Read the VENTFLASH and catch up on the latest news from VENT!

April 23, 2019

VENTFLASH #254: LATE SPRING/SUMMER/ AUTUMN TOURS WITH SPACES AVAILABLE

Dear friends:

Summer Tanager ©​ Barry Zimmer

I thought you all might like to know that spaces are still available on a handful of our late spring, summer, and autumn tours. Many people require much advance planning before registering for a trip, but I think this fine suite of departures will appeal to those who can travel on shorter notice.

In this issue:

LATE SPRING TOURS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE
SUMMER TOURS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE
AUTUMN TOURS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE
CLOSING THOUGHTS

LATE SPRING TOURS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE

Spring in the Washington Cascades: A Relaxed and Easy Tour, June 2–8, 2019 with Bob Sundstrom; $2,595 in double occupancy from Seattle. 4 spaces available.

This departure was designed by longtime VENT leader and Washington resident, Bob Sundstrom. It is a one-week Relaxed & Easy Tour, which is an ideal amount of time to experience the outstanding beauty and wildlife of the region while not keeping you away from home for a prolonged period. 

Spring in the Washington Cascades offers delightful spring birding based out of a first-rate lodge in the natural setting of a Washington canyon. Leavenworth, Washington is an ideal venue for a late spring nature tour in the Cascades. The picturesque town sits at the foot of Icicle Canyon in the Cascade Mountains, on the north side of the monumental Alpen face of Mt. Stuart. Our lodgings are tucked alongside the rushing Wenatchee River. Every room at the inn has a balcony overlooking the river, where you can sit and watch families of Yellow-bellied Marmots and such birds as Pygmy Nuthatch and Common Merganser. White-headed Woodpeckers often nest nearby. The inn is just a few minutes from Icicle Creek and other fast-flowing streams, where American Dippers bob on the rocks and Harlequin Ducks nest. In late May, wildflowers carpet the forest floor and canyon roadsides.

Relaxed boating excursion on the Rio Roosevelt ©​ Andrew Whittaker

Brazil: Amazonia on the Rio Roosevelt, June 14–24, 2019 with Andrew Whittaker; $9,095 in double occupancy from Porto Velho. Spaces available.

Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt region is an unspoiled Amazonian wilderness—as wild, rugged, and beautiful a destination as when Theodore Roosevelt first laid eyes on it, but with one huge difference. A plush wilderness lodge now offers the unique opportunity to visit and explore this exciting Amazonian destination in great style. The lodge is situated on the banks of the spectacular Rio Roosevelt, where several recent scientific discoveries have been made, including the Rondonia Bushbird, several new primates, and even a new dwarf manatee. The complete lack of hunting in the area means that the fauna of larger birds, primates, and other mammals is still intact, allowing us the rare opportunity to experience Amazonia at its best. We will explore this Amazonian wilderness both on foot and by boat, and our efforts could yield the newly described Cryptic Forest-Falcon; Zigzag and Agami herons; Chestnut-fronted, Scarlet, and Red-and-green macaws; the poorly known Kawall's Parrot; the spectacular Crimson-bellied Parakeet; Gould's Toucanet; Red-necked Aracari; Green-and-rufous Kingfisher; Pavonine Quetzal and others. With luck, we may even find the rarely seen Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo or a jaguar.  

SUMMER TOURS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE

Galapagos Islands Cruise Aboard the M/V Evolution, June 21–30, 2019 with Michael O’Brien, Louise Zemaitis, and Stephanie Mason; one full cabin available at $10,895 in double occupancy from Quito. Reserve now and pay $9,895 in double occupancy. Two request-share accommodations also available starting at $8,995 in double occupancy.

One of our first summer tours this year is our annual Galapagos Islands Cruise. With the departure date less than two months away, I am letting you know that one full cabin is available and that we are able to offer it at a discount of $1,000 per person off the double occupancy rate. The cabin is a Category A accommodation and features a queen bed. The published price is $10,895 in double occupancy. Reserve this cabin now and pay $9,895 per person in double occupancy. For a couple, this discount opportunity represents a savings of $2,000! The cabin will be sold on a first-come basis. Additionally, our single travelers may be interested to know that two request-share cabins are available as well: one female request-share cabin at $8,995 per person in double occupancy, and one male request-share cabin at $9,795 per person in double occupancy. I have been to the Galapagos Islands many times and, like many, regard it as one of the world’s greatest natural history destinations. In my opinion, it is a “must see” place for anyone who loves birds and nature. The exquisite wildlife, unique geology, and remarkable history of the place are second to none in the lore of international nature tourism. 

