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See us at the British Birdwatching Fair
Sunbird will have its usual stand at the ‘Bird Fair’ this year on 15th, 16th and 17th August at Rutland Water. You can see full details here http://www.birdfair.org.uk/ and we are in Marquee 4, stands 85 & 86. If you are visiting the Fair, please call in to our stand and say hello and have a cool drink. A couple of Sunbird leaders will be giving talks at the Fair: Stuart Elsom will talk about his tour to Texas at 09.30 in Lecture Marquee 1 on Friday, and also about his tour to Cuba, this one in Lecture Marquee 2 at 15.00. In addition Steve Rooke will be giving a short lecture on Birding the Silk Road on Friday in Lecture Marquee 1 at 11.30.
Bird Racers - Paul French and Stuart Elsom were both in teams that took part in the Champions of the Flyway bird race in Israel recently. The combined teams raised $30,000 which will help fund innovative conservation actions that will protect birds of prey migrating through the Batumi Bottleneck in Georgia. This amazing spectacle is the focus of a new tour led by Paul French - Georgia Raptor Spectacle, 6 - 13 September 2014.
Germany: the East in Autumn
23 - 26 October 2014 with James Lidster
Great Bustards feeding in crops in Brandenburg. Photo Steve Rooke
This short tour takes you to the countryside that lies to the west of Berlin in the federal state of Brandenburg, and in particular to the district of Havelland. Once part of East Germany, this area is rich in wildlife with 15 protected areas within the whole of Brandenburg. In the autumn the region takes on a quiet, almost sleepy air as the tourists move out – and the birds move in. The flood plains and bare arable fields are perfect for wintering geese, swans, and flocks of Common Cranes, while the dense woodlands provide shelter and food for the woodpeckers, finches and buntings that remain. Raptors find the open quiet country much to their liking, and we should also see magnificent Great Bustards on one of their last remaining strongholds.
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Estonia in Winter - in search of Steller’s Eider
6 - 9 March 2015 with James Lidster
Few places in Europe can match Estonia’s amazing birdlife at almost any time of year. Although well known for its spring birding and as an amazing place to witness spring and autumn migration, it is now acquiring a reputation for some superb winter birding. In particular it is the most important wintering area for Steller’s Eider, Europe’s most endangered seaduck, and there should be some large flocks for us to enjoy. This is also a great time for Hawk Owls, an uncommon but regular winter visitor in Estonia, where it joins a mouth-watering selection of other owls. Add to this a selection of raptors, the chance of some rare European woodpeckers, and a nice mix of wintering passerines and you have the makings of a great little winter break.
Steller’s Eider (top) and Hawk Owl, just two of many great species we hope to see in Estonia. Photos by Jari Peltomaki and Remo Savisaar
From the Field - Paul Holt has just sent in this report from his ongoing tour to Sichuan. “Sichuan offers some superb birding, great accommodations, spectacular scenery and world renown cuisine. Our current tour’s enjoying all oft his…and more. The sacred mountain Emei Shan was our first port of call and it produced more birds than we could ever have dreamt of - Grey-hooded Parrotbill, Emei Liocichla and Red-winged Laughingthrush all fell at our first attempt. Moving on we had spectacular views of Lady Amherst’s Pheasant before reaching the world famous Wolong National Park. No wild Giant Pandas I’m afraid - but lots of other goodies including four Temminck’s Tragopan in a single day, Chinese Monal on tow days, several Grandalas, fine performances from Snow Partridges and much much more…
Top - a dinky Grey-hooded Parrotbill and above, one of four Temminck’s Tragopans seen in a single day. Photos Paul Holt