Gourmet Birds
No 1 for Specialist Birdwatching Holidays
Gourmet Birds
Birdwatching Holidays
Forge Cottage,
Bowbeck, Bardwell,
Suffolk IP31 1BA,
Tel. 01359 269657


Gourmet Birds News: Christmas 2010

The winter solstice has provided a classic Bowbeck day. It started with great views of the eclipse of the moon, while the bird list has included a barn owl, 40 lapwings, 60 skylarks, 5 tree sparrows, 38 linnets; marsh, great, blue, coal and long-tailed tits, fieldfares and, best of all, a flock of around 200 white-fronted geese flying low over the house. The latter were a new addition to the Bowbeck list, which now stands at 111. The feeders Ė all 10 of them Ė have been busy during the freeze, mainly with goldfinches, greenfinches, chaffinches, tits and tree sparrows. We have had little snow, but the temperature has fallen to minus 10degC.

Such continuous freezing temperatures make the thoughts of visits to warmer destinations all the more alluring. We are hoping that the travelling conditions will be easier for our visit to Portugal in a monthís time, and for Namibia in February. Both holidays are well supported.

In early April we are off to Cyprus for our annual dose of early spring sunshine. The dates are 31 March to 8 April, and thereís still plenty of space available. Much of the attraction of Cyprus is how the birds we see vary from year to year. The 2010 highlights included sand plovers, dotterels, cream-coloured coursers and an Isabelline shrike, while we enjoyed beautiful warm days throughout the week.

Perhaps itís because itís 18 years since the last Gourmet Birds visit to Poland this yearís holiday has attracted lots of interest and is certain to fill. It would be much appreciated if everyone who has expressed interest in this trip could reconfirm that they want to come, as I would hate to miss anyone off. We are using a local guide for this holiday who promises to have sites for all the specialist species, such as three-toed woodpecker and pygmy owl. One slight change: instead of the seven-day six-night trip originally advertised, it will be five nights, travelling out on 9th May. Iím assured that this is long enough to see all the birds we are after.

Lastly, our week at Lake Kerkini in Macedonia (2 to 9 June) is languishing with few bookings, though this really is a wonderful spring destination, and our hotel has become one of our all-time favourites. We will probably go regardless of how many people book. Four species of shrike, two species of pelican, rollers, bee-eaters, hoopoes and golden orioles and lots of nightingales are just a few of the avian delights, while the butterflies include large blue and large copper and stunning gatherings of nettle-tree butterflies. The food is great, too.

As many of you know, Iíve recently come back from my first trip to India. It was all I expected it to be, for India is a wonderfully colourful but dreadfully chaotic country. I really enjoyed the food, having become a vegetarian for a fortnight, and I wasnít ill. My one big disappointment was not seeing a tiger, as two days of virtually non-stop tropical rain at Ranthambhore ruined my chances. Thus Iím giving serious thought to organising a 10-day trip to India in March 2012, visiting Bharatpur at the best time of the year for seeing lots of eagles, and Ranthambhore at one of the best times for seeing tigers. I can promise excellent hotels and exceptional back up from our ground agent, something thatís essential in a country like India. Let me know if you are even vaguely interested. The chances of rain in March are almost nil, while thereís a 70% chance of seeing a tiger on each game drive, so we would be exceedingly unlucky not to spot one.

Happy Christmas!