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March.Grey & Blue Whales, Baja California-Baja is world famous for its 'friendly' Grey Whales, and is arguably the ultimatedestination for those wanting to see BlueWhales. In February and March the cetacean-rich waters of Baja and thelegendary Sea of Cortez host these iconicwhales as well as many other marinemammals and seabirds.Blue Whales, Sri Lanka- In March and April, Blue Whales can be seen close to the south coast of Sri Lanka. Combinewhale-watching offshore with searching for Leopards in Yala National Park or looking for Sri Lanka's endemic and otherbirdlife inland, such as the newly discovered Serendip Scops Owl in Sinharaja Forest.Cyprus, Jordan, Morocco & Tunisia-Spring arrives early in these more southernregions offering the birder and botanist arewarding early breakApril.India's Tigers- Last chance for Tigers! India is very hot at this time, but the early morning and evening game-viewing and birdwatching (with summervisitors in full song!) is at its best ... andtherefore maximises the chance of Tiger sightings.Nepal- With snows clearing in themountains, rhododendrons and numerousother shrubs and flowers bursting into bloom,and the breeding season commencing, Aprilto June offers the naturalist the mostrewarding months for Himalayan trekking.Morocco & Jordan- Spring migration is atits peak, and all of Morocco's north African,and Jordan's Middle Eastern specialities andsummer visitors are in full songMay.Europe- Across all the Mediterraneancountries, the period from the end of April toearly May offers a short window when theregion's lowland flora (especially the orchids)and birdlife are at their best .Bhutan, Georgia & Kazakhstan- Threespecial mountain destinations, popular withNaturetrek clients, whose special floras andbirdlife reveal themselves once the wintersnows have melted and spring arrives in May.Canada- As the snows clear from Canada'sPacific North-west, Grizzlies and Black Bearsemerge from hibernation to feed on newshoots, mothers often accompanied bynewborn cubs!June.Europe- In the hay meadows and alpinepastures of the Alps, Dolomites, Carpathians,Pyrenees, Picos and other mountain ranges,the flora, and the butterflies it supports, offermost to the naturalist during June and July.China's Yunnan & Sichuan provinces, andthe Tien Shan in Kazakhstan- Three long-haul destinations that are a 'must' for allbotanists at this time.Brown Bears in Finland & Sweden- FromMay until August, Brown Bears may mosteasily be observed from hides, whilst longhours of daylight benefit the observer!July.Jaguars in Brazil- We head to thePantanal, where Jaguar numbers areprobably higher than anywhere else on Earth,and where, during the dry months of Juneand July, we have the best chance of seeingthis elusive cat.Spitsbergen- As the ice melts,concentrating Polar Bear numbers, and theheight of the breeding season shows seabirdcolonies at their peak, this is the month forthe keen naturalist to visit the unique Arcticisland of Spitsbergen.Kenya- Two million Wildebeest migrate backnorth into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti insearch of fresh pastures. They areaccompanied by other game, and pursued bypredators. Their crossing of the Mara Riverprovides a particularly exciting challenge!August.Europe- High summer across Europe is theperfect time for butterflies and dragonflies,while bird numbers are swollen as a result ofthe breeding season and the southboundpassage of migrants, especially waders.Sweden & Finland's Bears- This is thetime to visit, and watch Brown Bears, if youare keen to avoid the midges and mossies forwhich Scandinavia is renowned.Whales & Dolphins- A great time forcetaceans in North America. Our tours toMonterey Bay, Boston and Canada all offergood chances of Humpback, Orca and awide range of other species, including BlueWhale in Monterey BaySeptember.Wild Flowers in South Africa & WesternAustralia- This is the month in which toenjoy the astonishing and unique spectaclesof wild flowers in these two SouthernHemisphere botanical hotspots .Canada's Bears- Orcas, Grey Whales andcongregations of Grizzly Bears fishing forsalmon - it doesn't get any better than thisin the wilderness of British Columbia .Whales & Dolphins in Spain- Closer tohome, this is a good time to venture offshoreto search for the wide range of whales anddolphins that can be seen off Gibraltar andTarifa, in SpainOctober.Hungary- Enjoy the spectacle of up to60,000 migrating Cranes at the HortobágyNational Park, plus other migrants, wildlfowl,raptors and Great Bustard.Peru- This is a perfect time for birding inManu's cloudforest, where the world's mostphotogenic (and only flash-habituated) Cock-of-the-rocks may be seen lekking. Combinethis