Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Wildlife: European Suslik

The European Suslik Citellus citellus (also spelled Souslik) is an endearing little rodent found on steppes and short-grazed land in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It lives in colonies, in separate burrows, from which it emerges in March and April. This photo taken in Bulgaria by Mladen Vasilev.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Destinations: Slovenskj Raj - Slovakia

Slovensky Raj (known in English as the Slovak Paradise) is a scenic mountain National Park in Slovakia. It is a paradise on the eye, with high peaks and rushing streams and waterfalls. There are extensive mixed forests of beech and conifer with most of the forest and sub-Alpine birds that one would expect in Central Europe. For example, Three-toed and Black Woodpeckers, Pygmy and Ural Owls, Hazel Grouse, Wallcreeper, Dipper, Crested and Willow Tits and Nutcracker etc. There are also Wolves, Lynx and Brown Bears here. This is not an easy place to watch wildlife, more of a place to go trekking and see what you see and some effort will be needed to get the rewards. The park has an extensive, marked system of hiking trails though some are tough, with ladders to climb and walkways to cross, so check contours on the good local maps before you set off. The gateway to the area is the town of Spisska Nova Ves.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Guide Books: East African Wildlife

This colourful guide to East African Wildife by Philip Briggs covers much that one needs to know about the key animal species in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. There are chapters and sections on Habitats, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians, Invertebrates and a very useful "On Safari". This 382-page colourful book in the Bradt series is a general wildlife guidebook which is well-worth getting hold of in advance of any trip to the region. There are some superb photographs and many insights into the wildlife and insider's tips on travel in the region.