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News in Brief: Namibia, Scotland, and the Seychelles

Read about highlights from recent tours to Namibia, Scotland, and the Seychelles.

In Namibia

‘Twelve intrepid Naturetrekkers have just returned from Namibia, a spectacular country of towering brick-red sand dunes, game-crowded waterholes and colouful birds in south-western Africa’ (writes tour leader Rob Mileto).  

‘If you are a fan of wildlife documentaries you may well have seen the Shovel-snouted Lizard that lifts two opposing feet at a time off the hot sand to cool them, or the gangly Tenebrionid Beetles that raise their backsides into the early morning fog and drink deeply of the ensuing condensation… or maybe the ‘desert-adapted’ Elephants that make their living in the dry river valleys and dig down into this seemingly dry and parched sand to find cooling water to quench their thirst? We saw all of these and so much more on our 17-day trip around this gorgeous country. Indeed, we saw over 200 species of bird (including several near-endemics such as Dune Lark, White-tailed Shrike and Rüppell’s Korhaan) and over 40 species of mammal, which included 15 Black Rhino in the fabulous Etosha National Park and the rare sighting of a Brown Hyena! Add to this the constantly changing and wondrous desert scenery of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the Skeleton Coast and Damaraland – including some of the highest sand dunes in the world – and you have all the trappings of what makes a truly excellent African wildlife adventure.’

Our next ‘Namibia's Etosha Pan & Skeleton Coast’ tour departs on 29th October 2019, prices start at £6,595. For more information about this tour, please contact Paul at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 01962 733051.

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Black Rhino

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Brown Hyena

In Scotland ...

Islay and Mull

‘Our first morning on Islay dawned with some early wintery showers which soon cleared to give a brilliant, though chilly, sunny day’ (writes tour leader Dave Pierce).

‘Family groups of Whooper Swans, skeins of Greenland White-fronted Geese, a raft of Scaup and several singular Great Northern Divers, including summer plumaged ones, were early highlights. Away from the coast Redwings and Rock Doves were very much in evidence. Then the dramatic appearance of a White-tailed Eagle ploughing into the thousands of grazing Barnacle Geese at Gruinart created havoc, with geese exploding in all directions. Within half an hour, with the threat of imminent danger cleared, the geese began to repopulate their favourite fields where the sheer number of "barking Barnies" is a sight and sound to behold!

A little later we took a stroll where, near at hand, we observed up to 20 Red-billed Choughs foraging amongst dunes whilst in the distance, through the clear air, the snow-capped peaks of Mull showed well to the north. We finished the day watching the returning Barnacle Geese amass on the foreshore near our hotel for their overnight roost, where two passing adult Golden Eagles were a surprise bonus.

The next day we explored Islay further, enjoying prolonged Golden Eagle sightings and a mixed flock of finches which included over 50 Twite and at least six Bramblings. Mammals too were a feature of the day, with Red, Roe and Fallow Deer all seen, plus three Brown Hares and the first Otter of the tour.

For the second half of the holiday we were based at our award-winning hotel in the south of Mull. Here, each dawn, we witnessed Woodcocks flying over our heads from their nightly feeding sites to their daytime roost behind the hotel.

Over the next two days we had frequent sightings of Hen Harriers, White-tailed Eagles and Golden Eagles, with close views of each. Other species varied from Dipper to Greenshank and included excellent Otter observations. Indeed the latter species was seen on five days of this wonderful tour!’

Our next ‘Islay and Mull ... In Style!’ tour departs on 24th October 2019, prices start at £1,595. For more information please click on the link above, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Barnacle Geese

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Golden Eagle

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Otter (Dave Pierce)

Islay and Jura

‘Early on day 2 of this year’s tour, the group were enthralled  by the sight of the massed ranks of thousands of "barking" Barnacle Geese on the merse close to our hotel’ (writes tour leader Dave Pierce). ‘ Amongst them, other geese species included 20 Pale-Bellied Brent's, whilst later we had the pleasure of parties of Greater White-fronted Geese grazing roadside fields.

Within the first hour we had our first Merlin and Otter sightings with more of both over the subsequent days. Soon after, we experienced the first of many Great Northern Diver sightings, this initial bird still in its splendid summer plumage. Later in the day we enjoyed the company of a flock of Red-billed Choughs feeding in pasture and allowing good views.

Waders seen during the tour included Grey Plovers, Turnstones, both Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits and Purple Sandpiper, not to mention large flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plovers.

Passerines included good views of flocks of restless Twite and striking Bramblings, with Redwings en masse.

Eight species of raptors were encountered, amongst them numerous Hen Harriers, Golden Eagles on three days and on two days White-tailed Eagles (with one of the latter being a highlight, as it powered into, and caused mayhem, amongst the throng of thousands of loafing geese).

However, that highlight was very closely rivalled by excellent Otter experiences, with sightings on four days of the tour, both on Islay and especially close views on Jura.’

Our next ‘Islay and Jura’ tour departs on 17th October 2019, prices start at £1,395. For more information please click on the link above, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Greater White-fronted Geese

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White-tailed Eagle

In the Seychelles

‘In September our Naturetrek group spent two glorious weeks in the Seychelles, enjoying the varied wildlife, beautiful beaches and stunning scenery that epitomise these idyllic Indian Ocean islands’ (writes tour leader Kerrie Porteous). ‘On Mahé we enjoyed varied excursions that included such birding highlights as Seychelles Kestrel and Crab Plover, a beautiful walk to see the endemic Seychelles Pitcher Plant and a day spent enjoying the underwater life of the nearby St Anne Marine National Park. From Praslin, we visited numerous islands in search of a variety of endemic birds, including Seychelles Paradise Flycatcher, Seychelles Warbler, Seychelles Fody and Seychelles Magpie Robin, plus plenty of Aldabra Giant Tortoises, skinks, day geckos, crabs and Seychelles Fruit Bats. We were excited to visit the uninhabited island of Sister the day after 47 endemic Seychelles White-eyes had been released onto the island, and every day we returned to our hotel hoping to catch sight of Seychelles Black Parrots who seemed to enjoy a daily late afternoon fly-over of our hotel pool!

The highlight for most, though, was the 3-night stay on Bird Island. Here we enjoyed Fairy (White) Terns and Common and Lesser Noddy by the thousand, plus nesting White-tailed Tropicbirds, the colony of Sooty Terns (which takes over nearly a third of the island), Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, plenty of waders, marvellous snorkelling opportunities and extremely friendly Giant Tortoises! We came home feeling relaxed, well fed with Creole cuisine, and with our brains full to the brim with the sights and sounds of the Seychelles’ wonderful wildlife.’

Our next ‘The Seychelles’ tour departs on 22nd September 2019, prices start at £5,295. For more information please click on the link above, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Sooty Tern colony (Kerrie Porteous)

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Fairy Terns (Kerrie Porteous)