One-day birdwatching tours around Sydney
See many of Sydney's fantastically beautiful birds with this series of one-day outings which can be enjoyed individually or in combination with each other.
Perfect for interstate or overseas visitors, these full-day outings start and end at your Sydney accommodation. The exact itinerary of each tour will vary to take best advantage of seasonal changes, bird migration and recent sightings. About 300 bird species are seen in Sydney each year and we can reasonably expect to see around 50 to 75 species of birds on any given day, even in winter.
|Sydney is the perfect place to start your Australian birding holiday.|
Some of our fantastic birds include:
- Siberian shorebirds
- Black Swan
- Superb Lyrebird
- and many other endemic families
Tour 1 - North-west Sydney
This area of Sydney has a great diversity of habitats such as forest, woodland, wetland and grassland. The result is an equally great diversity of bird species. We'll look for birds such as Superb Fairy-wren, Eastern Rosella and Laughing Kookaburra in the forests, Black Swan, Chestnut Teal and Royal Spoonbill in the wetlands, while the skies above us hold many species of raptor such as Nankeen Kestrel and Wedge-tailed Eagle. This area of Sydney consistently produces the largest number of bird species in one day. Kangaroos are also seen on most trips to this area.
Tour 2 - South Sydney
Today we'll search for Superb Lyrebird, Green Catbird, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and New Holland Honeyeater in a mixture of habitats from temperate rainforest to coastal heathland. We'll have a chance to look for seabirds such as Australasian Gannet from Sydney's spectacular cliffs plus we'll look for the stunning Azure Kingfisher as it dives for fish in a freshwater creek. We'll also have time to look for Bar-tailed Godwit and Caspian Tern on the shores of Botany Bay.
Tour 3 - North Sydney
The principal attraction in this area is a rock platform jutting out into the ocean. At low tide we will walk out looking for seabirds such as Crested Tern and shorebirds such as Sooty Oystercatcher and Ruddy Turnstone. The area also has forests and a wetland allowing us to search for small bush birds like Spotted Pardalote and Brown Thornbill and colourful birds like Rainbow Lorikeet.
Tour 4 - City Parks and Gardens
Closer to the CBD are parks and gardens which have large numbers of water birds such as ducks, ibis and Black Swan. In summer we will also look for shorebirds such as godwits and sandpipers. The parks usually have concrete pathways so are ideal for those who are less mobile.
Itineraries are flexible so we can seek out birds on your wish list. Naturally, sightings of particular species can not be guaranteed but we'll give it our best shot.
What to expect
Each day will usually start around 7am when you are picked up from your accommodation. Have breakfast beforehand or bring it with you to eat on the way. Peak hour traffic can slow us up but we should be birding by 7.30am or 8.00am depending how far we need to drive.
Morning tea is included in the price. Tea, coffee, juice, biscuits and fruit will be provided. We'll have lunch in a spot where we'll be able to continue birdwatching. A picnic style lunch is also included in the price.
We return to your accommodation about 4pm.
The price of the tour includes transport for the day, entrance fees, guiding services, use of telescope and field guides plus morning tea and lunch. In summer, because we start early, it will also include breakfast. It does not include dinner nor does it include your accommodation.
Summer in Sydney can sometimes be very hot particularly in the afternoon. This makes birdwatching uncomfortable and often not very productive because many birds will be sitting quietly in the shade. So from November to February we start at 6am (or even earlier) and do most of our birdwatching in the cool of the morning. We return to your accommodation about 3pm.
We will often be walking on bush tracks which occasionally can be rough, rocky and muddy. Participants need to be of reasonable fitness and capable of walking unassisted. Usually we will stroll for short distances at a number of locations throughout the day. We do not 'bush bash' nor do we go on lengthy marches.
What to bring
Participants should bring a pair of binoculars. Feel free to bring your own telescope although one is available for you to use. A field guide is useful (see recommendations below) although a selection is available for you to read. Sun screen, insect repellent, hat, water bottle, sensible footwear for walking and a rain jacket are recommended.
