I get around...a lot.

I'm currently looking at putting together Iceland, South Texas and Panama or Honduras next. Are you interested in those areas? Have a date that could work best for you? Email me at sharon@birdchick.com and I'll let you know when the trips are finalized. 

Places I go in the United States

South Texas

I've traveled all over and written out some of my adventures in my blog. If I have a favorite place in the United States to visit, it would be the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas. Any time you go will give you amazing birds and quite the adventure. The day I'm tired of green jays is the day I need to hang up my binoculars. If you can only visit one place, you can't beat Estero Llano Grande State Park. During migration, South Padre Island will knock your socks off. And if you have the time birding around Laredo, TX will not disappoint. Also, I highly recommend staying at Alamo Inn Bed and Breakfast. Here are all my Texas entries

Florida

One of the things that I love about Florida is how chill most of the birds are. Up in Minnesota the sandhill cranes to not trust optics on them (they have a hunting season here). In Florida, they're like robins on the lawn. I love Merritt Island NWR and if you enjoy taking photos make time for Viera Wetlands. If you happen to find yourself at the southern tip, head to Biscayne NPS for the white morph of the great blue heron and if you're at Everglades mind the vultures around your car as you search for snail kites and purple gallinules. And if you can, pay the extra fee to visit gator farm rookeries for photos. 

International Fun Birding Times

In a windstorm about to be blown down into Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan.

In a windstorm about to be blown down into Charyn Canyon in Kazakhstan.

Austria

I'm fortunate that life brings me to Austria about once a year. I love every little bit of that country. Not only for the wallcreepers and red-backed shrikes, but Tyrolean Bacon Dumpling soup is worth a visit alone. You can enjoy the gorgeous Alps, but another fun spot to visit is the burgenland . And there aren't a lot of eBirders in Europe yet, so don't be afraid to cross the border and check out some of the neighbors like Liechtenstein. Europe is a wonderful mix of history, art, birds, mammals and food. 

Guatemala

Fuego the Volcano, the view from a trail at Finca El Pilar in Guatemala. 

Fuego the Volcano, the view from a trail at Finca El Pilar in Guatemala. 

This lush Central American country was my first trip outside of the US and I at some of the best food of my life here. Sometimes I dream of taking a month and doing all my work from Los Andes organic tea farm. I heard my most favorite bird call ever in Guatemala--the brown backed solitaire. So much sticks with me from this trip the steep mountainous trails, the friends I got to hang out with, finding families doing their laundry in streams while birding in the forest, coffee shop birding and what I affectionately refer to as the Horned Guan Death March. I had been warned that this was going to be a rough climb and that was no exaggeration, especially to a low-elevation, lives in a mostly flat area gal like me. Was I glad I got to see the guan? I guess. Would I go again? No. I even created a Horned Guan Death March Facebook page because it traumatized me so much. 

I know I got a very specific view of this country but I would definitely go back to enjoy it again and soak int he culture as well as the birds. And I would hire Operador Latino--Hugo is a terrific guide. All of my Guatemala posts are here

Honduras

This is one of the most breathtaking landscapes I have ever birded in (both literally and figuratively). The birds are colorful, the mammals are fun (especially the bats) but the poverty will is a bit overwhelming. If you visit, you must see James Adams at Pico Bonito Lodge and be sure to stop at the fabulous hummingbird bar for hundreds of hummingbirds buzzing around you while you have a beer and watch for the endemic Honduran emerald. 

Israel

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File this trip as another country I thought would be cool to visit but not sure I would ever get there but someone I found myself watching birds outside of a mine field and around the Golan Heights. Because of it's proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, birds get funneled over the country during spring and fall migration including storks, herons, kites, eagles, larks and pelicans. The area is hotspot for common cranes and roughly 30,000 now winter in the Hula Valley. I've been to a lot of crane staging areas and the Hula Valley is one of the best crane watching experiences I've ever had. The cover photo to for this site (very top of the page) is an image I digscoped with my iPhone early one foggy morning in the Hula Valley. Other treats in Israel include mammals, we saw rock hyrax, Israeli wolf and jungle cat. For the record, the kingfishers in Israel are off the charts cool!

I felt very safe while I was in Israel and would consider visiting again. All my blog posts about Israel are here

 

Kazakhstan

This is someplace that I read about in books and magazines and thought, "Wow, I'd really love to visit but don't think that will happen in this life." And then I got an invitation to see the incredible habitat restoration of BirdLife International with the help of Swarovski Optik to help the critically endangered socialable lapwing and test out a new spotting scope. If you ever want to feel like the last person on the planet, Kazakhstan is the place to be, though even in the Tien Shan Mountains, I couldn't escape western pop culture. And for females planning to travel there...be prepared for little to no restrooms

I would go back to this ruggedly beautiful country again in a heartbeat. All the posts for Kazakhstan are here.