10–13 June 2014
This exciting new tour is primarily for the two Corsican endemic birds; Corsican Nuthatch and Corsican Finch, as well as the highly-localised Marmora's Warbler and the introduced California Quail. Many other summer-visiting breeding birds will have arrived. Offshore we may see Cory's and Levantine Shearwaters, whilst high up in the mountains, mighty Lammergeiers will be soaring. We will also look for introduced Fischer's Lovebirds in Nice on our return journey.
Day 1 We will take an early morning flight from London Gatwick to Nice, where we will transfer to a ferry to Bastia. The journey takes around five-and-a-half hours and we will enjoy views of Cory's and Levantine Shearwaters during the voyage. We will then head to our hotel in Corte in the centre of the island for a three-night stay, a journey of about two-and-a-half hours.
Day 2 We will make an early start to look for our first target bird: Corsican Nuthatch. As we will already be high up in the mountains we will not have far to travel, and hopefully we will soon be watching this delightful little bird feeding and possibly feeding young in the endemic Corsican Pines. Whilst Corsican Nuthatches are very selective about their habitat, the other endemic species, Corsican Finch, is more widespread. Unlike its cousin, Citril Finch, which is found above the tree line in the mountains of mainland Europe, Corsican Finch occurs in a wide variety of habitats. At this time of year birds will be paired and the males will be displaying. We will spend the whole day in the mountains seeking out these two endemics and will almost certainly also encounter the highly localised Marmora's Warbler. Since Balearic Warbler was split from Marmora's Warbler, Corsica has proved to be the easiest place to see the latter. Other birds we may encounter include Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Blue Rock-thrush, Yellow-billed Chough and Cirl Bunting. Dinner will be taken at a restaurant in Corte.
Day 3 Today we will head down to the east coast where we will explore several habitats ranging from vineyards to coastal scrub and lagoons. Birds we may encounter during the day include Purple Heron, Western Marsh-harrier, Zitting Cisticola, Dartford, Melodious, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers, Firecrest, Spotless Starling, Hooded Crow, Spanish and Italian Sparrows, Rock Petronia and European Serin. One of the special birds of the area is the introduced California Quail. Although well established, nowhere is it common so we will hope to have luck on our side. In the afternoon we will visit a headland to do some seawatching. Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls should be present and we will see more Cory's and Levantine Shearwaters as well as the Mediterranean race of European Shag. Around the cliffs, Alpine and Pallid Swifts and Eurasian Crag-martin can be found. In the evening we will visit several local sites to listen for European Scops-owl and, hopefully, to see one.
Day 4 An early morning start to make the drive back to Bastia to catch our ferry back to Nice. After arriving in Nice, we will drive the short distance to look for the established, introduced Fischer's Lovebird which shouldn't take too long as they are quite common. Late afternoon, we will catch a flight back to London where the tour concludes.
General Information The pace of the tour is moderate with only a reasonable degree of fitness required as walks will be just a couple of miles each day. The weather can be highly variable so appropriate clothing and footwear will be required. Visas are not required for EU citizens.
Group Size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 6 with 2 leaders; maximum group size 12.