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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours
Ross's Turaco by Masa Wang - Uganda birding tour





This June Andy Walker made a scouting trip to Iceland to have a look at some of the areas we’ll be visiting on the Birding Ecotours 2018 Iceland Tour https://birdingecotours.com/tours/destination/country/iceland. Here’s a summary of some of the highlight birds he found, and some he managed to photograph.

 

Passerines:

 

There are not a huge number of passerines in Iceland, but some special ones, and they are so plentiful and in-your-face that you can’t fail to get great views. Redwing, for example, is an abundant breeding species in Iceland and is found almost everywhere. Other species likely to be encountered that I had no trouble locating included Northern Wheatear, the Icelandic form of Common Redpoll (rostrate), which also occurs in Greenland and Canada, White Wagtail, Snow Bunting, Northern Raven, and the endemic subspecies (and surely a potential future split) of Eurasian Wren, which is much darker than western European subspecies, with a longer bill too.

Redwing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Redwing taking some food back to its nest.

Raptors:

 

Gyrfalcon is the big draw here, and it’s not surprising. It is a mega falcon – HUGE! I saw a couple of birds during the week. An immature female was hunting close to Lake Mývatn and flew right in front of my car! Luckily I could pull off the road and watch it hunting, or, more exactly, getting chased off by dozens of locally breeding shorebirds. I also had a couple of sightings of a male in a similar area, likely to belong to a breeding pair. An immature male Merlin was also busy putting the fear of God into the locally breeding Meadow Pipit population. It’s always an exhilarating moment when one of these raptors dashes into view.

 

Seabirds (gulls, terns, auks, etc.):

 

Iceland is well known on the European birding scene for having an excellent breeding seabird population. Top draw is Thick-billed Murre (Brunnich’s Guillemot), which has a very limited breeding distribution in Europe. When you add in Common Murre (Common Guillemot), Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Northern Fulmar, Black-legged Kittiwake, European Shag, and Northern Gannet, the cliffs come alive with a range of interesting sights, sounds, and smells. While I was at these sea cliffs, as well as enjoying great close-up views of all the above species, I also saw locally breeding European Storm Petrel and Manx Shearwater as they foraged out at sea. Great Skua was frequently observed trying to steal food from returning nesting seabirds, or just to take the young seabird nestlings themselves.

Northern Fulmar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Fulmar with a snow-capped mountain in the background.

Several species of gull breed in Iceland. Black-headed, Common, European Herring, Lesser Black-backed, and Great Black-backed Gills can probably be considered to be Europe’s commonest and most widespread species, but Glaucous Gull also breeds here, and Iceland Gull, although just a non-breeding visitor to Iceland, can usually be found year-round in low numbers. As well as observing many gulls breeding across Iceland, as is usual with gulls, I found some interesting aggregations of non-breeding birds of various ages and variable plumages in several small coastal fishing villages, with Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull being the pick for me, having been out of the UK for the winter.

Arctic Terns are EVERYWHERE! Breeding colonies are dotted around in every conceivable place, along the coast in cliff-top vegetation, or flying along fast-flowing mountain rivers, around lakes and marshes, and even hawking for insects along roads. Fantastic views of these species are guaranteed, every day! But do not assume that every ‘tern-like’ bird you see flying around is actually an Arctic Tern, because Parasitic Jaegers (Arctic Skuas) breed on the island and are often found chasing terns and raiding nests for food. It was great to see both pale- and dark-phase birds over the course of the week.

Arctic Tern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arctic Tern foraging oblivious to my presence a few metres from it!

Shorebirds:

 

Iceland is stacked out with breeding shorebirds. You can hear and see Common Snipe and Common Redshank literally 24 hours of the day. The Icelandic subspecies of Black-tailed Godwit, which is stunningly beautiful, is common, as are Whimbrel, European Golden Plover, and Dunlin. However, there are one or two breeding shorebirds that are the real draw to Iceland, and Red-necked Phalarope is one of those. The females are the more brightly colored of the pair, as it is the males that raise the young. On certain wetlands they can be super-abundant and often very confiding. With a bit of luck and some careful placement (watching for the angle of the sun and making sure you don’t end up in the water yourself) you can get some great photos of these dainty shorebirds. The sight of lots of baby shorebirds is a real joy to behold, and the cuteness ratings go off the scale!

Black-tailed Godwit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black-tailed Godwit starting to moult into its non-breeding plumage (phone-scoped with IPhone 7 and Swarovski ATX95 scoped)

Red-necked Phalarope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-necked Phalarope – a female off feeding, she plays no part in raising her young after laying the eggs. The male (who is more drably plumaged) does all of that.

