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Cheap flight and birds?!

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Old Monday 21st May 2012, 17:51   #1
Kev23
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Cheap flight and birds?!

Hi guys,
Recently back from Lesvos, which is my favourite place on Earth! Took loads of photos, saw many great species, had fab time etc... now suffering post holiday blues as grey skies and the local ring-necked parakeets aren't quite doing it for me. Need another trip to look forward to but not much money/time off really so if anyone can come up with a suggestion of a couple of cheeky days in Europe over the coming months (I know summer isn't the best time anywhere!) where I can see some non-UK species and get some images of them, I'd be grateful....

Was thinking a cheap(ish) midweek flight with Easyjet/Ryanair then renting a car for a couple of days, sleeping in the car. Literally open to any suggestions, species-wise or location. As cheap as possible! Will be going alone so comfort not a consideration!

Cheers in advance!
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Old Wednesday 23rd May 2012, 18:41   #2
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August to September at Falsterbo, the SW corner of Sweden for fall migration. Weather might be a concern, but I remember a week some bad days with 4 lesser spotted eagle coming out to check conditions and then returning, and the good day at the end where about 2500 honey buzzards migrated together with some more interesting species. Lakes in inner Skaane as excursions on those days that are just too bad, with Geese in numbers especially late in that period. Fly to CPH, rent with DanskAutoRent (reduced rates compared to the regular Danish car rentals but only available to people living elsewhere than Denmark). Only problem: finding a nice quiet place to park the car without the police wondering why you are there

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Old Thursday 24th May 2012, 20:20   #3
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Spain has got to be a serious consideration, cheap flights and car hire, little disturbance from humans etc. only problem is which area to visit and what month of the year.
Perhaps if you mentioned a few target birds you want it would shorten the list of places worth a short trip.
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Old Thursday 24th May 2012, 22:16   #4
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Cheers guys!
Sweden late summer.. interesting! Not somewhere i would immediately have thought of, but certainly worth considering Niels. Thanks for the info on that one, esp rentacar...

JH.. yes, Spain is a good idea, i received a pm suggesting the same thing.. flights to Barcelona towards the end of July are around 100 so I may be able to afford that plus a few days car rental to visit a few sites around there. As for species, apart from 2 trips to Lesvos, I've not birded specifically in Europe so anything from sandgrouse and bustards to Eleanora's falcons and collared pratincoles appeal. Never even seen a purple swamp-hen! Basically, anything I can point my camera at that I can't find easily in the UK.

Cheers again for the suggestions,
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Old Thursday 31st May 2012, 17:08   #5
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Summer is not bad for mountain birds.
Areas around Munich are intersting.

Lake Ismaninger Speichersee near airport ( car is not needed rather bicycle ).
Moosenalm near austrian border is very good for serinus citrinella.

Way to hut Traunsteiner Huette in NP Berchtesgardener Land is good for White-backed woodpecker and Haselgrouse.
Tatzelwurm near Kufstein is good for White-backed and Three-toeted Woodpecker.

Murnauer Moos, 70 km south of Munich can be interseting in summer, because some years are Circaetus gallicus ( not arrived yet ).

If You decide for this area, You can follow my tours ( non professional birder, just travel cost sharing ).


Berlin is another good place.
Easy to reach floodplains of river Elbe and Havel.
Osprey, White-tailed eagle, Nigthingale and Trush Nigthingale are common there.
Ortolan bunting is also possible to find.
The area of lake Guelper See "Petrol Station of Migration Birds of Central Europe" is worth to visit whole year.
But mostly huge bird assemblies are in autumn. More different kind of birds in late spring ( 100 different birds at on day is not unusual in this area, even for non professional birders ).

Also Great Bustard area is nearby.
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Old Friday 1st June 2012, 05:06   #6
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Flights to Faro or Seville for Castro verde and coto donana. Check all airlines not just ryan air and easyjet, also Jet2.com, and flight only options Monarch and thomas cook. Check Economy car hire website for good cheap car hire with nil excess.

Ryan air flights to Zaragoza from stansted for steppes around belchite (Duponts lark etc) then pyrenees for black woody, easy lammergeier, citril finch and wallcreeper. Flights with Ryan Air depart ;ate afternoon Sat 23rd June for example and return either Monday evening or Wednesday evening cost 54 return at the moment though probably are hold baggage extra cost. Cheapest car hire about 50.

