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BIRDS OF BRITAIN

Scottish Highlands Extension

Our own Megan Edwards Crewe and Willy Perez, both based in Britain, will guide this springtime tour of England's East Anglia, combining lowland birding with cultural visits to Sutton Hoo and Blickling Hall, with a continuing extension to the pine forests and highlands of Scotland.

Great Britain may be a busy island full of people, but it is also blessed with some wonderful countryside holding a good cross section of European songbirds, shorebirds, and seabirds. Our tour begins with a comprehensive journey through East Anglia, long considered a mecca for British birdwatchers. This is an excellent place to start your European birding with those species for which the UK has a special attraction. The nation's obsession with gardens has encouraged a number of species that are tricky, skulking woodland birds in mainland Europe to become endearing "yard birds": European Robin, Eurasian Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, and the colorful Blue and Great tits are all surprisingly approachable here. We should also have the chance to enjoy Garden Warbler, Blackcap, and Common Nightingale -- species that may not look like much in the field guide, but just wait until you hear them sing!

We'll travel through coastal marshes where Western Marsh-Harriers patrol above colorful gatherings of Common Shelducks, Pied Avocets, and Northern Lapwings, and where Bearded Reedlings flit through the swaying reedbeds. At this time of year, the East Anglian coast is a great meeting place for birds heading north to breed (some bound for points as far as the high Arctic), and we can expect to see a good selection of shorebirds, all designed to test our observational skills! Inland from the coast, East Anglia's Breckland offers a complete contrast; its dry stony heaths harbor the peculiar Eurasian Thick-knee (Stone-Curlew) while the remarkable songs of Wood Larks and Tree Pipits play out overhead. We'll take in visits to Sutton Hoo, site of one of the most complete Anglo-Saxon treasure hoards ever found, and Blickling Hall, one of East Anglia's most famous stately homes.

Our post-tour extension to the Scottish Highlands, with the region's tight patchwork of fields and hedges interspersed with oak and ash woods, and its wild, wide-open moors, offers a stark contrast with lowland England. We'll begin with an exploration of Speyside. The babbling waters of the salmon-filled Spey River tumble through well-watered valleys of birch wood and cattle pasture. Here, we'll seek Common Redstart, Wood Warbler, and Lesser Redpoll among others, while White-throated Dipper, Common Sandpiper, and Gray Wagtail feed busily along the river itself. Nearby are some of Scotland's oldest and most scenic native Scots Pine forests, home to Eurasian Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Eurasian Siskin, Crested Tit, and the UK's only endemic -- Scottish Crossbill. After several days, we'll move to the historic city of Inverness. This offers us a base a little farther north, allowing us to explore moorland lochs for Horned Grebe, Common Redshank, and Arctic and Red-throated loons, and to scan extensive heather moors and rocky rills for the likes of Twite, Ring Ouzel, European Golden-Plover, and the endemic race of Willow Ptarmigan (the famous "Red" Grouse). We'll also make a trip to the country's rugged coast to search for Black Guillemot, Common Murre, Razorbill, Black-legged Kittiwake, and European Shag.

May is simply a wonderful time to visit Britain, with the rural landscape at its greenest, bird song and nesting activity at a peak, and spring migration still in full flow.

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2019 Departures
May 11-20 ($4250)

2020 Departures
May 9-18

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Guides for our tours
Megan Edwards Crewe
Willy Perez

What to Expect
Good accommodations, easy to moderate terrain, warm to cool climate.

Our staff travel agents can assist you with tour information, flight reservations and tour bookings. Contact us at (800) 728-4953
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