Peregrine Bird Tours
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Peregrine Bird Tours

Iran Birdwatching Tour

Iran Birdwatching Tour
When: Sat 6 Apr - Sat 27 Apr 2019
Leaders: Chris Doughty and Yousef Valedi
Iran Birdwatching Tour
Melbourne/Melbourne (22 Days) $8,152
Single Room Supplement $500
Ground Content (ex Tehran) $6,400
I ran is world-renowned for its historic past; the country abounds with outstanding archaeological sites and magnificent mosques, which stand as stark reminders of the long and glorious history of ancient Persia. In more recent times, between the years 1978 to 1990, Iran was completely closed to Western visitors. Fortunately today, Iran is well past its tumultuous revolutionary period, and with travel restrictions completely lifted, we are once again able to enjoy this fascinating country, and the very special birds which it has to offer. Often thought of as a land of barren hills and deserts, Iran is in fact, a land of great contrasts, with a wide diversity of habitats. They range from luxuriant deciduous forests along the Caspian Sea to oak and poplar woodlands in the central highlands, to acacia woodlands, fan-palms and mangrove swamps in the south. Not surprisingly, the avifauna is similarly diverse; close to 500 species of birds have been recorded in Iran, and a large percentage, approximately 325 species, are known to breed in the country. Most of our time on the tour will be spent searching for the country's many breeding specialities, which include the endemic and poorly-known Pleske's Ground Jay, the Caucasian Black Grouse, which is endemic to the Caucasus Mountains, the Sind Woodpecker, which is endemic to southeast Iran and Pakistan, Grey Hypocolius, Hume's and Red-tailed Wheatears, Plain Leaf Warbler, Iraq Babbler, which is endemic to Iraq and adjacent southwest Iran, and the Caspian Tit, which is endemic to the Caspian forests of Iran and Azerbaijan. At this time of year literally hundreds of thousands of birds are migrating northwards from wintering grounds in Africa to breeding grounds in Europe and northern Asia. The mudflats of the Red Sea coast and the palm-fringed wadis in the harsh deserts, provide welcome refuge for large numbers of migrating birds. From Tehran, we fly south to Bandar Abbas, on the Persian Gulf, where we will find an excellent selection of wetland birds and Middle Eastern specialities. We then travel northwest along the Persian Gulf to Ahvaz in southwest Iran, where we are sure to enjoy some exciting birding, as we search for Grey Hypocolius and Iraq Babbler. We then fly to Tabriz, in the far northwest of Iran, in our quest to find the elusive and seldom observed, Caucasian Black Grouse. A short flight will take us back to Tehran, where we will explore the Caspian forests at the southern end of the Caspian Sea, in search of two highly localised species, Caspian Tit and Black-headed Penduline-Tit. A little to the south lie the Elburz Mountains, where are main avian targets are the attractive Pied and Finsch's Wheatears. Our final destination will be the sprawling deserts of the Dasht-e-Kavir, home to Pleske's Ground Jay, Iran's only endemic bird.     

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