Preparing For A Bird Watching Holiday
Whether you are planning for an organized bird watching tour, or just hoping to do some bird watching on holiday some preparation beforehand will ensure you make the most of your time and see all the birds you hope to see.
Before you travel take some time to find out about the birds local to the area. A good field guide will help you identify which species will be present at the time of year you plan to go on holiday. There are also many online resources including bird checklists and information on what birds to see on local tourist information websites.
Remember you may be seeing birds that you are unfamiliar with so you will want to understand what plumage the birds will be wearing at the time of your trip and learn how to spot birds quickly by noting field marks, behaviours, songs and calls before you go.
If you are going to be visiting an area which could include rare sightings, manage your expectations by finding out whether there will be any restrictions on what you can do and how close you will be able to get to the birds.
Take some time to find out about the locality you are visiting. If you are going on an organized tour or trip then a local birder will probably be able to guide you; otherwise you will want to familiarize yourself with local maps and transport information to find out how to get from your hotel or other accommodation to the areas you wish to bird watch in.
Find out about the access and admission prices to nature reserves, bird parks and hiking trails as well as opening times during the different seasons. Some bird parks may require groups to purchase tickets in advance but you should be able to do this easily online.
If may be worth contacting a local bird watching or rambling or walking group before you travel who will be able to give you invaluable information and tips to help you make the most of your bird watching trips. They’ll probably be able to recommend the best pubs and restaurants in the area too.
It is important that you pack properly for your bird watching holiday. As well as clothes suitable for the local climate, you will want to take your binoculars, field guide and notebook as well as a hat, sunscreen, insect repellant and a basic first aid kit.
Hiking boots and wellington boots are heavy and will take up valuable room in your suitcase and although you can often hire them from local lodges, if you are worried about developing blisters then investing in a lightweight pair of trail shoes is a good alternative.
Don’t forget your passport, visas if required, travel insurance, travel itinerary plans and contact details of your host or tour operator. If you are unsure about anything before you go then speak to the organizer of your holiday so that you can fully enjoy your time when you arrive.