Jon and Anne's birding travels
Kinglet Calyptura Calyptura cristata
original artwork by Martin Woodcock, image copyright Jon and Anne King
the birding travels of Jon and Anne King
"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln
Success! We have completed our 37 month birding exploration of Latin America - including all 21 Middle and South American countries - by personal vehicle. This has apparently not been achieved before.
See the Blog page for our latest update. The most recent material is usually added at the top. As the blog fills up and time permits, past material is moved to its own page.
Read on below for a brief introduction to ourselves and what we are doing (good question!).
Jon is originally from the UK, and Anne from California. After 15+ years of birding, ornithological, and biological work in non-profit organisations, environmental consulting, and academia, we left our jobs in California in early 2008. We purged ourselves of many of our possessions, and put what was left over - mainly books about birds! - in storage.
Anne getting a clear idea of why it is called rainforest while searching for the rare endemic birds of south-east Brazil, November 2006; Jon captaining the good ship "Polly" when we volunteered on the Orange-bellied Parrot recovery project at Birchs Inlet, SW Tasmania, Australia, November 2009.
We travel and seek out as many of the world’s birds (and other wildlife) that we have not seen as possible, with focus on the most endangered and hardest-to-see species. When possible we undertake short studies of poorly-known birds also. Unlike most traveling birders these days we do not use guides, as we derive great satisfaction from finding our own birds. (Of course we make an exception for those few sites that do not permit access without an accompanying guide.)
Jon also photographs birds, other wildlife, scenery, and environmental issues, although the first of these less so now than in the past. He is more focused on recording bird vocalisations now, and the best of these are deposited at the global online bird sound library, www.xeno-canto.org. Recent examples of uses of some of his recordings include a graduate student project on nightingale-thrushes, a study of the vocalisations of the "Western" flycatcher complex, and major taxonomic reviews of the Rufous Antpitta group and the Immaculate Antbird group.
We also have great interest in seeing and understanding environmental projects around the World, how these work with and for the local people, how they compare between countries and regions, and the broader interaction of the themes of environment, socioeconomics, and geopolitics.
We try to connect with BirdLife International partners and other similar organisations to volunteer our services to their conservation efforts whenever possible. BirdLife, with which we are closely associated through the Rare Bird Club, is the global umbrella organisation for international bird conservation efforts.
Totally unexpectedly, our explorations began with a one-year stint working for Birds Australia, the BirdLife partner in Australia, as managers of Broome Bird Observatory in the remote northwest of the country. We greatly enjoyed our time at BBO but were anxious to start our wider travels and chose to move on in May 2009. We spent the rest of that year and early 2010 traveling throughout Australia (49,500km!) in our own Toyota Landcruiser Troopcarrier, catching up with all the endemic birds we hadn’t seen on a previous trip to Australia or during our time at Broome. We visited many exciting places, were able to volunteer on a number of endangered species projects, and made many very special friends during our time in that wonderful country.
After two years living in Australia, we spent a couple of months in early 2010 at Anne’s family base in southern California, preparing for the current phase of our travel - Latin America. After acquiring our truck and camper, waiting several weeks longer than expected for paperwork from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (!), and then packing the vehicle with what we think we’ll need for a multi-year trip, we crossed the Mexican border at Nogales, Arizona on 21st April 2010.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time ever that a complete birding expedition - including all 21 Middle and South American countries - has been undertaken by personal vehicle.
We endeavour to maintain the smallest environmental footprint that we can manage. Our (considerable) mileage is carbon offset by contributions to environmental projects that exceed the most conservative amounts indicated by several online carbon offset calculators. We try to minimise our fuel consumption by keeping below 90 kph, and we never purchase bottled water in any form, simply hyper-chlorinating tap water in the water storage tank of our camper.
Sunset over Louisa Bay, Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia, May 2009. Home to the island endemic Black-and-white Fairy Wren.
Image copyright notice
All images on this website are subject to copyright (© Jon King, unless otherwise stated). If you wish to use them, whether commercially or non-commercially, please inform Jon by email.
Images appearing on calyptura.com can be used free of charge by individuals and non-profit organisations for strictly non-commercial use. They can be linked or copied to other websites, or downloaded to personal computers. The only exception to this policy concerns non-commercial use of images by any individual or organisation promoting trade in captive birds, or any other activity deemed detrimental to wild birds and their habitats. This use is not permitted.
All other commercial use of images is unauthorized. If you would like to use images for any commercial purpose (i.e. publication in books, magazines, commercial websites, advertisements etc.), or if you are seeking higher resolution scans, slide duplicates or prints, please contact Jon by email.
Jon and Anne's birding travels