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March 2017 Update What is becoming an almost annual visit to Andalucía, this year for a group from Dorset and Hampshire, was again successful in seeking out the elusive Iberian Lynx and many great birds including Spanish Eagle and Great Bustard. Click here for Andalucia Trip Report.

March 2017 Birding Abroad in Cuba, December 2016

Click here for Cuba Trip Report

Lance and Nick have recently returned from a very successful tour of Cuba, guiding eleven clients from the south coast county of Dorset and Yorkshire. Everybody joined in the fun and all were enamoured by the weather, landscapes, birds and the quality of the accommodation, the latter not always to be taken for granted in Cuba! Visiting three special areas, a total of 24 endemics were logged and in addition 17 Caribbean endemics.

Star sightings at La Guira included a flock of over a dozen Cuban Grassquits and sightings of Olive-capped Warblers on all three days, plus Gundlach's Hawk for some.


In Zapata who can forget the hand-fed Bee Hummingbird in the garden, the Blue-headed Quail-doves watched at our feet and the Zapata Sparrows watched as we were punted through the famous vast swamp.



On Cayo Coco, apart from the white sands and palm trees, Cuban Gnatcatcher, Bahama Mockingbird, Oriente Warbler and Thick-billed Vireo all performed admirably, contributing to a total of 166 species recorded, a good haul for the island.



Rarities included a Cinnamon Teal found hiding away on a lake west of Havana and an Orange-crowned Warbler photographed on Cayo Coco, both description species on the island with only a handful of previous records.


Many thanks to all the group members for making it such an enjoyable experience.


Check out the report on the Tour Archive page of this website, which also hosts an extensive gallery of photos from the trip.


January 2017 Update

Rewarding Customer Loyalty - at Birding Abroad we are pleased to welcome new and returning clients each year. Of course we don't take customer loyalty for granted and work hard to ensure that any chosen birding tour meets and even exceeds the most comprehensive of expectations.
Of those clients that have returned with some frequency, none has done so more often than Martin Limbert from Hatfield in South Yorkshire. Martin has a warm and affable manner which is appreciated by fellow tour members, so it is always a pleasure to have him along. We thought that it would be appropriate to recognise Martin's loyalty, and in recognition of his valuable custom we recently offered him a £250 discount on the December trip to Cuba. A small token of thanks for being such a loyal customer.

AUTUMN 2016 proved in every way a classic one for the east coast of Yorkshire, and we are pleased to report that Birding Abroad personnel played a notable role in the merriment!

Firstly, it was lucky 13th October for Lance when he was searching for migrants alongside the Easington Gas Terminal when he came across a Siberian Accentor, only the second record ever for Britain and following hot on the heels of the first just four days previously on Shetland. The bird stayed for a week becoming a minor celebrity during this time, with articles featuring in most national newspapers and the bird even commanding a slot on national TV. A huge twitch followed, resulting in the bird being widely regarded as the avian highlight of the year by many, particularly since it showed so well.

Siberian Accentor photo courtesy of Ron Marshall

Nick organised two Basic Birding Skills Workshop events on behalf of Spurn Bird Observatory, each being very successful and well attended. These comprised a short classroom session to introduce some useful tips on bird identification, followed by two guided walks where the theory was put into practice. Lance was on hand to help out of course! A lovely hot buffet lunch was included, kindly provided by Westmere Farm. These events, aimed at beginners, were the second of an annual event, so look out next year for new dates on the Spurn Bird Observatory website if you know someone who might be interested.

L-R Nick, David, Michael, Bjorn and Rob Adams (Spurn chairman)

Nick has been working to develop new partnerships for Spurn with Cape May (USA) and Falsterbo (Sweden) bird observatories, and a new "Friendship Agreement" with these two world renowned bird observatories has been signed. So it was great to welcome the directors of both bird observatories David La Puma and Bjorn Malmhagen to Spurn's MIGFEST in September. Both were warmly received and entertained the crowds with a splendid talk in the traditional Saturday evening prime slot. David was accompanied by Micheal Lanzone, a leading authority on new satellite tagging technology. Nick is reciprocating with a visit to CMBO's Bird Festival in October this year, so maybe there's a chance of a future Birding Abroad trip to Cape May and its surrounding area - some terrific migration watching! Watch this space.


July 2016 a new concept in bird tours

Birding Abroad are pleased to announce the introduction of a new concept within their annual tour schedule - symbolised by our TILTED WINE GLASS logo.

Whilst maintaining a strong bird watching focus, the TILTED WINE GLASS tours are designed to explore a wider range of interests amongst our group members, so we will set time aside to seek out some of the important cultural traditions and historical heritage of the countries we visit. The pace of these tours will be more relaxed as we unwind and enjoy our time away together.

