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Home » HX And The National Audubon Society Launch Audubon Voyages,

HX And The National Audubon Society Launch Audubon Voyages,

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While birdwatching has been enjoyed by humans across the globe for millennia, the activity has soared to new heights of popularity in recent years, with roughly 45 million U.S. residents taking part in the activity in the early 2020s. While this pastime is particularly accessible, with many hobbyists beginning with just their eyes and a simple backyard feeder, seasoned avian aficionados are willing to go great lengths in order to marvel at rare birds—a fact that HX (or Hurtigruten Expeditions) knows all too well.

Officially established in 1893 to provide transportation services across coastal Norway, this storied Scandinavian enterprise has morphed into a top-tier tour company over the years, offering voyages that range from warm-weather cruises along the Caribbean to expeditions across the frigid waters of Arctic Canada. While the company currently offers excursions to ecotourism hotspots like Iceland, Svalbard and the Northwest Passage, birdwatchers can rejoice at the announcement of ten new Audubon Voyages, each one developed in partnership with the world-renowned National Audubon Society. Building upon HX’s steadfast commitment to sustainable ecotourism, all Audubon Voyages were specifically chosen with avifauna in mind, with each trip focusing on destinations that offer the opportunity to spot elusive endemic species.

Chinstrap penguins are also referred to as “bearded penguins” thanks to their facial markings.

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While all ten Audubon Voyages have yet to be revealed, two of the recently-unveiled trips are dedicated to one of the earth’s most inhospitable landmasses: the sprawling continent of Antarctica. During the company’s In-depth Antarctica & Patagonia Expedition, guests can marvel at spectacular landscapes across Southern Chile, and even spot the majestic Andean condor in the wild before heading south to explore the world’s sole uninhabited continent. After a journey across the famed Drake Passage, visitors will have an opportunity to set foot on both the Antarctic Peninsula and the nearby South Shetland Islands, with no shortage of fascinating fauna to see along the way. While the region is best known for its many penguin varieties—Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo, to be precise—birders should also keep their eyes on the skies to spot snowy albatrosses and Antarctic terns, two native birds that can only be found in the southernmost reaches of the planet.

The snowy albatross has the longest wingspan of any extant bird species.

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Meanwhile, those who prefer to stick to the Northern Hemisphere can embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey in the form of the Alaska & British Columbia | Inside Passage, Bears and Aleutian Islands tour. After arriving in the Pacific Northwest city of Seattle, guests will jet off to the northern Alaskan settlement of Nome to begin their cruise, with nearby destinations spanning from St. Matthew Island—a top spot for setting eyes on the McKay’s bunting—to Dutch Harbor, an idyllic settlement that’s rife with both raptors and puffins. While northern fulmars, fork-tailed storm petrels and black-legged kittiwakes are just a few of the avian species that might make an appearance throughout the trip, visitors also have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Kodiak bear, a subspecies of brown bear that’s endemic to The Last Frontier.

While HX has mastered the art of ecotourism, the newly-announced Audubon Voyages offer unparalleled opportunity for birdwatchers, providing each guest with a chance to access some of the planet’s most remote locations in search of rare species. Whether you’re a hardcore birder that’s hoping to gain a few megaticks or just a casual observer that’s in need of a truly memorable vacation, these ten excursions are certain to leave you with lasting memories and a deeper connection to the fascinating world of both avifauna and the ecotourism as a whole.

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