New Year 2018 emailing
January 4th, 2018 by Field Guides· Add a Comment
A very Happy New Year to you, from all of us at Field Guides! We’ve been very busy the last few weeks, with three tours to Panama, two to Costa Rica, as well as others to Mexico, Arizona, Ecuador, Guyana, and Trinidad & Tobago. And there’s no slowing down in 2018 as we begin the year with 15 itineraries in January! In this emailing, we highlight two added March departures to Oaxaca and Texas; guides Dan Lane and Jesse Fagan playing a part in describing a new species in Peru; 2019 guide listings; a hat tip to our wonderful office staff; ten illustrated recent triplists; six fresh itineraries for 2018; and our New Year’s Recent Photos gallery, with nearly 100 images from recent tours. The photo below by guide Tom Johnson comes from our 2017 Alaska Fall Goldmine tour and shows Tom’s very happy group after scoping a Short-tailed Albatross with Orcas — a cool sighting. Scroll down for fun options for getting two guides for the price of one, and you’ll also see spaces still open for January to May. Enjoy reading and viewing, and good birding to all!
March schedule additions: Oaxaca II — Spring in S. Texas II
To replace our (sadly) canceled March Puerto Rico tours, we’ve added two departures for guides Tom Johnson and Cory Gregory. Tom will be heading out on Spring in South Texas II, which runs Mar 17-25, while Cory runs south of the border for Mexico: Oaxaca II, Mar 17-24. Both tours are long-popular itineraries in our schedule, and there is still space available on each. (Our originally scheduled Spring in South Texas I and Oaxaca I departures are full.) We have Puerto Rico in the schedule for March 2019.
We are disappointed that we will not be able to visit Puerto Rico as usual this spring. To help support wildlife and habitat recovery in areas of the Caribbean most affected by the fall hurricanes, we have directed a substantial Field Guides contribution toward those recovery efforts. If you would like to help too, we encourage you to do so through BirdsCaribbean or another entity of your choice.
Guides Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan help describe a new antbird
With the exciting announcement of a new species of antbird hot off the press (see links below), we asked our own Dan Lane for a little background on how he and Jesse Fagan came to play a part in its description. Dan notes: “True discovery is a rare phenomenon in this day and age. We tend to be complacent about our knowledge of the natural world and assume it’s all been done or seen. But here is a case to shake us out of it! In July 2016, Jesse and I were fortunate to be among a group visiting a remote site in the foothills of northern Peru called Flor de Café the day after an earth-shattering discovery was made. The person who made that discovery is a birder by the name of Josh Beck, who has been wandering around Latin America for the past couple of years birding. He was at Flor de Café to see the spectacular Scarlet-banded Barbet, a bird I was lucky enough to discover in 1996, and it was also the reason we were there: to see it on its 20th anniversary of being found! The day before we arrived, Josh had seen the barbet and continued wandering down a path farther into the forest when he heard a distinctive bird call. He recorded it on his phone and played it back, and in walked an antbird that wasn’t in the book! After enjoying looks, he decided he had to head back to a larger town to request help in sorting the bird out, and what a happy coincidence that we and two other birding friends, LSU grad student Andre Moncrieff (who wrote the first piece linked below) and long-time Peruvian friend Fernando Angulo, happened to show up at that moment! The antbird has now been described to science, and Josh named the species for the venerable ecologist and conservationist Edward O. Wilson (who studies ants, primarily): Myrmoderus eowilsoni, the Cordillera Azul Antbird.”
Guide listings and new tours for 2019
We recently posted the guide listings for each of our 150 departures for 2019 on our website. You can have a look to see where your favorite guides will be traveling via our Tours by Date or Tours by Guide page. Did you know, too, that they will be guiding several new itineraries in 2019? These include New Mexico (Jan), Northeast India (Apr), Britain (May), Idaho (May), Japan in Spring (May), Maine in Fall (Sep), Great Rivers of the Amazon III (Santarem to Tapajos; Nov), Emperor Penguins in the Weddell Sea (Nov), and Holland: Birding & Dutch Masters (Dec).
