52 European Wildlife Weekends

by James Lowen

52 European Wildlife Weekends

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About this book

This innovative new title from Bradt is the first of its type to focus specifically on the vast array of wildlife-watching opportunities found in Europe. Written by expert James Lowen, author of the best-selling 52 Wildlife Weekends: A Year of British Wildlife-Watching Breaks and award-winning A Summer of British Wildlife: 100 Great Days Out Watching Wildlife, this unique guide is packaged into 52 weekend-sized breaks highlighting the best of European wildlife including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, flora, butterflies, dragonflies and birds.
We may think of snow-covered Antarctica, South American jungles or African savannahs as holding the world's most plenteous and special wildlife, yet Europe heaves with wildlife wonders year-round, many of which can be seen in a simple weekend break. This book suggests one wildlife-watching break, somewhere in Europe, for every weekend of the year.
Want to see brown bears? Make for Finland or Slovenia. Fancy a crack at wolves? Hop on a flight to northern Spain or Italy's Abruzzo. If whales float your boat, a long weekend in Iceland, Ireland or the Bay of Biscay would suit. Orchid lovers can head to Corsica, Crete or the Costa del Sol in spring. Birdwatchers can flock to see migrating raptors in Gibraltar, great gatherings of cranes in central Spain, or vast flocks of seaduck in Arctic Norway. Then there's the wacky olm in Slovenia, cave salamanders in Sardinia and owl-flies in the Picos de Europa. Hungary's mayfly emergence is truly spectacular, as are Norway's musk oxen and Poland's bison.
Stretching from the Arctic to its boundaries with Africa and Asia, Europe has enough exciting living creatures amid jaw-dropping landscapes to fill an entire lifetime of wildlife-watching. Ideal for both the experienced wildlife tourist and the novice and packed with stunning colour photos, Bradt's 52 European Wildlife Weekends shows when, where and how to see the most exciting wildlife, complete with inspiring itineraries, engaging descriptions, detailed directions and tips on how to find, identify and enjoy animals and plants. Each entry gives details on species of interest and the landscapes they inhabit, plus suggestions for extending your quick break into a longer visit.

About the author

James Lowen has been immersed in all aspects of natural history since he was able to walk, encouraging him to become a fully fledged wildlife writer, editor, guide and photographer. Over three decades, James has travelled widely across Europe in search of its most special, rare and iconic wildlife. He is never happier than when seeking dragonflies in the Danube Delta, polar bears on Svalbard, or orchids in Crete. He has written five books about wildlife or wildlife travel, including three for Bradt Travel Guides (52 Wildlife Weekends: a Year of British Wildlife-watching Breaks, A Summer of British Wildlife: 100 Great Days Out with British Wildlife, and Pantanal Wildlife: A Visitor's Guide to Brazil's Great Wetland). A member of the British Guild of Travel Writers, James writes regularly about European wildlife for magazines such as BBC Wildlife, The Countryman and Bird Watching.

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great book
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A nice book to have
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Introduction iv
How to use this book ix

