NEW! Czech Republic - South Moravia

A special Wallcreeper and Woodpecker short break!

Dates
  • 27 Feb - 01 Mar 2020
Destination
Duration4 Days
Focus
Guides Leader Gerard will be accompanied by Mike Coleman with more than seven clients.
Max Group Size12
2020 Price
£1195 pp
£95 single supplement. Deposit £300

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

An exciting new short holiday to an underexplored part of Central Europe, ideal for busy birders who want to see some key European birds in winter. South Moravia is a special region of the Czech Republic where birders rarely visit, though birding can be very rewarding. We seek wintering Wallcreeper, a spectacular bird which winters at low elevations and can be seen well at this time of year. Also, at this time when there are fewer leaves on trees, we have good chances to see woodpeckers. Seven species may be found here: Black, Grey-headed, Middle Spotted and Syrian are our main targets, though Green, Lesser Spotted and Greater Spotted are also present.

Late-February is a great time to visit as winter turns to spring, and South Moravia is blessed with remarkably rich and diverse habitats; broadleaved woodlands, floodplain forests, lakes, fishponds, limestone hills, steppe grasslands, meadows, vineyards, orchards, farmlands - and all within a short drive of our base. A wide range of raptors, wildfowl, passerines and perhaps Eagle Owl will add to the excitement. We will not need to rush around and the tour will be moderate-paced. With its Mediterranean-like feel, this is the country’s traditional wine area, and we’ll also have the option to visit an old cellar one evening. A wonderful short-break! 

Group leader Gerard is a well-known expert Leader based in nearby Budapest. He knows this area very well, and is also the author of many well informed books on the subject of Eastern European birding and woodpeckers in particular.

This is one of our 'for birders' holidays, click here to see more!

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details here.

Day 1: Thursday 27 February - Arrival and transfer to South Moravia
We fly to Vienna and then after a short drive north to South Moravia in the Czech Republic settle into our base for three nights in the lovely historical town of Mikulov, once the capital of Greater Moravia.

Days 2 and 3: Friday 28 February and Saturday 29 February - Wallcreeper, woodpeckers and more
This new tour is timed to coincide with the occurrence of Wallcreeper, which winters in stone quarries and on limestone crags in the Pálava Hills in the Lower Morava Biosphere Reserve. This wonderful bird can sometimes even be seen around the buildings here and expert local knowledge will maximise our chances. Seven species may be found here: the huge Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed and Middle Spotted are not uncommon while Syrian Woodpecker is resident in most villages. Those that are found in the UK (Green, Lesser Spotted and Great Spotted) are also present. Indeed, group leader Gerard, is something of an expert being author of five books on the family including WOODPECKERS in the RSPB’s SPOTLIGHT book series - so we have high hopes.

Of course, we’ll look for other species too! Raptors including Red and Black Kites, Hen and Marsh Harriers, Goshawk, White-tailed Eagle and perhaps Eastern Imperial Eagle. The Nové Mlýny reservoirs host roosting geese in this season, mainly Russian Greater White-fronted and Greylag, although a few Barnacle, Red-breasted and Tundra Bean Geese may also be found, and possibly even rare Lesser White-fronted Goose. Ducks include Common and Red-crested Pochard, Scaup, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Velvet Scoter and Smew, and with luck four grebe species and Black-throated Diver. The regular large gull hereabouts is Caspian, with the odd Yellow-legged Gull present. We will also visit the riverine woods of the River Dyje and stroll in the gorgeous gardens and around the ponds of the Lednice Château. This Gothic-Renaissance-Baroque building and the grounds are listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural and Natural Heritage site. Besides the impressive architecture, Hawfinches are likely and the magnificent old oak trees (some are National Monuments) attract woodpeckers and Short-toed Treecreeper. Reedbeds at fishponds, some dating from the 15th century, play home to Bearded Tit and Penduline Tit can often be found in the adjacent willow trees. We’ll keep an eye out for wintering Great Grey Shrike as we explore the region and visit a site for Eagle Owl and a roost of Long-eared Owl. This will be a busy bird-filled, but nonetheless easy-going weekend.

Day 4: Sunday 1 March - Final birding and departure
After breakfast we will do some local birding to try and see anything we might have missed, before we drive back to Vienna for return flights to the UK.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • scheduled return flights between London Gatwick and Vienna, airport taxes,
  • ground transportation between birdwatching sites and also to and from Vienna airport in a modern and spacious air-conditioned vehicle,
  • three nights comfortable accommodation with all meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
  • the services of your leaders.
  • entrance fees to parks and reserves, and tips to hotels and restaurants.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included free of charge subject to terms and conditions. Read more...

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • personal insurance, drinks and other personal expenses, optional tips to the driver and local guide, and any other costs not specified as 'included'.
  • Entry to non wildlife activities, such as an optional visit to a local wine cellar. 

More Holiday Information:

Accommodation is in comfortable hotels or guest houses with all rooms en suite. These are family-run establishments, rather than big hotels, with good standards. We feel this type of accommodation is just right for our clients!
Food is included from breakfast through until dinner. Picnic lunches will be provided by your guide, and will include a variety of local produce.
Walking is generally light/moderate. There may be some uphill track and road walking, though generally an average level of fitness is required.
Weather is variable at this time. Low temperatures, snow or rain are possible, as are clear pleasant days. We will be spending some time in snowy forests and open exposed areas, it is therefore vital to have suitable clothing and equipment. The temperature can change quickly, so layered, thermal clothing is recommended.  
Insects: biting insects are not expected.
Group size is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights are by scheduled airline, from London Gatwick – regional departures may be possible, please ask for further details.

YOUR GUIDE(S)

Gerard Gorman
Born in the UK, Gerard has lived in Budapest for many years. A very experienced birding and wildlife guide, he has led over 500 group tours around the world, and speaks several languages. His main interest is woodpeckers, and he is author of a guide to all the world's species.


Mike Coleman
Ever-popular Mike has been with Heatherlea since 2001, and is an experienced Leader in many countries around the world.

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday in Europe?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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PH25 3EB Scotland

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