Birding by Kayak: Top Spots to Find Feathered Friends

If you’re an avid birder, no doubt you’re always looking for incredible new places to spy feathered friends. Birding by kayak gives you the chance to enjoy two hobbies at the same time. Plus, it’s often easier to spot those elusive marine species from out on the water. Pack the binoculars and get set to explore top birdwatching paradises. 

Birding by Kayak: Where to Go

Everglades National Park, Florida, USA

From the wood stork to the great blue heron and the reddish egret, Florida’s Everglades National Park features more than 350 bird species to discover. Best of all, canoe and kayak trails guide you through the park, whether you want to go birding by kayak for a day or a take a camping trip in the Backcountry. Launch your yak at Nine Mile Pond or paddle through the mangroves of Hell’s Bay. 

Cape May, New Jersey, USA

Cape May is a famous birding paradise and there’s no better way to spot shorebirds than from out on the water. Explore the harbour, creeks and Cape May Canal. Depending on what time of year you visit, expect to spot bald eagles, black skimmers, piping plovers, ospreys and so many more. If you’re looking for a new recreational kayak, the Sun Dolphin Aruba is a great all-rounder for different bodies of water. 

Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, England

Birding by kayak around the chalk cliffs of the RSPB nature reserve at Bempton Cliffs is an unforgettable experience. It’s home to England’s largest seabird colony during spring and summer, with more than 200,000 seabirds flocking to the region to breed. Get yourself an excellent pair of binoculars, like Celestron Nature.  Then, get an up-close look at gannets, puffins, kittiwakes and guillemots. 

The Farne Islands, Northumberland, England

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Sea kayaking in the Farne Islands is an adventure into unspoiled wilderness, with a colony of seals on the rocks and an incredible array of seabirds arriving for the summer. Look forward to spotting more than 20 varieties, like razorbills, eider ducks, Arctic terns and cute-as-a-button puffins. Take a tour if you’re new to kayaking, as ocean conditions can be unpredictable. 

Sanibel Island, Florida, USA

No matter if your a pro or a newbie, birding by kayak on Sanibel Island is a leisurely dream. Launch at Bunch Beach Preserve or Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve,  and paddle through Tarpon Bay in the Darling National Wildlife Refuge. For an epic adventure, do the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail over 190 miles. Get your camera ready to capture egrets, herons, wood storks and roseate spoonbills. 

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

In terms of unique species, the Galapagos Islands offer a birding adventure of a lifetime. There are over 50 native species and most of those are only found on the islands. See the Galapagos Penguin, the blue-footed booby, the gigantic waves albatross and frigatebirds. Take a kayaking tour to access some of the most remote locations.  

Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s extraordinary rivers and mangroves provide diverse landscapes with an abundance of wildlife. Along with birds, you might spot sloths and monkeys in the trees over Fortuna River, the Arenal River is cocooned in dense forest and Piedra Blancas National Park is filled with fascinating mangroves. The colourful range of tropical stunners in Costa Rica includes hummingbirds, macaws, toucans and trogons. 

If birding by kayak is about to be your newest hobby, choose a stable kayak for those times when you just want to be comfortable and make the most of your binoculars and your camera, like the Lifetime Tioga

To continue the adventure into nature, check out Wildlife Kayaking: Best Places to Paddle with Animals.
Nicole West

Nicole Leigh West is an internationally published travel and lifestyle writer. She's traveled to more than 60 countries and you'll most often find her kayaking, diving and swimming across the globe.

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Nicole West

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