Ukraine

Europe/Ukraine

Birds and wildlife of the Crimean Peninsula

Crimean Peninsula, 9 days

Our Ukraine birding tour is focusing on the Crimean Peninsula of the Black Sea. This exciting area has beautiful grassland steppes, rolling limestone hills, extensive marshes and coastal lagoons, all rich habitats for migrant and breeding birds. Large flocks of White Pelicans, Broad-billed and Marsh Sandpipers, Great Black-headed and Slender-billed Gulls are not an uncommon sight. Breeding birds include such Eastern specialities as Demoiselle Crane, Saker and Red-footed Falcons, Pied Wheatear, Paddyfield Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling and Black-headed Bunting.
We also visit protected areas around Kyev in search of such boreal species as Lesser-spotted Eagle, Corncrake, White-backed Woodpecker and Citrine Wagtail.

Facts

Highlights

Hotels

1 night in Kyev
3 nights in Feodosya, Eastern Crimea
2 nights in Yalta, Southern Crimea
2 nights in Krasnoperekopsk, Northern Crimea

Departure Dates

Saturday 26 July – Sunday 3 August 2014

Price

Ask for the actual price

Itinerary

1

After arriving to Kyev we drive to nearby Protsiv Meadows Reserve situated by the Dnipro River. The pine forests and wet meadows hold a nice variety of boreal species including Black Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Corncrake, Middle Spotted and White-backed Woodpecker, Citrine Wagtail, Bluethroat, Wood Warbler and Collared Flycatcher. We spend the night in Kyev.

2

We take a flight from Kyev to Simferopol, located in the heart of the Crimea. From Simferopol we drive to Feodosiya. On the way we stop to see the first steppe birds, such as Red-footed Falcon, Roller, Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrike, which are fairly common in this area.

3-4

We spend a day exploring the Kerch Peninsula dividing the Azov and Black Sea. The most sough-after species is Demoiselle Crane that has its westernmost population here. Great Bustard also inhabits the steppes and we hope to find them along with Stone Curlew, Pied and Isabelline Wheatear. The southern shore of the Kerch Peninsula is more rugged with cliffs falling into the sea. These cliffs harbour Saker Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Peregrine and Long-legged Buzzard. We spend another day at the coastal lagoons and salt marshes of Sivash Nature Reserve looking for a wide range of species including White Pelican, Marsh Sandpiper, Temminck’s Stint, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Great Black-headed Gull, marsh terns, Gull-billed and Caspian Tern. At this time of the year Paddyfield Warblers are still at their breeding grounds and if we are lucky we might find them skulking in the reeds.

5-6

We drive west along the coast birding on the way. The forested hills in this region are home to Chukar, Griffon and Black Vulture, Short-toed Eagle and Steppe Buzzard. The bushes are a good place to spot migrating warblers including Barred as well as Red-breasted Flycatchers also on migration. Lesser Grey and Red-backed Shrikes are common along the roadside and Golden Orioles are also around. We also explore the sea for Shag, Yelkouan Shearwater and pods of dolphins. In the afternoon we arrive to historic Yalta where we spend the following 2 nights. We spend the next day in Yalta Mountain Nature Reserve, exploring varied habitats from sea level to the sub-alpine zone. The beech and evergreen forests of the reserve hold Hawfinch, endemic races of Crossbill and Firecrest, while the higher zones are good for Rock Thrush and Woodlark. Raptors also frequent the area and we expect to see vultures, migrating eagles and Steppe Buzzards.

7-8

We leave Yalta and drive north to the lagoons and salt marshes of Northern Crimea. On the way through the steppes we look for Eastern Imperial Eagle, Montague’s and Pallid Harrier, Siberian Stonechat, Calandra and Short-toed Lark. The Portovoye area is a heaven for waterbirds. Herons, egrets, Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, White Pelican, ducks, waders including Collared Pratincole, Broad-billed, Terek and Marsh Sandpiper, gulls and terns are found here in their thousands.

9

We drive to Simferopol airport for our flight to Kyev and then to London.

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