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Catch up on the latest news from Victor Emanuel Nature Tours by reading the latest VENTflash.

Spring in the Washington Cascades

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Rafael Galvez: August 16, 2018

The diversity of habitats easily accessible from our base during our Spring in the Washington Cascades – Relaxed & Easy tour promised a wonderful experience and a broad array of species within a relatively short period of time. Although we had started birding on the “wet side” of the Cascades, visiting moist and upland forests under damp and breezy conditions, by our third morning of birding we were worlds away amidst a vast blanket of cool-green sagebrush under still an...


Minnesota & North Dakota

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Erik Bruhnke: August 13, 2018

VENT’s Minnesota & North Dakota tour combines a broad spectrum of vast scenery with incredible bird life and a great deal of locally-sourced cuisine. This birding adventure delves deep into the boreal forest, as well as the core of the prairie potholes, a unique region of the northern prairies. Yellow-headed Blackbird— Photo: Erik Bruhnke   After savoring fresh-caught walleye and a rotating 360° view overlooking Duluth on our first evening, we ven...


VENTFLASH #239: Our Next Sea Cloud Departure - Spain & Portugal 2019!

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Victor Emanuel: August 08, 2018

Dear friends: For more than a decade, our cruises to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean aboard the famous Sea Cloud have been an important part of our international tour program. I am proud that VENT is able to charter this one-of-a-kind ship almost annually and that our programs attract participants with a diversity of interests. Typically, our Caribbean programs operate in even-numbered years while our Mediterranean programs operate in odd-numbered years. At this time, I am thrilled to ann...


Avian Jewels of Arizona

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Barry Zimmer: August 03, 2018

Our 2018 Avian Jewels of Arizona tour was chock-full of memorable moments and exciting highlights. From Tucson to the Chiricahua Mountains we tallied virtually all of our avian targets, saw unexpected rarities, and marveled at many mammals, reptiles, and butterflies in addition to all of the great birds. We began with a brief late afternoon outing to Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson. Among the over thirty species seen on our introductory outing were Gila Woodpecker (our first bird of the tour), ...


The Untamed North: Greenland to Iceland

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Machiel Valkenburg: August 03, 2018

Wow! On this exceptional trip we explored the southern tip of Greenland and a spent a couple of days in Iceland before and after the tour, all aboard the lavish Hebridean Sky. This cruise, in cooperation with our partner, Zegrahm Expeditions, began in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. The first day was a transfer day to Narsarsuaq in southwest Greenland. Two separate charters flew us to Greenland. We first toured around the Reykjavik region. The Perlan Museum proved an interesting visit, esp...


Uganda Highlights

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Dion Hobcroft: August 03, 2018

We were charged by a Chimpanzee, splashed by a Shoebill, and grabbed gently by a Gorilla as we danced with the ants: it was a multiple highlight tour. With all participants arriving on schedule, we enjoyed a relaxed unofficial start to the tour, peering at discretely placed water bowls in the thickets of vegetation of our lovely guest house. There was much activity as we were regaled by White-browed Robin-Chats and admired the hyper-scarlet Black-headed Gonolek, intensely purple Splendid Star...


High Island Migration

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Erik Bruhnke: August 01, 2018

A visit to the upper Texas coast in springtime is a must-do experience for all birders. The intensity of colorful bird migration throughout this region is a breathtaking spectacle. Due to numerous cooperative weather fronts that took place throughout our tour, every day was brimming with vibrant memories of SO MANY BIRDS and beyond. It was like a perfect storm of migration for our eyes and ears to behold! Scarlet Tanager— Photo: Erik Bruhnke   After a pre-sunri...


Wild & Ancient Britain with Ireland

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Andrew Whittaker: July 30, 2018

For millions of years the coasts of Britain and Ireland have been shaped by erosion into some of the most spectacular and breathtaking coastal scenery on our planet, packed full of amazing wildlife sights. These ancient lands are simply brimming with history too. We enjoyed a fantastic two-week cruise exploring these islands on the magnificent Ocean Adventurer, falling in love with the spectacular British Isles and Irish coastline in all its glory, from its towering sheer cliffs and immense g...


Alaska Highlights

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Barry Zimmer: July 27, 2018

Our 2018 Alaska Highlights trip was wildly successful on virtually every front, but perhaps no day epitomizes this success better than our all-day boat trip into Kenai Fjords National Park.  On a nearly picture-perfect day (except for the first 15 minutes or so), we ventured out on the Alaskan Explorer into Resurrection Bay and beyond, covering over 150 miles in our journey to Northwestern Fjord and the Chiswell Islands. Northern Hawk Owl— Photo: Barry Zimmer &nbs...


Grand Alaska Part I: Nome & Barrow

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Kevin Zimmer: July 27, 2018

Our 2018 Grand Alaska Part I tour began, as always, in Nome, my favorite place to bird in all of North America.  There is something indescribably special about the area surrounding this old gold rush town.  The mix of special breeding birds on the tundra and large numbers of migrants staging at Safety Lagoon and other points along the coast, coupled with the very real chance of finding some rare stray from eastern Asia always makes for exhilarating birding.  When you throw in a...


