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

Autumn Grand Manan

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Barry Zimmer: October 17, 2017

We departed Seal Cove on an absolutely glorious morning for our all-day boat trip into the Bay of Fundy. The temperatures were mild, and there was no wind whatsoever. The ocean was literally like glass as we headed eastward, and anticipation was high among our group. I had built up this boat trip as one of the best pelagic adventures anywhere, and in 25 years, it had never disappointed me. Great Shearwater— Photo: Barry Zimmer   Almost immediately out of the ha...


Southern Ecuador Hummingbird Extravaganza

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Paul Greenfield: October 09, 2017

This, our first Southern Ecuador Hummingbird Extravaganza, was designed as a sequel to our original Northern Hummingbird “hit” that has become so popular, but set this time in the diverse and fascinating southern regions of Ecuador. Our enthusiastic team experienced and enjoyed these living jewels in all their splendor. We bore witness to their unique and dizzying behavior; we gained knowledge of many aspects of the distinct ecosystems they inhabit and their habitats; and we encou...


Brazil: Pantanal Safari

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Kevin Zimmer: October 05, 2017

Our 2017 Pantanal Safari served up the usual generous helpings of birds, mammals, and other wildlife that we have come to expect from “South America’s Serengeti.”  For most, if not all of us, the number one objective of the trip was to see Jaguars, and see them we did, as we enjoyed 10 encounters with these magnificent cats, involving a total of 8 different individuals!  The density of Jaguars in this region is astonishing—biologists studying these amazing an...


Namibia, Botswana & Zambia

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Geoff Lockwood: October 05, 2017

Our flight to Huab was somewhat delayed by heavy mist along the coast, and it was already lunchtime by the time we reached the lodge. In contrast to the desperate drought last year, Huab had experienced excellent rains – and the seedeaters were back in their usual numbers. We soon had recorded most of the usual species, along with Damara and Monteiro’s hornbills, Rüppell’s Parrots, White-tailed Shrikes, Bare-cheeked Babblers, Short-toed Rock-Thrushes, and Carp’s T...


Avian Jewels of Arizona

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Brennan Mulrooney: October 04, 2017

Our first afternoon began with humid, rain-cooled air on an afternoon visit to Sweetwater Wetlands after a monsoon drenching. Before we made it there, we found four Burrowing Owls drying off. At the wetlands, we tallied Tropical Kingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and a shy Harris’s Hawk. An excellent meal at Kingfisher capped our day. Tufted Flycatcher— Photo: Brad Schram   Green Valley and Madera Canyon made for a long and fulfilling first full day of b...


Wyoming: Birding the Solar Eclipse in the Grand Tetons

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Brian Gibbons: October 03, 2017

We were just a few of the thousands that had converged upon Jackson, Wyoming for the Great American Eclipse. The valley of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Bridger-Teton National Forest provided a spectacular backdrop for our birding and the eclipse. On our first evening we had a wonderful meal at Snake River Grill, fortifying ourselves for a great weekend of wildlife, scenery, birds, and a spectacular total eclipse. Our first morning started casually at Blacktail Butte with a vie...


Camp Cascades

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Michael O'Brien: September 29, 2017

The summer of 2017 saw record-breaking hot, dry weather in Washington, with wildfires raging in many parts of the West. Needless to say, concerns about weather conditions had our attention as we began this year’s Camp Cascades. Luckily, the weather couldn’t have been more pleasant in the Puget Sound Region, where cold water moderates the climate. And in the Cascades, though we did experience a few warm days and unusually hazy skies, we were spared the worst of the heat. So with go...


Brazil: Pantanal Safari

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Jeri Langham: September 14, 2017

When my colleague David Ascanio led his first Pantanal Wildlife Safari tour a few years ago, he sent me photos of the first Jaguar they saw and told me I simply had to lead tours here after spending several decades leading tours to the Venezuelan Llanos and never getting any decent views of a Jaguar. VENT has now assigned me to lead this tour every July. Here are some passages taken from the journal I write every night for my VENT tours and then mail to the participants after I return home an...


Brazil: Iguacu Falls Pre-trip

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Jeri Langham: September 14, 2017

About eleven years ago, I had the good fortune to visit Argentina with my son Gary (now Chief Scientist for The National Audubon Society), and we made a visit to Iguaçu Falls from the Argentina side. We were very impressed, but it turns out the best views are from the Brazil side. Here are some passages taken from the journal I write every night for my VENT tours and then mail to the participants after I return home and edit them. Iguaçu  Falls  must  be  exp...


Borneo

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Machiel Valkenburg: September 12, 2017

Our 2017 Borneo tour started in Kota Kinabalu, a lovely and picturesque city located on the South China Sea and on the western part of Sabah. On our first day we explored the Kota Belud area; due to the tip of a tail of a cyclone near Philippines, it had been raining the previous days, resulting in a very wet wetland with many interesting birds. More or less all possible egrets were found with Javan Pond-Heron, Rufous (Nankeen) Night-Heron, and Cinnamon Bittern being the best. The last was se...


