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News from the Field - April 2024

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News from the Field - April 2024

“We enjoyed a great week of birding around Cyprus from our very comfy base in Paphos. Migrants were a big focus of our birding efforts, with classic eastern Mediterranean species such as Rüppell’s Warbler, Collared Flycatcher, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Ortolan bunting and Eastern Subalpine Warbler featuring among the wide range of species making daily landfalls on the island.  Real rarities included the group finding of a flock of Blue-cheeked Bee-eater and connecting with a Little Swift among a huge flock of migrating swifts and hirundines. Migrant waders, herons and wildfowl were a big feature, with several Little Crake, Marsh Sandpiper, Spur-winged Lapwing and large flocks of Purple Heron and Glossy Ibis passing overhead being particularly memorable. We also made sure that we successfully encountered the special breeding species, such as Black Francolin, Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Cretzschmar’s Bunting and even experienced the first wave of returning Eleonora's Falcon. We saw all of the island’s special endemic species and subspecies, which included fantastic views of Cyprus Scops Owl and Cyprus Warbler, with Cyprus Wheatear a daily fixture. Great birding, a great island and a great group!”Chris Rodger


“It was lovely to escape to the warmth of the eastern Mediterranean island of Lesvos and exciting to be there during migration! Over the course of the week, we saw plenty of migrants arriving with something different every day including Collared Flycatcher, Red-throated Pipit, Red-footed Falcon, Great Reed Warbler, Little & Baillon's Crakes, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Rüppell's Warbler and much more! One morning we found a flock of around 30 Bee-eater with about half a dozen Golden Oriole and enjoyed watching them for a while until a Kestrel came through and scattered everything! Group highlights included Montagu's Harrier, Dalmatian Pelican, Flamingos right outside our hotel and the stunning scenery of this beautiful island!” Holly Page

Trinidad, Tobago & Saint Lucia
“The 2024 Caribbean tour is nearing its conclusion after a three-island
epic in high temperatures. We have enjoyed a lot of birds, including all the endemics, near endemics and regional endemics on St. Lucia, both endemics on Trinidad and Tobago, and many, many more as well! Highlights include good views of the Bearded Bellbird, the Oilbird cave and the manakin species at the new-look Asa Wright, the Trinidad Motmot and Blue-backed Manakin on Tobago, eating dinner on a boat with Scarlet Ibis coming into roost on Caroni Swamp, Little Tobago with its vibrant seabird colony, huge female Leatherback Turtles laying eggs on a beach just outside our hotel rooms, the Trinidad Piping-Guan wing-flapping over our heads, and a vibrant hummingbird garden. We need another week on the beach now to let it all sink in!” Mike Coleman

Cornwall in Spring
“On our second day of the trip, after already getting good views of
Chough, it was obvious there had been a fall of migrants. Blackcaps, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were everywhere and overhead were Swift. Flocks of Red Kite, Swallows and Martins were coming in off the sea en masse and a male Woodchat Shrike was the cherry on the cake. Other days gave us Cirl Bunting, Dartford Warbler, Osprey and stunning views of Short-eared Owls. 

A pod of Risso’s Dolphin and thousands of Manx Shearwater were highlights at sea and the weather has been fantastic!!” - Toby Green

Highlands & Skye in Spring
“I’ve just finished an enjoyable week guiding or Highlands and Skye tour, one where the sun may have been shining, but a cool northerly wind kept the temperatures in check. It’s a late spring, and the local birds are definitely keen to get into breeding mode so it was great to welcome them back. With plenty of highlights, close encounters with Slavonian Grebe and Black-throated Diver in immaculate summer plumage ranked highly. In the forests, Crested Tit have begun nest building, crossbills showed well and it was great to hear Tree Pipit and Redstart singing again. Finding Ptarmigan took a bit of effort out on the Applecross peninsula, and we scored great views of Ring Ouzel and Snow Bunting in a magic hour on Cairngorm. And with Black Grouse being so active at this time of year we didn’t even have to go out too early which is always a bonus!

During our three-day venture to Skye, numerous Golden and White-tailed Eagle encounters were predictable given such high densities on the island. Clear skies throughout and four Short-eared Owls hunting the same moorland were less expected - a wonderful surprise, and we added a fifth ‘Shortie’ out on the Moray coast showing down to 10 meters! With a mix of incoming summer birds and late-to-depart winter visitors, we logged an incredible 102 species on that day with rarer White-billed Diver and Great Egret featuring. Summer waders such as Greenshank, Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper were great to see, with building numbers of other species and a few Purple Sandpiper still around. Sea-duck including Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck and Scaup all made it onto our checklists and while our only Otter was a bit distant, Bottlenose Dolphins just off the shore more than made up for it! A really enjoyable week to be out guiding.” Mark Warren


About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: +44(0)1479 821248