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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

An adult Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)

 

Pelagic Birding is a rather specific ‘art’ or aspect of birding, and it basically refers to an ocean-going trip taken on a boat in search of true ocean-going species, such as albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm petrels, etc. This is usually done as a day trip but can be slightly longer. These species are almost never seen from land (except during extreme conditions when they get blown close to shore), and in order to see them one has to travel out into the ocean. Due to the rather unpredictable nature of the weather and sea conditions on the day itself, each pelagic excursion is scheduled over two days, with the second day acting as a backup.

Pelagic birding offers some of the most exciting birding out there – as one quite simply never knows what will turn up! These species are known to travel vast distances in search of food and spend the vast majority of their lives out at sea, traversing the world’s oceans. The possibilities can literally be anything! The sight alone of these unique birds with their incredible flying skills and aerial prowess is quite simply awe-inspiring, and they leave us marveling at their capabilities time after time.

The port city, Cape Town, off South Africa’s south-western coast, is world-renowned for its pelagic birding. This is due to the rich waters located off Cape Town resulting from the meeting of the Benguela and Agulhas currents. This quite simply attracts a large number of fish and, in turn, the many pelagic species that feed on these fish. This whole process is augmented by the many fishing vessels operating in these waters, which attract even more birds. Birding Ecotours now run regular scheduled pelagic birding trips off Cape Town, and we will soon start arranging pelagic outings in other Southern African destinations (such as Inhambane in Mozambique, Durban and Port Elizabeth in South Africa, and Walvis Bay in Namibia), and also in other parts of the world such as off Lima along the Peruvian coast and off the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

A White-chinned Petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

 

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) ‘walking on water’

 

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)

 

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri)

 

There are some seasonal differences during pelagics, and the austral summer brings in a few northern hemisphere species, such as Cory’s and Great Shearwaters, European Storm Petrel, etc., while the austral winter brings in many of the true Antarctic species from further south, such as Antarctic Prion, Cape Petrel, etc. One can experience a great day out at sea during any time of the year; however, the most productive months must be the period ranging from June/July through October. Here the regular frontal systems from the south bring in many rare and ‘exotic’ species from further afield, and the waters off Cape Town are regularly packed with thousands of birds – a true sight to behold!

 

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

Cape Petrel (Daption capense) is predominantly found during the austral winter

 

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present in small numbers during the austral summer months

Great Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) is predominantly a passage species (Sep – Oct; Apr – May) but also is present during the austral summer months

 

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer.

Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea) is present in the austral summer

 

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) is present throughout the year

 

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta) is present throughout the year

 

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

The austral winter months are better for the ‘great’ albatrosses, like this Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

 

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

The prized Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) is one of the most sought-after species

 

Our upcoming schedule for 2017 is as follows:

  • 29/30 April — 4 places remaining
  • 27/28 May
  • 10/11 June
  • 15/16 July
  • 19/20 August
  • 16/17 September
  • 14/15 October
  • 18/19 November

 

For more information on these pelagic outings, please click on the link below:

Information Cape Pelagic Trip

 

Seasonality Table (click to enlarge):

Seasonality table.xlsx


Bhutan Birding Tours

Bhutan, known as the land of the Thunder Dragon, is a quaint, quiet, and scenically spectacular country with a strong conservation ethic rooted in ancient Buddhist traditions. Vast areas of unspoiled forest still cover the Himalayan foothills, that spread over much of the country. We expect to find most of Bhutan’s fabled Eastern Himalayan species such as Beautiful Nuthatch (and other nuthatches), Ward’s Trogon, the unbelievable Fire-tailed Myzornis, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Yellow-rumped Honeyguide, Ibisbill, and of course Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, and other vivid pheasants. Other highlights include Wallcreeper, spectacular sunbirds, five species of parrotbills, up to ten species of laughingthrushes, striking and gorgeous forktails along the fast-flowing rivers, in addition to a plethora of other tantalizing jewels.

