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

Northern Peru's Cloud Forest Endemics

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Andrew Whittaker: September 17, 2018

WOW! As usual, this fabulous Northern Peru tour rocked. Despite some adverse weather this year (an odd cold front), it lived up to being a showcase as a MEGA Cloud Forest birding destination in the Andes. This year’s lucky group enjoyed an incredible total of 336 species, including a staggering 40 different species of dazzling hummingbird gems equal to a wonderful 40 colorful tanager species. Our extremely impressive Long-whiskered Owlet record continued (for those who managed the hike)...


Costa Rica: A Relaxed & Easy Tour

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David Ascanio: September 05, 2018

Fantastic Costa Rica welcomed us with amazing views of a Lesson’s Motmot (Momotus lessoni) feeding on infructescences of a bromeliad at eye level. Pairs of Rufous-naped Wrens (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) were displaying, accompanied by their cacophonic voices and Boat-billed Flycatchers (Megarynchus pitangua) chasing away a raptor that was close to their nesting site. From San José we drove to Cerro de la Muerte where we enjoyed superb views of Fiery-throated Hummingbirds—a ...


Galapagos Islands Cruise Aboard the M/V Evolution

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Paul Greenfield: August 23, 2018

What can be said about the Galápagos Islands that has not already been expressed in dozens, if not hundreds, of trip reports, blogs, novels, documentaries, and tweets? All of the possible superlatives have surely already been exclaimed in some form or another! But, pondering this question for longer than I should have, I’ve kinda concluded that perhaps…just perhaps, the Encantadas experience is actually something other than exclamations of grandeur, but rather more of a pe...


Tandayapa Pre-trip Galapagos Cruise

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Paul Greenfield: August 23, 2018

Mega-biodiversity is difficult to fathom. The sheer complexity of such natural ‘systems’ makes deciphering them a real challenge, if not a practically imposible task, even for the keenest eye—most of the world’s ‘mega’ hot-spots’ are so biologically mindboggling that actually appreciating their advertised reality can even seem a bit dissappointing…“So where’s all the wildlife everybody keeps talking about?” Mother Nature often...


Camp Chiricahua

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Michael O'Brien: August 23, 2018

Camp Chiricahua is a natural history exploration of Southeast Arizona’s “sky islands” and surrounding desert, grassland, and riparian forest. The biodiversity in this region is among the richest in the country due to the confluence of four major biogeographic regions: the Sonoran Desert from the west, the Chihuahuan Desert from the east, the Rocky Mountains from the north, and the Sierra Madre from the south. Our 2018 crew of young naturalists took to the field with eyes ope...


Alaska: Barrow Extension

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Brian Gibbons: August 20, 2018

The report of Ross’s Gulls in Barrow had taunted us for more than a week. Would they hold on for one more day for us to experience this rare Arctic gull in the midnight sun? After our arrival, car rental, check-in, and dinner we would find out. A few miles out of town on the Freshwater Lake, Michael exclaims, “I think I’ve got three Ross’s Gulls in flight over the tundra.” I couldn’t believe it, a trio of my most-wanted bird in the world was chasing around ...


Spring in the Washington Cascades

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Rafael Galvez: August 16, 2018

The diversity of habitats easily accessible from our base during our Spring in the Washington Cascades – Relaxed & Easy tour promised a wonderful experience and a broad array of species within a relatively short period of time. Although we had started birding on the “wet side” of the Cascades, visiting moist and upland forests under damp and breezy conditions, by our third morning of birding we were worlds away amidst a vast blanket of cool-green sagebrush under still an...


Minnesota & North Dakota

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Erik Bruhnke: August 13, 2018

VENT’s Minnesota & North Dakota tour combines a broad spectrum of vast scenery with incredible bird life and a great deal of locally-sourced cuisine. This birding adventure delves deep into the boreal forest, as well as the core of the prairie potholes, a unique region of the northern prairies. Yellow-headed Blackbird— Photo: Erik Bruhnke   After savoring fresh-caught walleye and a rotating 360° view overlooking Duluth on our first evening, we ven...


Avian Jewels of Arizona

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Barry Zimmer: August 03, 2018

Our 2018 Avian Jewels of Arizona tour was chock-full of memorable moments and exciting highlights. From Tucson to the Chiricahua Mountains we tallied virtually all of our avian targets, saw unexpected rarities, and marveled at many mammals, reptiles, and butterflies in addition to all of the great birds. We began with a brief late afternoon outing to Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson. Among the over thirty species seen on our introductory outing were Gila Woodpecker (our first bird of the tour), ...


The Untamed North: Greenland to Iceland

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Machiel Valkenburg: August 03, 2018

Wow! On this exceptional trip we explored the southern tip of Greenland and a spent a couple of days in Iceland before and after the tour, all aboard the lavish Hebridean Sky. This cruise, in cooperation with our partner, Zegrahm Expeditions, began in the capital of Iceland, Reykjavik. The first day was a transfer day to Narsarsuaq in southwest Greenland. Two separate charters flew us to Greenland. We first toured around the Reykjavik region. The Perlan Museum proved an interesting visit, esp...


