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

Amazon River Cruise


David Ascanio: May 15, 2018

Every time we lead the Amazon River Cruise we have great expectations because we know that it will not only give us the opportunity to show you great birds, but it will also enhance your life. This year was no exception. Every day, the sunrise greeted us with pale red clouds blending with pink and some with yellow stripes. By the end of the afternoon, it seemed as if the sun was hiding below the tumultuous river that was always carrying huge trees, branches, water hyacinths, and mud. And, whe...

Cloud Forests of Northern Peru Pre-trip


Andrew Whittaker: May 15, 2018

WOW! This fabulous tour truly is the real Mecca of Andean Cloud Forest birding with almost 300 species recorded, including a staggering record-breaking 42 dazzling species of hummingbirds, many colorful mind-blowing tanagers, and some very exciting endemics! Voted top two birds of the trip (with outstanding views of both) were the outrageous Spatuletail and, of course, the magnificent looks at the rarely seen White-tipped Sicklebill, making it number one! Sadly, we were unable to try for the ...

Colombia: The Central & Western Andes


Steve Hilty: May 12, 2018

Last year I summarized this trip with the following comments (here paraphrased in part) “. . . many curvy roads, landslides, massive road construction projects, masses of tractor-trailer trucks, out-sized meals for carnivores, enchanting cloud forests, spectacular mountain scenery, hummingbirds, antpittas, colorful tanagers, mixed species flocks, and friendly, helpful, out-going people. And now, after a near two-decade period of unrest lasting until the very early 2000s, a young generat...

El Triunfo


Brian Gibbons: May 12, 2018

From the desiccated woodlands of Sumidero Canyon to the moss-encrusted oaks of the cloudforest, Chiapas provided a wonderful array of eye candy in the form of birds, mammals, vistas, and butterflies. Our transect of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas took us from the relative comfort of a modern hotel and new bus to camping and hiking for a week. Arriving in Tapachula was a welcome return to civilization, with our amazing experiences along the trail and a few bug bites in tow. Horned Gu...

Spring Hawaii


Erik Bruhnke: May 11, 2018

Our Spring Hawaii tour pursues a vibrant birding adventure throughout three Hawaiian Islands. During a full week of birding we explored glistening blue waters, vast grasslands, ancient forests, cliffs and canyons, outstandingly birdy residential areas, and even an active volcano. Every day was filled with some unique birds, a variety of them being island-specific endemics. Iiwi— Photo: Erik Bruhnke   On our first day we headed out to the nearby Kapiolani Park j...

Belize: Relaxed & Easy


Michael O'Brien: May 10, 2018

While the eastern U.S. was enduring four nor’easters in a row, our happy group was meandering through paradise, enjoying Belize’s diverse natural beauty. It’s never a hardship to visit Belize, but the weather at home made this trip a particularly welcome getaway!  Slaty-tailed Trogon— Photo: Michael O'Brien   A short walk at our hotel near Belize City yielded 30+ species, providing a nice introduction to Belizean birds, including Cinnamon...

Belize's Hidden Treasures


Michael O'Brien: May 09, 2018

Our inaugural Belize’s Hidden Treasures tour was a wonderful immersion into the deep forests of Western Belize. Based at two fabulous lodges, Pook’s Hill and Black Rock, our visit to the Maya Mountain Foothills and Mountain Pine Ridge was not only birdy, but also extremely comfortable, and accompanied by some of the country’s best guides. Northern Emerald-Toucanet— Photo: Michael O'Brien   Our first morning at Pook’s Hill began with a da...

Nebraska: Platte River, Sandhill Cranes & Prairie Grouse


Rick Wright: May 06, 2018

Birders are often accused of being obsessed with the singular, the unusual, the rare. Our short March week in Nebraska offered us plenty of that. Most notable, perhaps, was an early-arriving Whooping Crane, which we were fortunate enough to see not once but twice, first on a field with its gray cousins on our arrival along the central Platte River on the second day of the tour, and then, thanks to Danny’s eagle eye, at roost on our last day among the tens of thousands of Sandhill Cranes...

Easy Philippines


Dion Hobcroft: May 06, 2018

Adri and I were back on the road in the Philippines for our 2018 tour, and it was good to be back birding with my good friend in this friendly and exotic tropical country. Our first day of birding started at Candaba Marshes, this year suffering from a very low water level. It was still remarkably active, and we had very good views of the two key endemics we were targeting here—the handsome Philippine Duck and equally handsome Philippine Swamphen. Plenty of other species kept our gaze oc...



Barry Zimmer: April 25, 2018

Our first morning on the veranda of the Asa Wright Nature Centre was a literal whirlwind of activity. As the first light of dawn crept into the Arima Valley, activity began at the feeders off the veranda. At first it was a trickle; a male Silver-beaked Tanager arrived and sampled a piece of papaya, as did a handful of raucous Crested Oropendolas. A Rufous-breasted Hermit zipped into one of the many hummingbird feeders and was quickly chased by a White-chested Emerald. A pair of White-lined Ta...

