If you had an entire year to pursue your passion, what would you do with it? For Noah Strycker, there was no question. He spent all of 2015 trekking the planet, sleeping on buses and trains, crashing on sofas (and occasionally, the odd hotel bed) and searching for birds on every continent.
Traversing more than 40 countries, the already-influential ornithologist set a new world record for most species seen in a calendar year on that trip. Up before dawn each day, Noah saw 6,042 varieties--more than half the earth’s bird species--and met local birders around the world. It’s a story he shares in his in his soon-to-be-released third book, Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World.
Ornithologist Noah Strycker at a King Penguin colony in South Georgia. Photo: Noah Strycker
An experienced guide with Quark Expeditions, Noah is excited to join us for a brand new sub-polar adventure, and you don’t need to spare a year to join him!
The inaugural South Georgia to Cape Verde: Secret Islands, Rare Birds, and Legendary Explorers expedition embarks from Ushuaia, Argentina in March 2018. It’s a 33-day avian adventure from the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, to the Tristan da Cunha Islands, St. Helena Island, Ascension and Boatswain Bird Islands, and on to disembark at Cape Verde.
Passengers on board the South Georgia to Cape Verde expedition will explore some of the world’s most remote Atlantic islands, from South Georgia and the Falkland Islands to the Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Islands.
Noah will be guiding and lecturing onboard throughout this exciting opportunity to explore some of the most remote islands in the Atlantic, seeking out rare and varied birdlife as you go. This week, he shared his excitement about the upcoming voyage with us.
Noah: “I’d have to say I’m most excited to visit the Tristan da Cunha Islands for the first time. They’re just so exotic! We’re talking about the world’s most remote inhabited islands, and being able to explore that history, culture and birdlife is a rare opportunity.
Wandering Albatross perform a courtship dance on the island of South Georgia, our first birding destination on the South Georgia to Cape Verde expedition. Photo: Noah Strycker
It’s a part of the British territory of St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, although Ascension Island is well over 3,500 km (2,175 miles) north of Tristan da Cunha. We have a lot of ocean to cover, and that presents fantastic opportunities to see a variety of seabirds.”
Noah: “I expect we may see close to 50 variety of tube-nosed seabirds, including prions, albatross and more.
A light-mantled albatross (also known as the grey-mantled albatross or the light-mantled sooty albatross) soars over the surface of the Atlantic. Photo: Noah Strycker
I can’t think of another trip where you’d see that many. The upper decks and open bridge on Ocean Adventurer are great places to photograph seabirds, as well. A polarizing lens is a good addition to your photo bag on this expedition, to cut the glare and reflection as you’re capturing birds in flight over the water.
All the while, we’re following in the footsteps of great explorers like Sir Ernest Shackleton, with fantastic historians on board to help bring these stories to life. It’s a really diverse expedition and we’re there to help interpret what you’re seeing and experiencing, so you really get the most out of it.”
Noah: “One of the cool things about the progression of this trip is that we’ll have the opportunity to see a cross-section of birds living in very different regions, as we traverse from the polar regions through the Atlantic islands and towards the equator.
Southern Rockhopper penguins walk the beach in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), an early destination on the South Georgia to Cape Verde expedition. Photo: Noah Strycker
For example, we could see southern Rockhopper penguins in the Falkland Islands, then encounter their northern counterparts in the Tristan da Cunha Islands. You could also see Magellanic and Gentoo penguins in the Falklands.
Once you get to South Georgia, you'll see hundreds of thousands of King Penguins in massive rookeries.
King penguins stand shoulder to shoulder on South Georgia, overwhelming visitors with their incessant calls, powerful smells and sheer beauty. Photo: Noah Strycker
Macaroni and Chinstrap penguins call South Georgia home, as well as half the world’s population of Antarctic prion.
We could see some endemic species as well, like the South Georgia Pipit".
The South Georgia Pipit is one of the prize endemic species you might see on the South Georgia to Cape Verde expedition. Photo: Noah Strycker
Noah: “Nothing is ever guaranteed on a birding adventure, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get in position for some epic birding. I’ve been to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia several times and am excited to share these pristine and ecologically diverse destinations with other birders.
But I’ve never been to Tristan da Cunha, so this is a first for me, as well! Is there anything better than making those discoveries and sharing the best finds with like minds?”
Want to learn more about the upcoming South Georgia to Cape Verde expedition?
- Explore the South Georgia to Cape Verde: Secret Islands, Rare Birds, and Legendary Explorers itinerary
- Learn more about Noah and his birding achievements in Polar Bird-Watching with Record-Setting Ornithologist Noah Strycker
- Reserve your cabin aboard South Georgia to Cape Verde: Secret Islands, Rare Birds, and Legendary Explorers now
About the Author
Amanda is Director of Marketing at Quark Expeditions, a recent MBA grad, and a practitioner of positive psychology. In addition to her passion for travel, Amanda brings to Quark her belief that travel helps people push their growth boundaries, both literally and figuratively, and is always looking to connect with like-minded individuals.More Content by Amanda Wells
Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn here.