Imagine being in one of the world’s best spots for visible migration, in right time, surrounded by talented and inspiring birdwatchers and doing this for good cause – doesn’t that sound good? Well, this is what Champions of the Flyway is about. It is a fund raiser against illegal killing of the migratory birds around the Mediterranean Sea and a famous bird race, which takes place in southern Israel each March. The Zeiss Arctic Redpolls is one of the teams that Zeiss Sport Optics has supported during many years.
We are a group of 4 birdwatchers from Finland. We had scored the 2nd place on 2015 and 1st place on 2016, so the burden of winning had worn off. We aimed to have a nice intensive day of birdwatching and lots of good time. We were also putting the new Gavia Conquest spotting scope on a hard test.
Will it be an asset in the game or should it be dumped? Well, we got what we aimed for and more – here is how it all rolled out.
ZEISS supports the Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour
The inaugural Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour took place in northwestern Honduras from November 4 to 12, 2016.
Five teams of ten birders, and two guides birded during proscribed hours each day, rotating between some of Honduras’ most famous birding hotspots, including Santa Barbara, Pico Bonito, and Meambar Blue Mountain national parks as well as Lake Yojoa, the Lancetilla Botanical Gardens, and the Mayan ruins at Copán.
The purpose of the tour was to raise awareness of the birding opportunities in Honduras, to encourage more eco- and avitourism there, and to raise money and awareness for conservation of Honduran birds and habitat. Everyone – from tour organizers to guides to participants to the Honduran government and the national media outlets – seemed to agree that the inaugural Honduras Birding for Conservation Tour (HBCT) was a grand success. Carl Zeiss Sports Optics was a major sponsor of the tour – more about that later on in this post.
Come see the Carl ZEISS Sports Optics team at the American Birding Expo, September 16 to 18, 2016, at the Grange Insurance Audubon Society/Scioto Audubon MetroPark in downtown Columbus, Ohio in the United States.
Not only can you see the entire ZEISS line of premier optics at the Expo, you can also enjoy the exquisite original artwork of Catherine Hamilton, one of five ZEISS Birding Ambassadors worldwide.
Welcome to the new ZEISS Nature Blog where you will find the latest stories about nature observation and birding.
Discover the unique world of birds, exciting travel destinations and helpful tips and tricks from our nature and birding experts - your outdoor adventure starts here.
To help you experience nature at first hand, we are giving away a pair of the latest ZEISS Victory SF binoculars. Look and identify the birds to be in the image with the chance of winning a pair of the latest ZEISS Victory SF binoculars.
Champions of the Flyway is an international bird race for conservation. All teams are competing to raise the greatest amount of conservation funding. Its primary purpose is to celebrate the extraordinary miracle of bird migration. The teams arrive in Eilat a few days prior to the race day.
There is one full day of touring the best sites in the Negev and the Arava Valley enabling all participants to get a good feel of the “playing field” and practical and logistical issues, led by Israel’s top birders. The following days, the teams explore the field on their own to plan their route for the race day.
The Zeiss Arctic Redpolls was one of the three teams sponsored by Zeiss Sports Optics in the famous Champions of the Flyway bird race and conservation event, on 29th March in southern Israel. Our team of four enthusiast birders and ornithologists (team captain Roni Väisänen, Jarkko Santaharju, William Velmala and Vilppu Välimäki) from Finland,
at the northern end of the Eurasian–African flyway, hooked up for the second time in this year’s race. With silver medals in our pocket from last year, some pressure for winning was put on our shoulders by other contestants.
It’s still dark here this morning, and there’s a Blue-crowned Motmot woot-wooting in the shadows 6 feet from my open window. There’s a Great Potoo out there sqwaunking, too, and a few Brown-jays are starting up. I can hear footsteps on our decks as birders awaken, as well, to start a new day here at Pico Bonito Lodge, Honduras.
There are quite a few birders with us this week, and many are friends, including a group from England and another with Zeiss and Eagle Optics from the U.S.A. Even though it’s only 6 a.m., I know from the dawn chorus out there that this is going to be a great day in the rain forest.
The Zeiss/Bird Watcher’s Digest Way-Off Coursers came back to the Champions of the Flyway after a year’s hiatus. But this year we had a new strategy in mind: less driving, more birding. After being the only team to do a north-to-south route for the 2014 race—a strategy which won the
2015 Champions event for the Leica/Cape May Bird Observatory American Dippers—the Coursers, with a revised line-up, decided to do a green big day at the Eilat Birdwatching Park, also known as the International Birding & Research Centre, Eilat.