Lance has recently returned from two back to back tours to Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean islands.
We were all impressed by the varied and beautiful landscape, which of course includes Mount Etna the highest active volcano in Europe. The island is well known as a flyway for springtime migrating birds and we were not to be disappointed seeing such varied species as Red-footed Falcon, Collared Flycatcher and Marsh Sandpiper. We also included a little culture, visiting some historical sites spanning the ancient Greek and Roman periods, including a guided walk around Ortigia, the famous heart of Syracuse.
With quality hotels and notable food and wine, the tour received a definite thumbs-up from all participants.
Thanks to Bob Martin, Keith Reynolds and Lyn Ebbs for allowing me to use their photographs.
Black-eared Wheatear, a regular migrant to the east coast promontories. Here a female.
Cirl Buntings prefer the hilly interior where their song quickly becomes familiar.
Collared Flycatcher. More than a dozen of these striking birds were recorded, including this first-summer male aged by its brown primaries.
This male Black-eared Wheatear was seen at the Capo Murro di Porco, the foremost of the migrant hotspots of the east coast.
The striking dome of Mount Etna dominates the skyline of eastern Sicily.
This Eurasian Scops-owl called each night in the garden of our hotel near Syracuse.
This Firecrest showed well from the patio at our first hotel, whilst we enjoyed a glass of sangria.
The panoramic view northwards from the 'eagle watchpoint' in the Madonie Mountains.
Group one listening intently as our guide explains the history of Ortigia, the most ancient part of Syracuse.
Group two enjoying an al fresco lunch at the Saline di Priolo.
With all the stunning wild flowers around it was no surprise that a variety of colourful butterflies were seen.- here an Italian Festoon.
A male Montagu's Harrier circles away to the north.
Ophrys sabulosa against the sun.
Pallid Swifts (above) could be compared alongside Common Swift.
Peter Leech enjoying the sun on Penisola Magnisi.
Part of a flock of 40 Rock Sparrows, rather uncommon residents on the island.
A male Rock Thrush in the Madonie Mountains, the only regular breeding site in Sicily.
Ross Pattison celebrating his birthday on tour.
The star of the show, the Sicilian Rock Partridge, an island endemic.
Yellow Bee Orchid, one of a number of orchids seen.
The elusive Sicilian Rock Partridge, the island's only endemic bird, and a recent split from the mainland Rock Partridge.
The finest of Sicily's eight Baroque towns, Noto is a Unesco World Heritage Site, featuring over fifty churches and palaces including the Cathedral di San Nicolo.
Enjoying the early morning sunshine, a Swallowtail butterfly.
Spectacled Warblers can be expected, this one photographed at the Cava Grande del Cassibile.
Dominating the whole of eastern Sicily, Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe.
Ortigia, the historic heart of Syracuse, dating back to the ancient Greeks.
The Madonie Mountains offer splendid scenery whilst we admire the local birdlife.
Lesser Kestrels benefit from the undisturbed rural settings of the rolling inland hills. Here is a male.
Good birding starts right outside your door.
The Greek amphitheatre at Syracuse dating from the 5th century BC.
It's not often you get the chance to visit a smouldering volcano!
Eastern Subalpine Warblers abound in the Madonie Mountains.
Cava Grande del Cassibile is Sicily's own little Grand Canyon.
Outdoor breakfasts are possible at the time of our visit.
Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.
click here for details of our next tour to this destination