The superstars behind the scenes — our office staff!
When you travel with us, you get to see first-hand the success of our guides in putting together first-rate experiences for you on Field Guides tours. And the success that our guides (and our groups) enjoy is due in no small part to the hard work of the tour manager and other office staff long before the tour begins. We know we’re not objective, but we think our office staff is exceptional. Don’t just take our word for it, however…below are some recent testimonials from participants on our tours about the team shown above, making it all happen from our Austin base. From left: Tiara Westcott, Peg Wallace, Sharon Mackie, Caroline Lewis, Mandy Mantzel, Karen Turner, Ruth Kuhl, and Peggy Watson (now working on special projects).
“The office support is what sets Field Guides apart from the others. They quickly answer questions whether by email or phone call. You feel someone is taking care of you and watching out for the individual.” J.K., LOUISIANA: YELLOW RAILS & CRAWFISH TAILS 2017
“The services provided by the tour manager and the rest of the Field Guides office staff were excellent. And it is the professional, courteous, informed, responsive, and time-sensitive service I receive from the office staff, as much as the capable efforts of the field staff, that prompt me to return to Field Guides in the future.” J.B., EAST AFRICA HIGHLIGHTS: KENYA & TANZANIA 2017
“I’ve traveled with Field Guides on three other trips. The office staff is a big reason I like Field Guides. It goes back to the people-centered aspect of the company. They are very responsive, patient, and no question is too trivial.” A.H., SLICE OF CALIFORNIA 2017
“Tour manager Caroline Lewis did a great job answering my questions, setting up my flights and the pre-trip day and all the connections to and from the airport for us. Everything went perfectly as designed. It always is a pleasure working with your office staff. Questions are answered quickly and efficiently. That is truly appreciated.” M.S., COLOMBIA: THE LLANOS & MORE 2017
“Tour Manager Ruth Kuhl was fantastic! I must have emailed and called her a zillion times. She was always helpful, even when I called during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.” A.W., GREAT RIVERS OF THE AMAZON 2017
“The Field Guides office staff is undoubtedly the best of any I’ve encountered.” C.C., CHILE 2017
“I feel comfortable on Field Guides tours, knowing that the guides and office staff are especially supportive and that the tours are well planned. This tour was excellent.” E.L., BRAZIL’S MOUTH OF THE AMAZON 2017
Two chances: two guides at the price of one!
As our company grows, we benefit in having as many Field Guides leaders trained in a region as possible, even if we’ll be working with local guides, as we frequently are. To develop that familiarity, we’ll send a second guide on a tour that normally has just one Field Guides leader. In the next few months, we’re doing just that on several tours to some fabulous parts of the birding world. If you are lucky enough to register for one of the open trips shown below, your guide-and-scope-to-participant ratio is cut in half. Check out these tours, with Doug Gochfeld and Megan Edwards Crewe joining Phil Gregory and Richard Webster in Cambodia and Bhutan — two guides, but each group’s limit hasn’t increased!
Our Kingfisher, stats…and two records?
If you’ve traveled with us before, you know we’ve got a lot of bird nicknames in the company. In fact, many of us hardly call each other by anything else most of the time! John Coons is our “Kingfisher,” and we (and many of you) know well that Kingfisher is not only really into birds but also sports trivia and statistics, especially baseball. He likes to check all things numerical, and we’re used to that. However, the actual numbers in a recent email from John were quite amazing…
“I’m in Miami en route to my Panama’s Canopy Camp tour. Checking the participant list on the flight from Phoenix, I saw that my group of eight has a combined 258 Field Guides tours taken or future trips currently booked!” Well, we don’t know if that’s a record for one of our groups (this one certainly wins a loyalty award!), but we’re setting it as the new tally to beat. And what happened once they arrived at the Camp? Well, how about another record in the form of a new species for Central America…our old friend, Russet-throated Puffbird (shown above), a bird that somehow wandered from Colombia (where we see it regularly on tour) to make a surprise appearance for Kingfisher, our group, and Canopy guide Eliecer Rodriguez, for whom it was a lifer. Great group, great bird!