El Cantil Ecolodge, Nuqui, Choco, Colombia ©​ El Cantil Ecolodge

Colombia: Endemics of the Choco-Pacific Lowlands, July 7–17, 2019 with Steve Hilty and a local leader; $6,195 in double occupancy from Medellín. 4 spaces available.

Long regarded as one of the most endemic-rich avifaunas in the world, the Chocó-Pacific is known for high rainfall, beautiful green mountains, spectacular waterfalls, ever-changing panoramas of cloud-filled valleys, and unparalleled tanager diversity. Expect exciting birding, a number of endemic or near-endemic species, and a few previously seen by few others.

This trip is designed as an introduction to one of the most endemic-rich regions in the New World—the Chocó-Pacific lowlands of western Colombia. In Colombia the Andes split into three distinct cordilleras, each offering a distinctive array of localized birds.

Caribbean Colombia: Rio Magdalena Wetlands, Santa Marta Mountains & the Guajira Desert, July 17–25, 2019 with Steve Hilty and a local leader; $4,195 in double occupancy from Barranquilla. 3 spaces available.

For years birders and naturalists have looked longingly at Colombia’s enormous list of birds—the longest in the world—and its enticing endemics—some 70 species found only within its borders, and many more with distributions that barely extend beyond its borders. One of the most endemic-rich sites of all is, ironically, one of the closest for travelers—the Santa Marta Mountains. This lofty, pyramid-shaped mountain range springs up from the shores of the Caribbean to nearly twenty thousand feet, and it is a birder’s dream. Almost 20 species of endemics, gorgeous scenery, and a new and comfortable mountain lodge are situated in a perfect climate zone. There also is a completely different set of birds just a few hours away on the nearby Guajira Peninsula.

Borneo, July 11–29, 2019 with Machiel Valkenburg and a local leader; $8,995 in double occupancy from Kota Kinabalu. 2 spaces available.

Home to a broad suite of special birds, mammals, and reptiles, Borneo is unquestionably one of the world’s great wildlife viewing destinations. Orangutans, primates, Bornean Pygmy Elephants, pheasants, hornbills, and the Bornean Bristlehead are all standout species we’ll seek. Additionally, a stay at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley is not to be missed.

Long-whiskered Owlet ©​ Andrew Whittaker

Northern Peru’s Cloud Forest Endemics: Mythical Owlet & Stupendous Spatuletail, August 12–23, 2019 with Andrew Whittaker; $5,145 in double occupancy from Lima. 4 spaces available.

Join Andrew Whittaker for a trip to the cloud forests of northern Peru, a wonderland of tanagers, hummingbirds, and other extraordinary tropical birds. Seeing the Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird is one highlight among many. This trip is one of our most popular South American tours.

Namibia, Botswana & Zambia, August 24–September 10, 2019 with Geoff Lockwood; $16,495 in double occupancy from Walvis Bay (ends in Livingstone). 2 spaces available.

One of our most popular tours for many years, this departure showcases the wildlife of magnificent Etosha National Park of Namibia, the famed Okavango River Delta of Botswana, and Victoria Falls of Zambia. Like stepping back into nineteenth-century Africa, we’ll see plenty of big game, herds of hoofed mammals, cats, and a profusion of easy-to-see birds. Few tours in our entire repertoire offer the diversity and grandeur of this one. This is a specialty tour limited to only six people.

Participants registering by May 1, 2019 will receive a discount of $1,000 (internal flights included).

Snow Leopards of Mongolia: Birds & Rare Mammals of the Mongolian Wilderness, September 1–15, 2019 with Rafael Galvez and a local leader; $8,995 in double occupancy from Ulaanbaatar. Limit 10. 3 spaces available.

This new tour ranks among our most exciting departures of 2019. Never before have we presented a tour that has a high probability of success in observing a Snow Leopard, one of the world’s least known and mysterious animals. Unlike most places where Snow Leopards occur, viewing the animal in Mongolia does not require ascending to uncomfortably high altitudes or subjection to extreme cold and snow. Our visit will occur in early September when the weather is still mild and the mountains and passes are snow-free. In addition to Snow Leopards, our tour should record a wealth of marvelous birds and mammals. Among other wildlife we’ll seek are the very rare Saiga Antelope, Przewalski’s Horse, White-naped Crane, Lammergeier, Altai Snowcock, and Mongolian Ground-Jay among many others.

Red-and-green Macaws at Clay Lick - Manu, Peru ©​ Pamela Higginbotham

Peru: Manu Biosphere Reserve, September 3–18, 2019 with David Ascanio and a local leader; $7,295 in double occupancy from Lima. Spaces available.

