I travel quite frequently in search of birds, mostly on very short trips. COVID put the brakes on a for a couple of years, but things were more or less back to normal by 2022. I take the view that whilst I might see a little less each time, multiple quick trips are better than a small number of longer trips. I am aware that not everyone subscribes to this view but I am time-limited and you would be surprised how far you can get in a relatively short amount of time. I also don't mind travelling (some would say I was obsessed by it actually) and I view it as part of the overall experience. 

My birding trips are either based around visiting an area with the aim of seeing as many of the resident or migratory species as possible, or can be to photograph a relatively short list of specific targets. I might write a formal trip report, or I might distill the experience into several blog posts with barely any nod to chronology. This page attempts to merge both of these approaches into handy groupings under a single header, both from this blog and my other unashamedly (but mostly defunct) photographic one over at, so that any visitor wanting to get a flavour of both the place and the birds can simply pick a few of the relevant entries. I also go on non-birding trips.

Kruger National Park, South Africa, July 2023
In July 2023 I took two of the children on a self-drive Safari to Kruger National Park. We flew to Jo'burg and then drove east to Kruger which takes about four and a half hours on mostly good roads, entering and exiting via the Malelane Gate which is one of the safer routes. Accomodation was pre-booked well in advance in Public Rest Camps run by SanParks, you cannot just turn up. We spent a night near the entrance at Berg-en-Dal, two nights at Lower Sabie, a night much further north at Letaba and then the final night back at Berg-en-Dal so that we could get back for our return flight in good time. In short it was one of the best family trips we have ever done and our minds were blown by quantity and quality of the large mammals. Somehow I notched up close to 150 birds at the same time, mostly to the kids' disgust. A great trip if you are up for the harder than average logistics.

New England, May 2023
Other than a day in Boston I had never visited New England before, so this was a chance to visit a number of US States that I'd not been to as well as target a few birds for my ABA list (most of which were shared with the UK). In short I had a lovely time, although mosquitos and ticks are a real problem. I started in Montreal and crossed into Vermont during the day, taking in a small part of New Hampshire before basing myself in Maine for a day. After that I travelled south to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, popped into Connecticut, before retracing my steps to Canada via Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont again. I saw almost all of my targets, though Black-backed Woodpecker required two attempts. This type of short trip is rapidly becoming my favourite and I'm already plotting my next one to the Deep South.

Iceland, May 2023
Another trip to Iceland but at a slightly earlier time of year, mid May. It probably wasn't quite as good as later in the season and bird photography proved extremely hard in tricky weather, but it is just a superb place and the landscapes are dramatic beyond belief. Truly special. I'd go back in a heartbeat providing it doesn't start sinking into the sea.

Oahu, April 2023
This was a relatively leisurely trip to Hawaii by my normal standards, and Oahu was the last of the major islands that I'd not been to. Mick and I spent three days based on the north shore and had a wonderful time birding and chilling out. The Laysan Albatross colony at Ka'ena Point was the absolute highlight of a fantastic trip, but we also managed to find the Oahu Elepaio along the 'Aiea Loop. I would definitely recommend the north shore as a place to stay as Honolulu resembles Miami. Big beaches, a slightly wilder feel and a far more laid back atmosphere. Some great snorkelling at Electric Beach topped off a fun adventure. We also had half a day in California on the way back.

Yucutan Peninsula, February 2023
A five day trip to the Yucatan peninsula for some easy neotropical birding, starting from Cancun but with almost all the birding much further south towards Belize, mostly using Mayan ruins as a way to access the jungle. Lovely weather and a good few endemics made for an excellent short trip.

The Gulf of Corinth, January 2023
Bored of January I went on a weekend trip to Greece, flying to Athens and then driving clockwise around the Corinthian Gulf, taking in some great habitat in Western Greece near the town of Messolonghi, eBirding four new areas, and then soaking up some antiquity at Delphi. Great fun if rather exhausting.

Lanzarote, December 2022
Some rapid winter sun with Mick to a destination popular with regular tourists, but you don't have to go far off the beaten track to come across some really rather good birding. Bustards and Coursers on the sandy plains are the reason birders visit, but there is plenty more to see.

Colombia, November 2022
A long-awaited trip to the Andes for a host of endemics and massive numbers of Antpittas. This trip was born in 2019, killed by Covid in 2020 and 2021, and finally went ahead in November 2022. We were a party of four, ably guided all the way by Manakin Nature Tours. We started in Medellin, and from there zigzagged back and forth across the Cauca Valley down to Pereira before heading back to Bogota and home. It was, as you would expect, magnificent neotropical birding from start to finish and I would go back tomorrow. One of the best places I have ever been.

Bulgaria, October 2022
This was a somewhat speculative and ultimately rather trying photography trip. Most birders go to Bulgaria in the spring and that's what I'll be doing next time too! Mick & I had hoped to spend our time in the Rhodope mountains on the west side of the country, but it was so poor we gave up and went to the Black Sea coast instead. There were more birds there, but getting any of them in front of the camera remained very difficult. There is always pure birding thankfully!

Turkey, September 2022
Mick and I flew to Istanbul and then drove diagonally south-east across the country through plains, steppe, mountains, lagoons and saltpans to the Mediterranean. The focus of the trip was Caspian Snowcock and a few other mountain specialties in Aladaglar National Park, but we saw a huge amount on our journey across central Turkey to the Med coast south of Adana, finishing with a memorable vizmig session over the Bosphorus.

