VENT Birding Tours: Photo Galleries

Amazon River Cruise January 2016


Mar 15, 2016

During our weeklong trip on the Río Amazon, Río Ucayali, Río Marañon, and various tributaries of these rivers, we experienced no measurable rain and also were witness to one of the lowest river water levels for this time of year that has been reported. This dryness was, undoubtedly, the result of a particularly strong El Niño year. Most days were partly cloudy to cloudy and pleasant, although we had one particularly sunny and hot morning on our visit to the ...

Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands 2016


Mar 15, 2016

Our January 2016 cruise to the end of the earth was an exciting adventure, full of amazing wildlife sightings, some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, incredibly informative and entertaining lectures by a talented Zegrahm Expeditions staff, and a cheerful bunch of fellow travelers. As can be expected with such an ambitious cruise, there were a few bumps in the road, resulting in an altered itinerary, but the trip was an amazing success by any standard.  Although many particip...

Spring Birding in Spain 2015


Feb 29, 2016

Soaring peaks, plains that stretch to the horizon, productive marshes, and more than 220 species of birds made for a wonderful trip across Spain. We drank, dined, and birded the Iberian Peninsula for sixteen exciting days. Flamingoes, sandgrouse, five eagles among twenty species of raptors, storks, spoonbills, Bluethroat, eagle-owl, gulls, Wallcreeper, Ring Ouzel, and some beautiful finches were all tallied during our tour of the delightful countryside in Spain. White-headed Duck...

Winter New Mexico 2016


Feb 14, 2016

We arrived at breathtaking Sandia Crest (literally, as we were at 10,678 feet elevation) around midday on the last day of our tour. The scenery was jaw-dropping, with every spruce and aspen decorated with a thick frosting of snow under a sea of azure-blue skies. Sandia Crest - a winter wonderland.— Photo: Barry Zimmer   From the café inside the Crest House, the jagged peaks of the Sandia Mountains dropped dramatically down to the Rio Grande Valley and th...

Winter Southern Arizona 2016


Feb 11, 2016

We arrived at Catalina State Park in the midafternoon of the second day of our Winter Arizona tour. The morning, spent scouring the desert scrub and agricultural fields of the Santa Cruz Flats, had been a huge success. A spectacular Prairie Falcon (one of three on the day) glided right over our heads at our first stop south of Arizona City. A little further down the road, two of our main targets for the day, Bendire’s Thrasher and Sagebrush Sparrow, posed side by side in the scope. Moun...

Costa Rica: A Relaxed & Easy Tour 2015


Feb 09, 2016

Once again, Costa Rica provided an amazing mix of birds, mammals, and reptiles, along with unique opportunities to learn about the interrelations between birds and their habitats. Our tour started in Cerro de la Muerte, a mountain that’s part of the Talamanca Cordillera, where a hummingbird-filled week gave us views of the near-endemics Volcano Hummingbird, White-throated Mountain-Gem, and Fiery-throated Hummingbird. Easy birding along the road allowed us to see other wonderful birds su...

Panama's Canal Zone: A Relaxed & Easy Tour 2015


Feb 08, 2016

As soon as there was light in the town of Gamboa, in the Panama Canal area, we were welcomed with open “birding” arms. Our first day was packed with views of antbirds, parrots, raptors, crakes, toucans, tyrant-flycatchers, and hummingbirds. Yes, a lot of hummingbirds! Fasciated Antshrike— Photo: David Ascanio   Gamboa, with its picturesque houses, was our starting point and headquarters for this week filled with wildlife. Well-maintained gardens wer...

Santiago-Humboldt Extension


Jan 18, 2016

This new Santiago-Humboldt Extension to our Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour explores the stunning mountains and coast close to Santiago for a range of regional endemics, range-restricted, and pelagic specialty birds. Outstanding scenery assured, as well as good photographic opportunities.

Wild Patagonia & Central Chile


Jan 14, 2016

Magnificent Andean scenery, Patagonian steppe, southern beech forest, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego National Parks, Pumas, penguins, and condors are hallmarks of this exciting new Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour. Excellent photographic opportunities.

