VENT Birding Tours: Photo Galleries

Costa Rica: A Relaxed & Easy Tour 2015

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Feb 09, 2016

Once again, Costa Rica provided an amazing mix of birds, mammals, and reptiles, along with unique opportunities to learn about the interrelations between birds and their habitats. Our tour started in Cerro de la Muerte, a mountain that’s part of the Talamanca Cordillera, where a hummingbird-filled week gave us views of the near-endemics Volcano Hummingbird, White-throated Mountain-Gem, and Fiery-throated Hummingbird. Easy birding along the road allowed us to see other wonderful birds su...


Panama's Canal Zone: A Relaxed & Easy Tour 2015

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Feb 08, 2016

As soon as there was light in the town of Gamboa, in the Panama Canal area, we were welcomed with open “birding” arms. Our first day was packed with views of antbirds, parrots, raptors, crakes, toucans, tyrant-flycatchers, and hummingbirds. Yes, a lot of hummingbirds! Fasciated Antshrike— Photo: David Ascanio   Gamboa, with its picturesque houses, was our starting point and headquarters for this week filled with wildlife. Well-maintained gardens wer...




Panama: Fall at El Valle's Canopy Lodge 2015

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Dec 03, 2015

Once again, our Canopy Lodge tour provided a memorable and exciting birding adventure to Panama. The cool foothill habitats surrounding El Valle, combined with a visit to the Pacific lowlands, yielded nearly 240 species of birds with countless highlights. Squirrel Cuckoo— Photo: Barry Zimmer We began our trip with brief birding around our Panama City hotel. A stunning Squirrel Cuckoo topped the list, but close, perched Blue-headed Parrots, Pale-vented Pigeon, Yellow-headed ...



Kazakhstan 2014

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Nov 04, 2015

VENT’s fourth comprehensive tour of Central Asia was our most successful yet, sighting 265 species of birds, 16 mammals, and a variety of interesting reptiles. Many of the birds were in dazzling breeding plumage and full song. Native plants were flowering extensively. We birded in a huge variety of habitats including feather steppe, irano-sindian hills, turanga woodlands, sand deserts, rock deserts, huge wetlands, alpine fields to the snow line, juniper forests, and sino-himalayan decid...


Galapagos Islands Cruise aboard the M/V Evolution, July 2015

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Nov 04, 2015

There are very few destinations where one can have as rich and complete a natural history experience as the Galápagos Islands. The rugged beauty of these volcanic islands is breathtaking, and the sheer abundance of wildlife is simply staggering and ripe with photographic opportunity. But there is so much more to the Galápagos. Just the thought of walking in the footsteps of Darwin, on the very islands that shaped his theory of natural selection and had such a profound influence ...


Fall at Panama's Canopy Tower 2015

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Nov 03, 2015

Although I have led over 25 tours to Panama, I don’t think I can remember one that had more special moments than this year’s Canopy Tower tour. In fact, in one six-hour period along Pipeline Road, we had three of my most memorable Panama moments ever! Pheasant Cuckoo - a tour first!— Photo: Barry Zimmer We had just come down from the observation tower of the Panama Rainforest Discovery Center, when Natalia, one of the Center employees, told us she had just locat...


Panama's Darien Lowlands: Canopy Camp, October 2015

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Nov 02, 2015

We arrived at the spot along the Rio Tuquesa around 8:30 AM, where some ten months earlier one of the Canopy Camp guides had discovered a pair of Dusky-backed Jacamars. This range restricted species (found only in easternmost Panama and in northern Colombia) is seldom seen by anyone. We had high hopes, however, as we knew that groups prior to ours had been able to relocate these special birds. Our boat trip upriver to this location had already netted us many great birds for the morning, inclu...


Autumn Grand Manan 2015

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Sep 28, 2015

We departed from Seal Cove on our full-day pelagic tour filled with excitement and anticipation of what was to come. Based on my build-up, expectations for a good day were high. Great Black-backed Gulls by the dozens adorned the rocks of the jetty as we pulled out of the harbor, and quickly we began seeing numbers of Black Guillemots foraging in the near shore waters. Fifteen minutes into our journey, the mate spotted an adult Razorbill with a chick in tow. We were able to pull up right next ...


