The tour started at Tadcaster at 8am on the morning of the 23rd of July. A grueling 25-35 hour bus journey lay ahead. However because of the delays at Dover the journey took 36-37 hours. However I did see some decent birds. The journey through the UK was rewarded with a few Red Kites and then 4 Manx Shearwaters at around 9pm approaching Calais. Through the night we went through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. Dawn started in Germany and I was greeted by both Red and Black Kites as well as a Spoonbill. We continued on what seemed like an endless journey and entered the Alps in Austria where there were both Rock thrush and Crag martins. We finally got to Italy and got something to eat before going to bed. The next day we went to Torri del Benaco which was by Lake Garda. There I saw lots of Black-headed gulls, a Mediterranean gull, a few Yellow-legged gulls and loads of Italian sparrows. We then had a rehearsal and did a concert that evening, when (as well as Common swift) I saw a Pallid Swift. The next day we went to Verona where there were lots of Crag Martins. We went to the Verona opera arena where I unfortunately sprained my ankle by falling a little way. However this wasn't too bad as I sat in a lovely Cafe for the afternoon. Driving back to the hotel I saw Hooded crows and Carrion crows. A concert to Bardolino that evening only produced Mallards and Mute swans. The next day we went on a Cable Car on Monte Baldo where I saw Black Kite, Rock thrush, lots of Linnets and mixed Crag and House martins. Malcesine that afternoon produced some Red-crested Pochards. The final day was a boat tour to Garda. Here I saw a Caspian gull my second lifer of the trip (Italian Sparrow being the first). That afternoon we had to leave Italy, the last bird was a Golden Eagle. The route back went through Switzerland and France and didn't produce any good birds. Getting to Calais was relatively hassle free apart from some migrants wanting to get into the trailer of the coach but we left, it's sad to see people in this manner. The last bird of the trip was a Gannet on the ferry crossing at the Channel. I loved the trip and am looking forwards to one next year. We got back to Tadcaster at about 5pm, 26 hours later.
Here are a few pictures (taken on phone).
|View from Monte Baldo|