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

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...


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’...


Trinidad

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Barry Zimmer: March 21, 2017

The first morning at the famed Asa Wright Nature Centre is always a memorable one. We gathered on the veranda a little before 6 AM and waited for the sky to lighten enough to see birds. A Cocoa Thrush sang from the forest below, and soon the chips and buzzes of hummingbirds could be heard in the garden. A Rufous-breasted Hermit was first to be seen, and was followed quickly by a White-chested Emerald. A pair of Silver-beaked Tanagers appeared in a small tree behind the bank of feeders. Someon...


India: Tigers, Taj, & Birds Galore

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Machiel Valkenburg: March 18, 2017

All participants arrived early before the start of the tour, which is a very wise thing to do after such a long flight from the US. For those interested, we organized some pre-tour cultural excursions on the spot and visited the Raj Ghat memorial dedicated to Mahatma Ghandi, marking the spot where the good man was cremated. We visited a lovely park where our birding began with regular birds such as Rose-ringed Parakeet, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Common Kingfisher, White-breasted Kingfisher, ...


Machu Picchu Extension Amazon River Cruise

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Doris Valencia: March 18, 2017

The Machu Picchu Extension to our Amazon River 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. Our first stop was the Wetlands of Huacarpay. Located 45 minutes from the airport, this site has been declared a RAMSAR site since 2006 and protects habitats for both local birds and migrants (boreal and austr...


Santiago-Humboldt Extension

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Andrew Whittaker: March 16, 2017

Upon our arrival in the bustling capital of Santiago, and after saying a fond farewell to those who were unable to spend more time in wondrous Chile, we welcomed Bob, who joined us on this exciting extension. Rested up and raring to go, early the next morning we began to climb into picturesque Andean foothills filled with spectacular arrays of colorful spring blooms, neat cactus, and exotic bromeliads such as that incredible turquoise puya spike. Turquoise Puya bromeliad— P...


Wild Patagonia & Central Chile

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Andrew Whittaker: March 15, 2017

Our 2016 Wild Patagonia & Central Chile tour was sensational! We were blown away by world-class scenery, Pumas galore, a wonderful King Penguin colony, a profusion of colorful and confiding tapaculos, killer views of the astounding Magellanic Woodpecker, immense Andean Condors, and much more.  It’s well worth visiting this almost European country just to experience the incomparable scenery at either the 8th Wonder of the World or the famous Torres del Paine National Park, or to...


Cuba

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Brian Gibbons: March 09, 2017

We arrived in Camaguey to find a parched landscape; the arid regions of Cuba were well into their dry season. Breezing through Immigration and Customs, we stepped outside to breathe in Cuban air, admire our first American classic cars, and be amazed by the plethora of horse carts. In downtown we found narrow streets crowded with bicycles, carts, buses, and belching diesel trucks, all whizzing past crumbling colonial architecture. We had just a few minutes in the evening to roam the streets of...


Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands

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Brian Gibbons: March 09, 2017

Our January 2017 Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands cruise began in a steamy Buenos Aires, where we soaked up the warmth as we observed more than 100 species, most of which we wouldn’t see again as we headed south to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, and beyond. The Falklands and South Georgia provided unrivaled wildlife spectacles only after we enjoyed fantastic pelagic birding and a few cetaceans along the way. Elephant Seals, thousands of penguins, Shag Rocks, and point-bla...


Panama: El Valle's Canopy Lodge

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Kevin Zimmer: March 03, 2017

As always, the El Valle area treated us to some great birds, beautiful accommodations, and some unexpected surprises.  It started, as it always does, upon our arrival at the Canopy Lodge, with the daily lodge feeder show.  At peak times, it can be nearly impossible to tear a group away from the lodge feeders to go anywhere else!  The activity at the feeders is often frenetic, and the diversity of tanagers, honeycreepers, and euphonias attracted is truly remarkable.  To see...


Japan in Winter

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Bob Sundstrom: March 03, 2017

The Japan in Winter tour is subtitled “A Crane and Sea-Eagle Spectacle,” a billing it truly lives up to. The tour has been designed by Japanese birding tour leader, Kaz Shinoda, and traverses the three main—and distinctively different—islands of Honshu, Kyushu, and Hokkaido. About a third of the tour is devoted to each island. From south to north, that’s a span of over 1,600 miles, from the mild weather and green tea plantations of Kyushu to the snowy rim of the ...


Panama's Darien Lowlands: Canopy Camp

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Kevin Zimmer: March 03, 2017

The undisputed highlight of this year’s tour was our successful mini-expedition into Darién National Park, in quest of seeing a Harpy Eagle at an active nest.  What had seemed like a slam-dunk, just days before our trip, turned out to be anything but when I received the sad news that the Harpy nest that we planned to visit had just been depredated.  Fortunately, the folks at the Canopy Camp had a “Plan B” (and “C”), and when the first option was ...


Panama's Canopy Tower & El Valle's Canopy Lodge

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Jeri Langham: March 02, 2017

Myriads of magazine articles have touted Panama’s incredible Canopy Tower, a former U.S. military radar tower transformed by Raúl Arias de Para when the U.S. relinquished control of the Panama Canal Zone. It sits atop 900-foot Semaphore Hill overlooking Soberania National Park. While its rooms are rather spartan, the food is excellent, and the opportunity to view birds at dawn from the 360º rooftop Observation Deck above the treetops is outstanding. Twenty minutes away is th...


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