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



Machiel Valkenburg: September 29, 2016

Most of our group arrived early in Kota Kinabalu before the tour began, giving them time to relax from their long travels to this magnificent island. The first two nights were spent at the lavish Shangri La Tanjung Aru Beach Hotel. Around the grounds of this superb resort, our first birding was done amidst great tropical scenery. Common birds like Zebra Dove, Oriental Magpie-Robin, White-breasted Woodswallow, and Striated Heron were found easily, and the Sunda Pygmy-Woodpecker was wonderfully...

Free Webinar - Circumnavigation of Iceland

September 27, 2016

  Victor Emanuel Nature Tours Presents: A Free Webinar    Circumnavigation of Iceland Birding and Nature in the Land of Fire and Ice   June 1 - 12, 2017 | 12 Days | Aboard the Ocean Diamond   Thingvellir National Park, Iceland— Photo: Zegrahm Expeditions   Razorbills— Photo: Zegrahm Expeditions                                J...

Costa Rica: A Relaxed & Easy Tour


David Ascanio: September 27, 2016

It might have been a sunny afternoon on September 25, 1502, when Christopher Columbus (he liked to be called then Cristobal Colón) reached what today is called Puerto Limón, in the Caribbean lowlands of Middle America. I can only imagine his crew’s astonishment at seeing a pair of Great Green Macaws in flight, and some of the American natives with Collared Aracaris on their shoulders as pets. But, what really surprised Colón were the gold ornaments that many of the ...

Namibia, Botswana & Zambia


Geoff Lockwood: September 21, 2016

Our pre-trip to the Namibian coast and Namib Desert gave amazing views of thousands of flamingos; a spectacular Great White Pelican—in full breeding plumage; several endemic larks and chats; Bank, Crowned, and Cape cormorants; and African Black Oystercatchers, as well as a variety of shorebirds and ducks. Raptors were well-represented, with great views of Peregrine Falcon and Rock Kestrel, with a way-out-of-range melanistic Black Sparrowhawk being the biggest birding surprise of the pre...

VENTflash #207


Victor Emanuel: September 21, 2016

Dear friends, VENT operates approximately 150 tours a year to destinations all over the world. With so many tours in the field every month, I regularly receive reports of amazing sightings that occur on our trips. In August, we operated tours to Africa (Namibia, Botswana & Zambia and South Africa) North America (Canada: Grand Manan), Australasia (Borneo, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and West New Britain), and South America (Brazil: Pantanal and Peru: Manu). The tour reports that we receiv...

Montana Owl Workshop


Denver Holt: September 18, 2016

Our 2016 Montana Owl Workshop was another fun trip. We saw 5 species of owls, including Great Horned, Northern Pygmy, Northern Saw-whet, Long-eared, and Short-eared. We had terrific encounters as all species were breeding. In addition to seeing the owls and discussing field marks, we delved—in great detail—into evolutionary adaptations in owls and how owls cope within the environments they occur. On our first morning out, ORI (Owl Research Institute) researchers guided us to two N...

Northern Peru's Cloud Forest Endemics


Andrew Whittaker: September 12, 2016

WOW! This fabulous tour is truly the real mecca of Andean Cloud Forest birding with an incredible 362 species, including a staggering 44 dazzling species of hummingbirds and 44 colorful tanagers! Voted top bird of the trip (with outstanding views) was the mythical tiny and cute Long-whiskered Owlet; and who can forget those drop dead views of the Spatuletail! Both are mega-birds and outstanding endemics. Our impressive Owlet record now standing as seen on 7 out of our last 8 trips! ...

Lima's Coastal Marshes and Humboldt Seabird Colonies


Andrew Whittaker: September 12, 2016

Lima is a premier birding destination with its mega-rich coastal wetlands of Pantanos de Ville Reserve and the coastal seas so close by. This is primarily because of one of the world’s richest currents just offshore, offering extremely rich pickings to a wealth of wildlife! Inca Terns— Photo: Andrew Whittaker   We began our exciting day birding on the outskirts of the town at the impressive Pantanos de Ville Nature Reserve with its rich wetlands, beaches,...

Northern Peru's Tumbes & Maranon Endemics


Andrew Whittaker: September 12, 2016

Spectacular as always, easy birding (with so many exciting Tumbes and Marañon endemics) combined with such unique and fascinating habitats can only make for a fantastically successful trip! We were blessed with great weather, superb birding, and amazing field breakfasts and lunches. Imagine, as dawn breaks, sitting down at a large table with hot coffee, steaming hot fried eggs or pancakes, fresh fruit, yogurt, and fruit juice, while enjoying stunning panoramic views. Thanks again to ou...

Free Webinar - Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand

September 09, 2016

  Free Webinar—Victor Emanuel Nature Tours Presents:  Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand The Greatest Seabirding in the World January 17 - February 3, 2017 | 18 Days | Aboard the Caledonian Sky  Macquarie Island, Sandy Bay, Anere Station— Photo: G. Fasanelli   Join Victor Emanuel and Barry Lyon of Victor Emanuel Nature Tours for a free webinar! On Tuesday, September 13th, learn about our January Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand expedi...

