Tours

For a birding trip with a difference,  join me on one of these special birding holidays or arrange your own privately guided day or break. Options range from autumn tours to the rarity hot-spot of the Azores (14 visits so far) to specially devised itineraries at home and abroad for your target species. For feedback, please see the Testimonials page.



AZORES: THE TRANSATLANTIC VAGRANTS TOUR 
Megas: Yellow-throated Vireo and Northern Parula.
10-18 October 2015 | Nowhere in the Western Palearctic has such a high ratio of vagrants to resident and regular species than this isolated archipelago in the North Atlantic, and October is the prime time to see them. This long-running guided tour will focus on Nearctic wildfowl, shorebirds and landbirds, with past highlights including such major WP vagrants as Wood Duck, White-tailed Tropicbird, Tricoloured Heron, American Bittern, Northern Harrier, Semipalmated Plover, Least, Solitary and Upland Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson's Snipe, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, White-eyed, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, Hooded, Yellow, Blackpoll and Black-and-white Warblers, Northern Parula, American Redstart, Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Bobolink. We'll also search for Azores Bullfinch. Price: £1,660 including scheduled return flights from UK.
* Tour operated in association with Archipelago Azores (ATOL 6059) and Birdwatch magazine. For more details or to reserve your place, call 01768 775672.


NEW! AZORES: ENDEMICS, SEABIRDS AND SHOREBIRDS
Endemics: Azores Bullfinch and Monteiro's Storm-petrel.
10-17 September 2016 | This tour will search for the unique birds of this Atlantic archipelago, foremost among which are Monteiro’s Storm-petrel and Azores Bullfinch, both endemic to the islands. There's also a chance of Grant's Storm-petrel, and we'll certainly see the regionally endemic Atlantic Canary and some of the islands’ other distinctive birds, including the local forms known as Rothschild’s Buzzard, Azores Gull and Azores Chaffinch, all of which may potentially be split in future (from Common Buzzard, Yellow-legged Gull and Common Chaffinch respectively). Additionally, we’ll make a special effort to connect with American birds such as Semipalmated Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper and other waders and wildfowl which regularly occur in these islands but are otherwise far rarer in Europe ‘proper’; there is also a real chance of finding our own vagrants. This tour includes three pelagic trips which offer the chance of close encounters not just with seabirds such as the regionally enigmatic Sooty Tern, but also cetaceans like the impressively huge Sperm Whale. Add to that a good likelihood of the islands’ one endemic land mammal, Azores Noctule bat, and this tour offers the complete Azores bird and wildlife experience. Price: £1,699 including scheduled return flights from UK.
* Tour operated by Oriole Birding (ATOL 6839). For more details or to register your interest, please call 01656 711152 or email oriolebirding@gmail.com.

Click here to read the October Azores tour reports for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
Click here for an online gallery of Azores birds from previous tours


NEW! IRAN: SPRING IN THE PERSIAN GULF
Crab-plovers courtesy of Oriole Birding.
5-16 May 2016 | Blessed with friendly and welcoming people, the ancient country of Persia is beginning to open its borders as a tourist destination. A country with such huge variety in its habitats and climate can only have a fascinating avifauna, and Iran is an exceptional destination with which offers some fantastic opportunities for much-wanted species. Top of the list will be Pleske's Ground Jay, a national endemic, while other exciting near-endemic species include Caspian Tit, Red-tailed Wheatear, Sind Pied Woodpecker and Plain Leaf Warbler. Iran has 105 Important Bird Areas, according to BirdLife International, and the various habitats include hundreds of lakes and wetlands, unique Hyrcanian forest, high montane habitat, steppe and sandy deserts, and vast semi-tropical mangrove forests. In addition to the near-endemics, some rare or much sought-after species like Macqueen’s Bustard, Caspian Snowcock, White-throated Robin, Socotra Cormorant, Marbled Duck, White-headed Duck, Crab-plover, Bay-backed Shrike, Asian Desert Warbler, Hume’s Wheatear, Crested Honey Buzzard, Indian Pond Heron, Goliath Heron, Persian Shearwater, Purple Sunbird, Eastern Imperial Eagle and Green Warbler can all be found. No visit to Iran would be complete without visiting some of its spectacular historical sites, so a day or two in Persepolis or Isfahan will provide unforgettable memories as well as superb birds. The terrain is mostly easy, though as we are at altitude on a couple of occasions, a reasonable level of physical fitness will be required, and it is likely to be fairly hot at times. Price TBC.
* Tour operated by Oriole Birding (ATOL 6839). For more details or to register your interest, please call 01656 711152 or email oriolebirding@gmail.com.


Harlequin Duck © Dominic Mitchell
PRIVATE GUIDING & CUSTOM TOURS
I am also available for guided birding either in/from London year-round for target species, and on custom breaks/tours in Britain, the Western Palearctic and further afield; recently organised custom tours include Cuba and Brazil. If you want to discuss guiding requirements for tour groups or on an individual basis, please contact me.

Visit the Testimonials page.

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