Southern California, September 2022
I travelled to the San Diego area for some autumn birding, a season I have not experienced and thus one that had new birds on offer. There was also the prospect of some sea-watching, which as luck would have it came off big time as a result of a tropical storm on the day I arrived. I lost a little time to the weather, but the next day at La Jolla was epic. I spent a lot of time in the border area where the Tijuana River meets the sea, visited Joshua Tree National Park and the Salton Sea briefly, and birded a few sites in Los Angeles. I also broke the journey home by having a morning in New York, where I had a lot of fun at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve before returning to London.

Madeira, May 2022
A short-notice trip simply for a change of scene. A visit to this fantastic island will never see you come back with a lengthy list of birds, but what you do see you see very well, and the place is simply beautiful. Fo someone with my interests it is close to my idea of heaven - a botanical garden with birds in it. I am already booked for next year!

Las Vegas, December 2021
This was an unplanned trip to do with something that classified as a family emergency. No need to go into details, suffice to say it was critical to get to America before a certain date and the window was extremely tight. I returned from the Midwest on Monday, was back in America on Saturday, and returned home again on Monday evening. In the face of the Omicron variant, reduced air travel, Christmas, and a world beginning to shut down again this was really quite tricky, but once the emergency was dealt with there was a small amount of time available for birding, and Nevada in December is excellent. I managed to claw back one of the big misses from Colorado, and nailed my number one ABA bogey bird. 

The Midwest, December 2021
Over the course of ten days I drove a huge loop from Denver, Colorado to Chicago, Illinois, via Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The aim was to see as many of the boreal birds as possible, as well as some Rocky Mountains and Great Plains specialties. Added to that was the allure of the vast landscapes of the American interior, and a strong desire to see what Minnesota is really like having heard so much about it via my favourite radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor, George Strait, Bruce Springsteen and others were my constant companions as I drove down dead straight highways through endless wheat fields, along unsurfaced tracks in northern spruce forests, and around mountain bends a mile high. Birding in these latitudes can be hard work but is ultimately very rewarding.

Burgundy, November 2021
A non-birding trip. They do happen, but quite rarely. I took four days off to visit the wine-growing region of Burgundy in France mid-month, taking the channel tunnel and driving down. This being the era of COVID there were various hoops to jump through, and Brexit has not helped either by drastically curtailing wine-buying opportunities - the limit is now 24 bottles, although in Burgundy maybe this is no bad thing for one's finances. A lovely break, a joy to be able to speak french again, and wonderful food and wine.

Shetland, October 2021
My first long birding trip away from home since the pandemic began, boy had I been looking forward to this. The planned trip in 2020 was cancelled as we felt that the islanders would not take kindly to hordes of plague-ridden southerners gallivanting around their villages, and in any event we would have had to rather stretch the definition of 'household'. But this time no such restrictions, all vaccinated, all negative, and so off we went. And it was one of the best trips up to these islands I have ever done. If you are new to UK birding I think you would fall of your chair when you saw the list of rarities and scarcities seen in only a week, and that is the magic of the place. 

Shetland - the drive home

Southern California, January 2020
Two and a half days in Southern California tracking down regional specialties and a couple of out of range ABA rarities. Sunshine and birds after a long winter. A hectic pace as always but great fun to try and build a big list of birds in just a weekend.

Southern California - Logistics and Itinerary
Southern California - Day 1
Southern California - Day 2
Southern California - Day 3 and Trip List
Southern California - Brown Pelicans at La Jolla

Florida IV, November 2019
Four days in southern Florida, split between the Keys, Everglades, and the Gulf Coast beaches. Equal parts birding and photography, chasing down both of my two remaining ABA ticks in Florida as well as twitching some recent rarities, and then getting wet and sandy photographing the everyday species on Florida's fantastic beaches. The perfect pre-winter tonic.

Florida IV - Logistics and Itinerary
Florida IV - Day 1
Florida IV - Day 2
Florida IV - Day 3, Part 1
Florida IV - Day 3, Part 2 - Larger Waders
Florida IV - Day 3, Part 3 - Smaller Waders
Florida IV - Day 3, Naples Botanical Gardens
Florida IV - Day 4 and Trip List

Taiwan, October 2019
Four and a half days on the magical island of Taiwan to see how many of the endemics I could get, primarily in the central mountains. Solo, with just a field guide, I birded my ass off and took a few photos along the way. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the challenge of birding in a brand new place. I did fairly well, getting both Pheasants and almost all of the endemics bar the real skulkers. Highly recommended if you have few days.

Taiwan - Logistics and Itinerary
Taiwan - Day 1
Taiwan - Day 2
Taiwan - Day 3
Taiwan - Day 4
Taiwan - Day 5
Taiwan - Trip List

Big Island, Hawaii, August 2019
Another flying visit to a new Island, just Oahu to go now, although I would go back to Kauai in a heartbeat.
 I spent less than 48 hours on the island but had a totally wonderful time swimming with turtles and exploring the native forests on the slopes of Mauna Loa in order to see a few more of the endemic Honeycreepers and other birds.

Big Island - Trip Report

Long Island, June 2019
Friday night after work to JFK in order to be in position for dawn on Saturday on the beaches of Long Island, a weekend of manic birding and photography, a spot of shopping and then home on the Sunday night red-eye and straight to work. Were carbon emissions not a thing I would probably do this a lot more often, it is so easy and such fun.

