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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/1072320

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60 Birder's Guide to Travel | January 2019 Preparing for Your Trip for easy access and to save space. As an added benefit, a neck pillow can double as a photography "bean bag" to stabilize your camera when you're photographing from a vehicle—something you will no doubt be doing on an African birding safari. 2 • Entertainment. Bring something to do. A good book or two, magazines, a Kindle, a crossword puzzle book, an iPad, a lap- top, or whatever you like to do. Staying busy helps pass time, and an airplane is an awfully good place to catch up on your backlog of magazines. A long flight is also a good time to cram for you trip, review the itinerary and trip checklist, study the field guide, and read up on the culture and history of your destination. you need it when you land, for example, if your guide or driver is unexpectedly late. (You also don't want your cords to get tangled; use cord wraps for that.) Many long-haul planes have USB outlets at the seats, so bring chargers. I also bring a por- table charger, in case there's no USB outlet at the seat (or it doesn't work). Some of your layover airports will have USB out - lets, too, but some won't, so a portable charger keeps you from having to carry an electrical adapter in your carry-on bags. Also make sure everything is fully charged when you leave home! 5 • Water and snacks. A reusable wa- ter bottle is good to bring on an overseas birding trip, especially if the tap water is drinkable. Nowadays, most airports have water fountains specifically for filling water n If you are lamenting the long travel time to get to South Africa, just think of migrant birds, like this European Roller, that do it entirely under their own power. Photo © Josh Engel n The author carries two backpacks on the plane. One serves as a daypack during the tip; the other is a camera bag. The most important contents of these bags are displayed here. Photo © Josh Engel 3 • Good headphones. Taking advantage of the entertainment options on the back of the seat in front of you also helps pass the time. These days, the selections of movies and TV programs on long-haul flights is enough to keep you entertained from take - off to landing. But because airplanes are so loud, you usually have to watch with your headphones on full volume, which is nei - ther a fun experience nor ideal for sustain- ing a future of hearing Cedar Waxwings. Good headphones can make a big difference. High-quality, noise-canceling headphones are the best choice, and abso - lutely worth the extra cost (I use Bose QuietComfort ® 20). Noise- canceling headphones double as very effective ear plugs, which can help you get some sleep (but see #4). 4 • Charging cables for your elec- tronics. You don't want your device to run out of power and be stuck without it. And you don't want your phone to run out of power if Continued on page 62

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