Destinations far & wide

I also lead trips further afield as a freelance guide for other tour companies such as Bird's Wildlife & Nature, Wings and Oriole Birding. 

Some may be to far flung places while other short breaks may be closer to home

 

 

Somerset Levels & the Forest of Dean with Oriole

8th -12th March 2024

The tour will start in the Forest where Goshawks, Dippers, Hawfinches (pic) and Firecrests should be encountered and with some luck we might see Wild Boar too before heading to the Levels to look for Bitterns, Egrets, Cranes, wildfowl and possibly even the first summer migrants.

For more details and booking information please visit here:

16th-30th March 2024 - guaranteed departure - still spaces available

Known as the tear drop of India, Sri Lanka is home to over 300 species of bird, of which 33 are endemic. We shall be visiting many well-known areas across a diverse range of habitats such as Sinharaja, Kitulgala, Newara Eliya and Sigiriya with a focus on finding as many of these stunning endemics as possible.  These will include the Bush Warbler, Scimmitar Babbler, White-eye, Jungle Fowl and Blue Magpie all with the Sri Lanka  prefix along with the rare Serendib Scops Owl, Spot-winged Thrush and Velvet Fronted Nuthatch.  Add in Asian Elephants, primates, the chance of Leopard and a host of Reptiles, Butterflies and Dragonflies it should be a memorable adventure.

For more details and booking information please visit here

Lesvos

17th- 24th April 2024

A week in the spring on this most magical of islands.  We utilise the Jet2 package option on this trip so please message me for more details about costings.  I have two spaces remaining.

18th-24th May 2024 - guaranteed departure - spaces still available

Our Hungary trip takes you firstly to the famous flat grassland, the puszta’ of Kiskunság and then to the Bükk hills. These two completely different areas offer very diverse habitats and a long list of unique species of birds, mammals, dragonflies, butterflies & moths along with spectacular flora. The scenic Kiskunság preserves form part of the once continuous Eurasian steppe dotted with alkaline lakes, channels, oxbows and crossed by the two largest rivers of Hungary. 

Along with Great Bustards, Rollers and wonderful wetland species, there are many Woodpeckers including Syrian and Grey-headed along with Sakers and even Ural Owls (pic). 

For more details and booking information please visit here

Estonian Summer with Oriole Birding 

5th -  12th June 2024  Guaranteed Departure - fully booked

Our Estonia Summer birding tour offers some of the most extraordinary birding opportunities in eastern Europe. This new early summer itinerary sees us making a circuit of the best birding areas, from the taiga forests and their owls, woodpeckers, Red-breasted Flycatchers and Greenish Warblers, to the vast bogs and marshes where Wood Sandpipers display. There are some really great birds on offer here, such as breeding Thrush Nightingales (pic), Blyth’s Reed and Booted Warblers on the western edge of their range, Ural Owl, and all the European woodpeckers.

For more details and booking information please visit here

The Scottish Highlands in early summer with Bird's Wildlife & Nature 

15th- 22nd June 2024 - Guaranteed departure - fully booked

Summer in the Scottish Highlands is one of the supreme birding pleasures in the UK. The Cairngorms National Park is home to much iconic and celebrated wildlife, which includes a remarkable number of threatened birds, insects and plant species that live and breed here. 

In June, summer breeding birds are present and Black Grouse are still performing amazing displays set against a sprawling backdrop of incredible beautiful forests and mountains. Ptarmigan and Dotterel can be found high up in the spectacular Cairngorms National Park, while Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Crested Tit, Black-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Black Grouse and Scottish Crossbill can all be found in and around this rugged part of Scotland. There is also the chance of seeing some of our most enigmatic mammals such as Red and Roe Deer, Otter, Pine Marten, Red Squirrel, Badger and Mountain Hare and it becomes clear that this is an area very unique within the United Kingdom. 

From the tundra like plateau of the Cairngorm mountains, to stands of Caledonian Scots Pine forests, this a wild land full of natural wonder, expectation and possibility. Our base at the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown on Spey is located within the Cairngorms National Park and it is a perfect location from which to explore the Cairngorms, the Moray and north-eastern coastlines which are a short drive away, and the rugged and remote north west coast of the Highlands. 

