Finland: Wolverines, Bear, Birds & Saimaa Ringed Seal trip report now online.
See Trip Reports tab.
6th August 2018
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. In 2019 we have 1 place remaining on our August Snow Leopard focused tour and are soon to release a birder’s special tour for June 2019.
4th June 2018
We have been busy adding new trip reports! Check them out HERE
Recent additions include:
BRAZIL: Atlantic Forest Endemics Dec 2017, MINNESOTA: Canada Lynx & Owls Feb 2018,
SPAIN: Iberian Lynx & Eagles Feb 2018 and GREECE: Kos Island Bird Migration
2nd June 2018
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.
2nd May 2018
Our tour to Sri Lanka earlier this year with Ryan leading was a great success with all the endemic birds seen well as well as some great mammals. Trip Report now online HERE
31st March 2018
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 a Great Bittern! 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.
If interested in a Mostly Mammals Tour in October 2018 please email.
8th March 2018
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!
This tour donated 250USD to the Sax Zim Bog Acres for Owls Project
6th Feb 2018
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, including this beautiful animal below! Other highlights included daily sightings of Spanish Imperial Eagles, Golden Eagle, Cinereous (Eurasian Black) Vultures, Griffon Vultures, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Iberian Grey Shrike, Blue Rock Thrush, Spanish Ibex, Mouflon and more!
Join us for new dates in March 2018 or book for Winter 2019.
1st Jan 2018
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
California Trip report from Sep 2017 now online HERE
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!?
22nd September 2017
Just returned from another great tour to the wonderful state of California packed full of great birds, mammals and scenery! We enjoyed over 180 species of bird including Black-footed Albatross, Rhinoceros Auklet, Surfbird, hundreds of Red-necked Phalaropes, California Condor, Clark’s Nutcracker, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Greater Sage Grouse, Great Grey Owl and much more. Mammals were also impressive as yet again we had great views of Bobcat, some spectacular whale and dolphin activity in Monterey Bay plus numerous species of Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks and Yellow-bellied Marmot. Come and join us next year!
9th June 2017
Our short 3 night break to Finland for Wolverines & Bears has just returned and was another great success! Highlights included no less than 9 different Wolverines, 2 Bears, 1 Wolf plus a nice selection of birds such as Great Grey Owl, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Capercaillie.
Join us next year for this great value break when we also hope to include Saimaa Ringed Seals too!
30th April 2017
Our first tour to the Western Sahara has just returned. See photo highlights below.
It was full of exciting birding, great mammals and reptiles, wonderful and ever changing landscapes and delicious food too! Highlights included: Royal Tern, Lesser-crested Tern, Cricket Warbler, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Crowned Sandgrouse, “African” Dunn’s Lark, Black-crowned Sparrowlark, Sudan Golden Sparrows, huge flocks of Desert Sparrow and of course many mammals and reptiles such as Fennec Fox, Ruppell’s Fox, the highly sought after Sand Cat and numerous Horned Vipers! Trip report coming soon.
Why not join us next year!? See 2018 Tours.
11th March 2017
Minnesota: Canada Lynx Quest Trip Report now online HERE
28th February 2017
Just returned from a very successful trip to Minnesota where our primary target, Canadian Lynx, certainly did not disappoint! We will be running this tour again next year, but group size is very small so please email to confirm your place early! A few tour highlights below. Trip report coming soon……
6th February 2017
Our Ghana Upper Guinea Forests Tour has just returned.
Here are just a few of the highlights.
Full Trip Report available soon!
22nd January 2017
17th January 2017
Our Northern Spain: Wildcats, Wolves & Wallcreepers Trip Report from August 2016 now added HERE
21st December 2016
Our Northern Pantanal: Birds & Mammals Trip Report from July 2016 now added HERE
26th November 2016
Our tour to Namibia, Botswana and Zambia has returned after a fabulous 16 days wildlife watching. This tour focused on mammals as much as birds and we enjoyed an amazing 55 species of mammal and over 400 species of bird! Mammal highlights included Brown Hyena, Aardwolf, Wild Dog, Leopard, Cheetah and both Roan and Sable Antelopes, to name just a few! Bird highlights were equally impressive with Herero Chat, Dune Lark, Racquet-tailed Roller, Rufous-bellied Tit, Rock Pratincole, Schalow’s Turaco and the incredible Pel’s Fishing Owl which was voted bird of the trip! Add to this, some amazing scenery and first class accommodation and you have all the ingredients for a wonderful tour.
