Cyclo-twitching

Throughout our cycle touring experiences we’ve found a bike to be a fantastic way to see bird-life and wild-life. This page contains any nice photos we manage to take in focus. Where official names are lacking, vague descriptions have to do.

Reflections of a Lagoon, Telchac Puerto, Yucatan

Wildlife of the Cruise and the UK
Wildlife of the Iguazu Falls
Wildlife of South Argentina
Wildlife of South Chile
Wildlife of Mid Argentina
Wildlife of Mid Chile
Wildlife of Northern Argentina
Wildlife of Bolivia
Wildlife of Peru
Wildlife of Ecuador
Wildlife of Colombia
Wildlife of Costa Rica
Wildlife of Nicaragua
Wildlife of El Salvador and Honduras
Wildlife of Guatemala
Wildlife of Belize
Wildlife of Mexico

Wildlife of the Cruise and the UK
Apart from a few dolphins and many flying fish, the cruise was fairly nondescript nature-wise…the UK was a different matter though: Practically the first animal we saw was a wildebeest, then a giraffe! Turned out we were cycling past a zoo!

Wildlife of the Cruise and the UK

Fluffy cattle egret in Recife

Fluffy cattle egret in Recife

Cloud of flying fish escape the cruise boat

Cloud of flying fish escape the cruise boat ship

Welcome home to the UK!

Welcome home to the UK!

Yellow Wagtail

Yellow Wagtail

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Brighton Seagulls

Brighton Seagulls

The tasty Pheasant

The tasty Pheasant

Red-legged Partridges

Red-legged Partridges

Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer

Family of Ducks

Family of Ducks

Swallow

Swallow

Unicorn Deer

Unicorn Deer

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail

Mr Turkey

Mr Turkey

Back on the altiplano with the alpacas!

Back on the altiplano with the alpacas!

Jenny Wren

Jenny Wren

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Snakeshead Frittilaries

Snakeshead Frittilaries

Wildlife of the Iguazu Falls
The Iguazu Falls (particularly on the Argentinean side) were rich in wildlife as we ventured into the jungle again:

Wildlife of the Iguazu Falls

Coatis playing in Brasil

Coatis playing in Brasil

Vultures swirl around the falls

Vultures swirl around the falls

Wildlife becomes more abundant and a little tamer in Argentina!

Wildlife becomes more abundant and a little tamer in Argentina!

Butterfly party1

Butterfly party1

Butterfly party2

Butterfly party2

Butterfly party3

Butterfly party3

Quite a lot of butterflies!

Quite a lot of butterflies!

Wildlife of the Iguazu Falls

Spiders in the sky

Spiders in the sky

Big big fish

Big big fish

1 of the 40,000,000 caymans in the Parana region

1 of the 40,000,000 caymans in the Parana region

Pretty magpie bird

Pretty magpie bird

3-legged terrapin

3-legged terrapin

Spider found some food

Spider found some food

Daddy and baby spiders

Daddy and baby spiders

Rainbow lizards

Rainbow lizards

Lichenous lizard

Lichenous lizard


Wildlife of South Argentina

The pampa of Southern Argentina (and a bit of Chile) didn’t offer much hiding space for animals and birds, and as such it was a veritable safari at times! Here are just some of the things we saw:

South Argentinian Wildlife

Starling-sized robin-type bird -  very tame

Starling-sized robin-type bird – very tame

Evidence of woodpeckers are everywhere

Evidence of woodpeckers are everywhere

Thrush-type bird in morning light

Thrush-type bird in morning light

A relative of the House leek high in the Andes

A relative of the House leek high in the Andes

Magellanic woodpeckers

Magellanic woodpeckers

Pampa foxes

Pampa foxes

Magellanic goose and its young

Magellanic goose and its young

Sparrow and the Perito Moreno glacier

Sparrow and the Perito Moreno glacier

Guanaco safari - Torres Del Paine

Guanaco safari – Torres Del Paine

The flame tree flower

The flame tree flower

Hawk and Lago Pehoe - Torres Del Paine

Hawk and Lago Pehoe – Torres Del Paine

Magellanic goose close-up - Torres Del Paine

Magellanic goose close-up – Torres Del Paine

Cormerants on the Puerto Natales sea-front

Cormerants on the Puerto Natales sea-front

Flamingos once again

Flamingos once again

A ñyandu (rhea) – an ostrich-like bird of the pampa

A ñyandu (rhea) – an ostrich-like bird of the pampa

Playful dolphins on the way ferry to Tierra Del Fuego

Playful dolphins on the way ferry to Tierra Del Fuego

Pampa fox-cub at the King Penguin Colony

Pampa fox-cub at the King Penguin Colony

King Penguins go on an Easter egg hunt

King Penguins go on an Easter egg hunt


Wildlife of South Chile
On the carretera austral we saw many more condors, but also a fair amount of other wildlife…here it is:

South Chilean Wildlife

Pine-marten near Puyahuapi

Pine-marten near Puyahuapi

Dolphin looking for escaped fish-farmed salmon near Puyahapi

Dolphin looking for escaped fish-farmed salmon near Puyahapi

Grebes on Lago Las Torres

Grebes on Lago Las Torres

Small bird in Villa Cerro Castillo

Small bird in Villa Cerro Castillo

Bright orange bumblebee

Bright orange bumblebee

The mighty condor

The mighty condor


Wildlife of Mid Argentina
More photos of our wildlife on our travels, the stand-out part being the gold-leaf mushrooms around Bariloche and El Bolson.

Mid Argentinean Wildlife

The gold-leaf mushrooms of mid-Argentina

The gold-leaf mushrooms of mid-Argentina

A close-up of one of the gold-leaf mushrooms

A close-up of one of the gold-leaf mushrooms

Just one of many thorny plants in Argentina waiting for your tyres!

Just one of many thorny plants in Argentina waiting for your tyres!

Gorgeous coloured grebe in Lago Faulkner

Gorgeous coloured grebe in Lago Faulkner

Geese!

Geese!

Crested Cara Cara

Crested Cara Cara

Lupins and lake

Lupins and lake

Small delicate alpine flowers near Dedo Gordo hut

Small delicate alpine flowers near Dedo Gordo hut

The laughing ibis...how could we forget you!

The laughing ibis…how could we forget you!

Barking up the wrong tree

Barking up the wrong tree

Beachside flowers

Beachside flowers

Unknown climbing flower by the side of road

Unknown climbing flower by the side of road

Grouse-like bird with it's running baby!

Grouse-like bird with it’s running baby!


Wildlife of Mid Chile
Unlike other parts of the trip, where the wildlife we’ve seen has mainly been full of surprises, there were two wildlife destinations to visit in Mid Chile: Valdivia and its sea-lions, and Chiloe with its penguins.

Mid Chilean Wildlife

Philosophical sea-lion in Valdivia

Philosophical sea-lion in Valdivia

Hungry sea-lion

Hungry sea-lion

Sea-gull

Sea-gull, some things never change!

Pelican waiting for scraps, fish market Valdivia

Pelican waiting for scraps, fish market Valdivia

The turkey vulture has been following us South all the way from Mexico

The turkey vulture has been following us South all the way from Mexico

guinea-fowl type birds in Valdivia

guinea-fowl type birds in Valdivia

A coypu forges across the Rio Maulin as we cross with our bikes

A coypu forges across the Rio Maulin as we cross with our bikes

Wild rocket with the port of Ancud, Chiloe

Wild rocket with the port of Ancud, Chiloe

Magellanic penguins greet us to their island with noisy cries

Magellanic penguins greet us to their island with noisy cries

Cormorants sheltering on the cliffs of Chiloe

Cormorants sheltering on the cliffs of Chiloe

Penguins are perpetually leaving the water...

Penguins are perpetually leaving the water…

...and entering the water

…and entering the water

A sea-otter relaxes on the rocks

A sea-otter relaxes on the rocks

Noisy and different bird in Castro

Noisy and different bird in Castro

Black-headed swans and their cygnets

Black-headed swans and their cygnets

Flowers of the Chilean Araucania

Flowers of the Chilean Araucania

Orchids of Chile and Argentina

Orchids of Chile and Argentina

Colourful beetle

Colourful beetle

Brave robin-like bird

Brave robin-like bird

Blue-winged beetle

Blue-winged beetle

Magellanic (Woody) woodpecker

Magellanic (Woody) woodpecker

Patagonian finch

Patagonian finch

Red-throated bird

Red-throated bird

More parrots (Argentina)

More parrots (Argentina)

Wildlife of Northern Argentina
The wildlife of Northern Argentina surprised us, as so much of it was desert-like scrubland. As ever, parrots filled the skies, and the humming-bird hummed even this far South. More spectacular though was the entrance of the Condor into our trip, a truly majestic bird.

