the UK, giving us time to explore Vienna. We encourage you to travel by train with the group leader, including a night train between Cologne and Vienna. Flights are possible, if preferred.

Price £1475 (£1425 with flights) Single Room Supplement £95 (£200 with single sleeper on train) Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3-4 5 6-8 9 10

night train to Munich. Illmitz Lake Neusiedl travel north White Carpathians Bratislava, dep Vienna arrive UK

flights possible, if preferred

Leaders Philip Precey and Martin Hrouzek wild flowers, butterflies, birds

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6th-13th June 2012 (1 week)

“every day was enjoyable - spectacular scenery and great company”

VERCORS Wild flowers of the French Pre-Alps (by train)

Vercors 2011

A week in the French Pre-Alps, an attractive landscape of limestone hills and plateaux. Our trip will be based in the area of the French Regional Natural Park of Vercors. This lies in the south-eastern part of the country, near the borders with Switzerland and Italy. It incorporates the largest nature reserve in mainland France of around 17,000 ha. The area is part of the Pre-Alps limestone hills, which form a peripheral ring around the Alps, and our daily excursions will take us to explore the warm southern slopes. It is a superb area for sub-alpine flowers, which are easily accessible and can be seen without long treks. Wildlife Travel has had many enjoyable holidays in this area in the past and we are delighted to be able to return once again. The holiday will appeal to anyone who wishes to enjoy wild flowers on gentle walks through stunning scenery - plus there is the bonus of travelling by train rather than having to fly. Our visit is timed to make the most of the natural history, and especially the wild flowers. June is the period when the best of the flowers bloom, butterflies are flying and many birds are still breeding. Although our main focus is wild flowers, we should see plenty of animal life, and our itinerary offers the opportunity to gain a flavour of the history and some of the artisan activities of the area. There are many beautiful, species-rich places in France: the Vercors must rank amongst the best. We also have plans for a week’s holiday in the Alpes Maritimes, 13th-20th June based in Saint Martin Vésubie, led by Brian Gale and Charlie Rugeroni. These two trips can easily be combined, for a longer exploration of the region. Contact us for details.

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Price £1395 Single Room Supplement £95 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

train to Valence Jansac Le Vallee de Combeau Le Vallee de Combeau Marais de Rochebriane Remuzat & Chatillon Cirque d’Archiane return to London

Leaders Charlie Rugeroni and Nick Acheson botany, butterflies, birds flight-free holiday


7th-13th June 2012 (7 days)

BURREN, IRELAND Wild flowers and historical sites

“I enjoyed everything!... a varied mix of environments, each with their treasures and surprises” Burren 2011

Our ninth holiday to this delightful area of western Ireland, offering wild flowers, dramatic scenery and fascinating history. The Burren is famous for its limestone landscape and historic sites. Amongst naturalists, it is also well known as having an unusual collection of plant species, ranging from the expected flora of lowland western Britain, to Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean species. Based in a very comfortable, friendly guesthouse in Lisdoonvarna, this holiday explores both coastal and inland habitats. The scenic expanses of limestone pavement are broken by crevices in which a fascinating collection of plants grow including ferns, miniature trees, several orchids including local specialities, and a host of colourful flowers. We will also visit the eastern turlough lakes, plant-rich marshes and bogs, attractive hazel woodlands, the shores of Galway Bay and the unique landscape of Mullach Mor mountain. The Burren also boasts an historical heritage dating from the Neolithic and we will visit historic sites, such as Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, Corcomroe Abbey and a ring fort, all of which are also good wild flower sites. There is a free day on which you can visit the fascinating Aran Islands and see the stunning Cliffs of Moher on the return journey. These are the second tallest sea cliffs in Europe and home to puffin, razorbill, guillemot and black guillemot, while chough and raven both play overhead. There are also good numbers of butterflies and dragonflies and the attractive and rare transparent burnet moth is often seen. It is easy to travel to Dublin by ferry and train and to extend your holiday: ask us about the options.

