Wednesday, 29 October 2014

New Mexico Winter Birding Special...!

We have just posted a brand new tour to New Mexico in December next year searching for resident and winter specialities such as Hooded Merganser, Barrow's Goldeneye, Williamson's & Red-naped Sapsuckers, Gray Jay, Bridled Titmouse, Mountain Bluebird, Crissal Thrasher, Phainopepla, and both Evening & Pine Grosbeaks. A special visit to Sandia Crest will be made for Gray-crowned, Black and Brown-capped Rosy-Finches. And let's not forget the spectacle of 1000's of Snow and Ross's Geese and Sandhill Cranes at Bosque Del Apache NWR. Should be great photo opportunities, great food, great scenery and a great experience.  Can't wait...!   

Click the link to view the tour itinerary: http://www.zootherabirding.com/page_3175147.html

Just to give you a little flavour of the geese and crane spectacle, take a look at these videos...







Monday, 20 October 2014

India 2

Our Classic Himalayas tour (15th - 27th March 2015) is a guaranteed departure. Visiting Corbett, Pangot, Sat Tal and finishing up at Okhla Barrage we have 10 days to find Cheer Pheasant, Ibisbill, Wallcreeper, Tawny Fish Owl, Scaly-breasted & Himalayan Woodpeckers, Long-billed Thrush, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush, Nepal Wren-babbler, Black-headed Jay and Pink-browed Rosefinch amongst others - phew..!!


As Corbett is a Tiger Reserve you have to go birding in jeeps

Corbett

A view across the grasslands at Corbett

Looking for bush-warblers at Corbett..!!

The weather is usually very good at this time of year


Oh yes, there are Tigers here....

This is the view from the lodge at Dhikala
More Corbett scenery

Up at Pangot the scenery gets even better

The Himalayan foothills - some great birds here...


One of the specialities of the area - Black-headed Jay


Lammergeier and Himalayan Griffon

We'll also do a dawn Elephant ride at Corbett....

Monday, 13 October 2014

India 1

Still places left on our India 1 tour 6th - 17th March visiting the Chambal River, Bharatpur, Taj Mahal, Ranthambhore & Sultanpur. Key birds include Indian Skimmer, Painted Sandgrouse, Painted Spurfowl, Marshall's Iora, Smoky and Sulphur-bellied Warblers and Sind Sparrow amongst others. Oh and always a chance of Bengal Tiger and a bunch of other great mammals as well.

Here's a small selection of photos form our last tours, but you can see more on my Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/94771517@N07/sets/72157636143209035/

Bay-backed Shrike

Black-bellied Tern

Brahminy Starling

Bronze-winged Jacana

Bund Baretha - great habitat

The Chambal River

Dalmatian Pelican

One of the major birds is Indian Skimmer

Looking for skimmers

White-throated Kingfisher

There's even a bit of culture on this tour

Tickell's Thrush

We'll look for Tiger at Ranthambhore


Saturday, 11 October 2014

More Sulawesi & Halmahera Pics....

Ok well back to my last tour and we had a great time with nightbirds, getting great views of several Sulawesi Scops-owls, some day roosting Great-eared Nightjars and this incredibly co-operative Moluccan Scops-owl...


Moluccan Scops-owl

Sulawesi ~scops-owl
Great-Eared Nightjar

Another great evening excursion was for this Moluccan Scrubfowl that had flown down onto a secluded beach to lay its eggs in northern Halmahera. Worth the 5 hour drive (i think)....!


Moluccan Scrubfowl


And finally,  we connected with this Maleo at Tambun in northern Sulawesi on our second visit to its breeding site. 

Maleo




Thursday, 9 October 2014

Colombia 14th Feb - 1st March 2015

Still places left on our exciting adventure in Colombia next year with Diego Calderon. For the full itinerary please go to: http://www.zootherabirding.com/page_2534521.html

We've already made several visits to this bird rich country and by having exclusive use of Diego (Colombia's No 1 bird guide) , we really are in safe hands and guaranteed a great tour. 

Here's just a few of the great birds on offer - all photos taken by Steve Bird: 


Chestnut-naped Antpitta

Antioquia Wren
Black-chested Jay

Chestnut Piculet
Dwarf Cuckoo
Glowing Puffleg
Red-bellied Grackle

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Sulawesi & Halmahera Highlights

Have recently returned from an exciting tour to Sulawesi & Halmahera and unfortunately during our 3 weeks there things such as wifi were hard to find! So instead of a full blown diary I will post some of the best photos from the trip. The following pics are of some of the group's favourite birds and probably most people's No 1 (including me) would have been the stunning Ivory-breasted Pitta from Halmahera.

