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Happy New Year everyone! We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for all your support during 2020. Here at Rockjumper, we all feel honoured that we were able to bring a small bit of our beautiful world to you during a year where any form of travel was barely possible.
We are also excited to announce that while travel prospects are shaping up well for 2021, we will still be continuing with our Dream Destination webinar series. This year we are changing it up slightly with a different webinar every 2 weeks. Lev Frid gets us underway on January 20 with a special feature on Canada’s magnificent owls. Lev will be showcasing his home country and the winter months are famous for offering up wonderful owl viewing opportunities. Join us to learn more about this incredible family and to get up close and personal with magic species such as Great Grey, Northern Hawk, and Snowy Owls. Lev will also be giving some fantastic tips and techniques to help you find owls near your home.
Our next featured webinar deviates a little from our Dream Destination series and rather explores birding from a beginner’s point of view. Why do we love our feathered friends so? What makes the hobby, that so many of us are passionate about, so enjoyable? What is the lure of birding? And is it more than just the birds? Many of us know the answers to these questions, which are often very personal in nature but all stem from a deep appreciation of our natural world. On 3rd February we invite you to join Rockjumper guide Paul Varney as he dives into the world of birding, as a beginner. While the focus is on what it takes to be a birder, how to get into the hobby and why it is such a fabulous pastime. We are certain that many birding veterans will also find this a fascinating talk which touches on many avian highlights across the globe.
Next our Dream Destinations webinar series shifts to Africa and in particular the southern most country on the continent – South Africa. While previous webinars have dabbled in the region, this time around the focus is more in-depth and aims to cover most of South Africa’s highlight birding locations and showstopper species such as Pink-throated Twinspot, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Blue Crane and Ground Woodpecker. Greg de Klerk is certainly no stranger to our Dream Destinations webinars having showcased Kruger and Madagascar already and this time around we invite you to join him on 17th Feb for a memorable overview of his home country.
Keeping up the 2021 theme of switching continents our Dream Destination series ventures off to Asia, with popular Rockjumper leader Glen Valentine as he highlights one of the ultimate birding tours on the planet to Sichuan in China. This location is not only scenically impressive but also harbours some of Asia’s most sought-after specials. Join Glen on 3rd March for a comprehensive overview of this beautiful part of the world, where an incredible 10 species of pheasant still reside among the lofty mountains and other mouth-watering species such as Grandala, Pere David’s Owl, Wallcreeper, Ibisbill, Black-necked Crane and the monotypic Przevalski’s Finch can all be found. This is a webinar not to be missed!
In our next Dream Destinations webinar, we head back across to North America and specifically to the vast state of Texas, a birders paradise if ever there was one. Texas is famous for having produced a riot of ABA rarities over the years and is also well regarded as a migration hotspot with plenty of specials to boot. Right now, it is prime time for Whooping Crane in Texas and even the first migratory warblers start making their way back into the USA from wintering grounds further south in a couple of weeks. Our guest speaker will be none other than Stephan Lorenz. He knows the state inside out and is also no stranger to any of you having presented Dream Destination webinars on 3 occasions now (Sri Lanka, Brazil – Pantanal and Alaska). Once again this is sure to be a superb webinar in typical Stephan style with plenty of mouth-watering images and interesting notes around not only the birds and wildlife but the ecology, habitat, and conservation issues as well.
Harboring roughly 20% of Earth’s bird species, Colombia is well known as the birdiest country in the world. Less well known are the wilds of its eastern half. These include the vast seasonal floodplain that is the Llanos of Orinoquia, and the expanses of Amazonian forest surrounding the port of Inírida. The latter is a crazy confluence of influences, with huge stretches of varzea forest, some Guianan Shield species, and big blocks of white sand forest, holding associated endemics such as Pale-bellied Mourner and Orinoco Softtail. Combine these with the megafauna of the Llanos, like giant anteater, Orinoco crocodile, Anaconda, herds of Capybara, and special birds like White-bearded Flycatcher and Dwarf Cuckoo, and there is a ton of beasts on which to feast one’s eyes. We invite you to join George Armistead on 31 March for an exploration through this exciting and seldom explored part of Colombia.
In our next Dream Destination Webinar, we remain firmly positioned in the world’s most prolific birding continent – South America. We invite you to join Rockjumper leader Rob Williams as he takes us on another mouth-watering virtual escape through the southern and central regions of Peru, exploring famous sites such as the Manu Road, the Andes, Iquitos, Machu Picchu, and the Apurimac Valley – source of the mighty Amazon. This region holds a plethora of specials and endemics from Bearded Mountaineer, Wattled Currassow and White-cheeked Cotinga to Cerulean-capped Manakin, Ancient Antwren and Andean Cock-of-the-Rock!