Wildfowl (divers and ducks):

 

Two species of loons (divers) breed in Iceland, Common Loon (Great Northern Diver) and Red-throated Loon (Red-throated Diver). Both species were fairly frequently recorded, and both species were looking spectacular in full breeding plumage, even more so when they had tiny babies either in tow or riding on their backs. The sound of Common Loon echoing around the mountains was spine-tingling.

Common Loon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Loon (Great Northern Diver) was found on several large water bodies and out on the sea. Take a look at Birding Ecotours You Tube for a video of this bird and its mate with their tiny baby.

A few species of geese breed in Iceland. Greylag Goose is common, and once you get into certain areas you start finding Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose too, which were nice to see.

Another of the big draws for birders, especially European birders, is the breeding duck population with several key species present. Top of the list is Harlequin Duck, closely followed by Barrow’s Goldeneye. The former is scarcer than the latter, with Harlequin Ducks generally found on fast-flowing rivers and Barrow’s Goldeneye out on larger lakes. I had fantastic views of both during the week, Barrow’s Goldeneye chicks being my favorites of all chicks observed, Iceland also gives the rare chance to see breeding Long-tailed Ducks in Europe. This species is probably more frequently seen in their largely white-necked and white-headed non-breeding plumage with a grayish back, but during the breeding season they moult into a glorious black neck head with a striking long tail and a dark back.

Harlequin Duck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harlequin Duck was one of the highlights of this Iceland trip. By late June most of the males have left the females behind at the nest sites and have gone back out to sea. Most of the time I was in suitable Harlequin Duck habitat I was just finding females, then right at the end of my trip I spotted a pair along a river with this stunning drake present. One spectacular bird!

Several other ducks occur, and good views are practically guaranteed of the following species: Common Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Merganser (Goosander), Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Eider, and Common Scoter. Indeed, to see most of these species with young was highlight enough for me. Lake Mývatn was literally covered in baby ducks while I was there, as were many of the small waterbodies I visited or drove past. During my week there I even found a couple of American rarities in the form of drakes of both American Wigeon and Ring-necked Duck. There are great possibilities for finding other interesting species such as King Eider, Surf Scoter, and Velvet Scoter, but you’ve got to leave something for the next time, right?

 

Summary

 

In addition to all the great views and photo opportunities of the incredible birds found in Iceland, the landscape views were seriously spectacular: huge sea cliffs, giant crags, roaring rivers crashing through waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, volcanoes of all shapes, sizes, and activity, numerous waterbodies, lava fields, boulder fields, stunted forest, heathland, and 24 hours of daylight! And although I didn’t have time to do it on this trip, the whale watching off northern Iceland is considered some of the best in the world, with a good chance of Blue Whale. All of this combines to a really great place to visit, and I can’t wait to get back in June 2018!


Peru Birding Tours

Peru has the second-highest species list on earth and a huge list of 125+ endemic species; ever more are being discovered as the forests are studied now more readily than in the past. There is a huge amount of habitat to discover, and the remnants of the Inca Empire add to the majesty of any trip here. Because of its large size several trips or one long one are recommended to cover the major regions and give all of the fantastic EBAs (Endemic Birding Areas) due birding.

Birding Tour Peru - White-capped Tanager - Trevor Haardaker

Birding Tour Peru: The Endemic-rich North and Cordillera Blanca 2018

Duration: 26 days
Limit (Group Size): 3 - 8
Date Start: June 05, 2018
Date End: June 30, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$7259 assuming 6 – 8 participants, US$8229 assuming 3 – 5 participants
Summary: This expansive ‘Birding Tour Peru’ expedition of the magnificent north of Peru will lead us through all of the most rewarding birding hotspots of this astounding area brimming with avian riches...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - Hoatzin- Ken Logan

Birding Tour Peru: South Peru - the Inca Empire, Mountains and Lowland Rainforests 2018

Duration: 16 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 8
Date Start: July 01, 2018
Date End: July 16, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$7300 per person sharing for 4 - 8 participants, US$7713 per person sharing for 3 participants, US$9328 per person sharing for 2 participants
Summary: Welcome to the next tour in our ‘Birding Tour Peru’ collection. This is a classic Southern Peru birding tour, in which we sample a huge range of different habitats from coastal desert to high a...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - Peruvian Pelican - Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Peru: The Lima Area – Extension to South Peru 2018

Duration: 4 days
Limit (Group Size): 1 - 6
Date Start: July 16, 2018
Date End: July 19, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: 4-6 participants US$1280 per person sharing, 3 participants US$1456 per person sharing, 2 participants US$1624 per person sharing, 1 participant US$2376
Summary: During this short ‘Birding Tour Peru’ excursion we will be birding Pacusana, the Santa Eulalia Road,and the Lomas de Lachay national reserve, searching, among others, for the legendary Diademed...

