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Anyone else got a plan a and plan b trip? (1 Viewer)

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I accept I am in a fortunate position, but thanks to Namibia's excellent infrastructure and the lockdown in Lithuania pushing work and school to remote, both of these are happening in my case, just in a considerably warmer and more pleasant land.
Are we due a bulletin soon, Jos? The next five weeks is gonna be the longest of the pandemic.....

John
 

ovenbird43

Well-known member
Planning on Hawaii in early March - after waffling for quite some time I finally purchased the plane tickets. Requirements are a negative COVID test within 3 days prior to arrival to avoid quarantine, and I decided it was worth the gamble and the hassle. Thinking this might be the sweet spot for visiting Hawaii, ticket prices are still about half of what they were in the Before Times, but entry and interisland travel is possible with negative tests. Still, I'm not booking or paying for too many things in advance, just in case my first test comes back positive (I don't expect it to but who knows). If that happens I'll change my flights to later in the year. Plan B is south Texas.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
No negative test is required before coming home, simply register online and they schedule a test in the 24 hours after arriving back (but for anyone needing a test before departing Namibia, it is easily arranged in Windhoek)

Test is free for all returning citizens and residents to Lithuania, we pay taxes. I however would have no issue paying for the test if that was required - price is not the same as in the UK :)
Meanwhile, someone has infected people on the plane home and everyone has gone their seperate ways on arrival, maybe even in to neighbouring countries. I think it's foolish not to require a negative test before you get on a flying petrie dish for 12 hours and presumably transiting somewhere?
 
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Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Meanwhile, someone has infected people on the plane home and everyone has gone their seperate ways on arrival, maybe even in to neighbouring countries. I think it's foolish not to require a negative test before you get on a flying petrie dish for 12 hours and presumably transiting somewhere?
Take it up with the airlines, not me - it is the same situation for most flights within Europe, etc, etc. Airlines do have a compulsory mask requirement while on board, but generally enforce the destination requirements for covid test. For my destination, I will have a covid test upon arrival, then (regardless of test result) have to isolate at a place of my choosing for ten days.

That is the reality of travel today - it is still possible for many folk around the world (obviously not those in the UK), you need to abide by whatever regulations are in place and also accept there are still some risks, though in reality the risks are, in all likelihood , lower than staying home.

If it's not for you, no problem. For me, it was a no-brainer - simply a choice between a long cold winter in Lithuania in a rapidly deteriorating Covid situation with lockdown in place or four months in perfect weather surrounded by abundant wildlife and very low Covid levels.
 
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opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
The Czech government has "banned" citizens from traveling to Brazil and most of southern Africa as of today. When they banned people from leaving the country in last spring, it was declared unconstitutional, yet they are trying the same shit again - so I hope someone will take it to the constitutional court and have it stroked down - but in the meanwhile, it's valid and announced a few hours before taking effect. Just shows some perils of planning any travel these days ...
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Planning on Hawaii in early March - after waffling for quite some time I finally purchased the plane tickets. Requirements are a negative COVID test within 3 days prior to arrival to avoid quarantine, and I decided it was worth the gamble and the hassle. Thinking this might be the sweet spot for visiting Hawaii, ticket prices are still about half of what they were in the Before Times, but entry and interisland travel is possible with negative tests. Still, I'm not booking or paying for too many things in advance, just in case my first test comes back positive (I don't expect it to but who knows). If that happens I'll change my flights to later in the year. Plan B is south Texas.
if you ebird, I would be greatly appreciative to hear your itinerary. Hawaii has been an absolute nightmare to fantasy bird for the ABA area game thanks to COVID :p

Plus, hoping to go in person sometime in the next 3 years, so I am curious how you will fare since I assume you are doing this independently of a tour group.
 

Lerxst

Well-known member
We exhausted our luck, getting in and out of Brazil last month ago before the new rules were enacted. So it will be domestic travel for us for a while. Some distant relative has a wedding in May in Washington state that we are expected to be at; this means at least tacking on a road trip for Sooty Grouse, then hitting Idaho for Cassia Crossbill, and a few others. Lots of travel for onesy-twosy lifers but that is the only option until they ease restictions for getting back in to the US.
 

ovenbird43

Well-known member
if you ebird, I would be greatly appreciative to hear your itinerary. Hawaii has been an absolute nightmare to fantasy bird for the ABA area game thanks to COVID :p

Plus, hoping to go in person sometime in the next 3 years, so I am curious how you will fare since I assume you are doing this independently of a tour group.

