I was told by the tour organizer that the best lens would be a minimum 600mm so I cancelled the trips. I looked around for other tours and Guides in South Florida, no answers so I wanted to cancel Florida. But I had come to learn a lot about the Everglades during my search on internet and it is for sure looking like an exciting birding destination.
So I decided to go to Florida, rent a car and drive around Everglades by myself.
My original plan was to go birding in New York and at Niagara Falls after Florida. And as to find a Birding Guide in Florida was hard, impossible. But I found several Gides in Colorado. And Californias sounds very exciting.
Colorado, the people seem very friendly and I was offered a lot of help and I found a Guide. Canada, and I found a Guide at Birdingpal for the area around Peterborough NW of Toronto.
So I will arrive to Miami, pick up my rented car and drive to Florida City. At least on the map it looks to be as far south you can come before Florida turns in to wilderness. A perfect place to start my daily bird watching adventures.
So my bird watching holiday will look like this: Florida - Colorado - Canada - New York and then back home. And you will be able to find out what birds I have seen just by follow the links below.
My plans were made in 2019
So I am off three years later, the Guide I had found in Peterborough, Canada is no longer available.
I wanted to cancel Peterborough but I decided to go anyway. I will rent a car for my stay in Canada so I can go check out the birding areas around Peterborough.
And also, the coast line between Peterborough and Toronto when going back south to Toronto.
I was in contact with a birding company in San Francisco, but now they are not available as they are going on a tour to Texas, A South Texas Adventure
I asked if they had any seats and I booked this tour. And I will fly via San Francisco where I will rent a car. Just stop for three days to look for Humming birds before going to Texas.
So, my UPDATED bird watching holiday will look like this: Florida - Colorado - San Francisco - Texas - Canada - New York and then back home.
To skip the information and to go straight to the TRIP REPORT click HERE
Please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html to see if you need a VISA. Maybe you are citizens of participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Then you may be eligible to visit the United States without a visa. Visits must be 90 days or less, and travellers must meet all requirements.
Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel approval prior to travel and meet all requirements explained below.
In order to travel without a visa on the VWP, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is a web-based system operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to determine eligibility to travel under the VWP to the United States for tourism or business. Visit the ESTA webpage on the CBP website for more information.
• AOT Limousine between my home and Bangkok International Airport
I recommend the AOT or any other taxi service if you are leaving early morning. The price per trip is 1200 Baht comparing to around 220 Baht + about 80 Baht road toll. But the taxi can easily be 1000 baht if you´re getting desperate when not finding a taxi.
Early morning flight and it can be a hassle to find a taxi that want to take you to the airport so I book AOT and the car wait for me outside my apartment.
Leaving Suvarnabhumi and AOT have desks in the luggage claim area, where I use to book my car while waiting for my luggage. There are also desks just outside the custom and you cannot miss them.
• I will use a rented car in San Francisco
Take the train from the terminal to the Rented Car Center and all the car rent companies are represented there.
You can use Lyft in USA and Canada. They say that UBER is a little bit more expensive but maybe worth trying. I had problem with Lyft a couple of times. GPS position was not correct so when I ooked a car for the hotel, both me and the Driver had the same destination.
But we arrived to a totaly different adress. And drivers that came to the wrong pick-up point. Not speaking English etc. But most of the time it was working well and I went to several birding hotspots using Lyft when I did not have a rented car.
• Best Western Coyote Point Inn
I have been searching high and low for a guide. The first Guide I contacted, Nature Trip do not have time during my stay as they are organizing a birding tour “A South Texas Adventure” and I will join this tour after my bird watching in San Francisco.
So I will do San Francisco Bay Area alone with a rented car
Canon 5D Mk. III and Canon 5D Mk. IV
Canon EF 28-300/3,5-5,6 L IS USM
Canon EF 70-200/2,8L IS II USM
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
Canon Speedlite 600EXII-RT flash
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II
Panasonic HC-W585 video camera
ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder
ebird - Find birding hotspots with bird checklists from all over the world
Avibase - is an extensive database information system about all birds of the world, containing over 25 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information for 12,000 regions, taxonomy, synonyms in several languages
Cloudbirders - Read birding trip reports from all over the world
Fatbirder - Linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see their sister site: WAND
Fatbirder is a fantastic web page with information from, I think every country in the world. My first stop when I plan for my bird watching trips. There is information about locations and guides, well, pretty much everything you need to know. Sometimes this is the only place I need to visit to plan my trip.
BirdingPal - find a birding Guide around the world
And the web page you cannot live without. I have been around the world looking for birds. I usually have a Guide, but sometimes it is not possible to find a Guide. So, well, I have lost count on how many times I have had help to ID birds at BirdForum. Joining this forum have been very very good for my bird watching experience.
