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 Eurasian Blue and Great tits are all surprisingly approachable here. We should also have the chance to enjoy Garden Warbler, Eurasian 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 Scotland, with its 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. In the vast Cairngorm National Park and surrounding moorland, we'll scan extensive heather moors and rocky rills for the likes of Ring Ouzel, European Golden-Plover, and the endemic race of Willow Ptarmigan (the famous "Red" Grouse), and moorland lochs may yield Horned Grebe, Common Redshank, and Arctic and Red-throated loons. After several days, we'll move to the historic city of Aberdeen, which offers us a base from which to explore the country's rugged coast in search of Atlantic Puffin, Black Guillemot, Common Murre, Razorbill, Northern Gannet, 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.
Select the KEY INFO tab or click here for our itinerary plus space requests, status, fees, limits, and guides for any departure.
"I wanted to see Great Britain and Scotland and couldn't think of a better way to see the country than to go on a bird tour with two excellent guides who live there, Megan Edwards Crewe and Willy Perez. Everything was great from working with the office staff to the handling of all the logistics by Megan and Willy. The tour was everything that I expected from great guides and a great itinerary." B.B., BIRDS OF BRITAIN 2019
ITINERARIES • TOUR STATUS • DETAILS • SPACE REQUESTSITINERARIES • We issue a separate itinerary for each year, typically at least 9 months before that year's first departure. Most itineraries don't vary much year to year, but there may be small or rarely more substantive changes. A sample previous-year itinerary is usually available even if the one for your chosen departure is not. We do not require any deposit for provisional bookings until the itinerary for the departure is ready.
- 2020 sample (PDF)
- 2021 (PDF expected Aug 2020)
DEPARTURES • We have 2 departures currently scheduled through 2022, with details including limits, guides, fees, and space available listed below.
May 8-17, 2021
Guided by: Willy Perez & second guide TBA
Tour Manager: Christine Boilard
Tour Limit: 12
Status: Open - Space is still available on this tour, and we are accepting provisional bookings. No deposit is required until you receive the itinerary. Click below to book space.
Tour Fee: $4150
REQUEST SPACE OR MORE INFO
May 7-16, 2022
Tour Manager: TBA
Tour Limit: 12
Status: Waitlisted - The itinerary has not been finalized for this tour. The trip has provisionally filled but, if you are interested, we can waitlist you for the trip. As we do not require deposits until the itinerary and price are finalized, we often have folks drop off a tour when the deposit is required, and so space opens up! Click below to be waitlisted for this tour with no obligation; if you are waitlisted, we will also notify you in case of an added departure of this tour.
Tour Fee: Fee TBD / 2021=$4150
REQUEST WAITLIST OR MORE INFO
Enjoy looking through the 1 most recent Field Guides triplists for this tour linked below!