with a visit to Machu Picchu and themacaw clay-licks at the end of the dry season(early booking essential to secure limited IncaTrail permits).Southern Africa (Zambia, Botswana,Namibia, South Africa & Zambia)-Combine spring in the Cape (and SouthernRight Whales) with the end of the 'dry season'elsewhere, when sparse vegetation andlimited water holes guarantee the bestconcentrations of game and predators.Seasonal visiting birds from the north also arriveNovember.Australia, Tasmania, NZ, the Falklands (&other southern regions)- The southernspring arrives; the perfect time for the visitingnaturalist.Crete & the Peloponnese- The firstautumn rains bring out a profusion of wildcrocuses, other bulbs, and delicate autumnflowers.Ethiopia- Perfect weather conditionsfollowing the long summer rainy season, andthe influx of wintering birds from the northernhemisphere, make this the perfect month fora wildlife and/or cultural visit.India- Clear and dry post-monsoonweather sees the re-opening of India'sfabulous National Parks and Tiger Reserves.Nepal- Clear post-monsoon skies offerspectacular Himalayan panoramas, perfecttrekking conditions, and ideal temperatures.Perfect for the photographer!.Venezuela & Ecuador- The arrival ofmigrant birds from North America enhancesthe birding experience, whilst pleasantlyvaried weather conditions (with a little morecloud cover) make conditions perfect forbirders and feeding birds alike!December.Galápagos- The Galápagos is a year-rounddestination, but for those who like to snorkel, orwho suffer from seasickness, the seas are nowcalmer and warmer. Book early to secure thevessel and flights of your choice though.Zambia- The 'green season' gets underway, offering clear air, lush vegetation andscenery, the breeding time for many birds(when weavers, widowbirds and others sporttheir fabuous breeding plumages), and whensuch elusive animals as African Wild Dogs aremost likely to be seen in South LuangwaNational Park. This is 'Africa with a difference'- the favourite season of many AfricaafficionadosExpert:Rajan Jollyrajan@naturetrek.co.ukIndian SubcontinentExpert:Paul Stanburypaul@naturetrek.co.ukAfrica & CruisesExpert:Andy Tuckerandy@naturetrek.co.ukS. America & W. EuropeExpert:Maryanne Millsmaryanne@naturetrek.co.ukAustralasiaCall: 01962 733051Our experts27Expert:Dan Freedan@naturetrek.co.ukAfrica & S. America

EUROPEOur holidays in Europe are generally no longer than a week or 10 days and focus on theoutstanding wildlife habitats that we have left in the region. We explore the greatDanube Delta in Romania, the Coto Doñana in Spain, the Biebrza Marshes and primevalBialowieza Forest in Poland. In particular we focus on Europe's spectacular mountain ranges -the Pyrenees, Alps, Picos de Europa, Carpathians and Dolomites - all exceptionally rich inplants, birds, mammals and butterflies. These regions also provide fine walking opportunities,although we always move at a pace slow enough to enjoy all aspects of the natural world!Europe's lowlands, too, provide some very special habitats such as the Spanish steppes andHortobágy National Park (that protects the very best of the grasslands and wetlands of theGreat Hungarian Plain). Northern Europe offers its own special landscapes: the great fjords ofNorway where we watch Steller's and King Eiders in early spring, and botanise in summer; thedramatic Arctic wilderness of Spitsbergen - home of the Arctic Fox and Polar Bear. Whereveryou choose to travel with Naturetrek, you will enjoy the best of Europe's birds, plants andbutterflies in the company of our expert naturalist guides. We may even show you some ofEurope's last great mammals - Brown Bears, Bison and Wolves. Furthermore, you will be ableto enjoy all this in comfort and on a full stomach, for the characterful and friendly family-runhotels that we choose for our holidays offer both comfort and fine local cuisine, whilst thequality of the Naturetrek picnic lunch is legendary!"As far as I am concerned it was one of the best holidays I have ever had, and long will the memoriesstay with me - super flowers, super birds, fantastic scenery, superb weather, wonderful wildlife, greatfood and company. Who could ask for anything more?" P.R., Surrey - Samos."This was an excellent week of relaxed birdwatching in warm sunshine and spectacular scenery,surrounded by carpets of wild flowers. The helpful leaders, friendly fellow guests, comfortableaccommodation and plentiful local food and wine added to the enjoyment." P.H., Essex - Portugal."This was a truly wonderful experience! The quality of the leaders and guides was excellent. Everythingwent like clockwork on the boat. The food was outstanding. It was the trip of a lifetime for us!" D.G., Harrogate - Spitsbergen.28