International Tours 2017



Ecuador's West Slope

"The Best of Choco Endemic Birding"

March 10 - 19, 2017

                                         Leader: Mark Welford


     Ecuador is the size of the state of Georgia, yet 1,540 species of birds have been recorded in the country. On this Venture, we'll travel from the Andes into the northwestern lowlands, seeing a dazzling display of tanagers, flycatchers and hummingbirds; over high, windswept passes to relict patches of polylepis forest for the endemic Black-breasted Puffleg; through Chocó cloudforest, where we hope to find such regional endemics as Toucan Barbet, Pale-mandibled Aracari and Chocó Toucan; and lower elevation tropical rainforest near Silanche looking for Choco endemics such as Purple-chested Hummingbird, Banded Ground-Cuckoo and Long-wattled Umbrellabird.



"Atlantic Coast, Deserts and High Atlas Mountains"

March 12 - 24, 2017

                                         Leader: Simon Thompson


     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 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.


Indonesia: Waigeo and Arfak Mountains

Birding in Paradise

May 9 - 21, 2017

                                         Leader: Mark Welford


     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.


South Pacific Adventure

Solomons, Vanuatu, New Caledonia & Fiji

May 23 – June 24, 2017

                                         Leader: Mark Welford


     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.


Birds & Culture Venture to Ecuador

June 27 - July 15, 2017

                                         Leader: Mark Welford


     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.


Northern Peru

Marañon Endemics, Abra Patricia, Elevation Birds and Much More
July 21 - Aug 5, 2017

                                         Leader: Aaron Steed


     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.

South of France

Camargue and Pyrenees:

August 26 – Sept 8, 2017

                                         Leader: Simon Thompson
Gordon Mills


     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.


Eastern Australia

October 26 – November 17, 2017 

Optional Extensions:

Pre-trip to Alice Springs, Northern Territories: October 22 - 25, 2017

Post-trip to Tasmania: November 17 - 21, 2017

                                         Leader: Carlos Sanchez


    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

                                         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.


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.


Vietnam Endemics

December 10 - 27, 2017

                                         Leader: Mark Welford


     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.


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.

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.