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Where to go in Europe in June (1 Viewer)

jwar1976

Member
United Kingdom
Hi all,

I have a rare week free in June and I really want to go abroad for some birding, especially for some potential Bee-Eater sightings among other species. I have read that June isn’t always the best month for Bird photography, but was hoping that someone on here could recommend some countries, which I can then short list and then decide. I have done various searching online, but keep on getting conflicting reports on destinations.

Any advice would be much appreciated
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Southern Portugal - easy to get to from UK, fly to Faro and hire a car.
Eastern Algarve / Guadiana valley / Alentejo should definitely get you bee-eaters in June, and a whole lot of other stuff. Lots of information on sites available on the web and via publications like the Southern Portugal Crossbill Guide. Light is very bright and harsh in daytime for photography though, and breeding season is well advanced there - and be really careful to avoid disturbance if you do find a bee-eater colony.
 

jwar1976

Member
United Kingdom
Southern Portugal - easy to get to from UK, fly to Faro and hire a car.
Eastern Algarve / Guadiana valley / Alentejo should definitely get you bee-eaters in June, and a whole lot of other stuff. Lots of information on sites available on the web and via publications like the Southern Portugal Crossbill Guide. Light is very bright and harsh in daytime for photography though, and breeding season is well advanced there - and be really careful to avoid disturbance if you do find a bee-eater colony.
Thank you very much for that informative reply, I was looking at the Algarve, but one of the sites I was looking at stated that the majority of Bee-Eaters and other species would have migrated by then. I will start doing some research on transport in the location as unfortunately I cannot drive. Which can make things difficult but not impossible.

Thank you again :)
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
June is still a very good month in most places in Europe. The migration is mostly over, so it's largely about resident species in the southern parts, but for example in the Baltics, early June is the prime time to look for rarities. We have gone to to the Baltic coast repeatedly in June and it has been some really lively spring. There are even Bee-eaters in Poland at the Baltic coast, but in low numbers (and I do knot know where the actual colony is). In the Czech Republic, Bee-eaters are definitely present in June - but again, there are relatively small colonies and the species is still quite scarce so I would not encourage any attempts on close photography (trying to photograph them on nests is actually a criminal offense and may, in extreme circumstances, get you jailed), but photography in open country is quite possible. We have been in June for example in Greece and it was splendid - the whole SE Europe has a lot of habitats, including mountains, so at the coast, you have summer with a lot of advanced breeding and fledging young while in the mountains it's still early spring with bloom and mating.

One interesting June angle is the north of Europe - if you are willing to forgo Bee-eaters, of course :) We went to Varanger (north Norway) last June and we basically hit the two-week transition from winter to summer - it was snowing a bit at the start and the mosquitoes just about came out in force as we were leaving, so this is the absolutely optimal time to visit in this area.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Thank you very much for that informative reply, I was looking at the Algarve, but one of the sites I was looking at stated that the majority of Bee-Eaters and other species would have migrated by then. I will start doing some research on transport in the location as unfortunately I cannot drive. Which can make things difficult but not impossible.

Thank you again :)
That's partly true - my partner has been in early-mid June in past years and found bee-eaters with recently fledged young around the salt-pans near Tavira - when I've visited end of June - early July period they've been absent, but on the same trip I saw bee-eater in the Guadiana valley.
In all honesty public transport isn't great in that part of Portugal - it's OK to get around the eastern Algarve using a mixture of water based transport and local taxis, but you'd need a car to reach sites further afield such as the Guadiana valley and southern part of the Alentejo. One solution might be to base yourself somewhere like Tavira or Santa Luzia, which aren't too far by taxi from Faro airport, then hire a bird guide for one or two day trips further afield.
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
One interesting June angle is the north of Europe - if you are willing to forgo Bee-eaters, of course :) We went to Varanger (north Norway) last June and we basically hit the two-week transition from winter to summer - it was snowing a bit at the start and the mosquitoes just about came out in force as we were leaving, so this is the absolutely optimal time to visit in this area.
I'm not sure I would describe this as optimal :rolleyes:! I remember one June in my youth trekking through Pallastunturi national park in Finland being gradually eaten alive, and everyone telling me I should've been there two weeks earlier before the mosquitos emerged...
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
I'm not sure I would describe this as optimal :rolleyes:! I remember one June in my youth trekking through Pallastunturi national park in Finland being gradually eaten alive, and everyone telling me I should've been there two weeks earlier before the mosquitos emerged...