Ivory-breasted Pitta

Lompobattang Flycatcher isn't bad either and as far as I know, my group were the only ones to go for it this year. It is one of the rarest Sulawesi endemics and only known from the Lompobattang Hills....


Lompobattang Flycatcher

Following the recent splitting of Red-bellied Pitta into 16 species, the bird below is now called Sulawesi Pitta. We had stunning views of this individual at Tangkoko in northern Sulawesi...


Sulawesi Pitta

And you can't get much better than this Wallace's Standardwing at a lek on Halmahera. Instead of the monster 3 hour pre-dawn hike i've had to do twice in the past few years, to get to this lek involved only a 10 minute walk from where our vehicles were parked. Lovely!

Wallace's Standardwing

Wallace's Standardwing


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Avis Dam - The End

Before breakfast we paid a visit to Avis Dam on the outskirts of Windhoek and managed to pick up a few new trip birds: Great White Egret, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting and Red-billed Firefinch


Cinnamon-breasted Bunting

We also had views of White-breasted Cormorant, Great White Pelican, Hammerkop, 2 Pearl-spotted Owlets, Black-faced, Common and Violet-eared Waxbills, Green-winged Pytilia, Acacia Pied Barbet, Crimson-breasted Shrike, Familiar Chat and White-backed Mousebird


Violet-eared Waxbill - a particular favourite of mine
Black-faced Waxbill
But all too soon it was time to leave and head back to the hotel, have breakfast, load the luggage and set off to the airport where we said our goodbyes to my good friend Charly. He had been a phenomenal guide, had looked after us extremely well and is about as good a guide as I have had the fortune to meet over the years. I look forward to many, many tours over the coming years with him. Thanks Charly


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Waterberg - Windhoek

Well you cant get much better than a party of Violet Wood-Hoopoes being the first birds you see outside your front door and that’s exactly what happened top us this morning. There were at least 9 birds foraging amongst the acacia trees and flying aver our cabins on several occasions, giving great views. 

Really enjoyed these views of Violet Wood-hoopoe outside our cabins this morning 

So after breakfast we packed up and drove down to the reception, where a Golden-tailed Woodpecker showed nicely, and there were some more Rosy-faced Lovebirds flying over as well. Driving back towards the main road we connected with a few Crested Francolins, one of which ran across the road and stayed out in the open for a while. 

Then we hit a purple patch with a bunch of raptors showing nicely above an escarpment with White-backed and Lappet-faced Vultures, African Hawk-eagle, Brown Snake-eagle, Booted Eagle and a superb Verreaux’s Eagle as well.

This Verreaux's Eagle flew right over us - wow!

After lunch in our hotel in Windhoek we visited the local sewage pools where several Hottentot Teal, African Darter, Lesser Swamp and both African Reed Warblers were the highlights. We also enjoyed scope views of Red-knobbed Coot, African Swamphen, Cape Shoveler, Three-banded Plover and others before returning for our last dinner together.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Etosha to Waterberg Plateau

We had to say goodbye to Etosha, but not before one quick check of the Klein Namutoni waterhole as we still needed Southern Red-billed Hornbill. Sure enough we nailed the hornbill and also saw a Red-crested Korhaan and our last Giraffes and Oryx as well before heading out of the park. Another quick stop produced Black-faced Babbler and White-browed Scrub-robin before we drove to Otjikoto Lake where the only real bird of note was Black-backed Puffback. Next up was Otjiwarongo sewage pools where we saw Black Crake, African Swamphen, Reed Cormorant, Black-crowned Night-Heron, African Jacana and Lesser Swamp Warbler before heading to lunch.


Rosy-faced Lovebird was very easy to find at Waterberg Plateau Park

Another 90kms drive saw us at Waterberg Plateau Park and along the approach road we passed several Swainson’s Spurfowl and many Red-billed Spurfowl. At the campsite flocks of Rosy-faced Lovebirds were perching on the treetops in the late afternoon sunshine, making for a lovely picture against the deep blue sky. There were also some Burchell’s Starlings and a pair of African Grey Hornbills present as well. We then drove up to our cabins below the picturesque escarpment, seeing a Ruppell’s Parrot beside the road, and enjoyed a little time to relax before dinner.