Blue-throated Barbet

Birding Tour Bhutan: The Himalayas and Black-necked Crane 2017

Duration: 12 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: November 01, 2017
Date End: November 12, 2017
Tour Start:: Paro, Bhutan
Tour End:: Paro, Bhutan
Price: US$5100 per person sharing
Summary: Welcome to our Birding Tour Bhutan. Known as the land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is a quaint, quiet, and scenically spectacular country with a strong conservation ethic rooted in ancient Buddhist tradit...

See full tour detail
Lesser Adjutant

Birding Tour India: Bhutan Extension - Assam November 2017

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: November 12, 2017
Date End: November 19, 2017
Tour Start:: Guwahati, India
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: $2628 per person sharing
Summary: This extension to our 12-day Bhutan tour will lead to the Indian province of Assam, home to two magnificent national parks for us to visit: Kaziranga NP and Nameri NP. Either of these parks may allow us a ...

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Birding Tour Bhutan - Ward's Trogon

Birding Tour Bhutan: Spring in the Eastern Himalayas 2018

Duration: 20 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: March 25, 2018
Date End: April 13, 2018
Tour Start:: Paro, Bhutan
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: US$8100 per person sharing (These are 2017 prices; 2018 prices are expected to be 5 - 10% higher.)
Summary: Bhutan, known as the land of the Thunder Dragon, is a quaint, quiet, and scenically spectacular country with a strong conservation ethic rooted in ancient Buddhist traditions. Vast areas of unspoiled fores...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour India - Lesser Adjutant

Birding Tour India: Bhutan Extension - Assam April 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: April 13, 2018
Date End: April 20, 2018
Tour Start:: Guwahati, India
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: US$2970 per person sharing
Summary: This extension to our 20-day Bhutan tour will lead to the Indian province of Assam, home to two magnificent national parks for us to visit: Kaziranga NP and Nameri NP. Either of these parks may allow ̵...

See full tour detail
Blue-throated Barbet

Birding Tour Bhutan: The Himalayas and Black-necked Crane 2018

Duration: 12 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: November 01, 2018
Date End: November 12, 2018
Tour Start:: Paro, Bhutan
Tour End:: Paro, Bhutan
Price: US$5100 per person sharing (These are 2017 prices; 2018 prices are expected to be 5 – 10% higher.)
Summary: Welcome to our Birding Tour Bhutan. Known as the land of the Thunder Dragon, Bhutan is a quaint, quiet, and scenically spectacular country with a strong conservation ethic rooted in ancient Buddhist tradit...

See full tour detail
Lesser Adjutant

Birding Tour India: Bhutan Extension - Assam November 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: November 12, 2018
Date End: November 19, 2018
Tour Start:: Guwahati, India
Tour End:: Guwahati, India
Price: $2970 per person sharing
Summary: This extension to our 12-day Bhutan tour will lead to the Indian province of Assam, home to two magnificent national parks for us to visit: Kaziranga NP and Nameri NP. Either of these parks may allow us a ...

See full tour detail

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What our clients say

Hello Eduardo: I feel that our trip to Colombia was one of the most enjoyable and rewarding bird tours I have ever been on. You did an excellent job of planning, guiding and looking after the logistics on the tour. Colombia is a pleasure to travel in with very friendly people, excellent roads and pleasant, clean accommodation. Even the more basic places were comfortable, clean and quiet. Santa Marta is a wonderful place with plentiful birds and fantastic scenery. Rio Blanco was my favorite part of the tour with the antpittas and Ocellated Tapaculo at my feet. Otun Quimbaya with Red-ruffed Fruitcrows as yard birds was also a very enjoyable. In all parts of the country I never felt at risk. Colombia is now a safe, rewarding country to travel in. I can hardly wait to return. Thank you, Jim Martin

James Martin, Toronto, Canada
02/19/2015



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

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