ClimaTemps.com is the place to learn about the worlds climates with more than 4000 locations documented. Each aspect of the climate is represented using colour enhanced tables and professional graphs so that data can easily be compared by switching between locations in different tabs in your browser.
AUDABON - Protecting waterbird populations has been part of Audubon’s mission even before the official establishment of the National Audubon Society. Outrage over the slaughter of millions of waterbirds, particularly egrets and other waders, for the millinery trade led to the foundation, by Harriet Hemenway and Minna B. Hall, of the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1896.
By 1898, state-level Audubon Societies had been established in Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, and California.
In 1900, Audubon member Frank M. Chapman launched the first Christmas Bird Count – Audubon’s all-volunteer holiday census of early-winter bird populations – as an alternative to the traditional Christmas “Side Hunt,” in which hunters competed to kill as many birds (and mammals) as possible.
This is a great web page! A great rescourse for bird watchers with a lot of information and guides.
Outside your door, on your way to work, at the beach—birds are everywhere. Whether you're a beginner looking for your first pair of binoculars or an experienced birder in search of identification tips, we have it all here for you. So go on, start exploring.
To reach the BIRDING you just choose GET OUTSIDE from the drop menu. Choose BIRDING and you reach the page with the below topics to choose from:
• How to Start Birding
• What You Need
• Identifying Birds
• In the Field
• Backyard Birding
• The Birdist’s Rules of Birding
Bird Watcher's Digest - A birding magazine with an interesting web page. Click the link EXPLORE - BIRDING BY REGION - then choose a state for information about pretty much everything you can wish for..
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America - National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Sixth Edition is a great guide. In my review of the fifth edition I qualified my recommendation, especially for owners of a prior edition. Not so with the sixth – it belongs in every birder’s library! From beginner to expert, it will be useful to any birder. And for those interested in geographic variation, it is a must."
– Grant McCreary (29-12-2011), read the full review at The Birder's Library
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of our national parks. With the help of volunteers and partners, we safeguard these special places and share their stories with more than 330 million visitors every year.
National Park Service - WOW !! And I mean WOW !! This is something I have not seen since New Zealand. What a page! All about the National Parks in USA. Chose a state from a map and a list of the National Parks are coming up. I clicked on Colorado and I had so much information about the visitor centres, trails and just about everything.
• Golden Gate Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting Bay Area birds, other wildlife, and their natural habitats. We conserve and restore wildlife habitats, connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the natural world, and educate and engage Bay Area residents in the protection of our shared, local environment.
They have an excellent web page with Birding Sites in the San Francisco area. And their blog, Golden Gate Birder, features occasional reviews by our members of their favorite local birding hotspots.
• Sidewalk Safari have a blog “9 of the Best Places for Bird Watching in the Bay Area” There are some excellent bird watching tips with pictures.
• Metropolitan Transportation Commission - MTC’s original focus was to plan for the expansion of the Bay Area’s transportation network. The work has grown to include transportation planning, financing, coordination and management, and making sure transportation investments work with housing and development.
They have an excellent page about BIRDING with a lot of information and maps, well worth a visit.
San Francisco Bay Trail - The San Francisco Bay Trail is a project of the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
The San Francisco Bay Trail welcomes hikers, joggers, bicyclists, skaters and wheelchair users to more than 350 miles of trails that circle the bay. Click HERE for the Birding the San Francisco Bay Trail - 4.05 MB pdf
• Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society - The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (SCVAS) was founded in 1925, and with over 1,000 members, is one of the largest National Audubon Society chapters in California. Our programs and conservation activities are supported by our generous members and donors.
This is another excellent web page with loads of information. The “Self-Guided Field Trips” are a great source of information. Their self-guided trips direct you to where to bird and provide advice on which birds to look for in which habitats. There is also an Interactive Map.
• The East Bay Regional Park District of today is the result of decades of hard work by innumerable citizen activists, elected district directors, general managers, district employees, environmental organizations, public officials, volunteers, and taxpayers who have collaborated to ensure that residents in this region will have access to a system of magnificent regional parklands.
As the name suggest, this covers the east side of the San FRansisco Bay and there are an INTERACTIVE MAP. Just click the different icons and you will have all the information you need
• Gardens of Golden Gate Park is a public/private partnership between the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department and the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society (a nonprofit 501c3 organization doing business as the “Gardens of Golden Gate Park”) to jointly operate the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and San Francisco Botanical Garden.
The San Francisco Bay Area, often referred to as simply the Bay Area, is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun Bay estuaries in Northern California. The Bay Area is defined by the Association of Bay Area Governments to include the nine counties that border the aforementioned estuaries: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, and San Francisco.
A map of the locally accepted nine-county
definition of the Bay Area.
