VENT Birding Tours: Photo Galleries

Best of Belize: Chan Chich Lodge 2014

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Apr 03, 2014

Our first morning at Crooked Tree was exceptional. It was hard to know which way to look. As soon as we exited the dining room from breakfast, our heads were spinning in every direction. Stunning Vermilion Flycatchers hawked insects from the fence posts. A flock of Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks greeted the dawn raucously from a flooded field to our right, while a dapper Northern Jacana paraded by on its monstrous feet. A small flock of Olive-throated Parakeets darted past, followed quickly by...


Winter New Mexico 2014

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Feb 26, 2014

From the first afternoon with nearly 10,000 Yellow-headed Blackbirds draping the wires like Christmas garland to the last afternoon with a swirling flock of Black and Brown-capped rosy-finches pouring onto a feeder just 20 feet away, our Winter New Mexico tour was packed with great birds and fantastic bird spectacles. Starting in El Paso, we scoured the Rio Grande Valley and adjacent mountains northward to Albuquerque, tallying 143 species of birds and enjoying some of the best weather ever f...


Panama's Darien Lowlands: Canopy Camp 2014

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Feb 23, 2014

The brand-new Canopy Camp is designed in the tradition of African-style luxury tented camps. The spacious, walk-in tents are mounted on platforms, replete with comfortable beds, fans, and private bathrooms with showers and flush toilets. The tents are well-spaced through the camp clearing, maximizing privacy. Keeping with the tradition established by the other Canopy lodges (Canopy Tower, Canal Zone, and Canopy Lodge, El Valle), the camp will offer imaginatively prepared, tasty meals, and an ...


Winter Southern California 2014

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Feb 20, 2014

Once again, our Winter Southern California tour was a huge success with four action-packed days of birding conducted under ideal weather conditions (reaching 80 degrees one day!). Our two days in San Diego began with a visit to an area of chaparral. Almost immediately we were greeted by a singing California Thrasher that allowed prolonged scope studies. In short order, a California Towhee hopped under our vans, two Wrentits came in somewhat furtively, but close, and a stunning male Allen's Hu...


Winter Southern Arizona 2014

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Feb 19, 2014

Once again our Winter Arizona tour was a huge success. In four action-packed days of birding, we tallied over 150 species and enjoyed spectacularly warm weather (while most of the country was being crushed by winter storms). On our first day, we headed south to Green Valley and world-famous Madera Canyon. Residential portions of Green Valley yielded two very localized specialty birds, the Gilded Flicker and Rufous-winged Sparrow, in addition to such "regular fare" as Gambel's Quail, Gila Wood...


Amazon River Cruise January 2014

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Feb 17, 2014

Our January 2014 Amazon River Cruise took us to the Río Amazon, Río Ucayali, and various tributaries of these rivers. We opted to go further up the Ucayali this year and forgo a short visit to the Río Marañon because we feel the wilder upper section of the Ucayali offers better opportunities for birding and mammal viewing than does the Marañon, which has more Amerindian settlements and a far greater number of villages, gardens, and human intervention. During...


Panama's Canal Zone: A Relaxed and Easy Tour 2013

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Dec 16, 2013

Giving a name to the rush of bright and colorful tanagers and honeycreepers when bananas are supplied at a feeder in Panama can be an interesting experience. You could call it a mosaic of plumages, a cacophony of birds (thanks to Jim for that one!), a dance of lively colors or, simply, the best way to start a Relaxed & Easy tour! Orange-chinned Parakeet— Photo: David Ascanio This week of birding at the Panama Canal also gave us the opportunity to be delighted by other N...


Panama: Fall at El Valle's Canopy Lodge 2013

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Dec 04, 2013

The initial introduction to the Canopy Lodge is always a memorable one, and this year was no different. The well-stocked feeders here attract an amazing array of birds and it seems as though every color in the rainbow is represented. Powder-blue Blue-gray Tanagers arrived first and in numbers. Then, suddenly, a flash of deep velvety-red revealed the presence of a male Crimson-backed Tanager. This species is known locally as "sangre de toro," or blood of the bull, and there is no mystery as to...


Fall at Panama's Canopy Tower 2013

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Dec 03, 2013

On the final night of our Fall at Panama's Canopy Tower tour, we gathered before dinner for the last checklist session, followed by the ritual of selecting the group's three favorite birds of the tour. Our week had been a very successful one, during which we had tallied 269 species of birds, so narrowing it down to three would be hard indeed. Streak-chested Antpitta along Pipeline Road, October 15, 2013.— Photo: Barry Zimmer Hummingbirds, of which we saw 16 species, drew mu...