Our Dream Destination webinars continue to visit a variety of interesting and exotic birding locations across the globe. In two weeks, we venture back to Europe when Rockjumper leader Nigel Redman will showcase the wonders of Georgia & Armenia. This exciting region located deep in the Caucasus, and on the eastern limits of the Western Palearctic, has a rich history and holds a wonderful assortment of special European birds with a lovely Asian influence as well. Sites such as Kazbegi, Mount Aragats, Yerevan and the Vedi Hills will all feature and these hold some incredible birds like Caspian and Caucasian Snowcocks, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart, Great Rosefinch and Wallcreeper.
Our Dream Destination webinar series moves across to New Zealand. The only country situated in the SW Pacific Ocean and with a fair volume of landmass south of the 40-degree parallel, The Land of the Long White Cloud is home to a wonderful assortment of special and endemic birds. This includes 5 unique bird families – Kiwis, New Zealand Wrens, New Zealand Wattlebirds, New Zealand Parrots and Stitchbird. Ever popular Rockjumper leader Erik Forsyth is one of our longest standing guides and what is more he has been based in New Zealand for over a decade. We invite you to join Erik for what promises to be a fabulous overview of this scenically spectacular part of the world.
Our Dream Destinations Webinar series moves back to North America where the focus is on one of the USA’s most famous national parks – Yellowstone. Here, towering mountains, spewing geysers, vast forests, and valleys harboring the highest megafauna density on the continent all await. This really is the classic American West in all its glory and ready to take you on a virtual tour through this amazing natural wilderness is none other than Rockjumper tour leader Forrest Rowland, who resides nearby. Fabulous birding opportunities exist with specials like Black Rosy Finch, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Mountain Plover and Dusky Grouse all possible and the reserve is justly famous for its megafauna such as Grizzly Bear, Gray Wolf, American Bison and Mountain Goat.
We are thrilled to be heading back to Africa for our next Dream Destination webinar and featured is one of the very best birdwatching countries on the continent – Ghana. With several representatives from key bird families such as the splendid White-necked Rockfowl, Egyptian Plover, Green and Tit Hylia, Violet-backed and Yellow-bellied Hyliota, White-spotted Flufftail and Chestnut-capped Flycatcher all likely to be seen, it is easy to understand why this West African destination is so highly regarded. Join Rockjumper tour leader Daniel Danckwerts as he highlights not only these species but many other fantastic reasons to go birding through Ghana’s ancient forests and gorgeous broad-leaved woodlands.
Our Dream Destination webinars continue with a trend towards exotic and breath-taking countries. Guyana is next on the list and ticks all the right boxes for a Dream Destination. With iconic sites of interest such as Kaieteur Falls and a string of bird and mammal highlights, Guyana is fast becoming one of the most desirable places for keen birders to visit. Highlights abound from Harpy Eagle to Giant Anteater to Guianan Cock-of-the-rock! Throw in some of the continent’s rarest birds such as Sun Parakeet, Rio Branco Antbird and Red Siskin, plus other crazy species like Capuchinbird and you have a very special country to explore. Join Rockjumper guide Lev Frid as he details some of Guyana’s incredible highlights and get a real feel for what the country is all about.
For our next Dream Destination webinar, we remain rooted in bird-rich South America. Join Ecuadorian based Rockjumper tour leader Dušan Brinkhuizen has he highlights one of the most threatened and ecologically important habitat biomes in South America – the extraordinary Chocó Forest. From bizarre Long-wattled Umbrellabirds and mythical Banded Ground Cuckoos to Rufous-crowned Antpitta and Sapayoa this webinar will showcase this remarkable location in depth.
Next up in our Dream Destination webinar series we have something very special for you indeed. The remote islands of Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu in the Southwest Pacific hold a fabulous variety of very special and beautiful birds including the eye-searing Orange and Golden Fruit Doves, Horned Parakeet, Taveuni Silktail, Azure-crested Flycatcher and many more. The regions most famous avian gem however is probably the striking and unique Kagu which is endemic to New Caledonia. Join Rockjumper tour leader Erik Forsyth next week as he wings us away to these exotic islands and their even more exotic avifauna.
For our next Dream Destination webinar, we venture back to Africa and feature one of the most iconic destinations on the continent – Kenya. Well regarded as one of Africa’s most prolific from a birding point of view it holds our African tour record with an astonishing 817 species in 26 days! Yes, there are plenty of birds, but the country also offers some of the most extraordinary mammal viewing opportunities on the planet and to take us there will be Kenyan based tour leader Stratton Hatfield. With his in-depth knowledge of the region this promises to be a most fascinating webinar as he covers Kenya’s remarkable variety of habitats and showcases the very best that this equatorial country has to offer.