Panama: Fall at El Valle's Canopy Lodge 2015


Dec 03, 2015

Once again, our Canopy Lodge tour provided a memorable and exciting birding adventure to Panama. The cool foothill habitats surrounding El Valle, combined with a visit to the Pacific lowlands, yielded nearly 240 species of birds with countless highlights. Squirrel Cuckoo— Photo: Barry Zimmer We began our trip with brief birding around our Panama City hotel. A stunning Squirrel Cuckoo topped the list, but close, perched Blue-headed Parrots, Pale-vented Pigeon, Yellow-headed ...

Hungary & The Czech Republic: Birds & Music 2015


Nov 25, 2015

Replete with historical and cultural attractions, Budapest and Prague are revered as some of the world’s most beautiful and charming cities. Among birders, Hungary and the Czech Republic are not as well-known as many destinations but, in fact, offer some of the finest avian riches on the entire European continent. On this first-of-a-kind tour for VENT, we presented, in a single program, a Birds & Music tour that encompassed some of the best natural history and cultural attributes th...

Kazakhstan 2014


Nov 04, 2015

VENT’s fourth comprehensive tour of Central Asia was our most successful yet, sighting 265 species of birds, 16 mammals, and a variety of interesting reptiles. Many of the birds were in dazzling breeding plumage and full song. Native plants were flowering extensively. We birded in a huge variety of habitats including feather steppe, irano-sindian hills, turanga woodlands, sand deserts, rock deserts, huge wetlands, alpine fields to the snow line, juniper forests, and sino-himalayan decid...

Galapagos Islands Cruise aboard the M/V Evolution, July 2015


Nov 04, 2015

There are very few destinations where one can have as rich and complete a natural history experience as the Galápagos Islands. The rugged beauty of these volcanic islands is breathtaking, and the sheer abundance of wildlife is simply staggering and ripe with photographic opportunity. But there is so much more to the Galápagos. Just the thought of walking in the footsteps of Darwin, on the very islands that shaped his theory of natural selection and had such a profound influence ...

Fall at Panama's Canopy Tower 2015


Nov 03, 2015

Although I have led over 25 tours to Panama, I don’t think I can remember one that had more special moments than this year’s Canopy Tower tour. In fact, in one six-hour period along Pipeline Road, we had three of my most memorable Panama moments ever! Pheasant Cuckoo - a tour first!— Photo: Barry Zimmer We had just come down from the observation tower of the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, when Natalia, one of the Center employees, told us she had just locat...

Panama's Darien Lowlands: Canopy Camp, October 2015


Nov 02, 2015

We arrived at the spot along the Rio Tuquesa around 8:30 AM, where some ten months earlier one of the Canopy Camp guides had discovered a pair of Dusky-backed Jacamars. This range restricted species (found only in easternmost Panama and in northern Colombia) is seldom seen by anyone. We had high hopes, however, as we knew that groups prior to ours had been able to relocate these special birds. Our boat trip upriver to this location had already netted us many great birds for the morning, inclu...

Autumn Grand Manan 2015


Sep 28, 2015

We departed from Seal Cove on our full-day pelagic tour filled with excitement and anticipation of what was to come. Based on my build-up, expectations for a good day were high. Great Black-backed Gulls by the dozens adorned the rocks of the jetty as we pulled out of the harbor, and quickly we began seeing numbers of Black Guillemots foraging in the near shore waters. Fifteen minutes into our journey, the mate spotted an adult Razorbill with a chick in tow. We were able to pull up right next ...

Bhutan 2015


Sep 23, 2015

When I first visited Bhutan in 1996 with David Bishop, I said that a visit to Bhutan was like entering a fairy tale world. Everything seemed so different and, in some sense, much of the country did seem frozen in time, with traditions and a culture that had seen relatively little change in centuries. Even its name, Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, seemed to reflect this fairy tale setting. The country was governed by a real king, a benevolent and enlightened one to be sure, but away from the ci...

Avian Jewels of Arizona 2015


Aug 16, 2015

Once again, this year’s Avian Jewels tour proved why southeastern Arizona during the monsoon season is a must destination for any birder. Hummingbirds are the first things most people associate with summer in Arizona, and we had them in spades. We totaled an impressive eleven species during our trip, highlighted by male and female White-eared Hummingbirds in Miller Canyon and a hard-earned Plain-capped Starthroat (an accidental visitor from Mexico) near Portal. Throw in other such gems ...

Alaska Highlights 2015


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


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 ...

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