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  #61  
Old April 1st, 2013, 06:24 PM
jdbirch jdbirch is offline
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Originally Posted by agru View Post
jdbirch had the right idea -- just the wrong spelling.

http://birdingpal.org is a great place to start, listing local birders willing to give information or take you out for the day. Lower down on each location's page they have links to local birding societies, publications, and even bird guides who charge for their services.

Good luck and happy birding!

Sorry about the bad spell job. A lot of links in birding pal are expired. I try to look up the local birding organizations and call their president or something. The Christmas Bird Count is online, and contains the email addresses of every group that enters data. Unfortunately, that's usually not where you're going!
I did have one memorable trip out of birding pal - it hooked me up with a gal that did the Breeding Bird Atlas for a couple parks on the outskirts of London, and we just went around doing the census. That cost me a beer at a country pub (where a Golden Pheasant walked across the lawn), for a grand total of about a quarter a lifer!
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  #62  
Old April 3rd, 2013, 12:07 PM
jdbirch jdbirch is offline
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Birding from the Coral Princess, through the Panama Canal in February 2013


Took a couple of days to go down to the Keys, just in case Colorado decided to have a blizzard on the day of our plane ride. Decent trip, nothing spectacular, but loaded with Ruddy Turnstones.


Boarded the Coral Princess in Fort Lauderdale, warmed up the bins, and saw a Magnificent Frigatebird without having to take the boat trip to the Dry Tortugas again. As usual, no birds crossing the Caribbean to Aruba...


On Aruba, caught a taxi to the Bobali Bird Preserve (if the taxi driver doesn't know where it is, it's across from the big windmill on the west coast), a 20 buck ride. Eared Dove, Sooty Tern, White-cheeked Pintail, Neotropic Cormorant, Smooth Ani, Bald eyed Pigeon, Moorhens and Green Herons all over, Tropical Mockingbirds, and a bunch of the usual. Last time, I had parakeets.... You can pick up a taxi at the resort next to the Preserve, or just wave one down in the road. Back aboard the ship, and got Masked and Brown Booby just off the shore.


Cartagena: since the last time I was there, they've added a visitor center at the end of the pier that has a pretty extensive park behind it. I was intending to investigate the wetlands across the road, but this was good enough. Prothonotary Warblers all over, Toucan, Common Ground Dove, Social Flycatchers common, Great Kiskadee, Violet green Swallow, Mangrove Swallow near the harbor. They have a cage of captive migrants, featuring a trio of Rose breasted Grosbeaks. I develop a method, roam through the park for about 20 minutes, then buy a beer for 2 bucks and sit in a chair on the patio in the shade facing the woods and rehydrating myself. On one of these occasions, a Spot-breasted Woodpecker lands on a tree right in front of me, distance 20 feet! Repeat the circuit about 3 times, then back to the boat. Spotted in the harbor: Gray backed Swift, Frigate, Bridled Tern, and I think a Fleshy Shearwater off the coast.


Panama Canal: Hanging over the rail watching the trees go by, and spotting Black Guan, Crimson-collared Tanager, Yellow Caracara, Capped Heron, Swallow-tailed Kite. Frigate birds surround the ship picking up tidbits from the water, and I learn a lot about how hard it is to id swallows on the fly. Got excited once, since I was really looking for a Amazon Kingfisher, but it proved to be a Ringed. Inspected about 10 thousand nice Kingfisher limbs overhanging the water... Did see a Zone-tailed Kite soaring and a Bare-throated Tiger Heron working the weeds, and that was good enough. Out of the Canal about 3 o'clock, and spot Brown and Blue-footed Booby at sea.


Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Really looking forward to this, since I've booked a trip up the river by boat, then a stop at the Macaw Sanctuary. The guide on the boat called Dowitchers “Sandpipers”, so it looks like I'm on my own for the boat trip. Lot of herons, egrets, whimbrel, but I only add Collared Plover and Slaty Flycatcher to the life list. Off to the Sanctuary: Rufous naped Wren right off the bat, Scarlet Macaw (the ones in Cartagena were captives), Boat-billed Flycatcher, Dusky capped Flycatcher, Ruddy Ground Dove, white-winged Doves. Clay-colored Robin (now thrush) all over – since it took me three trips to Texas to see ONE, I was impressed. I checked with the director of the Sanctuary, and he clued me on to the hummingbird spot, so I added Beryl-crown Hbird to my total. Only 60 more hbirds to get in Costa Rica.... Be nice if you could get a little more guiding, but the director is busy leading the group of non-birders around. He still gets a nice tip for buying bird food, anyway. Best spot: the little stream – hang out there and wait. Most fun: watching the Macaws stealing food. You get a nice snack of fresh great tasting fruit. I get a Protein bar, since I'm diabetic! There is an extensive bunch of vendors and beach bars along the coast, so I wander along looking at the trees and the doves on the ground and sampling the local brews. White-winged and Ruddy Ground doves, tropical flycatcher on every wire in town.


