With a lot of time at hand, I took a spring Rockjumper East South Africa trip with Cape extension for a total of 3 weeks. I chose to go fully guided because of safety concerns. Well, it was a heck of a trip! with 455 bird species (209 photographed) and many other critters including South Africa’s “The Big 5” and “Ugly Big 5”. My absolutely favorite was a Giraffe which got startled by some nearby lions and ran towards our truck using the truck as a shield.
There is no trip report (I’m waiting for the official Rockjumper one), but many pictures:
Birds (relatively good quality): https://goo.gl/photos/Y6bbSacJaRPSmGdv7
Birds (poor quality): https://goo.gl/photos/CeMwYez3vJC89RiX8
Other critters: https://goo.gl/photos/FYdNUBXBvZuBB6VV9
Here are a few of the highlights. Enjoy!
African Penguin at Stony Point near Cape Town
Bateleurs at Kruger NP
Bokamakierie at lower Sani Pass
Drakensberg Rockjumper at Sani Pass
Red-headed Weaver at Kruger NP
This bird was found yesterday by Dave Irons. Found at around 5:30pm today, it had settled in for the night and didn’t move any more. It was hard to get a good picture of.
This afternoon I found myself at the Necanicum Estuary on the Gearhart side. While a Ruff had been reported, I found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper (which had been reported earlier, apparently). Many juvie Baird’s Sandpipers (they must have had a strong year!) and a Franklin’s Gull were also present.
I never found the Ruff …
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is a bird that I missed 11 or 12 years ago when one was near Moses Lake, WA, so I had to give chase. The spot several miles west of Othello was right along the road, with virtually no place to pull over. Trucks were barreling by, so did not linger for a good picture.
After that I went all the way west to the central WA state coast via Robinson Canyon where I camped. Common Poorwill and Common Nighthawk were still calling, Common Nighthawk was even displaying!
The highlight at the coast was a well-timed visit to Bottle Beach which yielded a Bar-tailed Godwit (also later seen back in Westport), a Willet, 1 Black and 2 Ruddy Turnstones and lots of the usuals. Red Knot was missed, but there is still time.
These Bar-tailed Godwit pictures were taken handheld with my iPhone through the scope, so it’s no surprise that the quality is lacking.
At Midway Beach I found a single Red-necked Phalarope and an American Bittern, Tokeland was pretty bleak with only 8 Willets and many Purple Martins. I also found Purple Martin at the Hoquiam STP, but missed the Franklin’s Gull in 3 separate attempts. Interesting there also was an otter taking a gull (was not able to id the victim) and dragging it into dense vegetation. 6 Wandering Tattlers were in Westport near float 20.
With a lot of time at hand, I drove down to AZ (that’s 20 hours to Phoenix from Portland one way!) to indulge during the monsoon season. It was great to go slow, talk to people, not be on a tight schedule, camp out and take pictures.
Trip report (skimpy this time): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sMae9Gr10smJVUK6biC9IgpbMWXSsSTMp414kNlgMnI/edit?usp=sharing
This Red-faced Warbler is from upper Miller Canyon
This Rufous-capped Warbler was cooperative in Hunter Canyon
A family of Tufted Flycatchers stuck in upper Ramsey Canyon
A Virginia’s Warbler from Miller Canyon. I often ignore this bird on my weekend trips.
After about 5 weeks and roughly 6000mi on the road, I have now returned back home. My trip took me up north through the Peace River region of BC into the Yukon. Then Whitehorse and Dawson Creek; and finally I drove into the Dempster Hwy almost 500km into the Northwest Territories before turning back. On the way back south through BC I took the Cassiar-Stewart, making an important stop near Hyder, AK, to see the Salmon Glacier. I saw 231 species of birds and some nice mammals too. Of course, there were some misses too, but overall I had a blast. It was a trip of a lifetime.
Trip report: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16yFVqeWMuIGZY0w863H_794tyC18kqXtsh8wv8L2MrM/edit?usp=sharing (this is a long one, but does have the species list at the end)
Grizzly Bear near Tetsa River, BC
Northern Hawk-Owl along 97 near Prophet River, BC
Willow Ptarmigan near Salmon Glacier, BC.
I’m in my forth week touring British Columbia and the Yukon. The Peace River area with all its Eastern specialties was awesome, even though it rained a lot. Connecticut, Mourning, Canada, Bay-breasted and Cape May Warbler are all in the bag. It was fun to relearn the eastern songs.
Between Watson Lake and Dawson City, birding is on the slow side. I drove 490km into the Dempster Hwy, turning around in the Northern Richardson Mountains, north of the Arctic Circle and, notably, in the Northwest Territories. The Blackstone Uplands was one big disappointment, the Richardson Mountains were good though.
I’m now slowly working my way back, coming down 37. I may check out the Salmon Glacier near Hyder, AK. Not sure yet …
This American Golden-Plover is NOT from the Dempster, but from Keno Hill.