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Our team heads for the World Birding Challenge (again!): May 2014

April 14th, 2014 by Jan Pierson · Add a Comment

Dan Lane, Jesse Fagan, and Fernando Angulo brought home the trophy in December, winning the World Birding Challenge with an impressive 457 species in the weeklong event staged in southern Peru and raising over $1600 for BirdLife International. In May, Field Guides will defend the title in the third World Birding Challenge in northern Peru. We will be represented by guides Rose Ann Rowlett, Richard Webster, Marcelo Padua, and (hang on to your hats!) Terry Stevenson! Of course, with Rose Ann and Richard on board—who have been guiding our Northern Peru tour for almost 20 years now—we expect to be competitive. Marcelo and Terry are new to Peru but are studying hard and will contribute that FG energy and humor for which they are well known.

Rose Ann Rowlett Richard Webster Marcelo Padua Terry Stevenson

The team is again birding for conservation bucks and we encourage FOFG (friends of Field Guides) to contribute either per species (they will be aiming for more than 600!) seen or a dollar amount. Especially those of you who have traveled with these guides in the past are encouraged to show your support! All donations generated will be directed to the BirdLife affiliate in Peru, Apeco. Apeco works to preserve and protect the habitat in northern Peru of the iconic hummingbird, the Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis) (see below!), a Peruvian endemic listed as endangered on the current Red List. With its wonderfully extravagant spatulate tail and male courtship dances, this superb hummingbird is a flagship species for the forests in the higher part of the micro-watersheds of the Tilacancha and Cruzhuayco rivers. The Apeco campaign supports a community reserve, the Private Conservation Area of Tilacancha, by raising its profile and encouraging the creation of reciprocal agreements for watershed conservation between users and land owners.

Call or email Peggy Watson at our office to make a pledge. Marcelo will be posting updates from the challenge on the Field Guides Facebook page and we’ll make sure you get those notifications as well as a post- challenge report.

Go team, go!

Marvelous Spatuletail

The fantastic Marvelous Spatuletail, photographed on a Field Guides Northern Peru tour in 2013 by participant Kevin Heffernan

Fresh galleries: East Africa, Yellowstone, Trinidad

March 17th, 2014 by Field Guides · Add a Comment

We’ve been receiving some great photos from guides and participants on our tours, and in addition to our March Recent Photos gallery covering 10 recent trips, we’ve put together a collection of the best, representative pics from the following three tours from early 2014:

White-necked Jacobin

White-necked Jacobin on Trinidad by guide Eric Hynes

East Africa Highlights: Kenya & Tanzania
with Terry Stevenson

Yellowstone in Winter
with Terry & Karen McEneaney

Trinidad & Tobago
with Eric Hynes & Lena Senko


March e-mailing & fresh photos

March 17th, 2014 by Field Guides · Add a Comment

Our March e-mailing is online. It has some cool bird news about manakin wings and evolution, links to appearances of our guides (on TV) and the FG catalog (in a movie!), April to September tour openings, and, as ever, a fresh collection of great images in our Recent Photos gallery, plus recently posted triplists and itineraries. Click below to see it all — and enjoy!

March 2014 E-mailing

March 2014 emailing photos

Jesse & Dan on Birding Adventures TV!

February 19th, 2014 by Field Guides · Add a Comment

Do you have time for a little video fun? See guides Jesse Fagan and Dan Lane in action during the December 2013 World Birding Rally Challenge in Peru in this entertaining episode of host James Currie’s Nikon Birding Adventures TV series. It’s the “Motmot” and “Barbet” having a great time for a week with fellow Team Field Guides colleague Fernando Angulo as they go from the Amazonian lowlands to famed Machu Picchu aiming for the first-place trophy. The whole episode runs just under 22 minutes, and the first three minutes or so introduce the event. Jesse first speaks on camera at about 3:55, and he and Dan are featured in much of the rest of the footage. It’s well done…enjoy!


February e-mailing & fresh photos

February 18th, 2014 by Field Guides · Add a Comment

Our February e-mailing is online. It has three great recommendations for spring birding in South Carolina, Arizona, and New Jersey, two titles for your birder’s bookshelf, March to August tour openings, and, as ever, a fresh collection of great images in our Recent Photos gallery, plus recently posted triplists and itineraries. Click below to see it all — and enjoy!

February 2014 E-mailing

2014 February emailing birds

January e-mailing & fresh photos

January 11th, 2014 by Field Guides · Add a Comment

Our January e-mailing is online, this month with two spaces on a special 100th anniversary tour to the Rio Roosevelt, news about our Peru guides and tours, and February to July tour openings. As ever, we’ve also got a fresh collection of great images in our Recent Photos gallery, plus recently posted triplists and itineraries. Click below to see it all — and enjoy!