Price £985 Single Room Supplement £75 Half board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Dublin to Galway Poll Salach Sleive Carran Mullach Mor Free day (Aran) Poulnabrone Tomb return to Dublin

Leaders Brian Eversham and second leader tbc botany, natural history, culture start/finish in Dublin

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11th-20th June 2012 (10 days)

ICELAND Midsummer natural history

“excellent... Andy’s knowledge of the island’s history and geology was an unexpected bonus” Iceland 2010

The best of south, west and north Iceland in the long days of summer. Iceland’s volcanic landscapes provide a stunning backdrop for our trip. The country is one of the world’s most active volcanic areas and evidence of this is all around with lava fields, ash mountains, fissures and other volcanic features. Iceland has much to offer the naturalist from the splendid views of seabirds, wildfowl, waders and raptors to delightful botanising amidst many arctic and alpine species. The local people have developed a unique culture and we will learn much about both the difficulties and pleasures of living in these northerly latitudes. Three nights in the south are followed by three nights in Snæfellsnes, arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Iceland. Finally, we spend two nights in north Iceland including a visit to Lake Mývatn, one of the world's most spectacular wildfowl locations. The area is home to thousands of ducks feeding on insect larvae in the lake’s shallow waters. Great northern divers are found on the larger lakes, while breeding waders and Arctic terns are abundant. We should see all Icelandic bird specialities and have the chance to record much of botanical interest as well. Iceland’s mountains and moorlands are home to a surprising diversity of wild flowers. In summer the ground is covered with mountain avens, moss campion, thrift and bilberrry. We will also have the chance to go whale watching, with a high probability of encountering minke or humpback whales. In addition to the wildlife, we will get a ‘taste’ of the local culture and, for those who fancy a dip, the chance to enjoy one of the popular Icelandic geothermal swimming pools.

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Price £2225 Single Room Supplement £245 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5-6 7 8 9 10

flight to Iceland Thjórsárdalur south coast travel to Snæfellsnes Snæfellsnes travel to Eyjafjördur Lake Myvatn Gullfoss and Geysir Reykjavik and home

Leaders Andy Jones and Charlie Moores birds, botany, whalewatching, culture & geology


18th-27th June 2012 (10 days)

BULGARIA Mountain wildlife: butterflies and botany

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

Exploring the mountains of western Bulgaria, home to endemic plants, abundant butterflies and peaceful monasteries. The Rhodope mountains reach their highest point in south west Bulgaria, with the massifs of Vitosha, Rila and Pirin, cloaked in ancient conifer forests, leading on to alpine meadows and rocks screes higher up. The mountains are home to many local specialities: with a little searching, flowers such as Lilium jankae, Aquilegia aurea, Geum coccineum, Primula deorum, Soldanella rhodopaea or Pinguicula balcanica could all be expected. The butterfly fauna is equally rich, and we will be hoping to find Balkan copper, Balkan clouded yellow, Cynthia’s fritillary and a variety of ringlets and graylings. We will also keep our eyes open for Balkan chamois, black woodpecker and nutcracker, and visit the famous Rila monastery, the second biggest monastic complex in the Balkans. From the high mountains, we move down to the traditional village of Melnik, famous for its attractive architecture and locally produced wine: we are sure to enjoy both! From here we will visit the mountains of Slavianka and Belasistsa. These are former border areas which for many years have been inaccessible. The area is extremely rich in habitats, from the cool high mountains down to the drier Mediterranean valley floor, with a diverse flora and fauna to match. Our Bulgarian partners are Neophron, the travel company of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds: our expert guides (including a botanist for our days in the mountains) will ensure we have a successful visit to this area, while also raising much needed funds for nature conservation in the country.

Price Tbc

Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5-6 7 8 9 10

flight to Sofia Vitosha transfer to Rila Rila Pirin Melnik Slavianka Belasitsa return to UK

Leaders Nick Acheson and local guides Rila monastery UNESCO world heritage site many Balkan endemics

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18th-29th June 2012 (12 days)

BOTSWANA Okavango, Chobe and Victoria Falls

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

A wonderful ‘safari’ exploration of the pristine wilderness habitats of northern Botswana, to enjoy some of the most spectacular wildlife to be found anywhere in Africa or beyond. The Okavango Delta, a wetland paradise in north-eastern Botswana, is made up of a vast mosaic of clear-flowing channels, large stands of papyrus and reeds, permanent and seasonally-flooded areas, lagoons and hundreds of palm-studded islands of varying size. This unique inland delta has areas of both permanent and seasonal water with different habitats prevailing. Our journey begins in Maun and a short charter flight into the southern Delta, where you will be transfered by boat to your tented camp (no vehicles here!). We move on to the north-eastern corner of the swamps, taking us to a more game-rich area, with game drives in open vehicles. Finally Chobe beckons and we will visit the famous National Park by both land and water. The sunset river cruise is one of the trip's highlights. Our journey ends in Livingstone, across the border in Zambia, with a visit to the magnificent Victoria Falls and a cruise along the mighty Zambezi river. This region boasts some of Southern Africa's finest birding and wildlife, and June is the ideal time for game viewing, especially in Chobe, where large herds of elephant, buffalo and antelope gather at the water's edge to drink and where the rapidly declining African wild dog can still be found. Birding too is most rewarding: the Delta region is one of the last refuges of the endangered wattled crane and the main habitat for the near endemic slaty egret, as well as being one of the best places in Africa to see the magnificent Pel’s fishing owl.

