Greentours with Phil

In 2015 I am again leading or co-leading a number of tours for Greentours. I enjoy these tours as they allow me to look at more than just birds. I get the chance to re-visit old haunts and have a good look at other stuff especially dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles which I am increasingly interested in these days. Greentours itineraries are well-paced too, not too much dashing around, lots of time in the field instead and always plenty of wildlife to look at.

Why not join me on one of the following tours? Activate the link to read more about each tour on the Greentours website.

  •  Lapland (July) - a tour based around Abisko NP which often gets the vote from botanists, entomologists and birders alike as one of the very best natural sites in Lapland. It seems that the entire northern Swedish flora is jostling for space on Njolta Mountain which rises immediately behind our hotel. It looks a long way to the top so it’s a fine thing to have a working ski lift whisk us to 900m above sea level. The dry tundra is the nesting habitat for elegant Long-tailed Skuas and overflown by merlin and rough-legged buzzard. Bluethroats and bramblings nest by our hotel, whilst slavonian grebes and immaculate black-throated divers rear their young on Tornetrask’s still waters. Red-necked phalaropes spin on boggy pools home to Aeshna caerulea and we might get lucky with Somatochlora alpestris. Snow Bunting and Reindeer should be seen as we explore the magnificent glaciated Trollsjön Valley where pale arctic clouded yellows and cranberry blues fly amongst dwarf cornel and a fine show of wild azalea. If like me you enjoy Arctic landscapes and fauna and flora, and prefer to spend as little time as possible travelling, then this tour is for you. It is barely an hour to Abisko from the airport at Kiruna and you’ll spend the entire week thereafter less than an hour’s drive from the hotel.
  • Mammals of the Roof of the World (October) - the best tour I have ever done, the Tibetan plateau is a must-see spot on the surface of the earth and this year the planned extensions are just as exciting.
  •  Madagascar (November) - a superb tour that takes in the spiny forest, Isalo and Zombitse, Ramanofana and finally Perinet. Madagascar rocks!

The Ethiopian wolf is a handsome dog.
  • Ethiopia (November) - last but not least an exciting new tour that teams me up again with Rondi Slater. This tour concentrates on the Ethiopian Highlands and the dramatic rent in the volcanic plateau formed by the Great Rift Valley. The highest asphalt road in Africa takes us into the Bale Mountains where we’ll watch and photograph the iconic Ethiopian (or Simien) Wolf, as they stalk through the heathy moorlands of the Sanetti Plateau, the beautiful landscape dotted with Giant Lobelias and Red Hot Pokers. The afro-alpine moorland certainly has a rich diversity of plant life but it still defies belief that it can support 4000kg biomass of rodents per hectare! Chunky one-kilo Giant Mole-rats form the bulk – they are the wolf’s chief prey, and also support six species of Aquila eagle. In silvery grasslands we’ll see elegant Mountain Nyala whilst Wattled Cranes stride past the spectacular red blooms of Ammocharis tinneana, striped Crinum abyssinicum and the crenulated blooms of the sea daffodil relative Pancratium tenuifolium. We’ll seek the rare Bale Monkey as well as the recently split Ethiopian Klipspringer, and endemic birds such as Abyssinian Owl and Abyssinian Catbird. We’ll spend an evening watching the grasslands for Serval, we’ve a good chance of seeing this gorgeous cat here.
    Another cat, the African Wild Cat, is often seen along the tracks through the rift valley Awash National Park. As dusk falls on the slopes of volcanic Mount Fantalle, we’ll watch Spotted Hyenas emerging from the black lava caves, a famed denning site for these enigmatic creatures. Awash is home to Arabian and Kori Bustards, Somali Ostriches, Northern Lesser Kudu, Soemmering’s Gazelles and Beisa Oryx, and we’ll see lots of stunning Northern Carmine Bee-eaters. Troupes of Hamadryas Baboons forage across the plains, whilst in the wild mountain country around the monastery complex at Debre Libanos, is the endemic Gelada Baboon, each Gelada adorned with a ‘bleeding heart’. Photographing Lammergeiers is easy here as bones are regularly put out for them! We’ll finish with two days at a superb lodge set amid majestic figs on the shores of a Rift Valley lake. Here is an abundance of typical African species such as White-cheeked Turaco, Narina Trogons, tinkerbirds, bee-eaters, and barbets, as well endemics such as the Black-winged Lovebird and Yellow-fronted Parrot. Spotlighting will reveal Civets and Bush Babies. Ethiopia is an extraordinary country, its diverse wildlife still abundant, its culture unique, and distinctive and its landscapes often ‘other-worldly’ and frequently magnificent.