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Lift off for a flock of Tundra Bean Geese (Anser serrirostris) on our Dutch Wild Goose Chase Arnoud van den Berg

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Holland WILD GOOSE CHASE! Lift off for a flock of Tundra Bean Geese (Anser serrirostris) on our Dutch Wild Goose Chase Arnoud van den Berg 2017 Thursday 23rd - Monday 27th November (5 days) Single-centre,
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Holland WILD GOOSE CHASE! Lift off for a flock of Tundra Bean Geese (Anser serrirostris) on our Dutch Wild Goose Chase Arnoud van den Berg 2017 Thursday 23rd - Monday 27th November (5 days) Single-centre, small group tour with Arnoud van den Berg 2017 marks the 27th year for our famous Dutch 'Wild Goose Chase'! Join us for a trip that s simply packed with great birding - from rare geese and raptors to roosting Black Woodpeckers and Long-eared Owls... and everything in between. Not to mention our trademark coffee stops for warming hot chocolate and Dutch apple pie! Based at a fine hotel in the forests near Harderwijk, this single-centre small group tour is led for us as ever by Limosa s resident Dutch birding expert, the inimitable Arnoud van den Berg. The Netherlands in winter - one of Europe's top birding spots Small group tour crammed with exceptional winter birding Immense flocks of geese - we ve seen all of Europe s species here over the years Great Egret, White-tailed Eagle, Smew, Great Grey Shrike and Hawfinch seen most years Daytime visits to winter roost sites to see Long-eared Owl and Black Woodpecker 2015 tour highlights included Lesser White-fronted Goose, White Stork, Glossy Ibis And all within one hour s flying time of home! Led by Limosa s English-speaking Dutch birding expert, Arnoud van den Berg What's Included? Limosa Tour Leader Flights London to Amsterdam - regional departures also possible 4 nights at an excellent hotel in the forests of De Veluwe All main meals included... Plus the occasional treat of warming hot chocolate and Dutch apple pie! All local travel, entry fees, tour based tips and taxes LIMOSA HOLIDAYS, West End Farmhouse, Chapelfield, Stalham, Norfolk NR12 9EJ (UK) TEL: +44 (0) WEB: limosaholidays.co.uk Outline Itinerary Day 1: Days 2-4: Day 5: Tour Overview Morning flight from London- Amsterdam. We wend our way through the Dutch countryside to our hotel, birdwatching as we go. Harderwijk (4 nts) Harderwijk is the perfect location for exciting winter birding in the Netherlands, giving easy access to the provinces of Flevoland, Friesland, Zeeland and/or Zuid- Holland - wherever the birds happen to be wintering this year! The North Sea coast. Late afternoon/early evening flight Amsterdam-London With its immense flocks of geese and other waterfowl, impressive range of wintering raptors and every chance of the unexpected, our annual birdwatching tour to The Netherlands boasts some of the finest winter birding in Europe. Our November 2015 tour returned 125 species, including Lesser White-fronted Goose, Redcrested Pochard, Smew, 5 White Storks, 5 Glossy Ibis, 150+ Great Egrets, Great Skua, 3 Caspian Gulls, Black Guillemot, day-roosting Long-eared and Tawny Owls, Great Grey Shrike, Bearded Tit and 100+ Hawfinches. Add the likes of Goshawk, Short-toed Treecreeper, and Crested and Willow Tits that we see most years, and you'll find our Dutch Wild Goose Chase offers a perfect panacea to the dull days of winter back home. From November through to March, Holland's low-lying fields are a haven for geese. All of Europe s recorded wild species have occurred in recent years - in fact our groups have seen the lot - mingling with the tens of thousands of Barnacle, Brent, White-fronted and Bean Geese which flock to the Netherlands each winter. There are also large concentrations of other waterfowl to enjoy, with parties of wild swans, smartly dressed Goosanders and often a few Smew amidst masses of more familiar species. We usually see plenty of birds of prey on this trip, too. Goshawk and Rough-legged Buzzard are always on the cards and there s generally the odd Peregrine and White-tailed Eagle about. This part of Holland is also blessed with some excellent woodlands and one afternoon will find us waiting eagerly beside a Black Woodpecker s winter roost for the occupant to appear. With its crimson topknot and staring white eyes, close encounters with this magnificent bird have been a highlight on all our recent tours. Roosting Long-eared Owls have been equally reliable, invariably seen at close range - and often in the most unlikely of settings! Arnoud van den Berg knows the birds of his native Holland better than anyone and has led this tour annually for us since our very first Dutch Wild Goose Chase way back in February Over the years he s conjured up a fair few winter rarities for our groups - we ve seen everything from Snowy Owl and Hawk Owl to Ross's Goose and unseasonable Whiskered Terns and Olive-backed Pipit... not forgetting that now famous Nutcracker of course, so tame it landed on Chris Kightley s head! We spend all four nights at an excellent hotel in the forests near Harderwijk, with