No 1 for Specialist Birdwatching Holidays
Suffolk IP31 1BA,
Tel. 01359 269657
Gourmet Birds News November 2009
With the New Year just a few weeks away, this latest newsletter is long overdue. For some time I have been debating whether to organise an expedition to somewhere warm and sunny in February, but in view of the current economic climate and the weakness of sterling, I've decided not to. However, I am planning something both hot and interesting for February 2011.
Rather to my surprise, the January trip to Lake Kerkini filled quickly. This is likely to be a somewhat chilly holiday, as winters in northeast Greece are usually cold. In contrast, early spring in Cyprus is invariably warm, hence the trip we are planning for March this year. Avoiding Easter, when airfares and accommodation prices double, is always a challenge, but past experience of Cyprus in March suggests pleasant weather and good birding, with the spring migration already well under way.
For the last three years I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Sierra Guara in the foothills of the Pyrenees, and I am much looking forward to a return visit again this year. The hotel we use, the Hosteria de Guara, is delightful. However, to broaden the appeal of this holiday we are planning to extend it to nine nights away, and use two hotels. Our first five nights will be in the Hosteria de Guara, with the second half of the holiday at an equally attractive hotel higher in the Pyrenees.
Estonia is, without doubt, one of the best birdwatching destinations in Europe. I have visited this delightful small, sparsely populated country several times, which is why I'm planning to go back again for a week in late May. This year's trip will, however, be slightly different and rather more relaxed than previous visits, as I'm not planning to use a local guide. We may miss a few species as a result, but the reduction in cost is considerable, while I'm confident that I can not only find most of the special birds, but also find my way around easily enough.
The collapse in the value of sterling is a major concern. Our prices are based on the euro being worth 90p. If it should fall farther and approach parity with sterling I might have to increase prices to allow for this, but I hope this won't be the case. All our destinations use the euro. As is normal with Gourmet Birds, these holidays will run with just two or three people, while we are not charging the dreaded single room supplement, either. The prices are all-inclusive, and include picnics and wine with dinner.
Lake Kerkini, Greece: 22-27 January
Cyprus: 23 - 31 March (eight nights)
The Sierra Guara and the Spanish Pyrenees - 23 April - 1 May (nine nights)
We fly to Zaragoza from Stansted with Ryanair (no one else flies there directly). The flight times are distinctly awkward: the outward flight leaves at 22.30, and arrives at 22.05, while the return leaves at 22.30 and gets in at 23.35, but perhaps a late return is better than an early morning start. Currently the return fare, including all the extra charges that Ryanair inflicts, is less than £100. The cost of the holiday is £985.
Estonia - Spring migration 20 May - 25 May (five nights)
For more details of any of these trips contact David on 01359 269 657, or email Davidtom@aol.com.