By PerryPlanet - Image:Bayarea map.svg,
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22742405
• Santa Clara County Bayfront, south part of the San Francisco Bay. Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society have the excellent web page with all the information you will need for birding at the Santa Clara Valley. I visited their web page Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society
And by using their INTERACTIVE MAP to find information about places to visit. Choose position and click and everything you need to know is available with pictures and an interactive map + an map in pdf format over the area. Nothing less than excellent!!!
There are plenty birding spots I want to visit at the South end of the San Francisco Bay:
- Sunnyvale Baylands Park And here you will find a MAP in pdf format over the area.
• Whale Watching on the Bay - San Francisco Whale Tours - Whale Tours & Adventures Out of San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Whale Tours offers exciting whale watching adventures from the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. From views of main San Francisco attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge to sightings of humpback and gray whales, this is a trip you will never forget.
Every tour is accompanied by a naturalist familiar with the seabirds of our region. Bird watching trips have been big hits with photographers, too!
On any given day in the Gulf of the Farallones, other birds including loons, grebes, scoters, alcids & various species of gulls & terns may be seen. Rarities such as boobies, petrels & tropicbirds have even made appearances for lucky bird watchers on occasion. Of course, varying weather & sea conditions mean that the number & variety of birds will always change from one visit to another. The motion of the boat, fog & sea spray can make viewing seabirds a challenging activity as well as a wonderfully satisfying one.
It will always be easier to see an albatross with a seven-foot wingspan than a small storm petrel flying away from the boat. We can’t predict or guarantee what you will see, but if you come aboard with a sense of adventure, it is very likely that you will have an adventure.
• San Francisco Botanical Garden - Explore the Garden below with the interactive map. Downloaded here!
I never use any bird lists, but since I try to make it in to Cloudbirders. A very helpful site when planning your birding trips. But they ask for a bird checklist, and if I use their service, of course I want to contribute as well. My two first bird watching trip reports was rejected by Cloudbirders.
So I started to take ideas from the reports I found on Cloudbirders. So I have started to use bird lists, eBird generate one for me and I can post it on Cloudbirders. I will post my birds on eBird and on my different “BIRDS THAT I HAVE OBSERVED” pages.
Check lists can come in handy to find out the local name of the bird etc. And Avibase have a list with pictures and sounds, excellent!
So I will post bird checklists here and if my Guides provide me with checklists I will also post them here.
Californias bird checklist from Avibase, click HERE
Avibase is providing you with bird checklists from all over the world. And I´m impressed by their web page. Select country and area and you get the bird checklist. Like the PDF files I got from Avibase on the links above. You also get the checklist with pictures and sounds.
The best part is that you get the local names of the birds and the online checklist gives the names in English plus the language you have selected. But it seems like the PDF cannot handle some alphabet.
For example the Japanese language so it is blank in the PDF checklist. But it worked excellent with Ethiopian. But you get them in the local language on the online version.
See My eBird checklists and the DAY TO DAY report in the itinerary below.
I have decided to use the eBird Life List function instead of doing my own time-consuming Life List. I discovered eBird Trip Report in April 2023 during my bird watching in North America, a new function that I now do for my bird watching trips.
And as this working beautifully I decided to use their Life List function and I will save hundreds of hours doing my own lists.
Pictures and location available by clicking the links in the pdf document. If you are using eBird you should be familiar with how it works.
• If you rent a car, become a member before arriving to USA. VIP treatment as a member, and that is even though you are renting a car from this company for the first time. At least AVIS that I used had membership. I think they call it Avis Preferred.
DAY BY DAY reports
Click on the below links for daily bird watching reports:
Since April 2023 eBird offer a new feature, to create Trip Reports. At least this is when I first heard of this feature and I have decided to make the eBird Trip Reports instead of my list of OBSERVED birds.
And of course, this also means that I will HAVE TO go back and do the same for my old birding adventures, WHEN I HAVE THE TIME!
Today's Trip Report: Birding in the San Francisco Bay Area - 12 April to 14 April 2023 | Click HERE
Icons for lifers used in the eBird trip reports
Species lifer: First time that someone observes a species in their life
Photo lifer: First time that someone photographs a species in their life
Audio lifer: First time that someone audio records a species in their life
Exotic species flags differentiate locally introduced species from native species.
Naturalized: Exotic population is self-sustaining, breeding in the wild, persisting for many years, and not maintained through ongoing releases (including vagrants from Naturalized populations). These count in official eBird totals and, where applicable, have been accepted by regional bird records committee(s).
Provisional: Either: 1) member of exotic population that is breeding in the wild, self-propagating, and has persisted for multiple years, but not yet Naturalized; 2) rarity of uncertain provenance, with natural vagrancy or captive provenance both considered plausible.
When applicable, eBird generally defers to bird records committees for records formally considered to be of "uncertain provenance". Provisional species count in official eBird totals.
Escapee: Exotic species known or suspected to be escaped or released, including those that have
bred but don't yet fulfill the criteria for Provisional. Escapee exotics do not count in official eBird totals.