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

VENTflash #198

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Victor Emanuel: February 02, 2016

Dear friends, The Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival in Titusville, Florida has become one of our favorite events. For many years, each January, VENT leaders Michael O'Brien and Louise Zemaitis have attended the festival on behalf of VENT, staffing our exhibitor booth, leading field trips, and delivering classroom seminars. In most years, Barry Lyon and I have joined them as VENT representatives. Space Coast Festival, '16 with Victor Emanuel, Louise Zemaitis, and Barry Lyon ...


VENTflash #197

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Victor Emanuel: January 12, 2016

Dear friends, Although our sights are set fully on the year ahead, I want to share with you the events of an amazing day which occurred toward the end of last year, on December 20, 2015, a day on which I participated in the 59th annual Freeport Christmas Bird Count on the Texas coast. Joining me were friends and birding associates Cullen Hanks and Barry Lyon. Some of the many special qualities of participating in the same Christmas Bird Count year after year are the memories that we make. Sin...


VENTflash #196: Another Amazon River Cruise Opportunity

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Victor Emanuel: January 06, 2016

Dear friends, Our second Amazon River Cruise of 2016, February 18-28, will depart in a little over a month. Since the start of the new year, we have received notice of cancellation by two couples who had been registered on this trip. Because cancellation penalties were incurred, we are able to offer these newly available cabins at a discount of $2,000 per person in double occupancy. The published fee is $6,495 in double occupancy; with the discount, the fee is $4,495 in double occupancy....


VENTflash #195

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Victor Emanuel: December 15, 2015

Dear friends, In the spirit of the holiday season, we are offering a wonderful opportunity to give the gift of birds and nature! Once again, we are holding a Holiday Sale featuring discounts on a selection of upcoming VENT departures. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than by treating yourself, a friend, or a family member to a VENT tour! I hope you will take advantage of these special holiday offerings. In this issue: 2015 HOLIDAY SALEOTHER SPECIAL OFFERSHOLIDAY GIFT S...


VENTflash #194: Amazon River Cruise Opportunity

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Victor Emanuel: December 01, 2015

Dear friends, With our first Amazon River Cruise of 2016, January 21-31, set to depart in less than two months, I thought you might like to know about a terrific opportunity to join this trip at a significant discount. This week, we received notice of cancellation by a couple who had been registered on this trip. Since they were assessed cancellation penalties, we can offer their cabin at a discount of $2,000 per person in double occupancy. The published fee for this cabin is $6,495 in d...


VENTflash #193

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Victor Emanuel: November 11, 2015

Dear friends, With the second week of November comes the startling reminder of how fast time passes. It's hard to believe we've already reached the mid-point of autumn. Looking back on the month that was, October was an enjoyable time for me here in Austin. The heat of the Texas summer finally abated and I was able to spend more time around my home and office following a lengthy trip to Eastern Europe in September. The highlight of the month was hosting VENT's newest tour leader, Machiel Valk...


VENTflash #192

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Victor Emanuel: October 13, 2015

Dear friends, Extraordinary. Riches upon riches. One of our best tours ever. These descriptions might sound extravagant in describing our first-ever Birds & Music tour to Hungary and the Czech Republic, from where I've recently returned, but they are not. Following two years of planning, this highly anticipated trip exceeded my expectations in almost every way. From the birdwalk around our hotel south of Budapest on the first afternoon to the walking tour of magical Prague on the group's ...


VENTflash #191: 2016 Alaska Tour Discounts & Spitsbergen

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Victor Emanuel: September 03, 2015

Dear friends, The summer of 2015 will long be remembered as one of our best Alaska tour years ever. This year we offered five tours to Alaska, all of which either were full or almost full. As always, our tours were filled with great sightings of birds and mammals, and replete with scenic wonders. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska — Photo: Barry Zimmer Although we still have not reached the end of summer, I'm informing you that our 2016 schedule of Alaska tours ha...


VENTflash #190

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Victor Emanuel: August 19, 2015

Dear friends, As we approach the anniversary of our 40th year in business, I find myself reflecting on many of the great moments in VENT's remarkable history. Many of you probably have never heard about these events so I thought I would tell you about one of the greatest stories ever to come out of a VENT tour. Steller's Eider, Barrow, AK — Photo: Kevin Zimmer The date was June 27, 1993, and VENT tour leader Kevin Zimmer was in Barrow, Alaska at the tail-end of our Gra...


VENTflash #189

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Victor Emanuel: August 06, 2015

Dear friends, VENT is fortunate in having a superb team of tour leaders. Many of our leaders have been with us for over 20 years, and some even more than 30 years. In the last year, our staff was further bolstered by the addition of four terrific new leaders: Erik Bruhnke, Rafael Galvez, Machiel Valkenburg, and Rick Wright. Barry Zimmer Anyone who has taken a VENT tour knows how skilled our tour leaders are. I take great pleasure in reading the comments on the tour evaluatio...


