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Top Birding Destinations on Earth (1 Viewer)

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
My idea was at least 3 separate trips, one for the East and West slopes, one for the South, and one for Amazon and Galapagos. I know I won't see all of the species like that, but at least get me upwards of 700 species which is not too bad after 6 weeks in a country as rich as Ecuador.

I would probably do this differently. First trip to Ecuador NW slope up to the top but at the most to Guango on the east slope. Then I would do max one week on the lower parts of east slope and the rest in Amazon, third trip to the south and a fourth trip to combine Galapagos with cleaning up some other spots for things you still need. What is important to realize, is that Galapagos gives you low species number but high value on the experience scale. Another thing to notice is that a standard tour around Galapagos gives you access to about half the endemics, you need two different tours or one specialized bird tour to get most. You need to add independent island hopping to get the last one or two.

Niels
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
I would probably do this differently. First trip to Ecuador NW slope up to the top but at the most to Guango on the east slope. Then I would do max one week on the lower parts of east slope and the rest in Amazon, third trip to the south and a fourth trip to combine Galapagos with cleaning up some other spots for things you still need. What is important to realize, is that Galapagos gives you low species number but high value on the experience scale. Another thing to notice is that a standard tour around Galapagos gives you access to about half the endemics, you need two different tours or one specialized bird tour to get most. You need to add independent island hopping to get the last one or two.

Niels
Thank you for the advice, for me that Galapagos is more as you mentioned for the experience than the actual species count, considering the pricing and everything else, it would more of a family trip I can tick off some endemics over a birding only trip like most of us normally think. Most island birding for the Caribbean could be seen like that, but even if considering a guide on these islands, it would still be a lot cheaper than a Galapagos trip, which is truly a once in a lifetime experience, but only so much to see in comparison to even some other places around the world that aren't famed for their species variety.
 

Bananafishbones

Incoherently Rambling .....
For incredibly diverse birding, incredibly good birds and an amazing country that has been back on the visitors map for a few years now, Colombia is very hard to beat. I did a trip that took in the flavour of a number of habitats. Like anywhere on the planet you could go back to a slightly different area of the same country and get a vastly different set of birds
Trip report here

Would also recommend Taiwan for a cheap, easy, almost laidback birding and pretty much guaranteed place to see all of the endemics.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Final comment on Galapagos: other members have told that they saved a lot of money on the actual stay in Galapagos by purchasing in Quito. How easy this is now with covid and what not, I do not know. Make a second request for info when you get ready to do that.

Niels
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Final comment on Galapagos: other members have told that they saved a lot of money on the actual stay in Galapagos by purchasing in Quito. How easy this is now with covid and what not, I do not know. Make a second request for info when you get ready to do that.

Niels
IIRC, that's deliberate, to allow relatively poverty-stricken Ecuadorians the opportunity to visit the islands at a lower price than charged to generally more wealthy overseas visitors. So you might need proof of Ecuadorian citizenship to get it?
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Not in the past. I know people who took advantage. I opted for the more expensive birding tour, so no personal experience.
Niels
 
G

Gleb Berloff

Guest
I would really recommend a trip to Spain. There are multiple interesting regions you can visit, but there is one region which in my opinion takes the crown. Basically the northern bald ibis is an extremely rare and endangered bird which recently started colonising Spain and there is a well-known colony at La Barca de Frontera near Vejer de la Frontera, which affords easy views of the birds. I have not visited yet but plan to do so.

Marbled ducks and white-headed ducks are getting extremely rare in Europe but all birds can be viewed with ease if you visit the right place. There are many places to try for white-headed duck, including El Hondo, and the chance of seeing marbled duck at El Clot de Galvany is almost 100%!

Of course, with the lesser kestrels in Seville, Monfrague for the raptors like Spanish Imperial eagle, the valleys to the north of Jaca and San Juan de la Pena for lammergeier, this region is excellent.

I would also advise against guided bird tours- they are ridiculously overpriced 99.9999% of the time and offer the same things which can be acheived by renting a car or using public transport
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Must admit, I am not very ambitious or enterprising in terms of travelling to far fling exotic birding locations, maybe its my age.

I have been to Canada & USA, Hong Kong, and feel I have virtually covered most of the Western Palearctic - Spain (and isles), Canaries, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece (and isles), Turkey, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Holland, Israel.

I find it difficult now to travel great distance, struggle in hot temperatures, but enjoy independent birding more than anything. Struggling to find somewhere new within WP that allows safe and independent, hassle-free birding.

Thinking about Oman................or returning to Canada (Pelee migration) which is obviously not WP. Gambia or Goa were 2 other options being considered. New Zealand looked wonderful but the flight would kill me. Lanzarote pelagic or Madeira 2 more WP things I would like to do.
 
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opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
Oman was definitely the poster for safe and hasle-free independent birding. Not sure how fast it will come back to that after corona, but when we were there last year, it was like a playground. There are several places needing a permit, which can however be safely excluded, because they don't hold unique species and everything else was easily accessible and nobody cared about us. Perfect for you, Nick :)
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
Oman was definitely the poster for safe and hasle-free independent birding. Not sure how fast it will come back to that after corona, but when we were there last year, it was like a playground. There are several places needing a permit, which can however be safely excluded, because they don't hold unique species and everything else was easily accessible and nobody cared about us. Perfect for you, Nick :)
Sounds great Jan, plenty of interesting species.

Your report enticed me considerably if I recall.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I find it difficult now to travel great distance, struggle in hot temperatures, but enjoy independent birding more than anything. Struggling to find somewhere new within WP that allows safe and independent, hassle-free birding.
You could for example visit northern Jutland in Denmark for spring birding, with waterbirds in Vejlerne and migration in Skagen. Early fall migration in the SW of Sweden (Falsterbo) can be spectacular. If you have time, you could easily spend a couple of month in each area.