Nickerson Beach - Taster
Nickerson Beach and Long Island - Day 1
Long Island and Jamaica Bay NWR - Day 2

Bulgaria, May 2019
A long weekend in mid-May, with the aim of exploring an area of Eastern Europe I had not been to before and getting some nice photos of birds along the way. Hard work behind the lens, but I remain convinced that the further east you go the better the habitat and birds become.

Bulgaria - Trip Report

Cape May, New Jersey, April 2019
An add on to the Texas trip, flying home via Philadelphia and exploring the Cape for a day. It is usually thought of as an autumn birding destination, but I wanted to explore it with a view to a future visit having heard so much about. It did not disappoint, and I could see how it would be fabulous in certain conditions.

A Day on Cape May

Cape May - Trip List

Texas, April 2019
High Island, Anahuac NR and the Bolivar Flats on the Upper Texas Coast are all legendary birding spots during the spring migration. I had wanted to visit for ages and finally managed to fit it into my somewhat hectic schedule. Birding was harder than I thought it was going to be, and fall conditions never materialised, but Mick and I saw over 25 species of Wood Warbler, and nearly 200 species in total. The return journey had a stop-over at Cape May, New Jersey.

Upper Texas Coast - Logistics and Itinerary
Upper Texas Coast - Day 1
Upper Texas Coast - Day 2
Upper Texas Coast - Day 3
W G Jones State Forest - Day 4
Upper Texas Coast and Houston Trip List

Cyprus, April 2019

A family holiday to Agia Napa where I snuck off before breakfast to reacquaint myself with Cyprus Pied Wheatear, other residents, and any migrants that had just arrived on Cape Greco.

Cyprus - The birds of Cape Greco

Singapore, March 2019
A flying visit for a bit of early warmth, south-east Asian birds and masses of tropical plants in this fabulously green city. It may not jump out as a place to go birding, especially with so many options nearby, but for ease of getting around and comfort it is unbeatable.

Singapore - Taster
Singapore - Oriental Magpie-Robin
Singapore - A walk around the city
Singapore - Birding

Utah and Arizona, February 2019
Billed as a landscape photography trip, it ended up being more of a snow-dodging road trip, a re-acquaintance with the natural beauty of the south-west, and near constant awe. The concentration of incredible geological features within such a small(ish) area makes for an excellent few days away, there is something special around every bend, albeit that bends may be separated by straight sections of road many miles long....

Utah - Joshua Tree Encounter
Utah - Bryce Canyon
Utah - Zion National Park
Arizona - Horseshoe Bend
Nevada - Joshua Tree Redux
Arizona - Antelope Canyon
Arizona - Monument Valley
Arizona - The Grand Canyon
Arizona - Route 66
Arizona - The Hoover Dam

Florida III, November 2018
A third visit, once again a long weekend to soak up some decent weather and hopefully take many many photographs to make up for what has been a meagre year with the camera. It was a great success and exactly what I needed. For this trip I more or less repeated the itinerary from my first trip in March 2015, basing myself at Estero Beach in Fort Myers. Mick S accompanied me to see what the fuss was all about.

Florida III - Logistics and itinerary
Florida III - Day 1
Florida III - Day 2

Florida III - Day 3
Florida III - Day 4 and Trip List

Romania and Bulgaria, May 2018
A purely photographic trip to the Black Sea coast around the border of Romania and Bulgaria. The area is incredibly rich in birdlife - the southern borders of the Danube delta was stunning - stuffed with Waders and Terns, and the steppe areas of Cape Kaliakra were a paradise of Wheatears and Larks. Despite all efforts being geared towards obtaining decent images of the birds, Mick and I also racked up a trip list of 126 species without even trying. This was my second visit, and it confirms eastern europe as one of the best places I have ever been birding.

Romania and Bulgaria - Trip Report
Romania - Collared Pratincole
Bulgaria - Pied Wheatear
Bulgaria - Paddyfield Warbler
Bulgaria - Rose-coloured Starling 

Poland, May 2018
A long weekend with most of the Wanstead massive to explore the fabulous Bialowieza forest of Eastern Poland and hopefully see various Owls and Woodpeckers, with a side trip to the Biezbra marshes for Aquatic Warbler. Overall very successful and a lot of fun with tons of great birding.

Bialowieza - Trip Report

Barbados, April 2018
This was not a birding trip, I was with one of my kids on a bonding trip and our chief occupation was snorkeling. The island is not rich or diverse in bird life, but I managed three lifers including the endemic Bullfinch - extremely straightforward. The island is a great place, the people are friendly and the rum punch is excellent. I shall restrict this trip report to a four hour birding trip I went on one morning.

Barbados - Trip Report

Costa Rica, March 2018
In early March 2018 my fellow patch-worker Bob V and I spent a week in Costa Rica. Most trips to this country however last a fortnight and as such we reduced the number of distinct areas we went to and also reduced the typical amount of time that is spent in each of these areas. If we missed something there were limited opportunities to try again. Despite the compressed timetable it was utterly fantastic and by some margin the best place I have ever been birding. We missed very little and notched up 414 species in 6.5 days, not far off the totals expected on the longer itineraries, and what's more had a lot of fun doing it. 

