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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


Mozambique Birding Tours

After nearly two decades of relative stability, many people are now starting to see the tourism potential of Mozambique. Long stretches of idyllic beach landscapes, coral reefs that are perfect for diving, vibrant and accessible cities (especially the capitol, Maputo), and a blossoming arts and music scene give this country all the trappings of an up-and-coming tourism hot spot. Mozambique has a variety of wildlife viewing options, with both Gorongosa National Park and the Niassa Reserve offering ideal safari and birdwatching conditions. Stability has allowed for some tourist infrastructure to be built, but Mozambique retains an off-the-beaten-path feel that makes it attractive to those who like their trips spiced with a little bit of adventure.

Birding Tour South Africa: Marsh Owl by Andrew de Klerk

Birding Tour South Africa: Zimbabwe/Mozambique pre-trip 2017

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: November 14, 2017
Date End: November 21, 2017
Tour Start:: Johannesburg, South Africa
Tour End:: Harare, Zimbabwe - or Johannesburg: a transfer is arranged before crossing the border
Price: 6 - 8 participants R22,827 per person sharing, 4 - 5 participants R27,122 per person sharing
Summary: This wonderful tour through less-traveled but very bird-rich north-eastern South Africa will have us explore such renowned hot birding spots as Zaagkuilsdrift, Magoebaskloof, and Mapungubwe National Park. ...

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Zambezi Indigobird - Niall Perrins

Birding Tour Zimbabwe and Mozambique 2017

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 9
Date Start: November 21, 2017
Date End: December 05, 2017
Tour Start:: Harare, Zimbabwe
Tour End:: Beira, Mozambique
Price: US$4249 per person sharing assuming 6-9 participants US$5782 per person sharing assuming 4-5 participants US$5117 per person sharing assuming 2-3 participants
Summary: Zimbabwe and Mozambique combined show the highest diversity on the planet in terms of 30 different avian orders represented. They also share with coastal West Africa and Tanzania and Uganda the second-high...

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Birding Tour South Africa: Marsh Owl by Andrew de Klerk

Birding Tour South Africa: Zimbabwe/Mozambique pre-trip 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: November 14, 2018
Date End: November 21, 2018
Tour Start:: Johannesburg, South Africa
Tour End:: Harare, Zimbabwe - or Johannesburg: a transfer is arranged before crossing the border
Price: 6 - 8 participants R26,479 per person sharing, 4 - 5 participants R31,462 per person sharing
Summary: This wonderful tour through less-traveled but very bird-rich north-eastern South Africa will have us explore such renowned hot birding spots as Zaagkuilsdrift, Magoebaskloof, and Mapungubwe National Park. ...

See full tour detail
Zambezi Indigobird - Niall Perrins

Birding Tour Zimbabwe and Mozambique 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 9
Date Start: November 21, 2018
Date End: December 05, 2018
Tour Start:: Harare, Zimbabwe
Tour End:: Beira, Mozambique
Price: US$4801 per person sharing assuming 6-9 participants, US$5642 per person sharing assuming 4-5 participants, US$6534 per person sharing assuming 2-3 participants
Summary: Zimbabwe and Mozambique combined show the highest diversity on the planet in terms of 30 different avian orders represented. They also share with coastal West Africa and Tanzania and Uganda the second-high...

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Featured Guide - Dylan Vasapolli

Senior Birding Guide and administrative assistant for Birding Ecotours. Dylan Vasapolli grew up in the suburbs of Johannesburg, and fortunately, due to a very supportive mother, was able to experience ...

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What our clients say

Dear Chris, Thank you for your interest in the outcome of our tour. It is not possible to answer you in one note, so I will try to do so in a few ‘to the point’ remarks. Yes, the trip met all our expectations, and more! We saw and experienced the Cerrado, the Amazon forest, even better than previously at Tambopata, and the Pantanal with its amazing variety and volume of wildlife. For me the sight of a Hyacinth Macaw, which drew me to the Pantanal, already made it worthwhile. Then, of course, come the excellent sightings of the Jaguars and the Otters and then all the birds for which Eduardo made special efforts to find for his goals. In the Cerrado we stayed in an excellent farm-lodge where we were lucky to experience the sighting of the Maned Wolf and the Burrowing Owl (which was on Elzine’s bucket list), apart from a number of colourful specials like the Motmot and Jacamar. In the Amazon we were also very lucky to find another of Elzine’s target species, the Anaconda, and also another member of South America’s big five, the Tapir. We had an excellent session of forest birding on one of the towers where we could really appreciate the advantages of our private tour which, we think, was good value for the additional cost. Together with the Cristalino guide we had the tower for ourselves, and with an excellent guide like Eduardo also with us, we experienced a feast of good sightings. On EDUARDO:  It was a pleasure to travel with him again and having him as a guide who showed his expertise even in the presence of other local guides. It is good to hear that he also enjoyed our company. In summary, we came back as very satisfied customers of Birding Ecotours  and wish to thank you and Lynn for the opportunity to experience the Heart of Brazil. Regards Jacques and Elzine Smuts

Jacques and Elzine Smuts , Pretoria, South Africa
10/07/2015



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