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News in brief: Spain, Portugal & Sri Lanka

Great Bustard

Great Bustard

In Spain …

Our ‘Wolf-watching at Christmas’ holiday in northern Spain was a huge success! After two Wolf-scanning sessions on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day morning with no success, a change of fortune occurred on the afternoon of the 25th with the sighting of a young Cantabrian Brown Bear – over a 50-minute period our group watched the bear (through telescopes and binoculars) playing, running and climbing trees! On Boxing Day the group descended to the plains and enjoyed Great Bustards amongst many other species. Finally, on the 27th December, we located our main quarry – 6 wolves feeding on a dead cow together with many Griffon Vultures! The icing on the cake was a Wildcat which passed behind our two vehicles, offering good views. This was a fantastic bird and mammal-filled Christmas holiday with great company!

There will be four departures of our Wolf-watching in Spain holiday this year (two in September and two in October); our next Christmas departure will be on Friday 23rd December 2016. Please contact Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for more information.

 

In Portugal’s Algarve …

Our 'Algarve at Christmas' holiday provided a welcome break from the cold and rainy conditions in the UK; our group enjoyed blue skies and warm sunshine throughout the trip! Avian highlights included: Blue Rock Thrushes and Crag Martins on the slopes of Foia; Purple Swamp Hen, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint and Greater Flamingo in the coastal wetlands; the Alentejo Steppe provided great numbers of Great and Little Bustards, plus 90 Common Crane, Black-bellied Sandgrouse and the emblematic Spanish Imperial Eagle; and a Glaucous Gull was seen in the harbour below the hotel. During one lunchtime picnic (a fabulous feast comprised of local cheeses and wine!) our group was surrounded by Iberian Magpies, and a Wryneck also made an appearance!

Our next 7-day Algarve at Christmas holiday will be on Friday 23rd December 2016. Please contact Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for more information about this or any of our other tours to Portugal.


In Sri Lanka …

Our Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History holiday in December 2015 recorded a total of 210 bird, 22 mammal and 10 reptiles species. Our group enjoyed Leopard sightings in Yala National Park, as well as seeing a colony of bats in nearby Tissamaharama, which included Indian Flying Fox, Fulvous Fruit Bat and Greater Short-nosed Fruit bat. The post-tour ‘Blue Whales’ extension got off to a great start on 4th January 2016 with a wonderful day out on clear waters – participants were treated to a total of 9 Blue Whales some of which came up to the boat and were seen diving underneath it as well! On the following day, 8 Blue Whales were seen and a pod of 25 Spinner Dolphins as well as flying fish. This follows on from a wonderful start to the season’s whale-watching off the southern coast of Sri Lanka – we’ve had between 2 and 15 Blue Whale sightings every day since our trips began on 20th December!

Our next 17-day ‘Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History’ holiday departs on Saturday 27th February.

Blue Whale sightings were plentiful right from the first trip out to sea on our Sri Lanka – Blue Whales & Leopards holiday in December. Our group enjoyed two Blue Whale sightings on the first day and three on the second … followed by 12 on the third day! A Bryde’s Whale with its calf and many Spinner Dolphins were among the other cetaceans seen. In Yala National Park, our group enjoyed seeing Sloth Bear and recorded an unusual sighting of Indian Pangolin outside the park.

Our next two 10-day ‘Sri Lanka – Blue Whales & Leopards’ holidays depart on Saturday 6th February and Saturday 5th March.

Please contact Rajan Jolly for further information about any of our tours to Sri Lanka on 01962 733051 or email
rajan@naturetrek.co.uk