Costa Rica - Taster 1, Taster 2, Taster 3
Costa Rica - Logistics and Itinerary
Costa Rica - Day 1
Costa Rica - Day 2 morning, afternoon
Costa Rica - Day 3 morning, afternoon
Costa Rica - Day 4
Costa Rica - Day 5
Costa Rica - Day 6
Costa Rica - Day 7
Costa Rica - Day 8
Costa Rica - Trip List

North-eastern Oman, February 2018
In late February 2018 Mick S I spent a four day long weekend in the north of Oman. I’ve previously been to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and whilst the birds and birding were not hugely different here, the country itself felt different – the people, buildings and food. And of course the Crab Plovers were different, as this time I did not dip them as I have done on all of my previous visits to the Middle East!

Oman - Trip Report

Western Cape, South Africa, December 2017
In December 2017 I went on a fantastic five day trip to the Western Cape of South Africa. I had never been before and having now sampled the avian delights it has to offer I cannot understand why it took me so long. Mick S and I notched up 185 species in less than a week and we didn’t even try that hard, prioritising photographic opportunities over pure birding. 

South Africa - Logistics and Itinerary, Day 1
South Africa - Day 2
South Africa - Day 3
South Africa - Day 4
South Africa - Day 5
South Africa - Trip List
Cape Sugarbird
Capped Wheatear

Alicante, November 2017
A single day spent exploring the magnificent wetlands of the Costa Blanca. If there is a better way to spend £100 in November I have not yet found it.

Alicante Trip Report

California, August 2017
A two week family holiday in a camper van, taking in the Pacific coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco with the middle weekend in that fine city, followed by the return journey through the Sierra - Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. One of the best trips I think we have ever done. Not centered around birds by any means, but I was able to sneak a bit of birding in here and there. 

California - a taster
California - solar eclipse
California Thrasher

Estonia, July 2017
I spent two evenings and one full day around Soomaa National Park in early July to refamiliarise myself with eastern european birding and also experience the wonderful habitat this country has to offer in the breeding season. Although I was in Estonia for only 30 hours all told, I packed in a ferocious amount of birding in that time.

Estonia Trip Report

Iceland, June 2017
A weekend trip to the south-west of the country in order to improve on my images of a couple of key species that I felt I had not done so well on the last two visits. I will never actually be satisfied of course, but I certainly came away with a few nice ones after one of the most productive two days I can ever remember. I know I say this about most places I go but this has to be an annual visit in my book.

Iceland - Taster
Iceland - Day 1
Iceland - Day 2

Northern Greece, April 2017 
A weekend spent around Lake Kerkini in northern Greece was notable for wonderful quantities of water birds, but also excellent views of passerines in the surrounding fields, woods and ditches.

Lake Kerkini - Trip Report

Cyprus, April 2017
A lightning-quick trip over the Easter weekend to get more photos of Cyprus Pied Wheatear and for one of my kids to take a break from impending SATS. Hardly any birding, but this trip report is just to demonstrate what can be done on even a really short break.

Cyprus - Trip Report
Cyprus Pied Wheatear 

Maui, March 2017
Another daft but highly enjoyable trip to Hawaii, this time to Maui where the focus was Mt Haleakala, the vast volcanic crater that occupies the whole of the eastern side. Lots of endemic Honeycreepers at Hosmer Grove, and a lot of snorkelling the fabulous corals that ring the island. I also had a day in the Florida Everglades on the way.

Florida - Everglades interlude
Maui - Birding Hosmer Grove
Maui - Sunset on Mount Haleakala
Maui - Other
Maui - Trip List 

Vietnam, February 2017
This was a family holiday during half term, but as ever I managed to squeeze a little bit of birding in. Before I left I had read that Central Vietnam around Hoi An was virtually birdless, but what was meant of course was simply that northern and southern parts of the country were far better. So in fact there were plenty of birds around, and a few early morning excursions into the local agricultural areas comprised of paddy fields and fish ponds were highly rewarding, as was a coach tour to a temple in the mountains. We travelled via Hong Kong which was like birding Shetland!

Hong Kong - Winter birding
Vietnam - I) Hoi An
Vietnam - II) - Lanterns
Vietnam - III) - summary

UAE, November 2016
A long weekend spent around Al Ain on the Aub Dhabi-Oman border with the main aim of trying to get improved photo of a number of Wheatear species that winter in the Emirates. This was mostly successful but I missed Hooded and will need to return again. Left on a Friday after work and was back at work on Tuesday morning with some 1000 photos to sort through. All in all great fun, barring spraining my ankle rather badly on my second morning.

UAE - Hume's Wheatear Rock
UAE - Mission Wheatear Trip Report

Texas, October 2016
Unashamedly a birding trip with photography coming a distant second. My son and I spent two days on the Gulf Coast and a day and a half in the Rio Grande Valley enjoying a selection of birds entirely new to both of us in stunning weather, and exploring a variety of fabulous birding sites. A daft side trip to Mexico one evening was as silly as it was fun.

Texas - Logistics and Itinerary
Texas - Day 1
Texas - Day 2
Texas - Day 3
Texas - Day 4
Texas - Trip List

Shetland, October 2016
After a missed year it was excellent to be back on Shetland again. As usual a lot of hard work went mostly unrewarded, but nonetheless it was simply a pleasure to be out in the fresh air for so many hours with just a pair of bins. Nine out of every ten birds were Yellow-browed Warblers, which is no bad thing. Needless to say it all kicked off on day 7.....

