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

Grand Australia Part II

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Dion Hobcroft: November 29, 2017

Our Grand Australia Part II tour began as we bade farewell to two participants and engaged a new couple. After a comfortable night in Brisbane, we transferred to the O’Reilly’s Guesthouse in Lamington National Park on the border of Queensland and New South Wales. Birding with friend Duncan, we made several stops along the way. At our first stop in suburban Brisbane we spent more than an hour scouring the Eucalypts and became lucky when we spotted a female Koala with an adorable jo...


Grand Australia Part I

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Dion Hobcroft: November 29, 2017

Balmy weather, cool and overcast with a light breeze, had our tour off to a good start. As a first bird, we kicked off proceedings with the bizarre Tawny Frogmouth, making for another good start. The well-camouflaged frogmouth sitting on a nest was the perfect introduction to the fun of birding in Australia where the birds are typically tame and in good light. It had, however, been the driest and hottest September in the history of New South Wales since records were kept: that is 150 years! W...


Brazil's Southern Amazon: Rio Azul & Cristalino Jungle Lodges

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Kevin Zimmer: November 25, 2017

Our inaugural “Brazil’s Southern Amazon” tour began with our rollout of a new location (Rio Azul Jungle Lodge) and ended with a “golden oldie” (Cristalino Jungle Lodge).  My intent in combining these two sites from the same biogeographic region was to provide participants with a real immersion into the fauna and flora of the amazingly biodiverse region that lies south of the Amazon River, and between two of its major South Bank tributaries, the rios Tapaj&oa...


Washington: September Migration in the Pacific Northwest

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Bob Sundstrom: November 25, 2017

The rush of migration in September concentrates birds along Washington and southern British Columbia’s mountain ridges, coastal shorelines, and over the ocean itself. The September Migration in the Pacific Northwest tour takes full advantage of nature’s timing to showcase shorebirds, seabirds, and songbirds in the midst of southward migration. It seemed like each species we encountered had a unique story to tell: seabirds headed south to such different destinations as Antarctica, ...


Southeastern Brazil: Best of the Atlantic Forest

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Andrew Whittaker: November 22, 2017

Once again, our Brazilian flagship tour visiting the lovely southeast rocked, delivering a bonanza of Atlantic Forest endemics, spectacular scenery, all-around great birding, and wonderful Brazilian cuisine that we have come to expect from this fantastic biologically rich region. First and foremost we tallied 391 species, a whopping 140 of which were regional and/or Brazilian endemics! These figures become all the more impressive when you consider that many of the wider ranging species not in...


Fall at Panama's Canopy Tower

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Barry Zimmer: November 14, 2017

Every trip to the Canopy Tower is filled with special moments, so much so that it is hard to settle on the most memorable. Seeing a stunning Black-and-white Owl no more than six feet out the dining room window during our checklist session was certainly unforgettable! But was it better than the close scope views of an egg-shaped Streak-chested Antpitta singing its mournful song from a buttress root on the forest floor? Perhaps the river of raptors over Metropolitan Park stands out above all ot...


Panama: Fall at El Valle's Canopy Lodge

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Barry Zimmer: November 10, 2017

Late in the afternoon of our first full day at the Canopy Lodge, we ventured out on the Cara Iguana Trail. We were in search of roosting Spectacled Owls that often frequent the area. A narrow path through the forest led us in the direction that the owls had been seen recently. Suddenly though, we were distracted by the whistled notes of a Tody Motmot penetrating the thick vegetation. Within moments we had spotted a pair of these highly sought and tiny motmots at eye level no more than fifteen...


Germany: Birds & Art in Berlin & Brandenburg

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Rick Wright: October 27, 2017

“Orkanartige Sturmböen.” Not nearly as much fun as it sounds. Low pressure tropical storm systems aren’t usually a feature of our autumn visits to eastern Germany, but halfway into this year’s tour, hurricane-force winds drove us out of the usually bird-rich gardens of Charlottenburg Palace. Had this been “just” a birding tour, the day might have felt like wasted time—but the itineraries for our Birds & Art excursions let us make lemonade out...


Peru: Manu Biosphere Reserve

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Steve Hilty: October 26, 2017

A visit to the Manu Biosphere Reserve is a trip into one of the world’s most bio-diverse regions on the planet. It is also a trip that takes one back through a remarkable timetable of human history. We may never know how long early humans have occupied the Manu and Madre de Dios regions—but surely thousands of years—and what impact, if any, they have had on the flora and fauna we see today. Recorded history, on the other hand, began about 1567 when Juan Alvarez Maldonado, a ...


Manaus, Brazil: Amazon Rainforest & River Islands

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Andrew Whittaker: October 21, 2017

Manaus, Brazil has to be one of the world’s major birding crossroads, smack in the middle of the enormous Amazon rainforest, at 5,500,000 km2 (2,123,562 sq mi) the richest biome on our planet! We joyfully immersed ourselves into this mega birding and natural history bonanza, managing a record-breaking 415 bird species due to this year’s very sharp-eyed group. We had an endless blast exploring the Amazon’s immense waterways, bird-rich river islands, and varied and exuberant r...


