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News in brief: France, Mallorca, Bavaria & the Isles of Scilly

Lady's Slipper Orchid

Lady's Slipper Orchid

In Mallorca …
Our 8-day ‘Spring Birding in Mallorca’ holiday this April enjoyed sunny clear skies and managed to record 123 bird species. Highlights included Cinereous and Griffon Vultures in the mountains, a Golden Eagle dwarfing four Marsh Harriers as they ‘thermalled’ over S’Albufera marsh, excellent views of Nightingale a metre above the group’s heads, singing for all it was worth, displaying Bee-eaters, and constant bird song around the hotel from Cetti’s and Sardinian Warblers, Greenfinches and Serins. Our next ‘Spring Birding in Mallorca’ holiday departs Thursday 12th May 2016. Please call Andy on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for further details of this tour.
 
In France …
Over 30 species of orchids were among the highlights of our 8-day ‘France – The Dordogne’ holiday this May, including Man, Military, Monkey, Lady, Tongue, Fly, Bee, Woodcock, and both Early and Small Spider. Wild Gladiolus, Wood and Carthusian Pinks, Spanish Broom, White Flax, Bastard Balm, various Broomrapes, Tassel Hyacinth, Star of Bethlehem and St Bernard’s Lily provided additional colour. Scarce and Common Swallowtails, Berger’s Clouded Yellow, Sooty Copper, Adonis, Mazarine and Little Blues, Heath, Meadow, and Glanville Fritillaries, Large Wall, various skippers as well as numerous Cleopatra’s were among the 40 species of butterfly seen. Bird highlights included Common and Black Redstarts, Serin, Hawfinch, Crag Martin, Tawny Pipit, Corn Bunting, Black and Red Kites, Honey Buzzard, Melodious and Bonelli’s Warblers, Hoopoe, Woodlark and Spotted Flycatcher, and Nightingale, Cuckoo, Golden Oriole and Turtle Dove were heard singing most days. Our next ‘France – The Dordogne’ holiday departs Saturday 16th April 2016. Please call Andy on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for further details of this tour.

In the Isles of Scilly …
Clients on our ‘The Isles of Scilly’ holiday in May enjoyed a the show of colourful Thrift on exposed headlands, as well as a few special plants unique to Scilly in the UK, including the diminutive Dwarf Pansy and Orange Bird’s-foot. The sea crossings to and from Penzance provided views of Manx Shearwaters, Gannets, Fulmars and gulls while an exciting trip with Island Sea Safaris took our group close to some seabird colonies on the Western Rocks where they had great views of Puffins, Razorbills, Fulmars and Kittiwakes, large flocks of Shags and many Grey Seals hauled out on the rocks. Among the other avian highlights from the week were Wheatear, Stonechat, Rock Pipit and Linnet, and ubiquitous, confiding Song Thrushes. Rarities included a Common Crane, and a male Little Bittern, a Peregrine which put on a wonderful display on St Martin’s and further sightings of Hobby, Buzzard and Kestrel. Cuckoos were heard in several locations, and one performed well for the photographers on St Agnes. Our next ‘The Isles of Scilly’ holiday departs Saturday 19th September 2015. Please call Dan on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk for further details of this tour.

In Germany …
Highlights from our late May/early June holiday in Bavaria’s in the Berchtesgadener Alps included Golden Eagles visiting their eyrie, close views of a Black Woodpecker, Chamois kids frolicking on patches of snow and sunbathing (but vigilant!) Marmots. Pristine Lady’s Slipper Orchid, Fly Orchid, Bird’s-nest and Coral-root Orchids were among the flora seen within Berchtesgaden National Park, and our group marvelled at the colourful swathes of Globeflowers, Alpine Snowbells, Leafless-stemmed Globularia and Spring and Clusius’s Gentians. Clouded Apollo, Swallowtail, Chequered Skipper and Black-veined White were among the butterflies enjoyed, as well as some sightseeing in Salzburg, the quaint market town of Berchtesgaden and the infamous mountain retreat of Adolf Hitler, the Eagle’s Nest … and all without travelling more than 200 miles during the entire tour! Our next 8-day ‘Bavarian Alps’ holiday departs on 29th May 2016. Please call Andy on 01962 733051 or email andy@naturetrek.co.uk for further information.