Yeah there is very strong dependence on latitude - this "best week" simply moves forward in time as you move north. You can have a total mosquito hell in Finland and meanwhile an icy blizzard at the Arctic Ocean coast of Norway.
 

jwar1976

Member
United Kingdom
June is still a very good month in most places in Europe. The migration is mostly over, so it's largely about resident species in the southern parts, but for example in the Baltics, early June is the prime time to look for rarities. We have gone to to the Baltic coast repeatedly in June and it has been some really lively spring. There are even Bee-eaters in Poland at the Baltic coast, but in low numbers (and I do knot know where the actual colony is). In the Czech Republic, Bee-eaters are definitely present in June - but again, there are relatively small colonies and the species is still quite scarce so I would not encourage any attempts on close photography (trying to photograph them on nests is actually a criminal offense and may, in extreme circumstances, get you jailed), but photography in open country is quite possible. We have been in June for example in Greece and it was splendid - the whole SE Europe has a lot of habitats, including mountains, so at the coast, you have summer with a lot of advanced breeding and fledging young while in the mountains it's still early spring with bloom and mating.

One interesting June angle is the north of Europe - if you are willing to forgo Bee-eaters, of course :) We went to Varanger (north Norway) last June and we basically hit the two-week transition from winter to summer - it was snowing a bit at the start and the mosquitoes just about came out in force as we were leaving, so this is the absolutely optimal time to visit in this area.
Thank you for that really detailed and surprising reply, never would I had expected for Bee-Eaters to be seen in such places as Poland. Thank you for the information on birding laws to acknowledge, it shows I have much to learn in this area of photography. in regards to Greece, which part was it you stayed in ?. Before i joined this forum I was looking at the Thessaloniki region.
That's partly true - my partner has been in early-mid June in past years and found bee-eaters with recently fledged young around the salt-pans near Tavira - when I've visited end of June - early July period they've been absent, but on the same trip I saw bee-eater in the Guadiana valley.
In all honesty public transport isn't great in that part of Portugal - it's OK to get around the eastern Algarve using a mixture of water based transport and local taxis, but you'd need a car to reach sites further afield such as the Guadiana valley and southern part of the Alentejo. One solution might be to base yourself somewhere like Tavira or Santa Luzia, which aren't too far by taxi from Faro airport, then hire a bird guide for one or two day trips further afield.
Thank you, it is a shame that the likes of buses and trains are not that great, I will take a look at the areas you suggested.
I'm not sure I would describe this as optimal :rolleyes:! I remember one June in my youth trekking through Pallastunturi national park in Finland being gradually eaten alive, and everyone telling me I should've been there two weeks earlier before the mosquitos emerged...
That sounds like a nightmare, but Is good to know of potential blood suckers in different countries.
Extremadura in Spain. Eagles, Bustards, Larks, Vultures, Bee-eaters, Storks. Monfragüe NP is outstanding. Monfragüe National Park

A few years ago I stayed nearby outside Trujillo with Martin Kelsey here. BirdingExtremadura.com
Thank you very much for that, I will definitely take a look, I have only ever seen Eagles and Vultures at local zoos, when they do a birds of prey display.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
We flew to Athens and then drove around this region, basically east-west - Distou Lake, Mesolongi, Kopaida, Lidoriki, Parnassoss, Sperchios delta, 110 species in 5 days (first week of June) and back then 12 WP ticks out of the 14 we considered even remotely possible for us in that region, so pretty good score.
 

