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Tropical Birding Articles

From time to time, Tropical Birding guides write articles about various subjects. This page is an archive of all of our articles. These articles will open up into new browser tabs.

Tropical Birding will be 3x Carbon Negative by 2021 (PDF)

By Keith Barnes & Iain Campbell - March 2020

By 2021 Tropical Birding will NOT be Carbon Neutral. That simply wouldn’t be good enough. We will be three times better than that. For every ton of carbon that our operations add to the planet, we will be funding projects that act as a carbon sink, to the tune of three times our own emissions.

Simple Exposure: Basic Bird Photography Revealed (PDF)

By Keith Barnes - December 2019
Newbies to bird photography are often intimidated by the myriad knobs, buttons, dials, and settings that are available on most cameras, and the technical jargon that goes along with them. But 90% of photography is about understanding just three basic principles. This article unpacks the basic tools of exposure—ISO, shutter speed, and aperture—and discusses exposure compensation, which is easier than it sounds. Once you can manipulate your camera settings, you are ready to take control and determine how your photos look, rather than relying on automated functions that decide for you. This article ends with a few field techniques to make your photos “pop.”

Birding with a Camera® (PDF)

By Iain Campbell - February 16th, 2018
Read Iain’s article on a ‘gap in the market’ filled by Tropical Birding, who can cater now not only for the ‘serious birder’ and ‘keen nature photographer’, but also that gray area in between, the ‘Birding with a Camera®’ group. These people are still chasing a decent trip list, do not want to sit by feeders all day long, but want to end the trip with a nice collection of bird/nature photographs. Many people in this area the market are currently not being catered for at all, which is ironic, seeing as this is arguably the largest niche in the current, and emerging birding tour market.

Are Birder’s Having an Identity Crisis? (PDF)

By Iain Campbell - January 9th, 2018
Anyone who has gone out birding recently is sure to have noticed that birders increasingly use cameras in addition to, and sometimes as a replacement for, binoculars. Photographers are also spending more time observing birds and wildlife than they used to. Although the circumstantial evidence suggests a shift in focus within the hobby of birding, we at Tropical Birding wanted to come to a more empirical understanding of the shift, in order to best serve our clients. We did this by surveying thousands of people through our mailing lists and Facebook page, and were elated to get several hundred responses detailing people’s changing birding/wildlife watching/nature photography habits. The results left us amazed.

It’s a Family Affair (PDF)

By Sam Woods & Keith Barnes - October 2016
Attempting to see one member of each of the world’s bird families has become an increasingly popular pursuit among birders. Given that we share that aim, the two of us got together and designed what we believe is the most efficient strategy to pursue this goal.

Sparking the Passion – Kruger National Park (PDF)

By Keith Barnes - March 2016
WHEREAS some people go to mosques, temples or churches to find salvation, others have an alternative spiritual home. Mine is the Kruger National Park. I feel as though I was baptised there, married there and, if it were permitted, I would have my ashes scattered in the place. It is where my essence belongs and I would not be surprised to find that many fellow South African wildlife enthusiasts feel the same way.

Angels on Camouflage - An Appreciation of Larks – Kruger National Park (PDF)

By Keith Barnes - August 2009
Larks have inspired poets as glorious as William Wordsworth, John Milton and Percy Bysshe Shelley, yet most birders consider them only as bothersome LBJs. Much maligned, they are often viewed as little more than a boring identification chore. However, larks have a history as old as Africa itself. Some members have the most remarkable survival techniques in the avian world, and they sing and display like angels. So is there more to these sombre brown birds than first meets the eye? Shelley thought so, and so do I.

Birding the World – Strategies for the Modern Birder (PDF, 23MB)

By Keith Barnes - September/October 2008

Having reached your target number of species for your ABA list, you’ve decided to turn your attenion toward world birding. But with so many birds and destinations to choose from, where on Earth do you start? Literally. With countless birding options ranging from glittering flocks of tanagers in Ecuador, to swarms of bee-eaters swooping over riverbanks in South Africa, to pittas skulking in the bamboo forests of Malaysia, the choices are bewildering. This article plots a few strategies for seeing as many of the world’s birds as possible in the most cost-effective way.

Important Bird Areas – Conserving Africa’s hottest birding hotspots (PDF)

By Keith Barnes & Lincoln Fishpool - October 2001
Since its inception at the 1992 PAOC in Burundi, BirdLife International’s African Important Bird Areas (IBA) programme has progressed steadily. It is now on the verge of a defining moment – the launch of a continent-wide directory – in South Africa in October 2001. Here Keith Barnes and Lincoln Fishpool explain when an important bird area is an Important Bird Area and how the programme is revolutionising bird conservation throughout Africa.

Ecuador – The Andes to the Amazon (PDF)

By Keith Barnes - April 2001
In Ecuador, a country smaller than South Africa’s Northern Cape Province, 1560 bird species are crammed into a mêlée of ecosystems erupting with life. Only three other countries in the world hold more bird species, and they too are in South America, the bird continent.

Birding Taiwan (PDF)

By Keith Barnes & Christian Boix - February 2001
When the Portuguese revealed Taiwan to the western world, they dubbed it ‘Formosa’ – The Beautiful Island. Although in the modern era Taiwan is best known for its political defiance of mainland China and the electronic shopping malls of Taipei, the island has a wealth of natural resources, including some of the most stunning birds and mountain landscapes in Asia.

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