Trip reports : back to 1998!

(Reverse) chronological

May 2019

A short Euro break to the Baltic: Great Snipe, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Citrine Wagtail, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Arctic migration and lots more.

July 2018

High mountains, pine forests, lakes and glaciers. ORCAS! Plus lots more mammals, and both migrant and resident montane birds. Also badlands and dinosaurs!

August 2017

An action-packed an hot 11-dayer in SE Europe, with mountain and wetland birds, loads of insect life, and the much-desired highlight of European Brown Bear.

June 2016
Pantanal & Iguazu

Two weeks back in Brazil (and Argentina!) 14 years after our original visit there. Panatanal just as amazing, with the added bonus of Jaguar and Ocelot, plus the stunning Iguazu Falls into the bargain.

December 2014

A superb endemic- and migrant-filled trip to the "thin bit" of Mexico - big highlights included Rosita's Bunting, Sumichrast's Sparrow, Nava's Wren, Giant Wren and Lesser Ground Cuckoo - plus a top pelagic!

December 2013

Two wonderful weeks back in the tropics - Giant Nuthatch, Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Great Hornbill, Siberian Blue Robin and field full of Palearctic British vagrants. Plus Gibbons!

July 2013

A three-day mini-Euro-twitch for Eleonora's Falcon, but also featuring Balearic Warbler, Balearic and Scopoli's Shearwaters, Black Vulture, Audouin's Gull and barely tickable Red-knobbed Coots.

April 2013

A fairly low-key (and windy!) trip to the largest of the Greek islands - lots of migrant birds (including Thrush Nightingale and Collared Flycatcher, plus lots of Red-footed Falcons), butterflies and endemic plants - plus masses of orchids.

September 2012

A mainly non-birding Geo field trip, but some good quality birds nonetheless - including Harlequin Duck, various Arctic migrants and residents, and the Aurora Borealis (not a bird, but still....)

April 2012
Taiwan and Hong Kong

An endemic-packed trip to Taiwan (both rare pheasants - Mikado and Swinhoe's, all available endemic species and most of the endemic forms, plus Black-faced Spoonbill), followed by a four-day whistle-stop tour of Hong Kong - featuring Mai Po - 36 waders in a morning, including the holy trinity: Nordmann's Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher and SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER!

August 2011
Namibia, Botswana & Zambia NHS

Our fourth overseas trip with the boys in as many years, this time we visited a trio of stunning southern African countries with good ol' Rainer and Rockjumper Birding Tours. Stacks of superb species and experiences - Black Rhino, Sable and Roan Antelopes, Rockrunner, Herero Chat, Hartlaub's Spurfowl, three MORE Puff Adders to add to the three in South Africa in 2009, and a national bird "first" for Namibia - see the report to find out more....!

April 2011

A two week meander around the steppes of Aragon and the Spanish Pyrenees. More frustration and finally partial satisfaction with Dupont's Lark, plus Lammergeier, Rock Thrush and all the Spanish specials.

May 2010

A very brief five days in northern Finland, including a Finnature owling trip with Great Grey Owl, Hawk Owl, Pygmy Owl and Black Woodpecker. Other highlights were Siberian Jay, lots of Black-trhoated Divers, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, and at last, after missing it ten years ago, a Western Palearctic tick for Julia in the form of singing Red-flanked Bluetail!

March 2010
Morocco NHS

Another fabulous overseas Natural History trip, with thirteen of our students and the ever excellent Rainer Summers, our "exclusive" Rockjumper guide. First and foremost, we succeeded in seeing the ultra-rare Northern Bald Ibis, but also enjoyed a near-complete set of desert specialities (including two ticks for Julia - African Desert Warbler and Maghreb Wheatear), plenty of mini-beasts (including scorpions and n ant species, fossils and even a meteorite!

December 2009

Three hectic (and sometimes wet!) weeks in the Andes, rainforests and Galapagos Islands - the usual Neotropical overload, but particular highlights had to be 45+ species of Hummingbirds, including Tourmaline Sunangel, Velvet-purple Coronet, Empress Brilliant, Great Sapphirewing and Ecuadorean Hillstar. Galapagos highlights were numerous - Galapagos Petrel, bustling seabird colonies, Galapagos Penguins, Darwin's Finches and more besides.

