VENTflash #195 December 15, 2015

Posted by Victor Emanuel


Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 70 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Ari...

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:



For a limited time, December 15-31, 2015, we are offering discounts of 10% off two spaces on a selection of 2016 tours. These spaces are offered on a first-come basis and apply to new registrations only. Call soon as we anticipate they will sell out quickly!


David Wolf

Resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rica — Photo: David Wolf

Winter Florida Birding Workshop, January 25-30, 2016 with Louise Zemaitis and a second leader to be announced: $1,995 in double occupancy from Orlando. $1,795 with discount.

Southern India, January 30-February 20, 2016 with Dion Hobcroft; $9,195 in double occupancy from Bangalore (ends in Kochi). $8,275 with discount.

Short Costa Rica: Toucans to Quetzals, February 2-10, 2016 with David Wolf and Mimi Wolf; $3,495 in double occupancy from San Jose. $3,145 with discount.

Winter Rio Grande Valley: A Relaxed & Easy Tour, February 15-21, 2016 with Erik Bruhnke and Rafael Galvez; $1,995 in double occupancy from McAllen. $1,795 with discount.

Amazon River Cruise: Birding and Natural History Odyssey Aboard La Estrella Amazonica, February 18-28, 2016 with David Ascanio and Paul Greenfield; $6,495 in double occupancy from Lima. $5,845 with discount.

Northern Tanzania: Birding and Wildlife in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Beyond, February 21-March 8, 2016 with Kevin Zimmer and a local leader; $10,895 in double occupancy from Arusha; $9,805 with discount. One space available.

Rockport, Texas: A Birding Workshop, February 21-25, 2016 with Michael O’Brien and Louise Zemaitis; $1,495 in double occupancy from Corpus Christi. $1,345 with discount. 

Horned Guan

Horned Guan, El Triunfo, Mexico — Photo: Ted Eubanks

Easy Philippines, February 24-March 9, 2016 with Dion Hobcroft; $5,995 in double occupancy from Manila. $5,395 with discount.

El Triunfo, March 1-11, 2016 with Brian Gibbons and a second leader to be announced; $2,995 in double occupancy from Tuxtla Gutierrez (ends in Tapachula). $2,695 with discount.

Best of Costa Rica, March 12-24, 2016 with David Wolf and Mimi Wolf; $4,995 in double occupancy from San Jose. $4,495 with discount.

Spring in South Texas, April 1-10, 2016 with Barry Zimmer and Erik Bruhnke; $3,295 in double occupancy from Corpus Christi (ends in Laredo). $2,965 with discount.

VENT’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, April 17-22, 2016 with Victor Emanuel, Kenn Kaufman, Pete Dunne, 16 VENT leaders, and more; $2,895 in double occupancy from Beaumont. $2,605 with discount.

Spring Birding in Spain, April 28-May 15, 2016 with Santiago Villa and Brian Gibbons; $6,095 in double occupancy from Sevilla (ends in Madrid). $5,485 with discount.

South Florida & The Keys, April 30-May 6, 2016 with Rafael Galvez and a second leader to be announced; $2,495 in double occupancy from Key West. $2,245 with discount.

Classic China: Beijing & Sichuan, May 10-31, 2016 with Dion Hobcroft; $8,995 in double occupancy from Beijing. $8,105 with discount.

Minnesota & North Dakota, June 3-12, 2016 with Erik Bruhnke and a second leader to be announced; $3,195 in double occupancy from Duluth; $2,875 with discount.

Autumn Migration in Hungary, September 3-15, 2016 with Brian Gibbons and Attila Steiner; $4,195 in double occupancy from Budapest. $3,775 with discount.

Fall Hawaii, October 12-20, 2016 with Bob Sundstrom and Eric VanderWerf; fee to be announced in double occupancy from Honolulu (ends in Hilo). 2015 fee was $4,095. Save at least $410 with discount.

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Special Offers


In addition to our Holiday Sale, other special offers are available on a selection of other VENT tours. On the Special Offers page of our website, accessed from the homepage, we are presently advertising early registration discounts on 2016 tours to Peru, Cambodia, Kazakhstan and Borneo; and discounts, with no single supplements, on birding and natural history cruises to southern South America; and a permanent offer for New Client Referrals.

In particular, I want to highlight an enhanced opportunity for savings on our birding and natural history cruise, Chile & Peru: In the Wake of Humboldt & Darwin, March 25-April 11, 2016. This cruise, operated by Zegrahm Expeditions, was recently discounted 20%. Now we are very pleased to offer an additional 10% off the already discounted rate. The fee for this departure originally started at $13,980 in double occupancy. With the discounts, cabins now start at $10,062 in double or single occupancy. No single supplement applies! This offer expires January 31, 2016.

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If you will be shopping for a birder in your life, you might consider these gift suggestions:

The Living Bird

The Living Bird

The Living Bird, published by Mountaineers Books. 2015.

In 2015 the Cornell Lab of Ornithology turned 100. The Living Bird is a beautiful coffee table style publication designed to capture the essence of the Lab’s work over its century-long history. Thoughtful essays by Barbara Kingsolver, Scott Weidensaul, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, and the Lab’s director, Dr. John Fitzpatrick, explore the lives of birds and communicate the value that birds bring to our lives. The power of their writing is enhanced by the accompanying imagery of award-winning wildlife photographer Gerrit Vyn. The combination of words and photographs creates an intimate and lasting impression. For anyone who cares about birds and their future, this book will make a welcome addition to your library.

A short promotional trailer was produced prior to the book’s publication, and may be viewed here. The Living Bird is published by Mountaineers Books and is available for $29.95 at the Lab’s Gift Store or by calling 877-266-4929 (10% discount for Cornell Lab members), or through Mountaineers Books.

Bird Songs in Literature: Bird Songs and the Poems They Have Inspired, by Joseph Wood Krutch and Peter Kellogg. Audio CD. Blackstone Audio Books, Inc.; unabridged edition, 2008.

An Audio CD featuring quotations from American and British poems about birds followed by the song of the bird that inspired it. Available from Amazon.

The Central Park Effect

The Central Park Effect

Birders: The Central Park Effect, directed by Jeffrey Kimball. DVD. 2012.

An hour-long documentary about birding in New York City’s Central Park and its effect on the lives of birders of all ages. Beautiful videography (including many warblers) and a lovely score match the many captivating interviews with the people who prowl the famous park in search of birds. I feel this is the best film about birding ever produced. Available from Amazon.

Larkwire. Birding apps for mobile devices iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Larkwire is a complete, game-based learning system for mastering bird sounds—designed for both beginners and advanced birders. VENT leader Michael O’Brien, recognized as one of the country’s top field persons, contributed heavily to the development of this system.

Gift memberships to American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, The Nature Conservancy, or your local Audubon chapter.

These are the country’s top birding and nature conservation organizations, whose work I’ve supported for many years. Anyone who cares about birds and their future should be a member of these outstanding groups. For most of us, our entry into birding starts with a foray into a natural area near our homes. No one does more to connect people with nature at the local level than our local Audubon chapters.

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This Sunday, December 20, I will participate in the 60th annual Freeport Christmas Bird Count. When I founded that count in 1956 I never dreamed it would become one of the top counts in the nation and would still be going strong 59 years later. Twenty years after that first Freeport CBC, I founded Victor Emanuel Nature Tours.

The Christmas Bird Count is one of the greatest traditions in North American natural history and is among the most successful citizen science experiments ever. I hope that you will be a part of the tradition and will participate in one or more Christmas Bird Counts in your area.

VENT started its 40th year on October 1. To commemorate the historic event, we will have a grand celebration, a 40th Anniversary Celebration, in Beaumont, Texas April 17-22, 2016. I hope that you will join us.

Happy Holidays and best wishes from all of us at VENT.