Panama's Canal Zone: A Relaxed & Easy Tour 2013

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Dec 02, 2013

Our inaugural Panama's Canal Zone: Relaxed & Easy Tour provided more than expected: a superb mix of Neotropical birds, frenzied bird feeders, siesta time every day, lots of laughs, beautiful hummingbirds, delicious meals, and above all, easy birding. Snowy-bellied Hummingbird— Photo: David Ascanio Our headquarters for birding the Panama Canal was the peaceful Canopy B&B in the town of Gamboa, near Lake Gatún. Gamboa is located at the edge of Soberanía ...


Autumn Grand Manan 2013

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Sep 18, 2013

We had just left behind three Humpback Whales that had put on an amazing show. We first spotted them as they were breaching in the distance and eventually pulled up right beside them to watch a wonderful display of tail lobbing, pectoral fin flapping, and general playing on the surface from close range. But as often happens, we were distracted by a concentration of birds up ahead. Numbers of Great Shearwaters were coming in to chum at the back of the boat. Some were literally at arm's-length....


Avian Jewels of Arizona 2013

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Sep 05, 2013

A summer trip to Arizona always offers a wide variety of avian treats and this year was no different. The monsoon season was in full force, lowering temperatures, making the landscape lush and green, and bringing a flurry of bird activity. Hummingbirds are one of the main highlights of this trip and we tallied eleven species for the tour. Stunning Broad-billeds, huge Magnificents (living up to their name), and the ubiquitous Black-chinneds were all widespread and seen on a nearly daily basis....


Hungary

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Sep 04, 2013

For the first time in many years, VENT will return to the eastern European country of Hungary in September 2014. Hungary is likely not on the radar of most traveling birders, but this small country, comparable in size to the U.S. state of Maine, is one of the greatest birding destinations on the European continent, home to magnificent national parks and rare and spectacular birds. Featuring an impressive combination of forests, wetlands, vast plains, and grassland steppe, Hungary supports a w...


Alaska Mainland 2013

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Aug 10, 2013

On our first full day in Nome, we headed out the Teller Road. We had barely reached the edge of town before several Long-tailed Jaegers appeared next to the road. Lapland Longspurs, Hoary Redpolls, and Red-necked Phalaropes followed in short order. A perched Rough-legged Hawk (one of five that morning) gave great views, as did the male Willow Ptarmigan in the middle of the road. Out the window, the trill of an Arctic Warbler caught our attention and soon we had wonderful scope studies of this...


Southern Britain: Birds and History

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Jul 19, 2013

VENT's Southern Britain: Birds & History tour has returned! Combining migration hot-spots with world-class historical sites in the best areas of Britain for both, this tour is ideal for birders with non-birding partners, friends, or family. Throughout the tour we are based at a comfortable hotel set in lovely wooded grounds in the typically English countryside of Kent. Kent is the richest area for birding in Britain, where many European species reach their northern limits. We'll visit sev...


Manaus, Brazil: Amazon Rainforest and River Islands

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Jul 18, 2013

Our Manaus, Brazil: Amazon Rainforest and River Islands tour will provide exceptional opportunities to see some of South America's most wanted birds such as Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (at a lek), Crimson Topaz, Pompadour Cotinga, Guianan Red-Cotinga, countless parrots, manakins, antbirds, and up to four species of potoo, as well as several species of primates and much more. The city of Manaus is positioned at the junction of the world's two mightiest rivers, the Amazon and the Rio Negro. These ...


Scotland in Style 2013

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Jul 12, 2013

What more can one ask for than dramatic Scottish Highlands scenery, great birding, stupendous historical sites (castles, stately homes, and battlefields), and a visit to one of the world's finest Scotch whisky distilleries, where we sampled a wee dram! Combine this with a fantastic group of people based in a wonderful historic Scottish hotel where we were treated to superb meals (we all certainly gained a little weight) and marvelous family hospitality—really, life cannot get much bette...


Spring in South Texas 2013

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Jun 23, 2013

Our 2013 Spring in South Texas tour was arguably our best ever. From South Texas specialties to rarities to migrant land birds, this trip had it all. We began in Corpus Christi, a day after a cold front had passed through. Rather stout north winds the afternoon of our arrival seemed promising for bringing down migrants. We had an hour to bird before dinner that day and headed to nearby Tule Lake. A quick stop at a roadside pond en route yielded a locally rare Least Grebe (our first South Texa...


Grand Belize Part II: Chan Chich 2013

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Jun 22, 2013

As usual, our trip to Chan Chich was incredible. Arriving in the early afternoon, we assembled on the outside patio for lunch. Hummingbirds of four species buzzed about the feeders with stunning White-necked Jacobins dancing about, improbable Long-billed Hermits, feisty Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds, and diminutive White-bellied Emeralds all in evidence. An Ochre-bellied Flycatcher came in to bathe in the water feature off the patio and was quickly joined by a Social Flycatcher. Suddenly two bri...



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