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 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 – mammals, reptiles, amphibians, flora, butterflies, dragonflies and birds.

We may think of snow-covered Antarctica, South American jungles or African savannas 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. What would be your optimum way to spend it if you wished to travel across Europe, delighting in the continent's wildlife splendours? This book suggests one wildlife-watching break, somewhere in Europe, for every week 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. Or go for the ultimate mammals: Iberian lynx (Spain) and European lynx (Estonia). 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 at different points in the spring. Birdwatchers 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 Alps. And the truly spectacular: Hungary's mayfly emergence, 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 amidst 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 about extending your quick break into a longer visit. An 'at a glance' box summarizes details with a thumbnail map.

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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Author & acknowledgments
Explanation of the book & 'Top 5 weekends' section
How to use this book

1 January (breaks 1-4)
Jan 1, Poland. Bialowieza Forest for European Bison / Racoon dog in the snow.
Jan 2, Extremadura (Spain) For 10000s of roosting common cranes.
Jan 3, Black Sea in Bulgaria, Hungary or Romania. Flock of 10,000s of red-breasted goose. Wintering eagles.
Jan 4, Lanzarote, Canaries, Spain: blind cave crab, rare reptiles and displaying houbara bustards

2 February (breaks 5-8)
Feb 1, Austria. The million-strong wintering flock of brambling near Lodersdorf
Feb 2, Spain: Iberian lynx in the Sierra de Andujar
Feb 3, Algarve, Portugal. Thousands of greater flamingo, great bustard, black-tailed godwits, Spanish imperial eagle. Lisbon birding.
Feb 4. Ibiza, Balearics, Spain. For Ibiza wall lizard.

3 March (breaks 9-13)
Mar 1: Isalo, Finland. Motel feeder with Siberian jay, red squirrel plus flocks of pine grosbeak and Arctic redpoll. Hawk Owl.
Mar 2, Estonia. Eurasian lynx, elk, owls & woodpeckers.
Mar 3, Varanger, Norway. The king eider 'vortex', Steller's eider, Brunnich's guillemot, hawk owl, seabird colony, gyr falcon.
Mar 4, Sardinia, Italy. Cave salamander and other reptiles/amphibians, citril finch, Moltoni's warbler, early orchids.
Mar 5, Alentejo, Portugal. Europe's finest steppe, with great & little bustards, pin-tailed sandgrouse and roller.

4 April (breaks 14-17)
Apr 1, Malaga & Nerja, Spain. Spanish ibex, birds, praying mantis, mirror orchid & others.
Apr 2, Western Crete. Orchids and rock tulips at Spili Bumps, plus birds and reptiles.
Apr 3, Corsica. Moltoni's warbler, Corsican citril finch, Corsican nuthatch, Lammergeier, Corsican swallowtail, reptiles, orchids.
Apr 4, Azores, Portugal. Blue, fin and sperm whales, bottlenose dolphins. Azores bullfinch.

5 May (breaks 18-22)
May 1, Danube Delta, Romania. Ferruginous duck, Dalmatian pelican, steppe runner, European pond tortoise, dragonflies, possible golden jackal and much more.
May 2, Northeast Estonia. Brown bear, raccoon dog, Siberian flying squirrel, lesser spotted eagle, capercaillie.
May, 3 Monfrague, Extremadura, Spain. Cinereous vulture, Spanish imperial eagle, black stork, great plants, reptiles, orchids, steppe.
May 4, The Burren, Ireland. Amazing flora including dense-flowered orchid. Cryptic wood white.
May 5, Goshawks in Berlin. City jaunt. Wild boar. Birds.

6 June (breaks 23-26)
Jun 1, Hungary for long-tailed mayflies then red-footed falcons & birds in Hortobagy
Jun 2, Varanger, Norway. Calypso orchid, Arctic fox, mountain hare, red-necked phalarope, red-throated pipit.
Jun 3, Pyrenees, Spain. Odesa for mammals, herps, flowers, scenery. And perhaps side-trip to vulture feeding station.
Jun 4, Matera, Italy for 1,000 Lesser Kestrels in a hilltop village. or Faroes, Norway, for seabird colony.

7 July (breaks 27-31)
Jul 1, La Brenne, France. For dragonflies, butterflies, birds, mammals, amphibians.
Jul 2, Svalbard, Norway. Around the town & overnight cruise for Arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer, little auk, king eider, red phalarope. Poss Polar bear.
Jul 3, Iceland. Blue and humpback whales, Arctic fox, harlequin, Barrow's goldeneye, red-necked phalarope
Jul 4, Lofoten islands, Norway. Sperm whale, red-necked phalarope, red-throated diver.
Jul 5, Madeira, Portugal. Zino's, Fea's & Bulwer's petrels, Madeiran laurel pigeon, sperm whale. Herps.

8 August (breaks 32-36)
Aug 1, Dovrefjell, Bergen, Norway. Musk ox and more.
Aug 2, Sweden. Bergslagen for moose (elk), beaver and possible wolf-tracking.
Aug 3, Cyprus. Demoiselle crane flocks, Cyprus pied wheatear, Cyprus warbler, tortoise sp, other reptiles. Two endemic dragonflies.
Aug 4, Bay of Biscay. Sperm and fin whales, ocean sunfish, leatherback turtle, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, little shearwater.
Aug 5, Somiedo, Spain & Picos de Europa. Brown bears feeding on blueberries, wild cat, Iberian wolf, plants, butterflies, Alpine accentor.

9 September (breaks 37-40)
Sep 1, Majorca, Spain. Hermann's tortoise and other reptiles, Eleonora's falcon, Audouin's gull, Balearic warbler, flying fish, dragonflies. Dragonera islands for lizards.
Sep 2, Abruzzo, Italy. Brown bear, wolf, chamois.
Sep 3, Gibraltar. Migrating eagles and storks, Barbary macaque, Barbary partridge, orca. Bald Ibis.
Sep 4, Postojna, Slovenia. Olm, chamois, griffon vulture. Herps. Late butterflies.

10 October (breaks 41-44)
Oct 1, Sagres, SW Portugal. Wilson's storm-petrel, Cory's & great shearwaters, migrating raptors, crimson-speckled, parsley frog, red-veined darter, two-tailed pasha.
Oct 2, Vercours, French Alps - Ibex & Chamois
Oct 3, Falsterbo, Sweden. Overhead bird migration, with raptors, stroks and much more.
Oct 4, Valderrobres, Spain. Feeding station of griffon vultures, then Ebro Delta for Audouin's & slender-billed gulls & more.

11 November (breaks 45-48)
Nov 1, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Blue chaffinch, laurel & Bolle's pigeons, endemic reptiles, short-finned pilot whale.
Nov 2, Cork, Ireland. Fin whale, humpbacked whale, common dolphin.
Nov 3, Lake Kerkini, Greece. Huge flock of tame Dalmatian pelicans in winter, plus flock of lesser white-fronted goose.
Nov 4, Kikinda, Serbia. Long-eared owls.

12 December (breaks 49-52)
Dec 1, Kristiansund, Norway. Snorkelling with orcas, plus moose, otter, stoat.
Dec 2 Italy for starling roost in Rome
Dec 3, Friesland or Flevoland, Netherlands. Lesser white-fronted and other geese, smew and other ducks.
Dec 4, Camargue, France. Camargue for Christmas. Coypu, greater flamingoes, eagle owl, wallcreeper, snow finch.

Further info
Useful books & websites
Index of sites
Index of species

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