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Price £tbc Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9 10

flight to Jo’burg arrive Botswana S Okavango Delta NE Okavango Delta Chobe NP transfer to Livingstone Victoria Falls, Zambia Mosi oa Tunya NP Day 11 dep to Jo’burg Day 12 arrive UK

Leaders Philip Precey and local guides some of the most pristine wilderness reserves in Africa, ending at the spectacular Victoria Falls


June/July 2012 (10 days)

SHETLAND Natural history and historical sites

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

High summer in the Northern Isles: seabirds and scenery, wild flowers and historical sites. Shetland is like nowhere else in the British Isles. A ruggedly beautiful landscape, more dramatic than the Hebrides or Orkney, Shetland has a character all of its own. We will be taking full advantage of the long summer days to enjoy the wildlife of this northernmost outpost of the British Isles. We will visit some of Britain’s most spectacular seabird colonies at Sumburgh Head, Noss and Hermaness, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of tens of thousands of gannets, puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes as well as moorland-nesting great skua and whimbrel. Abundant wild flowers should include northern marsh orchid and frog orchid, with local specialities such as oysterplant and Shetland mouse-ear worth searching for. Both grey seal and common seal can be found around the coastline and we should enjoy good sightings of otter. Summer in Shetland also offers the best chances of seeing orca in British waters as pods of this most spectacular of cetaceans regularly visit the islands to hunt seals… fingers crossed! As well as the wildlife, we will explore the history and culture of the islands. People have inhabited these islands for thousands of years, and among the important sites we will visit will be the Iron Age Broch of Mousa, the 16th century Scalloway Castle and the spectacular Jarlshof, with evidence of over 4000 years of human habitation on this one site! Our Shetland holiday starts and finishes in Lerwick: contact us for help with the various travel options.

Price £tbc Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

arrive Sumburgh Head Mousa, Loch of Spiggie Lerwick Noss travel to Unst Hermaness Burravoe Ronas Hill depart

Leaders Graham Bellamy and local guides seabirds, archaeology and local culture travel by ferry from Aberdeen or fly to Lerwick

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24th June-1st July 2012 (7 days)

DORSET Natural history of the Isle of Purbeck

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

A relaxed exploration of Dorset’s breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife. The Isle of Purbeck is the richest area of its size for wild plant species in the British Isles: the variety of habitats from bright heaths to stunning coastline, provides an idyllic setting to enjoy the county’s wildlife. The most important vegetation type found in the county is lowland heath and we shall visit sites home to great sundew, bog asphodel and the nationally rare Dorset heath, where nightjars and Dartford warbler nest and where, with luck, we may find any of Britain’s six native reptiles. The other key habitat locally is the chalk downland which opens up in a series of gentle whaleback hills with spectacular views of Poole Harbour, Studland and the Isle of Wight. We shall be visiting downs and meadows where many of the key wildflowers will be in bloom, attracting in turn a variety of grassland butterflies, including chalkhill blue and marbled white. We will visit Maiden Castle (the largest Iron Age hill fort in Britain) and the ruins of Corfe Castle where we may come across ivy broomrape or wild clary. The disused quarries on Portland provide an ethereal setting for a mix of stone sculptures, wild flowers and butterflies with panoramic views of Chesil Beach and the 2012 Olympic sailing venue! Lulworth Cove, world-famous for its geology, is also on the agenda, the perfect spot to see the rare and appropriately named Lulworth skipper. Finally, we go fossil hunting at Charmouth, near Lyme Regis and enjoy a classic Dorset cream tea. For a longer exploration of southern England, this trip is easy to combine with our visit to Wiltshire: contact us to discuss the options.

