Extremadura, Coto Doñana, & the Straits of Gibraltar
August 28 – September 10, 2018
Leader: Aaron Steed
& One Local Guide
An excellent 2-week Venture to Central & Southern Spain, combining some of Europe's best autumn migration birding with world famous Spanish gastronomy & wine. This tour includes 3 different wine tastings, delicious food, comfortable accommodations in small towns & villages, a walking cultural tour of Trujillo (birthplace of conquistador Francisco Pizarro), a boat trip in the Straits, and a whole lot more!
Needless to say – this Venture has it all! Between the delicious food & wine, lovely villages chocked full of cultural delights, and the incredible birding, you may never want to leave – and we wouldn't blame you!
"Jaguars in the Pantanal & Hummingbirds in the Coastal Rainforests"
October 5 – 18, 2018
Canastra Extension: October 18 - 26, 2018
Brazil’s Southeastern Coastal Rainforests are incredible. With a huge list of tanagers, hummingbirds and antbirds possible, this is a must-do tour! On our preview trip a few years ago, we had outstanding views of such rarities as Black-hooded Antwren and Spotted Bamboowren (a Tapaculo), as well as many other species found only in these forests. We will visit Itatiatia National Park and Ubatuba before heading inland to Mato Grosso and the Pantanal.
The Brazilian Pantanal: With birds such as Hyacinth Macaws and Harpy Eagles possible, every birder has to make the pilgrimage down to this amazing part of the world. The Pantanal is the richest ecosystem in Brazil, with a huge number of aquatic and marsh birds. Over 700 species of birds occur in the Pantanal and surrounding region, including 26 species of parrot, such as the endangered Hyacinth Macaw. We also hope to see Giant Otter, Jaguar and Tapir.
Birds & Culture
October 31 – November 12, 2018
Our program begins in Cuba’s Western Mountains, a beautiful landscape dominated by towering, lushly-vegetated, limestone monoliths called ‘mogotes.’ Next, we’ll explore the Zapata Peninsula, an area covering more than 2800 square miles and featuring accessible, Everglades-like wetland habitat. Bordered by the pristine coastal environment of the notorious Bay of Pigs to the east, the peninsula contains vast open swampland, low coastal forests, sparkling white sand beaches, healthy coral reefs, and refreshing limestone pools. We then turn north to Cayo Coco & Cuba’s northern keys. These previously uninhabited and relatively unexplored barrier islands provide excellent birding opportunities - Cuban Gnatcatcher, Oriente Warbler, Thick-billed Vireo, West Indian Whistling Duck, and Gundlach’s Hawk, as well as numerous shorebirds and aquatic birds, can be found here. We finish in Havana.
Suriname is located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America and is located in the Guianan endemic zone. Although rarely visited by birders from the USA, over 700 birds have been observed in Suriname and we hope to see over 300 of these in our 10-day trip. We hope to see such iconic birds as the Capuchinbird, Crimson Topaz, Crimson Fruitcrow, Pompadour Cotinga and even Harpy Eagle. Once outside the capital, our accommodation will be simple and relatively comfortable, but convenient to the best birding spots across the north-central Suriname.
World class birding in the Darien
December 1-8, 2018
The Darién, as the entire eastern-most region of Panama is called, is one of the most diverse and species-rich regions of Central America. Here, some of the last large, relatively untouched swathes of lowland rainforest await to be explored. Long revered by avid birders as a haven for rare species, including the majestic Harpy Eagle, Panama’s national bird, this region is now readily accessible by a new highway, extending through the spine of Panama right into the heart of this bird-rich land!
"Shoebills, Mountain Gorillas, Chimps and Albertine Endemics"
December 10-26, 2018
Uganda has been described as the 'Pearl of East Africa' and was regarded as the most beautiful country in East Africa. From the source of the White Nile on the huge papyrus-fringed Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Rwenzori Range, the luxuriant montane forests of the Virunga volcanoes, harboring some of the last remaining Mountain Gorillas, to the extensive savannas around the awe-inspiring Murchison Falls, Uganda is an equatorial country of substantial contrasts and variety. No other area in Africa can match its amazing diversity of habitats and this richness is reflected in its incredible bird list of over 1000 species.
December 16 - 22, 2018
Leader: Mike McCloy
Endemic birds abound on the island of Jamaica and with more than 25 species and distinct subspecies this rank it first among Caribbean islands in endemics, or species restricted to one locality. While these Jamaican specialties will be the focus of our quest, we should expect to see a total of over 100 species of birds during our relaxing week on this tropical isle.