Shetland - Day 1
Shetland - Day 2
Shetland - Day 3
Shetland - Day 4
Shetland - Day 5
Shetland - Day 6

Kaui, August 2016
If you had asked me a few years ago whether it was sensible to go to Hawaii for a weekend I would have said you were insane. I wouldn’t say that now. I wouldn’t say it was entirely sensible either, but I would tell you that it was perfectly achievable and that you would likely have as great a time as I did. And boy did I have a good time. In two days I saw a couple of endemic Honeycreepers, cleaned up on all the endemic water birds, and unusually did some heavy duty relaxing.

Kaui - preamble
Kaui - A brief stop in LA
Kaui - Trip Report
Kaui - Trip List

New York beaches in late summer, July 2016
A weekend visit to the bird photography hotspot of Nickerson Beach on Long Island, home to a thriving Black Skimmer colony and tons of waders. It was the Skimmers I particularly wanted to hit, and I timed the visit to coincide with hatched chicks.

Nickerson Beach - Trip Report

Iceland in Spring, May 2016
A short bank-holiday weekend break to try and get better images of a number of species that I felt I had underachieved on two years ago. For some this worked, for others it didn't, but I came away with some completely new species such as Ptarmigan and Slavonian Grebe that I hadn't managed to photograph at all last time. Mixed weather as always but chasing the brighter stuff paid dividends

Iceland in Spring - Trip Report
Iceland in Spring - Slavonian Grebe
Iceland in Spring - Ptarmigan
Iceland in Spring - Waders (1)
Iceland in Spring - Waders (2)
Iceland in Spring - Red-throated Diver

Southern Arizona in Winter, February 2016
Warm weather, a host of new species in mostly easily accessible locations, spectacular desert landscapes and xerite plants, and very few if any Gulls. In another words possibly the perfect winter break. I based myself in Tucson and birded from dawn until dusk every day at a series of wonderful sites. I also chased a few Mexican vagrants with some success.

Southern Arizona - Logistics and Itinerary
Southern Arizona - Trip Report, day 1
Southern Arizona - Trip Report, day 2
Southern Arizona - Trip Report, day 3
Southern Arizona - Trip Report, day 4
Southern Arizona - Trip List

Cyprus in Winter, January 2016
A long-planned trip targeting over-wintering Finsch's Wheatear over a weekend. A few other goodies thrown in, with tens of thousands of Greater Flamingo and very pleasant birding a long way from the cold and wet UK! 

Cyprus in Winter - Trip Report

Florida II, November 2015
A second trip, again a long weekend as I'd had so much fun the first time. I moved up the Gulf Coast a bit to the St. Petersburg area and spent a couple of days there primarily on the beaches doing waders and egrets again. Overcast weather meant I didn't get very much of the magical light I was aiming for, however it did mean I could take photographs all day long. Pick of the birds were Black Skimmers at Fort Desoto, and an American Oystercatcher on St. Pete beach. I might not go twice per year again, but this could easily become an annual trip as you know exactly what you're going to get.

Florida II - Trip Report
Florida II - American Oystercatcher
Florida II - Grey Plover
Florida II - Sanderling
Florida II - Black Skimmer
Florida II - Royal Tern
Florida II - Other Terns
Florida II - Brown Pelican

Madeira, July 2015
Specific targets of Trocaz Pigeon and Madeira Firecrest, as well as to observe the numberous sub-species. An amazing place, full of birds, although quality and not quantity. Unfortunately encountered particularly windy weather which meant my pelagic trip was cancelled, but lying under the stars late one evening surrounded by calling Zino's Petrels is something that will stay with me for a long time.

Madeira - Trip Report

Southern Poland, June 2015

A very quick trip to the Tatra Mountains in the hope of finding photogenic Nutcrackers. The birds were there but did not perform and the area visited was extremely busy with weekend hikers. Nonetheless an interesting trip to an area that has a lot of birdlife and fabulous scenery. 

Southern Poland - Trip Report

Washington State, June 2015
Solo birding in the fabulous Pacific Northwest at the perfect time of year to see all the region's breeding birds. A mixture of coast, sea and rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula, followed by the drier pine forests of the eastern slopes of the Cascades Range and the sagebrush and agricultural habitats at lower levels. Utterly shattering, with long daylight hours, I enjoyed wonderful views of almost all of my target birds and managed to get a few decent photos along the way despite this being primarily a birding trip to an area with a brand new avifauna.

Washington - logistics and itinerary
Washington - Trip Report, day 1 
Washington - Trip Report, day 2 
Washington - Trip Report, day 3 
Washington - Trip Report, day 4
Washington - Trip Report, day 5
Washington - Trip Report, day 6

Vancouver - Trip Report, day 7
Washington - Trip List
Washington - Bald Eagle excitement

Fuerteventura, May 2015
A family half-term holiday at the southern end of the Island, the resorts on the Jandia peninsula are ideally situated close to a number of the key birding sites. Lovely weather all week, happy children and a chilled-out wife. In short forays from the hotel all the island specialties were picked up, mainly at or close to the Costa Calma plains. A great place for birding dads! Or mums or course!

Fuerteventura - summary

Florida and New York, March 2015
A three day trip to a location I have wanted to visit for as long as I have carried a camera. South-west Florida, on the Gulf Coast, has superb birds and heaps of artistic possibility, combined with real birding when the urge took me. I added a whole heap of birds to my ABA list and had a wonderful if frenetic time. If you like waders and egrets I have yet to visit a better place, and it's incredibly easy to boot. Flew back with NYC and managed an afternoon of photography in Central Park and some light shopping.

