December 2019 emailing

Our December emailing is out, with a fresh gallery of images from recent tours, short features on guide Marcelo Barreiros and Karen Turner from our Austin office, a cool antpitta slideshow in a new series, plus of course recent triplists, fresh 2020 itineraries, and spaces on upcoming tours. Click here or on the image below to have a look. Enjoy!

Photo gallery: a preview of upcoming Spring in Cape May highlights

From the famous Red Knot/Horseshoe Crab spectacle to a rush of northbound warblers (20+ species possible) and other landbirds, our upcoming mid-May Spring in Cape May tour should record more than 160 species as we bird our way around North America’s premier migration hotspot. Guide Tom Johnson has assembled 11 images of highlights to be expected on this upcoming Field Guides tour in this gallery. The tour is scheduled for May 12-18, 2019 with Tom guiding, and space is still available for this exciting spring getaway.

Click this link or the image below to see the gallery and enjoy the images in their full-screen glory.

You can see complete info about the tour, including the itinerary and past triplists, on our tour page.

Warbler dreams: Pennsylvania in May

Brighten up your day by checking out guide Tom Johnson’s images of spring warblers and other highlights expected on the upcoming Field Guides Pennsylvania’s Warblers & More: From Cerulean Warbler to Henslow’s Sparrow tour in this gallery. The tour is scheduled for May 21-26, 2019 with Tom, and space is still available for this lovely spring getaway.

Click this link or the image below to see the gallery.

You can see complete info about the tour, including the itinerary and past triplists, on our tour page.

A day in the birding life: our Birds & Wine tours

Enjoy this piece by guide Marcelo Padua as he provides a glimpse into a day on each of the tours in our Birds & Wine series coming up in 2019: Birds and Wines of Chile & Argentina in February, Beyond the Ports of Portugal in April, and France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine in June. Each of these tours features great lodging, fabulous food, incredible scenery, an easier pace, and a focus on birding with some time spent enjoying the cultural riches of each destination.

Chile & Argentina

Elegant-crested Tinamou in Argentina with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
The well-named Elegant Crested-Tinamou, by guide Dave Stejskal

On a cool morning in Argentina you step out of your room onto the manicured garden of your lodge. Checking some flowering plants, you spot a Red-tailed Comet, a spectacular hummingbird that takes your breath away. Meanwhile, a Blue-and-yellow Tanager feeds in a nearby tree and an Austral Pygmy-Owl sings in the distance. Walking out of the lodge and away from the manicured vineyards, you move into desert scrub habitat, where a White-throated Cacholote sings from one of the few trees in sight and adds another stick to its massive nest.

Birds & Wine: Argentina with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
The Andes with a fresh dusting of snow as seen from wine country in Argentina. Photo by participant Dennis Serdehely.

As you walk farther into the desert, you marvel at the beauty of the Andes rising up beyond, covered in a mantle of fresh snow from the previous night. A movement catches your eye—a family of Elegant-crested Tinamous quietly running away from you. Later in the day you enjoy a typical Argentine barbecue—the asado—while sipping a delicious glass of Malbec. Your afternoon is devoted to visiting a museum and a state-of-the-art winery before returning to the lodge to enjoy a five-course dinner paired with wines produced on site. Life is good, and you are lucky to be here.


Portugal

On a different continent you wake up to a strangely familiar bird call as a Common Cuckoo broadcasts its famous song. You find yourself in a medieval village along the Portuguese border. After a leisurely breakfast, you head out to bird the mountains that cradle the famous Douro River.

Portugal Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
The Douro River valley, by participant Ken Havard

Along your way, an old man and his dog block the road as they patiently keep his sheep moving at a steady pace, and you realize that this scene has repeated itself here for hundreds of years. Moving ahead, you find an overlook from which to scan the valley bellow. From the roof of an abandoned house, a Blue Rock-Thrush lets other males know that this patch is taken, and it does not take long before the first Eurasian Griffons fly by at what seems to be an arm’s length.

Portugal Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
An immense Eurasian Griffon soars past, by participant Maureen Phair

You continue your journey through the mountains, taking in the spectacular scenery. At another perch on top of a hill, you enjoy a picnic lunch while Egyptian Vultures, Peregrine Falcons, and Cinereous Vultures seem to dance in the wind at eye level. On you return to the lodge, you take some time to explore a tiny village, learning about its history and inhabitants. After a delicious homemade dinner, you go to sleep listening to the calls of a Eurasian Scops-Owl.


France

In France it is spring, and you wake up to a cacophony of sounds produced by hundreds of young Rooks roosting in nearby trees—it doesn’t take long to realize where the term rookery originated. You walk away from the noisy Rooks only to find a plethora of other sounds coming from warblers, tits, and nesting House Martins. You devote the day to exploring the fabulous Loire River, once described by French novelist Gustave Flaubert as “the most sensual river in France.” The Loire runs low and sedate, studded with sand and gravel bars that provide protected nesting sites for Yellow-legged, Black-headed, and Mediterranean gulls, as well as Little Ringed Plovers and Common Sandpipers.

France Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
The chateau and gardens at Villandry

Each stop along the river brings the group one step closer to the renowned gardens of Chateau Villandry, where a delicious French picnic awaits. Sated, you venture into the gardens of this chateau, a testament to love and determination. The evening brings a fine day to a close as you take advantage of famous French gastronomy paired with a lovely Sancerre.

France Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
The Chateau de Chenonceau, by guide Megan Edwards Crewe

Read more about each of these tours, see the itinerary and past triplists, and enjoy more images on their respective tour pages:

Birds and Wines of Chile & Argentina

Beyond the Ports of Portugal

France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine

The potoo sextet

It’s been fun looking through recent tour reports and photos and realizing we have the full South American potoo sextet illustrated. We know there are a lot of nightbird fans out there, so we thought you might like to look through the images, too. Such fantastic birds — amazingly camouflaged, appearing like stumps on their dayroosts, with large eyes for great nocturnal vision (potoos hunt flying insects), and a huge gape that extends well past the eye so virtually the whole head opens wide during an insect capture. On top of it all, they have a great diversity of very cool vocalizations, each species very different from the next.

The Andean and Great potoos below are from our Mountains of Manu, Peru tour; the Common Potoo is from our Jaguar Spotting tour in Brazil; the Rufous and White-winged potoos are from our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus, Brazil tour; and the Long-tailed Potoo is from our Peruvian Rainforests of the Tambopata tour.

Long-tailed Potoo
Long-tailed Potoo from our Peruvian Rainforests of the Tambopata tour by guide Pepe Rojas: this is a long, slim potoo that is most often seen on staked-out dayroosts at various lodges rather than at night.

Andean Potoo
This one is really looking like a stump, right? Andean Potoo from our Mountains of Manu tour in Peru by guide Dan Lane. As the name suggests, this is a species of higher elevations than the others.

Rufous Potoo
Rufous Potoo is the most colorful of all the potoos, and it also has that very distinctive “keyhole” mark in its eye. This was photographed on our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus tour in Brazil by participant Cliff Hensel

White-winged Potoo
White-winged Potoo was virtually unknown in the wild 20 years ago, but we’ve got its number! This one was photographed by guide Bret Whitney on our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus tour in Brazil.

Great Potoo
Largest of them all is the Great Potoo, seen here in a photo by participant Steve Wakeham from our Mountains of Manu, Peru tour. It gives quite the blood-curdling scream/roar at night, too!

Common Potoo
And last, but not least, is the Common Potoo — indeed usually the most commonly seen one on various tours, both on night outings and on dayroosts. This one was photographed by participant Cliff Hensel on our Jaguar Spotting (Brazil) tour.

World Birding Rally, Peru: May 2014 first reports

The Rally is in full swing, and guides Rose Ann Rowlett, Richard Webster, Terry Stevenson, and Marcelo Padua are hard at work trying to find as many species as possible during their week traversing northern Peru. Marcelo’s reporting from the field when he has a chance (and an internet connection!)…

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Our Field Guides team getting ready to go, with their own official vehicle! From left to right: Richard Webster, Rose Ann Rowlett, Marcelo Padua, and Terry Stevenson. Onward!!

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On the first day of the tour our team found 118 species, but the true highlight of the first day was a group of children cheering for us in one of the villages we visited. –Marcelo

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Terry Stevenson is our Africa specialist and holds the world record for the largest number of birds seen in one day, but up to this point he had only spent 3 days in South America, so studying for the Birding Rally has been quite a challenge! On this photo he studies a plate of Tapaculos, a new family for him. –Marcelo

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Our Team continued to work hard on the World Birding Rally in northern Peru, and by the end of day three we reached a total of 222 species of birds recorded. One of the highlights of day three was this Gray-bellied Comet, an endangered species with a tiny world range. –Marcelo

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Another day three highlight was this spiffy looking pair of Rufous-eared Brush-finches! –Marcelo (with Rose Ann, Richard, and Terry)

Jesse & Dan on Birding Adventures TV!

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!

JF4DL4

World Birding Rally, Peru: Update through Day 2

This just in from Jesse: “Very poor internet here, but quickly on day two Team Field Guides with a phenomenal 202 species recorded. I am very happy to be a part of this. Tired and now ready for a pisco sour!– Jesse Fagan, aka Motmot (with Daniel Lane and Fernando Angulo)”

Sounds like they are off to a great start. No pics yet but we’ll post any as we get them! Check out our full post about the event and our Team Field Guides participation (and how you can help, too, if you wish).

Ross’s Gulls galore in Alaska!

Guides Dave Stejskal and Pepe Rojas report that our inaugural Barrow, Alaska: Search for Ross’s Gull tour was a smashing success with approximately 1200 Ross’s Gulls seen! Loons, eiders, and three Polar Bears didn’t hurt either. Participant Bernie Grossman captured this lovely image of a small group of the pink gulls. We’re heading back in October 2014, for sure!

RossGullsBG

What? 15 new bird species? Yep!

This definitely falls in the “cool bird news” category: Field Guide Bret Whitney and various of his LSU-associated colleagues (including Mario Cohn-Haft at INPA in Manaus, Alexandre Aleixo at the Goeldi Museum in Belem, and Luis Fabio Silveira at the Universidade de Sao Paulo) have been hard at work sleuthing out an amazing diversity of 15 new bird species from Amazonia, all of them presented in a special volume of the Handbook of  the Birds of the World series. There’s been nothing quite like it before. Do we have your attention? Well then, you can check out more details in this article on the LSU Research News site. And our hearty congrats to Bret and colleagues!