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Birding Tour Peru - Marvelous Spatuletail - Ken Logan

Birding Tour Peru: Northwest and Abra Patricia Mountains 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Spaces Available:: 3
Date Start: July 25, 2018
Date End: August 08, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$5309 p/p sharing, 4 - 8 participants. Barbet extension US$1297 p/p sharing, 4 - 8 participants; US$2169 p/p sharing, 2 - 3 participants.
Summary: We’re excited to bring you this fantastic ‘Birding Tour Peru’ adventure. Birding in Peru is a great trip that will offer an amazing set of endemic and classic Neotropical birds such as Lo...

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Golden-headed Quetzal by Alan van Norman - Peru Birding Tour

Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road 2018

Duration: 20 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 8
Date Start: September 01, 2018
Date End: September 20, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 6093 per person sharing (6-8 participants), US$ 6486 per person sharing (4-5 participants), US$ 9514 per person sharing (2 participants)
Summary: Our Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road is perhaps ‘the’ birding adventure of South America, and the Manu Road is one of the obligatory birding destinations of the world. Our 20-day trip will tak...

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Golden-backed Mountain Tanager - Alejandro Tello

Birding Tour Peru: Central Peru 2018

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 27, 2018
Date End: October 14, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$6109 per person sharing, assuming 4-8 participants, US$9256 per person sharing for a private tour with just 2 participants
Summary: This tour is designed to search for endemics and localized birds of the Central Peruvian Andes. Exploring the highlands of Lima and Andean heights of up to 5000 feet as well as dry riverbeds, cloudforests,...

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Koepcke's Screech Owl by Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurimac Jewels 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: December 12, 2018
Date End: December 19, 2018
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 3000 per person sharing (4 - 8 participants) plus US$ 360 for domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: Our itinerary “Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurímac Jewels” is designed to provide you with one of the best selections of endemic, range-restricted, and classic Andean species in one of the most popu...

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Birding Tour Peru - White-capped Tanager - Trevor Haardaker

Birding Tour Peru: Comprehensive Northern Peru 2019

Duration: 21 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: June 05, 2019
Date End: June 25, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 6659 per person (4-8 people) plus US$ 400 for the domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: This expansive tour of the magnificent north of Peru will lead us through all of the most rewarding birding hotspots of this astounding area brimming with avian riches. Major highlights will be the Owlet L...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - Hoatzin- Ken Logan

Birding Tour Peru: South Peru - the Inca Empire, Mountains and Lowland Rainforests 2019

Duration: 16 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 8
Date Start: July 01, 2019
Date End: July 16, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$7,957 per person sharing for 4 - 8 participants, US$8,407 per person sharing for 3 participants, US$10,168 per person sharing for 2 participants
Summary: Welcome to the next tour in our ‘Birding Tour Peru’ collection. This is a classic Southern Peru birding tour, in which we sample a huge range of different habitats from coastal desert to high a...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - Peruvian Pelican - Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Peru: The Lima Area – Extension to South Peru 2019

Duration: 4 days
Limit (Group Size): 1 - 6
Date Start: July 16, 2019
Date End: July 19, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: 4-6 participants US$1395 per person sharing, 3 participants US$1587 per person sharing, 2 participants US$1770 per person sharing, 1 participant US$2590
Summary: During this short ‘Birding Tour Peru’ excursion we will be birding Pacusana, the Santa Eulalia Road,and the Lomas de Lachay National Reserve, searching, among others, for the legendary Diademed...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - Marvelous Spatuletail - Ken Logan

Birding Tour Peru: 14 Days Northwest and Abra Patricia Mountains 2019

Duration: 14 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: July 25, 2019
Date End: August 07, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 4700 per person sharing (4 - 8 participants) plus US$ 400 for the domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: This two-week version of our Comprehensive Northern Peru tour is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot travel more than 14 days but want to see the best of this great birding route and the amazing ...

See full tour detail
Golden-headed Quetzal by Alan van Norman - Peru Birding Tour

Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road and Lowlands 2019

Duration: 20 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 01, 2019
Date End: September 20, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 6,800 per person sharing (4-8 participants) plus US$ 400 for domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: Our Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road is perhaps ‘the’ birding adventure of South America, and the Manu Road is one of the obligatory birding destinations of the world. Our 20-day trip will tak...

