News

News in brief: Indonesia, Spain, Finland, Italy, and the USA

Read about highlights from recent tours to Indonesia, Spain, Finland, Italy, and the USA.

In Indonesia ...

‘Guests on this wonderful 11-day cruise through the pristine and unspoiled islands of Indonesia were treated to superb sightings of cetaceans, totalling 12 species: Common and Indo-pacific Bottlenose, Rough-toothed, Risso’s, Pantropical Spotted, Spinner and Fraser’s Dolphins plus Pygmy Killer Whales, Pilot Whales, Melon-headed Whales, four unidentified Beaked Whales and a particularly memorable encounter with at least three Sperm Whales, one of which we captured excellent footage of with a drone (writes tour leader Sara Frost). ‘The group also enjoyed breathtaking snorkelling over stunning, colourful coral reefs teeming with such life as Green and Hawksbill Turtles, Black-tip Reef Sharks, Moray Eels, Nudibranchs and (quite literally!) a countless number of fish species. On land, we explored the islands of Komodo and Rinca, with guided walks on both islands providing excellent views of the formidable Komodo Dragons, as well as critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoos, Flame-breasted Sunbirds, Orange-footed Scrubfowl and Green Junglefowl (to mention only a few species!). Our experience was very much enhanced by the ever-attentive crew of our vessel – both on board and when in the water! This was truly a superb trip, a ‘must do’ for any keen snorkeler or tropical wildlife enthusiast!’

Our 2019 ‘Bali to Komodo – In Search of the Dragon!’ tour is full, but we will be announcing our 2020 dates shortly. To enquire or register your interest, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Sperm Whale (drone image: Marcelo Johan Ogata)

In Spain ...

1. Tarifa and Gibraltar

‘Avian migration was in full swing for our tours based at the tranquil eco-lodge of Huerta Grande near Tarifa’ (write tour leaders Niki Williamson and Simon Tonkin). ‘They yielded spectacular close-up views of hundreds upon hundreds of raptors and other soaring birds, including Booted and Short-toed Eagles, Montagu’s Harriers, European Honey Buzzards, Black Kites, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures and White and Black Storks as they migrated across the Strait of Gibraltar.  Hirundines, swifts, European Bee-eaters and other migrant passerines also poured through in their hundreds. Taking a boat trip into the Strait itself, our groups had breathtaking close-up encounters with Long-finned Pilot Whales and Common Dolphins, as well as Cory’s, Balearic and Great Shearwaters. Other highlights of farmland, wetland, inter-tidal habitat and Cork Oak forest included Red-necked Nightjar, Firecrest, Short-toed Treecreeper, Crested Tit, Kentish Plover, Black-eared Wheatear and Northern Bald Ibis. A day trip to Gibraltar also brought the group face-to-face with Barbary Macaques and Two-tailed Pasha.’

Our next ‘Tarifa & Gibraltar: Whales, Dolphins & Autumn Migration’ tour departs on 10th September 2019, prices start at £995. 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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Barbary Macaques

2. Andalucía

‘Our 7-day laid-back explorations of the fascinating wildlife of the Strait of Gibraltar are timed to coincide with the area’s spectacular autumn migration event, and they certainly didn´t disappoint’ (write tour leaders Niki Williamson and Simon Tonkin). ‘From the tranquil surroundings of our base at Huerta Grande Eco-lodge near Tarifa, we were treated to stunning views of migrating raptors simply by looking up from our gin and tonic! A huge migration bottleneck was in progress, and thousands of Booted and Short-toed Eagles, European Honey Buzzards, Black Kites, Griffon and Egyptian Vultures and White and Black Storks filled the skies as they waited in the Spanish ´departure lounge´ for their opportunity to cross the Strait.’ 

‘On our cetacean-watching boat trips, our lucky groups had breathtaking close-up encounters with hundreds of Bottle-nosed, Striped and Common Dolphins, as well as a social group of Long-finned Pilot Whales who interacted with the boat for nearly an hour!’ 

