North Wales: September 2019

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: CALL 01492 872 407
Monday 9 to Friday 13 September 2019.


DETAILS: Includes guiding by Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, transport, use of top-of-the-range Leica telescopes, free loan of binoculars (request in advance), four nights’ accommodation in comfortable en suite room, all meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) from lunch on day one through to lunch on day five, all entrance fees to reserves.

PRICE: £975pp, no single supplement.

Lee Beel / Alamy

Lee Beel / Alamy

September is a wonderful time to visit North Wales with its exciting blend of resident, migrant, returning winter and departing summer birds. Add to this the wide variety of habitats and beautiful scenery, ranging from mountains to coast, and you have the perfect mix for a birdwatching break.

During the tour we will look for such exciting species as: Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Shag, Great Egret, Pintail, Eider, Common Scoter, pale-bellied Brent Goose, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Peregrine Falcon, Red Grouse, Black Grouse, Water Rail, Avocet, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff and Greenshank.

Plus: Mediterranean Gull, Arctic Skua, Guillemot, Razorbill, Black Guillemot, Stock Dove, Kingfisher, Sky Lark, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Stonechat, Ring Ouzel, Chough, Lapland Bunting, and any other migrants and rarities that may occur at this great time of year. Expect to enjoy around 120 species on the tour.

Your guides for this tour will be the local experts

Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, who have many years’ experience as professional bird guides. Alan is author of the popularly-acclaimed site guide entitled ‘Best Birdwatching Sites in North Wales’ and Ruth writes a monthly column in Bird Watching magazine called Observations. Both Alan and Ruth worked for the RSPB before setting up their successful birdwatching tour company back in 2009, and they now spend much of their time sharing the wonderful birdlife of North Wales with visitors to this beautiful area.

The tour is based at the Princes Arms Hotel in Trefriw, in the Conwy Valley. This lovely country hotel overlooks the Conwy River, so the birdwatching begins right on the doorstep. A warm welcome awaits you from hosts Lindsay and Ann Gordon and the wonderful food is an added bonus of the tour. Additional nights, pre- or post-tour, can be arranged at the hotel.

Itinerary

Day 1: Our tour starts with arrival at the Princes Arms Hotel in the picturesque Conwy Valley in time for lunch. After lunch, we visit RSPB Conwy, where we can expect to enjoy waders and wildfowl at close range.

Day 2: We visit the beautiful island of Anglesey, with its dramatic coastal scenery. Chough and Black Guillemot will be high on our wanted list but we will also look for migrants, raptors and seabirds. A visit to RSPB South Stack will be one of the highlights on this day.

Day 3: A short drive takes us to the Great Orme headland; the sea-cliffs and limestone pavements here are a temporary home to migrant birds and this Local Nature Reserve has a track record for turning up the unexpected. We also visit other sites along the nearby coast for more waders, wildfowl and migrants.

Day 4: We head east to the Dee Estuary in search of more raptors, wildfowl and waders and who knows, perhaps a Great White Egret or other scarce bird; in September anything is possible! A visit to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands will be part of this exciting day.

Day 5: We spend the morning exploring the Conwy Valley and adjacent uplands. We return to the hotel for lunch before guests depart for their homeward journey at the end of our North Wales tour.

The exact itinerary may change due to latest bird information, weather, tides or other circumstances beyond our control.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: CALL 01492 872 407
Monday 9 to Friday 13 September 2019.

Somerset July & November 2019 / January 2020

New dates announced following the success of earlier tours: 18-21 July 2019; 21-24 November 2019; 23-26 January 2020

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: CALL 01934 712831

Choose from three, each with two-and-a-half days’ birding and three nights’ DBB
• Thu 18 to Sun 21 July 2019 • Thu 21 to Sun 24 November 2019
• Thu 23 to Sunday 26 January 2020


DETAILS: All accommodation is en suite in luxury converted cottages or an adjacent B&B, and the holiday price includes dinner and drinks, self-service breakfast, pub lunch, all transport during your stay, and the services of our guides Stephen and Graeme. Group size maximum seven clients.

PRICE: £565pp (deposit £100) Single room supplement £75pp


Great-White-Egret-in-flight.jpg

Great White, Little and Cattle Egrets float over the reedbeds, or fish in the watery ditches known as rhynes. Bitterns, too, are often glimpsed as they fly low over the reeds. In July, you can watch returning waders along the coast, Marsh Harriers overhead, and if we are lucky, Cranes – Europe’s tallest bird. In winter, the marshes are packed with waterbirds, and up to half a million Starlings!

Depending on the time of year, we also visit Cheddar Reservoir, the Quantock and Mendip Hills, and the coast, where almost anything can – and does – turn up. At a time when much of Britain’s birdlife is in decline, Somerset offers a truly awesome birding experience.

We at Somerset Birdwatching Holidays pride ourselves on our attention to detail: we take a maximum of seven clients in our special vehicle (christened Thunderbird One), and offer luxury accommodation, splendid food and convivial company. With naturalist and author Stephen Moss and keen birder Graeme Mitchell as your guides, this holiday is ideal for birdwatchers at any level, from complete beginner onwards.

Our unrivalled knowledge of some of Somerset’s best-kept secret sites, and their birds, means you’ll get unforgettable views of some of Britain’s most charismatic species.

We love showing people not just the birds and other wildlife of Somerset, but also the history and culture of this unique county and its myriad landscapes: from hills, to coast, to those magical wetlands. So please join us on a relaxing, enjoyable and above all memorable tour.

Somerset is now the best place in Britain to see – and get great views of – some of the country’s most sought-after bird species. The Avalon Marshes are the heron capital of Britain, with up to seven species breeding there. And in winter they play host to one of the greatest of all British birding spectacles: the famous Starling murmurations.

Stephen’s top 5 Somerset specials

GREAT WHITE EGRET
Our star species – and the proud logo of Somerset Birdwatching Holidays – is one of Britain’s greatest conservation success stories. Having arrived on the Avalon Marshes less than a decade ago, these stately white herons now breed in large numbers, and sightings are absolutely guaranteed.

BITTERN
Or ‘toasted heron’, as one local schoolboy named it. One of Britain’s most elusive species, the Bittern has made an extraordinary comeback, from just 11 booming males in the 1990s to more than 50 now on the Avalon Marshes alone! We’ll keep a sharp eye out for these charismatic birds as they appear momentarily on the edge of a reedbed, or fly overhead.

CRANE
Europe’s tallest bird – and one of its most spectacular – can be surprisingly hard to track down in this huge wetland, but we’ll check out the latest reports and hope to connect with flocks of these stately waterbirds in the fields around West Sedgemoor.

HOBBY
This elegant falcon returns from Africa in late April, when flocks gather over the marshes on fine spring days. We’ll keep a constant eye out for these speed merchants as they hawk acrobatically for insects in the skies above.

CATTLE EGRET
Europe’s smallest egret first bred in the UK on 2009 – guess where? Yes, Somerset! Since then flocks of more than 100 birds have been seen, lending a touch of Africa to the West Country. We’ll visit a local heronry where the birds breed, and hope to see them as they fly in and out.

STARLINGS
Watching half a million Starlings performing their aerial acrobatics is a truly awesome experience – however many times you are lucky enough to see it! We ensure that we are in place well in time on a winter’s afternoon to witness this incredible ‘Starling Spectacular’!

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: CALL 01934 712831