Florida - a taster
Florida - part 1
Florida - part 2
Florida - Grey Plover
Florida - Wilson's Plover
Florida - Willet
Florida - Reddish Egret
Florida - Tricolored Heron
Florida - more Herons
Florida - Osprey
Florida - Gulls and Terns

UAE, January 2015
A five day trip to the Arabian peninsula, a new destination for me. There is something about deserts and arid places that I like. Wheat......  The winter is the ideal time to visit as summer temperatures are unbearable, but we still notched up a solid 29C, and the middle of the day was not a time to be out birding. Did a complete loop of the country, visiting almost every Emirate in the process, and took in deserts, mountains, coasts and agricultural land. 

UAE - Trip Report
UAE - Sooty Gull
UAE - Indian Roller

UAE - Green Bee-eater
UAE - Gulls on Fujairah beach
UAE - Terns on Fujairah beach
UAE - Beach Waders
UAE - Wheatears
UAE - Plovers
UAE - wrapping up

Morocco, December 2014
My third trip this year, the shortest yet, but still incredibly worthwhile. A day in the Massa, and half a day on the slopes of the Atlas. Extremely productive, heaps seen, and often very well. Luckily avoided the devastating floods of the prior week, but evidence of their destruction was everywhere we went, with roads and bridges simply washed away. My proposed routes were in places impassable, but you take these things in your stride in Africa. 

Morocco - again
Morocco - Trip Report
Morocco - Stonechat
Morocco - Cattle Egret
Morocco - Sardinian Warbler
Morocco - Southern Grey Shrike

Tenerife, November 2014
A must-do for European birding in the winter given the number of endemics and the amount of sunshine. A winner on both counts, and a welcome change from November in the UK - I'm already a big fan of Macaronesia with plenty left to explore. As usual a lightning trip, but dawn til dusk birding in fabulous scenery that in places felt very like Morocco - unsurprising given where it is. Not the place for a huge trip list, but a very easy destination for birding.

Tenerife - preamble
Tenerife - Trip Report

Tenerife - Berthelot's Pipit
Tenerife - Hoopoe
Tenerife - Great Spotted Woodpecker
Tenerife - Blue Chaffinch
Tenerife - Southern Grey Shrike

Shetland, September 2014

My earliest ever trip to Shetland, and once again a short visit due to time constraints (i.e. see below...). Nonetheless a superb birding experience, with the expected large numbers of scarce birds being seen - always a trade-off between late rarity and early quantity. I am pleased to tell you that I am not at all adverse to quantity, and 23 Yellow-browed Warblers, six Red-breasted Flycatchers made me very happy indeed. As did a Rustic Bunting and amazing views of a Pechora Pipit.

Shetland - day 1
Shetland - day 2
Shetland - day 3, Unst
Shetland - day 4 and 5

Falsterbo, August 2014
The classic migration destination, and somewhere I have been wanting to check out for a long time. Risk of being very slightly early to coincide with the UK bank holiday, but in fact it was timed perfectly, with thousands upon thousands of southbound migrants, and a considerable raptor passage. I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like it, and it's a place that I will have to go back to in order to get the "buzz" again.

Falsterbo - preamble
Falsterbo - Trip Report, days 1 and 2
Falsterbo - Trip Report, day 3
Falsterbo - Trip Report, day 4 + trip list
Falsterbo - Yellow Wagtail (thunbergi)
Falsterbo - Oystercatcher

Helsinki, July 2014
A way of livening up an otherwise dull weekend, what better than to go and walk around the vast reedbeds just outside Helsinki city centre all night? Gazillions of birds, even at a quiet time of year, and a spectacular dawn were my reward.

Helsinki - running around in the middle of the night
Helsinki - birds at dawn
Helsinki - reedbed birds

Iceland, June 2014
A quick-fire trip at the height of summer in the land of the midnight sun. Three and a half days of photographic mayhem, getting wet, and no sleep. The aim was to get good images of relatively common birds that are just not achievable in the UK - Divers, Waders and Ducks. In that regard it was a great success, with most of the big targets bagged. Iceland is amazingly beautiful, and I would go back tomorrow.

Iceland - Trip Report
Iceland - Golden Plover
Iceland - Red-necked Phalarope
Iceland - Red-throated Diver
Iceland - Great Northern Diver
Iceland - Harlequin Duck
Iceland - Barrow's Goldeneye
Iceland - Waders
Iceland - wrapping up

Hong Kong, May 2014
An unusual holiday for me as it didn't involve 100% birding or bird photography from dawn 'til dusk, but a very pleasant change from the norm as I explored the amazing city of Hong Kong following my sister having moved out there for a while. I did squeeze a little bit of birding in, but it was hard work in hot and humid weather, so largely I just took it all in. Walked miles, crammed masses in, arrived in the USA shattered....

Guess where I am.....
HK - anyone for a Rubythroat?
HK - market town (no birds)
HK - common birds
HK - the Pearl River Dolphin
HK - harbour views
HK - Happy Valley racing
HK - a day spent walking
HK - a day out birding
HK - trip list
HK - Black Drongo
HK - Bulbuls
HK - Oriental Magpie-Robin

Cyprus, March 2014
A long weekend, which due to the distance involved only meant two days birding, with most time spent at Cape Greco on the south-eastern tip of the island. Essentially this trip was 100% about a much-needed Wheatear fix, but I managed to cram quite a lot more in as well.

