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Birding pelagics.


Dave Williams

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Dave Williams

Has anyone got any experiences to share? Where in the world are the best pelagics to be had, and who did you use ? How long was the trip? How expensive? How many species did you see? Star birds? Where did you sail from?

 

Any tips and information gratefully received!

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offshorebirder

Sorry - just too time consuming and not worth the candle to talk about triple digit days at sea I have had.   

 

If you have specific trip planning questions @Dave Williams post them here or shoot me a PM.

 

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Dave Williams
Posted (edited)

I'm just looking for basic pointers of where to start looking and to decide my potential destination/s. Could be anywhere the world, just asking for a basic appraisal and wow factor rating.

Edited by Dave Williams
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offshorebirder

@Dave Williams - In my opinion, the best of the best pelagic day trips are run out of Cape Town and New Zealand.    But trips out of California (various ports) and Cape Hatteras North Carolina are also reliably great.

 

Cape Town info:

https://www.capetownpelagics.com/ is very competent and the trips are a nonprofit arm of Birding Africa.

 

http://www.zestforbirds.co.za/ also offer trips - click the pelagics link on the left of the home page.

 

Needless to say, a Cape Town pelagic is an option to tack on at the beginning or end of a Southern African safari. 

 

 

New Zealand / Australia info:   https://www.surfbirds.com/Pelagic/Austpel.html

 

 

-- Closer to home for you, Scilly pelagics, run by my friend Bob Flood is a good option but not on par with some of the best-in-the-world options above:   https://www.scillypelagics.com/

 

 

In terms of cruises, the Western Pacific Odyssey is a fantasy come true and the Atlantic Odyssey is a close second, as is the Subantarctic Islands cruise.    I would like to do them some day but African safaris keep getting in the way.

 

WPO:  https://www.heritage-expeditions.com/destinations/south-pacific-travel/western-pacific-cruise/

 

Atlantic Odyssey:   https://www.birdquest-tours.com/birding-tours/atlantic-odyssey-tristan-helena/

 

https://www.arcturusexpeditions.co.uk/voyages/antarctic-voyages/from-south-to-north/itineraries/atlantic-odyssey/

 

Subantarctic Islands:  https://www.heritage-expeditions.com/destinations/subantarctic-islands-travel/

 

 

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Dave Williams

@offshorebirderSome great ideas. I had Cape Town at the top of the list, thinking NZ but will I ever get there. Madeira has some good results too. There are some great potential spots around the globe but no one is taking advantage of them from what I can see...hence asking the questions about where you can sign up for a quality trip.

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offshorebirder

In terms of recommended California ports for pelagic trips:  I went on a lot of California pelagics when I lived in Berkeley and San Francisco and I have some favorites. 

 

Bodega Bay trips heading to the Cordell Bank are reliably great, as are Fort Bragg trips.  Monterey Bay trips are not what they used to be, but are better for seeing cetaceans and for people prone to seasickness since they are somewhat more sheltered than other CA pelagics.  Santa Cruz trips are also good and known for Storm-Petrel flocks.  If you are also into pinnipeds, the San Francisco trips (rare 1 or 2 per year) that visit the Farallon Islands are a good bet.  

 

Southern California has regular trips out of San Diego and Santa Barbara - ones on a boat called the Condor Express go further offshore due to the speed and stability of the large catamaran-hulled boat.  

 

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offshorebirder

Be careful of the Madeira trips @Dave Williams - last I heard they still used open, comparatively small Zodiac-type boats that are rough and WET.   

 

For the ride to the birding grounds, you strap into seats like you were on a roller coaster.

 

 

Edited by offshorebirder
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offshorebirder

The best pelagic trips in eastern North America are out of Hatteras Inlet and Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks.

 

Brian Patteson's 'Seabirding' is the best North American pelagic operator.  Full disclosure: I am one of their trip leaders.

 

https://seabirding.com  and http://seabirding.blogspot.com/       - they had a Bonxie following them nearly all day on a trip this past Sunday.

 

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Soukous

North Carolina is one of the places in the USA that I'd love to re-visit. Last time was just a drive through with other priorities (I was a lot younger B))

 

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