"Endemics, Lions, and Spectacular Scenery"
February 4-19, 2019
Optional Cape Town Extension:
Feb 19-22, 2019
South Africa is one of the most unique and fascinating countries in Africa, being home to a marvelous diversity of birds (including quite a few endemics), wildlife, wildflowers, and landscapes. Add to that an excellent infrastructure, comfortable accommodation, and delicious food and wine, and it is no surprise that South Africa is one of the premier birding destinations in the world.
“Superb Rainforest Birding”
February 20-28, 2019
Panama forms the geographical crossroads of North and South America, where the flora and fauna of the Americas meet and intermingle to produce a spectacular variety of life. Panama is just smaller than the state of South Carolina, yet due to its geographic position, nearly 1,000 species of birds have been recorded within its borders. This 8-day Venture between the comfortable Canopy Lodge in El Valle, and the famous Canopy Tower, located in Panama’s very bird-rich Canal Zone.
"Northern Lights and Winter Birding"
March 21-28, 2019
Trip is Full
As well as enjoying the Northern Lights, we will be looking for many of Iceland's wintering birds. If we are lucky we may get a few early migrants as well. Waterfowl, such as Whooper Swan, Harlequin Duck, Common Eider and Barrow's Goldeneye all spend most or part of the winter in Iceland. We will also search for any wintering King Eiders, always an exciting bird to find. As well as waterfowl we will look for Iceland's National bird, the Gyrfalcon, so will keep an eye open around large concentrations of ducks. Landbirds are few, but could include Snow Bunting, Redpoll and Redwing (a beautiful European thrush).
"Piping Guans, Motmots, & Bellbirds"
April 1-11, 2019
Trinidad and Tobago is the perfect place for a first time exposure to birding the New World Tropics. Members of almost all of the South American bird families are found here and unlike in many of their mainland haunts, the birds of T & T are easy to photograph and seem to have little fear of people. It is often said that a first timer to the islands will add thirty species to their life list before breakfast. With over 430 species, a warm West Indian climate, excellent food and rich island culture, these twin islands are a perfect destination for any nature lover.
“Atlantic Coast, Deserts & High Atlas Mountains”
April 14-30, 2019
We start our tour in the historic city of Marrakech which is one of the economic centers of Morocco. Mosques break the skyline and gardens and planted areas add to the green of this desert city. Our hotel is situated near the picturesque Katoubia Mosque, and the nearby gardens are home to Little and Pallid Swifts, European Blackbird, Serin and European Greenfinch. The nests of White Storks seemingly perch atop every mosque and tower and migrating Black Kites and Booted Eagles are a daily sight as they migrate north over the city.
Our accommodation will be comfortable and convenient to the best birding spots. The food is excellent and the people very friendly and accommodating. If you have never been to North Africa before, this trip will open your eyes to the beauty and diversity that is Morocco.
"Birds & Culture in the
Land of the Thunder Dragon"
April 26-May 10, 2019
Over 600 species of birds have been recorded in this relatively small nation, and we could expect to see about ½ that on our incredible 15-day Venture. Mixed species flocks containing dozens of individuals are the norm, and a first-time visitor to South Asia will encounter a dazzling array of unfamiliar and unusual names - yuhinas, babblers, laughingthrushes, minlas, barwings, drongos, sibias, cutia, accentors, and many more. In the higher reaches of the Himalayas we’ll hope for encounters with such spellbinding target birds as Satyr Tragopan, Himalayan Monal, and Blood Pheasant, while in the oak and rhododendron forests we’ll look for Ward’s Trogon, Fire-tailed Myzornis, and the endangered Rufous-necked Hornbill.
“East Anglia & Yorkshire”
June 10 – 22, 2019
The eastern counties of England are well known for their rural beauty, picturesque fishing towns and excellent seafood. They are also home to one of the richest bird populations in Britain, which is well represented within the bird and wildlife reserves found throughout the region.
Whilst in Suffolk, we will visit the flagship of English bird reserves, Minsmere. This coastal reserve has populations of Pied Avocet and European Marsh Harrier, both rare in England.
Then on to Yorkshire to visit the moors and impressive seabird cliffs, with thousands of nesting birds including Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, & Northern Gannet.
July 7-21, 2019
Papua New Guinea is truly a birder’s paradise. The combination of stunning birds-of-paradise and the many other endemic species among the cassowaries, paradise-kingfishers, doves and pigeons, lories and lorikeets, bowerbirds, myzomelas, honeyeaters, berrypeckers, pitohuis and robins makes PNG a superb destination for a birdwatching tour, even more so now with the publication the second edition of a truly excellent field guide – Birds of New Guinea. PNG boasts 365 endemic bird species, including highly sought after Blue Bird-of-Paradise, Pheasant Pigeon and New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, plus 26 globally-threatened species and a total bird list of 779 species.