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

Galapagos Islands Cruise Aboard the M/V Evolution


Paul Greenfield: January 02, 2018

The Galapagos Islands experience is indeed pretty hard to beat…if beatable at all! But who could have ever imagined that a scattered grouping of rather inhospitable (“enchanted”) islands and islets, lost out in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, a once feared hideaway for pirates and buccaneers, a historic whaling hotspot—would become a worldwide bucket-list favorite. I don’t even think Charles Darwin had any high hopes when he heard that he would visiting this port-...

Tandayapa Pre-trip Galapagos Cruise


Paul Greenfield: January 02, 2018

Northwestern Ecuador offers an exceptional experience for wildlife enthusiasts, and its birdlife is hard to beat! This Tandayapa pre-trip experience is meant to provide an introduction to Ecuador’s rich biodiversity while offering a backdrop, contrast, and comparison to the main Galapagos Cruise and the archipelago’s unique and relatively stark ecosystems. The Tandayapa-Mindo-Milpe region we visited is one of color and variety, and although a short three-day visit might seem too b...

Costa Rica: A Relaxed & Easy Tour


David Ascanio: December 28, 2017

The first night in San José welcomed us with a heavy downpour that lasted well after midnight. I am sure everyone was wondering if the rain would continue until the next morning, but actually the opposite happened: the day opened with a blue sky and wonderful birds in the gardens of the Hotel Bougainvillea. During our morning in these gardens we were accompanied by the scratchy voice of the Rufous-naped Wren and the explosive song of the Melodious Blackbird. Is there a better way to be...

Panama's Canal Zone: A Relaxed & Easy Tour


David Ascanio: December 28, 2017

A silent night in the peaceful town of Gamboa was followed by a wild blast of birds at dawn near the lodge. What a way to start our Panama Canal tour! The bird feeder was our first step to identify some of the common and colorful species that included Plain-colored, Blue-gray, Palm, Crimson-backed, and Golden-hooded tanagers. In addition to this kaleidoscope of colors, we also saw Red-legged and Shining honeycreepers, Orange-chinned Parakeet, and Buff-throated Saltator. As the morning warmed ...

Rockport, Texas: A Bonanza of Wintering Birds


Michael O'Brien: December 22, 2017

We had a very pleasant visit to this bird-rich part of the country, and we enjoyed a wonderful mix of wintering waterbirds, South Texas residents, and of course, the magnificent Whooping Cranes. Before arriving, we had concerns about how well this area was rebounding after being devastated by Hurricane Harvey back on August 25. Rockport was at ground zero when this storm made its first landfall, and the damage was considerable. Much cleanup remains to be done, and rebuilding will likely take ...

Grand Australia: Tasmania Extension


David James: December 22, 2017

With an improved itinerary in 2017 we experienced some of Tasmania’s finest wildlife and scenic locations, taking in the famous landmarks. Everyone saw all of the endemic birds of Tasmania and an elite selection of highly sought-after southern Australian specialties as well. We also enjoyed close encounters with some iconic Australian mammals, including “duck-billed” Platypi and the infamous “Tassie” Devil. The relaxed and leisurely itinerary allowed us ample tim...

Faces of Polynesia: Fiji to Tahiti


Brian Gibbons: December 18, 2017

We started our adventure on Viti Levu, Fiji at the Westin Denarau resort, which is a set in a tropical garden paradise where we found our first Fijian endemics. Fiji Parrotfinch was quite charming and common. Western Wattled-Honeyeater, Fiji Woodswallow, and the ubiquitous and sometimes feisty mynas all reside around the resort. After a tour of the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and Viseisei Village, we embarked the Caledonian Sky, our fine home in the South Pacific for the next two weeks, as w...

Grand Australia Part II


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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...

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