Northern Argentinian Wildlife

This cactus looks surprised to see us on Ruta 40

Stork/crane-type bird

Parrots seem to be everywhere in Latin America

Beautiful and tame bird in Amaicha campsite

Cactus flowers

The spider that interrupted our pleasant afternoon on Ruta 40

The snake that woke us up as we cycled off the next morning

The mighty condor

A type of lapwing in the Potrerillos campsite

A Guanaco on the road to Chile

Californian poppies line the road down to Los Andes

Thistle and bees


Wildlife of Bolivia
The wildlife of Bolivia was always rather shy. Given that most of our time was spent above 4000m, there wasn’t much life to see anyway. The one exception was the flamingos which were still there after our near miss at Rio Lagartos in Mexico.

Bolivian Wildlife

Lake Titicaca grebe. Our first new bird of Bolivia

Parakeets are an odd surprise on the altiplano as we take the wrong direction out of Oruro

A juvenile flamingo hasn’t learnt to be scared of cycle tourists yet and poses with its reflection

Spot the cuy….there’s a guinea pig somewhere in this photo…

On the road to Potosi, people start dressing up their animals. Here a donkey…

…There a llama

Beautiful bell flowers as we approach Tarapaya

The first humming bird we’ve seen for a while samples the same bell flowers

The willy cactus on the road to Uyuni

Cactus flowers in Pulacayo

Flamingos enjoy the hot springs too at Polques

Viscocha (half-rabbit, half-squirrel) near Laguna Verde


Wildlife of Peru

Peru had a slow start for cyclo-twitching, mainly because twitching from a bus, at night, is a bit difficult. However the trek to Machu Picchu and the ensuing ride to the Bolivian border across the altiplano around Lake Titicaca more than compensated for it

Peruvian Wildlife

Toilet-brush flowers as we ascend into the Cordillera Blanca

Orchids at Kuelap, note the ruins in the background

Some kind of ‘Bird-of-Paradise’ type-flower on the walk to Machu Picchu

Swallow/house-martin at Machu Picchu. These birds flitted around all over the place

The Machu Picchu rabbit. Rarely seen, but very special!

Beautiful river-bird on the Rio Urubamba on the walk from Machu Picchu

Parrots are hard to photograph. This is about as good as it gets!

Cattle egrets and some sort of black ibis litter the altiplano…

…So do woodpeckers for some reason (there are no trees!)

Sparrow-hawks were everywhere searching for mice in the long grass

These birds of prey manage to find a mouse

Wetlands soon appear with a multitude of ducks

Moorhens/coots are also ever present

The varied colours of the wetlands mirror the varied colour of the ducks’ bills

Collage of waterbirds

Collage of Llama-pac-unas (Llamas, Alpacas and Vicunas)


Wildlife of Ecuador

Ecuador has over 1600 species of birds, however it wasn’t till we reached the jungle South of Vilcabamba that we really stared seeing the rich wildlife this country has to offer.

Ecuadorean Wildlife

Booby and Peacock on Quito’s basilica

A small bird with a long tail taunts us from afar in a tree in Alausi

Bizarre and beautiful plant on the roads round Zhud

Peacock strutting its stuff in the American-occupied village of Vilcabamba

Two eager cyclo-twitchers on the road to Peru (photo courtesy of Dave)

As we leave civilisation behind hooded mountain tanagers appear

A masked trogon hides in the trees

Humming birds still hummed everywhere

Then the butterflies started: butterfly 1

Butterflies 2

Butterfly 3

Butterfly 4

Butterfly 5

Butterfly 6

Flower 1

Flower 2


Wildlife of Colombia

After our brief stay in the wildlife-rich Panama, we hoped to spend more time watching and photographing the wildlife of a new continent in Colombia. We weren’t disappointed, with new birds popping up all over the place, with a short walk in the Valle de Cocora being particularly memorable.

Colombian Wildlife

A sight of ‘yellow-headed blackbirds’ from a distance gives a hint of what is to come.

Buffalo lined the way to Caucasia. This one displays a splendid new hair-do

Huge lizard trying unsuccessfully to hide up a tree

Trees smothered in white, line the Cauca. Closer inspection reveals colonies of cattle egrets

Numerous types of butterfly make a return to our path. Geoff remembers seeing this one in a butterfly farm in England!

Butterfly enjoying the sun in Santa Fe de Antioquia

Valle de Cocora humming-bird feeding station: no.1

Valle de Cocora humming-bird feeding station: no.2

Valle de Cocora humming-bird feeding station: no.3

Very tame long-tailed humming-bird shows off its fantastic tail

Very tame long-tailed humming-bird shows off its fantastic head and belly!