The full trip report will be posted in due course and keep your eyes on the website for a new “Mostly Mammals” Tour to this part of the world……
26th October 2016
Just returned from our first California trip for Bobcats, Bears, Seabirds and Yosemite! It was a great tour with all key species seen well and some fabulous scenery too! Highlights included 10 species of Woodpecker, Black-footed Albatross, Buller’s Shearwater, Rhinoceros Auklet, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Greater Roadrunner, California Condor as well as numerous mammals including Bobcat, Black Bear, Humpback Whale, 3 species of Dolphin and the very rare Baird’s Beaked Whale too. Looking forward to our 2017 tour already! Why not join us!?
29th August 2016
Another great trip to the Cantabrian Mountains and the Picos de Europa NP of Northern Spain has just returned. This was Wise Birding Holidays second Wildcats, Wolves and Wallcreepers tour and it was another great success. Highlights included up to 6 different Wildcats, 2 Wolves and a male Wallcreeper, plus Golden Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Alpine Accentor, Alpine Chough, Alpine Newt, Seoane’s Viper, numerous butterflies and more!
27th July 2016
Just returned from another great trip focusing on Brazil’s Northern Pantanal only. Once again we encountered fabulous wildlife watching and first class views! A great tally of 25 mammals and 212 birds with highlights including five Jaguars including cubs, both Anteaters, Giant and Neotropical River Otters, Brazilian Tapir, Tayra, Hyacinth Macaws, Yellow-collared Macaws, Subtropical Doradito, Helmeted Manakin five species of Kingfisher and much,much more!
12th June 2016
Recently returned from our new “Owls & Wolverines tour to Finland which was very successful with Great Grey Owl, Ural Owl, Hawk Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl and Pygmy Owl all seen well plus numerous Wolverines & Brown Bear. Plus many more great birds. We shall be putting this trip on again for 2017. Below are some highlights!
31st March 2016
Another very successful trip to Morocco has just returned – Here are just some of the highlights.
Trip Report to be added soon
3rd March 2016
25th January 2016
Our first tour to Minnesota has just returned and was a great success. Birding was fantastic and included some great rarities such as Ivory Gull and Gyr Falcon as well as more expected species like Snowy Owl, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Spruce Grouse and Boreal Chickadee. Mammals were a definite highlight also with 9 species recorded including American Marten, Fisher, Moose, Wolf, North American Porcupine and our prime target too, a brief sighting of a Canada Lynx! Some highlights from the tour below. We shall be running his tour again in early 2017, so be sure to book soon!
22nd December 2015
Recently returned from a great tour to Sri Lanka where, despite some poor weather at the start of the tour, we saw a good number of endemic birds including the magical Serendib Scops Owl. Of course, mammals featured highly too with Sloth Bear being a highlight and the group even found a second record for Sri Lanka, a Grey-necked Bunting! It really is a great country with so much more than just endemic birds. It simply has it all, wonderful scenery, great food, friendly people and of course great wildlife. Why not join us next year? In the meantime, enjoy a selection of photos from the 2015 tour below.
18th October 2015
Just returned from Brazil after a very successful Northern Pantanal & Cerrado Birds and Mammals Tour. The birding was superb as always but the mammals often eclipsed the birds! A fantastic trip with 26 mammal species including Puma, Jaguar, Ocelot, Maned Wolf, Tayra and Giant Anteater and over 300 bird species. Trip report in due course.
Please email to book your place on a Mammal Specialities Tour to this area in 2017……
28th September 2015
Wildcats, Wolves and Wallcreepers Trip Report added
7th September 2015
Recently returned from our first Wildcats, Wolves and Wallcreepers short break to Northern Spain. It certainly did not disappoint with a minimum of 9 individual Wildcats seen (including kittens) plus 3 Iberian Wolves (including cubs) and of course the beautiful Wallcreeper. In addition, we also enjoyed other birds such as Honey Buzzard and Alpine Accentor and other mammals such as Chamois and Spanish Ibex and all amongst fantastic scenery! Looking forward to the 2016 tour already! Thanks to tour participant John Nadin for allowing me to use his cracking shot of these two Wildcat Kittens that we saw on our last full day!
Helen and I had a great weekend at the Bird Fair and met many old and new friends. It was brilliant to discuss new destinations with many of you so please keep checking the website as new destinations for 2017 are being plotted!
Our December 2016 Gambia Tour itinerary is now online!
10th March 2015 Eurasian Lynx Quest Tour is great success!
The first of our Bird and Mammal winter short breaks to beautiful Estonia has recently returned home. The birding tour highlights included a superb flock of 260+ Steller’s Eider close inshore, Nutcracker, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers and some wonderful Estonian food too!
Our mammal tour started immediately after the birding tour and focused on trying to see one of Europe’s most elusive mammals, the Eurasian Lynx. The tour could not have started any better with a superb Eurasian Lynx seen very well on the first night of the holiday! The animal was watched for a good couple of minutes by spotlight in an open field at a range of just 70 metres. Ten other mammal species were recorded including Eurasian Elk, Mountain Hares, Wild Boar as well as Ural Owl and Eurasian Pygmy Owl.