San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua: Pull into port and get to watch 3 King Vultures soaring over the hills. No tour here, since all they offer is a two hour bus ride over crappy roads to get badgered for two hours by street salesmen, then a two hour bus ride back. There was one tour to a ecology place, but it was sold out. So – take the tender ashore (warning: steep narrow stairs, so no handicapped allowed), through the vendors, and into the town. There's only 2-3 streets paralleling the beach, so go to the back one next to the hills, and wander along for a half mile or so. I never felt in danger, and I'm pretty savvy (worked in Detroit for 35 years...) except from the poor footing and the holes in the sidewalks, so keep an eye out. Spotted Crimson-fronted Parakeet flock, some other parakeet I didn't get a good enough look at, and a Great crested Flycatcher on a wire. There is a Boat-billed Flycatcher building a nest half way up the cellular tower that was fun to watch lugging grass, and the beach was full of terns and gulls to inspect. Back on the boat, being tempted by the embrodiered T-shirts for 10 bucks and stopping at the rum-tasting test for some 8 year old Flora de Cana. Chase that down with a couple of beers from the vendors to avoid dehydration, and back on the boat.


At sea: Brown and Masked Booby again, and some Western Gulls pulling into Cabo San Lucas. Remember: if you can see fishing boats, there's birds around. I had found a birding guide in Cabo, but she was doing the Whale watching excursion first. Since the excursion was done at 10:30 and the ship left at 2, that wasn't going to work out, although she was willing to try. Keep an eye out for the sea lions sitting on the fishing boats in the marina. If you've got more time in port, try
Tel: 52+(624)144-3539
Cel: (624)129-8701
Skype: maria.elena.muriel1
Web: birding-loscabos.com
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  #63  
Old May 3rd, 2013, 10:07 PM
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jdbirch, quite a list of birds!!
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  #64  
Old May 25th, 2013, 05:47 PM
jdbirch jdbirch is offline
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Smile birding ashore

That being said - spent a week at the Canopy Tower in Panama in April. 117 lifers for under 20 bucks a bird. Fun time, so much that I might go again next year! Even if I only get 20-30 more (at a hundred bucks a bird!)....
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  #65  
Old May 25th, 2013, 10:15 PM
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jdbirch, We spent 2 weeks at Canopy Tower several years ago and loved it so much we stayed at its sister accommodation, Canopy Lodge, the following year.

We're now thrilled to find out they're getting ready to open an ecolodge "camp" down in the Darien.
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  #66  
Old November 22nd, 2013, 08:52 AM
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Post Birding in the Caribbean

Just found this post - searching for "birding" in the cruise critic forum. So glad I found this!

Doing the Panama Canal cruise over the holidays and we have arranged private tours (birding) for Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas (Costa Rica), and Colon (Panama). I will report back when once we have come home!

Looking very forward to these private excursions, the Guides come highly recommend from a variety of sites.

Heather
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  #67  
Old November 22nd, 2013, 02:48 PM
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Just found this post - searching for "birding" in the cruise critic forum. So glad I found this!

Doing the Panama Canal cruise over the holidays and we have arranged private tours (birding) for Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas (Costa Rica), and Colon (Panama). I will report back when once we have come home!

Looking very forward to these private excursions, the Guides come highly recommend from a variety of sites.

Heather
Heather, can I ask what sites you visited to find the birding guides? We just came back from Aruba and Curacao and I was not able to find sites for these locations that featured birding guides. I did have a field guide that included birding spots, but we were reluctant to have a cab take us there for fear of not being able to find a cab back in more remote areas.

