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tailor-made Nepal-5
tailor-made Nepal-5

Birding & Bears in Transylvania
Thursday 2 – Saturday 11 May 2024

A Birding holiday helping Wildlife Conservation Le by Mark Pearson (Yorkshire Coast Nature & Bobi Zeitz (The Milvus Group)

Birding & Bears in Transylvania
Thursday 2 – Saturday 11 May 2024

The famous area of Transylvania in the northern part of Romania is a region rich in birds and wildlife. On this exclusive nine-day tour (eight nights) we will be the guests of Count Kálnoky at his family’s Transylvanian Guesthouse in Miklósvár and two nights at King Charles's private nature retreat in the nearby Zalán Valley at Zalánpatak.

Guided by local professional expert (Bobi Zeitz) from The Milvus Group (a non-profit conservation organization) and our Yorkshire Coast Nature guide (Mark Pearson) our group will explore the forests, meadows and gorges in search of great birds such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Ural Owl, Scops Owl, Red-footed Falcon, Wallcreeper, Corncrake, Thrush Nightngale, Red-backed, Great Grey and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Pygmy Cormorant, White Stork, Black Stork, Golden Oriole, Barred Warbler and Brown Bears!

This is a rare opportunity to experience the wildlife of an iconic region at a relaxed pace whilst helping a local conservation organisation

Mark Pearson 

Mark is an obsessive Yorkshire coast birder and naturalist whose roles include wildlife guide, ecologist, speaker, writer and educator.

He is well known as a passionate, exceptional communicator, whether in the field with YCN clients, in the classroom with schoolkids, in lecture theatres, on television screens, on radio airwaves or via the written word.

He grew up on Flamborough Head, where the seeds were quickly sown – the family home became a bird hospital, complete with Puffins taking over the bathtub! - and he's been studying and advocating the wildlife of the area ever since.

He is regularly asked to share his knowledge and enthusiasm on TV and radio, and this has included co-presenting features with both Simon King and Chris Packham (on the BBC's Springwatch and Autumnwatch), with Michaela Strachan (Springwatch at Easter), with Chris for his recent Bioblitz campaign, and as a lead presenter of an episode of the BBC's flagship Natural World series. His appearances on radio, nationally and internationally, are numerous.

He is fortunate to have travelled world in his pursuit of birds and wildlife, with many memorable adventures across the globe in his notebooks; he is particularly fond of South and East Asia, Scandinavia and North America. He has managed various conservation and engagement projects in many different settings, from urban London (including the award-winning Cockney Sparrow Project) to rural Yorkshire, and his ecological fieldwork has taken him across the country from the Outer Hebrides to Kentish coast.

“Who better could have I asked to help guide me?” - Simon King, live on BBC Autumnwatch

10 days
Transylvania
Highlights
  • Limited to eight clients
  • Escourted Tour guide from the UK
  • Local expert guides from Romania
  • A Birding holiday helping Wildlife Conservation
  • Explore the forests, meadows & gorges in search of great birds such as Lesser Spotted Eagle, Ural Owl, Scops Owl, Red-footed Falcon, Wallcreeper, Corncrake, Thrush Nightngale, Red-backed, Great Grey and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Pygmy Cormorant, White Stork, Black Stork, Golden Oriole, Barred Warbler and Brown Bears!

Contact a
specialist consultant

020 8901 7320 Enquiry
Itinerary View Map

Day 1 : To Bucharest

Departure Heathrow at 18:50 - arrival Bucharest at 00:05. (for clients wishing to fly from another airport we can provide a supplement cost)
Overnight stay at Bucharest Hilton Garden Inn Airport Hotel.

Day 2 : To Miklosvar

Morning travel from Bucharest to Miklosvar. Accommodation: Miklosvár Guesthouses.
After arrival and lunch, a relaxing birding afternoon around the woodlands and villages close to Miklosvar. B, L, D

Day 3 : Miklosvar

After an early breakfast, we'll depart to Sinaia in the stunning Bugegi Mountains, part of the Southern Carpathians. Our first stop will include a 1km walk on the King's Path in the beautiful mixed forest on the King’s path, where we'll have the chance to see Red-breasted, Collared, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Serins, Common and Black Redstarts, and White-backed, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers.

The cable car will take us from Sinaia up to to 2000m, where we'll walk in beautiful alpine meadows searching for high mountain species as Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Alpine Accentor, Nutcracker, Ring Ouzel and Alpine Swift; We'll also enjoy our packed lunch in this gorgeous setting.
The cable car will take us back to town, where the minibus will pick us up and we will be back to Miklósvár Guesthouses for early evening. B, L, D

Day 4 : Miklosvar

After breakfast we'll travel to Dumravita. This is one of the best birdwatching sites for waterfowl and waders in Transylvania, also known as The Delta of the Carpathians. We'll explore a range of habitats, including fishponds, meadows and oak forests, where we'll look for Middle Spotted and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Golden Oriole, Collared Flycatcher and many other woodland species.

At the fishponds we can expect to enjoy many wetland species, including herons, ducks, and waders; Ferruginous Ducks and Pygmy Cormorants are the highlights of the area, but we'll also be looking for raptors such as White-tailed and Lesser Spotted Eagles. We'll return to the Miklósvár guesthouse by 16:30, and part of the team will visit the Brown Bear hide after a break, returning for a late dinner; the other half of the team will enjoy a birding afternoon in the nearby meadows and forest with dinner on return. B, L, D

Day 5 : Zarnesti Gorge

After an early breakfast we will depart to Zernyest in the Piatra Craiului Mountains, which are part of the Southern Carpathians mountains range. After a two-hour drive, we'll spend plenty of time in Gorge of Zernyest – a great area for Alpine Swift, Crag Martin, Rock Bunting and Wallcreeper. After our walk we'll visit a nearby watchpoint, where we will have our packed lunch while looking out for Black Stork, Short-toed Eagle, Honey Buzzard, Peregrine and Golden Oriole among others.

We'll return to the Miklósvár guesthouse by 16:30, and part of the team will visit the Brown Bear hide after a break, returning for a late dinner; the other half of the team will enjoy a birding afternoon in the nearby meadows and forest with dinner on return. B, L, D

Day 6 : Homorod Lakes - Miklósvár Owls

After breakfast at the guesthouse, we'll visit Homorod Lakes, another fishpond and lake system, situated 60 km north of our accommodation. In the first half of May this area is famous for the spring migration of Red-footed Falcons – sometimes in their hundreds! - but it's also a place where there are regular records of Citrine Wagtail and Red-throated Pipit.

A large variety of waders, ducks and herons are present at the fishponds in spring, and some of the species we'll be looking for here include all three species of marsh terns, (Whiskered, Black and White-winged), Ferruginous Ducks, European Bee-eaters, Eurasian and Little Bitterns, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Lesser Spotted Eagle; we'll take our packed lunch here and we'll drive back to the guesthouses in the afternoon. After a rest and freshen-up we'll have an early dinner at 1800hrs, after which we'll spend the evening searching for owls via a drive and walk – looking and listening for Ural Owl, Long-eared Owl, Scops Owl, Tawny Owl, Little Owl, Nightjar and Woodlark.

Day 7 : Mikósvár Surroundings – The Horse and Cart Day

The horse and cart day is a leisurely, relaxing trip by horse and cart to learn about bird populations and the ecology of the surrounding habitats, changes in the landscape, land-use techniques and the like. The journey will start at 0800hrs, and we will visit the nearby marshlands with several stops and walks in the meadows and forests of the area.

Species we'll be looking for include Ural Owl, Collared, Red-breasted and Spotted Flycatchers, Green, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers, Wrynecks, Honey Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle and Black Stork. We will have our packed lunch in beautiful surroundings, continuing our journey and returning to the Guesthouses by 1600hrs. Because this will be our final evening at Miklósvár Guesthouses, we'll offer an (optional) talk before dinner, all about Romanian birds, their conservation and Milvus Group's achievements will be presented. B, L, D

Day 8 : Zalánpatak Meadows & Owls

The day will begin with a pre-breakfast walk along the Olt River, in a mosaic of wet meadows, bush lines, pastures and agricultural fields. Here we'll hope to see and hear Corncrake, Great Grey, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrikes, Golden Oriole, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Scops Owl, Wryneck and much more.

We'll have a late breakfast and leave for our next accommodation, Zalanpatak Guesthouses, again by horse and cart! After arriving, we wander in the nearby meadows, where we'll look for White-backed Woodpecker, Honey Buzzard, Goshawk, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Woodlark, Golden Oriole, Hoopoe and Wryneck. We'll return for an early dinner and a short rest before another owl searching evening drive/walk. During this walk we'll hope to hear/see Ural Owl, Long-eared Owl, Scops Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl and Nightjar. B, L, D

Day 9 : Vargyas Gorge

The Vargyas limestone gorge is situated at 60 km distance from Zalánpatak Guesthouses, the one-way walk will take place along the Vargyas stream from the upper entrance of the gorge, downstream. During our walk we will cross bridges several times and the trail will be uneven. We will have our packed lunch during our walk. During the upper and lower edge of the walk we will pass grassland, pastures and meadows with area is grassland, in the gorge, limestone cliff and beech forest. Expected species are the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Dipper, Collared and Red-breasted Flycatchers, Green, Grey-headed, Black and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. The bus will pick up at 15:00 at the end of the gorge, driving back to Zalánpatak.

Day 10 : Departure Zalánpatak

After breakfast the group will depart by minibus to the airport to travel back to the UK.
1 May BA 887 Departure Bucharest at 21:05 - arrival Heathrow at 22:35 (clients flying from North will need to overnight and fly home next day). B

Itinerary map

Prices

Price per person
(Double/Twin share)
Single room supplement
£3,405.00 £1,388.00
Cost includes:
  • Return Internatinal British Airways Flights from UK to Bucharest (economy class / upgrades are avialable please request a quote).
  • Accommodation six nights at Count Kálnoky Transylvanian Guesthouses.
  • Accommodation: 1 night at Bucharest Hilton Garden Inn Airport Hotel, 6 nights at Count Kálnoky Transylvanian Guesthouses & 2 nights at King Charles's retreat at Zalánpatak.
  • Full board meals with house wine. Picnic lunch on birding days. Bucarest on breakfast only basis.
  • Service of an experienced tour leader from UK and expert guide from The Milvus Group
  • All transfers and sightseeing arrangements including visit to the Brown Bear hide.
  • 100% protection of your payment by our ATOL and ABTA Licenses
Cost does not include:
  • Tips and Gratuities
  • Personal Expenses such as beverages, etc
  • British Passport holders can visit Romania for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.

Numbers: strictly limited to 8 clients (first-come-first-serve) to ensure a high guide to guest ratio.

Suitability: For everyone from beginners to experinced birders and wildlife enthusiasts

* Travel Insurance
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
• Make sure it includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
• Make sure it provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
• Make sure it covers you for all activities.
• Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
• Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.

If you have any doubts about your cover, check with your insurer. Please note Covid-19 cover is now available.
For a competitive quotation please visit https://www.indusexperiences.co.uk/insurance/

020 8901 7320
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What our clients say

It is with much gratitude & appreciation to yourself from my Mother, and myself for our wonderful 'holiday', more an 'experience', that you receive this communication.

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