Adorable fluffball of a sparrow poses with red hot pokers

Long-tailed humming-bird ‘au natural’

Brown humming-bird

Crimson-mantled woodpecker

Eagle (pigeon!)


Wildlife of Costa Rica

Costa Rica took wildlife to a new level, low population combined with government policies aimed at sustaining habitats mean that we saw many species once common to other Central American countries, but now only found in numbers here, especially the splendid Scarlet Macaw.

Costa Rican Wildlife

The turquoise-browed motmot posing in Liberia

Cow on road to Arenal, chewing the cud contentedly

Cormorant stretches its wings on the shores of Lago Arenal

Pretty yellow bird near Lago Arenal

Ringed kingfisher prepares to swoop on the otter-herded fish below

Another type of kingfisher on a sign

Red backed blackbird with mate

Another photo of the yellow bird by Lago Arenal

Cattle Egret living up to its name! (Cow seems to be enjoying it too)

Macaws playing in the trees above the highway

Huge crocodiles in the water near Tarcoles

Scarlet macaws exchanging an intimate moment in the trees

Big lizard in Dominical beach area

Leaf-cutter ants, Marino Ballena NP

photogenic toucan who first swooped with us on our bikes, then stopped to pose and preen


Wildlife of Nicaragua

A land of monkeys, motmots, magpie jays and maggots. Our time in Granada and Isla de Ometepe gave some time to appreciate the wildlife of Nicaragua, which while plentiful, didn’t seem as varied as other countries so far.

Nicaraguan Wildlife

A Jacana stalks the weeds of Lago Moyua

Monkey hanging around on one of the Isletas, Granada

Cows lapping up the warm water round the Isletas

Maggot remenants before the doctor intervened in Granada

Watching howler monkeys at dusk, Finca Magdalena, Isla de Ometepe

The very vocal blue magpie jay

Pet squirrel on a string by the beach on Ometepe

Brilliant-coloured crab on the beach at Playa Madera

Close-up shot of the oropendola birds in Nicaragua


Wildlife of El Salvador and Honduras

We really rushed through these countries too quick, and barring a sighting of a blue grosbeak in El Salvador (The brightest blue bird you ever did see), and motmots once out of El Salvador, we didn’t see much.

Honduran Wildlife

Mitch, the rottweiler puppy of Simon in Choluteca

The distinctive outline of the turquoise-browed motmot

One of our first glimpses of the turquoise browed motmot


Wildlife of Guatemala

Birds of Guatemala – In Guatamala the jungle had been allowed to flourish, and with it came many more sightings of parakeets and birds with strange behaviours/noises. On the way into Tikal we saw our first variety of toucan, which looked like it had got a bit carried away with the face-painting stand at the village fete. The ill-fated day to Cobán we heard a bird, which had mastered at least 8 distinct notes, and was hashing them together into a random tune of variable quality, but we have no idea what it was.

Guatemalan Birds

Toucan goes to face-paint class

The pendulum nests of the aptly named oropendola bird.

Parakeet at Tikal, they never stay still!


Wildlife of Belize

We spent a beautiful, long morning watching birds at the Crooked Tree nature reserve, and were lucky to see the majority of the birds they are famous for, including the Jaribu stork, Tiger heron, and two types of kingfisher. We also were able to get ridiculously close the a humming-bird whilst it dried itself in the sun:

Belizian Birds (and spiders)

Vultures oversee an ibis sitting awkwardly in a tree

A rufus-tailed humming bird catches its breath in the sun

Red bird, now identified as vermillion flycatcher

Little blue heron stalks the shallows

The amazing striped throat of the tiger heron

Tarantula in the tent!


Wildlife of Mexico

A world of swamps, coast, and flat flat landscapes, and lots and lots of birds! Many orioles, woodpeckers, waders, egrets, herons, bitterns, pelicans, and others. Many different colours, with crimsons and intense oranges being the most spectacular. The only wildlife we saw has been lizards, geckos and snakes. No mammals at all.

Mexican Wildlife

Crimson sparrow

Catfish surfaces from the depths of a Cenote

Birds in the bush, Coba ruins

Spot the butterfly…Coba ruins

Bird on a branch, Tulum ruins

Two iguanas beasting it out, one won, but we couldn’t tell you which!

Pelican on a stick, Rio Lagartos

Sarah and a package of Bob, Valladoloid hostel

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