Thanks in advance,
Dena
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  #68  
Old December 11th, 2013, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by smooth_sailin View Post
Heather, can I ask what sites you visited to find the birding guides? We just came back from Aruba and Curacao and I was not able to find sites for these locations that featured birding guides. I did have a field guide that included birding spots, but we were reluctant to have a cab take us there for fear of not being able to find a cab back in more remote areas.

Thanks in advance,
Dena
Hi Dena - sorry for the late reply, I just noticed this message today.

I googled "extensively" for "Bird Trip Reports" for the destinations that I was visiting. Most of the guides that I hired, were referred to with excellent reviews in "Trip Reports" on multiple "blogging sites". I would then contact the person who blogged and asked if they had contact information for their Guides. This is how I found a Bird Guide for Panama and Costa Rica. The guides for Mexico, I found through a "Birding Mexico" web site. The person running the site, referred me to a Guide in Cabo and then she referred me to a person for Puerto Vallarta. I then googled these names and found multiple references in trip reports, with great reviews.

It was quite a bit of "googling" - but really, it was fellow birders who blogged their Trip Reports that I found Guides, willing to pick us from the Cruise ship. These guides normally do day trips, but 2 of them have now added "Cruise Options" to their web sites, after I have booked them

I leave next week for our Cruise and for sure will do a Review on all 4 Ports that I have hired a "Private Naturalist Guide".

Heather
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  #69  
Old December 11th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Post Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Birding

For future reference for Birders, here is the site that I was referred to, to hire a Guide for Cabo San Lucas. We will be there on the 23rd of December, so will do a report when we return home.

http://www.birding-loscabos.com

Heather
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  #70  
Old December 11th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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Default Puerto Vallarta - Birding

This is the link that I found to hire a guide not only to take us out Birding, BUT he is taking time away from his family on Christmas Eve (Dec 24th) in order to do so. Super accommodating and I cannot wait for our Port of Call. I will report back after our cruise on how the tour went.

http://www.birdinginmexico.com

Heather
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  #71  
Old December 11th, 2013, 01:14 PM
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Post Central America - Bird Guides

And finally, my last 2 ports were found "kind of here". I found their names on multiple blogs (trip reports from Happy Customers) and also found their names on Birding Pal.

Costa Rica - Roy Orozco was already booked for my port of call, but he graciously referred me to his friend, Berny Sanchez who was able to accommodate us for our Port of Call in Puntarenas.

Panama - we were able to hire Gonzalo Horna. We were so happy he was available and he has quite a schedule for us, ready to pick us up as soon as our ship docks at 6 am

Both Berny and Gonzalo were super accommodating with our "wish lists" and kept it realistic of what we could do for "a day" in the specific Port of Call.

http://www.birdingpal.org/guidesCentralAmerica.htm

Again - a full report will happen, after I return home. But those are 4 Key web sites, driven by googling, reading blogged trip reports, and asking for references from Bird Bloggers of their experiences with hiring private guides (these were not Cruisers, but that didn't matter to me).

Heather
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  #72  
Old December 26th, 2013, 10:29 PM
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This is coming in real handy, as I'm going through the Canal on the Azamara Quest in early January. Sent an email to these contacts - will see how it turns out.

Just got back from the Rhine Christmas Markets cruise, have to go through the records. But it gives a birder the opportunity to say "In spite of the cold weather, there were pairs of Great Tits all over the place". And Willow Tits and Marsh Tits, too - no Blue Tits.
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  #73  
Old January 12th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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Default New to birding and cruising

I am taking my second cruise in May ( Royal Caribbean)to the Western Caribbean. I love birds and would like to see some new ones on my trip. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

Tammy
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  #74  
Old January 12th, 2014, 11:11 PM
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Tammy, where ever you go, there will probably be pelicans, frigatebirds, and tropicbirds near the ports. Also many islands may have bananaquits, collared doves, ground doves, white-winged doves, Zenaida doves, and pearly-eyed thrashers. What ever island you go to, you can pretty much look up on the web and find a list.

If you are going to Jamaica, the birds there are quite good. Two of the neater birds are the Jamaican tody and streamertail hummers (YS Falls usually has a set of feeders that attract large numbers of streamers and others). Wikipedia has a pretty good list.

