Iceland

Iceland May 28- June 5 2018

Recently Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours had the unique opportunity to visit and bird in Iceland for 8 days at the end of May/beginning of June. Our mutual friend, Lorri Lilja, asked if we would accompany her on her vacation that she had been planning. First of all, let me say that I loved visiting and touring around Iceland. It’s a beautiful country and with the spring snowmelt coming off of the glaciers and volcanoes, the country-side was full of wildflowers, Icelandic ponies and sheep, and birds everywhere! There are tens of thousands of birds to one human residing in Iceland in the spring. There are breathtaking waterfalls and streams rushing to the ocean. We even got to catch a glimpse of Iceland’s only native terrestrial mammal, the Arctic Fox, shedding into his summer coat.

Arctic Fox
Arctic Fox

As is typical of Europe, the food was amazing. All the restaurants we visited had at least one vegan option on their menu. We sampled some of the beer and liquor the country had to offer as well. Kaldi Brewery not only had the very best beers we sampled in the country, but they also have a beer spa in Árskógssandur where you can go and soak in a relaxing mixture of barley and hops. There’s beer on draft and a glass in the spa with you, so you can drink as much as you want within the time they give you to soak. This establishment is one of only four currently in business globally. The other three are also located in Europe.

Our birding adventure started as soon as we picked our car up from the airport. Lorri spotted several European Starlings (in their native habitat!) foraging in a field in town. But wait, what were those larger birds behind all the starlings? We backed up and low and behold- our first life bird of the trip! European Golden Plover! We then pulled off the road to a park we were not planning to visit next to Njarðvík Bay. Right away Lorri and I picked up our nemesis birds we could not find in Florida: Red Knot for Lorri and Common Eider for me. We watched Redwings with worms to feed their chicks, Common Eider females on nests, and even mating Arctic Terns. Yes, spring had definitely hit Iceland! Except of course, for the temperature. For these two Floridian tour guides, the 40 degrees Fahrenheit plus 35 mph winds, were a bit chillier than we had anticipated.

COEI
Common Eider Female

 

The following day we picked up our friend who had booked a later flight, Terrie Leibler, and the real adventure began. We started driving further and further away from the capital to explore the areas and find new and different birds. One of the highlights of the trip was the day we visited Snaefellsjoekull National Park where we found Snow Bunting, Northern Wheatear, Rock Ptarmigan, Razorbill, Common and Thick-billed Murres, Northern Fulmar and Black-legged Kittiwakes. This was one of the only areas in the northern part of the country where you can hike on a glacier, which we did. The views from the Raudholl trail were amazing!

RAZO
Razorbill

 

We also visited Akureyri, which did not disappoint. We saw our Atlantic Puffins that everyone wanted to see and photograph. We had missed them up until this point, but when we saw them, we really hit the jackpot! We estimated 10,000 + puffins roosting on the cliff ledges and foraging in the ocean. We had Great Skua, their natural predator, fly by twice scattering all of the birds and being chased by gulls. The puffins were not on nests yet, but we did see signs of courtship displays.

ATPU Kissing
Atlantic Puffin

 

Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar

 

The following day we went out to Lake Mývatn to observe waterfowl. Mývatn translates to midge- and we found out the lake is appropriately named. Each time we opened the door, several flew inside and clung to our clothing. The ducks certainly had enough food to raise their chicks! Lorri and Terrie got their Harlequin Ducks as well as Barrow’s Goldeneye, Eurasian Wren, Horned Grebe, Common Scoter, and several other species of ducks. We had high hopes for White-tailed Eagle and Gyrfalcon, but unfortunately could not find any. Gyrfalcon is considered a sensitive species of concern and therefore, it’s sighting records are kept hidden.

TUDU
Tufted Duck
EUWR
Eurasian Wren

On the way back to Reykjavik, we stopped and picked up two new birds for the trip. We did find our White-tailed Eagles- two of them nesting on a rock island outside of Borgarbyggð. We also found Goldcrest at Fossvogur Cemetery in Reykjavik. The Goldcrest looks like a kinglet and sounds like a Cedar Waxwing. We were able to pick up on it’s soft, high-pitched sounds and locate a couple of these adorable birds. Not a bad evening for our last night in Iceland, I’d have to say. We ended our trip with a total of 73 bird species seen. I would definitely recommend anyone to visit this country if you get the chance. We will be leading tours here in the future, or upon request. One week’s time is only just enough to scratch the surface of the natural areas, culture, and scenery Iceland has to offer.

