Newsletter June 2001

It has been an exciting start to the new century for Gourmet Birds. In January, in Egypt, one of our most memorable sightings was an eagle owl, roosting on the Step Pyramid.

Ironically, eagle owl was the only expected owl that we missed in Finland in May, when we did see Ural, great grey, Tengmalm’s, pygmy, short-eared and tawny. The Finnish/Norway holiday produced 206 species, a GB record for Europe.

We don’t often find new birds at the French lakes, but in March we were delighted to see a spotted eagle, a real rarity in this area. We saw three species of eagles in Spain in early May, including wonderful views of a pair of short-toed eagles displaying. Spain in spring is a delightfully rewarding destination for birds, and this holiday was particularly successful, with 176 species recorded.

It is a fresh challenge each year trying to work out exciting new destinations for Gourmet Birds trips. For the coming 12 months, we have brought together what we think is an interesting mixture of tempting new destinations, as well as including a few old favourites.

This autumn we are planning the first-ever GB visit to Sweden. Our annual New Year escape takes us to the Mediterranean island of Corsica for the first time. In February, we plan a winter goose chase to Holland, while in March we offer an exciting visit to Nepal.

In early April we are off to the Ardennes in a bid to find Tengmalm’s and eagle owls, nutcrackers and woodpeckers. At the end of April we return to Spain to look for great bustards and lammergeiers, then, in May, we visit Estonia, arguably one of the most exciting and bird-rich countries in Europe. Our visit is timed to coincide with the peak of the Arctic migration.

Just in case you are wondering what has happened to our annual trip to the French lakes, we are planning to go in November 2002, rather than March. And looking even farther ahead to early 2003, we are planning a safari to southern Kenya and Tanzania.

If you would like to hear more about these holidays, then do come along to the annual Gourmet Birds party at Bough Beech on Wednesday, July 25th, starting at 7pm. Please note the revised date. We offer the chance to look for nightjars at the end of the evening. So we know how many people to cater for, please let us know if you plan to come.

David and Jan Tomlinson