Ventures runs longer international tours to a wide selection of international destinations. Because we are a small company, most are offered every other year and of course concentrate primarily on birds. A few combine birding with other nature activities and cultural sites, for example our Jordan tours have to include the ancient Nabotean city of Petra. Every year we usually offer at least one tour to each major region of the world, such as Europe, Asia, South and Central America and we also try to add new, safe and interesting destinations to our international program.

 

Altamira-Oriole,-Veracruz,-Mexico Coppery-headed-Emerald,-Costa-Rica Emerald-Dove-by-Roger-McNeill Ghana-Rockfowl Purple-Gallinule Raggiana-Bird-of-Paradise-by-Roger-McNeill Tanzania

 

 

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Tanzania

Birding and Big Game

November 10 – 24, 2017

                                         Leader: Simon Thompson

 

    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.

 

Cuba

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.

Northern Colombia Endemics

December 4 - 15, 2017

                                         Leader: Clifton Avery

 

     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.

 

Kaziranga & Eagle's Nest, NE India

"Rhinos, Tigers and Laughingthrushes"

February 1-14, 2018

                                         Leaders: Simon Thompson

 

     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.

Ecuador's Fabulous Hummingbirds

March 9-18, 2018

                                        Leaders: Simon Thompson
Mark Welford

 

     Ecuador is the size of the state of Georgia, yet 1,540 species of birds have been recorded in the country. Of these 133 are hummingbirds. On this Venture we'll travel across the Andes, seeing a dazzling display of tanagers, flycatchers and hummingbirds; over high, windswept pass to relict patches of polylepis forest for the endemic Black-breasted Puffleg; through Chocó cloudforest, where we hope to find such regional hummingbird endemics as Empress Brilliant, Velvet-purple Coronet; and lower elevation tropical rainforest near Silanche looking for Choco endemics such as Purple-chested and Blue-chested Hummingbirds. Our accommodation will be comfortable and convenient to the best birding spots across the Ecuadorian Andes.

Iceland

"Northern Lights and Winter Birding"
March 22-29, 2018

                                         Leaders: Simon Thompson

 

     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).

Morocco

"Atlantic Coast, Deserts and High Atlas Mountains"
April 1 - 14, 2018

                                         Leaders: Simon Thompson

 

     Morocco: this North African country conjures up images of high snow-capped mountains, snake charmers in the Souk in Marrakech and long Atlantic beaches battered by Atlantic waves. All of this is true, but one can also add estuaries thronged with gulls and shorebirds, red dunes in the southeastern deserts teeming with dozens of cryptically-colored larks and Cream-colored Coursers and enjoying a deliciously-spiced Tajeen meal in a traditional Moroccan restaurant.

Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Tien Shan Mountains, Central Asian Steppes
June 1 – 20, 2018

                                         Leaders: Simon Thompson

 

     From the stony deserts near the former capital of Almaty (Alma-Ata), to the Tien Shan Mountains close to the Chinese border, the variety of landscapes is sure to amaze and the birding is nothing short of spectacular. Even the species names evoke the rugged landscape and remote mystery associated with this part of the world. Many of the birds we will be seeing are little known and indeed, very rare vagrants to Western Europe. Birding tours are still relatively new in Kazakhstan, and though it is one of our favorite birding destinations, we only offer this trip once every few years. Accommodations will be comfortable yet simple, and meals are comprised mostly of locally prepared foods.

Western Papua, Indonesia

“Bowerbirds and Birds-of-Paradise”
Special Exploratory Tour to the Arfak Mountains & Lowland Forest

June 18 - 26, 2018

                                        Leaders: Mark Welford

 

     This tour offers a wonderful opportunity before our main Ventures Birding trip to Borneo to see some of the fourteen elusive Arfak endemics that can be found in the Arfak mountains of Western Papua. The Arfak Mountains are one of the most critical birding hotspots in Western Papua, Indonesia and belong to the Vogelkop Montane Rain Forest Ecoregion.

Venture to the Island of Borneo

"Endemics and Orangutans"

June 28-July 11, 2018

                                        Leaders: Simon Thompson
Mark Welford

 

     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.

Resplendent Costa Rica

Carara, San Gerardo de Dota & La Selva
July 8-18, 2018

                                        Leaders: Simon Thompson
Aaron Steed

 

     Costa Rica has long had a reputation of being a 'birders paradise,' and for good reason - life abounds here! Both beginning and experienced birders alike can enjoy tropical birding at its very best in Costa Rica, which boasts an abundance of habitats packed into a relatively tiny geographic area. Our exploration of 3 very different regions should provide an excellent variety of birds, mammals, butterflies, frogs and snakes, as well as a nice taste of some colorful Tico culture!

Belize: 'Rainforests & Ruins'

Chan Chich & Lamanai
March 18–25, 2018

                                         Leader: Aaron Steed

 

     This quick, week-long Venture is a perfect introduction to birding in the New World tropics, combining 2 of Belize's best birding areas & Yucatan endemics with an exploration of nearby Mayan ruins.     

     We explore Belize's natural habitats on foot and by boat through rainforests, swamps, lagoons and marshes, all from two excellent bases. The first is the renowned and supremely comfortable Chan Chich Lodge, a wonderful and secluded place to observe wildlife but with many of the comforts of home. Here we will be able to explore on our own, join the group for scheduled activities, or just relax (there is a pool)! Located in the lower plaza of a Mayan archeological site and surrounded by jungle, Chan Chich offers the chance to see an excellent variety of Middle American animal and bird life. The bird list has representatives of many neotropical bird families without being overwhelming, so this is a great destination for birders new to the tropics.

Spain: Birds & Wine!

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!

Suriname’s Fabulous Guianan Endemics

November 23 - December 2, 2018

                                         Leader: Mark Welford

 

    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.

Venture to Uganda

"Shoebills, Mountain Gorillas, Chimps and Albertine Endemics"
December 10-26, 2018

                                         Leader: Mark Welford

 

     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.

Venture to Jamaica

"Island Endemics"
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.