Places remaining on John's spring tours
All of John's spring wildlife tours are running, though a few spaces are left - please see below
Posted in: Flora, Butterflies and Moths, Dragonflies and Damselflies, Other Invertebrates, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals | Aragon, Extremadura | Mainland Spain, Non-Iberian
Despite relatively low numbers on some tours at present, all of my 2010 spring wildlife trips are however now confirmed as running. One of the difficulties for potential clients is knowing if they should take holidays without knowing if there will be enough people for the tour to finally run. However, I can now confirm the following trips with spaces left. For fuller details than the outlines below, please click on the appropriate links:
Extremadura: spring week in Spain's secret wilderness. From 27 March to 03 April. Basing ourselves in a rural guesthouse near Trujillo, we are at the heart of the European Bee-eater pair Merops apiaster© John Muddemanbest all-round birdwatching in the region of Extremadura, a vast area of holm oak dehesas, agricultural pseudosteppes, rocky ridges, narrow river valleys and large reservoirs. The principal attraction is the superb selection of breeding birds, with numerous raptors including Egyptian, Eurasian Black and Griffon Vultures, Spanish Imperial, Bonelli's, Booted and Short-toed Eagles and Black-winged Kite, Great and Little Bustards, Black-bellied and Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, plus colourful species such as Spanish Magpie, Hoopoe, and with luck, early-returning Roller and possibly Bee-eater amongst many others. But the variety of wildelife is far greater, including plenty of spring butterflies, a few reptiles and amphibians, and hopefully this year, swathes of colourful spring flowers after this winter's good rains.
Eastern Austria: Lake Neusiedl in Spring and Autumn. 16-22 May. Alpine Pasque-flower Pulsatilla alpina© John Muddeman The SE corner of Austria, just 45 minutes from Vienna airport for easy access, is a remarkably wildlife-rich area, despite not being 'typical' mountainous Austria. Basing ourselves in the lively little town of Neusiedl-am-See, we are right on the edge of the vast reedbeds surrounding the shallow Lake Neusiedl. W Europe's largest lake, the combination of the surrounding reedbeds and associated scrub, plus flower-rich pastures and steppic lakes in the Seewinkel National Park, ancient oak woodland in the valleys of the mighty Danube and especially the March Rivers - forming important natural corridors for Large Copper male Lycaena dispar© John Muddemanbirds and wildlife - and access to the Schneeberg, the easternmost of Austria's Alps and nearby Hohe Wand, make this a delightful, and relaxed holiday. Pygmy Cormorant, Moustached Warbler, Bluethroat and Great Bittern are amongst many species of the reedbeds, the plains hold a small population of Great Bustard, raptors can include the mighty White-tailed Eagle and rare Saker, and the high mountain species include inquisitive Alpine Chough, pretty Lesser Redpoll and with luck, perhaps Alpine accentor amongst others. With a few mammals from cute European Sousliks to Alpine Chamois, plus a range of butterflies hopefully including the pretty spring form of the Map Butterfly, as well as the brilliantly-coloured Large Copper, this tour again looks at a wide range of wildlife and not just the birds, fantastic as they are!
Spanish Pyrenees: The High Aragón. 05-12 June. Lady's Slipper Orchid Cypripedium calceolus© John MuddemanThe Spanish Pyrenees are noted for their much warmer and drier climate than on the N flanks, with many birds to match this Mediterranean feel. Indeed, the possible mixture of Lammergeier, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures, the enigmatic Wallcreeper and playful Alpine and Red-billed Choughs, makes a marked contrast with lowland species including Black Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, European Bee-eater, Golden Oriole and Rock Sparrow. The flowers are superb, including a suite of orchids from late-flowering lowland species, and as we ascend, up to the early-flowering species only just appearing on the highest mountain pastures, and these will hopefully include the stunning Lady's Slipper Orchid. A few mammals include amusing Alpine Marmots and scarcer Pyrenean Chamois in the highest areas, while the range of butterflies will depend on the season, but can be very rich and varied. A great all-round tour!
To see John's tours in 2010
Read more blog posts