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

Panama: El Valle's Canopy Lodge Extension

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Tony Nunnery: April 22, 2016

The El Valle Extension is an exciting addition to the Canopy Tower tour. Upon arrival, the change of routine gets underway while watching various tropical birds visit the banana feeders just below the open-air dining area. We watched enthusiastically as Gray-headed Chachalaca, Rufous Motmot, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Crimson-backed Tanager, Blue-gray Tanager, Palm Tanager, and Thick-billed Euphonia frantically fed. From our strategically elevated perspective, we witnessed the brilliant colors o...


Panama's Canopy Tower

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Tony Nunnery: April 22, 2016

Largely because of Panama’s geographical position, this little land bridge country can boast of an exceptionally awesome list of avifauna. Consequently, the last two decades have seen a continuous increase in the number of visitors interested in the local birdlife. Victor Emanuel has been an insightful pioneer in this respect by early on introducing and offering birding tours to Panama. On the first morning of the tour we start the day from the top of the Canopy Tower. The excitement be...


Nebraska: Platte River, Sandhill Cranes & Prairie Grouse

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Rick Wright: April 21, 2016

Larry may have put it best on our final evening together as a group: The greatest surprise this tour has to offer is Nebraska itself, a state too easily dismissed as “flyover country,” but one that in fact contains a vast diversity of habitats and shelters a vast variety of birds—even beyond the world-famous spring concentrations of Sandhill Cranes and the equally moving spectacle of Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Prairie-Chickens on their grassland dancing grounds. The cra...


New Year at Panama's Canopy Tower

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Tony Nunnery: April 20, 2016

As I mentioned in the Canopy Lodge Pre-Trip report, it is always a pleasure to spend the Holiday Season in Panama guiding for VENT, which allows me to share some of this country’s spectacular natural beauty with others. As stated earlier, one of our main focuses is upon birds of which we have plenty of opportunities to witness. As in previous years, this Holiday Season in Panama Tour provided a variety of memorable moments. Following a very successful five days of birding on the Christm...


Panama: Christmas at El Valle's Canopy Lodge Pre-trip

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Tony Nunnery: April 20, 2016

It is always a pleasure to spend the holiday season in Panama guiding for VENT, which allows me to share some of this country’s spectacular natural beauty with others. Of course, one of our main focuses is upon birds, of which we have plenty of opportunities to witness, and as in previous years, this holiday season provided a variety of memorable moments. The Christmas at El Valle’s Canopy Lodge Pre-trip began at the shores of the Panama Canal where we overnighted in the Country I...


Easy Philippines

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Dion Hobcroft: April 06, 2016

It was a great pleasure to co-lead this tour of the Philippines with my good birding friend Adrian Constantino. Somewhat unconvinced by the term “Easy,” our trusty band of participants agreed to the necessary 4:30 am departure, to escape the vice-like grip of the Manila traffic, from our comfortable hotel on our first morning. It was a good move, as we were in position at Candaba marshes, a small but outstanding protected area, close to first light. Our big reward was a stunning m...


Cuba

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Brian Gibbons: April 05, 2016

Cuba has an allure for Americans more than any other New World country. The forbidden fruit of Cuban Cigars, Havana nightclubs, Hemingway’s playground—both the bars and the sea, and endemic birds all lured us down to Castro’s Cuba. Finally permitted to enjoy this neighborhood playground, we made haste observing more than 20 Cuban endemics and many exciting Caribbean birds, as well as meeting many friendly Cubans as bird guides, potters, and tobacco and coffee farmers who all...


Belize: A Relaxed & Easy Tour

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Michael O'Brien: April 01, 2016

For the naturalist wishing to have a quick winter getaway, Belize offers some of the most delightful environments, friendly people, and pleasant birding in the Neotropics, all within a quick flight from the U.S. In this bird-rich region, this year’s tour proved to be one of our most productive, with some amazing wildlife sightings and an excellent list of hard-to-see species. Beginning at our hotel on the outskirts of Belize City, we immediately found an abundance of wintering Neotropic...


El Triunfo

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Brian Gibbons: March 31, 2016

From the arid lower reaches of Sumidero Canyon to the moss-draped realm of the Horned Guan in the cloud forest, this year’s El Triunfo tour scored great birds, scenery, and adventure in Chiapas. We started in the hotel parking lot in Tuxtla Gutierrez, where White-fronted Parrots were feasting on green mangoes and flowers. The quick drive to Sumidero Canyon National Park took us to the wild edge of this burgeoning city of a million. In the dry thorn forest of the lower slopes we found Ba...


Colombia: Santa Marta Mountains Extension

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Steve Hilty: March 30, 2016

This trip, which follows the Bogotá-Magdalena Valley tour, provides an entirely different suite of birds and a different environment, culture, and work ethic. Our trip began with an early morning flight from Bogotá to Santa Marta and a visit to a scrub and plantation area south of the airport. Despite being hot and late in the morning, we found several of the commoner dry forest and mixed scrub species including Yellow-headed Caracara, Northern Scrub Flycatcher, Panama Flycatche...


