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The Falkland Islands provide one of the most unusual and enjoyabledestinations in the Naturetrekprogramme. Lying some 450 kilometresfrom the coast of South America, amid therich fishing grounds of the South Atlantic,the islands are inhabited by huge numbersof seabirds during the breeding seasonwhich extends from October to March. Thespectacle of these great assemblies ofpenguins, albatrosses, cormorants andterns is reason enough to visit the Falklandsbut the islands are so much more than justa haven for seabirds. The scenery is oftenreminiscent of the Scottish islands, butthere are many unique aspects to life in theFalklands and visitors are constantlycharmed by this blend of familiar andunfamiliar. In many ways the islands areessentially British in character but the South Atlantic exerts its own influences andthe sight of huge Elephant Seals hauled out on sandy beaches, or Giant Petrelsgliding along the Stanley shoreline, remindus that Europe is thousands of kilometresaway and that the wildlife has more affinitieswith Antarctica!Formerly the remoteness of the islandsmade them extremely difficult to visit butthe construction of Mount Pleasant airfield,combined with the provision of comfortabletourist accommodation on a number ofislands, has made the Falklands accessibleto an ever-increasing number of travellerswishing to enjoy the remarkable naturalhistory and fascinating way of life in thisvery special archipelago.As we drive to Port Stanley from MountPleasant after the long flight from England,flocks of Upland Geese grazing by theroadside and Long-tailed Meadowlarksforaging in the heather indicate emphaticallythat we have entered a very different world.A walk along the Stanley waterfront from ourcomfortable hotel will underline this as RockCormorants fly to their nests on an oldshipwreck in the harbour, Steamer Ducksdabble in the shallows, and Giant Petrelssquabble with Dolphin Gulls over titbitsdiscarded from fishing boats. Although the islands occupy an arearoughly the size of Wales, the population istiny, and even the capital, Stanley, is barelythe size of a large English village. Isolatedsheep farms and remote settlements aresurrounded by great expanses of wild peatmoorland, through which numerousstreams carve their way to the sea,providing refuge for impressively largetrout. Magnificent sandy beaches, the equal of any in the tropics, are invariablydeserted except for loitering Elephant Seals or Sea Lions, and in some places areutilised as landing strips by the light aircraft which serve as a lifeline betweenthese widely scattered islands. Trees arescarce, but ubiquitous thickets of gorseadd a vivid splash of colour to eachsettlement and offer a safe nesting placefor Falkland Thrushes.A day excursion from Stanley to VolunteerPoint is sure to rank among the tourhighlights as we visit the King Penguincolony at the point. The immenselyappealing young birds that parade in frontof us wearing their comical 'fur' coats ofthick down will be just the first of manyindelible memories to take home fromthese extraordinary South Atlantic islands.Port Howard, Sea Lion and Pebble Islandsconstitute the main centres for our tour andwe will be spending several days at eachlocality, travelling between islands on theFIGAS Islander aircraft which gives superbviews of the scenery en route, and willcheerfully divert from its flight path if thepilot spots a pod of Killer Whales oranything else of interest to his passengers! Two nights at Port Howard give us a tasteof life on a busy Falklands sheep farm butthe surrounding countryside is also rich inbirdlife and we will see many of the typicalWest Falkland species during our stay,including various waterbirds and a smallcolony of Gentoo Penguins at Fox Bay.Flying next to Pebble Island, we find adifferent terrain, with marshes and pools tothe east of the island and moorland andhills to the west. There are severalsignificant seabird colonies on Pebble and ithas been possible in some years to see sixpenguin species on the island. Impressivescenery, a fine sense of solitude, aprofusion of wild flowers and amazingsandy beaches make Pebble anunforgettable place. We stay next onbeautiful Carcass Island for three nightsand, if conditions permit, we will take a boatexcursion to nearby West Point where animpressive Black-browed Albatross colonywill