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Best birdwatching in Europe? We think so.

We are often asked "where is your favourite place to go birding?" and we always struggle to answer, there are so many wonderful places to enjoy birds. Sometime the question is narrowed down a little to "where is your favourite place to go birding in Europe?". Then it is a three way tie, here in North Wales of course, Extremadura in Spain and Finland/Arctic Norway!

Great Orme big sky

So if we leave North Wales out of the equation as it is our home patch and really should always be number one on any list, that leaves Spain verses Finland/Norway, a very tough choice indeed.

We have been lucky enough to enjoy amazing birding in both places on many occasions, so know both very well, and this does not help with making a choice.

Poppy field Spain

The wide open plains of Extremadura are a magical place to be at dawn on a Spring morning. The air is clean and cold, the sky huge and blue, full of lark song, bustards and sandgrouse vie for our binoculars. As the air warms raptors take to the skies - huge Black and Griffon Vultures are joined by eagles and falcons. Hoopoes call from stonewalls as Red-rumped Swallows skim the sea of glourious wild-flowers. The wetlands are alive with heron, egrets and monster Purple Swamphens with Great spotted Cuckoos in the bushes. White Storks in the fields and both Red and Black Kites soar overhead. In the Cork oak woodlands colourful Azure-winged Magpies flash through the greenery where Scops Owl at dusk. The lovely hotel we use and the great food add to our pleasure of birding here.

Varanger in sunshine

Birding in the land of the mid-night sun in Finland and Arctic Norway is very different, vast forests and millions of lakes, wild coast and seabird islands make a heddy mix. Standing in the forest gazing into the eyes of a Great grey Owl is an unforgetable experience. Having see Capercaillie earlier in the day and watched a Three-toed Woodpecker shin up a tree after watching Terek Sandpipers at a breeding site, not bad birding! In Norway Vranger Fjord is a spectacular place to watch birds and there is also the added spice of finding a rarity, this area has produced many mega birds, White-winged Lark for example. We love this area and seeing Orcas feeding offshore just adds to the excitment! Last year we watched a pod of Orca for over an hour and a half, at the same time we enjoyed flocks of Long-tailed Skuas, White-tailed Eagles and Red-necked Phalaropes under blue sky in warm sunshine and not a mossey in sight, paradise found!

Caper 1 Finland 2013

So, which one of these amazing birdwatching destinations would we chose as the top European site? Oh it is a very tough one, both are magical locations and we love them both. One thing that does make them different is the daylight, in Finland/Norway in May and June, when we visit, there is just about 24 hours of daylight! This gives us maximum time to enjoy the wonderful birdlife. So, we give our award to Finland/Norway - best birdwatching in Europe! But only because of the extra time to enjoy it, Extremadura is equally wonderful on a birding only level.

If you would like to visit these amazing destinations we are running tours to both in 2014 and we would love you to join us.

Extremadura - All bustards great and small - 18th - 23rd April.

Finland/Norway - Birding in the land of the midnight sun - 24th May - 6th June

For details of these bird filled holidays simply drop us a line at -

We know you will love both destinations!

Egyptian Vulture Mar 2013


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