June/July 2009
Papua New Guinea

An unbelievable 4 week jaunt around the fabled island of New Guinea - 354 species (94% of them lifers!), including 21 Birds of Paradise, 29 pigeons (including Southern Crowned & Nicobar), 25 parrots (including Vulturine and Eclectus), Palm Cockatoo, 15 kingfishers (including 2 Kookaburras and 4 Paradise-kingfishers), both Painted-berrypeckers, over half of New Guinea's (and thus the world's) Berrypeckers, Wattled Ploughbill, Papuan Treecreeper, four bowerbirds and Black Sittella. Truly extraordinary....

May 2009

A short break in the Highlands of Scotland - star species included Otter, Pine Marten, Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Scottish Crossbill, White-tailed Eagle, Corncrake and stacks of seabirds - amongst others!

Mar/Apr 2009
South Africa NHS

A follow-up to last year's India school trip - this time we took 14 boys from our school NHS to see Southern Right Whale, Great White Shark, Cape Rockjumper (and many, many more endemic birds), plus the "Big Five" and loads more in Kruger NP. Ably led by our friend Rainer Summers of Rockjumper Birding Tours, we saw a total of 350 bird species!

October 2008
The Isles of Scilly

Well, it's sort of overseas.... A fab rarity-packed week on the magical Isles of Scilly - the top highlight was undoubtedly a highly unexpected Snowy Owl, ably backed up by Red-flanked Bluetail, two Grey-cheeked Thrushes, White-rumped Sandpiper and a good few other scarce bits and pieces.

July 2008
Uganda and Rwanda

A comprehensive three-week Rockjumper trip around western Uganda, with a side-trip to Rwanda in search of the mythical Mountain Gorilla. Over 500 species of birds recorded, including 19 Albertine Rift endemics, and such megas as Shoebill, African Finfoot, Great Blue Turaco, Uganda Woodland Warbler, White-spotted Flufftail and Ituri Batis.

April 2008
Southern Morocco - leading for Naturetrek

A brisk 10 day tour of the mountains and deserts of southern Morocco, with a couple of days on our own at the end. Highlights included Levaillant's Woodpecker, Red-necked Nightjar, Bald Ibis, Seebohm's Wheatear, Moussier's Redstart, Desert Sparrow, Hoopoe Lark, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Lanner at the nest and many more.

February 2008
Northern India NHS

A great 10-day trip to Delhi, Bandhavgarh and Agra with 14 keen and excited Winchester College students. Megas included 8 Bengal Tigers, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, White-capped Bunting, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Blue-capped Rock Thrush and 190+ others.

December 2007

A quick-fire visit to this wonderful country in the Horn of Africa - several Abyssinian endemics, including Wattled Ibis, Banded Barbet, White-collared Pigeon and Ethiopian Forest Oriole, plus an excellent range of east African savannah, mountain and lake birds. And mammals too - Lesser Kudu, Beisa Oryx and the regionally endemic Soemmerring's Gazelle.

October 2007

An absolutely awesome visit to the "eighth continent" - we found ourselves overwhelmed by 120+ endemic birds (including at least five endemic familes: couas, ground-rollers, cuckoo-roller, mesites and asities!), and heaven knows how many endemic plants, insects, and chameleons - and don't forget the lemurs, too!

October 2007

The mythical island of the Dodo (RIP) and the Pink Pigeon (OOL - on our lists!) was a very pleasant stopover on our way to and from Madagascar (see above). Most endemics nailed including the stunning Olive White-eye, Cuckoo-shrike and Bulbul, plus megas such as Mascarene Swiftlet and White-tailed Tropicbird, the latter completing our world list of these pelagic aeromeisters.

September 2007
UAE & Oman

Simon only once again (more sniff) - 17 lifers including such megas as Crab Plover, Great Knot, Sooty Falcon, Sooty Gull, Jouanin's Petrel, Menetrie's Warbler, Bridled, White-cheeked and Saunders's Little Terns and Desert Whitethroat. Cool - except it was extremely hot....

