page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128
page 129
page 130
page 131
page 132
page 133
page 134
page 135
page 136
page 137
page 138
page 139
page 140
page 141
page 142
page 143
page 144
page 145
page 146
page 147
page 148
page 149
page 150
page 151
page 152
page 153
page 154
page 155
page 156
page 157
page 158
page 159
page 160
page 161
page 162
page 163
page 164
page 165
page 166
page 167
page 168
page 169
page 170
page 171
page 172
page 173
page 174
page 175
page 176
page 177
page 178
page 179
page 180
page 181
page 182
page 183
page 184
page 185
page 186
page 187
page 188
page 189
page 190
page 191
page 192
page 193
page 194
page 195
page 196
page 197
page 198
page 199
page 200
page 201
page 202
page 203
page 204
page 205
page 206
page 207
page 208
page 209
page 210
page 211
page 212
page 213
page 214
page 215
page 216
page 217
page 218
page 219
page 220
page 221
page 222
page 223
page 224
page 225
page 226
page 227
page 228
page 229
page 230
page 231
page 232
page 233
page 234
page 235
page 236
page 237
page 238
page 239
page 240
page 241
page 242
page 243
page 244
page 245
page 246
page 247
page 248
page 249
page 250
page 251
page 252
page 253
page 254
page 255
page 256
page 257
page 258
page 259
page 260
page 261
page 262
page 263
page 264
page 265
page 266
page 267
page 268
page 269
page 270
page 271
page 272
page 273
page 274
page 275
page 276
page 277
page 278
page 279
page 280
page 281
page 282
page 283
page 284
page 285
page 286
page 287
page 288
page 289
page 290
page 291
page 292

For nearly a thousand years, theCamino de Santiago de Compostelaor 'Way of St. James' has been themost travelled pilgrimage route in Europe.However, rather than being a single route,the Camino is in fact a collection of manypilgrimage routes, all of which converge onthe cathedral of Santiago de Compostela inGalicia, north-west Spain, where traditionhas it that the remains of the apostle St.James are buried. Many of these ancientpathways pass through spectacularlandscapes and scenery, and none aremore enticing for the naturalist than theseries of paths which cross the Pyreneesand then descend through Aragón to link upwith the main pilgrimage route in Navarra. While the northern, French valleys of thePyrenees are wet, green and thicklyforested, the Spanish side of this dividingrange is dry, arid and generally moreMediterranean - home to a very differentvariety of plant and bird species. Thesesunny southern slopes are characterised bystunning limestone erosions, cliffs andcanyons, and a rich variety of scrub, maquisand arable farmland as well as extensivebeech and conifer forests. Our comfortablebase for this 8-day holiday is a delightful'casa rural' situated right on the Camino, inthe pretty hilltop village of Berdún whichenjoys fine views of the Pyrenees,surrounding foothills, and valleys of theVeral and Aragón Rivers. We'll makeleisurely daily walks exploring a combinationof the wildlife and historical highlights (formany isolated and ancient waysidechurches and hermitages may be found)along key Aragonese stretches of theCamino. In addition, we'll make detours offthe beaten track, along ancient footpaths,as we search for birds, plants andbutterflies.We begin this holiday with a flight toZaragoza, exploring the spectacularlimestone gorge, Foz de Lumbier, en routefrom the airport to Berdún. The gorge ishome to such bird species as EgyptianVulture and Spectacled Warbler; butterfliesabound, as well as flowers such as Narrow-leaved Valerian and Pyrenean Saxifrage. Onsubsequent days we'll walk differentstretches of the Camino, one of our firstexcursions being to the Pyrenean pass ofSomport, situated on the French-Spanishborder at 1,640 metres, from where we'lldescend to the village of Villanua at 953metres, following the Camino along the RioAragón as it passes through alpinepastures, woods and fields. This routeoffers the chance to see birds such asGriffon Vulture, Lammergeier, Short-toedEagle, Crag Martin, Alpine Chough and CitrilFinch, and we should also see manybutterflies and - in June - such orchidssuch as Early Purple, Elder-flowered, LesserButterfly