BIRDING NEAR HOME
BIRDING FAR AWAY
Photo by Jack Dodge
NETHERLANDS & BELGIUM: This wasn't intended as a
birding tour, but .... We were lucky to have discovered
Flevo Birdwatching on-line. Unfortunately it is no longer
listed. We took a day from our
Amsterdam pre-trip to ride a train for 30 minutes to meet
Taco Spanbroek for a wonderful day, despite a.m. fog, in the
Oostvaarderplassen, a wildlife preserve, to check out the
marshland and willow woods for birds.
here for our photos from that visit.
He suggested in Belgium we visit Het Zwin on the coast,
near the resort town of Knokke-Heist, for more
birding. This also was a delightful trip, even though the
nature center office was closed on the Monday we visited.
There is a stork breeding program here, as well as acres of
Napo Wildlife Center has to be one of our favorite spots
for seeing birds. It take effort to get there, but once
you're there it's comfortable and exciting. Other
bird-watching sites on our itinerary were
Yanacocha Ditch near Quito; the grounds at
La Cienga near
San Isidro Lodge near Cosanga;
Tinlandia between Quito and Guayaquil;
Sachatamia Lodge at Mindo; and
Bellavista Cloudforest Reserve at Tandayapa.
Jack got some
really good photos and here's our
Ecuador bird list. Of course, you can see birds and
wildlife you may not see anywhere else in the
Here's our bird
list from the trip. Visited Kenai fjords, Skilac Lake and Denali with
Alaska Wildlife Adventures (National Audubon Society). Guide Adam Kent.
Miles and miles of spruce and birch, moss-covered tundra and a guide who
knew where most of the birds were, what a great way to spend two weeks
with Audubon in northern Finland and northeastern Norway. With
Toni Eskelin of FinnNature, we managed to see 133 species (about half of them
new to us) in June 2002, in
spite of our leisurely pace. Others on the trip saw even a few more.
here to see a list of those seen.
ON THE YUCATAN PENINSULA, MEXICO: During fall and winter, flocks
of flamingos, 25,000 or more, make this their home. (They move around east
to Rio Largatos to breed in spring and summer). Flamingos of the brightest
red orange I've ever seen, even in photos, lined the shore in deep groups.
The boat tours aren't allowed real close, so bring binoculars. We were
lucky that a small courting flock danced their way within a block of the
boat. The entire preserve at Celestun has huge numbers of herons, gulls,
pelicans, shore birds, including roseate spoonbills, zone-tailed hawks and
It can be a day trip from Merida, but why not stay a
couple nights. The optimum place to stay in the Celestun area is Eco Paraiso
delightful thatched roof cottages on the beach about seven miles from
town. They run tours to the flamingos and elsewhere, so you only have to
drive in and out the 6 miles of washboard road once. This relatively news
ecological resort is a real "island" paradise with fabulous
staff, good food and a pool. The fastidious should be warned, that
although the cottages are kept scrupulously clean, gangs of geckos (which
you may never see) feed on the insects in the thatch. You don't see the
insects, but you do see some gecko droppings to remind you how close you
are to nature.
COSTA RICA :
Costa Rica has to be one of the best places in the world to see lots of
colorful birds in relative comfort, esp. if you have a guide like Carlos
"Charlie" Gomez of Costa Rica Expeditions. To see the list of
356 species birds (combined from three trips), including the resplendent
quetzal, that he helped us spot, click
here. Charlie actually spotted about 20 to 40 more species, but we
didn't see them long enough to count. To learn more about the second trip,
when we saw almost all on the list, read Ruth Marie
Lyons Journal (with photos by Jack) on this site.
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO.
Click here to see the list of birds we saw in the 10 days
at the Asa Wright Nature Centre and in Tobago. More intrepid
birdwatchers saw a few more, including Trinidad's elusive Piping Guan, which
we saw later in Ecuador, on the Napo River. Click
here for the trip photos and here for
TOURS: We had limited time on Oahu, Hawaii, to check out the birds, but Michael
Walther of Oahu Nature Tours helped us sight quite a few and provided an interesting view
of other natural wonders, flora and fauna. Knowledgeable and accommodating.
AND WETLANDS CENTRE, England
This is actually a zoo, but a well-presented one where much is done to preserve
and educate. It is a wonderful stop as part of a trip to the nearby Cotswolds. In addition
to thousands of exotic birds in near-natural settings, there are viewing blinds to spot
the local -- and listable -- birds. Part of a trust started by naturalist Sir Peter Scott.
BIRDS, birding holidays in Cumbria, England
A heaven on earth for serious birders, a wonderful find for travelers to northern
England who enjoy birdwatching. Operator Mike Robinson really knows his birds and the
territory and shares the information with joy and good humor. Wife Annie loves to garden,
and the grounds and floral arrangements show it at Barn Close, this large home in the
small village of Beetham. Annie's also a great cook and decorates with a real knack for
pleasing color combinations.
Check out Mike's web site above for more information. He's
serious enough to carry a beeper for rare bird alerts and has also led European birding
trips for the English company "Gulliver's Natural History Holidays."