Belarus ........ 5th to 13th May 2013
Belarus is perhaps little known in the birding world and therefore may well be Europe’s best kept secret. The variety of birds in this country - once part of the USSR, is tremendous with a number of species rarely seen in other parts of Europe. Imagine travelling through ancient forests, meandering rivers and vast marshes with exquisite birds and wildlife, few people and little traffic – now distant memories in Britain and most European Countries. The reserve of Sporovo and the national parks of Belowezhskaya Pushcha and Pripyatsky should yield a wealth of avian jewels, including: Corncrake, Little Crake, Great Grey, Ural & Tengmalm’s Owls, Terek Sandpiper, Great Snipe, White-backed & Three-toed Woodpeckers, Great Spotted Eagle, Collared Flycatcher, River Warbler and Citrine Wagtail to mention but a few. The Sporovo Reserve supports 90% of the world population of Aquatic Warbler and Belarus is probably the only country in Europe where one has a chance to see Azure Tit - spring birding ‘par excellence’!
Days 1 & 2: We depart UK on a flight to Warsaw, where on arrival we will be met by our Ecotours Guide. We will then drive into Belarus and after checking into our hotel, time permitting we will do some birdwatching in the Sporovo Reserve.
The whole of Day 2 will be spent exploring the reserve to discover its rich avifauna which includes a large population of Aquatic Warbler. There is a wonderful supporting cast of Little & Spotted Crakes, Great Grey Owl, Montagu’s Harrier, Golden Oriole and Penduline Tit. Overnights – Sporovo Reserve
Days 3-6: Our next base is the Pripyatsky N.P., where we spend four nights in a comfortable hotel on the riverside. In the flooded meadows are many breeding shorebirds – Great Snipe, Terek & Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff and Spotted Redshank are all present. Azure Tit can be found in the Riparian Willow forests of the Pripyat River. In the ancient forests we will look for White-backed Woodpecker, Red-breasted & Collared Flycatcher, Thrush Nightingale and Golden Oriole
Days 7 & 8: Our last venue is the World Heritage Site of Belowezhskaya Pushcha ancient forest. In this forest bird haven are Great Grey, Ural, Eagle & Pygmy Owls, all ten of Europe’s woodpeckers, Goshawk, Honey-buzzard and Collared Flycatcher.
Day 9: We drive to Warsaw for our return flight to the UK.
Tour ref: AA1301
Tour Cost: £1745
Single Room Supplement: £165
Leaders: Balazs Szigeti & Colin McShane
Max. Group: 14 plus 2 Leaders
Includes: Economy class scheduled return flights (UK - Warsaw - UK), accommodation based on twin occupancy, meals, transportation in Belarus, reserve entrance fees and services of leaders.
Excludes: Travel insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.