End of May we did a short 5-day trip to Georgia with the goal of seeing a handful of lifers in the Caucasus mountains. The best time to visit is earlier in the year (end of April/ beginning of May) when most birds are found lower down in the valleys because of the snow. Our late visit meant we had to hike higher up, but still we managed to find 5+ Caucasian Snowcocks (more were heard) and 8+ Caucasian Grouses on the ridges above us. Great Rosefinch and Güldenstädt’s Redstart turned out to be more tricky but we managed to find both (and luckily bright plumaged males). And with singing Mountain Chiffchaffs in the valley and an additional stop for Krüper’s Nuthatch near Tbilisi the trip ended with 6 lifers but also a long list of cool birds along the way: Ring Ouzels, Twites, Alpine Accentors, Common Rock Thrush, Bearded Vulture, singing Barred Warblers, Greenish Warblers and Common Rosefinches, and a nice roadside stop for Red-breasted and Semi-collared Flycatcher.
Madeira was one of those short trips that we had talked about for years and given the uncertainty around Covid in most of the world during the summer of 2021 this trip within the EU was the best option. We really enjoyed our time at Madeira which was a nice combination of hard-core pelagic birding and some relaxing and exploring the island.
Travelling around Europe was possible again in the summer. We quickly decided that France would be the logical choice for a nice week-long trip; we could see many lifers (given we had both never been to France for birding before) and the logistics were easy and flexible to plan since you can drive in a day from Amsterdam to the south of France. Sjoerd Radstaak also joined us and we made an itinerary of 8 days: First a 3-days visit to Corsica (for the endemics, near-endemics and some seabird watching from the ferry), then a short stop in the Camargue (Moustached Warbler was new for Sjoerd and since it was not far off route it was a very nice addition), and we finished with 2 days in the beautiful French Alps. Overall it was a very successful and fun trip where we saw all targets resulting in 9(!) lifers for Helen and 8 for Rob.
Helen had to visit Madrid for work, and since she still needs a couple of species in Spain we used the occasion to visit the steppes around Belchite for short weekend trip.
When checking the flight to Brazil we found an option with excellent flight times, but with a long lay-over in Madrid on the way there. This provided an opportunity to try for Spanish Imperial Eagle a lifer for Helen.
Spring weekend trip around Uppsala (Sweden), mainly in search of owls.
Eurasian Pygmy Owl
Great Grey Owl
A relaxing visit to Tenerife and Fuerteventura