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News in brief: Nepal, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Sri Lanka, the UK & the USA

Tiger

Tiger, Sara Frost

In Nepal ...
 
In March, Naturetrek staff members Georgie Head and Sara Frost joined the Easter departure of our ‘Nepal - A Birdwatching Tour’. Visitor numbers to Nepal have been slow to recover following the major earthquake last year; however, the hotels, lodges and wildlife reserves have responded amazingly well and are now excellently prepared to receive visitors. The pre-tour extension to Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve got off to a spectacular start – the group was lucky enough to see an adult male Tiger on their first day! The main tour was no less exciting with sightings of Bengal Florican, Great Hornbill, Blue-throated and Coppersmith Barbets, and Bristled Grassbird to name but a few; many clients were able to add 300+ birds to their ‘life lists’. Mammal sightings included Indian Rhino, Ganges River Dolphin, Asian Elephant, civet and Golden Jackal - and watching Yellow-throated Martens was a wonderful way to end the holiday at Pokhara’s luxurious Tiger Mountain Lodge!
 
Our next 11-day Nepal - A Birdwatching Tour holiday departs Friday 4th November 2016. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.

In Jamaica …
Our inaugural ‘Jamaica – An Island of Endemics’ holiday in February proved a great success with wonderful hospitality at Green Castle Eco Lodge and some superb weather. During their week-long stay on this beautiful Caribbean island, our group saw all 28 of the island’s endemic birds! Other avian highlights included the elusive Crested Quail Dove in the Blue Mountains, Yellow and Back-billed Parrots, a Jamaican Owl on the Castle Green estate, three species of cuckoo and a host of stunning American wood warblers to name but a few. The Red-billed Streamertails around the lodge’s grounds provided photographers with endless opportunities and the resident Northern Potoo put on a wonderful show each evening as it hunted for moths. All this was combined with some delicious local meals and lots of fun along the way!
 
Our next 9-day Jamaica – An Island of Endemics holiday departs Monday 6th February 2017. Please call Tom Mabbett on 01962 733051 or email tom@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


In Sri Lanka …
 
Clients on our ‘Sri Lanka - Wildlife & History’ tour in March saw 220 species of birds of which 21 were endemic to Sri Lanka. We also saw 17 mammal species and 11 of reptiles. Overall there were many occasions to relax in the hotel as most of the wildlife was easily encountered and the weather was very favourable. All historical and cultural sites were covered, and an evening lecture covered all other aspects of the country’s important statistics and current status, making it a wholesome tour.
 
Our next 17-day Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History holiday departs Saturday 5th November 2016. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk  for further information.
 
 
In the UK …
 
Our March trip to ‘The Forest of Dean’ was blessed with good weather and our group was very lucky to encounter so many ‘difficult’ species. Highlights included: pre-breakfast Hawfinches and Dipper; a splendid group of Crossbills perched for us all to admire in the sun; prolonged views of a superb Great Grey Shrike; Goshawks displaying from a hilltop viewpoint; a Peregrine ‘sat sentinel’ near its nest site; and Mandarin Ducks. After seeing Fallow and Muntjac Deer on a night-time sortie, the next day our group also connected with two roadside Wild Boar, making it a memorable weekend for all.
 
Our next 3-day The Forest of Dean holiday departs Friday 3rd June 2016. Please call Tom Mabbett on 01962 733051 or email tom@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.
  
 
In Trinidad & Tobago ...

Leaving the late UK winter behind participants on our March ‘Trinidad & Tobago’ holiday spent two glorious weeks on these beautiful Caribbean islands. The group recorded almost 240 species of birds as well as a wonderful variety of bats, snakes, butterflies and other invertebrates. Our group enjoyed some relaxed birdwatching at their accommodation on Trinidad, the Asa Wright Centre. The centre’s sugar water feeders are visited daily by a mouthwatering selection of birds – 11 species of hummingbird were seen, along with tanagers, oropendolas … and bats! Other highlights included views of the rare and endemic Trinidad Piping Guan, as well as the endemics Trinidad Euphonia and Trinidad Motmot – the latter especially common on Tobago, despite its name. The tour rounded off with tame Turnstones and chachalacas just outside some of our group’s beach rooms, and savouring the island delights of Little Tobago where Red-billed Tropicbirds were nesting just a few feet away and frigatebirds drifted close overhead.
 
Our next 14-day Trinidad & Tobago holiday departs Saturday 4th March 2017. Please call Dan Free on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk for further information.
 
 
In Baja, California …
Highlights from our final Baja cruise in March included fabulous views of Humpback, Fin, Minke, Bryde’s and Blue Whales (the latter including a mother and calf pair), plus a 1,000-strong herd of Short-beaked Common Dolphin surrounding our group’s vessel, the Searcher. Among the special birds seen on land were Hooded Oriole, Crested Caracara, Yellow Mangrove Warbler, nesting Osprey, Lark Sparrow and Gila Woodpecker! For many the undoubted highlight of the whole trip is a chance to enjoy close encounters with the ‘friendly’ Grey Whales of San Ignacio lagoon. Throughout the two days spent in the lagoon, our group was treated to views of Grey Whales fluking, spy-hopping and breaching; on one day 8 Grey Whales came up to one of our boats at once! With the skiff completely surrounded by these gentle giants, each occupant had the incredible opportunity to stroke their ‘own’ whale.
 
Our next 14-day Baja California & Sea of Cortez holiday departs Monday 6th February 2017. Please call Paul Stanbury on 01962 733051 or email paul@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.