be our principal objective, althoughthere will be plenty of other wildlife toadmire, including dolphins on the crossing.Our final destination is Sea Lion Islandwhere we stay in the comfortable touristlodge where Elephant Seal pups dozing inthe garden, and inquisitive StriatedCaracaras attempting to unpack ourluggage, give a taste of what is in store onthis superb island. Five penguin speciescan be found here, but the most numerousare the solemn Gentoos clustered togetherin their colonies, and the highlyentertaining little Rockhoppers which hurlthemselves ashore from the poundingwaves with the alacrity of circus acrobats.For the period of our stay the island is ourprivate domain, a birding paradiseinhabited by King Cormorants, Ruddy-headed and Kelp Geese, Falkland Skuas,Magellanic and Blackish Oystercatchers,Two-banded Plovers, Tussock Birds andmany other exciting species. ElephantSeals litter the beaches and, if we arelucky, we could witness Killer Whalescruising offshore. A final two days in Stanley give us anopportunity to look around this small townwhich, for a short while, was the focus ofthe world's media as the events of theFalklands conflict took place. Alsoscheduled is a boat excursion to KidneyIsland, hopefully concluding a remarkablewildlife holiday with close views of thesouthern ocean seabirds which pass justoff the shore of this undisturbed Tussac-covered island, and maybe a few dolphinsas a bonus!The Falkland IslandsAn 18-day holiday enjoying the birds and marine mammals of the Falkland Islands.Wednesday 7th November - Saturday 24th November 2012 Cost: £6,995Wednesday 6th November - Saturday 23rd November 2013 Cost: £6,995Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationWEST FALKLANDEAST FALKLAND PORT HOWARD KIDNEY ISLAND Mt.PLEASANTMt. USBORNEVOLUNTEER POINT PORT STANLEY PEBBLE ISLAND CARCASSISLANDSEA LION ISLANDFALKLAND SOUND SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Mount Pleasant.Day 2Port Stanley.Day 3Volunteer Point.Day 4/5Port Howard.Day 6/8Pebble Island.Day 9/11Carcass Island.Day 12/14Sea Lion Island.Day 15Port Stanley.Day 16Kidney Island.Day 17Fly Brize Norton.Day 18Arrive Brize Norton.AccommodationComfortable hotel in Port Stanleyand tourist lodges elsewhere. Allrooms with private facilities excepton Carcass Island, where they areshared.FoodAll included in the price.GradingA. Mainly gentle birdwatching walks.FocusBirds and marine mammals.LeaderAlan Henry.Single room supplement£650.Web quick search: FLK01205Striated Caracara and Gentoo PenguinsKing PenguinsKelp Goose

Guyana lies at the point where theCaribbean meets South America onits North Atlantic seaboard.Although little known, it is nonetheless awonderful country, blessed with unspoilednatural beauty and great rivers, waterfallsand unexplored rainforest. Truly a timelessparadise, Guyana is a land of immensebiodiversity. Here, Jaguars still roam theforests; rivers hold Giant River Otter, BlackCaiman and Arapaima (the world's largestfreshwater fish) . and Harpy Eagle andGuianan Cock-of-the-rock thrive amongstan avifauna of over 700 species. Our holiday begins with a transfer by boatto Arrowpoint Nature Resort, an idylliclodge set within the Amerindian reserve ofSanta. The lodge is surrounded by a varietyof interesting habitats, including openmarshland, scattered stands of MorichePalm and tall sandbelt forest. There is agood trail system here (which we will bemaking full use of this afternoon) andadditionally there is an attractive option ofbirding by canoe along the more peacefulstretches of water upstream. Sungrebesand Sunbitterns frequent the creeks, whileRed-shouldered Macaws nest in theMoriche Palms in front of the lodge. From here our adventure will continue withan extended tour of Guyana's remoteinterior. A morning flight takes us to themajestic and breathtaking Kaieteur Falls.Situated in the heart of Guyana on thePotaro River, a tributary of the Essequibo,Kaieteur was first seen by Europeans in1870. With a sheer drop of 228 metres, thefalls are five times the height of Niagara,and their pounding waters create aneternal rainbow over the mist-coveredboulders of the gorge. There is no waterfallin the world discharging so much waterover such a great drop! Nearby, the table-top summit of a tepuis(the classic 'LostWorld-like' table-top mountain typical ofthe region), on which our plane lands,supports an amazing