Virpazar, river flowing to Lake Skadar, Montenegro

Wildlife Holidays off the Tourist Trail

Alison Steel
By Alison Steel
Operations Manager
16th February 2022
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
There are many destinations that would immediately spring to mind if you were asked to name somewhere to go for a wildlife holiday. However, there are a number of places that are more ‘off the beaten track’, as it were, that also offer varied wildlife experiences in some wonderfully scenic locations. These places are quieter than the more well-known locations, but still have superb wildlife and fantastic scenery and below we suggest some relatively unexplored gems for you to visit!

Situated between the better-known Alps and Adriatic, Slovenia is fantastically unspoilt and rich in wildlife. The landscape is karst dominated, which determines the whole natural history of the area. Our ‘Wild Slovenia’ tour offers a broad variety of birds, butterflies, plants and other wildlife from accommodation set on a traditional working farm. Woodpeckers, owls, orchids, Large Copper Butterfly, Barred Warbler, Corncrake and Red-backed Shrike are among the wildlife we hope to find during our week here.

Nearby, the small country of Montenegro lies on the Adriatic Coast, sandwiched between Croatia and Albania. Less visited then either of its neighbours, spring birding here is not to be missed. With coastal habitats, lakes, karst habitat, mountains, forests and rivers, the range of possible species to be found varies from waders, wildfowl and waterbirds to small passerines and woodland species such as woodpeckers, with a variety of raptors also being possible. Some highlights may include Dalmatian Pelican, Yellow Wagtail, Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk and Cirl Bunting.

Poplar Admiral, Slovenia

Jordan is mainly known for its archaeological sites (which will not be ignored), however it’s probably not somewhere you’d think of as a birdwatching destination given the arid nature of the country, but during both spring and autumn bird migrations species from Europe, Asia and Africa all flow through the narrow joining of the continents, many of whom will stop to rest, drink and refuel. Species such as Thrush Nightingale, Lesser Whitethroat, Marsh Sandpiper and Glossy Ibis can be found, along with resident birds, including Sinai Rosefinch, Desert Lark, Woodchat Shrike, Bonelli’s Eagle, Orange-tufted Sunbird, Long-billed Pipit and Arabian Warbler.

Uzbekistan is one of the less visited parts of Central Asia and a tour here takes us from the slopes of Ugam-Chatkal National Park to the Kyzyl Kum Desert, including visits to the cities of Samarkand and Bukhara, with their intricately tiled buildings in shades of blue and turquoise. In the mountains we’ll search the skies for vultures and eagles, while among the trees and rocks flit shrikes, tits, buntings and thrushes. Out in the desert we’ll look for desert mammals, sand grouse and the localised Pander’s Ground Jay.

The Dakotas lie right in the centre of northern USA, with North Dakota bordering Canada. Visiting some of the most remote national parks in the country, this 2-week tour takes in the rolling hills and prairies of the Badlands where herds of North American Bison and Pronghorn roam, while grassland birds include Burrowing Owl and Prairie Falcon. There will be time for a stop at the famous Mount Rushmore before continuing north in search of Pinyon Jay, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Moose, River Otter, Beaver, Bighorn Sheep and Lewis’s Woodpecker.

American Bison