For more details and booking information please visit here

Norfolk Butterflies & Dragonflies with Oriole Birding 

3rd - 6th July 2024

Mid summer is often a time when many birdwatchers turn their attentions to other forms of wildlife, notably butterflies and dragonflies. Our aim on this exciting Norfolk wildlife tour is to enjoy a wide range of these fascinating insects, some of them in very specialised habitats, and to connect with as many of the speciality species as possible. 

We will also be incorporating a bit of birding into this tour particularly when we visit sites such as Cley, so it offers a broad natural history interest. Scarce Emerald Damselfly, Black Darter, Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, Keeled Skimmer, Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral and Purple Emperor are all possible. Good weather though, is paramount for success with insects and the flight periods can vary tremendously depending on the climate in any given year.

For more details and booking information please visit here

New Forest Summer Wildlife with Oriole Birding 

7th - 11th July 2024

This New Forest wildlife tour is designed with the budding entomologist in mind. It offers opportunities to see some of Britain’s rarest damselflies, including Small Red, Southern, Scarce Blue-tailed and White-legged while Beautiful Demoiselle and majestic Golden-ringed Dragonflies patrol the streams. A good selection of Butterflies will be encountered as well with the chance of Purple Emperors and Chalkhill Blues as we explore Martin Down and Bentley Woods to the north of the Forest.  In July 2023 we also managed 12 species of Grasshopper and Cricket and Raft Spiders amongst other inverts.

Of course there will be birds too with Redstarts, Firecrests, Dartford Warblers, Woodlarks and the chance of Goshawk and even Honey Buzzard.  Let's hope for some nice weather!

For more details and booking information please visit here

20th July - 2nd August 2024

Our new and improved tour itinerary is probably the very best tour to Uganda you will find. Uganda, also known as the pearl of Africa has an equatorial climate and lies within the Nile basin. There are an incredible 1,090 species of bird and over 300 species of mammal, making Uganda a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. 

During our trip we will visit the magical Murchison Falls NP, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale Forest, Lake Mburo NP, Queen  Elizabeth NP and not forgetting Mabamba Swamp, home of the legendary Shoebill.  

We will not only be looking for birds on this tour with the opportunity to see Chimpanzees, the unique tree-climbing Lions and not forgetting the endangered Eastern Mountain Gorillas.  It is certainly an experience not to be missed! 

For more details and booking information click here.

Hampshire & Dorset Summer Wildlife with Oriole Birding 

4th - 8th August 2024

A short break, with the butterfly- and dragonfly-enthusiast particularly in mind, where we are based once again in the delightful New Forest town of Lyndhurst for this Dorset & Hampshire wildlife tour. 

We have timed this holiday to optimise the chances of seeing some of Britain’s most localised, and scarcest, butterflies, such as Chalkhill, Silver-studded and Small Blue, Brown Hairstreak, Grayling and Lulworth and Silver-spotted Skipper. A supporting cast of Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Wall Brown  and  Purple Hairstreak may also be available should the season be slightly late. 

The rarer Odonata will be represented by Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Southern Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, Black Darter and Beautiful Demoiselle. 

At this time of the year, birding should also be very interesting in the New Forest. Honey Buzzard and Northern Goshawk will now have young on the wing and we also stand a good chance of finding Dartford Warbler, Woodlark and Firecrest. Our visit to Portland may be rewarded with early migrants such as sea birds warblers and waders. 

For more details and booking information please visit here: 

 

Latvia Autumn Migration Special with Bird's Wildlife & Nature

14th- 21st September 2024

The largely undiscovered country of Latvia offers the birder a truly magical experience. With migration in full swing set alongside stunning scenery, this is an opportunity not only to visit a new country but to experience nature at its best. The sheer number of birds on some days when the weather and other forces all align can be simple breath-taking with hundreds of thousands of birds making their way south.

For more details and booking information click here.

Norfolk Autumn Migration with Oriole Birding 

29th September - 5th October 2024

September is one of the most eagerly awaited months in the birding calendar, and Norfolk is a destination synonymous with the mass arrival of migrant birds heading south towards continental and African wintering grounds. Migration in autumn is a more leisurely affair, with birds in less of a hurry than spring, and the numbers are swollen by the recently fledged juvenile birds. Weather is of course everything, and our exact destinations on this Norfolk autumn birding tour will be influenced largely by wind direction and to incorporate as always the best of what has been seen locally.

For more details and booking information click here.