ecosystem which wewill explore, hoping to encounter a maleGuianan Cock-of-the-rock in full display!With a backdrop of rolling, grass-coveredhills, this is one of the most stunninglocations in Guyana's remote interior. We continue south to Annai, the Rupununi'snorthernmost Amerindian community, fromwhere we transfer to Iwokrama Rainforestand, later, the local community of Surama.From the research station at Iwokrama, wewill make a pre-dawn visit to a 'canopywalkway', set deep within the IwokramaRainforest, to enjoy the dawn and itsassociated peak period of bird activity. Ourviewing platform high in the forest canopyoffers views across the treetops and accessto birds rarely visible from the ground,possibly including the magnificent HarpyEagle. Here we awake to the roar of RedHowler Monkeys and the calls of toucans.Rainforest mammals, though neverconspicuous, are well represented atIwokrama and, with luck, we may encounterthe impressive Black Spider Monkey andshaggy Guianan Saki, as well as a BandedTamandua, Kinkajou, or even the elusiveJaguar. Iwokrama is rapidly gaining aninternational reputation for its healthyJaguar population and we will certainly beon the look out for this most impressive ofSouth American cats. Large macaws arestill wonderfully common, and we should betreated to daily flights of Blue-and-yellow,Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws.Next we drive to Rock View Lodge at Annaiwhere we will have time to enjoy all thecomforts that our luxurious accommodationhas to offer, as well as to explore thePakaraima foothills and enjoy theirpanoramic views across vast savannahs.A boat transfer then takes us to arguablythe highlight of the tour, Karanambu Ranch,where endless rainforest dramatically givesway to a rolling savannah that is sliced byrivers and broken by hills which risesuddenly from the plains. This is theRupununi Savannah, a vast land of hugeskies and sun-scorched plains, interruptedby patches ofscrub and riparianwoodland, swamps and lakes, togetherwith a scattering of Amerindian villagesand cattle ranches. Karanambu is anisolated cattle ranch and former home ofDiane McTurk, famous for her workrehabilitating orphaned Giant River Ottersto the wild. Here we will explore the mazeof lagoons along the Rupununi River withDiane's family, in search of Giant RiverOtters, Red Howler Monkeys, Capybaraand Black Caiman. The quiet backwatershere are home to the legendary Arapaima,the largest of all scaled freshwater fish.Lakes and ponds are crammed withJabirus, egrets, herons and otherwaterbirds, and blanketed by theenormous pads of the Victoria amazonicawater lily, Guyana's national flower. On onemorning we may make an early start toreach an area of rolling grassland which issometimes home to a population of GiantAnteaters. With luck, and with the help ofthe vacquerosriding barefoot in thestirrup, we will locate one of these 2-metrelong animals excavating its breakfast fromone of the red termite mounds that studthe savannah. Finally, a little culture in colonialGeorgetown, together with a visit to theBotanical Gardens where the astonishingBlood-coloured Woodpecker is apossibility, will round off what is likely to bean unforgettable tour.Guyana - A Timeless ParadiseAn exciting 17-day holiday in search of the birds, mammals and other natural history amongst thepristine rainforests, rivers and savannahs of a little-known and unspoiled South American country.Monday 5th November - Wednesday 21st November 2012 Cost: £4,695Sunday 10th November - Tuesday 26th November 2013 Cost: £4,795Outline itineraryDay 1Fly Georgetown.Day 2/3Arrowpoint NatureResort.Day 4/6Kaieteur Falls andIwokrama River Lodge.Day 7Atta Rainforest Lodge.Day 8/9Surama Eco Lodge.Day 10/11Rock View Lodge.Day 12/14Karanambu Ranch.Day 15Georgetown.Day 16Depart Georgetown.Day 17Arrive London.Accommodation A mixture of the best availablehotels and lodges, some a littlebasic, most with private facilities.FoodIncluded in the price, except forevening meals in Georgetown.Allow £30.GradingA. Easy day walks only.FocusBirds, mammals and a little culture.LeaderRon Allicock.Single room supplement£430 (where available).Web quick search: GUY01206Call now or visit your free Trip ItineraryATLANTIC OCEAN VENEZUELA BRAZIL SURINAM GUYANA KARANAMBUROCKVIEWIWOKRAMAFIELD STATIONMOUNT RORAIMA SURAMAKAIETEURFALLSGEORGETOWN ARROWPOINTKaieteur FallsGiantAnteater