Dates: 21-25 April 2018
With its unspoilt nature, beautiful landscapes, short driving distances and good infrastructure, Slovakia is an excellent birding destination. The Tatras offer beautiful mountain scenery and vast coniferous forests with Pygmy Owl, Three-toed and White-backed Woodpeckers, Ring Ouzel and Golden and Lesser Spotted Eagles. The region of the Slovak Karst with its limestone gorges, mature beech and mixed forests is home to an abundance of raptors, owls and woodpeckers. Ural, Eagle, Pygmy and Tengmalm’s Owls and all European woodpeckers are found here in attractive habitats. Beech and spruce forests are home to Hazel Grouse, Nutcracker, Collared Flycatcher, Crested Tit, Firecrest and Common Crossbill.
After arriving at Poprad airport we head towards the Low Tatras. Time permitting, we visit a reservoir close to the hotel where divers and grebes are possible during migration, along with more common ducks and waders. Our hotel is located at the entrance to a long picturesque valley, where Dipper and Grey Wagtail are found along the stream.
The next day we hike the forested mountain tracks in the Tatra National Park with a local guide. We will search for Golden Eagle, Black, Grey-headed, Three-toed and White-backed Woodpeckers and there are a few good sites for Pygmy Owl as well. We hope to find Nutcracker, Hazel Grouse, Firecrest and Ring Ouzel among the commoner woodland species.
Overnight in the Lower Tatras.
We leave the Tatras and travel south-east through scenic landscapes to reach the Slovak Karst, where we visit several sites with our excellent local guides.
We explore the Szepes-Gömör Mountains. Pygmy Owls should be calling very actively and in April we have a good chance of seeing one, even during the daytime, by imitating their simple whistle. Knowing some breeding sites of Tengmalm’s Owl we hope that our local guide will find this rarely seen bird. In the higher elevations we will search for Hazel Grouse, Three-toed Woodpecker, Nutcracker, Common Crossbill and Crested Tit.
The woods close to the city of Kosice hold a sizeable population of Ural Owls and we should be able to find one or two perched in a tree trunk. This perfectly camouflaged bird is always a highlight of any trip. The same area is excellent for Middle Spotted, Grey-headed, White-backed and Black Woodpeckers. The wooded hills are a breeding ground of Black Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Goshawk. Syrian Woodpecker and Wryneck are found in the orchards near our hotel.
As an optional excursion in the evening we can trap bats (up to 15 different species are possible) with our local guide, an expert who will help us to see and identify these fascinating creatures in the hand.
Overnight in the Slovak Karst.
After some morning birding we head to Kosice airport, stopping en route for birds and scenery.
This tour is operated for Birdwatch and BirdGuides by Ecotours Wildlife Holidays (a limited company registered in the UK with combined tour operator liability insurance at Camberford Law PLC, valid for all destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa, and offering free financial protection to all clients). The price includes all accommodation, meals (breakfast in the lodge/hotel, packed lunch and three-course dinner), tea and coffee, biscuits, fresh fruit and mineral water every day, transport, guiding, entrance to reserves and parks, tour literature with map, and species list; not included are flights, airport tax, optional activities, drinks during dinner, tips and other expenses of a personal nature. For further information or to make a reservation, please call the company on +36 20 4585921 or email email@example.com.
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