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News in brief: India, Portugal & Sri Lanka

Cruising the Brahmaputra River

Cruising the Brahmaputra River

In India …

1. Brahmaputra Cruise
Our December 2016 'Brahmaputra Cruise' holiday recorded a total of 219 bird, 24 mammal and 8 reptile/other species. This holiday includes an 11-day cruise aboard the exclusively chartered RV Charaidew, a characterful and comfortable vessel with a friendly and hospitable crew. The rare Gangetic Dolphin was seen from the boat, while primate and rodent sightings included Western Hoolock Gibbon, Capped and Golden Langurs, Rhesus Macaque, Malayan Giant Squirrel and Orange-bellied Squirrel. In Kaziranga National Park our group saw Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, Asiatic Wild Buffalo, Asiatic Elephant, Smooth-coated Otters, Swamp and Hog Deer, Pallas's Fish-eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle; a distant Tiger was also spotted on a sand bank, from the Charaidew. Large flotillas of ducks and geese were seen from the boat, as well as Pied Falconet, while harriers, buzzards and Peregrines were seen on sand banks along with large flocks of 50+ Black Storks. An excursion in a raft along the Nameri Tiger Reserve produced sightings of Common Merganser, Ruddy Shelduck, Mallard, Great Thick-knee and Small Pratincole on the shingle bed islands. Other highlights included Great Hornbill and close-up views of the world's rarest Stork, the Greater Adjutant. This tour included several cultural visits, including a chance to meet locals from Mishing and Vekeli Chapori villages and to watch a performance of traditional dances. Clients opting for the pre-tour extension to Sunderbans enjoyed cruising the channels of this vast wetland; Wild Boar, Chital Deer, innumerable kingfishers of several species and large saltwater crocodiles were among the highlights.

Our 14-day Brahmaputra Cruise holiday departs Thursday 30th March and Thursday 7th December 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email for further details.

2. Unknown India - Tadoba & Satpura
Mammalian highlights on our 13-day 'Unknown India - Tadoba & Satpura' holiday included Tigers, Sloth Bear, Rusty Spotted Cat and Giant Squirrel, while special birds included Indian Grey Hornbills, Malabar Hornbills and large flocks of Bar-headed Geese. On the post-tour extension to Kanha National Park, Barasingha Deer and Jackal added to the trip’s total tally of mammals.

Our 13-day Unknown India – Tadoba & Satpura holiday departs Tuesday 14th March and Tuesday 14th November 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email for further details.

In Portugal ...

With bright sunshine and terrific birding throughout, this really was a Christmas to remember for the group. Our 8-day 'The Algarve at Christmas' holiday in 2016 explored the best of coastal, intertidal, freshwater, farmland, woodland and mountain habitat all round the Algarve. Our group recorded a total of 133 bird species, with highlights including 80+ Great Bustards, plus Little Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Alpine Accentor, Blue Rock Thrush, Purple Swamphen, Little Bittern, Audouin’s Gull, Calandra Lark, waders including Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Little Stint, Black-winged Stilt, Common Ringed and Kentish Plovers and absolutely stunning views of Western Ospreys and a Northern Goshawk. This was topped off by some truly excellent local cuisine and plenty of time for participants to relax and explore at their rural and coastal base hotels.

Our next 8-day The Algarve at Christmas holiday departs Saturday 23rd December 2017. Please call Andy Tucker on 01962 733051 or email for further details.

In Sri Lanka …

1. Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History
Our December 2016 ‘Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History’ holiday (together with the ‘Sri Lanka – Blue Whales & Leopards’ extension) recorded a total of 224 birds (of which 29 were endemics), 25 mammals and 19 reptiles and other species. In Bundala National Park our group enjoyed some fabulous sightings of the rare Glossy Ibis and, in Yala, the rare Amur Falcon. Other special birds included Collared Scops Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Brown Fish Owl and Jungle Owlet. The whale-watching extension was very successful with many close sightings of Blue Whales along with a group of over 1,000 Spinner Dolphins and a pod of Short-finned Pilot Whales. Hawksbill Turtles were also seen.

Our 17-day Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History holiday departs Saturday 4th November and Saturday 16th December 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email for further details.

2. Sri Lanka – Blue Whales & Leopards
Our December 2016 ‘Blue Whales & Leopards’ holiday recorded 22 mammals, 13 reptiles and other species and 158 birds. Whale-watching excursions off Mirissa yielded Blue Whales, Fin Whales, Spinner Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. Our group was also treated to a rare sighting of Amur Falcon in flight. In Yala National Park highlights included the endearing Sloth Bear, and watching a Leopard hunt and catch a Land Monitor.

Our next 10-day Sri Lanka – Blue Whales & Leopards holiday departs Saturday 9th September 2017. Please call Rajan Jolly on 01962 733051 or email for further details.