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Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands Bird Watching Tour

Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island Bird Watching Tour
When: Tue 8 Nov - Tue 22 Nov 2022
Leader: Chris Doughty
Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island Bird Watching Tour
Perth/Perth $5,920
Single Room Supplement $1,580
Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island Bird Watching Tour
On this exciting tour we have two whole weeks to explore the little-known islands of Cocos Keeling and Christmas Island. Both groups of islands are Australian Indian Ocean Territories, and both are situated in the northern Indian Ocean. These small, remote and almost-forgotten islands rise out of a deep blue sea, covered in tropical rainforests; which harbour a sprinkling of endemic and near-endemic birds, ringed by walls of fossilised coral and surrounded by the sparkling blue waters of the Indian Ocean. The rich and well-protected rainforests of Christmas Island are home to the entire world populations of the endangered Abbott's Booby, Christmas Island Frigatebird and the extraordinary Golden Tropicbird, a race of the White-tailed Tropicbird. The island is also home to three endemic species of land birds: Christmas Imperial Pigeon, Christmas Boobook and Christmas White-eye. We have allowed ample time to ensure we locate and enjoy all of the special birds on both island groups. On Christmas Island we will also be able to witness the remarkable mass crab migration, the most amazing crab spectacle on earth. At this time of year crabs are not the only creatures on the move; literally millions of birds from the central Siberian Plateau and the Soviet Far East, have no option but to migrate southwards, to wintering grounds, in Southeast Asia; in what is, without a doubt, one of the most spectacular and awe-inspiring spectacles in the natural world. The fact that literally millions of small birds pit their wits against the elements, and accomplish, as routine, a journey of several thousand kilometres, twice a year, year after year, is simply astonishing. Each autumn, a handful of the many millions of birds on migration, 'overshoot' their regular wintering grounds and find refuge, amongst the vastness of the Indian Ocean, on both Cocos (Keeling) and Christmas Islands. The Cocos (Keeling) islands are so remote, it is amazing that any land-based birds reach there at all. However, they do so, and at very regular intervals, and finding one or two of them, is one of the main goals of the tour. Just some of the vagrants that have occurred on these two island groups include Chinese Pond Heron, Malayan Night Heron, Schrenck's Bittern, Eurasian Teal, Crested Honey Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Hobby, Watercock, Eurasian Moorhen, Pin-tailed Snipe, Red-collared Dove, Large Hawk-Cuckoo, Asian Koel, Grey Nightjar, Himalayan Swiftlet, House Swift, Common Kingfisher, Asian House Martin, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Blue Rock Thrush, Narcissus Flycatcher, Tiger Shrike and Daurian Starling, to name just some of them. On this tour we can have the very real expectation, and the added excitement, of finding an extreme rarity, or perhaps even a species of bird which has not previously been recorded in Australian territory. Come and enjoy this Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island bird watching tour with us.
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