Goldcrest
Goldcrest
Uncategorized

Palm Coast Birds of a Feather Fest

We  lead 3 trips for the Bird of a Feather Fest and met lots of new birders and had a great time. Beck got Ruff as a state bird on Saturday’s trip. Friday’s trip nabbed Ash-throated and Vermilion Flycatchers. Got to spend more time with Greg Miller as well.

Greg Miller
Greg Miller, Rebecca Smith, and Gallus Quigley
Paynes Prairie
Paynes Prairie
Ruff
Ruff Sweatwater Wetlands by Rebecca Smith
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Pellicer Creek
20180209_131157.jpg
Lake Apopka
BIRDING TOURS AND INFORMATION

Birding Tours-United States

Bell's Vireo (Bell's) feeding chicks
Bell’s Vireo (Bell’s) feeding chicks
Harlequin Duck Male

UPCOMING TOURS

DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

December 5th- December 10th, 2021- Winter in Cape May Birding Tour
January 2nd-January 8th, 2022- A Birding and Photography Tour of Thailand
February 5th-February 11th, 2022- Island Hopping Birding Tour of the Bahamas
March 18th-March 23rd, 2022- Birding Tour of Coastal Maine
May 12th- May 17th, 2022- Raptor/Hawkwatch Migration in Denmark
June 4th-June 11th, 2022- Springtime in the Alps- A Birding Tour in Austria
July 10th-July 15th, 2022- Birds, Butterflies, and Wildflowers of Colorado
August 5th-August 15th, 2022- Exploratory Birding Tour to Brisbane, Australia
September 2nd-September 9th, 2022- Endemic Birds of the Big Island, Hawaii

Reservation Deposits

5% DISCOUNT FOR TOURS PAID IN FULL 120 DAYS PRIOR TO TOUR

10% deposit is required to reserve your space.

50% is due 120 days prior to start of tour.

100% is due 90 days prior to start of tour.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT IS $500.00 UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

Refunds and Cancellations

100% Refund 120 or more prior to start of tour.

50% Refund 90-119 days prior to start of tour.

25% Refund 60-89 days prior to start of tour.

NO REFUNDS LESS THAN  60 DAYS PRIOR TO START OF TOUR UNLESS SPOT CAN BE FILLED IN WHICH A 25% REFUND WILL BE ISSUED.

Keep checking back for other tours…

 

 

Winchat
International Birding Tours

Birding Tours – International

International Tour General Information

Reservation Deposits

5% DISCOUNT FOR TOURS PAID IN FULL 120 DAYS PRIOR TO TOUR

10% deposit is required to reserve your space.

50% is due 120 days prior to start of tour.

100% is due 90 days prior to start of tour.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT IS $500.00 UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE

Refunds and Cancellations

100% Refund 120 or more prior to start of tour.

50% Refund 90-119 days prior to start of tour.

25% Refund 60-89 days prior to start of tour.

NO REFUNDS LESS THAN  60 DAYS PRIOR TO START OF TOUR UNLESS SPOT CAN BE FILLED IN WHICH A 25% REFUND WILL BE ISSUED.

Trips DO NOT include airfare, food, drinks, tips, or other expenses not specifically mentioned in the tour description.

CDC and Local Guidelines for Covid-19 will be followed.

Green Crowned Brilliant Male

Costa Rica – Five (5) Main Habitats (TRIP FILLED)

March 2-9, 2022

$1930.00 Per Person Double Occupancy, Contact for single supplement rate.

Join Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours as we explore the 5 habitats of Costa Rica for the largest diversity of bird species you can find in the country. We’ll be staying 3 nights in the Pacific lowlands at Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas, 2 nights in the cloud forest of the Quetzal Valley, and 2 nights in Vara Blanca, Alajuela. The 5 habitats we are set to explore are the Pacific slope, the Atlantic slope, the mangroves, the dry forest, and the cloud forest. Our accommodations will be natural, but comfortable ecolodges off the beaten path of most tourism. Here is the tentative itinerary for the tour:

3/2- Arrive in San Jose and travel to Playa Hermosa that evening. We’ll have dinner and light birding around the property of our lodge and begin birding early the next morning 

3/3- Calle Conga Hill. We’ll be spending our first morning walking around the Calle Conga rural neighborhood. Here we will be looking for Scarlet Macaws, Fiery-billed Aracari, Great Kiskadee, Streaked Flycatcher, Tropical Kingbird, Montezuma Oropendola, Lesson’s and Turquoise-browed Motmot, Palm Tanager, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Inca Dove, Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Black-striped Sparrow, Bright-rumped Attila, Yellow-crowned Euphonia, Gray-headed Chachalaca, and Masked Tityra. Later, we’ll do some driving around town for additional bird species not seen in the neighborhood and stop at the Puddlefish Brewery in the evening. 