‘Other highlights of mountain farmland, wetland, inter-tidal habitat and Cork Oak forest included Bonelli´s Eagles attacking Booted Eagles, Rüppell´s Vulture, Northern Bald Ibis, Blue Rock Thrushes, Firecrests, Short-toed Treecreepers, Crested Tit, Kentish Plover, Greater Flamingoes, Audouin’s Gulls, and Cory’s and Balearic Shearwaters.’ 

‘As well as being treated to some spectacular migration and cetacean events, the groups enjoyed relaxed days with plenty of ice-cream stops, taking in all the gorgeous wildlife, scenery, culture and cuisine southern Andalucía has to offer.’

Our next ‘Go Slow … in Andalucía’ tour departs on 19th September 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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White Stork Migration

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Greater Flamingoes

In Finland ...

‘Our inaugural 'Finland's Mammals' tour was a huge success, with 14 Brown Bears, eight Wolverines, Grey Wolf, Saimaa-ringed Seal, Eurasian Elk and Forest Reindeer over the course of nine days’ (writes tour leader Jan Kelchtermans). ‘Intimate, prolonged views of Brown Bears and Wolverines were particularly special, as was the sighting of the rare endemic Saimaa-ringed Seal! Although this was a mammal tour, we also enjoyed some excellent birdwatching, with abundant Osprey and Black-throated Diver sightings in Linnansaari National Park. It is also worth mentioning the Hazelhens with chicks that we accidentally flushed, plus encounters with waxwings, goldeneyes, Common Cranes, Whooper Swan, White-tailed Eagles and a White-backed Woodpecker!’

Our next ‘Finland’s Mammals’ tour departs on 30th June 2019, prices start at £2,995. 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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Wolverine (Jan Kelchtermans)

In the USA ...

‘Seven intrepid Naturetrek clients recently returned from Yellowstone in the Fall’ (writes tour leader Rob Mileto). ‘Everyone agreed that the seemingly endless 'big sky' scenery was breathtaking, and we ran out of superlatives for describing the many and varied geothermal features to be seen... who knew there were such things as Travertine Terraces?! Into the bargain, we were spoiled with a total list of 80 bird species and an outstanding 20 mammal species seen, including both Black and Brown Bear at close distance and excellent scope views of a pack of Grey Wolf. These we watched for nearly two hours as they came together from disparate points to share food and socialise, their howling cries never to be forgotten.’

‘Excellent weather allowed us to make the most of the delights of this oldest of all national parks and additional highlights included pink mountain tops in the dawn light, rainbow-coloured hot springs, the pastel azures of the Mountain Bluebird, the subtle black and greys with roseate tinges of the Black Rosy Finch and the rather grey, but incredibly cute American Pika running over some of our feet!’

‘If you like wildlife on a big scale, you'll love this corner of Wyoming.’

Our next ‘Yellowstone in the Fall’ tour departs on 21st September 2019, prices start at £6,295. 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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Brown Bear

In Italy ...

‘This year we enjoyed some wonderful wildlife encounters in the beautiful area which is the Abruzzo National Park’ (writes tour leader Jessica Turner). ‘We had prolonged views of a Marsican Brown Bear pulling berries off Rhamnus bushes (and later found evidence of this in the form of a seed-filled scat in the path). The Abruzzo Chamois were confiding in their mountain home, with excellent views of adults and youngsters – well worth the steep climb! A good range of late-summer butterflies were enjoying the autumn sun and the nectar from the still colourful plant-life, particularly favouring Blue Eryngo, while three species of Colchicum, Cyclamen and bright-yellow Sternbergia were other flowering delights. We also found the magnificent pale-blue-and-black Alpine Longhorn Beetle Rosalia on a dead Beech tree. With the Roman remains at Alba Fucens (with four Griffon Vultures), the imposing beauty of the Sagittario Gorge, good company and a delightful hotel, we all had a most enjoyable week.’

Our next ‘Abruzzo in Autumn’ tour departs on 29th August 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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Apennine Chamois