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Price £tbc

Half board Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7

arrival at Wareham, Stoborough Heath Durlston, Arne Portland, Moreton Maiden Castle Stonehill Down Corfe Castle Studland, Lulworth Lyme Regis depart

Leaders Charlie Rugeroni and Charlie Moores heath and downland, historical sites, Jurassic coast


“fascinating… a lovely place”

4th-9th July 2012 (6 days)

WILTSHIRE Natural history and historical sites

“our leaders were 100% excellent” Wiltshire 2011

A short break in Wiltshire exploring the Marlborough Downs, southern Cotswolds, and the grasslands and forests near Salisbury. Basing ourselves at the charming Ivy House Hotel in the heart of historic Marlborough, we will spend our days exploring Wiltshire, finding a wealth of wildlife and visiting some of England’s most important archaeological sites. A highlight of our trip will be a visit to Salisbury Plain, the largest continuous area of grassland in the country and the site of an exciting project to reintroduce breeding great bustards. We will be given a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the reintroduction site and spend an unforgettable afternoon in the company of these magnificent birds. The Marlborough Downs forms an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, botanically rich and important for chalk downland butterflies. They also hide numerous Neolithic and Bronze Age sites and we will combine gentle walking on the Downs with visits to the world-renowned Avebury, Silbury Hill and the West Kennet Long Barrow. To the west of Marlborough we’ll visit two historic and beautiful locations on the edge of the Cotswolds: the lovely Castle Combe, often called England’s prettiest village and Great Chalfield Manor, where our leader Charlie Moores is based and where we will enjoy the results of a night’s moth trapping. Heading south, we will spend time looking for woodland butterflies including purple emperor, white admiral and purple hairstreak and make our pilgrimage to the enigmatic Stonehenge. For a longer exploration of southern England, this trip is easy to combine with our visit to Dorset: contact us to discuss the options.

Price £765 Single Room Supplement £95 Half board Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6

arrival at Marlborough Marlborough Downs West Wiltshire Salisbury Plain Bentley Wood return home

Leaders Charlie Moores and Charlie Rugeroni ‘behind the scenes’ of the Great Bustard reintroduction project Stonehenge and Avebury

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3rd-13th July 2012 (11 days)

SPITSBERGEN Natural history of the high Arctic

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

An awe-inspiring 10 day arctic cruise, exploring the spectacular land of the ice bear. The archipelago of Spitsbergen (also known as Svalbard) lies well north of the Arctic Circle, midway between the North Cape (the northernmost point on mainland Europe) and the North Pole. During the summer the sun never sets (although don’t worry, there are good blinds on the windows!). During our voyage we hope to circumnavigate the whole archipelago, although our exact route will depend on the current extent of the sea ice. Inevitably, the species diversity up here is pretty low: for example, the islands are home to just 165 species of vascular plants and only three species of land mammal, but this is more than made up for with the sheer numbers, especially of the marine life. Around 850,000 pairs of Brunnich’s guillemots and over a million pairs of little auk nest amongst the islands’ cliffs, with several species of seal and whale abundant in the rich waters. The human population is outnumbered by that of the world’s largest land predator, the polar bear. As we travel around the archipelago we will make daily excursions out to explore the various islands and fjords, enjoying spectacular glaciers, wonderful views and travelling up to the bleak but wildlife-rich expanses of the polar pack ice. We will spend time at vast seabird colonies and walrus haul-outs, visit the world’s most northerly village, sail amongst icebergs calved off from amazing icebergs and cruise the edge of the pack ice, where polar bears hunt for seals, attended by scavenging ivory gulls. We will travel aboard the MV ‘Plancius’, a former oceanographic research vessel now completely rebuilt and converted to a very comfortable 114-passenger vessel.

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Price twin room: £5595 quad room: £4675 Single Room Supplement ask for details Full board Day 1 Day 2

travel to Brussels flight to Longyearbyen board MV Plancius Day 3-10 circumnavigation of Spitsbergen archipelago (ice conditions allowing) perhaps reaching as far as 80° North Day 11 return to UK

Leader Philip Precey 10 day cruise aboard MV Plancius spectacular arctic scenery


8th-15th September 2012 (1 week)

