What you bring with you on your wildlife and birding holiday/break will depend on a variety of factors, and is of course entirely down to you. However, we do have some recommendations to help guide you.
Suitable clothing for prevailing conditions
For our Ireland tours think layers, and think good waterproofs.
Keeping warm and dry are the two most important aspects of staying comfortable and enjoying time in the field… and it’s important to remember that the Irish weather can be a fickle mistress. There’s a price to pay for all that green. Even in summer, when the weather is often quite pleasant, it pays to have an extra jumper or fleece to throw on if the wind suddenly picks up when we’re scanning from an exposed headland, or you start feeling the chill when we’re out on the water looking for whales, dolphins and seabirds.
If possible it’s best to choose clothing with subdued colours (muted greens and browns) that will blend in, rather than stand out to minimise the disturbance of more elusive wildlife.
For your feet, sturdy hiking boots or good wellingtons (that are comfortable for walking) are generally the best options. In summer, lighter footwear (walking sandals or may be suitable… but make sure it’s supportive and stable enough should we encounter uneven or wet terrain.
Bring a sun-hat or cap in summer, just in case, and a warm hat in winter. If you’re feeling really optimistic you can pack the sunglasses.
If you have good binoculars, bring them with you. If you don’t, let us know before your arrival and we can arrange a loan pair for the duration of the tour (NB. limited loan binoculars available… allocated on a first come, first served basis).
Your guides will both have high-quality spotting scopes to offer your closer views of more distant wildlife — but if you would like to bring your own by all means do.
Most of our tours aren’t dedicated photo-tours, and on these, we won’t be specifically targetting wildlife for the purposes of photography, and won’t be sitting in hides for hours on end waiting for that perfect shot. However, all of our tours are what we like to describe as “photography-friendly”. We’ll be watching most of the wildlife we encounter at a relaxed pace, offering plenty of time for wildlife photography enthusiasts to capture images of the subjects we’re viewing.
Just bear in mind that we will be moving around quite a lot… so think light and mobile, rather than “kitchen sink” when selecting the gear you pack.
Obviously, the same criteria don’t apply on photography focussed itineraries.
Motion sickness tablets/wrist-bands
We’ll be covering a bit of ground in the mini-bus during the course of your tour, and depending on your itinerary may be taking a marine wildlife boat trip and a ferry to an offshore island. If you suffer from motion sickness/seasickness it’s a good idea to pack your countermeasure of choice.
Sunscreen… no, we’re not kidding
In late spring, summer and early autumn, particularly when out on exposed headlands or out on the water, the Irish sun can be deceptive. Sunburn is no fun, so it’s a good idea to pack a small tube of sunscreen… just in case.