February 2019 emailing
February 27th, 2019 by Field Guides· Add a Comment
Greetings, fellow birders! Even up north, where winter is still hanging on, the sun is getting stronger and the days longer every day…there’s definitely the promise of spring in the air! That has us jazzed for the months ahead, and though many of our March-April tours are fully booked, you can still sneak away in the next 8 weeks or so if you choose carefully for some of the still-available spaces…to the Texas Coast, Lesser Antilles, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Hungary, Bhutan, or Northeast India! See our openings listed below. There’s much in the links in this emailing, including lots of interesting bird news, video clips of two great Neotropical birds, and a fresh February Recent Photos Gallery with 80+ great images from recent trips (two teasers here: the fabulous Crested Owl trio above at Ecuador’s Sacha Lodge from guide Willy Perez, and guides Doug Gochfeld and Cory Gregory enjoying the white geese as they inaugurated our New Mexico tour in January). Also linked below: a fresh batch of 13 recent triplists and 11 recently posted itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our late March-June tours. We look forward to seeing you in the field!
Vive La France…or better yet, Les Frances!
How about birding this year in June through the Loire Valley with fabulous chateaux and wine-tasting stops, or in September from the famed Camargue in the Rhone River delta to the towering Pyrenees on the border with Spain? It’s a tough choice, but someone’s gotta make it! The first option is of course our France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine tour, inaugurated to great success in 2018, the second our long-running and popular France: Camargue & Pyrenees itinerary; click on either image above to see a slideshow of highlights for each. We have two departures of each of these tours in 2019, and the first of each is fully booked. Our second departures, though, still have availability! You can join guides Marcelo Padua and Megan Edwards Crewe Jun 12-22 on the Loire Valley birds & wine route, or instead head to the Camargue and Pyrenees Sep 4-14 with Jay VanderGaast & Willy Perez. Either way should be a lot of fun, some fabulous scenery, plenty of delicious food, and lots of great birds…À bientôt!
Recent bird news of note: spoonies & more
These articles caught our eye this month:
- If Spoon-billed Sandpiper is on your most-wanted list (or perhaps you saw it with us on a Field Guides Thailand tour), here’s an exciting update on recent discoveries about Spoon-bill migration and the various efforts of the project team on the Saving The Spoon-billed Sandpiper website.
- Think you know how a Barn Owl catches its prey? If you want all the detail of the bird’s amazing hearing capacity, check out this interesting short piece from BirdWatching magazine.
- We could just re-name this piece Hummingbirds: The Dark Side. But really, it’s an article from the New York Times about how hummers use their beaks for more than just nectar-sipping…as weapons, in fact.
- Also on the topic of hummers, this piece on the metabolism of these amazing aerial acrobats and their capacity to consume and use sugar at a stupendous rate.
- And we can’t resist one more on the same theme: If you want to wade a little deeper into the weeds, here’s an intriguing if somewhat wonky article about how a hummingbird’s tongue actually manages to capture nectar from a flower…for the punchline version, you can skip to the last diagram and the Discussion section at the end. Cool discovery.
- As our final news piece this month, let’s turn to puffins and their now-deemed UV-luminescent bills. An interesting expansion of the birds-and-UV-light topic, and we loved this line: “Disappointingly, it is unlikely the bill functions as a full-fledged flashlight…”
New tour: Myanmar in 2020
Guide Doug Gochfeld, who has been co-leading our Vietnam tour in recent years and is a big fan of the region, did some very productive scouting in Myanmar this past fall and has developed an exciting itinerary for our new tour, just added for next year. It’s scheduled for Feb 27-Mar 12, 2020 and limited to 8. Check out Doug’s description of the trip on our tour page. Be sure to have a look, too, at a slideshow of Doug’s images from his scouting trip (that’s the Bagan temple complex above, one of our birding stops along the route). If you’d like to join Doug, be sure to contact our office; we expect this, like so many of our new offerings, to be popular.
Videos: eye-catching, ear-grabbing birds
Here’s a study in contrasts: a male Guianan Cock-of-the-rock in blazing orange with visual impact as the lure, and a forest-understory Musician Wren that relies on its voice. Click on each of the video thumbnails above to see these two great birds in action on one of our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus, Brazil tours last fall in these clips by guides Marcelo Barreiros and Bret Whitney.
Comments from participants
We read carefully each post-tour evaluation we receive from our participants, so that we may continue to offer the best possible birding experiences and service on Field Guides birding tours. Here are a few representative recent comments. From all of us at Field Guides, our thanks for all your valuable feedback.