BULGARIA Autumn migration along the Via Pontica

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

An ‘easy birdwatching’ tour, focusing on the southbound migrants of the Black Sea coast. The Black Sea flyway, known as the Via Pontica, is one of the busiest migration routes in Europe, rivalling those of Gibraltar and the Bosphorus, as the birds of northern Europe are funnelled through the bottle neck between the coast and the mountains, on their way south. We start in coastal Dobroudzha, exploring the remnant steppe grasslands and nearby dramatic cliffs of Cape Kaliakra, home to breeding calandra lark and pied wheatear, with migrant larks, pipits, chats and shrikes. The area is also home to the highest density of wild cats in Europe, an exciting possibility on any visit. Nearby, the great lakes of Durankulak and Shabla attract a variety of wildfowl and water birds, while the bushes may hold warblers, flycatchers and chats. The second part of our holiday is spent around the Bourgas wetlands. Here one of the great attractions should be the huge flocks of pelicans that roost on the lakes during their migration. The shallows of Atanasovsko Lake attract terns and waders, with broad-billed or marsh sandpipers a strong possibility. We will spend a morning at Dyulinksi Pass, a superb watchpoint at the end of the Eastern Balkan Range from where we hope to observe the migration of raptors and other soaring birds: white and black storks; lesser spotted, booted and short-toed eagles; red-footed falcon, Levant sparrowhawk, honey buzzard and four harrier species may all pass overhead. Our local partners for this trip are Neophron, the travel company of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds: Neophron raises funds for BSPB’s conservation work, including monitoring of the autumn migration.

Price £1385 Single Room Supplement £85 Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

flight to Varna Cape Kaliakra Shabla & Durankulak Black Sea coast Bourgas wetlands Dyulinkski Pass Bourgas wetlands return to UK

Leaders Mike Russell and local guides among the busiest and least known migration routes in Europe

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10th-17th October 2012 (1 week)

BALTIC COAST Autumn migration in N E Germany

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

An autumn break to enjoy the culture and wildlife of northern Germany. The Baltic coast of north-east Germany is not an area that many of us know much about. The flat coastal plain was carved out by glaciers, and is now studded with marshland and patches of forest. Formerly part of communist East Germany, the agriculture in the area is still pretty low key, leaving plenty of space for wildlife to flourish. The area is one of the traditional stopping off points for the migrating flocks of common crane as they travel south towards the dehesa of southern Spain. In the area of Gross Mohrdofr we will visit fields where grain is put out for the cranes and where the congregation of these spectacular birds can number up to 30,000, feeding at very close range. Shortly before sunset, the huge flocks gather and then fly over on their way to the roost in the shallows north of Bisdorf: an amazing spectacle. The fields will also be home to wintering geese, with large numbers of white-fronted geese joined by smaller groups of both tundra and taiga bean geese. Roughlegged buzzard and hen harrier quarter the field edges, while the resident pair of white-tailed eagles soar overhead. We will visit two of the Baltic islands: RĂźgen, with its chalk cliffs, beech forests and pretty, historic villages; and Hiddensee, where we shall walk round the coast to the lighthouse, one of the prettiest spots in Germany. The coastal waters are home to wintering sea duck, as well as red-necked and Slavonian grebes. We encourage you to travel by train for this holiday. Flights to/from Hamburg are possible, if preferred.

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Price ÂŁtbc

Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6

Day 7 Day 8

train to Stralsund Binz & Sellin Sassnitz Gross Mohrdorf Stralsund Kooser Wiesen and Eldena Forest Hiddensee return to UK

Leaders Charlie Moores and Jochen Roeder

migrating cranes, winter wildfowl, interesting Baltic landscape and culture


18th October-3rd November 2012 (17 days)

ECUADOR Orchids and wild flowers of the Andes

“both leaders were very knowledgeable and helpful throughout the trip” “superb views” Ecuador 2010

Amazing floral diversity, stunning landscapes, comfortable and attractive lodges. Although the small country of Ecuador lies on the equator, the Andes run north to south providing a mosaic of wonderful habitats, many of which have a pleasant, temperate climate. This area of South America contains the highest diversity of orchids in the world and its cloud forests, dry valleys and montane slopes are also home to many of our house and garden plants. Staying in good accommodation throughout, mostly for 2 or 3 nights at each location, we will enjoy the flowers and wildlife on gentle walks in stunning landscapes, including the ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’, also full of cultural interest. Many bird species, from hummingbirds to condors, may also be seen together with numerous colourful butterflies. Our itinerary includes the botanic gardens at Quito and Ambato, and National Parks famous for their flora. Our leader is Dr Tim Upson of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Tim led our 2010 trip to the Andes together with our knowledgeable local guide Gustavo Cañas and the combination of local knowledge and botanical expertise will ensure you get the most out of your time in this botanical hotspot. Amongst the plants to be seen are heliconias, bromeliads, passion flowers, arums, fuchsias and gentians. Orchids that should be in flower include Phragmipedium, Epidendrum, Odontoglossum and Pleurothallis. We stay at attractive lodges surrounded by wildlife, from where we take excursions to a variety of habitats at sites including the Papallacta Pass, Llanganates National Park and CayambeCoca Ecological Reserve. There is also the chance to visit Yanacocha, where Wildlife Travel has funded conservation work with carbon compensation benefits.