This week we are excited to announce the return of our Dream Destination webinars after a short mid-year break. We invite you to join long-standing Rockjumper tour leader Glen Valentine as he showcases the endemic rich island of Taiwan. Home to no less than 29 endemics and an additional 54 endemic sub-species Taiwan is quite simply a birding paradise. Glen will highlight the islands various habitats and top birding sites while enthralling us with spectacular images and information about the islands beautiful and unique birds and other wildlife.
Our Dream Destination webinar series returns to Africa as we explore the wonders of Morocco. Famous for its markets, spices and cuisine this fabulous north African country also offers up spectacular scenery with the Atlas Mountains, Mediterranean coastline and dramatic Sahara Desert all playing their part. Birding opportunities are also phenomenal with many highlights including Northern Bald Ibis, Levaillant’s Woodpecker, Moussier’s Redstart, Spotted Sandgrouse, Egyptian Nightjar and Thick-billed Lark. Taking us to Morocco is one of Rockjumper’s longest serving guides – David Hoddinott. Nobody on the planet has seen more species in Africa than David and his experience, not only on the continent, but in Morocco itself is extensive. This promises to be a fabulous presentation and is not to be missed.
In our next Dream Destination webinar instalment, we head ‘Down Under’ to explore one of the most fascinating lands on Earth – Australia. Here, the rate of endemism is quite exceptional with a myriad of birds, animals, plants, reptiles etc. being only found on this massive continent. Given its enormous size we are choosing to cover Australia in digestible sections and first up is the mouth-watering east where many unique bird families can be found including Plains-wanderer, Emu, Lyrebirds, Pardalotes, Scrub-birds, Australian mudnesters and Bristlebirds! Eastern Australia is also famous for its unique and interesting mammal diversity and the likes of Koala, Duck-billed Platypus, Short-beaked Echidna, Wombat and various species of kangaroos and wallabies can all be found. Join Rockjumper stalwart Erik Forsyth for what promises to be an unforgettable exploration through this incredible country.
Asia is back as the featured continent for our next Dream Destination webinar where Thailand takes centre stage. This well known SE Asian country has topped the list of birdwatching destinations for many years, but what it makes it so special? Yes, the volume of pheasants and pittas certainly play a major part however there are so many amazing aspects to Thailand from incredible cuisine to the sheer splendour of some of the mountains, coastline and national parks. We invite you to join Rockjumper tour leader Nigel Redman as he takes us on what is sure to be a spellbinding virtual exploration through one of Asia’s prime birdwatching locations.
In the spirit of keeping things global our Dream Destination webinar series takes a turn back to North America, as popular Rockjumper tour Leader Stephan Lorenz highlights the wonders of Arizona. This is dry country birding at its very best and the list of specials is long and exudes quality. As always Stephan will go into depth about not only the birds but feature the varied habitats and overall ecology of this fascinating area. Join us as we explore the Hummingbird capital of the United States!
Costa Rica will be our next featured Dream Destination webinar. This wonderful Central American country is one of the world’s most famous and respected destinations for avitourism. Over 920 species of birds have been recorded in Costa Rica and this figure is made even more impressive by its size – being 13 times smaller than the state of Texas! Fantastic infrastructure abounds and the food is fabulous, while the birding opportunities and ability to interact with local ‘Ticos’ are both plentiful and meaningful. Even for such a small country, Costa Rica is home to 7 endemic birds and over 70 species that are considered near-endemic. Resplendent Quetzal, Wrenthrush, and Fiery-throated Hummingbird impress in the highlands while at lower elevation Yellow-billed Cotinga, Fiery-billed Aracari, and Bare-necked Umbrellabird will blow you away. We invite you to join popular Rockjumper tour leader Lev Frid as he entertains us on a virtual tour to remember through incredible Costa Rica.
Our Dream Destination webinars return after a short break featuring one of Europe’s finest regions – Scandinavia. We invite you to join Rockjumper tour leader Nigel Redman as he showcases the very best birds, birding sites and beautiful countryside of Finland & Norway. This is one of the best places on Earth for families such as owls and woodpeckers while the incredible Western Capercaillie is another fabulous avian gem of these boreal forests. Over in Norway the spectacular Varanger Peninsula offers a plethora of sea-ducks, alcids and more.
It has been a while since our Dream Destination webinars took a turn through Africa and we are very pleased to let you know that this webinar we will be featuring one of our most popular tours – the exotic overland experience covering Namibia, the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls. Much has been written about Namibia’s wide-open spaces, night sky, dramatic scenery and amazing wildlife and it truly is one of the finest safari destinations on the planet. Add to this the verdant Okavango Delta and mighty Victoria Falls and you have the makings for a very special vacation. Rockjumper Tour Leader Greg de Klerk will be back in the saddle as he showcases the wonders of this remarkable part of the world, featuring iconic Etosha National Park, the Namib Desert, and a plethora of special and endemic birds.