March 9-18, 2018
Trip is Full
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.
"Northern Lights and Winter Birding"
March 22-29, 2018
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).
"Atlantic Coast, Deserts and High Atlas Mountains"
April 1 - 14, 2018
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.
Tien Shan Mountains, Central Asian Steppes
June 1 – 20, 2018
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.
Valencia, Ebro Delta, & The Pyrenees
June 9-22, 2018
Leader: Aaron Steed
& One Local Guide
For many, Spain brings to mind world famous gastronomy, wine, and a fascinating, storied history and culture. It is perhaps less widely known as a birding destination, yet it indeed contains some of the best birding in all of Europe. This 2-week trip has been put together with all of these things in mind, and we will experience lovely Spanish spring birding amid the backdrop of picturesque landscapes and charming cities and towns.
Spain is the perfect destination for birding at a slower pace and offers a wealth of cultural and culinary attractions to enhance your experience, so what are you waiting for? Join us for what should be a memorable Venture!
“Bowerbirds and Birds-of-Paradise”
Special Exploratory Tour to the Arfak Mountains & Lowland Forest
June 18 - 26, 2018
Trip is Full
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.
"Endemics and Orangutans"
June 28-July 11, 2018
Trip is Full
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.
Carara, San Gerardo de Dota & La Selva
July 8-18, 2018
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!
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 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.
"Cloud Forests & Coffee"
November 26 – December 4, 2018
You are invited on this unique 8-day Venture to Nicaragua, the next best up-and-coming birding destination in Central America! This itinerary takes you through the northern highlands, an area dominated by lush cloud forests, showcasing beautiful mountain scenery and a spectacular assortment of hummingbirds, tanagers, parrots, trogons, and more. The prevailing year-round moisture of these montane habitats makes for perfect conditions for the growing of coffee, and both lodges on this trip produce their own organic, sustainable blends (which we will get to drink daily – & it’s delicious!). Our primary base will be at El Jaguar, a reserve home to such stunning hummingbirds as Violet Sabrewing, Black-crested Coquette, and Green-breasted Mountain-Gem, as well as other birds like Emerald Toucanet, Collared Trogon, Montezuma Oropendola, and a wintering population of the declining Golden-winged Warblers.
"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.