Papua New Guinea: West New Britain


Dion Hobcroft: September 07, 2016

The great majority of folks on our Papua New Guinea Highlights tour continued on to our extension of West New Britain, and we were joined by a new participant. The flight went well, and by lunchtime we were well set up in the lovely and very comfortable Walindi Dive Resort set on the coast at Kimbe Bay.  We had a super encounter with Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrots in the gardens, thanks to some sharp spotting by Janene. Four adults were feeding two fluttering recently fledged juveniles. After ...

Papua New Guinea Highlights


Dion Hobcroft: September 07, 2016

I have been leading tours to Papua New Guinea for 15 years now, and the magical island still keeps on giving amazing results. It is possibly the most electrifying birding destination on the planet, and hopefully this transcript of our adventures will let you know why. We had a smooth flight and progress through immigration formalities so that we were able to schedule a pleasant afternoon birding stroll through the grounds of the Pacific Adventist University. In fact, we were accompanied by th...

VENTflash #206: Sicily & Malta Aboard the Sea Cloud


Victor Emanuel: September 06, 2016

Dear friends, For many, the opportunity to travel aboard the historic sailing ship, Sea Cloud, is the thrill of a lifetime. Unique in her all-wood construction and spectacular under sail, this legendary ship has no peer. For years, it had been a dream of mine to charter the Sea Cloud exclusively for VENT travelers for a Mediterranean cruise that emphasized history and nature—two of my favorite things. That dream became a reality in the autumn of 2005 when we reserved the entire ship for...

Alaska: Barrow Extension


Kevin Zimmer: September 06, 2016

As usual, our Barrow Extension delivered the expected mix of high Arctic breeding waterfowl, shorebirds, jaegers, and owls, with a few surprises thrown in, that have made this outpost at the “top of the world” (more accurately, at the top of Alaska) a must-visit destination for birders. All of Barrow’s “glamour” birds were present and accounted for, starting with the eider “hat trick” of King, Steller’s, and Spectacled eiders on the tundra. We s...

Avian Jewels of Arizona


Barry Zimmer: September 03, 2016

Twelve species of dazzling hummingbirds! Seven species of owls! Nearly all of the southeastern Arizona specialty birds! Our Avian Jewels of Arizona tour had all of that and more. We began with some brief afternoon birding in Tucson, where we tallied Burrowing Owl, Tropical Kingbird, Vermilion Flycatcher, Western Tanager, and Abert’s Towhee to get our birding adventure off to a great start. Burrowing Owl— Photo: Barry Zimmer   The following day found us in...

Camp Cascades


Michael O'Brien: September 01, 2016

After a hiatus of three years, we ran this camp again in 2016, with a crew of fourteen enthusiastic and talented young naturalists. It was a special treat to have Victor Emanuel himself as one of the leaders on this event. The year 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of VENT’s youth birding camps, and Camp Cascades has been part of that program for much of that time. Congrats to Victor on 30 years of mentoring the next generation of birders, naturalists, and conservationists! S...

Galapagos Islands Cruise aboard the M/V Evolution


David Wolf: August 31, 2016

Few destinations offer as rich and complete a natural history experience as the Galapagos Islands. The rugged beauty of these volcanic islands is breathtaking, the sheer abundance of wildlife is simply staggering, and photographic opportunities abound. But there is so much more to the Galapagos. 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 on the way scientists view the world today, is...

Tandayapa Pre-trip Galapagos Cruise


David Wolf: August 31, 2016

Quito, our arrival point into Ecuador, is an attractive city set in the Central Valley between two parallel ranges of the Andes. Pichincha Volcano looms over it to the west, while across a deep valley to the east are the Eastern Andes, their snow-capped peaks reaching for the sky. However, this is a dry region, blocked from the frequent rains on the outer slopes, and the birdlife is limited. This makes it all the more amazing that less than a two-hour drive to the northwest lies one of the ri...

VENTflash #205


Victor Emanuel: August 29, 2016

Dear friends, As many of you know, this past April VENT celebrated its 40th anniversary. On the heels of that historic milestone, this summer marked an occasion just as significant: the 30th anniversary of the founding of our summer youth birding camp program. Back in 1986, VENT inaugurated the country's first-ever youth birding program with Camp Chiricahua, a two-week summer camp in southeastern Arizona. Nothing like this camp had ever been attempted, and the idea behind it was to connect yo...

Uganda Highlights


Dion Hobcroft: August 28, 2016

Once again we were successful in our primary goal of seeing wild Chimpanzees, Gorillas, and the superb Shoebill. We sighted more than 450 species of birds, more than 40 species of mammals, and had a lot of fun on our East African adventure. Our tour started with a great morning at Mabamba Swamp. Within an hour of searching by pirogue in the beautiful wetlands we had an adult Shoebill in perfect light ahead of us. We watched it unsuccessfully lunge forward to seize an unseen fish. It briefly l...