Yep, I do ebird, and I will be doing it independently with the exception of hiring a guide to get into Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (looking like March 9). Here is my rough itinerary:

March 7: Arrive pm and fly to Big Island
March 8-11: Big Island. First two days focused on the high-elevation natives, second two days more general with snorkeling and visiting Volcanoes NP.
March 11-14: Kau'ai. Tentatively backpacking the Alakai Wilderness Mar 12-13.
March 15: Oahu and pm flight home
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
FYI, for those planning there future trips, based on chatting with an American Airlines rep yesterday while booking my flights, reservations are rapidly going up, at least for that company. I suspect costs might soon start going up for international flights, because we are pretty soon going to be in a limbo state where demand has increased but many locations still have reduced airline service.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
I'm not optimistic for travel to a lot of places. Europe is lagging badly behind with vaccinations but I would suspect most of that will be open by the summer, although it's far from certain. I've just emailed the car hire company in Uganda - who arranged our gorilla permits- to see if they can be changed to 2022. I think East Africa is pretty well no chance for UK citizens.
 
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lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
FYI, for those planning there future trips, based on chatting with an American Airlines rep yesterday while booking my flights, reservations are rapidly going up, at least for that company. I suspect costs might soon start going up for international flights, because we are pretty soon going to be in a limbo state where demand has increased but many locations still have reduced airline service.
I dealt with that about a month and a half back, had to rearrange some flights and the prices had raised a good bit. I can only imagine how much it will spike up from now on.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I dealt with that about a month and a half back, had to rearrange some flights and the prices had raised a good bit. I can only imagine how much it will spike up from now on.
Thankfully I only paid $13 bucks more, but yeah, I am glad I didn't procrastinate on my purchase.
 

lammergeier05

Daniele Mitchell
if you ebird, I would be greatly appreciative to hear your itinerary. Hawaii has been an absolute nightmare to fantasy bird for the ABA area game thanks to COVID :p

Plus, hoping to go in person sometime in the next 3 years, so I am curious how you will fare since I assume you are doing this independently of a tour group.
I can comment on Hawaii having done most of it (Kauai, Hawaii and Oahu) between 2017-2020 precovid. If you’re focusing on seeing as many as possible of the extant endemics (and not ABA exotics) then you’re going to need to hire a guide to get to some of the reserves and there was a decline in access even precovid. I can only imagine it’s gotten worse. Avian malaria is really taking a toll on the remaining native bird populations. It’s a really expensive trip per bird, but of course a special experience to see the few remaining survivors of such a rich avifauna.

Oahu: Oahu Elepaio and Amakihi were relatively straightforward on the Lower Aiea Loop Trail. After combing the Kapiolani park trees for White Tern in Waikiki, heading east will get you to Halona Lookout for Red-tailed Tropicbird. Note that Mariana Swiftlet is the only ABA countable exotic which is difficult to connect with on any of the islands, and has become more so in recent years.

Hawaii: Palila is found at the discovery trail and the best public site for forest birding independently is at the Pu'u O'o Trail where you can see I’iwi, Apapane, Omao, Amakihi and Elepaio. Further down as you descend to Hilo is good for Hawaiian Hawk and Nene. You’ll need to contact one of the local guides (I used Jack Jeffrey) for access to Hakalau to get Hawaiian Creeper, ʻAkiapolaʻau and Hawaii Akepa. Due to political conflict with native sovereignty over the construction of a new astronomical lab, the access has been limited in recent years.

There’s great sea watching from shore at Keahole and Keakea including petrels like Hawaiian, Bulwer’s and Juan Fernandez if you time your visit especially between May and September but it’s definitely worth getting on the ocean to get more satisfying views.

Kauai: Independently it is possible without much trouble to get Anianiau, Amakihi and Elepaio at Kok’ee. I was guided for a day by David Kuhn who showed me where to find Akekee (which took two days of searching, the second of which I found the bird at his stakeout independently). Both Akikiki and Puahohi are still extant but not within the searching radius of the average day hiker. You’d have to go on a special expedition to get to where they still can be regularly found. While you’re on the south side of the island, the best spot for Hawaiian Duck was Salt Beach Ponds, which also happened to have a wintering Gray-tailed Tattler at the time of my visit. Of course Kilaluea was fantastic for seabirds, particularly Laysan Albatross.

