Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Sulawesi & Halmahera September 2015

Our Sulawesi & Halmahera tour runs from 4th - 25th September this year and is a guaranteed departure. Our last tour saw 111 endemics visiting all the major birding sites including Lore Lindu, Tangkoko, Tambun, Dumoga Bone and are currently the only tour company taking groups to Lompobattang for the rare Lompobattang Flycatcher and is only found in southern Sulawesi in the surrounding hills.

The endemic-rich island of Halmahera is such an exciting place to visit and we base ourselves at Foli in search of Moluccan Owlet-Nightjar, Ivory-breasted Pitta and so much more.

For the tour itinerary - click here

For last year's tour report - click here.

Satanic Nightjar - Lore Lindu

Great-billed Kingfisher - Tangkoko

Ivory-breasted Pitta - Foli

Ivory-breasted Pitta - Foli

Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher - Tangkoko

Lompobattang Flycatcher - Sulawesi

Maleo - Tambun

Moluccan Megapode

Purple-bearded Bee-eater - Lore Lindu

Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher

Sulawesi Scops-Owl

Sulawesi Pitta

Wallace's Standardwing

Friday, 17 April 2015

Guyana Tour 23rd November - 9th December 2015

Guyana really does offer something special. It's a small South American country nestled on the Atlantic Coast east of Venezuela and west of Suriname and is one of the last unexplored wild places on earth yet offers incredible access into a great variety of pristine habitats. 

It is also a land of great contrasts as you leave behind the coastal city of Georgetown travelling into the interior, over vast unspoilt forests and incredible isolated waterfalls. The lure of Guyana is its true wilderness and amazing wildlife with many sought-after species easier to see here than any of the surrounding countries. 

We have worked hard to offer the most complete itinerary available which includes all the top sites visited by everyone else but also includes the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, and highly sought-after rarities such as the spectacular Sun Parakeet and Red Siskin

Zoothera only use the very best local guides and you can rest assured that your money will go to help Guianan owned lodges and local communities. If you want to see cotingas, parrots, Guianan Cock-of-the Rock, Harpy Eagle, the rarely seen Crested Doradito or even Capuchinbird and an endless supply of mouth-watering species then this is the place to go.

See our 2013 trip report - click here

See our 2012 trip report - click here.

To see the full tour itinerary - click here.

And here's a few photos......

Blood-coloured Woodpecker


Crested Doradito

We also do mammals... Giant Anteater

Green Aracari

Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock

Harpy Eagle


Spotted Puffbird

Monday, 13 April 2015

New Tour: West Java & Sumatra 2016

We have just added a new tour to West Java and Sumatra 3rd - 23rd September 2016

Beginning in Java we will visit the bird-rich Gunung Gede and Gunung Halimun, plus a number of lowland sites as well. Highlights from our previous tours include Javan Hawk-Eagle, Javan Barred Owlet, Javan Coucal and Javan Tesia amongst others. 

Then it is on to Way Kambas in Sumatra, and what a place that is! This must rank as the premier night-birding site in Asia with Gould's, Sunda and Large Frogmouths, Oriental Bay-Owl, Reddish Scops-Owl, Bonaparte's Nightjar and Malaysian Eared-Nightjar. In fact we recorded 21 species of nightbird during our 2013 tour! During the day we will search for White-winged Wood-Duck, Malayan Banded Pitta, and a huge selection of cracking forest birds. 

Moving on to Gunung Kerinci we will look for Salvadori's Pheasant, Red-billed Partridge, Sumatran Trogon, Schneider's Pitta, Sumatran Wren-Babbler, along with plenty of other crippling birds. 

We'll end up on the Tapan Road, which in my opinion is one of the most exciting birding roads i've been fortunate to visit in Asia. I really enjoyed seeing Marbled Wren-Babbler here in September 2013. 

There are some seriously good birds on this trip and I cannot wait to return.

Take a look at our 2016 tour itinerary: Click here.

2013 tour repot - click here.

2013 photo gallery - click here.

Check out a few photos I took from my last 2 visits:

Cream-striped Bulbul - Tapan Road

Crested Fireback - Way Kambas

Crimson-winged Woodpecker - Way Kambas

Fire-tufted Barbet - Tapan Road

Gould's Frogmouth - Way Kambas

Graceful Pitta has been very obliging on the Tapan Road

Nice view of Gunung Kerinci - Sumatra

Red-bearded Bee-eater at Way Kambas

Reddish Scops-Owl at Way Kambas

Rusty-breasted Wren-Babblers at Gunung Kerinci

Shiny Whistling-Thrush

Sumatran Trogon on the Tapan Road.

Sunda Blue Robin

Sunda Scops-Owl

Sunda Warbler

Whiskered Treeswift on the Tapan Road

Friday, 10 April 2015

Classic Himalayas - They Think It's All Over.....

Following an overnight train journey we arrived in Delhi and went to a nearby hotel for a shower and breakfast before heading to Okhla Bird Sanctuary. We arrived just after sunrise and I was very surprised to see the Yamuna River totally empty – I mean no water at all! However, we picked up numerous new birds for the trip including the four species I always target here. First of all, there were more Yellow-bellied Prinias around than I have ever seen before here, followed by Striated Babbler which was equally as numerous. 

Striated Babbler

Yellow-bellied Prinia

It took a while longer to catch up with Striated Grassbird, but eventually we had decent looks at a displaying bird. The final key species wasn’t seen until we decided to return to the shade of the trees, and boy was it hot here today. But after a distant scope view of a probable female White-tailed Stonechat, a cracking male appeared much closer and began to sing and display by fanning its tail revealing the white inner webs….

Yep, definitely a White-tailed Stonechat...!

There were numerous other good birds this morning and particular favourites were some Red-naped (Indian Black) Ibis, Painted Stork, Yellow-footed Green-Pigeon, flocks of Bar-headed Goose flying over, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Dusky Warbler, Taiga Flycatcher, and Brown-headed Barbet.

Bar-headed Geese

Indian Spot-billed Ducks

There was also Glossy Ibis, Purple Heron, Western Marsh Harrier, Asian Koel, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Ashy Prinia, Indian Robin, Baya Weaver, Citrine Wagtail, and some Nilgai as well.

Yellow-footed Green-Pigeon

And that was our birding finished in incredible India and we ended up with 311 species seen in 10 days…   
Looking forward to returning to India next year for a Snow Leopard expedition, as well as our South India & Andamans tour......

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Last Day at Sat Tal

We visited a wonderful valley this morning with plenty of birds to keep us occupied, including flocks of Pink-browed Rosefinches. Around the small houses dotted across the hillside were Eurasian Hoopoes, Red-rumped Swallows, Grey Treepie, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Bar-tailed Treecreeper, Slaty-blue Flycatcher, Upland Pipit, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler, Streaked Laughingthrushes, and both Rock and White-capped Buntings.

Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler

 At a narrow gulley we saw another Tytler’s Leaf-Warbler and had really good views of a Maroon Oriole, whilst higher up a Rufous-breasted Accentor fed by the roadside.

Nice views of this Mountain Hawk-Eagle today

Rufous-breasted Accentor

Another record shot of Tytler's Leaf Warbler

In the afternoon we only had a little time but managed to fit in a walk along a forested road and saw a Thick-billed Flowerpecker briefly, along with close Black-chinned Babblers, Blue-winged Minla and Red-billed Leiothrix before returning to the hotel for an early dinner and then going to Kathgodam train station for the overnight sleeper train to Delhi. Oh joy!

Blue-winged Minla