JUNE 2018: SOUTHERN TURKEY

Ryan has recently returned from our first tour to Turkey and it was a huge success with all the speciality birds seen very well. Highlights were many but included White-throated Robin, Wallcreeper, Caspian Snowcock, Radde’s Accentor, Red-fronted Serin, Eurasian Crimson-winged Finch, Pale Rock Sparrow, Olive Tree Warbler, Upcher’s Warbler and 3 Brown Fish Owls.

MAY 2019: NEPAL

Recently returned from our first tour to Nepal where we had a fantastic time despite some unseasonal weather! Highlights included wonderful views of both male and female Satyr Tragopan, Grey-side Laughing-thrush, Plain-backed Thrush, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Siberian Rubythroat, White-browed Piculet, Great Hornbill, Red-headed Trogon, Bengal Florican and Nepal’s only endemic, the Spiny Babbler to name just a few of the birds! Clear mammal highlight was watching a male Tiger marking its territory in Chitwan NP! Other mammals included great views of Sloth Bear, Greater One-horned Rhino, Bengal Fox and Ganjetic River Dolphin.
We will be running a similar tour to this wonderful country in 2020.

MARCH 2019: WESTERN SAHARA

Sand Cat, Western Sahara by Chris Townend

Our very recently returned Mostly Mammals Tour to the Western Sahara has just returned. As the name suggests our focus was during the night looking for some of the very special mammals that can be seen in this beautiful part of the world. We saw 10 different mammal species and highlights included two wonderful Sand Cats, two African Wild Cats, four Fennec Foxes, Ruppell’s Fox, Desert Hedgehog, Fat-tailed Gerbil and a great view of the newly described African Golden Wolf! We also saw a good selection of birds including African Dunn’s Lark, Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Cricket Warbler, African Desert Warbler and African Royal Tern. Plus some great reptiles including Horned Viper, Spiny-tailed Lizard and Four-spotted Gecko.This was our first mammal focused tour in this region and due to the success this year, we will certainly be running it again in 2020, so please email if interested as our group size is only five people.

MARCH 2019: MINNESOTA

Canada Lynx, Minnesota by Chris Townend

We have just returned from our Minnesota Winter Tour where for the 4th consecutive year we were successful in seeing Canada Lynx! This beautiful cat was seen on 5 days as well as a Wolf and a great selection of birds including Snowy Owl and Northern Hawk Owl, Pine and Evening Grosbeaks and Sharp-tailed Grouse. All set in a wonderful winter wonderland. Be sure to book for 2020 soon as we only have 5 places!

FEBRUARY 2019: CALIFORNIA

Townsend’s Warbler, California by Chris Townend

Our new California in Winter tour has recently returned and was a great success with all the key target species seen. Most wildlife tours to California are in late Summer, but winter is also a great time to visit. Mammal highlights included numerous Grey Whales migrating across Monterey Bay, as well as memorable sightings of Risso’s Dolphins and Sea Otters. A highly impressive visit to the Northern Elephant Seal colony at Ano Nuevo State Park with lots of interaction at this time of year. Then no less than 5 separate sightings of Bobcat at Point Reyes, as well as American Badger, Grey Fox, Racoon and Coyotes. Bird highlights included fabulous views of waders and wildfowl in the SFO Bay Area such as Surfbird, Black Turnstone, Western Sandpiper, Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, American Avocet, Bufflehead, Surf Scoter and Canvasback. Three California Condors gave great views along the Big Sur Coast and both Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets were seen well during our Monterey Bay boat trip. Perhaps the biggest birding spectacle was seeing thousands of Snow and Ross’s Geese in the Sacramento Valley which was quite simply incredible! Other bird highlights included Townsend’s Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Audubon’s Warbler, Myrtle Warbler, Anna’s Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Hermit Thrush, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Prairie Falcon, Northern Harrier, Glaucous-winged Gull, Heerman’s Gull and many more!

Add to this some great scenery, accommodation and seeing Monarch Butterflys at their wintering grounds and it is an all round wildlife holiday – Come and join us in 2020

NOVEMBER 2018: GHANA

Yellow-headed Picathartes, Ghana by Chris Townend

We have just returned from a fabulous tour of Ghana. This tour covered the Upper Guinea Forests of Kakum NP, Ankasa, Atewa and Bobiri as well as the drier savannah region to the north where we visited Mole NP, the Tongo Hills and the White Volta River close to the Burkina Faso border. We recorded 409 species of bird of which 395 were seen and 22 mammals. We saw some high quality species with both Black Dwarf Hornbill and Red-billed Dwarf Hornbill, Brown Nightjar, Red-fronted Antpecker, Yellow-footed Honeyguide, Yellow-throated Cuckoo, Blue Moustached Bee-Eater, Rosy Bee-Eater, Black Bee-Eater, Chocolate-backed Kingfisher, Congo Serpent Eagle, Red-chested Owlet, Akun Eagle Owl, Fraser’s Eagle Owl, Fox Kestrel and of course the two must see birds, Yellow-headed Picathartes and Egyptian Plover! Plus numerous Greenbuls and Bristlebills.Mammal highlights included Lesser Spot-nosed Monkey, Lowe’s Monkey, Olive Colobus, Patas Monkey, Bushbuck and Common Potto. Join us again on this itinerary in 2020.