January 2014 E-mailing


Two last spaces on Bret’s 100th anniversary Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt tour in April

January 10th, 2014 by Field Guides · Add a Comment

The word is out: Bret’s guiding a special 100th anniversary tour in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt and Candido Rondon in a wilderness area packed with newly described species. Dates are April 11-24 (yes, this April) and there are two spaces still open. If you’re interested in joining the tour you have till January 20 to put your name in the hat for a drawing to follow in Teddy’s wake; we’ll send confirmation and an invoice immediately on January 21. Read the full details on our Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt: Birding the River of Doubt page, or contact Peggy Watson at our office to add your name to the list. It’s going to be an amazing trip, and we’re guessing Teddy himself would join us if he could — we know his spirit will be right there!


That’s where we’re heading…the Pousada Roosevelt, tucked away in the unbroken wilderness of the “River of Doubt.” (Photo by guide Bret Whitney)

World Birding Rally, Peru: the FG Team takes first!

December 29th, 2013 by Jesse Fagan · Add a Comment

Team Field Guides has won the greatest birding competition on the planet! The World Birding Rally took place December 3-10, 2013, in Peru, pitting five international birding companies against each other. The competing teams/companies represented the countries of South Africa, Colombia, England, and the United States. The grueling weeklong event took place at two different sites in southeastern Peru: along the Madre de Dios River in the Amazonian lowlands, and at Machu Picchu, the famous Inca ruin site. Both sites represent two distinctly different elevations and habitat types which include Amazonian rainforest and humid subtropical forest, respectively. This great event was sponsored by the Peruvian tourism board, PromPerú, and Inkaterra, a private company that runs a series of luxury ecolodges throughout Peru (see their blog post at this link). Our team included Field Guides leaders Jesse Fagan (yours truly) and Dan Lane, along with Fernando Angulo, a Peruvian biologist and conservationist. In addition, at each location all the teams had a local guide to assist them. In our case, the local guides were Leon (Madre de Dios) and Cecy Cabrera (Machu Picchu). Both were excellent and they helped us immensely on our way to victory.

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 7.35.03 PM

Dan, Fernando, and Jesse celebrate their victory with local guide Cecy Cabrera.

It was a tense competition, and we got off to a rocky start when Team Field Guides came in fourth place on a rainy Day One. On Day Two, we fought our way into third place, where we remained until Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu. It wasn’t until these final two days that we managed to inch ahead and gain the top position. Our final species count was 457 (team highlights included White-chested Swift, Curl-crested Aracari, Tawny-rumped Tyrannulet, and Cusco Brush-Finch). The next two teams tied for second place with 455 species recorded. Indeed, it was a very tight race throughout the rally. All in all, it was a fabulous experience to bird and compete in one of the richest avian countries in the world. This competition is unrivaled in its length and number of species possible.  The total species count for the competition among all teams was an astounding 619, a significant percentage of the world’s total species of birds! Team Field Guides would like to thank all of the sponsors and teams for a very memorable time. The winning team trophy, a pewter Black-faced Cotinga, will be placed in the Field Guides office in Austin, Texas, so come by and take a look!

In addition, Team Field Guides was competing in the name of bird conservation. Prior to the start of the rally, Field Guides Incorporated and Team Field Guides partnered with Birdlife International to help raise funds for a watershed conservation campaign benefitting the northern Peruvian communities of San Isidro de Maino and Levanto and further protecting critical habitat for the globally endangered Marvelous Spatuletail, one of the world’s most spectacular hummingbirds. There is still time to help us in this endeavor; if you are interested, please visit the following link and make a donation:

Birding unites countries, people, and our amazing biodiversity as few governing bodies or politicians are capable of doing. The commonality of seeing birds, and the enjoyment this brings us, breaks down many barriers of hatred, prejudice, racism, and socioeconomic divide. It empowers people to look and think critically, to identify, to listen, to ask questions, to seek out, to travel and, most importantly, to discover. Birds and birding can change the world.

The next World Birding Rally will be held in Peru from May 11-22, 2014.

–Jesse Fagan (aka Motmot)

Resting on their laurels now? No way! See what’s next on Jesse’s and Dan’s schedules from their guide page links!

Below are more pics from the Rally…


At Machu Picchu with Cecy


Dan — nice shirt!


Hard at work in the field (definitely some multi-tasking going on!)


The win makes the Peruvian newspapers!

World Birding Rally, Peru: Update through Day 8

December 9th, 2013 by Jan Pierson · Add a Comment

Jesse’s just posted some pics from the team in several status updates on our Facebook page (no need to be “on” FB–anyone can see our page). Looks like it’s going to be a photo finish with some great competition going to the wire! Check it out on our page here!

The Field Guides team

Our intrepid team having a good time in Peru. So, hmmmm, who’s in charge here?

December e-mailing & fresh photos

December 8th, 2013 by Jan Pierson · Add a Comment

Our December e-mailing is online, this month with links to recent posts about our Northern Central America tours, Honduras, Team Field Guides in the World Birding Rally, and January to June tour openings. As ever, we’ve also got a fresh collection of great images in our Recent Photos gallery, plus recently posted triplists and itineraries. Click below to see it all — and enjoy!

December 2013 E-mailing

2013 December Field Guides emailing birds