Cyprus - taster
Cyprus - trip report
Cyprus - Cyprus Pied Wheatear
Cyprus - Cyprus Warbler

Morocco, February 2014
This was actually booked a long time ago, well before my last-minute January trip. The plan this time was to head to the Atlantic coast and bird both the desert areas south of Guelmin, and the Oued Massa. With Mick and Richard, this was only ever about photography, and it was incredible, with heaps of birds seen very well. The rough route was Marrakech, Agadir, Guelmin and back. On reflection we should have flown to Agadir, but the flights didn't work as well.

Morocco - taster, preamble
Morocco - trip report
Morocco - the dream of Geronticus
Morocco - Thick-billed Lark
Morocco - Temminck's Lark

Morocco - Red-rumped Wheatear
Morocco - Stonechat
Morocco - Gulls at Anza

Morocco, January 2014
Morocco is brilliant birding, and after a long stretch at work I needed a break. No plan per se, not even a map, I just wanted some warmth, and to get better photographs of the some of the birds I had seen last time. This was a four day solo trip built around exploring less-visited parts of the Atlas foothills to the south of Marrakech - the tactic was simply to pick a random road and drive the length of it hoping to find stuff on the way. As a strategy this worked very well and I had some fabulous bird photography opportunities.

Morocco - trip summary
Morocco - bird photography
Morocco - Moussier's Redstart
Morocco - Black Wheatear
Morocco - Great Grey Shrike
Morocco - Thekla Lark

St. Lucia, October 2013
Another non-birding holiday, designed with my usual incredible foresight to allow some measure of recovery from the rat race for Mrs L and myself sans enfants. In this regard it was a great success, and we enjoyed an incredibly laid back week on this lovely island, eating good food, drinking many long, cold, rum-based drinks, and seeing a few birds. A small trip list, but high in quality.

St. Lucia - a taster, another taster, and one more
St. Lucia - another tough day
St. Lucia - Sugar Beach
St. Lucia - a birding tour
St. Lucia - Hummingbirds
St. Lucia - Grey Kingbird
St. Lucia - Lesser Antillean Bullfinch
St. Lucia - Spotted Sandpiper

Shetland, October 2013
A change in tactic to see if we could score big. We couldn't, and neatly bracketed our trip around some absolute monsters. A flying trip for me, a mere three and a half days, but good fun as always, with some truly horrible weather that delivered birds that we couldn't find. One day, one day....

Shetland - day 1
Shetland - days 2 and 3, and finding an OBP
Shetland - wrapping up

Hungary's Hortobágy National Park, June 2013
A photographic trip booked with Sakertours, this involved sitting in cramped and baking hides for a week. Not everyone's idea of fun, but if you want to get close to some species - close enough to get some great shots that all pass the rictal bristle test - then this is the way to do it. I'm not really one for sitting around in hides, especially when some of them have no space for your legs, but the opportunities it affords make it all worthwhile.

Hungary - a taster
Hungary - another taster
Hungary - a stupid taster
Hungary - day 1, the Drinking Pool Hide #2 
Hungary - toughing it out
Hungary - day 2, the Pygmy Cormorant Hide
Hungary - day 3, the Red-footed Falcon Tower Hide
Hungary - day 3, the Afternoon Roller Hide

Hungary - day 4, the Bee-eater Hide
Hungary - day 5, the Reedbed Hide
Hungary - day 6, the Drinking Pool Hide #2
Hungary - Hawfinch
Hungary - Red-footed Falcon
Hungary - Bee-eater
Hungary - more Bee-eaters

Oulu and South-east Finland, June 2013

This was a very last-minute long weekend, arriving in Helsinki on Friday evening, birding non-stop for almost three days and four nights, before going straight to work in London on Tuesday morning very much the worse for wear. The main targets were of course Owls. Expensive Owls.

Finland - a health warning
Me and my mate Bryan
Finland - owling in Oulu
Finland - birding 25 hours out of 24
Finland - more not sleeping

Extramadura/Donana, Spain, April 2013
A whistlestop tour of these two areas with two days in the former and one in the latter, with my nine year old son. Heavy rain made the trip somewhat difficult, and spring was as slow there as it was here, but nonethless a great area and one to be revisited in the future. Monfrague National Park and the Vulture colony probably the highlight, but good birds all over the shop.

Extramadura - plains
Monfragüe National Park
Extramadura - Lesser Kestrel
Extramadura - Corn Bunting
Monfragüe - Griffon Vulture
Monfragüe - Rock Bunting

Morocco, March 2013
Another first, this time to Africa. A six day trip to Morocco taking in both the eastern desert region as well as the High Atlas mountains. We had sand, snow, sun, rain and floods - truly a breathtaking country of extremes. Stunning desert birding, fabulous birds and mind-blowing scenery. And really really easy to boot. Highly recommended!

Morocco - a taster
Morocco - from Marrakech over the mountains to the desert
Morocco - continuing east towards the Erg Chebbi
Morocco - in the desert
Morocco - a tree in the desert
Morocco - take me to your wadi
Morocco - rain in the desert
Morocco - the Ourika Valley
Morocco - Oukaimeden
Morocco - Desert Sparrow
Morocco - White-crowned Black Wheatear
Morocco - Spectacled Warbler
Morocco - Hoopoe Lark
Morocco - Mourning Wheatear
Morocco - Desert Wheatear
Morocco - Moussier's Redstart
Morocco - Atlas Shorelark
Morocco - Crimson-winged Finch

Tobago, November 2012
My first trip to the Caribbean, and definitely not my last. Technically not a birding holiday, but you know me.....Mrs L and I needed a break, or rather, realised with incredible foresight at the start of the year that come November we would be frazzled, so booked this up - a week at the Blue Waters Inn at the quiet eastern end of the island. A superb holiday destination, and plenty of relaxation alongside the Hummingbirds, Tropicbirds and rainforest goodies.