South Africa: The Southwestern Cape & Kruger

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David Wolf: October 19, 2017

Unique in so many ways, South Africa is the temperate tip of a tropical continent, with its own special fauna and flora, and culture and history. It is also the most developed country on the continent, with great facilities for touring. Our 2017 tour took full advantage of all of this, as we visited three very different regions of this complex country, explored unique habitats and saw birds and animals unknown elsewhere, and thoroughly enjoyed all of it, including the outstanding food, great ...


Autumn Grand Manan

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Barry Zimmer: October 17, 2017

We departed Seal Cove on an absolutely glorious morning for our all-day boat trip into the Bay of Fundy. The temperatures were mild, and there was no wind whatsoever. The ocean was literally like glass as we headed eastward, and anticipation was high among our group. I had built up this boat trip as one of the best pelagic adventures anywhere, and in 25 years, it had never disappointed me. Great Shearwater— Photo: Barry Zimmer   Almost immediately out of the ha...


Southern Ecuador Hummingbird Extravaganza

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Paul Greenfield: October 09, 2017

This, our first Southern Ecuador Hummingbird Extravaganza, was designed as a sequel to our original Northern Hummingbird “hit” that has become so popular, but set this time in the diverse and fascinating southern regions of Ecuador. Our enthusiastic team experienced and enjoyed these living jewels in all their splendor. We bore witness to their unique and dizzying behavior; we gained knowledge of many aspects of the distinct ecosystems they inhabit and their habitats; and we encou...


Brazil: Pantanal Safari

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Kevin Zimmer: October 05, 2017

Our 2017 Pantanal Safari served up the usual generous helpings of birds, mammals, and other wildlife that we have come to expect from “South America’s Serengeti.”  For most, if not all of us, the number one objective of the trip was to see Jaguars, and see them we did, as we enjoyed 10 encounters with these magnificent cats, involving a total of 8 different individuals!  The density of Jaguars in this region is astonishing—biologists studying these amazing an...


Namibia, Botswana & Zambia

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Geoff Lockwood: October 05, 2017

Our flight to Huab was somewhat delayed by heavy mist along the coast, and it was already lunchtime by the time we reached the lodge. In contrast to the desperate drought last year, Huab had experienced excellent rains – and the seedeaters were back in their usual numbers. We soon had recorded most of the usual species, along with Damara and Monteiro’s hornbills, Rüppell’s Parrots, White-tailed Shrikes, Bare-cheeked Babblers, Short-toed Rock-Thrushes, and Carp’s T...


Avian Jewels of Arizona

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Brennan Mulrooney: October 04, 2017

Our first afternoon began with humid, rain-cooled air on an afternoon visit to Sweetwater Wetlands after a monsoon drenching. Before we made it there, we found four Burrowing Owls drying off. At the wetlands, we tallied Tropical Kingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and a shy Harris’s Hawk. An excellent meal at Kingfisher capped our day. Tufted Flycatcher— Photo: Brad Schram   Green Valley and Madera Canyon made for a long and fulfilling first full day of b...


Wyoming: Birding the Solar Eclipse in the Grand Tetons

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Brian Gibbons: October 03, 2017

We were just a few of the thousands that had converged upon Jackson, Wyoming for the Great American Eclipse. The valley of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Bridger-Teton National Forest provided a spectacular backdrop for our birding and the eclipse. On our first evening we had a wonderful meal at Snake River Grill, fortifying ourselves for a great weekend of wildlife, scenery, birds, and a spectacular total eclipse. Our first morning started casually at Blacktail Butte with a vie...


Camp Cascades

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Michael O'Brien: September 29, 2017

The summer of 2017 saw record-breaking hot, dry weather in Washington, with wildfires raging in many parts of the West. Needless to say, concerns about weather conditions had our attention as we began this year’s Camp Cascades. Luckily, the weather couldn’t have been more pleasant in the Puget Sound Region, where cold water moderates the climate. And in the Cascades, though we did experience a few warm days and unusually hazy skies, we were spared the worst of the heat. So with go...


Brazil: Pantanal Safari

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Jeri Langham: September 14, 2017

When my colleague David Ascanio led his first Pantanal Wildlife Safari tour a few years ago, he sent me photos of the first Jaguar they saw and told me I simply had to lead tours here after spending several decades leading tours to the Venezuelan Llanos and never getting any decent views of a Jaguar. VENT has now assigned me to lead this tour every July. Here are some passages taken from the journal I write every night for my VENT tours and then mail to the participants after I return home an...


Brazil: Iguacu Falls Pre-trip

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Jeri Langham: September 14, 2017

About eleven years ago, I had the good fortune to visit Argentina with my son Gary (now Chief Scientist for The National Audubon Society), and we made a visit to Iguaçu Falls from the Argentina side. We were very impressed, but it turns out the best views are from the Brazil side. Here are some passages taken from the journal I write every night for my VENT tours and then mail to the participants after I return home and edit them. Iguaçu  Falls  must  be  exp...


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