VENT Birding Tours: Photo Galleries

Alaska Highlights 2015

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Jul 28, 2015

An argument could be made that this was our most successful Alaska Highlights trip ever! We saw nearly every target bird, added in some nice rarities, had wonderful mammal displays, and enjoyed about the best weather possible. Bluethroat— Photo: Barry Zimmer   We started in Nome, where we were greeted with blue skies and temperatures that reached an incredible 80 degrees! Right out of the gate, we stopped at a new breeding colony of Aleutian Terns adjacent to t...


Minnesota & North Dakota 2015

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Jul 27, 2015

Birding throughout the upper Midwest can be thrilling, and our nine-day Minnesota & North Dakota tour left us with great memories of a rich array of ecosystems. There is something to be said about getting out of the vehicle at night and hearing a Yellow Rail vocalize, and hiking through native prairie and seeing Chestnut-collared Longspurs displaying all around us. There is something about witnessing a Black-billed Cuckoo vocalizing atop aspen trees in the early morning light as the tour ...


Cuba, March 25-April 4, 2015

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Jul 26, 2015

Our second Cuba tour of 2015 began with shocking views of Zapata Sparrow, as well as Cuban Tody, Cuban Gnatcatcher, Cuban Vireo, Cuban Martin, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Cuban Emerald, Oriente Warbler, and Cuban Blackbird. What a cocktail of Cuban endemics to start the tour! Zapata Sparrow— Photo: David Ascanio   In Cayo Coco we nailed white morph individuals of both Reddish Egret and Great Blue Heron. Additionally, several Caribbean specialties and near-endemic s...


Spring Grand Arizona 2015

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Jun 15, 2015

An argument can be made that this was the most successful spring Arizona tour that VENT has ever run! We tallied virtually every southeastern Arizona specialty, along the way netting 9 species of owls, 9 species of hummingbirds, a very robust 15 species of raptors (not including owls), and a dizzying 19 species of flycatchers! In addition we had the good fortune of seeing 3 Mexican visitors: Plain-capped Starthroat, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, and Flame-colored Tanager. Toss in some rarities li...


Montana Owl Workshop 2015

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May 26, 2015

Featuring great birds and great scenery, and the opportunity to spend time in the field with renowned owl scientist and researcher Denver Holt, our Montana Owl Workshop is one of our most unique trips in our entire repertoire of tours. David Hines was a participant on our 2015 tour, and has graciously shared with us his excellent photos from the trip. Enjoy!


Cuba, March 4-14, 2015

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May 22, 2015

Cuba continues to offer a unique mix of birds, culture, and architecture hardly matched anywhere in the Caribbean. Our first approach to the Cuban birdlife allowed us views of the widespread Cuban Blackbird and the territorial Cuban Emerald. We also saw our first Red-legged Thrush, a distant Cuban Pewee, and several Antillean Palm Swifts nesting in the restaurant’s entrance roof. Cuban Tody— Photo: David Ascanio   From Santa Clara we drove north and acros...


Spring in South Texas 2015

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May 15, 2015

We arrived at the Norias division of the King Ranch at about 7:15 AM. I was gathering my gear and preparing to step out of the van when I became aware that a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was already calling about 100 feet in front of us! It was calling from a fairly isolated mesquite, and although it took several minutes to locate, we eventually enjoyed great scope views. We had been on the ranch for about fifteen minutes, and our primary target was already in the bag! Green Jay— ...


Spring in South Texas: Hill Country Extension 2015

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May 15, 2015

The Texas Hill Country in spring—there is simply no place else like it. With a unique combination of birds, spectacular wildflower displays, and one of the greatest mammal shows on earth, this region rarely disappoints. This year’s trip not only lived up to expectations, but exceeded them. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher— Photo: Barry Zimmer   We began in Laredo and drove northward through mesquite brushland to reach the southern portion of the Hill Count...


Big Bend National Park & the Texas Hill Country 2015

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May 14, 2015

It appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, working its way down slope through the dry grass toward the feeding station. An intricate combination of spots, swirls, and streaks wrapped into a gorgeous chestnut, black, white, and buff plumage, it was truly a thing of beauty. The male Montezuma Quail stopped no more than 20 feet away and began to feed, seemingly unconcerned by our presence. We watched this amazing, highly-sought, and generally difficult-to-find species for almost thirty minutes, befo...


Amazon River Cruise February 2015

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Apr 16, 2015

Our second Amazon Cruise of 2015 was another magical trip, with a nice mix of quality birding, great group dynamics, and an unparalleled ship staff. Day by day, we learned about various topics from sedimentary river islands and oxbow lakes to Moriche palm stands or terra firme and riverine forest types. We also discussed the differences between varzea (riverine forest in white water rivers) and igapo (riverine forest in black water rivers) and appreciated the birdlife in each of these habitat...


