January 2019 emailing

January 29th, 2019 by Field Guides· Add a Comment

Hello, birding friends! January is winding down along with our 14 departures for the month. We hope your year is off to a good start—it has certainly been busy here at Field Guides. There’s much to see in the links below, including recent bird news, a conservation note, a video from one of our Brazil tours, and a fresh January Recent Photos Gallery with 80+ great images from recent trips (guide John Coons’s image below of Guyana participant Jan Shaw at Kaieteur Falls is a teaser from the gallery). Also linked below: a fresh batch of 6 recent triplists and 9 recently posted itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our February-May tours. We look forward to seeing you in the field!

Birding the Scottish Highlands, May 20-25: 4 spaces left with Megan & Willy

We have a Scottish Highlands Extension to our upcoming May Birds of Britain tour (co-led by our dynamic duo of Megan Edwards Crewe and Willy Perez shown at right). The main tour is fully booked, but we have 4 spaces on the extension still open that we can offer to you as a standalone option. If you’d like to join Megan and Willy, contact our office ASAP to confirm a space. We have a hunch this will be popular.

The extension begins in Inverness on May 20, then heads to Aviemore for some great birding in the famous Speyside area, returning (with a stop at Loch Ness) to Inverness for a final night before the group flies out on the morning of May 25. You of course may choose to extend your stay in Scotland for some extra time and birding on your own if you wish.

Recent bird news of note: beauty & hornbills

These two pieces caught our eye:

  • First, a thoughtful feature on a recent subject of much debate in the field of evolutionary biology: the evolution of beauty. There’s lots about birds and much else in a piece by Ferris Jabr in the New York Times.
  • Second, a spotlight article from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Living Bird magazine on the Critically Endangered Helmeted Hornbill, a species we still see on our Borneo tours. There’s a beautifully produced and compelling video at this link and an article with text and images here.

Conservation gift: Rainforest Trust

Field Guides recently made a $10,000 contribution to Rainforest Trust. As our own John Rowlett notes, we were drawn to the organization and their efforts for the following reasons:

  • Rainforest Trust board members cover the majority of all operating expenses. Thus the Trust is able to allocate 100% of a project donation “directly to conservation action. Rainforest Trust holds Charity Navigator’s highest 4-Star rating for its commitment to transparency, accountability, and efficiency.”
  • The organization relies on local partnerships and community engagement. This serves to collaboratively affirm the global value of tropical ecosystems and the life they hold while providing legal grounds to avert immediate and direct threats of colonization, typically from loggers, miners, ranchers, oil and gas extractors, and soybean farmers.
  • At the time we made it, donations for our selected project were being quadrupled through matching contributions. The price per acre in the target area is $0.76, an astonishingly low figure. Our gift of $10,000, quadrupled, will net $40,000 and protect more than 50,000 acres of Amazonian forest.

If you would like to find out more about Rainforest Trust and this particular project or others they manage, we encourage you to click on this link to their website.

Aerial video: Gazing down on Itatiaia

Guide Marcelo Barreiros recently began making some aerial videos along some of our Brazil tour routes. Click on the image below to see one of his early efforts, a fly-over of the Hotel do Ype, our lodging in Brazil’s Itatiaia National Park on the Spectacular Southeast Brazil itinerary. Makes us want to jump down to gaze at a Saffron Toucanet or a Brazilian Ruby!

May “rarities”: Tour openings on Spain & a new Brazil tour

It’s not often we have space still open this close to a May departure on either our Spain tour or any new Brazil offering. Right now there are still four spaces open on Spain (May 4-16) if you would like to tilt at a few windmills while you bird La Mancha with Chris Benesh and Godfried Schreur in the lead, then continue in a rich loop including Extremadura, famed Coto Doñana, and a stop in beautiful Cordoba. There should be lots of great birds and landscapes along the way.

And Brazil? Guides Bret Whitney and Marcelo Barreiros on our new Brazil: Minas Gerais & Tocantins itinerary (May 25-Jun 9) will take you in search of the recently rediscovered Blue-eyed Ground-Dove plus numerous other prizes, from Golden-capped Parakeet and Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner to Sao Francisco Sparrow plus many more, and possibly the newly described “Dry-forest Sabrewing.” Two spaces open there. Contact our office for more information on either trip.

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 your valuable feedback.

“I chose Field Guides, in part, because the company had great reviews. My tour experience was great. The group gelled well and we had a lot of fun. Chris Benesh was a fantastic guide — he brought a supreme birding knowledge and wealth of guiding experience along with patience and a sense of humor. He made the trip fun as well as informative. This was my first birding trip and it was fantastic! I would definitely go on another Field Guides tour.” R.H., PANAMA’S CANOPY LODGE 2018

“I chose Field Guides because of previous trips that have all been enjoyable, successful, and carefully planned. Your guides and office personnel are top-notch, and we have never had anything to worry about. This was a very good trip. It was our second tour with Jay VanderGaast who, in our opinion, is one of the top guides anywhere from any company. The office service was excellent as usual.” – L.W., JAMAICA

“Megan Crewe was a bird in her former life, and will be again in her next incarnation. She knows them intimately, loves and respects them (wonderful to witness), and never, never loses composure. Megan sets an unattainably high bar as a guide and is a fine representative for Field Guides.” M.L., HOLIDAY COSTA RICA 2018

“I had a wonderful time. Willy Perez is great — enthusiastic, easy to get along with, great at locating birds and wildlife. Your office did a great job. I have been with quite a few birding tour companies. Field Guides is equal to the best I have travelled with and of a much higher quality than others.” K.C., CHILE 2018

“An excellent experience! It was fantastic. I can’t wait to go on another trip! Guide Dave Stejskal was super knowledgeable, fun, professional. Office service was very good…they always promptly replied to my email inquiries.” D.G., ARIZONA WINTER SPECIALTIES 2018

Triplists from 6 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 January Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

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.

A private-group Panama participant noted: “We were so pleased to do this tour with our friends and with John Coons as leader. Everything went smoothly. All we have to do now is decide where we all want to go next!”

Tour openings: February through May

Our tours from February through May listed below have, for the most part, just one or two spaces still open but include options from Alaska and the New World tropics to Spain, France, and India. Included below are two spaces on our Hawaii tour, Apr 2-11 with guides Chris Benesh and Dave Stejskal. There are of course numerous island endemics and ABA-area specialties to be seen there, among them the Nene, Hawaii’s state bird, shown beautifully in an image above by 2018 participant Scott Harvell. Contact our office to join this tour or to request open space on Hawaii or any of the open tours below.

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!

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