WESTERN SAHARA: Mostly Mammals
21st – 28th March 2019
“Having just returned from Western Sahara (Mostly Mammals) I very much wanted to thank Wise Birding for providing me with an excellent wildlife viewing experience. All targeted mammals were observed including two wonderful Sand Cat sightings. This trip certainly delivered ‘what it said on the tin’. It cannot be easy to arrange successful trips in such an isolated country; this tour ran like clockwork and all aspects of the trip were extremely well managed. Chris is a great guide and a very knowledgeable ornithologist. This was my first trip with Wise Birding and it won’t be the last. Oh! I forgot to mention we also recorded 70 different bird species/ssp without really trying.” John Weir, Selkirk
FINLAND: Wolverines, Bears & Saimaa Ringed Seal 28th May – 1st June 2018
“My trip with Wise Birding to Finland was a fantastic ‘high octane’ experience – all the available time spent looking for target species. We enjoyed night drive and nights in the hides where was had excellent views of Wolverines and a very large bear. We were lucky enough to get a good sighting of an Ural Owl and other birds. The extension trip to see the Saimaa seal was well worth it – and educational. All round this was a really great trip.”
Sally Dean, Worcester
“I don’t normally do organised trips abroad but something about Wise Birdings Tours and their Wildcat, Wolf & Wallcreeper trip sucked me in and I am so glad it did. I am still buzzing from this outstanding holiday – Highly recommended.
A big thanks to Chris Townend (Wise Birding Holidays) for delivering a trully memorable visit to Northern Spain. He delivered a 10/10 holiday; and wow I will never forget those incredible Wildcat encounters!”
John Nadin, Fife
Wildcat kittens by tour participant John Nadin
“Had a great time on Wise Birding Holidays first Eurasian Lynx Quest Tour! Chris always had a smile on his face and both him and local guide Tarvo were always excited when with the tour members to search and see wildlife! I cannot recommend the company enough and plan to travel again with them next year.”
Cheryl Antonucci, Virginia, USA
MADEIRA: Pterodroma Heaven!
16th – 20th June 2014
“We have recently returned from the Madeira trip, our aim was to see as many of the key species as we could. Well after leaving the Marina our first tern was a Roseate Tern preening on rocks, then after we had negotiated some choppy water in our R.I.B expertly manoeuvred by Catarina the action started.
We saw Zino’s Fea’s and Bulwer’s Petrel and the exquisite White-Faced Petrel. Corys Shearwaters were everywhere, add to this the excitement when we headed towards a feeding frenzy where we saw Whales and Dolphins jumping out of the water so close we could touch them, it was exhilarating. After such a day it was great to get back to a comfortable bed knowing that after a superb breakfast and a relaxing morning, the action would start again at 14.45hrs the next day.
On the last day Catarina and Hugo took us around the Island to see the Madeira birds, one of which was a “Spectacled Warbler” singing amongst the “Pride of Madeira” plants, this was followed by an excellent lunch – the “Scabbard Fish with banana” is highly recommended!! Thanks Chris for a great trip.”
Mike and Julie Lockyear, Crediton, Devon
FINLAND: Northern Owls and Taiga Specials: 17th – 22nd May 2014
“I had a wonderful trip to Finland with Wise Birding and if it is Owls you want there is no finer Country! Other species were Red Flanked Blue Tail and Siberian Jay. A highlight was a surprised looking Tengmalm’s Owl,who seemed to be saying-“ Who do you think you are looking at? The holiday was very well organised, good value and with comfortable hotels. The Finnish Nature Guides were excellent and helpful“
Doug Cullen, Otterton, Devon
SOUTHERN MOROCCO – Birders’ Specialities Tour: 22nd March – 2nd April 2014
I spent my birding Swan Song with Chris and two friends in Southern Morocco which I thought was a wonderful last(?) trip. Not only was I captivated by the sand desert with its amazing dunes and colours and space and the birds we saw (23 new species for me) but by the charm and patience that Chris showed me. I was not the greatest birder among us (though I was definitely the best at French!) but Chris never once showed any impatience. The distances covered were great but always through amazing scenery and plenty of stops for tea. Chris has very long legs so keeping up with him was a challenge at times but the end result was always worth it. He had arranged for us to stay in very good hotels and my favourite was the hotel in Merzouga in the sand desert. Chris’s organisation was excellent, his charm and knowledge outstanding and I cannot praise him too highly and can recommend a birding trip with him unreservedly. Judith Pentreath, Totland, Isle of Wight.
GHANA – Picathartes to Plover 18th November to 3rd December 2013
“Ghana – Picathartes to Plover” was a brilliant trip. Some great birds – the two in the tour title were fantastic, of course, but so were Black, Rosy and Blue-moustached Bee-eaters and a near clean up of Ghana’s hornbills. Add to that a friendly country, superb forest, good company, expert guiding, some surprisingly tasty food and incredible value for money, it all adds up to a tour I’d highly recommend.”