Brazil - Atlantic Rainforest endemics with Oriole Birding 

4th-13th December 2024 - an updated itinerary with Golden Lion Tamarins and Giant Snipe now included!

For our foray into this endemic-rich region, we will be based throughout at the delightful Itororo Eco-lodge, set within the 58,000ha Tres Picos State Park in the heart of the Atlantic rain forest, south-east Brazil. The lodge sits at an altitude of 1200m, tucked away in its own private valley of 50 acres and offering not only excellent birding opportunities in its own grounds, but with easy access to all of the other key birding spots in the area. 

The lodge is surrounded by forest and the flora and fauna in the gardens alone is quite spectacular and over 180 species have already been recorded, of which 60 are Atlantic forest endemics! This makes Itororo Lodge a prime location in which to stay in the Atlantic rain forest.

 The grounds also have a number of bird tables, feeding stations and hummingbird feeders, which offer a chance to see a number of species close-up, offering guests superb opportunities for photographing some of the rare and colourful endemics. 

We have two other treats in store on this trip new for 2024 though – the first is an exclusive trip to see the endemic Golden Lion Tamarin Monkeys and the second is a one night stay at the famous REGUA reserve to trip for Giant Snipe, owls and other wetland birds. 

I will be your leader and will be working throughout with Andy Foster, an expert in the birds of the region who has been guiding tours to the Atlantic Forest region since 1995. You can expect to see approximately 270 species of which 80 are endemic.

For more details and booking information please visit here: 

Pic is of a Plovercrest by Ashley Saunders

Japan- Cranes, Eagles & Snow Monkeys with Bird's Wildlife & Nature

4th-15th February 2025 - The trip of a life time. 

To visit Japan in winter is a unique and wonderful experience. Tens of thousands of Cranes of at least 5 species can be seen dancing and displaying on the snowy fields or flying into roost against the backdrop of glorious sunsets. As well as the highlight of seeing these cranes, we will also get to see the awesome Steller’s Sea-Eagles and hordes of seabirds, and winter ducks on Hokkaido.  

Our stay at Rausu will give us opportunities to see the highly sought after Blakiston’s Fish-Owl and we will take the famous Bullet Train to see the ever popular and famous Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani as they entertain us in their hot thermal pools. 

Among the many special birds here we will look for Japanese Accentor, Baikal Teal, the very difficult Copper Pheasant, plus a short boat trip to see Japanese Murrelet near their breeding grounds. This trip will be filled with stunning scenery, and many photographic opportunities, which will include many very special birds.

For more details and booking information please visit here: 

Pic of Steller's Sea Eagles - Paul Manning

The Birds & Orangutans of Borneo - Sabah  
(+ Borneo Rainforest Lodge Extension) with Bird's Wildlife & Nature

3rd - 13th June 2025 with extension 13th - 17th June

The Malaysian state of Sabah occupies the northern part of the tropical island of Borneo and is famous for the country’s highest peak Mount Kinabalu. This rainforest-cloaked island is one of the richest natural places on our Earth and a must visit destination for anyone interested in birds and wildlife. 

We will be concentrating on the northern state of Sabah, which harbours large remaining tracts of lowland and montane rainforest and is home to vast array of wonderful birds including over 40 endemics. This is a birdwatchers and naturalists heaven, where we can search for birds such as brightly coloured Pitta’s and Broadbill’s, the extraordinary Great Argus, Bornean Bristlehead, Whitehead’s Trogon, Storm’s Stork, plus exciting reptiles, unusual plants and sought-after mammals that include Proboscis Monkey and incomparable Orangutan. 

Starting off in the Rafflesia Reserve in the Crocker Mountain Range for our first endemics we will then move to the famous Mount Kinabalu and it’s National Park. After several very exciting days here we will visit Poring Hot Springs before descending into the lush forests around Sepilok and then Kinabatangan for some river birding. 

For those that wish we are offering a short extension to the famous Borneo Rainforest Lodge at Danum Valley. This is a luxury lodge set in a private area of bird rich forest with many incredible and desirable species. 

And do not forget an enviable list of other magnificent creatures while in the hands of our fantastic local guide. It will undoubtedly be a highlight of our 2025 tour diary. Join us on yet another trip of a life-time.

For more details and booking information please visit here: 

Pic of Rufous Collared Kingfisher - Steve Bird

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