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CORSICA

Corsican endemics and more

Birdquest's short break Corsica birding tour visits one of the most scenically spectacular European birdwatching venues at the height of spring. Our Corsica tour targets such important specialities as the endemic Corsican Nuthatch and near-endemic Marmora's Warbler and Corsican Finch, as well as Scopoli's and Yelkouan Shearwaters, Lammergeier, Audouin's Gull, Moltoni's Warbler and Italian Sparrow.

Monday 6th May — Friday 10th May 2019
(5 days)


Leaders: a Birdquest leader and an assistant leader

Group Size Limit: 12

Tour Category: Easy walking and comfortable accommodations

Corsican Nuthatch - Corsica's bird superstar! (Pete Morris)

Corsican Nuthatch - Corsica's bird superstar! (Pete Morris)

Corsica is a great destination for a short break that combines some of the most stunning scenery that Europe has to offer with some of its most sought-after bird species. Corsica’s star birds include its endemic Corsican Nuthatch and near-endemic Corsican Finch and Marmora’s Warbler, as well as Moltoni’s Warbler and Italian Sparrow. Great cuisine, excellent local wines and comfortable accommodation all add to the attraction!

Corsica (or ‘Corse’ as it is known locally) has a unique character which has developed as a result of its long and complicated history. From the delightful Romanesque churches overlooking olive groves in the north to prehistoric statues lurking on stark plains interspersed with green valleys in the south, Corsica has a character all of its own. Invasion and resistance have been common themes throughout Corsica’s history and have only served to strengthen the islanders’ self-identity.

The geographical location of the island, on the west Mediterranean trade routes, and its sheltered harbours and protective mountains has historically made it of strategic importance for traders. The close proximity of several colonizing powers led to invasions by the Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans, each landing on the east coast of the island and driving the native Corsican people to take refuge in the mountains. Since the Romans were driven out 13 centuries ago, the island has undergone a succession of attacks and occupations, each fiercely resisted by the local folk. A period of independence in the 18th century has since been followed by French rule. However, even today Corsica still has her own language and many of the islanders would love to revert to an autonomous state!

Corsica boasts an astonishing array of natural landscapes and habitats making it a fascinating island for naturalists: splendid and relatively undeveloped Mediterranean coastlines, plains of tangled, aromatic maquis (Mediterranean heath), rolling verdant foothills, unspoilt ancient forests of endemic Corsican Pine and towering, snow-covered alpine peaks can all be found within a short distance of one another. The long-term isolation of the island has led to the evolution of a large number of endemic species of both plants and animals. At this time of year the flowers (which include numerous orchids) are truly fantastic and a number of interesting butterflies will be on the wing.

Of greatest interest to us, however, will be the superb endemic Corsican Nuthatch, the near-endemic Marmora’s Warbler and Corsican Finch, and Italian Sparrow. During our stay we will have a chance to explore much of this beautiful and fascinating island as we search for some of Corsica’s other specialities including Scopoli’s and Yelkouan Shearwaters, Lammergeier (or Bearded Vulture), Audouin’s Gull, Moltoni’s Warbler (split from Subalpine) and Alpine Chough.

Birdquest has operated tours to Corsica since 1991.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good standard throughout. Most participants rate the food on this tour highly. Road transport is by minibus and roads are good.

Walking: Easy throughout.

Climate: Warm, dry and sunny weather is interspersed with cool wet and overcast periods. At higher altitudes in the Alps it may be cold, especially early in the morning.

Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.

These are provisional prices

Tour Price: £1080, €1270, $1410 Ajaccio/Ajaccio.

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £140, €165, $183.

Deposit: £300, €360, $390.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

Corsican Finch was split from Citirl Finch to become Corsica's second endemic alongside the Corsican Nuthatch (Pete Morris)

Corsican Finch was split from Citirl Finch to become Corsica's second endemic alongside the Corsican Nuthatch (Pete Morris)

Audouin's Gulls can be found in small numbers around the coast of Corsica though generally breed in inaccessible areas (Pete Morris)

Audouin's Gulls can be found in small numbers around the coast of Corsica though generally breed in inaccessible areas (Pete Morris)

Colourful Eurasian Hoopoes usually put in an appearance on Corsica (Pete Morris)

Colourful Eurasian Hoopoes usually put in an appearance on Corsica (Pete Morris)

Staying in the beautiful and historic town of Bonifacio is a real delight (Pete Morris)

Staying in the beautiful and historic town of Bonifacio is a real delight (Pete Morris)

The perky little Marmora's Warbler is restricted to Corsica and Sardinia as a breeding species (Pete Morris)

The perky little Marmora's Warbler is restricted to Corsica and Sardinia as a breeding species (Pete Morris)

The scarce Italian Sparrow is seen on no other Birdquest tour (Pete Morris)

The scarce Italian Sparrow is seen on no other Birdquest tour (Pete Morris)

Audouin's Gulls usually give some great views (Pete Morris)

Audouin's Gulls usually give some great views (Pete Morris)

The scarce badius form of Woodchat Shrike is restricted to the western Mediterranean islands (Juan Sagardia)

The scarce badius form of Woodchat Shrike is restricted to the western Mediterranean islands (Juan Sagardia)

A good selection of other attractive species occur on Corsica such as Firecrest (Pete Morris)

A good selection of other attractive species occur on Corsica such as Firecrest (Pete Morris)

... Common Crossbill (represented by an endemic subspecies) (Pete Morris)

... Common Crossbill (represented by an endemic subspecies) (Pete Morris)

... and Cirl Bunting (Pete Morris)

... and Cirl Bunting (Pete Morris)

With luck, some gorgeous butterflies can be seen such as this spectacular Two-tailed Pasha (Pete Morris)

With luck, some gorgeous butterflies can be seen such as this spectacular Two-tailed Pasha (Pete Morris)

... and the endemic Corsican Heath (Pete Morris)

... and the endemic Corsican Heath (Pete Morris)

May in the Mediterranean is an excellent time to see some spectacular orchids. This is a Barton's Orchid (Pete Morris)

May in the Mediterranean is an excellent time to see some spectacular orchids. This is a Barton's Orchid (Pete Morris)

The endemic Corsican Nuthatch can be found in Corsican Pine forest, especially up towards the tree line, and is home to the nuthatch! (Pete Morris)

The endemic Corsican Nuthatch can be found in Corsican Pine forest, especially up towards the tree line, and is home to the nuthatch! (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and 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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