16th February 2015
Another successful trip to Spain’s Sierra de Andujar with a wonderful encounter with an Iberian Lynx as well as some great birds and other mammals. Highlights included: Spanish Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Spanish Ibex, Mouflon, Otter, Azure-winged Magpie, Black Vulture and more! See Video HERE
13th January 2015
Just returned from another great trip to Spain’s Sierra de Andujar where we had fantastic weather and some exceptional Iberian Lynx sightings. We enjoyed 9 different sightings of at least three different animals in just 4 days! Other highlights included Spanish Imperial Eagles, Spanish Ibex, Black Vulture, Azure-winged Magpies and Crested Tit.
MOROCCO – Birder’s Specialities Tour 2014 Trip Report now added
Our recent tour to Madeira was a great success with fanatstic views of Zino’s Petrel, Fea’s (Desertas) Petrel and both Band-rumped (Madeiran) and White-faced Storm Petrels. Plus Sperm Whales, Atlantic Spotted, Common, Bottlenose and Striped Dolphins and the endemic land birds, Trocaz Pigeon and Madeiran Firecrest.
Just returned from our first trip to Finland where we saw 6 species of Owl plus many other specials! Highlights included no less than 3 different Great Grey Owls, 2 Hawk Owls, 2 Tengmalm’s Owls and Ural Owl plus Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Tit, Siberian Jay and Three-toed Woodpecker plus much more! Trip Report available soon
A few photos from the recently returned Morocco Tour. Highlights were many, but the Pharaoh Eagle Owl and Egyptian Nightjar were voted as the top two birds of the trip.This is always a great trip and travelling throughout the entire tour by 4X4 allows excellent views and great opportunities for photography.
3rd March 2014 ESTONIA WINTER BREAK
Just returned from a very successful winter recce to Estonia and although not enough time to visit all the key sites, the species list for just 4 days was still very impressive. One of the clear highlights was seeing a huge flock of 300 Steller’s Eiders!
Other highlights included:
Long-tailed Duck – 1,000+
WT Eagle – 14+
Great Grey Shrike – 5+
Nutcracker – 5
White-backed Woodpecker- 1
Black Woodpecker – 2
Hawk Owl – 1
Eurasian Pygmy Owl – 1
Hazel Grouse – 1
Black Grouse – 13
Capercaillie – 5
Parrot Crossbill – 2
Plus 3 Racoon Dog, 8+ Elk and 3 Mountain Hares
Find out about how Wise Birding are supporting Devon’s Cuckoos……
Following a donation from our recent Ghana tour, we will be helping with the sponsorship of a Cuckoo that will be taken from Dartmoor, fitted with a satellite tag and then released in Spring 2014. You can watch the bird’s journey by following the BTO’s Tacking Cuckoos to Africa Project. You can find out more on our Conservation News Page HERE
GHANA is GREAT!
Just returned from another trip great to Ghana where we recorded over 400 species of bird, including the two “must see” birds – the amazing Yellow-headed Picathartes and the fantastic Egyptian Plover! We were treated to some great views of the Picathartes with up to 5 birds coming in to their roost site and the Egyptian Plovers gave incredibly close views, where we also discovered a young chick which is thought to be the first confirmed breeding record for Ghana! See Videos HERE
Ghana is a truly friendly country with some fantastic birds and other wildlife. The road networks are good and the hotels are clean and adequate. If you want a West African Birding Adventure then Ghana is for you!
Other clear highlights were: 8 species of Hornbill, Blue-moustached Bee-Eater, Black Bee-Eater, Rosy Bee-Eater, Rufous-sided Broadbill, Standard-winged Nightjar, Fraser’s Eagle Owl and much more!
25th May 2013
Just returned from a very successful short break to the Abruzzo National Park, Italy. We had some incredible views of the endemic race Marsican Brown Bear on 4 out of 5 days and all without visiting an expensive baited hide! Some good birds too, with Rock Partridge and White-backed Woodpecker!
9th April 2013
African Rock Martin – This is one of up to 10 birds that we discovered south of Merzouga. Now considered a rarity in Morocco…….
26 March 2013
Just back from a very successful tour to Southern Morocco – Trip Report to be posted soon. In the meantime, here are a few images from the tour.
2nd March 2013
Just returned from our Iberian Lynx Tour which was a ruly unforgettable experience! We enjoyed Lynx sightings every day and saw at least 4 and probably 5 different animals, including a mother and older cub and an animal crossing the track right in front of us. Truly wonderful!