VENTflash #188

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Victor Emanuel: July 23, 2015

Dear friends, Ten years ago VENT chartered the Sea Cloud for a marvelous Birds & History cruise from Athens to Istanbul. I am thrilled to report that we've recently completed a repeat of that epic trip, and that this one was just as wonderful. This departure, unique among our various cruise and tour repertoire, offers a wonderful combination of history, culture, birds, and other aspects of nature. This was our fifth Birds & History cruise to the eastern Mediterranean since 2...


VENTflash #187

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Victor Emanuel: June 09, 2015

Dear friends, The Biggest Week in American Birding has become one of the most significant and widely attended events on the North American birding scene. Held annually just east of Toledo, Ohio, The Biggest Week commemorates the spring passage of warblers and other Neotropical migrants. For a few precious weeks each May, woodlands along the south shore of Lake Erie teem with migrating birds that have paused during their northbound journeys prior to crossing the huge lake. The opportunity to s...


VENTflash #186

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Victor Emanuel: May 12, 2015

Dear friends, For the last month, spring has been in full swing in many areas of the country. Here in Texas, shorebirds and songbirds have been pouring through the region en masse as the migration period reached its peak. Birders from near and far have scoured all of the traditional sites along the Texas coast witnessing the northbound push of waterbirds and Neotropical migrant songbirds. American Avocets — Photo: Michael O'Brien I dearly love April because this is the mont...


VENTflash #185

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Victor Emanuel: March 18, 2015

Dear friends, Two weeks ago, Barry Lyon and I represented VENT at the San Diego Birding Festival, presented by San Diego Audubon Society. Situated on Mission Bay just north of downtown San Diego, this was a wonderful event with great weather, terrific birding, and an opportunity to touch base with old friends and acquaintances, including many VENT travelers. Tricolored Blackbird — Photo: Barry Zimmer We had the privilege of co-leading two field trips. The first wa...


VENTflash #184

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Victor Emanuel: February 03, 2015

Dear friends, Common birds are wonderful, but there is something special about a bird that turns up far outside its known range. Such an occurrence prompts all kinds of questions: Why did it travel so far from its normal range? What route did it take? How long will it stay? I spend a great deal of time on airplanes and on the road, so I don't normally chase rare birds. But when a rare bird shows up in my home birding area, that is quite an event. Striped Sparrow, from A Field Gu...


VENTflash #183

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Victor Emanuel: January 14, 2015

Dear friends, It's hard to believe that we're already halfway through January, yet I am very pleased to report that VENT's winter travel season is well underway, with tours to New Mexico, Panama, Japan, Ecuador, and the Amazon River having departed in the first two weeks of the month, and with trips to Arizona, California, Florida, India, and Venezuela departing soon. The year that ended was the best in the 38-year history of our company, and I very much look forward to another successful yea...


VENTflash #181

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Victor Emanuel: November 19, 2014

Dear friends, More than most people, birders are especially attuned to weather conditions and the changing seasons, as both affect birding productivity. Inclement weather can make birding a physically less enjoyable experience, yet it is often responsible for the appearance of a rare bird in your area. The changing seasons determine the mix of birds you see. In October and early November, for example, we say goodbye to the last of the southbound Neotropical migrants, unless we are fortun...


VENTflash #180

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Victor Emanuel: November 03, 2014

Dear friends, I've always enjoyed October because it is one of the best months of the year for birding, the weather is beautiful just about everywhere, and the autumn foliage—particularly in the East—is at its peak. This October was especially memorable. Main lodge, Little St. Simons Island — Photo: LSSI I began the month by co-leading a Birding Workshop with David Wolf and Barry Lyon at Little St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast. This ten-thousand acre barri...


VENTflash #179

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Victor Emanuel: September 25, 2014

Dear friends, This month has been a special one for me as I have spent time with friends in two wonderful places: Big Bend National Park in West Texas and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Sunset at Big Bend — Photo: Barry Zimmer Two weeks ago I went with a friend to Big Bend, one of my favorite places in the world. While better-known parks like Yosemite and Yellowstone are famous for their dramatic geologic features, the magic of Big Bend lies in the vastness ...


VENTflash #178

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Victor Emanuel: September 04, 2014

Dear friends, There are places in the world whose wildlife concentrations defy description, where even photos are inadequate in conveying the sense of spectacle. I have just returned from such a place: Etosha National Park in northern Namibia. Most people have never heard of Etosha, but it happens to be one of the greatest wildlife viewing areas of Africa. I first went to Etosha in August 1982 when I co-led a VENT tour with David Wolf. Our local guide was an expatriate Dutchman...


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