Camp Chiricahua

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Michael O'Brien: September 12, 2017

Early summer of 2017 saw a stronger-than-usual fire season in Southeast Arizona, the result of unusually hot, dry conditions in May and June, coupled with an abundance of fuel following winter and spring storms. The 27,000-acre Burro fire northeast of Tucson forced the closure of Mt. Lemmon, so we had to make quick alternate plans for the first two days of our VENT youth birding camp. Luckily, there was just enough room for our group at Santa Rita Lodge, so we jumped at the opportunity to spe...


Colombia: The Central & Western Andes

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Steve Hilty: September 08, 2017

Last year I summarized this trip with the following comments: plenty of curvy roads, landslides, massive road construction projects, absolutely hoards of tractor-trailer trucks, out-sized meals for carnivores, enchanting cloud forests, spectacular mountain scenery, hummingbirds, antpittas, colorful tanagers, mixed species flocks, and remarkably friendly, helpful people. Nothing much has changed, although Doña Dora’s place near Queremal was better than ever, and a nice new hotel l...


Northern Peru's Cloud Forest Endemics

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Andrew Whittaker: September 08, 2017

WOW! This fabulous tour is truly a showcase for mega cloud forest birding experiences in the Andes. This year’s lucky group enjoyed great weather and an incredible total of 321 species, including a staggering 45 different species of dazzling hummingbird gems equal to a wonderful 45 vividly colored tanager species! Voted top bird of the trip (with outstanding views again) was the mythical, tiny, and cute Long-whiskered Owlet. And who will ever be able to forget those drop-dead views of t...


Lima's Coastal Marshes and Humboldt Seabird Colonies

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Andrew Whittaker: September 08, 2017

Wonderful birds along with the most perfect weather greeted us for an exciting action-packed day of birding around Lima. We began at the marvelous migrant trap that is Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge, first an excursion to the beach. Here we were greeted by a fantastic family group of 3 graceful, big-eyed Peruvian Thick-knees, a very local and sought after species. A constant flurry of activity from the marshes along the seafront rewarded us with a gull feast, enjoying scope studies of Gray...


Papua New Guinea: West New Britain

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Dion Hobcroft: September 07, 2017

After settling in to the very comfortable Walindi Dive Resort, with its well-planned rooms, tasty meals, and excellent staff, we headed out for our first birding in New Britain. We met Joel, a local villager, who guided us up beyond his village into the forest. He led us to a New Britain Boobook, a small hawk-owl he keeps tabs on (and has done so for the past few years). With the elections on, I joked with Joel that we should call the owl “Prime Minister Pete.” We had actually see...


Papua New Guinea Highlights

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Dion Hobcroft: September 07, 2017

We were back in the fascinating country of Papua New Guinea to indulge in the fantastic birding this remote country offers. There is no place quite like it and, while at times a bit challenging to find the birds, the rewards are immense. Including West New Britain, we recorded 334 species of birds. Here is an account of our adventures in the land of birds-of-paradise.   With “all of the termites holding hands,” we checked in, took off, cleared immigration on two borders (Aust...


Wild Alaska

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David Wolf: September 07, 2017

From our first landing, at Little Diomede, to disembarkation in Seward, our “Wild Alaska: Cruising the Bering Sea” trip took us to some of the most remote and beautiful places in North America, as we explored the tiny, isolated islands of the Bering Sea and the spectacular landscapes of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska Peninsula.  This is a wild region of unparalleled beauty, where waves crash against immense cliffs and wildflowers brighten the rolling tundras, where glacier-c...


Machu Picchu Extension Galapagos Cruise

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Doris Valencia: September 01, 2017

The Machu Picchu Extension to our Galapagos Island Cruise includes a wealth of natural and cultural attractions along the gorgeous Urubamba Valley, the high mountains of the Urubamba Range, and the fabulous World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu, ending in the capital city of the Incas, Cusco. After collecting our guests from the airport, we headed south of the Cusco Valley. Our first stop, the Wetlands of Huacarpay, located a 45-minute drive from the airport, was declared a RAMSAR site in 2006 ...


Uganda Highlights

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Dion Hobcroft: August 19, 2017

We were back on the road in this fabulously diverse East African country for our annual summer tour, which was again successful in the quest to see wild Mountain Gorilla, Chimpanzee, and the most bizarre Shoebill. Beyond these charismatic mega-vertebrates we racked up over 450 species of birds and had fabulous encounters with Lion, Leopard, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, and the incredible African Elephant.  After most had assembled in Entebbe, we spent a lazy afternoon birding the garden of our...


Alaska: Barrow Extension

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Kevin Zimmer: August 17, 2017

As usual, our Barrow Extension delivered the expected mix of high Arctic breeding waterfowl, shorebirds, jaegers, and owls, with a few surprises thrown in, that have made this outpost at the “top of the world” (more accurately, at the top of Alaska) a must-visit destination for birders. King Eiders— Photo: Kevin J. Zimmer   All of Barrow’s ‘glamour’ birds were present and accounted for, starting with the eider ‘hat trick&rsqu...


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