Birding in Paradise
May 9 - 21, 2017
West Papua and Waigeo Island are a birder's paradise. The combination of stunning birds-of-paradise and many other endemic species including several cassowaries, paradise-kingfishers, fruit-doves, lorikeets, bowerbirds, myzomelas, honeyeaters, berrypeckers, and robins makes this part of Indonesia a superb destination for a birdwatching tour. On this Ventures bird tour, we will visit some of the very best birding sites that never fail to deliver superb birds. We will provide you with an extraordinary birding experience! In the Arfak Mountains we hope to see Superb BOP, Western Parotia, Arfak Astrapia and maybe Long-tailed Paradigalla. In Waigeo we'll see Wilson's and Red BOP (see image) – Simon and I were there over the 2015 Christmas holidays and had an amazing experience. All told we hope to see between 12-16 birds-of-paradise.
Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia & Fiji
May 23 – June 24, 2017
The Western Pacific Ocean is dotted with numerous archipelagos including those of the Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. These rugged volcanic islands are covered in mossy montane forests and lowland humid tropical forests. These isolated archipelagos have evolved a highly endemic avifauna, including an endemic family, the Kagu. Fiji boasts 150 bird species of which 26 are endemic, New Caledonia is similar with 122 species observed and 20 endemic including the amazing Kagu, the Solomon Islands have 245 species and 68 endemic species and finally Vanuatu with 75 species and 12 endemics.
Our 19-day tour takes us across the Andes from the western Andean slopes to the Amazon and back to the central Andean Valley. A non-birding reconnaissance of this trip in 2016 yielded 208 bird species. We expect to see at least 300-350 bird species on this itinerary, and see a lot of Ecuador's fabulous cultural sites. Ecuador is a very manageable country and just the size of the state of Georgia; more than 1,400 species of birds have been recorded in the country.
Marañon Endemics, Abra Patricia, Elevation Birds and Much More
July 21 - Aug 5, 2017
Peru is one of the most bird-rich countries on the planet, home to over 1700 species - 100 of which are endemics. 30 of these are only found in the north, and this tour will focus on finding as many of those as possible in addition to a variety of regional specialties. The spectacular scenery of the Andes will be our backdrop as we explore a wide diversity of habitats searching for some relatively easy-to-see ultra-rare birds, such as the once-believed to be extinct White-winged Guan, the incredible Marvelous Spatuletail, and the mythical Long-whiskered Owlet.
Camargue and Pyrenees:
August 26 – Sept 8, 2017
On this Venture to the south of France we combine two of Europe's most famous birding destinations, as well as a night in the historic medieval city of Carcassonne. This Venture, which is limited to 10 people, offers two very contrasting areas, both of which should provide fascinating scenery and culture, coupled with an impressive list of bird species.
October 26 – November 17, 2017
Pre-trip to Alice Springs,
Northern Territories: October 22 - 25, 2017
Post-trip to Tasmania: November 17 - 21, 2017
We will explore a variety of habitats in eastern Australia: sub-tropical rain forests, pristine white beaches, the Great Barrier Reef, untouched eucalyptus forests, rugged high country, semi-arid deserts and desert plateaus, and, of course, the exotic Outback.
From emus to penguins, the birdlife in Australia is fantastic. Parrots and parakeets in a rainbow of colors practically eat out of your hand. The fantastic Lyrebird, with its fanning tail, incorporates the sounds of automatic cameras and chainsaws in its imitative song. Robins come in shades of red: the Scarlet, Pink, Flame, and Rose Robins are beautiful.
Birding and Big Game
November 10 – 24, 2017
Tanzania, in East Africa, supports one of the largest diversity of birds species in Africa with over 1000 species recorded. On this Ventures tour, we'll start the trip in Arusha and visit Tarangire National Park, where we can do a walking safari outside the park, Lake Manyara (home of the tree climbing lions!) and Serengeti National Park including the famous and incomparable Ngorongoro Crater, searching for such birds as Magpie Shrike, Southern Ground-Hornbill, D'Arnaud's Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker, Two-banded Courser, Hildebrandt's Starling and such Tanzanian endemics as Rufous-tailed Weaver, Ashy Starling and Yellow-collared Lovebird. We will add a little diversity to our trip when we spend a couple of nights on the shore of Lake Victoria. Here we will see Nile Crocodiles, Hippo and a whole selection of birds not likely to be seen on any parts of our tour.
Western Mountains, Zapata Peninsula, Atlantic Archipelago, and Havana
December 4 - 15, 2017
Leader: Aaron Steed
& One Local Guide
We have partnered with Caribbean Conservation Trust, Inc. (CCT) to bring you this exclusive birding program to Cuba, the Caribbean's largest and most ecologically diverse island nation. Long closed to travelers coming from the United States, Cuba and its wealth of natural riches (including 27 endemic bird species) are now reachable via flights from numerous US cities. This itinerary has been designed to take you to Cuba's most beautiful national parks, biosphere reserves, and unique natural areas in search of Cuba's endemic birds, and will provide insights into fascinating aspects of Cuban culture, history, and daily living. In addition to birding, we will learn about the ecology and history of regions we visit and we'll interact with local scientists and naturalists who work in research and conservation, including Orlando Garrido, senior author to the Field Guide of the Birds of Cuba.
With nearly 2000 bird species recorded within its borders, Colombia is home to the highest diversity of bird species on the planet. The country contains several endemic bird areas, one of which is the Santa Marta Mountains, the focus of this tour. Our main targets will be all 21 of the Santa Marta endemics plus many more birds of the Northern Caribbean coast.
Few destinations conjure up such a complex mix of emotions for the American traveler as Vietnam. Long held back by decades of struggle and economic strife, this lush, avian-rich country has recently come a long way in building infrastructure and opening its doors to western tourism. That's just as well, considering Vietnam contains a wealth of endemic and near-endemic bird species – more so than any other mainland country in Southeast Asia! Among the many endemics we seek is the endangered and local Gray-crowned Crocias, a bird recently discovered in several previously unknown locales.
"Rhinos, Tigers and Laughingthrushes"
February 1-14, 2018
NE India is the land of the rising sun for the entire subcontinent. Breath-taking hills & mountains with snow-capped peaks to dense rain forests; from fast moving hill streams to wide rivers; all-encompassing a spectacular variety of life that brings a unique identity to this hilly terrain. Arunachal also has a wealth of cultural diversity and monuments to man's past but it is its exceptional richness in avian diversity that attracts birders from far and wide.
"Endemics and Orangutans"
June 28-July 11, 2018
Borneo is home to around 222 mammals (including the Orangutan and the Borneo Pygmy Elephant), 420 birds (of which 37 are endemic), 100 amphibians and 394 fish (19 are endemic). Among the endemic birds of Borneo, the Bristlehead is one of the strangest birds on the planet. Borneo's tropical rainforests, amongst the oldest, most complex and richest on earth, harbor most of the island's bird, plant, mammal, insect and plant diversity. Between 1995 and 2010 over 600 species new to science were discovered - which amounts to three new species every month.