Best of Belize: Crooked Tree & Chan Chich Lodge 2015

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Apr 02, 2015

From the pine/oak savannah and open lagoons of Crooked Tree to the vast, protected rain forest surrounding Chan Chich Lodge, our Best of Belize tour was chock-full of highlights. We began with a day of land birding around the village of Crooked Tree. Our breakfast at Bird’s Eye View Lodge was full of interruptions. Brilliant Vermilion Flycatchers hawked insects from every direction we looked. Northern Jacanas strolled about the lawns like so many chickens. Overhead, White-fronted Parrot...


India: Royal Rajasthan Train Journey 2015

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Mar 23, 2015

More great photos from James E. Brown, participant on VENT's 2015 India: Royal Rajasthan Train Journey!


Kaziranga National Park 2015

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Mar 23, 2015

We loved seeing these great photos from James E. Brown, a participant on our 2015 Kaziranga National Park tour in India.  Enjoy!


Venezuela: New Year in the Llanos 2014

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Mar 06, 2015

Our New Year tour to the Venezuelan Llanos was what I would consider a typical Latin American journey: great birds, flight schedule changes, flat tires, beautiful sunsets, missing a domestic flight, wonderful people, lots of vehicles near the cities, and most important: amazing and unique wildlife. Scarlet Macaw— Photo: David Ascanio Hato Piñero welcomed us with Scarlet Macaws in flight, and from the ground a Sunbittern gave its soft melody from the edge of a pond co...


Winter Southern California 2015

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Feb 27, 2015

Our California Winter tour was so filled with highlights that it is hard to know where to start. We began in an area of chaparral where we enjoyed superb studies of Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Cassin’s Kingbird, Wrentit, California Thrasher, and California Towhee among others, but it was the brilliant male Allen’s Hummingbird that stole the show. This orange and green beauty posed for multiple, prolonged views from as close as 20 feet away. A short distance away in scenic La Jolla...


Winter Southern Arizona 2015

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Feb 22, 2015

This year’s Winter Arizona tour had it all—Mexican rarities, Arizona resident specialties, abundant raptors and sparrows, high quality winter residents, and a few surprises. Combine the fantastic birding with the excellent weather (while much of the country was experiencing cold and snow), and you have a recipe for success. Bendire's Thrasher — Photo: Barry Zimmer Winter has proven to be a superb time for finding Mexican rarities, and this was certainly true thi...


Amazon River Cruise January 2015

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Feb 16, 2015

Our January 2015 Amazon River Cruise on the Río Amazon, Rio Ucayali, and various tributaries of these rivers was another very enjoyable and successful journey through northeastern Peru. During our weeklong trip we did experience some rain almost every day except the last two days of the trip. The rain did not interfere with our planned activities, except on one morning when we were delayed until about 9 a.m. and on another morning when we were forced to return to the mother ship for ab...


Winter New Mexico 2015

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Feb 15, 2015

At one moment there is total silence without a bird in sight. Then a distant twittering from above and suddenly the swirling flock descends towards the feeders. In a frenetic pace, the stunning pink-blushed birds feed as if they must consume every seed on the tray in a minute or less. Ginger-colored Brown-cappeds, gray-helmeted Hepburn’s, and charcoal-colored Blacks all feeding side by side just twenty feet in front of us. Then, as quickly as they appeared, they burst into flight, ascen...


Spring Birding in Spain 2014

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Jan 24, 2015

Our explorations of the Iberian Peninsula began in the southwest part of Spain at Doñana National Park. Here the marshes, ponds, and fields teemed with waterfowl, shorebirds, and waders. The wide-open spaces of the Caceres Plains of Extremadura gave us bustards, sandgrouse, and larks. The mountains of Gredos, Picos de Europa, and the Pyrenees yielded amazing vistas and birds of the alpine and forest zones. We ate and drank our way across Spain in style, covering more than 3,000 kilomet...


Costa Rica: A Relaxed & Easy Tour 2014

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Jan 08, 2015

There is virtually no other country in Central America that matches the mix of highland and lowland habitats, all within short distance, that are found in Costa Rica. This tiny but astonishingly lush and environmentally friendly country received us with views of motmots, quetzals, trogons, kingfishers, tanagers, and lots of hummingbirds! Fiery-throated Hummingbird— Photo: David Ascanio The first morning found us at the gorgeous gardens of the Hotel Bougainvillea. Here, we e...


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