Slovenia & Austria: Birds & Music from Ljubljana to Vienna: Jun 16—Jul 01, 2019
A Birds, Nature & Culture Tour
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The charm and elegance of Ljubljana and Vienna provide the setting for a Birds & Music program that spans through the heart of Central Europe to offer cultural and natural riches.
Nestled by the majesty of the Alps, Slovenia and Austria offer some of Europe’s best birding experiences. This trip is timed for the peak of breeding for many typical species, and designed to visit a broad range of habitats in search of specialties like Lammergeier in alpine regions, Saker Falcon in steppes, Ferruginous Duck in wetlands, and Black Woodpecker in the forests. This is a multi-themed departure for those who desire a vacation that promises both natural history and cultural rewards. Unique to this trip is the opportunity to attend classical music concerts in “Bela Ljubljana,” in Salzburg—Mozart’s birthplace, and in Vienna, the “City of Music.”
Our tour starts in Slovenia and picturesque Ljubljana, a city with an array of architectural treasures, from the Roman castrum of Emona, and the pale-colored Baroque mansions and churches that give the city its nickname, to the wonderful Art Nouveau buildings that remain intact. We will then set out to explore an array of natural wonders including the tunnels of the Postojna Cave leading to a fantastic display of karst formations and pools where we will encounter cave-dwelling salamanders, and peat bogs and wetlands where we may find an assortment of bird species including Great Crested Grebe, Eurasian Curlew, Common Kingfisher, and Corn Crake.
Along the Slovenian Alps, the turquoise waters of Lake Bled will be the setting for views of its famous castle and opportunities to find Crag Martins and White-throated Dippers. In the forests near Bohinj we will search for Gray-headed Woodpecker, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Eurasian (Spotted) Nutcracker, and Ring Ouzel. The regional plateaus offer many butterflies and orchids, and host populations of European Brown Bears and the enigmatic Eurasian Capercaillie, the world’s largest grouse.
On Mount Mangart in Slovenia and the mighty Grossglockner in Austria we will look for Golden Eagle, Rock Partridge, and Dalmatian Wall Lizard. At these spectacular locations the tour will reach high marks, offering some of the continent’s most desirable species including the legendary Edelweiss Aster, Alpine Marmot, Wallcreeper, Alpine Chough, and White-winged Snowfinch. We will then descend into Salzburg, a city once among Europe’s richest, still laden with medieval and Baroque monuments including the Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Cathedral of Saints Rupert and Vergilius, where Mozart was baptized.
In Austria and Hungary we will explore marshes in search of Moustached Warbler, Bearded Reedling, Penduline Tit, Red-crested Pochard, and Caspian Gull. The pastures and steppe may grant us Great Bustard, Black Stork, and Imperial Eagle. The tour will culminate in the magnificent city of Vienna and visits to its Gothic cathedrals, Baroque palaces, and the decorative architecture of the Secessionist movement.
In combining birds, music, and other cultural attractions, this multi-themed program assures a travel experience unlike almost any other.
Accommodations and cuisine good to excellent; birding entirely on some days intermixed with walking tours and sightseeing on others; three evening concerts; hot and dry to cool and wet weather expected, depending on altitude.