- On arrival at Poprad-Tatry Airport, we meet our local guide and head immediately into the mountains of the Low Tatras. Our hotel is located at the entrance of a long and picturesque valley, where dipper and grey wagtail are found along the stream.
- Accommodation: Hotel Svatojansky Kastiel, Liptovsky Jan, 2-nights on full board basis.
- Today we hike forested mountain tracks in Tatra National Park with our local guide in search of golden eagle, black, grey-headed, three-toed and white-backed woodpeckers, and pygmy owl. Among the commoner woodland species, we also hope to find nutcracker, hazel grouse, firecrest and ring ouzel.
- In the evening we have an optional evening visit, weather dependent, to a comfortable bear hide in the hope of seeing brown bears (additional cost of approximately £25 per person payable locally).
- Before leaving the Tatras this morning we visit a nearby reservoir, where black-throated and red-throated divers, red-necked and black-necked grebes are all possible at migration time, along with more common ducks and waders. After our visit to the reservoir we drive some three hours southeast through scenic landscapes to reach the Slovak Karst.
- We explore the Szepes-Gömör Mountains, where pygmy owls should be calling. Our local guide should know the breeding sites of Tengmalm’s owl, and at higher elevations we search for hazel grouse, three-toed woodpecker, nutcracker, common crossbill and crested tit.
- We also visit the scenic Szádelő Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site whose dramatic 400-metre-high limestone cliffs hold a rich variety of bird and butterfly life. A nearby meadow with a good population of European souslik (ground squirrel) often attracts the predatory attentions of imperial eagle and saker falcon.
- In the evening, depending on availability, it may be possible to go out to trap bats with a local expert (additional cost of approximately £10 per person payable locally).
- Accommodation: Reva Pension, Turňa nad Bodvou 3-nights on full board basis.
- This morning we visit the woods close to the city of Kosice which hold a hold a sizeable population of Ural owl, invariably the highlight of any trip. The same area is excellent for seeing middle spotted, grey headed, white-backed and black woodpeckers, while the wooded hills are the breeding place of black stork, lesser spotted eagle and goshawk.
- After some final morning birding we drive back to Poprad airport for the flight back home.
All prices are per person and include:
- Services of the naturalist leader
- Guided activities
- All meals
- UK leader subject to minimum numbers (otherwise will be accompanied by local guide)
We stay in simple mid-range hotels; all rooms with private bathroom. A limited number of single rooms are available.
All meals are included.
Breakfast and dinner are taken in the hotels, whereas lunches are generally picnics prepared by the hotels and eaten at a convenient location; there may be an occasional simple sit-down lunch in a local restaurant.
The region of the Slovak Karst, with its dramatic limestone gorges, mature beech forest and mixed forest is home to an abundance of raptors, owls and woodpeckers. Ural, eagle, pygmy and Tengmalm's owl and all the European woodpeckers are found here in attractive habitats. The beech and spruce forests are also home to hazel grouse, nutcracker, collared flycatcher, crested tit, firecrest and common crossbill.
- Three-toed woodpecker
- Eurasian nutcracker
- Ural owl
- Ring ouzel
The abundance and diversity of birds will capture our attention, but we will also look out for a range of mammals including wolf, brown bear, lynx and up to 15 species of bat.
- Eurasian wolf
- European brown bear
- Eurasian lynx
- European suslik (ground squirrel)
The countryside is largely flat, and our short walks (2-4 kilometres) are mostly on good and fairly level tracks. Any short uphill stretches will be taken slowly. It may be wet and or rough underfoot, so we recommend wearing waterproof walking boots or shoes.
Price includes return scheduled flights London – Poprad – London.
Ground transportation is by minibus, with driver.
April in Slovakia is usually quite mild, with temperatures ranging from 6-16˚C.