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ALGERIAN NUTHATCH EXPEDITION

Sunday 5th May — Sunday 12th May 2019
(8 days)


Leader: Mark Beaman

Group Size Limit: 8

Tour Category: Mostly easy walking and comfortable accommodations

For many years the security situation in Algeria was too poor to allow birders to visit, so the endemic Algerian Nuthatch, which lives only in relict pine forests in the Kabylie mountains, remained just a dream. How lucky those early pioneers like Mark Beaman were to have got out there before it became dangerous!

Well, now things have moved on and the security situation in all but a few parts of the country has improved hugely. A sign of the times is that the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office has now removed 'no travel' or 'essential travel only' warnings from almost all of Algeria.

With the return of near-normality, Mark is ready to go back with a band of intrepid birders in May 2019.

As well as the endemic Algerian Nuthatch, a 'Birdquest Lifer' which will not be hard to find, there are Atlas Flycatchers (a bird those who visited Morocco in the 'good old days' before it was recognized as a distinct species are likely to have missed, as it arrives in the Atlas only in very late April and early May) and also NW African endemics like Barbary Partridge, Levaillant's Woodpecker, Moussier's Redstart and African Blue Tit.

We will also be spending a bit of time in Tunisia, exploring the Cap Bon peninsula. This is peak season for migrating Red-footed Falcons, White-headed Ducks nest and the offshore islands of Zembra and Zembretta hold a huge Scopoli's Shearwater colony, as well as a colony of Yelkouan Shearwaters.

Join us for a very special 'one-off' 'Final Five Hundred' expedition!

Itinerary

Day 1 The expedition begins this evening at Tunis airport, from where we will drive to our hotel for a two nights stay.

Day 2  Today we will explore the Cap Bon peninsula, a finger of land that extends northeastwards into the Mediterranean, pointing towards Sicily and the Italian peninsula. There are breeding White-headed Ducks here, and of special interest at this season is an impressive raptor migration that in early May features very large numbers of European Honey Buzzards and Red-footed Falcons (up to 1000 or more of the latter can be observed in a single day).

During our stay at Cap Bon we will also make a boat trip out to the offshore islands of Zembra and Zembretta, which hold the largest colony of Scopoli's Shearwater, as well as a colony of Yelkouan Shearwaters.

Day 3  After spending much of the day at Cap Bon, we will head westwards to Tabarka, situated on the Mediterranean coast close to the Algerian border, where we will overnight.

Day 4  This morning we will cross the border into Algeria and travel westwards to the coastal town of Jijel for a three nights stay.

Days 5-6  Exploring the Kabylie Mountains, both for our prime targets (the endemic Algerian Nuthatch and Atlas Flycatcher, a species that breeds only in NW Africa) and for other birds of interest, including Barbary Partridge, Levaillant's Woodpecker Moussier's Redstart and African Blue Tit (all are endemic to NW Africa). Barbary Apes (Barbary Macaques) are also found in the area.

Day 7  Today we return to Tunis for an overnight stay.

Day 8  The expedition ends at Tunis this morning.

Southern Tunisia Extension: If there are participants interested in visiting Southern Tunisia for Saharan birds and also for seeing the re-introduced Scimitar-horned Oryx and Addax, we will arrange a suitable extension to the expedition. Please inform our office if you are interested in participating in such an extension.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotel accommodation is of good or medium quality. Road transport will be by minibus/passenger van and roads are mostly good.

Walking: The walking effort is mostly easy, but there may be an occasional moderate grade walk.

Climate: Typically warm or hot and sunny. Rain is unlikely.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are fairly good.

Important: Algeria has a most unusual regulation, dating back to its troubled past, that prohibits the importation of binoculars! Strangely, cameras and telephoto lenses are allowed and there is no issue bringing them across the border. There is no way of getting round the binocular regulation, however, so we have arranged for the local conservation group in the Kabylie to lend us several pairs during our visit. This is not perfect, but is a workable solution. Our own binoculars will be left in a secure place in Tunisia to await our return. (Telescopes are not on the banned import list, and we are planning to take one with us, with a camera attached, as cameras and lenses are not an issue, but we would not recommend taking in 'scopes without an attached camera.)

ALGERIAN NUTHATCH BIRDING EXPEDITION: PRICE INFORMATION

Birdquest Inclusions: our tour prices include all tipping, including tips for local guides and drivers. Some bird tour operators do not do this, yet for participants these costs are an unavoidable part of the tour. The value of these inclusions on this Birdquest tour amounts to approximately: £70, €80, $100.

2019 confirmed prices

£1540, €1760, $2150 Tunis/Tunis. Deposit: 10%.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Single Room Supplement: £161, €184, $224.

This tour is priced in Euros. Amounts shown in Pounds Sterling and US Dollars are based on £1 = €1.140 and €1 = $1.220.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

Many of the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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