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

Northern Tanzania: West Usambaras & Dry Country Specialties Extension

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Kevin Zimmer: April 26, 2017

Following a typically successful Northern Tanzania tour, our first West Usambaras & Dry Country Specialties Extension began with a few hours of driving to the east of Ngare Sero.  Along the way, we passed Kilimanjaro, but, on this day, the majestic mountain was invisible to us, obscured as it was by clouds and haze.  Beyond Moshi, we turned off the highway onto a dirt road leading to the Nyuma Ya Mungu (House of God) Reservoir.  That road traverses dry bush country that is ...


Northern Tanzania

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Kevin Zimmer: April 25, 2017

As has become the routine, virtually the entire group arrived in Tanzania a day early to recover from the international flights and enjoy some relaxing birding on the lovely grounds of Ngare Sero Mountain Lodge, an old estate converted to an intimate tourist lodge.  Here, amidst the spectacular gardens and remnant forest bordering a lily-covered pond and trout stream, we gained an introduction to African birds, including several species that we would not see elsewhere on the trip.  ...


VENTflash #219

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Victor Emanuel: April 25, 2017

Dear friends: As we've reached the middle of spring, I am reminded again and again why April is my favorite month of the year. Where I live in central Texas, April is glorious—the trees are rife with fresh green leaves, spring wildflowers reach their peak displays, and migrating birds are on the move. April is also a time when I most enjoy spending time at my beach house on the upper Texas coast in close proximity to the famed Bolivar Flats and High Island bird sanctuaries. Hoo...


Thailand Highlights

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Dion Hobcroft: April 24, 2017

We were back on the road in the Kingdom of Thailand for our annual tour—arguably my favorite tour because of the wonderful people, tasty food, and fabulous wildlife opportunities. It is always a great trip. This is especially so for the wonderful team who look after us so well in the field. This year was no exception.  As usual, we kicked off festivities in the fish ponds of Muang Boran. Some new fences had us temporarily perplexed before we found a way in. The first pond we peruse...


Best of Belize: Crooked Tree & Chan Chich Lodge

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Barry Zimmer: April 21, 2017

The first day of our Best of Belize tour began shortly after dawn in the tiny village of Crooked Tree. Our scheduled 6:15 AM breakfast was being seriously delayed by birds right around the lodge. White-fronted Parrots sailed into a large tree over the driveway. Brilliant Vermilion Flycatchers hawked insects from the fence line. Mangrove Swallows perched on an antenna over the lodge, while a Northern Jacana strolled by on the lawn. A Rufous-tailed Hummingbird visited the feeders and was follow...


Short Costa Rica: Toucan to Quetzals

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David Wolf: April 21, 2017

Costa Rica continues to amaze us, even after many trips over many years.  There is such an astounding wealth of things for the naturalist to see and do in this small, efficient, bird-friendly country!  Our 2017 “Short Costa Rica” tour took full advantage of this abundance for an action-packed week of birding, enjoying the spectacular scenery and fabulous vegetation almost as much as the birds themselves as we explored three very different environments, from the Caribbean...


Winter Rio Grande Valley

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Erik Bruhnke: April 19, 2017

VENT’S Lower Rio Grande Valley tour treats participants to a one-of-a-kind birding experience found nowhere else in the United States. The days are topped with subtropical habitat consisting of an array of woodlands, grasslands, arid brushland, resacas, coastal expanses, and more. The sights and sounds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley bird life are uniquely special. We began our tour with an adult Harris’s Hawk and an adult White-tailed Hawk perched not far from the road in the earl...


Cambodia

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Dion Hobcroft: April 14, 2017

It was a great pleasure to return to Cambodia and to the Angkor Village Resort, a truly lovely hotel. Our group of eight headed in the cool of the morning to explore the mixed deciduous forest with plenty of old growth trees that fringe the jewel in Cambodia’s crown, the Angkor Wat. The birds were running hot, as in quick succession we scoped Black-capped Kingfisher, Asian Barred Owlet, the disappearing Hill Myna, Ashy Minivet, White-throated Rock-Thrush, Hainan Blue-Flycatcher, Forest ...


Honduras: The Lodge at Pico Bonito

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Brian Gibbons: April 13, 2017

Mottled Owls hooting, the Great Potoo screeching, and finally, the raucous Brown Jays announce dawn—this is waking up at The Lodge at Pico Bonito. Every morning, and sometimes the middle of the night, is filled with bird song. The lush garden surrounding the lodge is filled with birds each day, and we struggled to get onto the trails to discover the wilder tropical rainforest surrounding the lodge. From our first welcome drink to our final farewell, the staff at the lodge took care of u...


Northern Minnesota Winter Weekend

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Erik Bruhnke: April 13, 2017

Winter birding in northern Minnesota is an exhilarating experience. The area boasts a unique array of northern specialties found both year-round and some solely during the winter months. The snow and temperatures invigoratingly grace the landscape, providing nonstop scenic views of both Lake Superior and the boreal forest among other habitats. From daily locally-sourced cuisine to the birding experience as a whole, our 2017 Northern Minnesota Winter Weekend left us with warm memories of this ...


