Barrie Behind the Binoculars

I’ve loved nature since I was a small boy, and one of my first memories is being captivated with the song of the skylark. Its song brought me great joy and it still does - indeed it was one of the birds that inspired my lifelong interest. It wasn’t just birds, it was the water voles, the newts, the butterflies and everything else that I was fortunate to find. These species are still special to me despite seeing a range of wildlife around the world. Indeed, I always regard seeing wildlife as a special privilege and no matter how many times I visit a country, I’m as excited as if it was the first time.

Northern Lights & Lapland Birds

I dreamt of seeing the Northern Lights when I was a boy. I’ve now seen them several times and the experience is always magical, one of the most awe-inspiring events you can see. On this tour we will also have good views of some special birds including Steller’s and king eiders in Norwegian harbours, and a feeding station at one of our accommodations provides close views of birds such as Siberian jay, Siberian tit, pine grosbeak and Arctic redpoll.

Belarus: Secret Wildlife Wilderness

I’ve done a lot of conservation work in Belarus and it must be one of the most unspoiled countries in Europe. Ancient forests, bogs and wetlands provide homes for a wonderful array of wildlife that include lynx, wolf, European bison and dazzling birds such as azure tit, aquatic warbler, citrine wagtail and great grey owl. You can read more in my article in the September 2017 edition of Bird Watching magazine.

Papua New Guinea: Birds Of Paradise

It’s not just the stunning colours of the birds of paradise that make them memorable; it’s also the crow-like sounds they make when they display. When I first saw a twelve-wired bird of paradise, I described it as a crow wearing a yellow skirt. No trip to Papua New Guinea is complete without seeing some birds of paradise, however there’s many special birds, butterflies, moths, landscapes and cultural visits that make a tour here such a unique experience. A network of good lodges now make this a feasible tour for the keen birdwatcher.

Madagascar: Land Of The Lemur

I’ve recently returned from my third tour to Madagascar, a very special island full of endemic wildlife. It’s always difficult to choose a favourite highlight; is it the chameleons? Or a giraffe-necked weevil? Is it the endemic birds such as ground rollers? Or the vangas, which must be the most varied and interesting bird family in the world? Or is it the lemurs, but which one? Is it the sound of the largest lemur – the indri? Is it the dancer – Verreaux’s sifaka? Or is it the sultry-eyed ring-tailed lemur when it gazes at you across a table in the lodge restaurant before stealing a banana? The latter seduces me every time, will they do the same to you?

Lancashire Long Weekends in Spring and Autumn

These two tours will both visit Morecambe Bay and Leighton Moss, plus some other special places I know. In spring we will have the joys of birdsong with returning warblers setting up their territories. We may even hear the booming calls of bittern or, if we are very lucky, see an otter, a bearded tit or an osprey. We will certainly see and hear thousands of waders as they pass through Morecambe Bay and make their way north. In autumn, we will see thousands of waders on their return. For me, the pink-footed geese are one of the most exciting sights and sounds of autumn.

Chile: Total Solar Eclipse 2019

Just a few weeks ago I was with a group in the USA where we had great views of the recent total eclipse of the sun. This must be one of the most exciting natural events to experience and each one is always special. The light just prior to totality is always one of the most memorable parts of an eclipse and it’s always interesting to see how wildlife reacts On this tour to Chile, not only do we have the eclipse, we also have some very special wildlife to see in a variety of habitats and different altitudes.

All these tours have many special wildlife memories waiting to be discovered, and I hope that you may join me to discover how wonderful these places are.

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