Prices (Australian Dollars)
|Prices per day:
||One person $330.00
||Two people $330.00 (i.e. $165 each)
||Three people $360.00 (i.e. $120 each)
||Four people $400.00 (i.e. $100 each)
About Your Guide - Andrew Patrick
Andrew Patrick is the author of Birds of Sydney - Two and a Half Centuries of Birdwatching, an annotated list of all species seen in Sydney since 1770. Andrew also created and hosted Australia's first and only birdwatching TV series "Let's Go Birdwatching". He is an occasional radio guest plus he conducts beginner outings and bird surveys for several Sydney councils.
Andrew is a former Vice President of the Cumberland Bird Observers Club in Sydney and has led outings for the club since 1999. He has been a professional bird guide since 2003 and has a particular interest in teaching beginners and members of the public the practicalities of birdwatching as well as showing them the beauty of Australian birds.
Andrew has participated in numerous conservation projects. He has helped reintroduce Gouldian Finches at Mareeba Wetlands, planted trees for Regent Honeyeaters in the Capertee Valley, searched for Gould's Petrel nests on Cabbage Tree Island, surveyed Ground Parrots at Barren Grounds Nature Reserve and monitored nesting behaviour of Little Terns at Nowra.
As well as travelling extensively around Australia, Andrew's zest for birds has also taken him to New Zealand and Antarctica. He has recently surveyed shorebirds in South Korea.
"We wish we had your skills at identifying species by sound plus your speed at spotting birds. May we thank you most sincerely for your time and detailed local knowledge. The day spent with you was one of the most memorable of our holiday."
Ian and Barbara, UK
"Thank you very much for your excellent guiding services. I was astounded by the number of new birds that I was able to photograph, thanks to you."
"I had a wonderful time and look forward on scheduling another outing the next time I am in Sydney."
"I want to thank you for those 4 wonderful days. Not knowing your birds, I would have missed a lot without you. I was very happy with what we saw and came home with many beautiful images. You have admirable skill as a birder and I truly appreciate your knowledge of the various habitats in and around Sydney."
"Thanks again for the special day. The whole group commented on how they appreciated learning so much and the very wonderful way to see the colorful birds in their habitat."
"Thanks again for an amazing day birding on Wednesday. 69 was a fantastic number of species."
"Thanks again for a great day out yesterday - about 76 birds by my count - and 57 of those were lifers for me! So I am well chuffed."
"It was a pleasure to go bird watching with you. Thank you for showing us all the beautiful places as well as many birds that we wanted to see. Also thank you for breakfast and lunch."
"Just about to fly out of Sydney and would like to say a big thank you for an excellent day's birding, and providing us with an excellent lunch."
"You gave us a tremendous start to our trip. We really appreciated your skill and dedication. All three days out were delightful. Thank you very much. I reckoned you found us 106 species as well as taking us to some lovely locations. And managing to see dolphins just before we left you was quite a coup."
"Thank you again for a wonderful birding experience during our 3-day stay in Sydney. We saw and photographed so many beautiful birds thanks to your expert guidance."
"Even though it's been a few months since our 2-day Australia birding adventure with you, we are still talking about it. It was the highlight of our vacation. My mother and I have discussed returning to Sydney, primarily to go birding with you again. Your birding skills are really superb. We saw so many more species than we thought we would. In addition, we truly enjoyed your company and the wonderful snacks and lunches you provided for us! We sincerely hope to see you again in the future. We wish you all the best. Thank you again for such a wonderful experience."
Julia and Ruth, USA
"Bobby and I want to thank you so much for an excellent day's birding. We had such clear views of some of the species, which have made a lasting impression on us. We both appreciated your expertise and patience and also the care and concern shown to us with regard to our meals that day. Altogether, an experience which has whetted our appetite to return for more."
Isobel and Bobby, UK
"Am so glad I booked the three days with you, as these were the highlight of my trip and I would have missed so much without the birding side. Thank you for your expert knowledge and for taking me not only to the best birding sights but for giving me an overview of the outskirts of Sydney."
"If you want a friendly, relaxed and pleasant introduction to Sydney's birds and native environment then look no further than Andrew at Zest for Birds, a great value day out that really puts the nature back into travelling, and fun into bird watching."
More testimonials are on TripAdvisor. Click here.
Australian Field Guides
A list of recommended Australian Field Guides can be found at the Cumberland Bird Observers website. Click here.