Let me know if you have any questions.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I can comment on Hawaii having done most of it (Kauai, Hawaii and Oahu) between 2017-2020 precovid. If you’re focusing on seeing as many as possible of the extant endemics (and not ABA exotics) then you’re going to need to hire a guide to get to some of the reserves and there was a decline in access even precovid. I can only imagine it’s gotten worse. Avian malaria is really taking a toll on the remaining native bird populations. It’s a really expensive trip per bird, but of course a special experience to see the few remaining survivors of such a rich avifauna.

Oahu: Oahu Elepaio and Amakihi were relatively straightforward on the Lower Aiea Loop Trail. After combing the Kapiolani park trees for White Tern in Waikiki, heading east will get you to Halona Lookout for Red-tailed Tropicbird. Note that Mariana Swiftlet is the only ABA countable exotic which is difficult to connect with on any of the islands, and has become more so in recent years.

Hawaii: Palila is found at the discovery trail and the best public site for forest birding independently is at the Pu'u O'o Trail where you can see I’iwi, Apapane, Omao, Amakihi and Elepaio. Further down as you descend to Hilo is good for Hawaiian Hawk and Nene. You’ll need to contact one of the local guides (I used Jack Jeffrey) for access to Hakalau to get Hawaiian Creeper, ʻAkiapolaʻau and Hawaii Akepa. Due to political conflict with native sovereignty over the construction of a new astronomical lab, the access has been limited in recent years.

There’s great sea watching from shore at Keahole and Keakea including petrels like Hawaiian, Bulwer’s and Juan Fernandez if you time your visit especially between May and September but it’s definitely worth getting on the ocean to get more satisfying views.

Kauai: Independently it is possible without much trouble to get Anianiau, Amakihi and Elepaio at Kok’ee. I was guided for a day by David Kuhn who showed me where to find Akekee (which took two days of searching, the second of which I found the bird at his stakeout independently). Both Akikiki and Puahohi are still extant but not within the searching radius of the average day hiker. You’d have to go on a special expedition to get to where they still can be regularly found. While you’re on the south side of the island, the best spot for Hawaiian Duck was Salt Beach Ponds, which also happened to have a wintering Gray-tailed Tattler at the time of my visit. Of course Kilaluea was fantastic for seabirds, particularly Laysan Albatross.

Let me know if you have any questions.
Provisionally my thoughts are to probably break up Hawaii into two separate trips, rather than cramming everything into one. That way I have some flexibility if I get skunked or need to shift my itinerary. First trip would probably focus on Oahu and the Big Island, the second trip on Kauai and Maui. I'll use guides for the landbirds, but probably go after the songbirds myself. I plan on targeting both the endemics and the various ABA specialties, both native and non-native. I also aim to do some whale/dolphin watching, as Hawaii is really good for several species of the more tropical cetaceans.

Probably a couple of years away from this however...this summer is Panama and it looks like next summer might be Cairns/Sydney/Melbourne
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Provisionally my thoughts are to probably break up Hawaii into two separate trips, rather than cramming everything into one. That way I have some flexibility if I get skunked or need to shift my itinerary. First trip would probably focus on Oahu and the Big Island, the second trip on Kauai and Maui. I'll use guides for the landbirds, but probably go after the songbirds myself. I plan on targeting both the endemics and the various ABA specialties, both native and non-native. I also aim to do some whale/dolphin watching, as Hawaii is really good for several species of the more tropical cetaceans.

Probably a couple of years away from this however...this summer is Panama and it looks like next summer might be Cairns/Sydney/Melbourne
What's the itinerary you have planned for Panama? I might be making a weekend trip in the 4th of July and wanted to see what kind of places you were planning to target.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
What's the itinerary you have planned for Panama? I might be making a weekend trip in the 4th of July and wanted to see what kind of places you were planning to target.
Before the pandemic hit, I had booked a birding package deal with the canopy tower, for 7 nights at the tower and 3 nights at Canopy Lodge. It's currently been rebooked for May 23. It's basically all inclusive, but we will be hitting up all the hotspots in the canal (Pipeline, Gamboa road, Summit ponds, etc) and some as yet undecided sites in the El Valle area, which is at higher elevations so has a somewhat different set of birds. Obviously may not be directly comparable to your situation, but I believe there are some decent lodgings in Gamboa, which would probably make a good base if you just have a weekend. It looks like I will probably have an extra morning as well on my last day since I have an afternoon flight, so I will be planning on hitting up Metropolitan Park.
 

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