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News in brief: Spain, St Lucia & Sri Lanka

Soufriere, St Lucia

Soufriere, St Lucia

In Spain …

Clients on our 'Extremadura at Christmas' holiday enjoyed a pleasant welcome on their first morning in this remote region of Spain with views of Azure-winged Magpie, Sardinian Warbler and Hawfinch near their guesthouse. Avian highlights included huge flocks of Calandra Lark, an early record for a returning Great Spotted Cuckoo, eagles including Bonelli’s, tens of thousands of ducks, plus vultures, White Storks, Dartford Warbler, Bluethroat, Penduline and Bearded Tits, Little Bittern and trees full of Serins. During their last two days, they saw flocks of Little and Great Bustards, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, and large numbers of Stone Curlew and Cranes. The sight of a pair of Spanish Imperial Eagles with a juvenile showing off its flight skills, and a female Otter with two cubs playing in the river below made for a wonderful treat at the end of the trip.

Our next 7-day 'Extremadura at Christmas' holiday departs Thursday 22nd December 2016. Please contact Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for more information.

In St Lucia …

Hot sunshine, sandy beaches and sightings of whales, endemic birdlife and stunning coral reefs all featured in abundance on the Caribbean island of St Lucia during our January tour. Staying at the luxury Anse Chastanet hotel our group of 14 was treated to all the island’s endemics, including the St Lucia Warbler, St Lucia Parrot, St Lucia Pewee, St Lucia Oriole and St Lucia Black Finch! Among the other species seen were some only found in the Lesser Antilles, such as the Caribbean Elaenia, Rufous-throated Solitaire and Lesser Antillean Saltator. New birds for the trip included a White-tailed Tropicbird, American Coot, Brown Pelican and Cliff Swallow. On two separate excursions at sea, our group saw five or six adult female Sperm Whales with their calves as they swam in front of St Lucia’s iconic volcanic Pitons. They also had excellent views of bow-riding Pantropical Spotted Dolphins and seabirds including Pomarine Skua, Magnificant Frigatebird, Brown Booby and Masked Booby. Other pleasures of this winter Caribbean holiday included a rainforest ‘sky-ride’, delicious cuisine and afternoons spent relaxing on sandy beaches or snorkelling over the island’s best coral reef!

Our next 9-day St Lucia holiday departs Friday 6th January 2017. Please contact Dan Free on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk for further information.

In Sri Lanka …

Mammalian highlights on our January 2016 Wild Sri Lanka... In Style! holiday included Asian Elephant, Leopard, Grey Langur, Ruddy Mongoose, Flying Foxes and Grizzled Giant Squirrel. Among the special birds seen were Yellow Bittern, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Sri Lanka Woodshrike and Sri Lanka Swallow, while on a boat excursion off the south coast, our clients were treated to views of charismatic Spinner Dolphins, as well as Green Turtle and Blue Whale. Those opting to do our Sinharaja Forest extension managed to record Sri Lanka Hill Myna, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Serendib Scops Owl, Green-billed Coucal and the beautiful Sri Lanka Blue Magpie among their finds.

Our next 14-day ‘Wild Sri Lanka... In Style!’ holiday departs Monday 14th November 2016. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk  for further information.