Tobago - whetting the appetite part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6
Tobago - Blue Waters Inn
Tobago - Main Ridge
Tobago - round the island trip
Tobago - Little Tobago
Tobago - Hummingbirds
Tobago - Red-billed Tropicbird

Shetland, October 2012
Definitely annual now. Another trip characterised by Jupiter-strength winds and quite a few good birds. Hard work, but I think I know that now. Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll again, another Buff-bellied Pipit, but a couple new birds like Pechora and Sibe Stonechat.

Shetland - arrival
Shetland - update
Shetland - some photos
Shetland - kind of a report
Shetland - Unst
Shetland - last few days
Shetland - Siberian Stonechat
Shetland - Auks

Bulgaria, May 2012
An amazing trip, billed as "Balkan species special", where we saw countless thousands of brilliant birds - Bee-eaters, Golden Orioles, Rollers, Shrikes, as well as the regional goodies like Eastern Imperial Eagle, Paddyfield Warbler, Olive Tree Warbler - basically all the eastern birds you would expect. Cannot recommend Bulgaria highly enough as a birding destination. Beer is about 80p a pint. Did I hear you say you'd just booked tickets?

Bulgaria - a preamble
Bulgaria - another preamble
Bulgaria - day 1
Bulgaria - day 2 part 1, part 2
Bulgaria - day 3 part 1, part 2
Bulgaria - day 4

Finland and Norway, April 2012
A trip to the far northern reaches of both Finland and Norway for a winter birding special - sea ducks galore, incredibly confiding Grosbeaks, an arctic seabird colony complete with hunting Gyrfalcon, Hawk Owls, extreme cold, the Aurora borealis, and eye-wateringly expensive everything,

Finland - a preamble
Finland - day 1 part 1, part 2
Norway - day 2
Norway - day 3 part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
Norway - landscapes
Things we didn't see
The team

Shetland, October 2011
What is becoming a more or less annual trip to these windy islands in seach of rarities from east and west. High winds of approximately 10,000 mph made birding rather difficult.

Shetland - day 1
Shetland - day 2
Shetland - day 3
Shetland - day 4
Shetland - day 5
Shetland - roundup

The Baltics, February 2011
The coldest I have been, and a perhaps ill-conceived trip for a crack at Steller's Eider wintering in the Baltic, as well as Woodpeckers at a feeding station. Sensational scenery, including an iced-over sea with Eagles perched on it.

The Baltics - baltic
Lithuania - day 1
Estonia - day 2
Lithuania - day 3 part 1, part 2

Shetland, October 2010
My first trip to these islands. I had a blinder, rarities all over the place and mega after mega. I had never experienced anything like it. Hornemann's Arctic Redpoll, Lancy, Swainson's Thrush to name but a few. I had millions of ticks - read this and you will want to go. Just don't read the 2011 trip report...

Shetland - an appetiser
Shetland - day 1
Shetland - day 2
Shetland - day 3
Shetland - day 4
Shetland - day 5
Shetland - day 6
Shetland - day 7
Shetland - day 8
Shetland - day 9

Scilly, October 2009
My first trip to these sensational islands. They were unfortunately slightly less than sensational on the rare bird front this time, but still a wonderful place. Where else can you wander around in October in shorts in t-shirt, see Wrynecks, Rosefinches and so on all within a short stroll of one another? And then follow it up with three kilos of cake.

Scilly - a preamble
Scilly - day 1
Scilly - day 2
Scilly - day 3
Scilly - day 4
Scilly - day 5
Scilly - day 6

New Delhi, India, May 2009
A lightning trip to India for a friend's wedding, with barely any time for birding, but I managed to fit a few hours in on a couple of mornings. Brilliant, but deserving of far more time - however if you are just passing through the city, you may find this useful.

New Delhi - trip report

Singapore, April 2009
What to do if you have a layover in Singapore on your way somewhere else. I spent about 8 hours in Singapore on my way to Australia, and went to the unspoilt island of Pulau Ubin and hired a bike, which was a great success if somewhat knackering after a ten hour flight with another ten hour flight just around the corner.

Singapore - teaser
Singapore - Pulau Ubin

Ohio, May 2008
I have family in Ohio, and have visited there often, though not as a birder. This was the first time I took binoculars, and although birding was not the aim of the trip, I managed to fit in a little bit. My timing was slap bang in the middle of the spring migration, and a day at the peerless Magee Marsh boardwalk was incredible.

Ohio - trip report

Argentina, February 2008
A wedding in Buenos Aires, followed by a quick break in the Argentine Lake District. An amazing birding destination. This is actually a genuine trip report - I am amazed. I am however very sad that back in 2008 my interest in bird photography had yet to start, and hence I went round with a 70-200 lens. I tried, but looking at the results, not very hard. I'll go back I'm sure, I am just not sure when.

Argentina - trip report


  1. I just stumbled across your blog while trying to identify what I thought might be a red tailed wheatear although in the wrong place (Nemrut Dagi, Turkey) I've really enjoyed your images - you are too modest btw. I'd love to be producing shots anything near the quality of yours. Thanks for sharing.

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    Morocco Travel