To this end, Sicily in April 2017 will be our first TILTED WINE GLASS tour, where we include some activities not normally part of our regular tours. Amongst others we include: an ascent by cable car and Unimob to the higher slopes of Mount Etna to see an active volcano in real life; a guided tour of ornate Ortigia, the cultural heart of Syracuse, which was founded by the ancient Greeks and is now listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site; a tour of the Planeta vineyard with wine tasting and sumptuous traditional Sicilian lunch.

We believe a visit of this kind will appeal to both keen birdwatchers and those less keen who might equally enjoy the culture, cuisine and sheer beauty of Sicily.

For more details visit our Tours Page under Sicily 2017.


June 2016 Summer Update

Birding Abroad have just concluded another busy spring featuring two tours. The first very successful tour searched out the endemic Corsican Nuthatch and virtually endemic Corsican Finch on the ruggedly beautiful island of Corsica. Additional special birds included both Marmora's and Moltoni's Warblers, Lammergeier, badius Woodchat Shrikes and Audouin's Gulls amongst a host of migrants.

Corsican Nuthatch

Then at the end of May a week in arctic Norway at Varanger beckoned, where all target species gradually fell into place including memorable views of Gyr Falcon, Brunnich's Guillemot, King Eider, Hawk Owl, Pine Grosbeak, Siberian Tit and Siberian Jay and many more.

Pine Grosbeak

Brunnich's Guillemot

Both these superb trips now have reports on the Tour Archive pages of our website. We are sure to return to these destinations in future years, so do keep an eye on our Tours Page where our forthcoming trips are announced.


May 2016 Corsica

We have just returned from Corsica where the group had a great time, with wonderful views of the endemic nuthatch and other specialities. Superb accommodation, cuisine and lovely scenery just enhance the terrific birding in this stunningly pretty island. Photos of Corsican Nuthatch, Marmora's Warbler and the group ready to explore the mountainous interior are show below. A full trip report with photos will follow soon. We are sure to revisit Corsica, so watch the Tours Page of our website for our future schedules to be announced mid summer.


February 2016 Lance has just returned from a very successful visit to Gujarat in India, successfully seeking out the rare mammals for which this most western state is famous. Of less common knowledge is an abundance of birds, many of which are range restricted or otherwise difficult to find. We thought you would like to see a selection of his photographs now posted on the "Tour Archive" page of this website.

Nick has just returned from the recce to Texas, one of the best birding areas in the USA. A few of his photos appear on the "Tour Archive" page of the website. Here a pair of Whooping Cranes, the rarest crane species in the world show well at their Aransas wintering grounds.


December 2015 Birding Cuba revisited

Lance has just returned from a very successful second birding visit to Cuba, so we thought you would like to see a selection of his photographs. Cuba has much more to offer than just birds and we hope this comes across in the gallery now posted on the "Tour Archive" page of this website.


November 2015 Birding Abroad find a vagrant Oriental Stork!

Whilst bird watching at Gun Galut nature reserve in Tuv province, Mongolia on 31st August 2015, Birding Abroad group members noticed a large bird similar in appearance to a White Stork. Closer inspection revealed that the bird possessed a red eye ring, a bill that was strong and all black and additionally a small red gular patch was noted at the base of the bill. In combination these features showed the bird to be an Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana. This endangered species has a world population of fewer than 2000 birds and is very rare in Mongolia with fewer than 10 records. It was so rare in fact that the sighting prompted a twitch from Ulan Bator!

Photo courtesy of tour participant Andrew Ashworth

During the course of observations, the bird flew several times to reveal a piebald wing pattern formed by greyish white outer webs to the secondaries and inner primaries, which were also visible on the standing bird as a pale panel on the folded wing. White Stork has all black secondaries and primaries. Photo courtesy L Jargal



September 2015 Notes on Great Grey Shrikes

Great Grey Shrikes are interesting in Mongolia. Traditional nomenclature reveals the local race sibiricus as the most easterly of Great Grey Shrike complex. However look at the photos here of juveniles from the Tuul valley, and see how different they are from a young Great Grey Shrike! In fact they seem much more closely related to the race borealis (from North America), in which juveniles also have much browner upperparts, and these two races will probably be split in the future as Northern Grey Shrike. We found them in isolated trees within valley meadows, but adjacent to conifer forest.


July 2015 Recent testimonial following India 2015 tour

Lance and Nick.both Jeff and I would like to thank you for a fantastic 10 day experience on your Northern India Plains and Tiger tour. The combination of bird watching, wildlife and culture suited us perfectly! Our main objective of this holiday, or so we thought, was to see the tiger in its natural habitat and visit the awe inspiring Taj Mahal, but it became so much more...
click here for more


 
LANCE DEGNAN
14 Fiddlers Drive, Armthorpe
DONCASTER, South Yorkshire, DN3 3TT.
Tel: 01302 835094 email: lance@birdingabroad.com
NICK WHITEHOUSE
18 Cucklington Gardens, Muscliff,
BOURNEMOUTH, Dorset, BH9 3QS.
Tel: 01202 514575 email: nick@birdingabroad.com