and Fragrant, as well as otherflowers such as Pyrenean SnakesheadFritillary, Pyrenean Squill, Pyrenean Violetand Pyrenean Scabious.On another day, we will walk the short butpicturesque cabañera or 'drovers' road' toJaca, the first large town medieval pilgrimswould have come to when walking intoSpain. A bustling provincial town, Jaca hasa magnificent Romanesque cathedral, andfor the energetic there's an optional walk tothe summit of the sacred mountain PeñaOroel, where Griffon Vultures breed. Thiswalk also offers a wealth of wild flowers,among them Woodcock Orchid, PyreneanHoneysuckle and Beautiful Flax. We will alsospend a day on another branch of theCamino which enters Spain via the Col dePau and drops to the Roman road down theHecho Valley - one of the most beautifulvalleys in the Pyrenees, where bothLammergeier and Wallcreeper may befound.Taking a detour off the Camino, we willexplore a route that would once have beentaken by medieval pilgrims to see the holyrelics (including the Holy Grail!) at themonastery of St. Juan de la Peña. For thenaturalist, this is a quiet and rewarding spot,where Black Woodpeckers breed in theforest around the monastery and vulturesnest on the south-facing cliffs beneath it. Having explored the higher Pyrenean areas,we will enjoy a couple of walks at loweraltitudes where the drier, moreMediterranean habitats support a verydifferent flora and birdlife. First, we'll walkfrom Hecho into the Veral/Anso Valley,descending along a dramatic path to thespectacular Binies Gorge. Then, on our finalday, we'll walk from the Ermita de La Virgende La Peña, spectacularly perched at thetop of a cliff, to the fascinating abandonedvillage of Escó (close to the Yesa reservoirwhich attracts fishing Black Kites, andmigrant Ospreys and waders in theautumn); two more walks offering thechance to savour pathways followed for athousand years by a multitude of devoutpilgrims - routes greatly enhanced fortoday's naturalist by the wealth of waysidewildlife and spectacular sceneryencountered along them.JACAZARAGOZABERDÚNLOURDES TOULOUSE ANDORRA BILBAO MADRID ORDESSA NATIONAL PARK FRANCE SPAIN 140Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Zaragoza andtransfer to Berdún.Day 2/7A programme of daywalks along the Caminode Santiago from ourbase in Berdún.Day 8Fly Stansted.AccommodationA characterful 17th centuryAragonese dwelling, situated in adelightfully unspoilt village. Allrooms have private facilities.Food and wineAll included in the price.GradingGrade B. Day walks only, but somemore challenging terrain covered.FocusBirds, plants and butterflies; alsowalking and history.Leader Richard Cash.Single room supplement£140.ExtensionsArranged on request.Web quick search: ESP26Spain'sCaminodeSantiago & its Natural History An 8-day holiday of natural history walks along parts of the ancient Camino de Santiago, Europe's bestknown pilgrimage route, combining birds, plants and butterflies with a touch of history.Sunday 22nd September - Sunday 29th September Cost: £1,295 Short-toed EagleScarce CopperWalking along the Camino, Taxeras

This is a holiday that offers qualityrather than quantity. A quality of light(during daylight hours!) and somequality birds and photographicopportunities. Indeed, winter birdwatchingin northern Scandinavia is very special. Atime when, although a limited number ofspecies is present, such beautiful birds asWaxwings, Crossbills and Bullfinches tendto look even more exquisite in the magicalwinter light, and when almost everymedium-sized bird adorning a treetop islikely to be something special - a forestgrouse, a Nutcracker, a Goshawk or evena Hawk Owl.We will be based in the snow-ladenlowlands of Svartådalen in central Sweden,less than an hour's drive from Västeråsairport, near Stockholm. Svartådalen (theBlack River Valley) offers a pleasingpatchwork of deciduous and coniferousforests, farmland, and lakes and wetlands,frozen and snow-covered in winter. Weexplore this quiet and generally under-exploited landscape via small, windingroads, looking out for such winter visitorsas Great Grey Shrikes and Rough-leggedBuzzards. Resident