Triplists from recent tours
Click on any image or link below to see our annotated and illustrated online triplist. (And be sure also to see our New Year’s Recent Photos gallery for other great images.) Does that Southern Carmine Bee-eater below with the Namibia & Botswana triplist catch your eye? We have two spaces still open on our Oct 30-Nov 18, 2018 tour (limited to 6) guided by Joe Grosel, who gets rave reviews from our participants.
Private tours: plan your own for 6 or more
Tour openings: January through May
We’re off and birding in 2018! We have a few spaces left on 5 of our Jan/Feb tours should a widespread recent cold snap have you longing to hit the tropics ASAP. Then in March we ease into early spring with a varied array of domestic and foreign tours that will carry us through to the first of our Alaska departures in late May. If you’d like to hold a space, contact our office.
- Costa Rica: Birding the Edges (Part II), Jan 14-23 with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory (3 spaces)
- Jewels of Ecuador I, Jan 20-Feb 6 with Willy Perez (4 spaces)
- The Heart of Chile, Jan 27-Feb 10 with Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros (1 space)
- Cambodia, Feb 10-24 with Phil Gregory & Doug Gochfeld (1 space)
- Borneo I, Feb 27-Mar 16 with Dave Stejskal & local guide (2 spaces)
- Brazil Nutshell, Mar 3-17 with Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros (spaces open)
- Costa Rica, Mar 10-25 with Jay VanderGaast & local guide (1 space)
- Israel Migration Magic, Mar 14-25 with Doug Gochfeld & local guide (1 space)
- Mexico: Oaxaca II, Mar 17-24 with Cory Gregory (spaces open)
- Spring in South Texas II, Mar 17-25 with Tom Johnson (spaces open)
- Jewels of Ecuador II, Mar 17-Apr 3 with Mitch Lysinger (spaces open)
- Western Panama, Mar 18-27 with Jesse Fagan (1 space)
- Ghana, Mar 29-Apr 17 with Phil Gregory (1 space)
- Bahamas: Endemics & Kirtland’s Warbler, Mar 31-Apr 4 with Jesse Fagan (4 spaces)
- Bhutan, Apr 7-26 with Richard Webster & Megan Edwards Crewe (2 spaces)
- Texas Coast Migration Spectacle II, Apr 21-27 with John Coons (2 spaces)
- Texas’ Big Bend & Hill Country, Apr 21-30 with Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory (4 spaces)
- Beyond the Ports of Portugal (Birds & Wine), Apr 24-May 5 with Marcelo Padua (4 spaces)
- Spain, May 5-17 with Chris Benesh & Godfried Schreur (spaces open)
- Classical Greece, May 5-19 with Megan Edwards Crewe (1 space)
- Spring in Cape May, May 13-19 with Tom Johnson & Doug Gochfeld (spaces open)
- Arizona: Birding the Border II, May 19-28 with Dave Stejskal (3 spaces)
- Uganda, May 19-Jun 8 with Jesse Fagan (2 spaces)
- Pennsylvania’s Warblers, May 22-27 with Tom Johnson & Micah Riegner (spaces open)
- Maine in Spring, May 26-Jun 3 with Eric Hynes & Cory Gregory (spaces open)
- Alaska I (Part One), May 31-Jun 8 with Chris Benesh & Doug Gochfeld (3 spaces)
- Central Peruvian Endemics, May 31-Jun 16 with Dan Lane & Dave Stejskal (2 spaces)
Recently posted 2018 itineraries
Click on any image or link below to see the detailed itinerary for the following 2018 tours. Lots of info in these and some great images as well!