Bhutan 2015

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Sep 23, 2015

When I first visited Bhutan in 1996 with David Bishop, I said that a visit to Bhutan was like entering a fairy tale world. Everything seemed so different and, in some sense, much of the country did seem frozen in time, with traditions and a culture that had seen relatively little change in centuries. Even its name, Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon, seemed to reflect this fairy tale setting. The country was governed by a real king, a benevolent and enlightened one to be sure, but away from the ci...


Avian Jewels of Arizona 2015

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Aug 16, 2015

Once again, this year’s Avian Jewels tour proved why southeastern Arizona during the monsoon season is a must destination for any birder. Hummingbirds are the first things most people associate with summer in Arizona, and we had them in spades. We totaled an impressive eleven species during our trip, highlighted by male and female White-eared Hummingbirds in Miller Canyon and a hard-earned Plain-capped Starthroat (an accidental visitor from Mexico) near Portal. Throw in other such gems ...


Alaska Highlights 2015

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Jul 28, 2015

An argument could be made that this was our most successful Alaska Highlights trip ever! We saw nearly every target bird, added in some nice rarities, had wonderful mammal displays, and enjoyed about the best weather possible. Bluethroat— Photo: Barry Zimmer   We started in Nome, where we were greeted with blue skies and temperatures that reached an incredible 80 degrees! Right out of the gate, we stopped at a new breeding colony of Aleutian Terns adjacent to t...


Minnesota & North Dakota 2015

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Jul 27, 2015

Birding throughout the upper Midwest can be thrilling, and our nine-day Minnesota & North Dakota tour left us with great memories of a rich array of ecosystems. There is something to be said about getting out of the vehicle at night and hearing a Yellow Rail vocalize, and hiking through native prairie and seeing Chestnut-collared Longspurs displaying all around us. There is something about witnessing a Black-billed Cuckoo vocalizing atop aspen trees in the early morning light as the tour ...


Cuba, March 25-April 4, 2015

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Jul 26, 2015

Our second Cuba tour of 2015 began with shocking views of Zapata Sparrow, as well as Cuban Tody, Cuban Gnatcatcher, Cuban Vireo, Cuban Martin, Cuban Green Woodpecker, Cuban Emerald, Oriente Warbler, and Cuban Blackbird. What a cocktail of Cuban endemics to start the tour! Zapata Sparrow— Photo: David Ascanio   In Cayo Coco we nailed white morph individuals of both Reddish Egret and Great Blue Heron. Additionally, several Caribbean specialties and near-endemic s...


Spring Grand Arizona 2015

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Jun 15, 2015

An argument can be made that this was the most successful spring Arizona tour that VENT has ever run! We tallied virtually every southeastern Arizona specialty, along the way netting 9 species of owls, 9 species of hummingbirds, a very robust 15 species of raptors (not including owls), and a dizzying 19 species of flycatchers! In addition we had the good fortune of seeing 3 Mexican visitors: Plain-capped Starthroat, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, and Flame-colored Tanager. Toss in some rarities li...


Montana Owl Workshop 2015

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May 26, 2015

Featuring great birds and great scenery, and the opportunity to spend time in the field with renowned owl scientist and researcher Denver Holt, our Montana Owl Workshop is one of our most unique trips in our entire repertoire of tours. David Hines was a participant on our 2015 tour, and has graciously shared with us his excellent photos from the trip. Enjoy!


Cuba, March 4-14, 2015

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May 22, 2015

Cuba continues to offer a unique mix of birds, culture, and architecture hardly matched anywhere in the Caribbean. Our first approach to the Cuban birdlife allowed us views of the widespread Cuban Blackbird and the territorial Cuban Emerald. We also saw our first Red-legged Thrush, a distant Cuban Pewee, and several Antillean Palm Swifts nesting in the restaurant’s entrance roof. Cuban Tody— Photo: David Ascanio   From Santa Clara we drove north and acros...


Spring in South Texas 2015

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May 15, 2015

We arrived at the Norias division of the King Ranch at about 7:15 AM. I was gathering my gear and preparing to step out of the van when I became aware that a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl was already calling about 100 feet in front of us! It was calling from a fairly isolated mesquite, and although it took several minutes to locate, we eventually enjoyed great scope views. We had been on the ranch for about fifteen minutes, and our primary target was already in the bag! Green Jay— ...


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