good food, stylish rooms and a warm welcome assured. We invariably manage the odd stop for our customary helping of hot chocolate and Dutch apple tart during our days in the field, too - a long-established tradition on this Limosa tour. This is both a cracking trip for beginners as well as one that s just perfect for anyone in search of a rewarding short break crammed with great winter birding. Our November 2017 tour marks 27 years for Limosa's Dutch Wild Goose Chase - although we've actually operated more than 30 tours there during that time - and is led for us as ever by our own English-speaking resident Dutch expert, Arnoud van den Berg. Why not join us this year? Daily Itinerary Day 1 TO AMSTERDAM & HARDERWIJK Our Dutch Wild Goose Chase begins with a morning flight from London to Amsterdam, where Arnoud will be waiting to welcome us. The route we follow to the hotel today will depend largely upon where the various flocks of geese and other wintering birds happen to be. Birding in Holland is always exciting and past tours have kicked off in fine style - perhaps with a visit to a roost of Long-eared Owls. Wherever we go, we are likely to see our first big skeins of White-fronted and Barnacle Geese, as well as herds of Bewick s Swans. Grey Herons and Great Egrets stalk along the ditches and dykes. With luck, we may come across something scarcer: Great Northern Diver, White Stork, dark-breasted Barn Owl, Nutcracker, Waxwing and Great Grey Shrike are among first day species that have come our way in recent years. Though our November 2013 visit trumped the lot by starting with fantastic views of Hawk Owl, only the fourth ever in the Netherlands! Our destination this evening is an excellent contemporary hotel situated in forests of de Veluwe, not far from the charming old town of Harderwijk. This will be our base for all four nights of the holiday. Night near Harderwijk Days 2-4 EXPLORING FLEVOLAND & FRIESLAND / ZEELAND Harderwijk stands at the edge of what was formerly the Zuiderzee, which was enclosed in 1932 to form one vast, shallow lake - the IJsselmeer. Subsequent drainage and enclosure here has led to the creation of the now famous Dutch 'polders'. Largest of these is Flevoland, nowadays a patchwork of arable land, woods, marsh and open water that's quickly earned a reputation as one of Europe s top birding spots. Winter birding on Flevoland is always a thrill. Marsh and Hen Harriers, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard are likely at this season, while Bittern, Water Rail and Bearded Tit are typical of the more secretive marshland species awaiting our discovery. Noisy flocks of geese should be much in evidence and we should see plenty of European White-fronts, along with Barnacle, Greylag and Tundra Bean Geese. Waders such as Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew and Ruff mingle with the grazing flocks, only for the sudden appearance of a speculative Marsh Harrier - or the more purposeful and powerful Goshawk - to panic the whole lot into flight. An amazing sight! The variety of wintering raptors here often comes as a welcome surprise to visiting British birdwatchers and we have excellent chances of seeing one or two of the scarcer species. Roughlegged Buzzard, Peregrine and the immense White-tailed Eagle have all been regularly present in recent years. Waterfowl are abundant too, especially Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Goldeneye. The four smaller grebes, Scaup and other scarce duck are frequent visitors and we often see all three sawbills: Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser and Smew. As we travel between the various wetlands, we ll be keeping an eye open for Water Pipits on the flooded fields, as well as flocks of Redwings, Fieldfares, Brambling - even Hawfinch, which are sometimes to be found feeding beside the quieter back roads. Close by our hotel, mixed woodlands of pine, oak and birch in the Leuvenumse Bos are home to an excellent range of forest birds. As we walk the trails looking for Crested and Willow Tits, Short-toed Treecreeper and possibly Raven, it s here that we shall also hope to discover an active roost of Black Woodpecker... an incredible bird when seen up close. We ve not missed them yet! During our stay, one longer day trip out will take us north to Friesland, for some of the best winter birding in all Holland. Amidst a classic Dutch landscape of meadows and pretty villages dotted with windmills old and new, noisy gatherings of White-fronted, Bean and Barnacle Geese can run into tens of thousands. There are usually good numbers of Pink-footed and Greylag Geese about here, too. Rarities are recorded annually, with perhaps a flight of Snow Geese or a stunning Red-breasted Goose for us to look for amidst the ranks of more common species Wild swans graze the pastures and likely raptors include Hen Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard and Peregrine. Merlin is also present most years and Great Egrets have latterly become a daily sight. And if they happen to be present again this winter, we ll also check a couple of established roost sites for Long-eared