Anon2020

Well-known member
As I posted here about 2 years ago Bee-eaters can be observed near the Chapelle de St Vio in the Baie d’Audierne, Treguennec, West Brittany. I’ve just done a quick Google search and there are apparently six nesting pairs.

There’s also a large reed-bed nature reserve where you can observe Purple Herons, Bearded Tits (Reedlings), Marsh Harriers, Great White Egrets etc.

At the mouth of the tidal river estuary in Pont l’Abbe not far away are Spoonbills and many other wading birds.

Also lots of marked walking trails and great sea food.

I’ve also seen Cuckoos when walking in the area.

I’ve tried attaching a couple of photos - one showing the Chapelle de St Vio and the other a view of the estuary where you can just about see Spoonbills roosting in trees in the far background.
 
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jwar1976

Member
United Kingdom
We flew to Athens and then drove around this region, basically east-west - Distou Lake, Mesolongi, Kopaida, Lidoriki, Parnassoss, Sperchios delta, 110 species in 5 days (first week of June) and back then 12 WP ticks out of the 14 we considered even remotely possible for us in that region, so pretty good score.
That is absolutely incredible with the amount you saw. Must admit that before the pandemic and before I got into wildlife photography, there was a list of places that I wanted to visit, Athens, Dubrovnik, Montenegro. But now as I am into wildlife photograph, it has deemed more of a challenge finding & picking a destination, than taking the actual pictures.
As I posted here about 2 years ago Bee-eaters can be observed near the Chapelle de St Vio in the Baie d’Audierne, Treguennec, West Brittany. I’ve just done a quick Google search and there are apparently six nesting pairs.

There’s also a large reed-bed nature reserve where you can observe Purple Herons, Bearded Tits (Reedlings), Marsh Harriers, Great White Egrets etc.

At the mouth of the tidal river estuary in Pont l’Abbe not far away are Spoonbills and many other wading birds.

Also lots of marked walking trails and great sea food.

I’ve also seen Cuckoos when walking in the area.

I’ve tried attaching a couple of photos - one showing the Chapelle de St Vio and the other a view of the estuary where you can just about see Spoonbills roosting in trees in the far background.
That is great thank you, I have added that on the research list, the fact that it has got great seafood, is an added bonus.
 

la_ravachol

Active member
Spain
Extremadura in Spain. Eagles, Bustards, Larks, Vultures, Bee-eaters, Storks. Monfragüe NP is outstanding. Monfragüe National Park

A few years ago I stayed nearby outside Trujillo with Martin Kelsey here. BirdingExtremadura.com
Great suggestion.

OP, as you've said you don't drive, if you find in your research that public transport isn't great in that area (I've never been, but conversation with others suggests this may be the case), consider Madrid as a good alternative. Unlike much of Spain, Madrid has extensive public transport that can get you to almost anywhere in the region. Madrid has many of the same species as Extremadura and plenty of Bee-eaters. As with elsewhere, not great photography conditions in June and temperatures are creeping quite high by then, particularly in the afternoons, which may not suit extended hours out in the sun.
 

jwar1976

Member
United Kingdom
Great suggestion.

OP, as you've said you don't drive, if you find in your research that public transport isn't great in that area (I've never been, but conversation with others suggests this may be the case), consider Madrid as a good alternative. Unlike much of Spain, Madrid has extensive public transport that can get you to almost anywhere in the region. Madrid has many of the same species as Extremadura and plenty of Bee-eaters. As with elsewhere, not great photography conditions in June and temperatures are creeping quite high by then, particularly in the afternoons, which may not suit extended hours out in the sun.
Thank you for the advice, I have contacted tourist information in various countries and at the moment it seems the best option is Northern Greece, with a flight to Thessaloniki and then there are options like a guided tour to Kerkini Lake and a 20 minute bus to the Axios Delta National park. Bee Eaters and other species can be spotted easily enough until July.

I am still looking at other areas tho and making a short list, for what is going to be best. Thank you again for the information.
 

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