Niels
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
I know it's a bit of a diversion from the thread, but looking at your list again Nick, you really need to go to Morocco in winter. It's really not hot (the desert gets warm during the day, but mornings are still cold), it's really easy to do independently with spectacular birds and it's a short flight for you. The main drawback is the very long distances to drive if you want to cover everything, but the same is in Oman (but there you can cut a lot by a domestic flight at least because it's just two areas, whereas Morocco is more scattered).
 

Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Supporter
Scotland
If you've not been to Estonia, I'd very strongly recommend it. Easy to do. Pleasant, quiet, safe. Great birding almost everywhere. In my view, the best all round birding in northern Europe and a relatively compact country.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
I would really recommend a trip to Spain. There are multiple interesting regions you can visit, but there is one region which in my opinion takes the crown. Basically the northern bald ibis is an extremely rare and endangered bird which recently started colonising Spain and there is a well-known colony at La Barca de Frontera near Vejer de la Frontera, which affords easy views of the birds. I have not visited yet but plan to do so.

Marbled ducks and white-headed ducks are getting extremely rare in Europe but all birds can be viewed with ease if you visit the right place. There are many places to try for white-headed duck, including El Hondo, and the chance of seeing marbled duck at El Clot de Galvany is almost 100%!

Of course, with the lesser kestrels in Seville, Monfrague for the raptors like Spanish Imperial eagle, the valleys to the north of Jaca and San Juan de la Pena for lammergeier, this region is excellent.

I would also advise against guided bird tours- they are ridiculously overpriced 99.9999% of the time and offer the same things which can be acheived by renting a car or using public transport
A lot of the species you mentioned are the main reason why I considered Spain to be my go to for Western Palearctic, in particular for Little and Great Bustard, White-headed Duck, Spanish Imperial Eagle, Northern Bald Ibis, Lammergeier and Wallcreeper being my top targets.

I'm not too familiar with driving outside of the US, so I was thinking of booking a trip with Ebro Delta Birding which seemed to have great prices. I'm not sure which one would be the best case, one of their main itineraries is EUR 600 per person for 2 people, which doesn't seem that bad for a week trip. But again, I could be wrong, any advice would be welcomed in this regard.
 

peter.jones

Registered User
Supporter
I have been to Spain independently a few times, always seeing great wildlife.

Two problems I always encountered, away from the resort's along the South Coast..

Very few people speak English, and I find Spanish language really difficult to get to any grips with.

Also, and this may have changed in the 15 years or so since I last visited, everywhere closes for siesta. The number of times I'd finish a morning's birding, absolutely ravenous, and find nowhere open in the local town.

Wouldn't let these things put anyone off going, but you need to prepare for them.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
I have been to Spain independently a few times, always seeing great wildlife.

Two problems I always encountered, away from the resort's along the South Coast..

Very few people speak English, and I find Spanish language really difficult to get to any grips with.

Also, and this may have changed in the 15 years or so since I last visited, everywhere closes for siesta. The number of times I'd finish a morning's birding, absolutely ravenous, and find nowhere open in the local town.

Wouldn't let these things put anyone off going, but you need to prepare for them.
Good to know for future reference, I know some colleagues visited there 2 years ago and the siestas was still an issue. But the Spanish thankfully doesn't affect me as much as it should since it's the only other language I can speak fluently.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Driving in Spain pretty easy as long as you're prepared for lots of people overtaking you. Siesta issue likely to always be the case. Eat in a restaurant or buy food before hand. Basic Spanish very useful, even in some fairly touristy areas.
 

albatross02

Well-known member
I would suggest
Argentine with Calilegua, El Ray, Laguna Los Pozuelas, Chaco, Ibera and PP Uruguay + south
There is possible tropic birds and in south also Penguins. High chance of Grand Tucan, King Vulture, Condor, Rheas, Flamingos, Great Hummingbird and so on.
For South America quite save country.

Also interesseting sounds Yunnan in China because 770 different kind of birds and high number of endemics ( almost 40 ).

Also vote Thailand. Many birds and easy for travelling on own steam.

For seabirds Seychelles. Birds can seen from been. Dependend on time and area 1.000 or even tenthousends per hour.
On Cousine Islands at day trip birds close less than 5 meters.
On La Digue every morning pass thousends of seabirds ofter closer than 50 meters.

Interesting sounds Sulawesi, but seems difficult by own steam ?
Same I suppose for Iriyan Java ?
 

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
It's comparatively expensive to do independently and you can't get far in 2 weeks.
I didn't find Colombia expensive, although I don't have any points of reference for other parts of South / Central America. Bus travel and even air travel are relatively cheap. Accommodation is variable - good quality hotels in cities are inexpensive, while the ProAves bird reserves are comparatively expensive - but you are supporting conservation efforts. Agree you can't get far in 2 weeks though (I was only there 10 days...), but if you're coming from North America you don't have too long a flight.
I've seen a few more budget friendly companies like (multicolorbirdingcolombia.com) that offer many short trips around the country, main reason I am holding back for Colombia is due to family worries, I am aware the region is friendly nowadays but the stigma and fear from years past don't stop my family to worry more than they should for me.
Bird guiding costs do vary a lot, the top guides do charge a lot of money - I only did a couple of day trips with guides and price varied a lot but both were top class birders - there are (relatively speaking) a lot of good birders in Colombia, just look at the eBird stats.
I know Colombia has had its problem with respect to security and suffers from having a bad reputation. I was perhaps lucky insofar as my partner was in Cape Town at the same time, and advised to stick to tourist buses to get around while I was happily travelling on the metro in Medellin and getting public buses from place to place. She couldn't really complain I was making her worried, I was legitimately more concerned about her safety!
 

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