Grand Alaska: Nome & Gambell

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Kevin Zimmer: July 25, 2018

A heightened sense of anticipation preceded this year’s Nome-Gambell tour for both Brian and me.  For the first time ever, we had scrambled our usual order of doing things, placing our four days at Nome on the front end of our four days at Gambell.  I had made this change after the 2017 tour, largely in response to ongoing and intensifying climate change, which had resulted in earlier and earlier springs throughout the state over the past two decades.  Sea ice offshore fr...


Grand Alaska: Pribilofs & Anchorage Pre-Trip

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Kevin Zimmer: July 25, 2018

We kicked off our newly reconfigured Grand Alaska program with the Pribilofs & Anchorage Pre-trip, which, by all accounts, was a complete success.  But not before some early drama nearly turned the tour into just “The Anchorage Pre-Trip.”  After an introductory dinner and night in Anchorage, we transferred to the airport the next morning for our scheduled flight to St. Paul Island.  The check-in went smoothly, and the plane took off on schedule, a rarity when tr...


Circumnavigation of Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island

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David Wolf: July 21, 2018

Volcanos, earthquakes, typhoons, blizzards!  All of these harsh forces of nature have combined to shape the natural history and culture of the Japanese archipelago, and nowhere is this more evident than the northern island of Hokkaido.  This is the wildest and least-settled part of Japan, and this cruise gave us the rare opportunity to bird and explore Hokkaido from a variety of port cities around the island, while comfortably based on the beautiful Caledonian Sky.  This was in...


Greece: A Circumnavigation of the Peloponnese

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Barry Lyon: July 19, 2018

Sun-drenched islands, Athens and its iconic Acropolis, and the wine-dark Aegean Sea are evocative images that capture the allure of Greece. For others, particularly those who have previously traveled in Greece, it is the large multi-fingered Peloponnese Peninsula that is the preferred destination. Far removed from the sprawling capital city, the Peloponnese is a land of pastoral settings, beautiful coastlines, and remarkable historical sites that rival, even surpass, those of the mainland. It...


Athens

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Barry Lyon: July 19, 2018

From the time VENT began operating Birds & History cruises in Greece, we’ve supplemented our programs with optional additional time in Athens and the surrounding areas. The impetus for our Athens Pre-trip stems from the fact that our cruises visit other parts of the country, such as the famous Aegean islands or Peloponnese, and thus miss the great historical and cultural attractions of the Greek capital, in addition to a range of wonderful birds. Thus, the addition of an Athens Pre-...


Birding Across America by Train

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Michael O'Brien: July 17, 2018

We completed another exciting cross-country adventure this spring and were especially fortunate to have beautiful weather through most of our birding segments, and only minimal delays on the train. Our journey brought us to an incredible array of habitats, some amazing scenery, and an outstanding selection of birds including many local specialties. But just as exciting, we got to see the countryside go by from the charming confines of an Amtrak train, with the ambiance of a bygone era when tr...


Scotland in Style: Birds & History

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Andrew Whittaker: July 17, 2018

There is an extremely good reason why Scotland is often referred to as Bonny Scotland. This year, more than ever, the scenery was breathtaking, and we enjoyed superb birding amongst vibrantly colorful glens rich both in wildflowers and the incredible fresh hues of spring greens. This tour was a wonderful combination of delving into a wealth of Scottish history, from castles and stately homes to wild windswept battlefields, and warming up the cockles of our hearts with a wee dram on a visit to...


Honduras: The Lodge at Pico Bonito

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Erik Bruhnke: July 17, 2018

Every day of our Honduras Pico Bonito tour was a unique birding adventure from the moment we arrived until the end of the last afternoon. The staff at Pico Bonito welcomed us with open arms and fruitful drinks. In addition to delectable dining experiences every day, our top-notch local guide, Olbin Benjarano, took extraordinarily good care of us. The entire visit to Honduras was above and beyond, and it all started with our first footsteps at the lodge entrance. Our first day of birding was a...


Dry Tortugas

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Rafael Galvez: July 12, 2018

As if we weren’t thrilled enough to be going to the Dry Tortugas, our excitement increased when we woke up the first morning to find the seas filled with Audubon’s Shearwaters. This small shearwater of the tropical Atlantic is generally solitary, and during most circumstances we are fortunate when we see two or three. By midmorning, we were all out on the bow’s deck enjoying a couple of thousand Audubon’s Shearwaters, many of them cruising past our boat or feeding on t...


South Florida & The Keys

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Rafael Galvez: July 12, 2018

We had barely stepped out of the van during our first stop birding together, and the trees in the parking lot at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West had dozens of warblers of several species darting in and out. Right away we saw many Cape Mays, Tennessees, and Black-and-whites in a single tree. That same Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera—a native coastal hardwood that is typically in bloom in April) had American Redstarts, Northern Parulas, Indigo Buntings, and a fleeting Yellow-billed...


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