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News in brief: Scotland, Jordan, Brazil/Chile, Spain, Peru, Bulgaria & Argentina

Inca Tern, Peru

Inca Tern, Peru

In Scotland …
Both of our ‘Scotland’s Mammals & Highlights of the Highlands’ tours based on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula during the latter half of August 2016 benefited from mild (and, at times, moist) conditions. Mammalian highlights included watching Pine Martens at our group’s accommodation (food is put out daily to attract these charismatic mammals), Otters on Loch Sunart, Red Deer, Common Seal, Harbour Porpoise and Bottlenose Dolphin. Ornithological highlights included regular sightings of White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, a good selection of seabirds, and clients on our second departure saw a rare American Black Duck!

Our next 8-day Scotland’s Mammals & Highlights of the Highlands holiday departs Tuesday 1st August 2017. Please call Tom Mabbett on 01962 733051 or email tom@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


In Jordan …
Cultural highlights from our ‘Jordan – Birds & Archaeology’ holiday included travelling through the breathtaking scenery of the Wadi Rum and the archaeological marvel of Petra, as well as plenty of castles. Jordan’s landscapes are simply stunning – black stony desert, towering pink mountains, the Red Sea, the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba were among the scenic highlights. Regional bird specialities seen included Pharaoh Eagle Owl, White-eyed Gull, Spur-winged Plover, Sand Partridge, Basalt (Desert) Lark, Rock Martin, Mourning Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Sinai Rosefinch, Syrian Serin and Striolated Bunting, while Rift Valley migrants included Steppe Eagles at Azraq in the north, Levant Sparrowhawks at Dana, Red-throated Pipits at Little Petra and Bluethroats at the Aqaba Bird Observatory. Almost stumbling into a couple of Crested Porcupines was memorable, too!

Our next 9-day Jordan – Birds & Archaeology holiday departs Saturday 7th October 2017. Please call Dan Free on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


In Brazil & Chile ...
Our ‘South America’s Big Cats’ tour in October recorded 19 Puma and 10 Jaguar sightings.  Highlights included watching a female Puma stalk, then chase, a Guanaco; she failed to catch the Guanaco but managed to catch a hare a few minutes later. Our group also saw two female Pumas, each with a set of triplets – from this year and last year. Another sighting was of yearling twin Pumas feeding on a Guanaco kill while their mother was off trying to catch another. In Brazil our group had fantastic close views of a male Jaguar pouncing on a Caiman. The Jaguar disappeared under the water … only to surface with just a mouthful of water hyacinth! They also saw a 2-year-old female Jaguar reclining gracefully on a log in the river, and several Jaguars swimming. And, on the final evening, our group enjoyed fabulous close views of an Ocelot.
 
Our next 16-day South America’s Big Cats holiday departs Sunday 8th October 2017. Please call Dan Free on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


In Spain …
The Montaña Palentina mountains in northern Spain are home to one of the largest Iberian Wolf populations in the peninsula. The base for our ‘Wolf-watching in Spain’ holidays is in the very small, peaceful village of Cordovilla. From here our groups depart each day to scan the surrounding heathland and mixed forest for Wolves. Our October group enjoyed good views of a pack of Wolves, comprised of at least two adults and four juveniles, playing and interacting with each other. Other highlights included the sight of a female Brown Bear with two cubs and 5 Wildcats hunting Water Voles in the fields!

Our next 5-day Wolf-watching in Spain holiday departs Sunday 10th September 2017. Please call Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.


In Peru …
September’s ‘Peru – Macaw’s & Machu Picchu’ tour, led by Jose Antonio Padilla, began with the sensory overload of a visit to one of the largest concentrations of Southern Sea Lions in the Pacific Ocean, just a short distance off Lima’s coastline. Here the group also enjoyed 3 species of cormorants, Inca Tern, Wilson’s Storm-petrel and Humboldt Penguin, amongst other Humboldt specialities. In the Tambopata rainforest, our group experienced the world’s largest known macaw clay-click, seeing four species of large macaw including the sought-after Blue-headed, plus many parrots and parakeets. A Puma along the bank of the Tambopata River was not a first for Naturetrek in Peru, but it was a very welcome surprise! Five primate species were also seen, including Black Spider Monkey. Next our group embarked on one of the world’s most iconic treks – to Machu Picchu. Exceptional service from our team of Quechua-speaking porters helped us along the way and mixed tanager flocks were much enjoyed, as well as hummingbirds such as Great Sapphirewing and White-tufted Sunbeam. The pinnacle of five days on the trail was the first stupendous view of Machu Picchu from the ‘Sun Gate’. Our group also enjoyed some of Peru’s much-vaunted cuisine, such as ceviche – marinated raw fish with onions, corn, sweet potatoes. It was a tour that will live long in the memory!
 
Our next 16-day Peru – Macaws & Machu Picchu holiday departs Friday 15th September 2017. Please call Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.

In Bulgaria …

Our ‘Bulgaria in Autumn’ holiday focuses on the raptors of the Eastern Rhodope Mountains and the 'Via Pontica' migration on the Black Sea coast. Highlights on our September tour included Eastern Imperial and Golden Eagles in the Eastern Rhodope, and migrant Levant Sparrowhawks, Lesser Spotted Eagles and Red-footed Falcons near the coast. An amazing 28 wader species were seen at coastal wetlands, including Broad-billed, Marsh and Pectoral Sandpipers. Black Storks, Bee-eaters, Red-backed Shrikes and Red-breasted Flycatchers were frequently encountered, as were local specialities such as Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck and Pied Wheatear. The tour ended with a morning at Mount Vitosha, where multiple sightings of Nutcrackers brought the bird list to 191 species.

Our next 9-day Bulgaria in Autumn holiday departs Saturday 9th September 2017. Please call Paul Stanbury on 01962 733051 or email paul@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.

In Argentina …

Highlights on our ‘Birds & Mammals of Northern Argentina’ holiday included a large troop of White-lipped Peccaries, Red-legged Seriemas walking along an open path catching insects, a large male Tapir seen at a distance of just 10 metres, and an Ocelot that crossed the road in front of our group then stopped to check them out … closely followed by a Lesser Anteater which slowly moved across into taller grass by the roadside!

Our next 17-day Birds & Mammals of Northern Argentina holiday departs Saturday 9th September 2017. Please call Dan Free on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details.