Uganda Highlights

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Dion Hobcroft: August 03, 2018

We were charged by a Chimpanzee, splashed by a Shoebill, and grabbed gently by a Gorilla as we danced with the ants: it was a multiple highlight tour. With all participants arriving on schedule, we enjoyed a relaxed unofficial start to the tour, peering at discretely placed water bowls in the thickets of vegetation of our lovely guest house. There was much activity as we were regaled by White-browed Robin-Chats and admired the hyper-scarlet Black-headed Gonolek, intensely purple Splendid Star...


High Island Migration

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Erik Bruhnke: August 01, 2018

A visit to the upper Texas coast in springtime is a must-do experience for all birders. The intensity of colorful bird migration throughout this region is a breathtaking spectacle. Due to numerous cooperative weather fronts that took place throughout our tour, every day was brimming with vibrant memories of SO MANY BIRDS and beyond. It was like a perfect storm of migration for our eyes and ears to behold! Scarlet Tanager— Photo: Erik Bruhnke   After a pre-sunri...


Wild & Ancient Britain with Ireland

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Andrew Whittaker: July 30, 2018

For millions of years the coasts of Britain and Ireland have been shaped by erosion into some of the most spectacular and breathtaking coastal scenery on our planet, packed full of amazing wildlife sights. These ancient lands are simply brimming with history too. We enjoyed a fantastic two-week cruise exploring these islands on the magnificent Ocean Adventurer, falling in love with the spectacular British Isles and Irish coastline in all its glory, from its towering sheer cliffs and immense g...


Alaska Highlights

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Barry Zimmer: July 27, 2018

Our 2018 Alaska Highlights trip was wildly successful on virtually every front, but perhaps no day epitomizes this success better than our all-day boat trip into Kenai Fjords National Park.  On a nearly picture-perfect day (except for the first 15 minutes or so), we ventured out on the Alaskan Explorer into Resurrection Bay and beyond, covering over 150 miles in our journey to Northwestern Fjord and the Chiswell Islands. Northern Hawk Owl— Photo: Barry Zimmer &nbs...


Grand Alaska Part I: Nome & Barrow

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Kevin Zimmer: July 27, 2018

Our 2018 Grand Alaska Part I tour began, as always, in Nome, my favorite place to bird in all of North America.  There is something indescribably special about the area surrounding this old gold rush town.  The mix of special breeding birds on the tundra and large numbers of migrants staging at Safety Lagoon and other points along the coast, coupled with the very real chance of finding some rare stray from eastern Asia always makes for exhilarating birding.  When you throw in a...


Grand Alaska: Nome & Gambell

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Kevin Zimmer: July 25, 2018

A heightened sense of anticipation preceded this year’s Nome-Gambell tour for both Brian and me.  For the first time ever, we had scrambled our usual order of doing things, placing our four days at Nome on the front end of our four days at Gambell.  I had made this change after the 2017 tour, largely in response to ongoing and intensifying climate change, which had resulted in earlier and earlier springs throughout the state over the past two decades.  Sea ice offshore fr...


Grand Alaska: Pribilofs & Anchorage Pre-Trip

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Kevin Zimmer: July 25, 2018

We kicked off our newly reconfigured Grand Alaska program with the Pribilofs & Anchorage Pre-trip, which, by all accounts, was a complete success.  But not before some early drama nearly turned the tour into just “The Anchorage Pre-Trip.”  After an introductory dinner and night in Anchorage, we transferred to the airport the next morning for our scheduled flight to St. Paul Island.  The check-in went smoothly, and the plane took off on schedule, a rarity when tr...


Circumnavigation of Hokkaido: Japan's Wild Island

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David Wolf: July 21, 2018

Volcanos, earthquakes, typhoons, blizzards!  All of these harsh forces of nature have combined to shape the natural history and culture of the Japanese archipelago, and nowhere is this more evident than the northern island of Hokkaido.  This is the wildest and least-settled part of Japan, and this cruise gave us the rare opportunity to bird and explore Hokkaido from a variety of port cities around the island, while comfortably based on the beautiful Caledonian Sky.  This was in...


Greece: A Circumnavigation of the Peloponnese

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Barry Lyon: July 19, 2018

Sun-drenched islands, Athens and its iconic Acropolis, and the wine-dark Aegean Sea are evocative images that capture the allure of Greece. For others, particularly those who have previously traveled in Greece, it is the large multi-fingered Peloponnese Peninsula that is the preferred destination. Far removed from the sprawling capital city, the Peloponnese is a land of pastoral settings, beautiful coastlines, and remarkable historical sites that rival, even surpass, those of the mainland. It...


Athens

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Barry Lyon: July 19, 2018

From the time VENT began operating Birds & History cruises in Greece, we’ve supplemented our programs with optional additional time in Athens and the surrounding areas. The impetus for our Athens Pre-trip stems from the fact that our cruises visit other parts of the country, such as the famous Aegean islands or Peloponnese, and thus miss the great historical and cultural attractions of the Greek capital, in addition to a range of wonderful birds. Thus, the addition of an Athens Pre-...


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