and Last-minute Discounts
High Lonesome’s April Newsletter
The group of photos above shows just a few of the amazing bird species our Alaska guests will be seeing this year.
With the short Alaskan spring and summer approaching fast, millions of birds are converging on America’s greatest wilderness in the rush to breed before cold weather returns. Alaska is truly a birder’s paradise, thanks to its diversity of habitats, its location on principal migration routes, and its vast tracts of forest and tundra. There are nearly 500 bird species living in or passing through Alaska every year seeking breeding, resting, and refueling sites. And that's without the Asian and Eurasian birds that regularly end up there due to migration over-shoots and adverse weather conditions.
Many special species of shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds rely on breeding sites in Alaska’s vast wetlands, lakes, and rivers, on its many islands, and along its more than 40,000 miles of coastline. Migratory and resident passerines, woodpeckers, and raptors seek shelter in its unspoiled forests. And every year, exotic Asian and European birds stray off course to find refuge in Alaska . . . and appear in the life lists of bird watchers.
Unusually, we still have some unfilled places on this year’s tours, so we are offering attractive discounts on selected trips to anyone booking right now. The tours are guaranteed departures so, if you are looking for a last minute holiday with the certainty of spectacular bird and wildlife sightings, this should be exactly right for you. For details of availabilities and discounts, please use the inquiry form on our web page.
Two Chances for South American Exotics
A tour that is proving popular is our new Southern Ecuador: The Jocotoco Antpitta and Tumbesian Endemics (January 10th to 25th, 2013) with myself and Juan Carlos Calvachi as guides. That's his photo of the Jocotoco Antpitta above. Ecuador is one of the most bird-rich countries in the world, with a wealth of colorful and fascinating species packed into a land area about the same as the US state of Colorado. From the high passes over the Andes to the lush Amazon forest, Ecuador's more than 1500 species of birds offer more opportunies in less space than any other country in the world.
The key to seeing lots of species in Ecuador is to visit as many different eco-systems as possible. Our two tours now cover nearly all of them, from the paramo of the Andes to the Amazonian lowlands, and the Choco and Tumbesian faunal zones to more subtropical and even temperate areas. Add to this the raw excitement of finding large, mixed-species flocks with forty or more species flitting around for ten minutes or so, followed by a seeming empty forest, and you have all the ingredients for two unique birding experiences.
It’s worth reminding you, therefore, that we are also running our tour to The East and West Slopes of The Andes this fall (September 10th to 24th). There are just one or two places left on a trip that has produced some amazing birding opportunities in the recent past. If you are interested, take a look at the detailed diary of the 2011 tour, or check out the Ecuador trip list for 2011.
If you want to bulk-up your life list with a sometimes almost bewildering array of woodcreepers, foliage-gleaners, hummingbirds, flycatchers, antpittas, tanagers and other amazing birds, Ecuador is definitely the place for you.
Another tour for those of you interested in experiencing the unique natural wonders of the world will be this fall’s tour to Namibia, Botswana and the Victoria Falls in southern Africa (October 29th to November 19th).
Southern Africa must be one of the most desirable birding areas in that huge continent. It has a well-developed road system, an excellent network of internal airline routes, fine hotels, stable governments, and a friendly, English-speaking population. South Africa itself ranks as one of the finest bird watching destinations in the world. From albatross and other pelagic species to penguins and raptors, there is always something to be seen. The Cape “fynbos” habitat too is home to many indigenous species that have evolved through a close dependence on that amazingly rich floral environment. Botswana and Zambia offer even more diverse avian habitats, while Namibia too has an abundance of endemic bird species.
We last ran a version of this tour in 2008 and you can download the huge species list from that tour here. From the ochre-coloured dunes of the Namib Desert to the lily-choked backwaters of the Okavango Delta, the flamingo-studded lagoons of the Skeleton Coast to the game-filled waterholes of Etosha National Park and the breath-taking Victoria Falls, these countries provide incredible contrasts and an eco-tourism experience like no other. This year’s trip promises to be even better than the last one!
Availabilities on Up-coming Tours
High Lonesome BirdTours