John Archer, London
“We just had to write to say a special thank you for a great trip to Ghana. At times a tiring trip including some hard birding with some difficult “ground grovelers” and “tree-top hideaways”, but the efforts you made to get us onto these difficult birds was truly tremendous, well beyond what could normally be expected of a group leader, and as such much appreciated. Many good memories of the trip – viewing from the Kakum Walkway of Black-casqued and Brown-cheeked Hornbills in the early morning forest mist as the sun rose behind them – magical. The “twitch” for Egyptian Plover, Picathartes, and much, much more – wonderful. Once again, many thanks for such a well organised and executed trip.” Nigel & Kath Oram, Nottinghamshire
ITALY – Bears, Woodpeckers & Rock Partridge 18-23 May 2013
“We are just back from a trip to Italy led by Chris Townend to see wild Bears – and some difficult to see bird species in the WP. This was the second trip led by Chris that we have been on. Both were very good but Italy was exceptional. A gifted naturalist, Chris invests much time in research and preparation and ensures that everything that can possibly be arranged is sorted out well in advance. He has a wealth of inter-personal skills and is especially successful in establishing a good rapport with local people. We will be travelling with him again.” Pat and John Bartley, Nottinghamshire
“It was the fulfillment of a long held ambition to see European Brown Bears in the wild & in their natural environment. Better than seeing Bears coming to bait outside a hide. The scenery was magnificent, & we had great views of other interesting birds (golden eagles, red backed shrikes, red-footed falcons, golden orioles etc. and mammals too (Boar & chamois). I’ve never been to such a great butterfly site where we saw over 18 species in around half an hour, brilliant!”
Roger & Lynne Favell, Lincolnshire
SOUTHERN MOROCCO – Birders’ Specialities Tour: 9th – 19th March 2013
“The Morocco tour was so well organised that in addition to being most enjoyable and relaxing we managed to see all our target species.I cannot recommend Wise Birding highly enough”
Neil Stocks, London
“It was such a great trip that I hardly know where to begin. I could write a long paean to your organisation and all those comfortable hotels and great meals. You are a star to have found so many great birding sites and shown us so many amazing birds. Can a trip get any better? I doubt it!”
Andrew Proudfoot, Surrey
“Having just returned from ten days in Morocco with Wise Birding I have to thank you for such a great trip. The birds were only outdone by the excellent organisational skills of both Chris and our two drivers. The three of them worked hard to ensure that we all got the best from each venue, and had the maximum opportunities to see as much of Morocco as possible.
Although our priority was avian species (I added 28 new species to my list) we also enjoyed the mammals, beetles, butterflies and scenery. On some days we needed to cover quite long distances but these were done with bird watching and tea/coffee stops which made it relaxed and enjoyable, giving us the chance to experience Moroccan culture first hand. An excellent trip – thanks for all your hard work Chris.”
Sue Healey, Kent
SPAIN: Iberian Lynx & Eagles Tour: 25th Feb – 1st March 2013
“Just wanted to say a big thank you for a truly fabulous trip to see Iberian Lynx and Eagles. We had been contemplating a visit to Andalucia for a few years and after reading your trip reports and speaking to you we felt sure your itinerary was the right one for us. Your instincts and experience are clearly extraordinary because we saw our first Lynx 10 minutes after we arrived and saw four different Lynx in the first 24 hours! We had 6 sightings of Lynx over 4 days. The supporting cast was brilliant too with night spots of Genet and Badger and in the skies, Spanish Imperial Eagle, and lots of Black and Griffon Vultures. The Villa provided very good accommodation and excellent food and the owners were very knowledgeable about Iberian Lynx and the flora and fauna in the incredibly scenic surrounding countryside. A thoroughly good time was had by all with some very serious Lynx watching and some hilarious good fun and anecdotes to boot.”
Susie Pearson, Suffolk
“Unlike most people, we’ve already had our little blast of sun this year. And a bucketful of Iberian Lynx, courtesy of an altogether excellent short trip to Southern Spain with Chris Townend’s Wise Birding Holidays. Chris has done this trip many times before, and it shows – excellent attention to detail, a real “feel” for the environment, and always a well-judged “Plan B” for when conditions change. He’s also highly personable, with a wicked sense of humour.
It’s an empty, stunning habitat – scattered cork forest on granite hillsides, only a few minutes away from really good accommodation. And there’s a quality supporting cast, with regular Spanish Imperial Eagle and Black Vulture fly-overs and a semi-permanent spiral of Griffons. Deer – Red & Fallow – are permanently on view and Mouflon & Wild Boar show up quite regularly. Common Genet and Badger turned up after dark one night. But I was forgetting. The Lynx. It would be unfair on other trips to say how many we saw (lots), or how close (very), or for how long (again, very). We’re still basking in the after-glow of a brilliant trip.”
Mike Thompson, Suffolk
SPAIN: Iberian Lynx & Eagles Tour: 24th – 28th November 2012
“Delightful; well planned, well delivered and fun. Both highly focused and yet relaxed.
It was a pleasure to be in the company of a professional natural historian and experienced field biologist.”
Kevin Bryan, Hampshire