Anyone who has ever tried birding for a while and stuck with it will understand the hard-to-describe enjoyment it brings to finally spot that elusive little bird you’ve been trying to get your eyes on for so long. But we humans get used to things quickly and often your homeground will become all too usual after a while – you’ve seen all the local birds, and while they’re still interesting to watch, it doesn’t beat the excitement of new discoveries.
Maybe it’s time to expand your horizons and take a trip elsewhere, where the variety of new and unseen (at least by you) species will make your head spin. Let’s have a look at some of the world’s best birding locations.
Kruger National Park
Located in South Africa, Kruger is one of the foremost destinations for safari travelers looking forward to seeing all the famous African animals: elephants, lions, cape buffalo etc. But it also happens to be a birder’s paradise. The park is home to myriads of local bird species as well as several hundred migratory birds who flock here from all over during the Northern winter period. You will be looking out for the southern ground hornbill, Kori bustard, Perl’s fishing owl and the martial eagle, to name just a few.
This country is one of the most easy to access places if you want a true jungle experience. There is a huge number of nature reserves and national parks in Costa Rica, many covered in dense rainforest and housing literally hundreds of different bird species, from toucans to hummingbirds, and they are as colorful as they are numerous. Definitely one of the best places in the world for tropical bird watching.
The Rift Valley can be found in Kenya and of particular interest is the Lake Nakuru National Park. One of the reasons for the popularity of this place are the huge flocks of flamingos that gather on the lake. Seeing them perform their ritual dances on TV is nothing like watching them in real life. The population of flamingos is gradually dwindling, so if you have this trip in mind, don’t put it off too long – soon there may be more tourists than flamingos there.
One of the main reasons (for a birder) to go to Iceland would be to see puffins in real life. These unusual seabirds, known for their large brightly colored beaks, really love the shores of Iceland as their breeding ground – they gather here every year around April and make their nests in the cliffs along the coast of the island. The best way to watch puffins nesting would be by boat trip. Iceland is also a great place to see many other pelagic birds, as well as numerous species of whales.