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Birding Transatlantic Cruise Dec, 2013

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This was the 18-day Pacific Princess Transatlantic Cruise in December 2013. Birding wasn't a focus on this trip but I don’t travel without binoculars and field guide. Besides the limitations of birding on a cruise, short time ashore, mostly in cities, etc., December was a poor time of year.


Civitavecchia (Near Rome): Spent a short time here to embark. Yellow-Legged Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls.

Naples: Went to Pompeii and walked waterfront. Yellow-Legged Gulls, Common Chaffinch, European Robin, Great Cormorant, House Sparrow, Common Starling, Rock Pigeon, Blackcap.

Trapani: Two hour walk along water, short walk into town. Common Sandpiper, Common Starling, Yellow-Legged Gulls, Rock Pigeon, Slender-Billed Gull, Great Cormorant, House Sparrow.

Barcelona: Short walk in park, city ride, birded from ship. Great Cormorant, Chiffchaff, Rock Pigeons, Common Starlings, Yellow-Legged Gulls, Black-Headed Gull, Collared Dove.

Gibraltar: I made arrangements to go for a birding and general tour of Gibraltar with Andy Fortuna of Aviantours, http://aviantours.net/. Andy was waiting when we got off the ship and we started by driving part way up the “rock” and walking the rest. After birding, exploring, and enjoying the view we birded a park in town and then made our way down the coast to Europa Point. Blue tit, Yellow-Legged Gull, Common Chaffinch, Barbary Partridge, European Shag, Great Cormorant, Sandwich Tern, Blue Rock Thrush, Sardinian Warbler, Spotless Starling, Common Starling, European Serin, European Greenfinch, Northern Gannet, Common Kestrel, European Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, White Wagtail, Winter Wren, Common Stonechat. We would have seen more birds if we’d gone to Spain and viewed some wetlands but we had to be back at the ship by 3:00 P.M. Gibraltar was the best birding of the trip and, especially if you are there during migration, I strongly recommend Aviantours.

Funchal, Madeira: Went to a small park near the port, walked downtown, and took the cable car to the botanical garden. Blackcap, Common Kestrel, Yellow-Legged Gull, Rock Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Trocaz Pigeon. (I was told the best spot in town for Trocaz Pigeon and Madeira Firecrest was at the top of the cable car.)

Bermuda: Walked around town, birded coming and going. Great Kiskadee, Rock Pigeon, Common Starling, Great Blue Heron, Ring-Billed Gull, American Crow.


The days at sea were a bust for birding and wildlife. In the Mediterranean I only saw a few Yellow-Legged Gulls. Crossing the Atlantic for 7 days I only saw two unknown gulls, a Northern Gannet, two unknown Petrels, and a pod of Atlantic Spinner Dolphins.


I only have good things to say about the Pacific Princess. The staff worked hard to keep us happy. The entertainment was the best I’ve ever had on a cruise ship.

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  • 5 months later...

If you're a birder, the most varied birds I've ever seen on any trip was doing New Zealand during their spring (Autumn in America). The bird songs seem everywhere as they are courting, and the bell bird's is especially lovely. We did both islands on a self drive tour of five weeks. I made a collage poster of most of the bird photos that I took, and I had about 50 to choose from.

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Noodles84, what were some of the birds?


Hi, We saw the following: tomtits, sparrows, wood pigeons, parakeets, pied shags, godwits, knots, tui, kakapo (this was in a zoo), red and black billed gulls (different from ours), oystercatchers, falcon, white and reef heron, gannet, paradise ducks, black swans, Canada geese, g:rolleyes:reen finch, albatross, weka (so cute, tried to jump in our car) pukekos (everywhere, quite common). We did not see the little blue penguins as they were out at sea, and the only kiwis we saw were in a breeding station, as they are very rare to sight. There were others, but this is all I can recall from my photos. Many were doing their mating songs and we saw some herons at their nest. Like I said, I'm not a birder, so I had to keep asking the locals what the birds were. Cheers, Nicole

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