Colombia: Bogota, Eastern Andes & the Magdalena Valley

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Steve Hilty: March 30, 2016

For the first few days it seemed as if the trip would be more about traffic in Bogotá (and how to get in and out of the city) than birds, but our days afield soon dispelled that notion. On our first day, at Chingaza National Park, we found the mountain slopes alive with hummingbirds and an abundance of flowering plants and, although some hummers seldom seemed to sit still, others did, such as the gorgeous Purple-backed Thornbill. And, any memories of hummingbird frustration were quickl...


Spring Hawaii

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Bob Sundstrom: March 29, 2016

The Spring Hawaii tour takes in the best of the natural history of three main Hawaiian islands— Hawaii, Kauai, and Oahu: stunning seabirds, rare one-of-a-kind forest birds in beautiful tropical forests, scenic seacoasts and interior mountain ridges, and massive volcanoes. Hawaii also offers the most accessible volcanic realm in the world, balmy weather, and superb food. Lodging is nice too, and three of the four hotels where we stay back right up to the ocean shoreline. Our 2016 Spring ...


Ecuador: Eastern Slope of the Andes

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Paul Greenfield: March 22, 2016

The long uphill transect that lay before us beckoned with untold promise as we headed westward from the Amazonian lowlands at the town of “Coca” (Francisco de Orellana) at the beginning of this year’s Eastern Slope of the Andes tour. It was clear, though, from the start that at least for now the same uncharacteristically hot and rainless weather conditions we faced during our week at Napo Wildlife Center would accompany us a bit longer—we had dealt with it already and ...


Trinidad

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Barry Zimmer: March 17, 2016

Fewer than two hundred are believed to exist in the world. Aware of its drastic decline in recent decades and also of the lack of sightings on recent tours, I felt we had little, if any, chance of seeing the Trinidad Piping-Guan, one of the world’s rarest birds. Our local guide had informed me, however, of recent sightings of one bird seen on and off for the last few weeks at a particular location high up on the Blanchisseuse Road. We departed Asa Wright Nature Centre early that morning...


Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands

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Michael O'Brien: March 15, 2016

Our January 2016 cruise to the end of the earth was an exciting adventure, full of amazing wildlife sightings, some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, incredibly informative and entertaining lectures by a talented Zegrahm Expeditions staff, and a cheerful bunch of fellow travelers. As can be expected with such an ambitious cruise, there were a few bumps in the road, resulting in an altered itinerary, but the trip was an amazing success by any standard.  Although many particip...


Winter Southern California

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Brennan Mulrooney: March 14, 2016

With the forecast of a historic El Niño for this winter, you can bet that I was losing plenty of sleep imagining all of the ways this year’s Winter Southern California tour could be ruined by rain. Luckily, all my worry was for naught. Our weather was spectacular! Cool mornings gave way to pleasant, sunny days with light winds and not a single drop of rain! Sandhill Cranes and assorted ducks— Photo: Brennan Mulrooney   Our first day was a whirlwind...


Short Costa Rica: Toucans to Quetzals

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David Wolf: March 11, 2016

Costa Rica continues to amaze me, even after many trips over many years. There is such an astounding wealth of things for the naturalist to see and do in this small, efficient, bird-friendly country! Our 2016 “Short Costa Rica” tour took full advantage of this abundance for an action-packed week of birding, enjoying the spectacular scenery and fabulous vegetation almost as much as the birds themselves as we explored three very different environments, from the Caribbean lowlands to...


Ecuador: Amazonia at Napo Wildlife Center

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Paul Greenfield: March 10, 2016

A week of immersion into the world of Amazonia at Napo Wildlife Center touches you at many levels—the raw, crude reality of life on Earth from a perspective that most people never get to experience—its beauty, its natural complexities, its challenges and rewards; a world of mega-biodiversity where you only get to see a mere smattering no matter how hard you try to or want to see everything; the Amazon rainforest reveals its precious secrets in bits and pieces. As we ventured into ...


Southern India

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Dion Hobcroft: March 09, 2016

This was one of the most enjoyable and successful tours I have led. We had such a remarkable run of great sightings with a very convivial and enjoyable bunch of fellow travelers.  Our first morning saw us departing Bangalore in our trusty bus driven by Lokesh and heading south and west towards Mysore. Halfway through this drive we detoured to the village of Kokkre Bellur, famous for its nesting colonies of Painted Storks and Spot-billed Pelicans. These giant wetland birds nest in the tre...


Winter Florida Birding Workshop

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Louise Zemaitis: March 08, 2016

Winter in Central Florida is a season of incredible abundance. Migratory birds from near and far join permanent residents, creating a kaleidoscope of motion, color, and sound in a land rich in protected natural areas. The wildlife here is amazingly approachable, making this the perfect setting for a Birding Workshop, and a delightful escape from the cold north. Sandhill Crane on nest— Photo: Louise Zemaitis   Our first morning in the field was spent just south ...


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