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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


Fiji Birding Tours

Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. It is famed for its rugged landscape of blue lagoons and palm-lined beaches, and for eco-activities from mountain climbing and surfing to soft-coral diving and birdwatching. Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain the lion’s share of the population, meaning much of the country is uncrowded. The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm most of the year. The two most important and largest islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which together account for 87% of the population. Kadavu in the fourth-largest island in the archipelago and is a tropical bird watcher’s dream come true. This island has the additional attraction of four endemic species found only on Kadavu, and these species can all be seen on the grounds of most resorts.

Kagu - birding tour New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa

Birding Tour New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa 2017

Duration: 19 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Spaces Available:: 5
Date Start: September 25, 2017
Date End: October 13, 2017
Tour Start:: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Tour End:: Apia, Samoa
Price: US$6,584 per person sharing for 6 - 8 participants, US$7,611 per person sharing for 4 - 5 participants
Summary: Our Birding Tour New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa starts in Nouméa, New Caledonia, and concludes in Apia, Samoa. The tour duration is 19 days. Please note that the tour dates are merely indicative because t...

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Kagu - birding tour New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa

Birding Tour New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa 2018

Duration: 19 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 08, 2018
Date End: September 26, 2018
Tour Start:: Nouméa, New Caledonia
Tour End:: Apia, Samoa
Price: US$7,308 per person sharing for 6 - 8 participants, US$8,448 per person sharing for 4 - 5 participants
Summary: Our Birding Tour New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa starts in Nouméa, New Caledonia, and concludes in Apia, Samoa. The tour duration is 19 days. Please note that the tour dates are merely indicative because t...

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Featured Guide - Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker is Birding Ecotours’ UK representative, and he also guides some of our birding tours in many parts of the world. He lives in York, North Yorkshire, England, where he is the York Ornith ...

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What our clients say

One of the best birding tours that I have taken and I have taken many over 50 years. Jason has outstanding knowledge of Southern African birds, recognition of of bird calls even very faint ones and matching habitat with expected species that occur in these habitat types. Jason is enthusiastic and has good group management skills to assist clients from beginners to world listers to maximize their tour enjoyment. And to add to that Jason is an excellent driver, always felt safe.

John Drummond, Colorado Springs, Colorado
01/14/2017



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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