25 Highlights from our 25th Anniversary Year! Part Three

25 Highlights from our 25th Anniversary Year! Part Three
Racoon family, British Columbia by Steve Batt

Our third and final instalment – many thanks, once again, to all of you who have so generously shared your amazing photographs with us.

17. For all the guests on our holiday in Sri Lanka, led by Dr Charles Anderson and Nilantha Kodithuwakku – ably assisted by Darren – the highlights included Sloth Bear, Sperm Whale, Asian Elephant, Spinner Dolphins. Darren was also very taken by a sighting of Painted Snipe!

Sloth Bear Sri Lanka Darren

Sloth Bear, Sri Lanka by Darren Rees

Sperm Whale Sri Lanka Darren

Sperm Whale, Sri Lanka by Darren Rees

Sri Lanka Painted Snipe Darren

Painted Snipe, Sri Lanka by Darren Rees


18. A wonderful birding holiday in Texas, led by Darren, resulted in sightings of more than 280 birds, so it’s not surprising that more than 20 were nominated as the species of the trip. This list included Aplomado Falcon, Painted Bunting, Blackburnian Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Green Jay, Prothonotary Warbler, Least Bittern, King Rail, Common Nighthawk, Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Altimira Oriole, Racoon and Black Tern!

Aplomado Falcon Texas Darren

Aplomado Falcon, Texas by Darren Rees

Painted Bunting Texas Darren

Painted Bunting, Texas by Darren Rees


19. Our guests on our Summer Mammals week, led by Craig Round and Duncan Macdonald, had great sightings of Pine Marten, Roe Deer, Mountain Hare, Minke Whale, Red Fox and Red Squirrel, plus Short-eared Owl, Sooty Shearwater, Gannet and Oystercatcher.


Roe Buck, Summer Mammals by Craig Round


Mountain Hare, Summer Mammals by Craig Round


20.  Roy Atkins, Lucas Marti and Miguel Castelino led our return trip to the Pantanal in Brazil and had a fantastic time, with multiple sightings of Jaguar and many magic moments with Tapirs, Giant Otters, Caiman, Macaws and a multitude of birds!

Jaguar Pantanal Roy

Jaguar, Pantanal by Roy Atkins

Chestnut-eared Aracari Pantanal Roy

Chestnut-eared Aracari, Pantanal by Roy Atkins

Caiman Jane Nickerson

Caiman with dinner, Pantanal by Jane Nickerson


21. Our holidays in Orkney offer our guests fabulous birding, plus visits to ancient archeological sites at a time of year when the days are still long and rare migrants are seen. This year Simon Pawsey, Duncan Macdonald and our guests particularly enjoyed excellent views of Short-eared Owl (Cattie faces) from the High Moor Road and Maeshowe.

Short-eared Owl_Craig Round_brochmain

Short-eared Owl, Orkney by Craig Round


22. British Columbia is a stunning place to see whales galore, other mammals and masses of birds, but the highlight of this year’s trip, led by Roy Atkins and Julian Sykes was the Humpback Whale that breached and breached again to the delight of our guests. Other notable species included Sea Otters, Grizzly Bear, Orca, Racoons (see featured photo at the top) and Gray Whale.

Breaching Humpback Julian BC

Breaching Humpback, British Columbia by Julian Sykes

Breaching Humpback Steve Batt BC

Breaching Humpback, British Columbia by Steve Batt

Sea Otters Steve Batt BC

Sea Otters, British Columbia by Steve Batt

Whalebow BC Roy

‘Whalebow’, British Columbia by Roy Atkins


23. Our holidays to California encompass high mountains, ancient lakes and forests and stunning coastlines and this year’s trip with Darren Rees and David Wimpheimer produced spectacular sightings daily. On the list of our guests’ favourites were Californian Condor, Sea Otter and Long-tailed Weasel.

California Condor Darren California

California Condor by Darren Rees

Sea Otters Darren California

Sea Otters, California by Darren Rees


24. Time spent in Hungary is always richly rewarded by sightings of hundreds of birds and this summer’s holiday, led by Roy Atkins, Attila Steiner and István Bártol, was no exception. Top of the species list were Scop’s Owl and Red-footed Falcon; unfortunately, it was too dark to take photos of the Scop’s Owl, but Roy was successful in capturing the Red-footed Falcon!


Red-footed Falcon, Hungary Summer by Roy Atkins


25. Last, but by no means least, we celebrate our first ever holiday in Uganda. Julian Sykes and Tertius A Gous led our guests along the shores of Lake Victoria, through the rich forests of Budongo, on a cruise up the Nile , to Kibale and Queen Elizabth National Parks and – most memorably – to the Bwindi ‘impenetrable’ Forest. What a time they had and photographs from guides and guests are still arriving! With so many wondrous sights, it was extremely difficult for guests to choose any favourites, but – of course – Mountain Gorilla was top of everyone’s list and Shoebill, African Lion and African Grey Crowned Crane were among the top five.

Mountain gorilla Uganda Julian

Mountain Gorilla, Uganda by Julian Sykes

Shoebill Uganda Julian

Shoebill, Uganda by Julian Sykes

African Lion Julian Uganda

African Lion, Uganda by Julian Sykes

Grey Crowned Crane Uganda Julian

Grey Crowned Crane, Uganda by Julian Sykes


It has been the most incredible year! Thank you to all who have joined us on our holidays, both near and far, and we look forward to travelling with you again next year when we have some new holidays and lots of old favourites to share with you!

With best wishes for a lovely Christmas and wonderful wildlife watching in 2017, from all of us at Speyside Wildlife.