The Manu Biosphere Reserve of southern Peru is the most pristine and wildest remaining region of Amazonia. A centerpiece of the area, the famed Manu Road running from the crest of the Andes to the lowland rainforest, has a bird list of almost 1,000 species—nearly 10% of the world’s bird species! Here exists a profusion of birds representing most of the bird families of the American Tropics including raptors, Andean Cock-of-the-rock, hummingbirds, antbirds, barbets, tanagers, and so much more. This region is truly one of the great birding areas of the world.VENT has operated tours to Peru for many decades, yet it is the Manu region that offers the greatest and most immersive experience in tropical biodiversity. In addition to the mesmerizing birdlife that you encounter in Manu is a legion of primates and other mammals like Giant Otter and Jaguar, fantastic botany, and innumerable butterflies. VENT leader David Ascanio has compared our tour to the Manu Biosphere Reserve as “a space trip across the Milky Way—every day we visited a different planet!”


AUTUMN TOURS WITH SPACES STILL AVAILABLE

Deutscher Dom, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin ©​ mkrberlin/shutterstoc

Germany: Birds & Art in Berlin & Brandenburg, September 29–October 8, 2019 with Rick Wright
$3,895 in double occupancy from Berlin.  Spaces available.

I am very pleased with the success we’ve enjoyed with our Birds & Art tours to Europe. Knowing that many of our travelers enjoy trips that include cultural highlights in tandem with their birding experiences, we adopted this program of tours several years ago when Rick Wright joined VENT as a tour leader. 

This relaxed-pace tour is based in the center of Berlin and delves into the city’s natural and cultural heritage. Berlin’s many artistic and architectural treasures beg for exploration, and we’ll visit sites that represent both the bright and the dark sides of German history. Outside the city, we will explore the countryside of Brandenburg, where we will look for Red Kites, wintering geese and shorebirds, and even the rare Great Bustard among many other birds.

Armed with a PhD in German from Princeton University, Rick Wright is the ideal guide for a Birds & Art tour. Among his outstanding credentials, Rick has worked as an associate professor of medieval studies and has authored scholarly books on literature of the Middle Ages. Read his full bio here.

Manaus, Brazil: Amazon Rainforest & River Islands, October 4–17, 2019 with Andrew Whittaker
$5,395 in double occupancy from Manaus. 3 spaces available.

A classic Amazonian experience featuring a fantastic canopy tower and riverboat access to pristine river islands and forested wilderness. Many spectacular Amazonian birds are expected, including parrots, toucans, cotingas, and tanagers. Also possible are some of South America’s most desirable birds—Harpy Eagle, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Crimson Fruitcrow,  and Pompadour Cotinga.

Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo ©​ Barry Zimmer

Panama: Fall at El Valle’s Canopy Lodge, October 26–November 2, 2019 with Erik Bruhnke and a local leader; $2,995 in double occupancy from Panama City. Spaces available.

Straddling the Continental Divide, the foothills of Panama harbor a unique avifauna that includes both lowland and highland species, as well as birds of both the Pacific and Caribbean slopes. This tour will be based in the very comfortable Canopy Lodge at El Valle. Nestled in the crater of an extinct volcano, and surrounded by jagged ridges and hills, our lodge enjoys a magnificent scenic backdrop and ready access to lush forests that are alive with colorful hummingbirds and tanagers. Among the many species that we will be searching for are such gems as Spectacled Owl; Rufous-crested Coquette (rare); Snowcap; White-tipped Sicklebill (rare); Bronze-tailed Plumeleteer; Violet-headed Hummingbird; Veraguan Mango (endemic); Orange-bellied Trogon; Northern Emerald (Blue-throated) Toucanet; Tody Motmot; Spotted Woodcreeper; Dull-mantled Antbird; Tufted Flycatcher; Lance-tailed Manakin; Ochraceous Wren; Silver-throated, Dusky-faced, Tawny-crested, Black-and-yellow, and Bay-headed tanagers; Common Chlorospingus; Scarlet-thighed Dacnis; the very rare Blue Seedeater; and the nearly mythical Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo.  

Check out the Panama Fruit Feeder Live Cam at Canopy Lodge 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I wish to take this time to thank you, once again, for choosing to travel with Victor Emanuel Nature 
Tours. There is a lot of competition in the bird tour industry, and there are a lot of choices out there. 
Your continued support means a great deal to me.

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel

victor@ventbird.com
https://ventbird.com

Copyright © 2019, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Victor Emanuel Nature Tours
2525 Wallingwood Drive, Suite 1003
Austin, TX 78746
800-328-8368 / 512-328-5221
info@ventbird.com