VENTFLASH #234 February 22, 2018

Posted by Victor Emanuel


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 70 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Ari...

Dear friends,

I’ve only recently returned from co-leading a tour to Cuba, but I am already preparing to leave on my next trip. This Sunday I will be back on the road with colleagues Barry Lyon and David Ascanio in advance of a special departure that we’ll lead for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to the islands of the Lesser Antilles.

Sea Cloud

Sea CloudPhoto: Courtesy Sea Cloud Cruises

VENT operates an annual trip for the Lab’s Chairman’s Council, and this year the Lab has reserved the peerless Sea Cloud for a week-long birding and natural history cruise that visits the major islands of the Eastern Caribbean including Barbados, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. VENT has operated this voyage on many previous occasions, the last time in 2016. This trip is exceptional in many ways, with lots of range-restricted birds and plenty of beautiful island scenery in store.

On that note, I am thrilled to announce that this outstanding trip will again appear on our schedule. Very recently, we reached an agreement with Sea Cloud Cruises regarding our next Lesser Antilles cruise aboard the Sea Cloud, a trip that will operate March 6-14, 2020. Information about this departure will appear on our website within the next few weeks. I hope you will be able to join us!

In the meantime, the start of our spring travel season is now only weeks away! If you’ve not yet made your spring travel plans, or if you are able to travel on shorter notice, perhaps the prospect of joining a VENT tour in the coming months will help get you through the last of winter.

In this issue:



Our spring tour season is looking solid with many of our tours either sold out or almost sold out. If you are considering a spring getaway but have not yet made plans, I thought I might entice you to join a VENT tour this spring. Here, I present a dozen tour opportunities—to both domestic and international destinations alike—on which spaces are still available. Whether your desire is to stay closer to home, or to travel abroad, I think you will be pleased at the available options: 

Incredible views of this stunning male Tropical Parula a short distance away completed the

Tropical Parula, Spring in South Texas — Photo: Barry Zimmer

The Best of Costa Rica, March 20-April 1, 2018 with David Wolf and Mimi Wolf; $5,495 in double occupancy from San José. 5 spaces available.

Spring in South Texas, April 2-11, 2018 with Barry Zimmer, Victor Emanuel and Carlos Sanchez; $3,295 in double occupancy from Corpus Christi (ends in Laredo). 5 spaces available. Note: Victor Emanuel will co-lead for the first few days of the tour; Carlos Sanchez will co-lead for the duration.

Spring in South Texas: Hill Country Extension, April 11-15, 2018 with Barry Zimmer and Carlos Sanchez; $1,595 in double occupancy from Laredo (ends in San Antonio). Note: This tour may be taken together with Spring in South Texas or as a stand-alone tour.

Bhutan, April 8-27, 2018 with Dion Hobcroft; $9,795 in double occupancy from New Delhi. 5 spaces available.

Montana Owl Workshop, April 20-25, 2018 with Denver Holt and Matt Larson; $2,095 in double occupancy from Missoula. 5 spaces available.

Bolivar Beach House: Migration on the Upper Texas Coast, April 22-29, 2018 with Michael O’Brien and Louise Zemaitis; $2,695 in double occupancy from Houston. 4 spaces available.

France: Birds & Art in Provence, April 22-30, 2018 with Rick Wright and Alison Beringer; $3,695 in double occupancy from Arles. 2 spaces available. 

Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler, Cape May — Photo: Michael O’Brien

Spring Birding in Spain, April 26-May 13, 2018 with Santiago Villa and Brian Gibbons; $6,195 in double occupancy from Sevilla (ends in Madrid). 1 space available.

California Specialties, April 27-May 6, 2018 with Jeri Langham; $3,595 in double occupancy from San Diego (ends in Santa Barbara). 4 spaces available.

Southern England: Birds & History, May 8-19, 2018 with Phil Jones and Rafael Galvez; $3,695 in double occupancy from London. 1 space available.

Spring Grand Arizona, May 12-22, 2018 with Barry Zimmer and Jacob Drucker; $3,195 in double occupancy from Tucson. 5 spaces available.

Spring in Cape May: A Relaxed & Easy Tour, May 13-19, 2018 with Louise Zemaitis and Michael O’Brien; $2,095 in double occupancy from Philadelphia. 5 spaces available.


Trail River Lake, Alaska

Trail River Lake, Alaska — Photo: Barry Zimmer

Our spring travel season concludes just as our Alaska tour season begins. Recently, I have written about the joys of VENT tours to Alaska. I cannot speak highly enough of this destination that is as amazing as any in the world. Spaces still are available on some of our 2018 tours. I hope you will consider joining us in Alaska this summer:

Grand Alaska Part I: Nome & Barrow, June 7-16, 2018 with Kevin Zimmer and Brian Gibbons; $5,895 in double occupancy from Anchorage. 4 spaces available.

Grand Alaska Part II: Anchorage, Denali Highway & Kenai Peninsula, June 16-25, 2018 with Brian Gibbons and a second leader to be announced; $4,195 in double occupancy from Anchorage. 4 spaces available.

Alaska Highlights, June 13-25, 2018 with Barry Zimmer and Erik Bruhnke; $7,395 in double occupancy from Anchorage.

Alaska: Barrow Extension, June 25-27, 2018 with Brian Gibbons and Erik Bruhnke; $2,495 in double occupancy from Anchorage.


Rick Wright

Rick Wright

VENT tour leader Rick Wright, the designer of VENT’s Birds & Art tour program, will deliver a presentation entitled Sparrows and People and Sparrow People at New York City Audubon, February 27, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. If you are in the area, we’d love to see you there!

Rick Wright is the author of two books on the Latin and German animal literature of the late Middle Ages and several birding field guides. He is a prolific contributor to the birding literature and a sought-after lecturer.

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel