As we traveled around the world, we hoped to see birds new to us. Our trip started in Asia, and “sloooooow going” describes our success there. We spotted only 9 new birds to add to our list in the 2 months we spent in Japan, China, and Vietnam in our comings and goings. Pathetic!
We wanted to see more birds, so arranged for local bird watchers, who knew what they were doing, to take us out for early morning walks in Thailand and Cambodia. Now, the pace picked up a bit with 57 new birds – and beautiful birds they were. A short stop in Singapore was good for 4 more.
New Zealand and Australia far exceeded our expectations. We purchased bird guides for each country, and those helped immensely. In 5 months, we added 257 new birds to our list – thanks in large part to local birdwatchers who took us to the best birding hot spots. Even on our daily walks we added new birds.
We expected to see unusual birds we’d never heard of – let alone seen – in Tanzania. In 2.5 weeks, we saw 164 new species, thanks to our superb guides.
Now (we mistakenly thought) we are on a roll. Sadly, even though we were looking, bird populations and species greatly diminished as we continued onward.
We saw only 8 new bird species in Morocco, and, off its coast on the Portuguese island of Madeira, we added 15 more. We spent three months in European cities and added a paltry 25 new species.
At the end of our 14-month round-the-world trip, we tallied the total: we’d seen 539 new species of birds. Amazing!