Just a few options.
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Old Thursday 7th June 2012, 17:19   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions guys; these are just the kind of things I was looking for and if I don't make it this summer then certainly I will entertain these ideas for future ones. Having written that, a quick break later on in the year to, for example Zaragoza, could also lead me to some new birds..

Nick, met you last Autumn at Cliffe RSPB if I'm correct?; you let me peep at the Durian Shrike through your scope?! So cheers for that as well!
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Old Thursday 7th June 2012, 18:49   #8
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Originally Posted by Kev23 View Post
Thanks for the suggestions guys; these are just the kind of things I was looking for and if I don't make it this summer then certainly I will entertain these ideas for future ones. Having written that, a quick break later on in the year to, for example Zaragoza, could also lead me to some new birds..

Nick, met you last Autumn at Cliffe RSPB if I'm correct?; you let me peep at the Durian Shrike through your scope?! So cheers for that as well!
Yes indeed, I remember that. I hadnt realised it was you Kev (I have a terrible memory full stop). That shrike was a real cracker!

I went to Zaragoza in november time, got duponts lark and lots more at Belchite, then up to the lower pyrenees staying one night at boletas bird watching centre where Jose gave me 5 Wallcreeper wintering spots (I found one of the birds).

But with so many cheap flights (tho not as many and not as cheap as they used to be), Europe at least, is your oyster Kev.

Take care mate, nick
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Old Thursday 7th June 2012, 21:24   #9
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you let me peep at the Durian Shrike through your scope?! So cheers for that as well!
Did it smell really bad?
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Old Thursday 7th June 2012, 21:45   #10
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Did it smell really bad?
Fortunately James, it was so far away I couldn't tell you. Either way, if I took it to Malaysia I wouldn't risk carrying it on public transport

I was so hoping no one would notice my typo. But this is Birdforum and there is no hiding...
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Old Thursday 7th June 2012, 21:47   #11
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Yes indeed, I remember that. I hadnt realised it was you Kev (I have a terrible memory full stop). That shrike was a real cracker!

I went to Zaragoza in november time, got duponts lark and lots more at Belchite, then up to the lower pyrenees staying one night at boletas bird watching centre where Jose gave me 5 Wallcreeper wintering spots (I found one of the birds).

But with so many cheap flights (tho not as many and not as cheap as they used to be), Europe at least, is your oyster Kev.

Take care mate, nick
Cheers Nick, roll on winter! Ah, actually, it's already here....!!
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2012, 20:12   #12
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Just a little update...... Decided in the end to have a short trip to Catalonia....

Had a great day in The Steppes, 7th August 2012. I was spending 4 days in and around Barcelona with my Mother and, keen to see some new species, enlisted the help of Stephen from http://www.catalanbirdtours.com/ for a day trip to this wonderful area. I've never used a guide before but given the vastness of the area, and that August isn't the ideal time to visit decided that a "Birding in Catalonia" experience was the way to go! After liaising with Stephen and agreeing a meet point, we were off to the Los Monegros Steppes (Stephen had recently visited Lleida and found it to be not so productive). We didn't have any specific targets as being newcomers to the region many of the birds found here would be lifers anyway. I found the experience of someone else driving me around looking for birds (for a change!) a very pleasant one and Stephen's expertise in the locations and the species themselves meant I could relax and enjoy what we found. All in all, we had over 50 species which, for a hot, high summer day, was pretty good going! Highlights for us were:

Many Stone curlew
Calandra, Short-toed, Thekla and Dupont's lark
Both Sandgrouse species
Great spotted cuckoo (Juv)
5 Hoopoes
Montague's Harrier (Male and Juv)
Lesser Kestrels
Red-necked nightjar
Spectacled warbler
Black kites (300!)
Black wheatear
Bee-eater
Southern-grey shrike

As well as the birds, the area is stunning but I'm pretty sure we would've become lost quite easily along the many rough tracks had we tried to find our own way around so thanks to Stephen for being good company, guiding us and coming up with some gems (especially the Dupont's, well done!)... hard work at this time of year but then birding might not be quite so appealing if everything was "on a plate"....!

Spent time also in The Pyrennes and Llobregat reserve by El Pratt airport, Barcelona.... Rock thrush, Waxbills, Alpine swifts, Swallowtail butterflies and Marmots being the nature highlights...

Next year, may take up some of you guys kind advice.... :)
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Old Wednesday 5th September 2012, 04:28   #13
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Sounds a great day Kev! Some cracking birds seen.
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