Price £tbc Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3-4 5-6 7

flight to Quito Quito Bot’ Garden Guango San Isidro Parasio de los Monos, 8-9 Alstos de Pastaza 10 Banos 11-12 Leito 13-14 Cotopaxi Nat’l Park 15 Quito 16 Yanacocha dep Quito 17 arrive UK

Leaders Dr Tim Upson and Gustavo Cañas orchids, hummingbirds, Andes to Amazon

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12th-17th November 2012 (6 days)

NORFOLK Winter wildfowl and natural history

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2012

Following the success of our summer tour to Norfolk, we're delighted to be visiting the county again, this time in the early winter. Norfolk is justly famous for its wildlife. Our itinerary is designed to take in the most spectacular avian events and to give us a chance of seeing some of the county's splendid mammal-life. From our base in the charming Georgian town of Holt, we’ll spend two full days exploring the great wetlands of the Norfolk Broads. We’ll visit a colony of grey seals and hope to witness both newborn seals and rough-and-ready courtship, taking great care to respect these sensitive animals. We’ll also visit the grazing marshes of the Thurne catchment where we have a high chance of finding cranes, winter geese and charming Chinese water deer. We end at the spectacular roost of harriers at NWT Stubb Mill where up to 100 marsh harriers may be accompanied by other raptors, cranes and occasionally bitterns. Our second day in Broadland will be spent in the Yare Valley, where we have a good chance of seeing otters at play, as well as wintering geese and the evening spectacle of countless thousands of corvids coming in to the roost which inspired Mark Cocker’s celebrated ”Crow Country”. In the west of the county, a full day will be spent visiting the Ouse Washes, where flocks of whooper and Bewick’s swans are accompanied by teeming hordes of pochard, wigeon and other ducks. We’ll also visit marshes along the North Norfolk coast in search of twite, shorelark, snow buntings and any rare birds which appear at this most rewarding time of year. Our day in North Norfolk will end with the cackles of innumerable thousands of pink-footed geese in our ears as they fly in to roost. Unforgettable!

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Price £725 Single Room Supplement £tbc Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4 5 6

arrive Holt Broadland Ouse Washes Yare Valley North Norfolk depart

Leaders Nick Acheson enjoy the sheer spectacle of some amazing winter roosts: wild geese, wild swans, raptors and crows


4th-21st January 2013 (18 days)

TASMANI A Marsupials and wilderness wildlife

NEW ITINERARY FOR 2013

Iconic Australian wildlife amidst the spectacular scenery of this wilderness island. Isolated from the mainland since the last glaciation, Tasmania is an island of stunning landscapes, beautiful untouched wilderness areas and a unique flora and fauna. Our tour will explore the key habitats to give a thorough introduction to the island’s special wildlife. The native mammal life of the island is still plentiful and we will be making a particular effort to catch up with some of these special beasts: our trip should give us a good chance of sighting such iconic animals as the Tasmanian devil and duck-billed platypus, as well as echidna, quoll and various possums and wallabies. The is much more to Tasmania than ‘just’ marsupials, of course: the island is home to over 600 endemic plants and more than 200 birds, with 12 endemics including the delightfully named forty-spotted pardalote: our leaders will do their best to ensure we don’t leave the island without finding as many as possible! We start in the island’s capital Hobart, from where we will enjoy the alpine flora of Mount Wellington and the endemic birdlife of Bruny Island. Our circuit of the island takes in Gordon River World Heritage Site, Cradle Mountain NP and the Freycinet peninsula, via a dusk encounter with 13,000 short-tailed shearwaters at their nesting colony. At the end of our trip we have a couple of days on the mainland, with koalas, grey kangaroo and emu all to be expected before we have to head home. Our guide for this trip is Mark Hanger, the leader of our very popular New Zealand holidays. Mark’s expert guiding will ensure we have a wonderful wilderness experience.