“We chose this trip because we’ve traveled with Field Guides many times and know the excellence of the guides and overall management. The overall tour experience was excellent.The guides, Doug Gochfeld and Cory Gregory, although younger and relatively new to Field Guides are every bit as capable at all the aspects of guiding as the founders and veterans of the company. As always, office service was prompt, accurate, efficient, friendly, etc.” S.B., NEW MEXICO 2019
“Mitch Lysinger was a superb tour leader. His knowledge of the birds, their calls/songs, and natural history was astonishing. His sense of humor kept things light. This tour had high quality and attention to detail, as I knew to expect from my two previous Field Guides trips.” N.R., JEWELS OF ECUADOR 2019
“This was one of the best tours ever! Megan Edwards Crewe is an extraordinary guide. Megan is not only knowledgeable about birds, she is a font of facts about all sorts of flora and fauna and historical detail. She is also kind and fair. She is able to keep order effortlessly — she has the uncanny ability to make each and every member of the tour feel like the most important member of the tour. As usual, your office staff was helpful and thorough.” A.W., GUYANA 2019
“We chose this trip for the small group size, the location of the tour, and the fact that the timing fit with our calendar. And Field Guides came highly recommended. The overall experience was great. Guide Chris Benesh was great — I’d look forward to another trip with him!” W.S., SOUTH TEXAS RARITIES 2019
Triplists from 13 recent Field Guides tours
Click on any image or link below to see our annotated and illustrated online triplist. (And be sure also to see our February Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)
New slideshows: NZ Islands & Michigan
Enjoy some fine images for two tours that are new or returning to our schedule: first, a slideshow for our New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands cruise, which is scheduled for Nov 10-Dec 2, 2019 with Doug Gochfeld guiding; and second, a slideshow for our new Michigan: Great Lakes Grandeur tour, which is scheduled for May 16-24, 2020 with guide Cory Gregory. Have a look!
Private tours for your group or organization
Want to organize your own tour with a group of special birding friends and one of our staff guides or for your local birding club? We regularly put together private departures for groups of 6 or more to many different destinations, and they are invariably a big hit. Just contact our office to start planning your group’s next great birding trip.
One example? Our Ghana itinerary, for which group leader Denis Kania, a frequent Field Guides traveler, put together a private group and Joe Grosel guided in 2018. Denis did the cool painting below of a White-spotted Flufftail as a memory from the tour. Let us know if you would like to create your own group experience!
Tour openings: late March through June
Our tours from late March through June listed below have, for the most part, just one or two spaces still open. They include departures from Bhutan and Hungary and Kenya across North America to the New World tropics. Included below are a few spaces on our two-parted Alaska tours spanning late May to Jun 23. Part I hits the Pribilofs and Denali, Part II heads to Nome, Seward, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow). Pick your great duo of guides: Chris Benesh with Doug Gochfeld or Tom Johnson with Cory Gregory. Either way will be a great trip to our most spectacular state (and spectacular birding). Contact our office to request open space on Alaska or any of the open tours below.
- Costa Rica, Mar 16-31 with Jay VanderGaast (spaces open)
- Jewels of Ecuador, Mar 16-Apr 2 with Willy Perez (1 space)
- Lesser Antilles, Mar 28-Apr13 with Jesse Fagan (1 space)
- Guyana III, Mar 30-Apr 10 with Marcelo Barreiros (2 spaces)
- Bhutan, Apr 6-25 with Megan Edwards Crewe (1 space)
- Texas Coast Migration Spectacle I, Apr 20-26 with John Coons (1 space)
- Northeast India: Eaglenest, Kaziranga & More, Apr 20-May 7 with Phil Gregory (spaces open)
- Hungary & Romania, Apr 27-May 13 with Terry Stevenson & Lajos Nemeth-Boka (spaces open)
- Spain, May 4-16 with Chris Benesh & Godfried Schreur (2 spaces)
- Point Pelee Migration Spectacle, May 11-18 with Jay VanderGaast (3 spaces)
- Spring in Cape May, May 12-18 with Tom Johnson (spaces open)
- Idaho: Snake River to Sawtooths, May 18-26 with Eric Hynes & Mitch Lysinger (2 spaces)
- Pennsylvania’s Warblers & More, May 21-26 with Tom Johnson (spaces open)
- Alaska I (Part One), May 30-Jun 7 with Chris Benesh & Doug Gochfeld (2 spaces)
- Kenya Safari Spectacular, May 31-Jun 24 with Terry Stevenson (3 spaces)
- Northern Arizona’s Canyons & Condor I, Jun 1-7 with John Coons & Micah Riegner (2 spaces)
- Alaska II (Part One), Jun 6-14 with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory (spaces open)
- Machu Picchu & Abra Malaga, Peru I, Jun 7-16 with Dan Lane (4 spaces)
- Galapagos: An Intimate Look at Darwin’s Islands, Jun 8-18 with Mitch Lysinger (2 spaces)
- Mongolia: The Gobi Desert, Steppe & Taiga, Jun 8-26 with Phil Gregory (3 spaces)
- France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine II, Jun 12-22 with Marcelo Padua & Megan Edwards Crewe (spaces open)
- Alaska II (Part Two), Jun 13-23 with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory (2 spaces)
- Iceland II, Jun 23-Jul 2 with Godfried Schreur (4 spaces)
- Newfoundland & Nova Scotia, Jun 30-Jul 10 with Chris Benesh (spaces open)
Recently posted 2019 itineraries
Click on any image or link below to see the detailed itinerary for the following 2019 tours. Lots of info in these, and some great images as well!