Birding Extravaganza to the Western Isles 28th August 2020.

Indicative Price c£1450 per person all in, excluding drinks and personal items – two people sharing. (Likely single supplement £100.) You will also need to pay for two nights at the Premier Inn Carlisle.

Depart Norfolk 28th August 2020 – 6 days on the islands and two days travelling. Back in Norfolk 5th September 2020. Group size 6/7(One Guide) 12 (Two Guides)

We have been trying to widen the offering to members to undertake group trips in the UK, and also hope to extend this to overseas tours too. For those who are budget conscious we also hope to offer a self guided/self drive break in 2020 too.

We have been talking to our friends Ashley & Jason at Oriole Birding, who are fantastic Birders and Guides to persuade them to put on a trip solely for WVBS. This is an excellent opportunity for those who do not want to plan trips, or drive, and the beauty is that you can leave your vehicle at Orioles’ property in Great Ryburgh, and we will then be chaffeured all the way. We can also arrange to pick local members up from home if they are unable to drive, and deliver them to Ryburgh.

Ashley has put together an adventurous itinerary which is not available elsewhere.

We will need at least six people in the vehicle(s) to make things viable and will run one or two vans depending on demand.  Once the first vehicle is full the trip will go, We will need sufficient people to fill the second vehicle, so it is possible that we may not be able to confirm bookings until we have sufficient applicants.

Details provided by Oriole are as follows:- The tour of the Western Isles, takes in Lewis and Harris as well as North Uist and some of the smaller adjoining islands. This would most likely be a two centre holiday, and we would travel in the vans from Norfolk and use the ferry. In terms of birding, this could be really good for waders and seabirds, with resident breeders such as raptors, divers etc thrown in.

Key species: The focus for this trip would be finding our own birds and in particular concentrating on waders and seabirds. Early September brings peak wader migration and secluded bays and beaches can be thronged with shorebirds returning from their Arctic breeding grounds. Among the hordes of Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Knot, Ringed Plover and other common species, we will be searching for Little Stint, Purple Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper and Nearctic vagrants – Pectoral and Buffbreasted Sandpipers, Dotterel and American Golden Plover would be on the card’s, but we would also need to bear in mind Lesser Yellowlegs, White-rumped, Baird’s and Semipalmated Sandpipers if fast moving depressions have been racing across the Atlantic. Harris in particular has some fantastic bays for wader-watching, while the beaches and machair on North Uist also have an excellent track record for rarities. Seabird passage could be really interesting, with strong onshore winds bringing Pomarine and Long-tailed Skuas, Leach’s Petrel, Sabine’s Gull and Grey Phalarope. Add to this the resident birds – both eagles, Hen Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Merlin, all three divers, Whooper Swans, Twite, Black Guillemot, Rock Dove and flocks of wildfowl (Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal etc possible) and of course gulls and there is plenty to go at. Searching for passerines on the Western Isles is not easy – there are lots of places to look and relatively few birds. But it’s record of producing autumn rarities speaks for itself – American Redstart, Scarlet Tanager, Hermit Thrush and Red-eyed Vireo are among the species seen in recent years. There will be little walking (perhaps a mile or so per day) as most birding is done from the roadside. A telescope would be essential to get the most from the holiday.

The trip will incorporate 6 nights on the islands, but there will also be two additional nights at Premier Inn Carlisle on the way up and on the way back for those accepting a lift to and fro from Oriole. This would be payable separately to Premier Inn (meal deal package normally about £70 per night).

Please either email me (keithrwalker24@gmail.com ) or telephone me (01603 569897) to reserve your place or to clarify any matter you are not sure about.

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