Price £tbc (does not include international flights) Full board Day 1 Day 2-4 Day

Day Day Day Day Day Day

arrive Hobart Hobart area inc. Bruny Island 5-9 West Tasmania inc. Cradle Valley Lake Dove, The Nut 10 Narawntapu 11 Launceston 12 Ben Lomond 13-15 Freycinet Peninsula 16-17 Melbourne 18 end of holiday

Leaders Mark Hanger and Philip Precey Contact us to reserve your place on what is sure to be a very popular tour

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“impossible to praise Adolfo enough”

1st-16th February 2013 (16 days)

COSTA RICA Tropical birding and natural history

“marvellous place, excellent guides, magnificent birds” Costa Rica 2008

Costa Rica is a natural history paradise, with its dramatic scenery, range of habitats and excellent infrastructure. The value of the country’s wildlife is well recognised, with ecotourism a vital part of the nation’s economy. The wildlife in the tropics will captivate both the new traveller and the more seasoned wildlife watcher as we explore coastal forests and mangroves, cloud forest, rain forest and dramatic volcanic cones, exploring both the eastern, Caribbean slope and the western, Pacific habitats. We begin in the Talamanca mountains, where we will explore the high cloud forest and have a chance to see the amazing resplendent quetzal. Carara NP on the Pacific slope is our next stop – its high species diversity making it a must for anyone interested in tropical biology. It has superb dry forest and also holds populations of the stunning scarlet macaw. In the volcanically active area of Arenal NP in the north west, we will see many birds and butterflies and at La Selva Biological Station, in the Caribbean lowlands, we join local conservationists to gain a real insight into the challenges to and successes of conservation work in the tropics. After seeing the spectacular rain forest and beautiful waterfalls around Poas Volcano, our final stay is in the exciting Tortuguero NP, on the Caribbean coast. Not accessible by road, travel here is by boat enabling us to explore the waterways surrounding our lodge. During walks on the trails we should find howler monkeys and poison-dart frogs. Our accommodation is mostly at attractive eco-lodges, often situated in the heart of the forest amidst colourful tropical plants, with hummingbirds and tanagers all likely to be welcome visitors over breakfast!

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Price £tbc Full board Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day Day

1 2 3 4-5 6-8 9 10 11

flight to San Jose Cerro de la Muerte Trogon Lodge Central Pacific area Arenal area Caribbean lowlands La Selva Bio.Station Poas Volcano 12-13 Tortuguero 14 Braulio Carrilo NP 15 depart Costa Rica 16 return to UK

Leaders Mike Russell and Adolfo Downs Valle exciting introduction to birding in the Neotropics


Dec 2013/Jan 2014 (21 days)

NEW ZEALAND Birds, wild flowers and natural history

“each day there was something new and interesting… the whole experience was excellent!” New Zealand 2010/11

Stunning landscapes, lush vegetation, unique wildlife and friendly people make New Zealand a paradise for nature lovers. Whether birds or botany, landscapes or general natural history, this holiday has something for everyone. We will explore a wide range of habitats with the scenic backdrop of New Zealand’s spectacular landscapes. Along the way the highlights of this trip should include the endangered birdlife of Tiri Tiri Matangi, where saddleback, takahe and kokako will entertain us; the ancient Kauri forests of the Waitakere Ranges; the spectacular peaks, glaciers and alpine flora of Mount Cook National Park; albatrosses, dusky dolphins and sperm whales out from Kaikoura; and the bizarre beach-dwelling kiwis on Stewart Island. New Zealand is a remarkable assemblage of islands, stretching from the subtropics in the north to the subantarctic in the south. This holiday has been planned to enable us to see a very wide range of the ecological diversity that occurs in the islands, starting in the huge Kauri trees of sub-tropical North Island and ending on Stewart Island off the southern tip of South Island, the magical climax of the trip and an area rarely visited by UK naturalists. Our foremost objective is, of course, to enjoy the incredible variety of scenery and wildlife, but the holiday offers much more than that for those who are keen to learn more. The leaders have extensive knowledge of the fauna and flora and will be able to offer detailed information about the wildlife of a country where more than 90% of the native plants and animals are endemic to Oceania. We will also be making a contribution to the vital conservation work of Forest and Bird (the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand).

