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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


Tanzania Birding Tours

Tanzania is arguably one of the best countries to visit for its avifauna. By birding Tanzania, you’ll add a host of East African endemics, and also most of the 20 country endemics. You can also see your first Miombo (south-central African) endemic birds in Tanzania. And you’ll see a great many of Africa’s big (and small) animals, along with some of the continent’s most famous sites. These include the Great Rift Valley and its flamingo-filled lakes, the Serengeti with its relatively easy to see big cats and its wildebeest migration, Ngorongoro Crater, and, last but not least, Kilimanjaro, one of the world’s most massive isolated mountains. Africa’s highest mountain rises straight out of the wildlife-riddled plains below to a dizzying 19,341 feet above sea level.

Grey Woodpecker - Niall Perrins

Birding Tour Tanzania: 8-day Introduction to Africa 2017

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 9
Date Start: November 10, 2017
Date End: November 17, 2017
Tour Start:: Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha
Tour End:: Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha
Price: From US$3147 per person sharing, depending on group size and other factors
Summary: This tour is designed to give you the opportunity to experience the real Africa, given only about a week. Where else can you see leopard, cheetah, lion, and a hundred spectacular birds in a single day? Whe...

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Birding Tour Tanzania - Yellow-throated Longclaw - Andre Stapelberg

Birding Tour Tanzania: 19-day Birding Safari 2018

Duration: 19 days
Limit (Group Size): 3 - 6
Date Start: April 11, 2018
Date End: April 29, 2018
Tour Start:: Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha
Tour End:: Dar es Salaam
Price: US$9,475 per person sharing (6 clients), US$9,690 (5 clients), US$10,781 (4 clients), US$11,088 (3 clients).
Summary: Tanzania surely comes closer to what people expect of Africa than any other country: the vast plains of the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Africa’s highest mountain (Kilimanjaro) epi...

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Grey Woodpecker - Niall Perrins

Birding Tour Tanzania: 8-day Introduction to Africa 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 9
Date Start: November 10, 2018
Date End: November 17, 2018
Tour Start:: Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha
Tour End:: Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha
Price: From US$3493 per person sharing, depending on group size and other factors
Summary: This tour is designed to give you the opportunity to experience the real Africa, given only about a week. Where else can you see leopard, cheetah, lion, and a hundred spectacular birds in a single day? Whe...

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What our clients say

We’ve been on several birding trips, both local and international, with Mike and highly recommend him as a guide. Mike does a great job not only because he has a sharp eye, but also because his hearing and memory of bird songs and calls is outstanding. Mike is always prepared and knowledgeable about the location, habitat, and wildlife. His enthusiasm is great and his concern for his clients is even greater. I have never seen anyone do a better job of making sure everyone on the trip sees the birds. Most of us have experienced the frustration of just not being able to see a particular bird, usually one that everyone else sees. Mike will help you with that–he either gets it in the scope or he provides a clear description of the bird’s location, doing everything humanly possible to be sure birders at all levels get to see the bird. No matter what happens, Mike maintains unflappable good humor. We have been pleased with the extensive background material Mike provides, enhancing our enjoyment of the trip. Birding with Mike is fun AND rewarding. We very much want to go on more trips with him.

Gary and Alice Woody



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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