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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


Ghana Birding Tours

Ghana must be the easiest West African country to travel in and thus gives relatively easy access to a very large number of West African endemics, as well as good access to some star North African birds. Ghana has 180 of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome birds, including 12 out of the 15 Upper Guinea Forest endemics, 11 of which are of global conservation concern. These 180 species are West and Central African rainforest birds, some of them reaching as far east as the DRC/Uganda border, but most of them are found only with difficulty outside of West Africa, making Ghana a very convenient country for finding them. This little country also boasts 37 Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome birds, this biome is a strip of savanna just south of the Sahel of North Africa. It is also possible to access the edge of the Sahel itself within Ghana for sought-after species such as Egyptian Plover. Ghana boasts a 100 percent success rate for finding White-necked Rockfowl (Yellow-headed Picathartes), a fine representative of a completely West African family. The people of Ghana are also superbly welcoming and friendly, and fluent in English, enhancing the overall experience.

Birding Tour Ghana - White-necked Rockfowl

Birding Tour Ghana: Upper Guinea Forest and Pre-Sahel 2018

Duration: 22 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: March 01, 2018
Date End: March 22, 2018
Tour Start:: Accra
Tour End:: Accra
Price: £5205 per person sharing
Summary: (Please ask us about “Owls of Ghana”, a ‘Birding Tour Ghana’ trip we do by special request.) Ghana is arguably the best and easiest country in which to start one’s West African ...

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African Wood Owl - Niall Perrins

Owls of West Africa

Summary: West Africa holds some fantastic owl species hiding in a range of habitats from the deep upper Guinea forests of the coast to the dry open areas of the north. Red-chested and Pearl-spotted Owlets, African ...

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Featured Guide - To be assigned

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What our clients say

I have travelled thousands of kilometres with Raul driving. I have never seen him do anything hazardous or make a mistake while at the wheel. His van is clean and well maintained. He has the good sense to stop and ask for directions when needed. He stops for regular rests when on long journeys. Raul is very interested in birds and we were able to add a few species to our lists. He got very excited when I spotted a male Lesser Rhea with seven young close to the road. He does not compromise our security by leaving the van unattended despite wanting to join us birding. Raul is very good company and has made great progress with his English.

Jim Martin, Ontario, Canada
03/10/2014



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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