1 Into the trees
Bialowieza Forest, Poland, for European bison, Eurasian beaver, black and three-toed
woodpeckers, northern long-tailed tit
2 Hundreds and thousands
Extremadura, Spain, for common crane, great bustard, Iberian imperial eagle, red deer, otter
3 Big mouth strikes again
Kake Kerkini, Greece, for Dalmatian pelican, greater spotted eagle, lesser white-fronted goose,
sombre tit, rock nuthatch
4 Mid-Atlantic Europe
Azores, Portugal, for Azores bullfi nch, Atlantic canary, vagrant American birds, sperm whale,
short-beaked common dolphin
5 Wild goose chase
Black Sea, Bulgaria, for red-breasted goose, white-fronted goose, Yelkouan shearwater, pygmy
cormorant, golden jackal
6 The lynx effect
Sierra de Andújar, Spain, for Iberian lynx, mouflon,
Schreiber's bat, European free-tailed bat, stripeless tree frog
7 Blind love and headless chickens
Canary Islands, Spain, for houbara bustard, cream-coloured
courser, monarch, blind squat lobster, east Canary gecko
8 Snow? Go!
Latvia for Ural owl, pygmy owl, white-backed woodpecker,
three-toed woodpecker, raccoon dog
9 Parrots of the Arctic
Lapland, Finland, for Siberian jay, Siberian tit, pine grosbeak, red squirrel, aurora borealis
10 Lynxed in
Estonia for Eurasian lynx, Eurasian elk, hazel grouse, pygmy owl, three-toed woodpecker
11 Northern delights
Varangerfjord, Norway, for Steller's eider, king eider, gyrfalcon, Brünnich's guillemot, hawk owl
12 Giant transformers, phantom farters
Alentejo, Portugal, for great bustard, little bustard, black-bellied sandgrouse, Montagu's harrier,
calandra lark
13 Costa del Chameleon
Málaga, Spain, for Spanish ibex, Mediterranean chameleon, mirror orchid, black wheatear,
conehead mantis
14 Going underground
Sardinia, Italy, for Supramonte cave salamander, imperial cave salamander,
European leaf-toed gecko, lesser horseshoe bat, sawfly orchid
15 King of the gods - and orchids
Crete, Greece, for bory's orchid, Cretan orchid, snake's-head iris, dragon arum, Balkan terrapin
16 Hide and seek
Corsica, France, for Corsican nuthatch,
Corsican finch, Marmora's warbler,
Corsican fire salamander, Corsican crocus
17 Berlin's dark grail
Berlin, Germany, for goshawk, great bustard, mandarin,
wild boar, northern raccoon
18 Delta force
Danube delta, Romania, for white pelican, ferruginous duck, Pallas's gull, dice snake, steppe runner
19 Estonian nightlife
Estonia for Siberian flying squirrel, brown bear, raccoon dog, pine marten, capercaillie
20 Lesser is lovelier
Extremadura, Spain, for lesser kestrel, white-rumped swift, European roller, Spanish terrapin,
Schreiber's green lizard
21 Melting pot
the Burren, Ireland, for dense-flowered orchid, mountain avens, spring gentian, large-flowered
butterwort, transparent burnet
22 City-break falcons
Matera, Italy, for lesser kestrel, lanner falcon, Egyptian vulture
23 Nimble as a mountain goat
Gran Paradiso, Italy, for Alpine ibex, Alpine chamois, Alpine marmot, owly sulphur, nine-spotted
24 Perfect blues
Iceland for blue whale, humpback whale, harlequin duck, barrow's goldeneye, red-necked phalarope
25 Tisza, in bloom
Hungary for long-tailed mayfly, southern festoon, red-footed falcon,
European pond terrapin, common tree frog
26 Lakeland
La Brenne, France, for lilypad whiteface, yellow-spotted emerald,
brenne marsh-orchid, whiskered tern, viperine snake
27 Ultimate meat-eaters
Finland for wolverine, grey wolf, brown bear
28 Top of the world
Pyrenees, Spain, for lammergeier, Alpine marmot, Pyrenean rock lizard, Pyrenean brook newt,
Pyrenean saxifrage
29 Angel of the north
Svalbard, Norway, for Arctic fox, bearded seal, walrus, ivory gull, little auk
30 Butterfl y nirvana
Picos de Europa, Spain, for Apollo, dusky large blue, split-eyed owl-fly, wallcreeper, snow vole
31 Strong as an ox
Norway for musk ox, Eurasian elk, reindeer, Norway lemming, bluethroat
32 Moby-Dick under the midnight sun
Norway for sperm whale, long-finned pilot whale, harbour seal, white-tailed eagle, Atlantic puffin
33 Zino moonwalk
Madeira, Portugal, for Zino's petrel, Madeiran firecrest, bryde's whale, Madeiran pipistrelle,
Madeiran wall lizard
34 Übercute
Vienna, Austria, for black-bellied hamster, European souslik, particoloured bat, moustached
darter, banded darter
35 Bounteous Biscay
Bay of Biscay, France/Spain, for Cuvier's beaked whale, fi n whale, basking shark, ocean sunfish,
Macaronesian shearwater
36 The bear necessities
Somiedo, Spain, for Cantabrian brown bear, wildcat, Iberian grey wolf, Pyrenean chamois,
Spanish ibex
37 Rock and a hard place
Spain and Gibraltar for barbary macaque, striped dolphin, honey buzzard, northern bald ibis,
two-tailed pasha
38 Et tu, Abruzzo?
Abruzzo, Italy, for Abruzzo chamois, Apennine grey wolf, Marsican brown bear, white-backed
woodpecker, rock partridge
39 The Great South Road
Falsterbo, Sweden, for visible migration of numerous raptors and landbirds
40 The cave with the dragon babies
Slovenia and Italy for olm, nose-horned viper, brown bear, European cave spider, autumn lady's-tresses
41 Go west
Algarve, Portugal, for Balearic shearwater, Cory's shearwater, Wilson's storm-petrel, booted
eagle, crimson speckled
42 Bloomin' marvellous
Crete, Greece, for autumn buttercup, sea daffodil, Greek cyclamen, Cretan wild goat,
ocellated skink
43 The water in Mallorca
Mallorca, Spain, for Eleonora's falcon, Balearic warbler, marbled duck, violet dropwing,
Ibiza wall lizard
44 Keep calm and carrion
Spain for griff on vulture, glossy ibis, purple swamphen, Audouin's gull,
slender-billed gull
45 Blue-sky finching
Canary Islands, Spain, for short-finned pilot whale, Tenerife blue chaffinch,
white-tailed laurel pigeon, Atlantic canary, Teide viper's-bugloss
46 The greyhound of the sea
Ireland for fin whale, humpback whale, short-beaked common dolphin, common bottlenose
dolphin, Atlantic grey seal
47 Formosa: the Algarve in autumn
Algarve, Portugal, for European fiddler crab, Audouin's gull, Iberian water frog, Mediterranean
chameleon, Moorish gecko
48 Parliament of owls
Serbia for long-eared owl, short-eared owl, great grey shrike, hawfinch
49 Swimming free, in black and white
Norway for orca, humpback whale, aurora borealis
50 Rewilding from A(nser) to B(ranta)
Netherlands for lesser white-fronted goose, tundra bean goose,
barnacle goose, smew, white-tailed eagle
51 Murmurazione?
Rome, Italy, for European starling roost, blue rock thrush,
red squirrel, European free-tailed bat
52 La vie en rose
Camargue, France, for greater flamingo, greater
spotted eagle, eagle owl, wallcreeper, coypu

Further information
Index of sites
Index of advertisers
Index of wildlife targets

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