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News in brief: tours to St Lucia, Sri Lanka & the Maldives

Spinner Dolphins, Maldives

Spinner Dolphins, Maldives

In St Lucia … There can be few better places to head in January than the 4-star Anse Chastenet hotel, which boasts a house reef, private beach, delicious food and superb grounds! In the hotel grounds our group enjoyed wonderful views of metallic-coloured hummingbirds, Bananaquits, Lesser Antillean Bullfinches, Lesser Antillean Saltators, Tropical Mockingbirds and Scaly-naped Pigeons during their 9-day holiday. Out at sea, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins and Brown Boobies catching flying fish were among the highlights, while daily snorkelling rewarded our group with hundreds of colourful fish and corals. Back on land, the sight of 5,000 Lesser Antillean Fruit Bats in a cave impressed everyone. Pied-billed Grebe, Osprey, Blue-winged Teal, breeding Caribbean Coots and a pair of American Wigeon were among the wetland birds seen, and our group saw all five of the island’s endemics: St Lucia Parrot, St Lucia Warbler, St Lucia Oriole, St Lucia Pewee, and St Lucia Black Finch. For further information about our next 9-day holiday to St Lucia please call Dan on 01962 733051 or email dan@naturetrek.co.uk

In Sri Lanka … Our 10-day ‘Sri Lanka - Endemic Birds’ holiday last November struck the jackpot as our group managed to see all 33 of the island’s endemic birds! Highlights included: the sight of a Legge’s Hawk-eagle flying away with a small dog; Malabar Whistling-thrush and Scaly Thrush; 2 Purple-faced Langurs and a Toque Macaque; Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Large-billed Crow, Barn Swallow, Ashy Woodswallow, White-bellied Drongo, Yellow-billed Babbler, White-rumped and Scaly-breasted Munias, Sri Lanka Bush-warbler and Oriental Magpie-robin. Mammalian highlights included Jungle Cat, and encountering a herd of 6 Elephants, including 2 young ones, drinking and splashing themselves with water at Udawalawa National Park. For further information about our tours to Sri Lanka please call Rajan on 01962 733051 or email rajan@naturetrek.co.uk

In the Maldives … Those that joined Naturetrek’s ‘Mantas, Dolphins and Coral Reefs’ cruise in the Maldives in February enjoyed some fantastic wildlife encounters, both above and below the tranquil surface of the beautiful Maldivian waters! It was certainly quality not quantity in terms of cetacean species, but with 22 separate encounters over the week (many of them Spinner Dolphins!), tour participants were kept busy watching their antics around the boat each day. Morning and evening, our group enjoyed some of the best snorkelling in the world, with incredible coral gardens and hundreds of species of fish to enjoy – favourites including the Clown Triggerfish, Long-nose Filefish and the Imperial Angelfish. They also enjoyed close encounters with Manta Rays, Stingrays, Hawksbill Turtles, Nurse Sharks and a trip highlight for many was saving an Olive Ridley Turtle which was trapped in a fishing net out at sea – it was certainly his lucky day when the Naturetrek boat cruised past! Our next 10-day Mantas, Dolphins & Coral Reef - A Maldives Cruise holiday departs on Friday 19th February 2016. Please call Kerrie on 01962 733051 or email kerrie@naturetrek.co.uk for further information or to book this holiday.