See full tour detail
Golden-backed Mountain Tanager - Alejandro Tello

Birding Tour Peru: Central Peru 2019

Duration: 21 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: September 29, 2019
Date End: October 19, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 5400 per person sharing (6 participants), US$ 6040 (4-5 participants), US$ 6921 (3 participants), US$ 8284 (2 participants)
Summary: Even though several birders visit the Central Andes of Peru each year, this still is perhaps one of the most unknown birding routes of South America, completely unjustified. This magnificent tour is desig...

See full tour detail
Koepcke's Screech Owl by Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurimac Jewels 2019

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: December 12, 2019
Date End: December 19, 2019
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 3000 per person sharing (4 - 8 participants) plus US$ 360 for domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: Our itinerary “Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurímac Jewels” is designed to provide you with one of the best selections of endemic, range-restricted, and classic Andean species in one of the most popu...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - White-capped Tanager - Trevor Haardaker

Birding Tour Peru: Comprehensive Northern Peru 2020

Duration: 21 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: June 05, 2020
Date End: June 25, 2020
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 7280 per person (4-8 people) plus US$ 400 for the domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: This expansive tour of the magnificent north of Peru will lead us through all of the most rewarding birding hotspots of this astounding area brimming with avian riches. Major highlights will be the Owlet L...

See full tour detail
Birding Tour Peru - Marvelous Spatuletail - Ken Logan

Birding Tour Peru: 14 Days Northwest and Abra Patricia Mountains 2020

Duration: 14 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: July 25, 2020
Date End: August 07, 2020
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 5170 per person sharing (4 - 8 participants) plus US$ 450 for the domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: This two-week version of our Comprehensive Northern Peru tour is an excellent opportunity for those who cannot travel more than 14 days but want to see the best of this great birding route and the amazing ...

See full tour detail
Golden-headed Quetzal by Alan van Norman - Peru Birding Tour

Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road and Lowlands 2020

Duration: 20 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 01, 2020
Date End: September 20, 2020
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 7,140 per person sharing (4-8 participants) plus US$ 450 for domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: Our Birding Tour Peru: The Manu Road is perhaps ‘the’ birding adventure of South America, and the Manu Road is one of the obligatory birding destinations of the world. Our 20-day trip will tak...

See full tour detail
Golden-backed Mountain Tanager - Alejandro Tello

Birding Tour Peru: Central Peru 2020

Duration: 21 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 6
Date Start: September 27, 2020
Date End: October 17, 2020
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 5670 per person sharing (6 participants), US$ 6343 (4-5 participants), US$ 7268 (3 participants), US$ 8700 (2 participants)
Summary: Even though several birders visit the Central Andes of Peru each year, this still is perhaps one of the most unknown birding routes of South America, completely unjustified. This magnificent tour is desig...

See full tour detail
Koepcke's Screech Owl by Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurimac Jewels 2020

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: December 12, 2020
Date End: December 19, 2020
Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: US$ 3150 per person sharing (4 - 8 participants) plus US$ 400 for domestic flights, which we will book for you
Summary: Our itinerary “Birding Tour Peru: Cusco and Apurímac Jewels” is designed to provide you with one of the best selections of endemic, range-restricted, and classic Andean species in one of the most popu...

See full tour detail
Buff-fronted Owl - Alan van Norman

Owls of Northern Peru

Tour Start:: Lima
Tour End:: Lima
Price: To be determined
Summary: Birding Ecotours has been operating tours in Northern Peru for almost a decade and has been pioneering in developing a tour like this. Our main objective during this trip will be to track down and show you...

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Diademed Plover - Niall Perrins

Peru day tours

Duration: 1 day
Summary: We offer 1-day Peru birding tours out of Lima. Please contact us for availability and details. ...

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Featured Guide - Eduardo Ormaeche

Senior Tour Leader and South American Office Manager Since 2004 Eduardo Ormaeche has not stopped working for Birding Ecotours. He started guiding tours in his native country of Peru and from there spr ...

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What our clients say

Andy is a superb guide with a wonderful knowledge of birds and where to find them. He is enthusiastic and keen, great company and a real pleasure to bird with. Our Australian trip was very successful in terms of sightings and also really enjoyable. Andy played a big part in that with his superb organisation, excellent birding skills, easy-going nature and positive attitude. I would happily join Andy on a birding trip again and hope to be able to do so later this year!  

Janice, Kent, UK



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