Nebraska: Platte River, Sandhill Cranes & Prairie Grouse

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Rick Wright: April 11, 2017

Even non-birders know about this thing called migration, but few of us—birders or not—are fortunate enough to experience the change of seasons in such drama and spectacle as can be witnessed in March on the Great Plains. This year’s tour managed to catch the very peak of the Sandhill Crane migration (a stroke of good luck not even the most foresightful leader can take credit for), and the large flocks of Western Meadowlarks, American Robins, and Snow and Cackling geese serve...


Caribbean Colombia: Santa Marta & Perija Mountains & the Guajira Desert

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Steve Hilty: April 07, 2017

This trip provided an entirely different suite of birds and a dramatically different suite of habitats than the Bogotá, Eastern Andes, and Magdalena Valley tour, which it followed. This also marked the first time we have departed from our long-standing Caribbean coast itinerary and included the relatively nearby Perijá Mountains, a narrow cordillera that borders Venezuela. The Perijá region has received much attention in the last few years from both the scientific and bir...


VENTflash #218: Wild & Ancient Britain with Ireland Cruise - Free Webinar!

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Victor Emanuel: April 06, 2017

Dear friends: On Tuesday, April 11, my colleague Barry Lyon and I will host a free webinar, the latest in our series of webinars in collaboration with Zegrahm Expeditions, in which we'll discuss VENT's upcoming cruise to Wild & Ancient Britain with Ireland, May 9-24, 2018. For this special trip, we'll travel aboard the lovely Ocean Adventurer, voyaging from the south of England to the tip of Scotland as we explore the natural history and cultural riches of the British Isles. Designed for ...


Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand

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David Wolf: April 06, 2017

Remote, wild, and infrequently visited, the Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia support some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife anywhere.  This cruise provided a rare opportunity to visit some of these tiny specks of land, and we took full advantage of it.  Set amidst the stormy latitudes of the vast southern ocean, this is “the seabird capital of the world,” and here we found half of the world’s penguin species, the greatest variety of albat...


Spring Hawaii

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Bob Sundstrom: April 06, 2017

The Spring Hawaii Tour makes the most of the natural history of three of the main Hawaiian islands—Hawaii, Kauai, and Oahu—over the course of ten days. Courting tropicbirds and nesting albatrosses, rare one-of-a-kind forest birds in beautiful tropical forests, the islands’ only hawk soaring above hillsides of Kona coffee, and scope views of one of the world’s scarcest shorebirds, the Bristle-thighed Curlews—the Spring Hawaii tour offers all this and much more, at...


Colombia: Bogota, The Eastern Andes and Magdalena Valley

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Steve Hilty: April 04, 2017

This trip marked the debut of a new route that included a loop down over the eastern slope of the Eastern Andes. And, it brought us some terrific birding. One of the most exciting and perhaps least visited areas we added was a high zone of the northern Andes known as páramo. Often defined as a tropical alpine grassland, it is much more than a grassland, as it has a startling array of unusual plants and a surprising number of birds. Sumapaz National Park provided an ideal introduction t...


Winter Southern California

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Brennan Mulrooney: March 28, 2017

Last year I was afraid El Niño was going to wash us out. This year La Niña almost did! This winter has proven to be much wetter in California than last year when we were expecting it, but never got it. In fact, San Diego has already exceeded its average annual rainfall by mid-February. Yes, our Winter Southern California tour was challenged by this abundance of much needed moisture, but we more than rose to the challenge. In fact, we saw more species of birds on this year’...


Free Webinar April 4, 2017 Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands

March 27, 2017

    Free Webinar - Tuesday, April 4, 2017   Victor Emanuel Nature Tours Presents: Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands An Adventure of a Lifetime! January 4–25, 2018 | 22 Days | Aboard the Island Sky Gray-headed Albatross off St Andrews Bay— Photo: Michael O'Brien   King Penguins, Gold Harbour— Photo: Michael O'Brien                        ...


VENTflash #217: Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands Cruise-Free Webinar!

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Victor Emanuel: March 24, 2017

Dear friends: On Tuesday, April 4, my colleague Barry Lyon and I will host a free webinar in which we'll discuss VENT's birding and natural history cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands, January 4-25, 2018. For this special trip, we'll travel aboard the beautiful Island Sky, voyaging through the Southern Ocean to some of the most remote places in the world, places home to mesmerizing scenery and unforgettable wildlife spectacles. En route to majestic Antarctica, our t...


VENTflash #216

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Victor Emanuel: March 21, 2017

Dear friends: For over 20 years, VENT has operated an annual trip for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Chairman's Council, an organization composed of the Lab's strongest supporters. The Chairman's Council likes to visit a new place every year, and this year's departure was to Panama, a trip I co-led last month with my colleague Barry Lyon. Chairman's Council 2017 — Photo: Raul Arias de Para Of all the Chairman's Council trips we've operated, this one was the best ever. I s...


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