September 2007

Simon only (sniff) on a week's return trip to West Africa - lots of colourful, eas African birds, including two Turacos, six Kingfishers, White-shouldered Black Tit, Northern Crombec, Senegal Batis, and best of all a Hudsonian Whimbrel!

July 2007
Peninsular Malaysia

Our first trip to SE Asia, and a hill- and forest-birding spectacular, with stacks of amazing birds, from trogons and broadbills, to Crested Fireback, Bat Hawk, Malaysian Whistling-thrush, Malaysian Partridge, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Blyth's Hawk-eagle and Slaty-backed Forktail.

May 2007
Poland: Biebrza Marshes

A stunning five-day break - highlight unquestionably Great Snipe for a life tick, but also Aquatic Warbler, White-winged Black Terns in abundance, Savi's, Icterine, Marsh and Barred Warblers, Red-backed Shrike, Montagu's Harrier, White-tailed Eagle, Crane, Whiskered Tern, Great White Egret, Red-breasted Flycatcher and Black Stork, plus Red Deer, Elk and Beaver - and Eastern Hedgehog!

December 2006
Mexico: the Yucatan

A tremendous mix of endemic, Neotropical and Nearctic birds against a backdrop of Mayan ruins. Ocellated Turkey, Rose-throated Tanager, Black Catbird, Cozumel Vireo and Emerald, Yucatan Wren, Mexican Sheartail and numerous "Yank" wood warblers, including Black and White, Magnolia, Yellow-throated, Kentucky, Hooded and Chestnut-sided.

March/April 2006
Trinidad & Tobago

Absurdly easy and luxurious Neotropical birding, with stacks of superb birds - Red-billed Tropicbird, Masked Booby, Scarlet Ibis, Pinnated Bittern, Striped Owl, White-tailed Sabrewing, Oilbird, Bearded Bellbird, White-throated Spadebill, Grey-throated Leaftosser, Moriche Oriole - and a self-found first for T&T: Dark-backed (=Lesser) Goldfinch.

December 2005/6
The Canaries

A great little endemic-fest - Fuerteventura Chat, Bolle's and Laurel Pigeons, Blue Chaffinch, Tenerife Robin, Canary Islands Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, Canary, Plain Swift, Berthelot's Pipit, African Blue Tit, Houbara Bustard, Cream-coloured Courser and Black-bellied Sandgrouse - plus a Blue-winged Teal!

December 04-January 05
Sri Lanka

An amazing island endemic special - highlights included Red-billed Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Green-billed Coucal, White-faced Starling, Blue-faced Malkoha, Kashmir Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Frogmouth and Pied Ground Thrush. The whole trip, however, was overshadowed by the tragedy of the tsunami on our day of arrival.

July 2004
Poland / Slovakia / Hungary

A fantastic and highly successful journey in central and eastern Europe - 202 species in July!?! White-backed, Three-toed and all the other European woodpeckers, Saker Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Nutcracker, Pygmy Owl, Great Bustard, Greenish, Aquatic, Moustached and River Warblers, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Rock Thrush, Alpine Accentor and Lesser Grey Shrike, plus Wild Boar, Elk, Alpine Marmot and European Bison!

April 2004

An 'easy' Mediterranean trip, nevertheless producing 3 lifers for Simon and 8 for Julia : highlights were Krüper's and Western Rock Nuthatches, Sombre Tit, Rüppell's Warbler, Cinereous and Cretzschmar's Buntings, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Pallid Harrier & Red-footed Falcon.

July / August 2003

More mega-diversity in the Neotropics - 533 species seen. Pelagic, desert, Andes, Amazon. Big highlights included Humboldt Penguin, Andean Condor, Inca Tern, Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, Sword-billed and Giant Hummingbirds, Pavonine Quetzal, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Giant Conebill and White-bellied Cinclodes.

April 2003

A near rerun of our 1999 trip, but this time focusing on just two areas - Extremadura and the Coto Donana. Add in the Sierra de Gredos as an extra, and distinctly variable weather, and the differences were striking! Star birds : Crested Coot, Marbled Duck, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Western Orphean & Bonelli's Warblers, Western Reef Egret and the best-looking raptor of all time!

August 2002

The ultimate birding trip? A simply incredible three weeker to the SE Atlantic rainforests (a.k.a. Endemic City), the Pantanal, Chapada dos Guimaraes, Alta Floresta and Serra das Araras. Birds? Only 630 species, including cripplers like Hyacinth Macaw, 11 Toucans, 28 Hummers, 6 Trogons, 17 Woodcreepers, 16 Antshrikes, 29 Antbirds/wrens, 11 Manakins, 9 Owls, 11 Nightjars, Black-and gold Cotinga, Buff-throated Purpletuft, Zigzag Heron, and an undescribed species of Forest-falcon. 47 endemics too....

December 2001-January 2002
Northern India

A superb two weeks in the northern hot spots of one of our favourite countries. The Ranthabore / Bharatpur / Nainital / Corbett loop produced stunning species like Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Great Thick-knee, Spotted Forktail, Great Hornbill, Siberian White Crane, Tickell's Thrush, Brown Fish and Dusky Eagle Owls, Red-billed Blue and Green Magpies, White-tailed Rubythroat, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, White-crested Laughing Thrush, and three high altitude Accentor species.

July-August 2001
Arizona & California

A fantastic two centre trip to the Nearctic realm - the searing deserts of Arizona contrasting with the cool offshore waters of northern California. Some real stunners in Arizona, such as 9 species of Hummingbird, including Berylline, Green Kingfisher, Mexican Chickadee, Olive and Red-faced Warblers, Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Roadrunner, Least Bittern and Five-striped Sparrow. California was just as good, with Wandering Tattler, Surfbird, Yellow-billed Magpie, Laysan and Black-footed Albatross, Xantus's Murrelet, South Polar Skua, Tricolored Blackbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and an all-time California Long-tailed Skua day count. All that before mentioning Gray, Blue and Humpback Whales!

April 2001

A short Euro-break to the (very) frozen north for a few much-needed WP birds. Considerable success - Eagle, Ural and Pygmy Owls, White-tailed Eagle, Black and Grey-headed Woodpeckers and Capercaillie.

December 2000

A return to Africa after Kenya 1997. A near clear-up of the classic West African package destination - including megas like White-crested Tiger-heron, African Crake, Little Gull, Yellowbill, Vermiculated Eagle Owl, Green-headed Sunbird and Sudan Golden Sparrow.

December 2000
Jamaica Bay, New York

Simon's first and probably only overseas business trip - he's a teacher! A very brief day spare in New York produced several goodies, such as Hooded Merganser, Tricolored Heron, Tree Swallow and American Woodcock.

May/June 2000
Finland and Scandinavia

A long dreamt-of trip to the boreal forest and the Arctic north. Particular highlights included Great Grey, Ural, Tengmalm's and Hawk Owls, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, White-billed Diver, King and Steller's Eiders, Gyr Falcon, Brunnich's Guillemot, Hazel Grouse, Long-tailed Skua, masses of breeding waders, plus summertime Arctic Redpoll, Waxwing, Little, Rustic, Lapland and Snow Buntings, and many more. Unreal.

April 2000

Just a week on 'Endemic Island' - enough to see Corsican Finch and Corsican Nuthatch, plus Levantine Shearwater, Marmora's (not Balearic!) Warbler, 'Italian' Sparrow and endemic forms of Dartford Warbler and various others, plus excellent plants.

April 1999
Southern Spain

An excellent 10-day 'clear-up' of southern and south-central Spain. Spanish Imperial Eagle, Eagle Owl, Spectacled Warbler, Great and Little Bustards, Lesser Kestrel, Black Vulture and Black-shouldered Kite were the star birds seen.

December 1998
Goa, India

A great trip to this 'easy' Oriental hot-spot, along with Chris Mills and Jacky Harris. Highlights included 3 days at the (then) newly-established Backwoods camp, with Indian Pitta around the tents, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Orange-headed Ground-thrush, Grey-necked Bunting, Jungle Owlet, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Banded Bay Cuckoo and Blue-faced Malkoha.

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