AUGUST 2018: MONGOLIA

Oriental Plover, Mongolian Steppe by Chris Townend

We have just returned from our first two tours to Mongolia and what a fabulous country! A feeling of vast open space that you get in very few places in the world. The scenery is hugely impressive and ever changing during each journey. The people are exceptionally friendly and the food is very good too. Then of course there is the wildlife which is top class! As always we focused on birds and mammals and during the month.

We recorded 174 birds and just some of the highlights included: Oriental Plovers, Mongolian Ground Jay, Saxaul Sparrow, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Daurian Partridge, Demoiselle Crane, White-naped Crane, Mongolian Lark, Mongolian Accentor, Brown Accentor, Wallcreeper, Amur Falcon, Saker Falcon, Lammergeier, Azure Tit, White-crowned Penduline Tit, Red-throated Flycatcher, Rufous-throated Thrush plus numerous breeding plumaged waders such including Greater Sandplover, Long-toed Stint, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Asian Dowitcher and finding the country’s 3rd Great Knot.
We recorded 34 mammals and just some of the highlights included: An impressive 4 Pallas’s Cats, an incredible 6 Marbled Polecats, Mongolian Wild Ass, Przewalski’s Horse, Siberian Ibex, Siberian Marmot, Long-eared Hedgehog, Argali, Desert Hamster, Siberian Jerboa, Five-toed Pygmy Jerboa, Corsac Fox, Wolf, Mongolian Gazelle and Goitered Gazelle.

Snow Leopard was recorded by our local guide (see photo below) during the first tour and was regular on our trail camera on the second tour, but frustratingly not seen by the group. Exceptional torrential rain greatly hampered our chances of a Snow Leopard coming to drink at our exclusive site. The rain even resulted in miraculously re-creating a lake overnight that had been dry for 20 years! Ultimately, we were unlucky and cats are always difficult, but we are determined not to end the story here. The area we visit clearly has a good population of Snow Leopards and we believe offers potentially much closer viewing than those visiting other regions of Mongolia.

JUNE 2018: FINLAND

We have recently returned from another tour to Finland for Wolverines and Bears plus this year’s new extension to see the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal (one of only 3 species of freshwater seals in the world). The tour was great success with at least 4 different Wolverines seen, a single European Brown Bear and 2 Saimaa Ringed Seals plus a bonus of two different Ural Owls! Other highlights included Common Crane, Honey Buzzard, Hazel Grouse and Red-breasted Flycatcher. Come and join us next year for this popular short break.

MARCH 2018: WESTERN SAHARA

Back from another successful visit to the Western Sahara where we enjoyed a fabulous tour full of specialities and some great migration spectacles. An impressive tally of 126 birds and 10 mammals. Just some of the highlights included: Golden Nightjar, African Dunn’s Lark, Sudan Golden Sparrow, Cricket Warbler and African Royal Tern. Plus numerous migrating Bluethroats, Subalpine Warblers, Wrynecks, Redstarts as well as a couple of surprises in the form of a Spotted Crake and the first Great Bittern seen in the region! Mammals were exceptional too with great views of Sand Cat, African Wildcat, Fennec and Ruppell’s Fox and Atlantic Hump-backed Dolphin! A good selection of reptiles were also seen including Sand Viper and Spiny-tailed Lizard.

MARCH 2018: MINNESOTA

Just returned from an exceptional tour to Minnesota! This winter tour focuses on trying to see Canada Lynx & Owls and we were overwhelmed with numerous views of both! We enjoyed a total of 7 Canada Lynx encounters and the third tour in a row that we have been successful in seeing this, usually very difficult cat. A combination of warmer weather, good Snowshoe Hare numbers and long hours in the field produced the key target. The owls were fabulous too with 4 Snowy Owls, 2 Great Grey Owls, Northern Hawk Owl and Boreal Owl. Other highlights included Harlequin Duck, Bufflehead, Spruce Grouse, Ruffed Grouse and Sharp-tailed Grouse, Rough-legged Buzzard, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak, Arctic Redpoll, Black-backed Woodpecker and Red-bellied Woodpecker. In addition to Lynx other mammals included Bobcat, Northern Flying Squirrel, Moose, Snowshoe Hare and American Marten! Just 3 places left for 2019 – Highlights from Tour below!

FEBRUARY 2018: SOUTHERN SPAIN

One of our short winter breaks to Spain for Iberian Lynx and Eagles has just returned where we were treated to three different Iberian Lynx. Other highlights included daily sightings of Spanish Imperial Eagles, Golden Eagle, Cinereous Vultures, Griffon Vultures, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Iberian Grey Shrike, Blue Rock Thrush, Spanish Ibex, Mouflon and more!

DECEMBER 2017: BRAZIL

We have just returned from a fabulous ten day tour to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. This two base holiday was just the perfect amount of time to enjoy the birding without rushing around. We spent 5 nights at Itororo Lodge at 1,200M and 5 nights at REGUA Bird Lodge at around 35M above sea level with both altitudes giving an excellent diversity of species. There were simply too many highlights to mention as we managed to see over 300 species of bird of which 94 were Atlantic Forest Endemics! Add to this, wonderful scenery, great Brazilian hospitality and superb food and it makes for a “must do” holiday – Why not join us next year!?