Owls. In the past, we have occasionally found the odd Short-eared Owl in amongst them, too. The Netherlands is a compact country with an excellent motorway network and, depending on what s about at the time of our tour, on another day we may decide to venture south to explore Zeeland and Zuid-Holland. Here we should find Bewick s Swans (and perhaps a few Whoopers), along with many more geese. Amidst the milling throngs of White-fronts and Barnacles, we will hope to unearth the much rarer Lesser Whitefronted Goose; our last six tours have all been successful, finding from one to 22 of these beautiful little Ansers. Several Red-breasted Geese, an adult Ross s Goose and Black Brant have also come our way here over the years, not to mention a cracking drake Bufflehead. Three nights near Harderwijk Day 5 THE COAST, AMSTERDAM & LONDON We bid a reluctant farewell to our hotel after breakfast and set off to enjoy our final day in the field as our Dutch Wild Goose Chase draws to a close. Red-throated Diver, Brent Goose and Eider are regularly present along the Netherlands North Sea shore and, depending on what we have seen so far, we may well head in that direction today. Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Mediterranean Gull are also likely at the coast, and Rock Pipit, Common Crossbill and Snow Bunting occur there sparingly throughout the winter months. If the weather has been mild, we might be lucky to find a lingering Chiffchaff, a stunning Firecrest - or possibly something unexpected! Having enjoyed pretty much another full day of birding, we wend our way back to Amsterdam this afternoon and catch our flight home. Thanks to the one-hour time difference, we shall get back into London again at pretty much the same time as we take off from Amsterdam! Note: the above itinerary is intended only as a guide to the places we usually go, and we may sometimes change things around according to where the birds happen to be wintering when we arrive on the ground. Trip Information Group Size 7 participants & 1 leader Birds species Accommodation Four nights at an excellent hotel set in the forests near Harderwijk. The hotel is comfortable, warm and welcoming, with good food and stylish en suite rooms... and Black Woodpeckers in the woodlands nearby! Meals All main meals are included in the tour price, commencing with lunch on Day 1 and concluding with lunch on Day 5. Breakfasts and dinners will be taken at the hotel. Our lunches will usually be picnics in the field... and not forgetting our trademark cafe stops for a mug of hot chocolate and a slice of Dutch apple pie, which have become something of a Limosa tradition over the past 26 years on this tour! Walking Easy. Short walks over flat terrain - no hills! It can sometimes be a little muddy or wet underfoot, so sturdy waterproof shoes or boots with corrugated soles for grip are advised. Weather The weather in the Netherlands is similar to East Anglia at this time of year - often clear, bright and crisp (2-10 C), but cool and cloudy conditions with showers or rain (more rarely snow) are also possible. Lightweight layers of weatherproof clothing, including a woolly hat, scarf and gloves should ensure your enjoyment of some excellent winter birding! Travel Scheduled flights from London Heathrow to Amsterdam with British Airways or KLM. We can also arrange flights from various UK regional airports - please ask for details and a quote at time of booking. For those that prefer not to fly, we offer a 'land only' price leaving you free to make your own travel arrangements getting to and from the tour Amsterdam can be reached by ferry or Eurostar, with easy onward connections to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport where our tour starts and finishes. For further details as well as booking hotels in Amsterdam, check online at: Ground Transport By minibus Photos Good incidental photo opportunities - especially goose flocks and other wetland birds. Tour Cost 2017 (5 days): 1195 (inc flights from London Heathrow) *1 Land only cost: 1085 Deposit: 300 Single Supp: 175 *1 Cost includes Services of our expert guides, flights London- Amsterdam, 4 nights hotel accommodation, all main meals (with water provided), local travel, all entry fees, tour based tips and airport taxes, map & Limosa checklist of birds. Cost excludes Insurance, drinks, airport meals/snacks & other items of a personal nature. *1 Amsterdam is well served by flights from the UK and it is usually possible for us to arrange flights from various UK regional airports direct to Amsterdam for the benefit of participants wishing to avoid London. Please ask our office for details and supplement at time of booking. What You Say Arnoud was excellent in all respects. The fact that the [hotel] restaurant was full of locals indicates how good the food was. Great trip. GN, Dutch Wild Goose Chase Arnoud was enthusiastic and informative. He ensured we all got great sightings - a superb tour leader! S&VC, Dutch Wild Goose Chase Arnoud was as always brilliant, informative & entertaining. LT, Dutch Wild Goose Chase This was a superb trip for both organisation and birds. The