Goshawks, and bothGolden and White-tailed Eagles alsofrequent the area, whilst both Hawk Owls and Pygmy Owls are regularly seenthroughout the winter as they sit in thetreetops waiting for their favourite prey -voles - to show on the ground beneaththem. Hawk Owls, in particular, once theyhave found a reliable source of food, willoften stay in the same area for monthsduring the winter, before moving north totheir breeding grounds in March.On cold, clear days, the air is dry and icyand the light simply stunning as it turns topicture postcards the pretty, bright, red-painted wooden farmhouses and theglistening white, snow-coveredsurroundings. On our excursions we willnot lack for plentiful snacks and hotdrinks, preferably enjoyed beside an open-air fire; however, the bitter cold burnsenergy, and after a full day's birding it iswonderful to retreat into a warm cottageand to sit in front of a welcoming log firefor a cup of afternoon tea andconsideration of the day's sightings.Indeed, both of the comfortablecountryside hotels we use during this shortbreak offer hearty local food and a goodatmosphere. Each day, during our winter birdingoutings, we will not just scan from theroadsides in our vehicle, but will takewalks into the forest and spend time atbird feeding stations, positioned in avariety of habitats, each attracting adifferent range of species. At one suchfeeding station at a garden feeder in thesouthern part of Svartådalen we shouldsee Hawfinches and magnificentBullfinches amongst a host of otherfinches, tits and thrushes. Further north, ina forest clearing, Nutcrackers and Grey-headed Woodpeckers are the mainattractions, together with a variety of foresttits and other passerines. Many of thesebirds have become very tame over theyears, and Crested, Willow and Coal Titswill sometimes feed from your hand or siton your camera lens whilst curiousNutcrackers gather hazelnuts just metres away.On one day we will drive north for a coupleof hours to a feeding station at Ockelbo.Here, surrounded by the extensive taigaforests which wrap around the planet atthis high latitude, we will look for curiousSiberian Jays which regularly visit thefeeding station in February. Grey-headedWoodpecker, Crested Tit and Willow Tit arealso likely, whilst en route we will stop atthe River Dalälven where Dippers (of theBlack-bellied race) are found and wherePygmy Owls can sometimes be seen bythe roadside. We should also be vigilantthroughout the tour for flocks of softlytrilling Waxwings, which are often seenfeasting on berries in Swedish gardensduring the cold winter months. On our final morning we will walk in theforest in search of Hazelhen, Black Grouseand perhaps, even, Capercaillie. We willalso look out for Goshawks, and bothGolden and White-tailed Eagles, whilstoccasionally Three-toed or BlackWoodpeckers are encountered here.Mammals, too, will not be overlookedduring this holiday, for we have a goodchance of encountering such commonspecies as Elk, Roe Deer, Red Deer, RedFox, both Brown and Mountain Hare, RedSquirrel, Stoat, Weasel and Mink, and aslim chance of one of the more elusiveresidents - a Lynx, Wolf, Beaver, Otter orWild Boar! We will also have fundeciphering their tracks.Sweden in WinterA 4-day short break to experience the peace, tranquillity and snow-laden beauty of rural Swedenin winter as we focus on enjoying and photographing its obliging winter bird specialities. Thursday 7th February - Sunday 10th February Cost: £1,050Thursday 14th February - Sunday 17th February Cost: £1,050Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationNORWAYBALTICSEAKALMARGOTLANDÖLANDMALMÖGOTHENBURGSTOCKHOLMSVARTÅDALENOCKELBOSWEDENOutline itineraryDay 1Fly Stockholm; transferSvartådalen.Day 2/3Winter birding aroundSvartådalen.Day 4Drive Stockholm; flyLondon.AccommodationComfortable guesthouse. All roomshave private facilities.FoodAll included in the price, except forlunch on Day 1 and dinner on Day 4.GradingA. Gentle day walks only. FocusBirds and photography.LeaderDaniel Green.Single room supplement£120.Web quick search: SWE03141SvartådalenWaxwingSiberian Jay