Short Costa Rica: Toucans to Quetzals


David Wolf: April 23, 2018

Costa Rica continues to amaze us, 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 2018 “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...

Best of Belize: Crooked Tree & Chan Chich Lodge


Barry Zimmer: April 20, 2018

On the last evening of our tour, as we were doing our final checklist session, Emil, the bartender at Chan Chich Lodge, approached me and in a quiet voice said, “Would your group like to see a Spectacled Owl?” With an emphatic, “Oh my god, of course!”, we poured out of the bar to the driveway outside, where Emil shined his light on a tree right next to the road, illuminating a fabulous Spectacled Owl. I ran to my cabana to get a scope, while others went back for binocu...



David Ascanio: April 20, 2018

We took our first Cuba style meal at the Miami airport with plenty of fried plantains, black beans, and moros y cristianos (rice with black beans).  As we boarded the plane, it seemed to everyone that so many years of waiting had become reality: Cuba was only 103 miles away! Cuban Grassquit— Photo: David Ascanio   Soon after the plane touched the runway in Camaguey airport, we were introduced to a Cuban tradition: explosive hand-clapping and smiles erupted...



Machiel Valkenburg: April 19, 2018

Our Morocco tour started out in the historical city of Marrakech, but we left the city on the very first morning, to come back for a detailed exploration of the region by the end of the tour. We headed for the coastal city of Agadir; unfortunately for us we were teased by the weather gods with a lot of rainfall during the drive southwest. For two full days we toured the coast and some very interesting wetlands and orchards—this time the gods behaved! As this area of Morocco receives mor...

Ecuador: Eastern Slope of the Andes


Paul Greenfield: April 17, 2018

The Andes Cordillera is far more than just a gigantic South American mountain range. The massive ‘wall’ that makes up the Andes forms an incredible mega-rich mosaic of diverse life-zones, ecosystems, habitats, and niches that are home to a mind-boggling concentration of living organisms. It was this concentration, with a special focus on its diverse birdlife, that we set out to explore and experience during our weeklong Ecuador: Eastern Slope of the Andes tour. Sparkl...

Ecuador: The Best of Amazonia


Paul Greenfield: April 17, 2018

The Amazon holds the most complex and species-rich ecosystem on earth, and our Ecuador: The Best of Amazonia tour, at Yasuni Kichwa Cultural Lodge and Napo Wildlife Center, afforded us a rich sample of that reality. We initiated our incursion into this spectacular realm with what could be described as a veritable time-travel experience as we left civilization behind in the bustling Andean capital city of Quito, traveled back a century to the frontier 'oil' town of Coca, and were transported v...

Winter Southern California


Brennan Mulrooney: April 09, 2018

Sunny and 75 degrees…just like the San Diego Tourism Authority advertises. While the East Coast has been getting hammered all winter with Aidens, Benjis, Graysons, and who knows what other named winter storms, the southwest has been experiencing unusually warm and dry conditions. That’s exactly what we encountered on our Winter Southern California tour this year. No snow in the mountains, no rain on the coast, warm daily high temperatures, and an unusual number of wintering rare ...

Uganda Highlights


Kevin Zimmer: April 06, 2018

This was the inaugural January departure of our increasingly popular Uganda Highlights tour, and it proved an unqualified success in delivering up-close-and-personal observations of wild Mountain Gorillas, wild Chimpanzees, and multiple bizarre Shoebills.  Beyond these iconic creatures, we racked up over 450 species of birds and had fabulous encounters with Lion, Leopard, Hippopotamus, African Elephant, Rothschild’s Giraffe, and an amazing total of 11 species of primates.  The...

Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands


Andrew Whittaker: April 04, 2018

Antarctica is, without doubt, the ultimate birding and wildlife experience on our planet, truly unique, like nowhere else on earth, and this year’s unsurpassable Antarctic cruise was no exception! The final frontier—Antarctica, the Falklands, & South Georgia (the icing on the cake)—was as dramatic as ever, from immense tabular icebergs, towering ice-covered mountains, and stunning glaciers to beaches absolutely teeming with wildlife. Daily, during our amazing land-based ...

Ornithology 101 in South Texas: A Learn-About-Birds Workshop


Denver Holt: April 01, 2018

Our previous Ornithology 101 workshops were held in November. We moved our 2018 workshop to February to avoid the extremely hot temperatures of November. We got our wish, as it was cold and rainy the first day, and then just cool with sprinkles for the rest of the class. At our opening get-acquainted dinner we discussed the workshop and its objectives. At our first lecture the next morning we reviewed the fossil record of birds and their evolution, as indicated from morphology and more recent...

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