Price £tbc (does not include international flights) Full board Day 1 arrive Auckland Day 2-7 North Island inc. Tiri Tiri Matangi, Waitakera, Taupo, Tongariro Nat’l Park. Day 8 ferry to South Island Day 9-17 South Island inc. Kaikoura, Ohau Mt Cook Nat’l Park Fiordland & Otago. Day 18-20Stewart Island Day 21 depart Dunedin

Leaders Mark Hanger and Philip Precey Contact us as soon as possible to reserve your place on this very popular tour

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www.wildlife-travel.co.uk

WILDLIFE TRAVEL What to expect Our groups typically consist of a mixture of friends, individual travellers and couples and provide pleasant companionship from like-minded wildlife enthusiasts. The pace is relatively slow and we take our time to enjoy the natural history and culture rather than rush around looking for rare species (although we see plenty of these!). The expertise of our leaders and local guides enables you to learn much about the wildlife, habitats and the areas visited whilst relaxing and enjoying the scenery and local culture. Our leaders and fellow travellers One of the most rewarding things over the past 23 years of running our holidays has been the friendships developed when sharing our travels, between leaders, Wildlife Travellers and local guides. We are very grateful to and very proud of the high number of ‘repeat travellers’ and we hope that you will continue to be, or will soon become, one of our ‘regulars’. Accommodation Our ideal hotel is small, locally owned, with local character and local food. Nearly all accommodation has en suite facilities (details given in the Holiday Leaflet). Prices are per person sharing a twin. Single rooms are possible but hotels usually charge a supplement for occupancy of a double room. More information and bookings For full details on any holiday, please ask us for the Holiday Leaflet for the specific trip. This gives the complete itinerary, all details of flights or trains, accommodation, transport, leaders and focus of interest as well as confirming what is included in the price. Payment and cancellation details are also given. You can reserve a provisional place until you have received the full holiday details, after which you can confirm your booking by completing a booking form and paying a deposit. All bookings are made through Sunvil Holidays, our bonded tour operator (CAA-ATOL Licence 808, ABTA V6218, AITO). This protects your booking.

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Prices, travel and what is included Prices for most holidays in 2012 reflect recent general increases in costs, but we will continue to offer ‘value for money’ and ask you to look closely at what is included and the quality of what is provided when comparing prices. We base our prices on costs to us, rather than ‘what we can sell for’. With fuel costs fluctuating dramatically and the increasingly unpredictable nature of currency exchange rates, it has become even more difficult to obtain firm quotes or estimate costs, particularly for transport. The prices in this brochure are based on our best current estimates, but if costs change


significantly for any particular trip, we may have to pass on these costs by changing the price of the holiday. This is likely to apply to later bookings in particular due to increases in flight costs. Surcharges may need to be applied due to currency changes, but these are limited (details given in Booking Conditions) and to date we have never had to apply any. Unless stated otherwise the price includes travel from the UK. Flights may be the only means of travel to some locations. We will be as flexible as possible if you do not want to take the group flight, although UK departure airports may be limited. Train travel is possible for many European holidays and we encourage you to consider this option. Please contact us to discuss the details and to check prices. The price includes the majority of the costs of the holiday including meals as specified: Full board - breakfasts, lunches and evenings meals (except for the occasional meal during free time); Half board - breakfasts and evenings meals. On most trips we use a small coach with a driver rather than having our leaders and guides driving minibuses. Local transport (except occasional optional excursions), leaders and local guides are included. Travel insurance is not included but is available through our tour operator.

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www.wildlife-travel.co.uk

WILDLIFE TRAVEL The Manor House Broad Street Great Cambourne Cambridge CB23 6DH Tel: 01954 713575 wildlifetravel@wildlifebcnp.org

www.wildlife-travel.co.uk wildlifetravelling.blogspot.com

All holidays are booked through Sunvil Holidays (CAA(CAA-ATOL Licence 808, ABTA V6218)

Directors: Brian Eversham, Christine Donnelly, Philip Precey, Mike Russell, Dr Tim Upson Wildlife Travel Ltd. Reg. No 2237697 The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, registered charity number 207238

Photography credits: Chris Donnelly (hotel p.8, Poulnabrone Dolmen and Burren view p.19), Charlie Rugeroni (Morocco view p. 8, all p. 18, Dorset coast p.24), Dr Tim Upson (Euphorbia officinale, Cladanthus arabicus & Palm tree p.8), Rosemary Parslow (Ophioglossum azoricum, wild gladiolus and Hugh Town p.17), Brenda Smith (Tobermory & Fingal’s Cave p.18), Nick and Frankie Owens (puffin, p.18), Martin Hrouzek (all p.20), Mladen Vasilev (Rila monastery p.21), Birding Africa (all p.22), Charlie Moores (Avebury Stone Circle p.25, church and common crane p.28), Great Bustard Group Library (great bustard, p.25), Nick Brown (purple emperor p.25), Dr Tim Upson (all p.29), Mark Hanger (all p.31), Jonathan Leadley (all p.32) All other pictures: Philip Precey


Wildlife Travel 2012