Hawk Owl 'twitch' was just the froth on the top - totally unexpected. The paced selection of other owls was lovely (Long-eared, Little, Tawny) and the substitution of Beech Marten for Barn Owl a lot of fun. Goose / Lapwing / Golden Plover numbers just mindblowing. Lesser White-front, Ferruginous Duck on cue. Brilliant trip! DW, Dutch Wild Goose Chase (2013) About Your Guide Arnoud van den Berg Arnoud is a principal Limosa guide living in the Netherlands, where he is chief editor and founder of Dutch Birding magazine, and one of the three core members of the ground-breaking Sound Approach team. Well known for his top notch bird photography, Arnoud is also a prolific author and has been recording bird sounds since the days when this involved lugging a tape recorder the size of a microwave oven around the world with him! An integral part of the Limosa team since 1991, when he masterminded our first Dutch Wild Goose Chase, Arnoud s relaxed and cheery disposition fit perfectly the Limosa style. Backing up his many talents in the field and his considerable linguistic skills (he is fluent in Dutch, English and French), he somehow manages to carry a cavernous rucksack stuffed with state-of-the-art birding gadgetry, the mysterious contents of which help to ensure a great time (or a hernia!) is had by all. His many tours for Limosa over the years have taken him across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, including seventeen tours to France and around thirty to both Morocco and the Netherlands Financial Security Limosa Holidays is a fully bonded Tour Operator and a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO). We hold an ATOL (Air Tour Operators Licence) granted by the CAA, providing for your protection in the event of Limosa Holidays' insolvency. Our licence number is ATOL For tours not including the cost of a flight from the UK or for holidays booked by you as Land Only, all payments made to us are fully bonded through the Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). Our ABTOT membership number is For details please see our brochure or website: Limosa Loyalty Discount We are proud of the number of loyal customers who travel regularly with us. As our way of saying thank you, we offer a Frequent Travel Discount. Under the scheme, everyone who takes four trips with us is entitled to claim a 5% discount on their 5th trip *1. Remember to request your discount at time of booking! *1 Please note: This offer applies to the basic tour cost only and excludes certain commissionbased trips, extras such as additional flights, private extensions and cancellations. Discounts cannot be given in lieu of tour deposits or off the cost of single room supplements. How To Book Check availability on our website or with our office. We are happy to hold Provisional Reservations for up to 7 days. After this, we do require a Booking Form and deposit to confirm your place on tour. Any unconfirmed space will be released. Book Online, by Phone or by Post You can book and pay the deposit simply and securely Online via our website, using the Book This Tour button on the relevant tour page or the Booking tab at the top of the page. Telephone bookings must be confirmed in writing by completion of a Booking Form (there's one tucked inside every brochure or as a PDF download from our website), which can be mailed to us in the time honoured way. Be sure to read our Booking Conditions and General Information (found at the back of our brochure, on our website or available from our office on request) prior to booking. When to Book Early booking is advised since flights and accommodation are much more easily secured well in advance. To encourage early booking, we are pleased to offer an Early Bird Discount - see our current brochure or website for details. Our tours are limited to small group sizes. So they can fill up quickly - sometimes even before our new brochure comes out! Single rooms in particular can often be in short supply and among the first to go, so do try to plan well ahead if you definitely require one of these. Last-minute Bookings: We inevitably receive a few unexpected cancellations over the course of a season so it is always worth enquiring about vacancies on any tour - even for those departing in just a few weeks! Payments The amount of booking deposit per person is shown alongside every tour. We accept deposit payments by debit card, cheque (payable to Limosa Holidays and drawn on a UK bank in GB Pounds Sterling) and BACS (please ask for our bank details). We also accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards, with no transaction charge on payment of tour deposits. Full payment of the balance is due not later than 12 weeks prior to departure (20 weeks in the case of certain tours such as cruises or those involving rail travel). We will send you an invoice before the balance is due. We accept payment for balances (and interim payments) by cheque, BACS or UK debit card We also accept balances (and interim payments) by credit card or overseas debit card but with a charge of 2.5% of the transaction
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