Located on a main migration route between Europe and Africa, Sardinia is the perfect place for an autumnal birdwatching break. The island has all the elements of quintessential Mediterranean beauty.
The second largest of the Mediterranean islands, with white sandy beaches, rolling plains, wetlands and dramatic, mountain ranges – Sardinia has an extraordinary variety of habitats, supporting an equally diverse and dynamic range of endemics, migrants, butterflies and wildlife. From the greater flamingos, herons, egrets, ducks and waders of the coastal lagoons, to the offshore cetaceans of the island of San Pietro with its breeding population of Eleonora’s falcon, Sardinia makes an enchanting and eclectic winter wildlife destination.
Fly to Cagliari
Arriving midday, we then take a leisurely drive to Orgosolo with occasional stops en route for birding, and our first taste of what Sardinia has to offer.
Full day exploring Parco Nazionale del Gennargentu
Here we search for birds such as Corsican citril finch and hawfinch and late-flying butterflies, plus other wildlife in this mountain region. The vehicle takes the strain of getting us to the higher areas, and walks will be gently paced and fairly level, with the occasional slight slope.
Transfer to Cagliari for a 5-night stay
We make stops near Lago Omodeo for species such as cirl and corn buntings and there may be some birds on the lake. Another stop will be near Oristano for birds of coastal lagoons including greater flamingo, herons, egrets, ducks and waders. After this we complete the leisurely journey to our hotel in Capoterra, near Cagliari to relax (and take a dip in the pool...) before dinner.
Birding around Monte Arcosu and surrounding areas
This morning we will set off to search for birds, butterflies and other wildlife on the lower slopes of this 3000 foot high mountain. Possibilities include migrant warblers such as Sardinian, garden and melodious as well as flycatchers and more. There is also a possibility of seeing golden eagle or the endemic Sardinian sub-species of red deer. There will be other local birding in the area where we hope to find shrikes, larks, pipits and perhaps golden oriole. Again we will return to the hotel in plenty of time to relax before the evening meal.
Portoscuso and the Island of San Pietro
Today we might take a slightly early breakfast so that we can drive to Portoscuso to catch the ferry over to the island of San Pietro. The major reason for the visit is to spend time watching the superb and elegant Eleonora's falcons which will be breeding at this time of year. There should be plenty of south-bound migrants to see as well as some possible shearwaters and cetaceans offshore.
Coastal Marshes and ‘Salinas’ around Cagliari
We visit a number of coastal marshes and 'salinas' close to Cagliari today, in order to view migrant waders that will be heading south from their Arctic breeding grounds. We also hope to see many other species including wagtails and warblers. In past trips our leaders have encountered over 20 species of wader in one day, including curlew sandpipers, ruffs, avocets, black-winged stilts, little stints and even a marsh sandpiper.
Local marshes and rocky coastal regions around Cagliari
We will continue to explore the local marshes and some rocky coastal areas to look for migrants in the Mediterranean scrub as well as possible shearwaters out over the sea. Other marshes might be explored as well as any favourite spots we may have visited throughout the week. Once again we will return to our hotel in plenty of time to relax before our final overnight stay.
If timing of the flight allows, we may have a little time for some local birding before catching our flight home to London from Cagliari Airport.
You should note: Accommodation is in good quality hotels with all rooms en suite.