Good luck,

Dave
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  #75  
Old January 13th, 2014, 10:03 AM
Rob's Chickadee Rob's Chickadee is offline
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Default Study a Field Guide - Hire a Professional Guide

Tammy, you have some time before you sail so I would advise you purchase a field guide to the birds of the Caribbean ( if you don't have one already) and spend some time getting familiar with the birds you might encounter.
This will enhance your birding experience immensely!
I bought a Princeton Field Guide titled 'Birds of the West Indies' by Herbert Rafffaele, James Wiley, Orlando Garrido, Allan Keith and Janis Raffaele before my last cruise and found it very helpful. The illustrations in this book are very good and the range maps show which island the bird can be found on.
Bring it with you on your cruise.

Birding from the ship close to port can also be very productive. As has been mentioned in the last post, keep a look out for Frigatebirds, Boobies, Tropicbirds, interesting gulls and terns, even Shearwaters farther out at sea.

Have you considered hiring a guide to take you birding on any of the islands?
We did that in Puerto Rico and Hawaii and had wonderful experiences.
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  #76  
Old January 14th, 2014, 09:42 AM
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Default Birding the Pacific/Caribbean via Cruise Ship

Well? I am home! what an AMAZING adventure!!! the bird guides (all four ports of call) were fantastic. FUN FUN FUN!!!

All the names that I mentioned in previous posts were really great and would recommend any of them to anyone who loves birds!

We had a very short time in Cabo San Lucas and in our 4 hours spent with Maria Elena Muriel of Birding Los Cabos - we managed to see over 35 birds. Really a fantastic trip!

In Puerto Vallarta, our time for birding was short as well, as we arrived later (after lunch) and it is dark by ~ 6 -ish - but we managed to pull off ~ 40 or so bird species (some awesome ones at that!).

In Costa Rica - WOW WOW WOW - Berny Sanchez was second to none. A young guide who is VERY knowledgeable and helpful. He was amazing!!! We saw ~ 75 species that included treks to Carara National Park and then Playa Hermosa. Really great experience with Berny!

Panama was soooooooo beautiful. Our port was Colon and Gonzalo promptly picked us at as soon as we could get off the ship. BUSY traffic at Gatun Locks, so while we waited for ships to get through the locks, Gonzalo wasted no time in birding around them Over the course of the day, we saw ~ 80 (more/less) species.

All my exact counts are in my diary books - but it gives you a general feel of what transpired. The half-day treks (4-hours) in Mexico yielded half the species as the full day tours (Costa Rica/Panama), but were equally as exciting and fun.

All the guides were professionals and knew their respective areas.

Our "Panama Canal" cruise turned out to be an amazing adventure and I put it down to having awesome treks with these four guides. Definitely the birding tours were the highlight of our cruise. The other two ports of call (Guatemala and Columbia), we did city tours (Antigua/Cartagena) and WOW - did we ever miss the our nature treks. We were spoiled just being the two of us with a birding guide. Fantastic, memorable, amazing!

Heather
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  #77  
Old January 14th, 2014, 09:01 PM
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hvbaskey, a list maybe?
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  #78  
Old January 15th, 2014, 11:09 PM
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Default Hawaii Birding

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Originally Posted by Rob's Chickadee View Post
Have you considered hiring a birding guide? We did that in Puerto Rico & Hawaii and had wonderful experiences.
We are cruising in Hawaii in June and I was wondering which Islands you birded and if you might recommend a guide.
Thanks,
Cinda
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  #79  
Old January 16th, 2014, 10:10 AM
Rob's Chickadee Rob's Chickadee is offline
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Default Hawaii Birding Guides

Cinda, I booked 3 guides for birding while on my 2 week trip in Hawaii in 2010.

1. On the Big Island when the ship was in port at Hilo my husband and I reserved our day with Warren Costa of 'Native Guide Hawaii'. He picked us up at the port, provided a delicious lunch and showed us many interesting things including a lava tube and several endemic birds on a hike at a kipuka.
2. On Kauai we booked with Carl Berg, who also picked us up from the port, and I got to see many great birds. That day was very worthwhile.
3. I had a booking with Michael of Oahu Nature Tours when in Waikiki. His company does custom Birdwatching tours for small groups, and I was really looing forward to going birding with him. Unfortunately that day an earthquake offshore initiated a sunami warning and the trip was cancelled.

I recommend you book people early so as avoid disappointment.
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Old January 16th, 2014, 09:03 PM
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Thank you for the information Rob's Chickaee. I'll let you know how it works out for me.
Cinda
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