Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 30 of 67

sula where landmarks like the Lemaire Channel, Gerlache Strait, Wilhelmina Bay, Paradise Harbor, Neko Harbor, and Deception Island are clustered. Longer tours may push south of the Antarctic Circle, east to the Antarctic Sound and north to Elephant Island, depending on the itinerary. Dozens of other sites have equal potential for wildlife and scen - ery, so don't be surprised if destinations change en route—flexibility is key when operating in unpredictable conditions. Besides penguins, the other Antarctic birds are widespread and easy to learn. Snowy Sheathbills, like white pigeons, skitter underfoot as they scavenge pen - guin guano and other delectable snacks. The wonderfully named Antarctic Shag, a cormorant relative, is common throughout the region, as are Cape Pe- trels, Southern Fulmars, and Wilson's Storm-Petrels. Brown and South Po- lar skuas patrol most sites, with a hy- brid zone that seems designed to mys- tify birders, and Southern Giant-Petrels lumber around the beaches with an oc- casional white morph thrown in. Lucky observers might spot an Antarctic Petrel, and the achingly pure Snow Petrel—the so-called "Angel of the Antarctic"— manifests like a polar spirit around large bergs and pack ice. Antarctica hosts other animals, too: humpback and minke whales; leopard, crabeater, Weddell, and elephant seals; Antarctic fur seals; and furtive pods of orcas. Zodiac excursions target all of these along with the birds, with good chances for close encounters by land and sea. You might also be able to go kayak - ing, stand-up paddleboarding, camping, snowshoeing, and polar plunging—and attend an outdoor barbecue. More than any species or adventure option, Antarctica is ultimately about 29 January 2019 | Birder's Guide to Travel

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