3/4- Jaco Mamedales Quebrada Bonita wetlands- Red-breasted Meadowlark, Grayish Saltator, Variable Seedeater, Morlet’s Seedeater, Scarlett-rumped Tanager, Blue-black Grassquit, Thick-billed Seed-finch, Common Black Hawk, Northern Jacana, Scissor-tailed, Willow, and Social Flycatchers, Green-breasted Mango, Southern Lapwing, Brown Jay, Rose-throated Becard, Boat-billed Heron, Blue-gray Tanager, Rufous-naped Wren, Crested Guan, Amazon Kingfisher, Crimson-fronted Parakeet, and Mangrove Swallow. This is a large area where we’ll be doing some walking and some driving in order to see the entire wetlands area and make our way to the beach. 

3/5- Mangrove boat tour- Green and Ringed Kingfishers, Yellow-headed Caracara, Yellow-naped Parrot, Mangrove subspecies of the Yellow Warbler, Mangrove Vireo, Double-striped Thick-knee, Lesser Nighthawk, Collared Plover, Ruddy Ground Dove, Hoffman’s Woodpecker, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Squirrel Cuckoo, Black-headed Trogon, White-fronted Parrot, Orange-fronted Parakeet, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, and Neotropic Cormorant. We’ll then drive to the Quetzal Valley area and check into an ecolodge.

3/6- Parque Nacional Los Quetzales- White-collared Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Flame-colored Tanager, Lesser Violetear, Blue-and-white Swallow, Band-tailed Pigeon, Volcano, Stripe-tailed, and Talamanca Hummingbird, Black-faced Solitaire, Spotted Wood-Quail, Yellowish and Black-capped Flycatchers, Ochraceous Wren, Resplendent Quetzal, Northern Emerald-Toucanet, Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Thick-breasted Treehunter, Torrent and Mistletoe Tyrannulet, Long-tailed Silky-Flycatcher, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Yellow-bellied Siskin, Large-footed Finch, and Flame-throated Warbler 

3/7- Plan to leave Quetzal Valley very early in the morning and head to Braulio Carrillo National Park & El Tapir- Carmiol’s and Tawny-crested Tanagers, Pale-vented Thrush, Olive-backed Euphonia, Speckled Tanager, White-necked Jacobin, Green Hermit, Black-throated Trogon, Streak-crowned Antvireo, Gray-rumped  and Vaux’s Swift, Black-faced Grosbeak, Crowned Woodnymph, White-shouldered, Dusky-faced, Black-and-yellow, and Silver-throated Tanagers, Short-billed Pigeon, Violet-headed Hummingbird, Great Tinamou, Black-eared Wood-Quail, Olive-backed Quail-Dove, Green Shrike-vireo, Ashy-throated Chlorospingus, Hepatic Tanager, Black-and-yellow Tanager, Snowcap, Mealy Parrot, Stripe-breasted Wren, Black-headed Nightingale-Thrush, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Pale-billed Woodpecker, and Green Thorntail. After a half-day of birding, we’ll check into our ecolodge in Alajuela.

3/8- La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Bananaquit, Brown-headed Parrot, Green-crowned Brilliant, Black-bellied, Scintillant, and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, Slaty Flowerpiercer, Violet Sabrewing, Common Chlorospingus, Sooty Thrush, Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, Sooty-faced Finch, Melodious Blackbird, and Slate-throated Redstart. 

3/9- Birding in the hummingbird garden of the lodge in the morning and return to the airport for flights home

The cost for this tour will be $1930.00 per person shared occupancy. A meal plan for our initial 3 days is available upon request with full dinners including an appetizer and dessert and lunch for $35/day. Breakfast is included from 3/3-3/5.

Common Chaffinch

UPCOMING TOURS

DATES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

December 5th- December 10th, 2021- Winter in Cape May Birding Tour
January 2nd-January 8th, 2022- A Birding and Photography Tour of Thailand
February 5th-February 11th, 2022- Island Hopping Birding Tour of the Bahamas
March 18th-March 23rd, 2022- Birding Tour of Coastal Maine
May 12th- May 17th, 2022- Raptor/Hawkwatch Migration in Denmark
June 4th-June 11th, 2022- Springtime in the Alps- A Birding Tour in Austria
July 10th-July 15th, 2022- Birds, Butterflies, and Wildflowers of Colorado
August 5th-August 15th, 2022- Exploratory Birding Tour to Brisbane, Australia
September 2nd-September 9th, 2022- Endemic Birds of the Big Island, Hawaii

Keep checking back for other tours…