Birdwatching Around The Globe

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Spend the year ahead birdwatching around the world with these wildlife breaks.

Combine travelling the world with your love of birdwatching with these intrepid holidays specially designed for bird lovers. As the destinations are fascinating in their own right, many trips are suitable for a wide range of enthusiasts from the keenest birder to the most casual naturalist.

The nature-loving travel agency WildWings have come up with these twelve wildlife holidays, one for every month of the year so you'll never be stuck for ideas!

January - Goa Bird Festival

The former Portuguese enclave of Goa is rapidly establishing itself as one of the premier winter birding destinations for European birders - and the reasons are not hard to find. The well-developed infrastructure and easy, inexpensive travel by bus and taxi, as well as the guaranteed sunshine and the discounted price, all contribute to make WildWings birding extravaganza great value for money. And, in a relatively small area one can find almost endless habitats from estuaries and mangroves to rice fields and monsoon forests. With the tameness and approachability characteristic of the Indian Subcontinent, the species list is remarkable including parakeets and lorikeets, bee-eaters and rollers, hornbills and barbets, orioles and drongos, bulbuls and babblers, flowerpeckers and woodpeckers. Based in Baga, the hotel overlooks rice fields and marshes, offering an opportunity for real doorstep birding.

Dates: 28 Jan - 12 Feb 2006 (also 4-19 Nov 2006 & 13-28 Jan 2007) from London Gatwick.
Cost: £899 per person sharing a twin room with en suite facilities, a fridge and ceiling fan, including flights, airport/hotel transfers, accommodation with breakfast, WildWings tour leaders and local guides.

February - Antarctica, the Falkland Islands & South Georgia

Combining all the attractions of the Antarctic Peninsula with the wonderful wildlife of two amazing sub-Antarctic island groups, this 19-day voyage begins with a visit to the Falkland Islands where sixty species of bird, of which two-thirds feed on land, arrive seasonally to breed. Among these migratory visitors, the wandering albatross and its smaller relatives, such as the black-browed albatross, are perhaps the most enigmatic. In the company of the great wandering albatross the ship sails southeast from the Falklands to the remote, rugged and hauntingly beautiful island of South Georgia where a sea of 100,000 colourful king penguins crowd the beaches at Salisbury Plain and another 75,000 nest at the Bay of Isles. South Georgia is also home to the comical macaroni penguin and important populations of albatross.

A magical world of icebergs and ice-covered mountains awaits among the bays and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula and frequent shore excursions by inflatable Zodiac will provide fantastic opportunities for close-ups of Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins. Accommodation is onboard the 100-passenger expedition vessel, Akademik Ioffe, which has the reputation of being the closest thing possible to 'luxury' in the polar expedition cruise fleet whilst still retaining the adventurous feel of a true expedition.

Dates: 5-23 February 2006; 5-23 February 2007 from Ushuaia, Argentina.
Cost: £5525 pp (February 2006), £6170 pp (February 2007) sharing a main deck twin cabin (excluding flights).

March - Atlantic Odyssey

The annual Atlantic Odyssey, sailing from Antarctica to the Tropics, is an epic 6000 nautical mile sea journey which begins in Ushuaia, Argentina and visits not only the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Orkneys but also the even more remote and seldom visited South Atlantic islands of Tristan da Cunha, Nightingale, St Helena, Ascension, Gough and the aptly named, Inaccessible Island. The 30-day voyage ends in Ascension with an RAF flight to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

Rare birds with exotic names such as the spectacled petrel, Tristan albatross, Ascension frigatebird and Inaccessible Island rail, as well as the ultimate ocean travellers, the wandering albatross, are all expected during the journey. With humpbacks and orcas alongside the ship as she
moves through the ice and possible rare species such as southern rightwhale dolphins, spectacled porpoise, strap-toothed whale and Gray’s and Anoux’s beaked whales the potential cetacean sightings are also astounding. All of this at a price well within the reach of many people due to the annual repositioning of the comfortable 52-passenger expedition ship, Professor Molchanov, on her journey north to Arctic waters.

Dates: 10 March - 8 April 2006 & 5 March - 3 April 2007.
Cost: £3299pp (2006), £3465pp (2007) sharing a twin cabin (excl. international flights). Flights available UK-Ushuaia from £450 & Ascension-UK from £425


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