• NEWS ARCHIVES


July 2018 emailing

July 31st, 2018 by Field Guides

Hello, birding friends! August is almost upon us, and our annual Field Guides staff meeting is coming up in three weeks…more than thirty of us are looking forward to catching up in person and talking about next year’s plans and beyond. It should be good fun, and we’ll share some pics after the meeting. There’s much to see in this emailing: a fresh July Recent Photos Gallery with more than 100 great images from numerous recent departures (the Pauraque below in South Texas by guide Tom Johnson is just one sample). Also linked below: new and returning tours for 2020, tours with roommate options if you’re traveling solo, cool birding news in the media, videos from Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt and Peru’s Magnetic North, a fresh batch of 14 recent triplists, and 12 updated itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our August-December tours. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you in the field!

Recent tour photos from FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

2020 Tours: New & Returning

Southern Africa Spectacular, Alberta, Southern India

Our Scheduling Committee has been working diligently with guides to finalize the 2020 schedule details. As part of that process, they have been evaluating both new tour ideas and the possibility of bringing back some itineraries we’ve run in the past. Here are some recent additions.

NEW—Southern Africa Spectacular
Guide Joe Grosel, based in South Africa, will be guiding a new Southern Africa Spectacular itinerary in July 2020 that will visit several marquee destinations in three countries, including Kruger National Park in South Africa, Victoria Falls in Zambia, and Chobe National Park in Botswana. We have a preliminary description and some of Joe’s beautiful images on the tour page, with lots more info to come as we work up the official itinerary, checklist, etc. If you would like to hold space on this tour, contact our office.

RETURNING—Canadian Rockies: Alberta
Guide Jay VanderGaast is returning to his stomping grounds as he brings back to our schedule Canadian Rockies: Alberta — a summer itinerary with fabulous western prairie and mountain birding amidst eye-grabbing scenery. Dates are Jun 13-23, 2020.

RETURNING—Southern India
Participants traveling recently with guide Terry Stevenson requested a tour to the endemic-rich southern reaches of India, and Terry’s been missing his travels there…so Southern India: Western Ghats Endemics is back on the calendar! Dates are Nov 1-21, 2020, with numerous geographically sourced bird names on the menu: Malabar Trogon (and M. Gray Hornbill, Pied-Hornbill, Barbet, Parakeet, Lark, Whistling-Thrush, and Starling); Wynaad, Nilgiri, Palani, Ashambu, and Banasura laughingthrushes; Nilgiri Blue-Robin and Flycatcher and Flowerpecker and Pipit; plus another 300 or so species on the list of possibilities. Terry guided this tour in 2016, 2014, and 2012…click to see the triplists.

Traveling solo, need a roommate?

If you are traveling alone and wish to get away in the next few months and would like to share a room in order to avoid single supplement costs, we have several options available for single female or male travelers. (You may also book a single with the single supplement, of course.)

For female travelers, there is one space open with a roommate to share on this tour:

For male travelers, there is one space open with a roommate to share on these tours:

Puerto Rico 2019: It’s on!

Guide Tom Johnson has been keeping in touch with our various contacts on the island, and from a birding standpoint the news is good for both access and the logistics we need for our tour. So we’re heading back (after having to cancel two full tours in 2018 due to the hurricane aftermath). Dates are Mar 17-23, 2019. We’re looking forward not only to seeing a bunch of Puerto Rico endemics but also to visiting our friends down there and giving their businesses a much-needed shot in the arm. Contact our office if you’d like to hold space; you can see the complete 2019 itinerary at this link.

Big Bend: Tom Johnson on the radio

Speaking of Tom, he just appeared in a radio interview on the joys of birding in Big Bend NP in Texas. It’s three minutes long and hosted by Texas Standard, which comes out of KUT, Austin’s Public Radio station. If you have a listen, you’ll get to hear not only Tom but Colima Warbler and Elf Owl, too!

In the news: Cool birding, cool birds

Colombia with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSTwo interesting articles caught our eye recently. The first is one in the New York Times about the Colombian llanos, a region featured in guide Jesse Fagan’s Colombia: The Llanos & More tour, with our next departure scheduled for Nov 11-21, 2018. The llanos are seasonally flooded grassy plains that span parts of Colombia and Venezuela—their version of the pantanal, if you will. Our itinerary visits the very lodge featured in the article about this area rich in birds and history, and the piece is a fun read. At right is a specialty of the region, a Pale-headed Jacamar, by Jesse.

The second piece from The Atlantic is an exciting recounting of the discovery of the nest of a longtime ornithological enigma, Ringed Storm-Petrel. Where? Of all places, out in the middle of the barren Atacama Desert in northern Chile! It took a lot of sleuthing over a number of years, and the article reads like a mystery short story. It’s amazing how many gaps in our bird knowledge remain in this modern age.

And now, in the spirit of stepping outside ourselves for a different perspective, let us point you to another recent article. Any piece that contains the sentence “When dating a birder, everything—from religious beliefs to daily habits—is affected by avifauna.” seems like it must be worth a look. So, with no further ado, we present “A Beginner’s Guide to Dating a Birder” from Outside magazine. No chuckling allowed as you read…

New videos: Rio Roosevelt, Peru

A couple of fun video clips from recent tours below, just click on either image to see the video. First, an exciting run up Brazil’s Rio Roosevelt (the famous River of Doubt) to a morning birding’s destination by participant Jonathan Newman (there will be lots more to see about this wilderness tour soon in the 2018 triplist).

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Next, check out guide Jesse Fagan’s clip from our recent Peru’s Magnetic North tour of a diminutive Ochre-fronted Antpitta doing its body-rocking thing—a characteristic behavior in the genus Grallaricula. Why? Who knows? But it’s fun to watch.

Peru with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

(P.S.: Click the X at top right of the screen after watching a video to get to our recent videos gallery if you’d like to look at some other clips from recent emailings.)

Triplists from 14 recent tours

Click on any image or link below to see our annotated and illustrated online triplist. (And be sure also to see our July Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

GHANA
with Phil Gregory

BHUTAN
with Richard Webster & Megan Edwards Crewe

UGANDA
with Phil Gregory

SPRING IN CAPE MAY
with Tom Johnson & Doug Gochfeld

CLASSICAL GREECE
with Megan Edwards Crewe

ARIZONA’S CANYONS & CONDOR I
with John Coons

BEYOND THE PORTS OF PORTUGAL I
with Marcelo Padua

ARIZONA NIGHTBIRDS & MORE II
with Dave Stejskal

FRANCE’S LOIRE VALLEY: BIRDS, CHATEAUX & WINE I
with Megan Edwards Crewe & Marcelo Padua

SPRING IN SOUTH TEXAS II
with Tom Johnson

ARIZONA’S CANYONS & CONDOR II
with John Coons

COLORADO GROUSE I
with Tom Johnson & Ned Brinkley

POINT PELEE MIGRATION SPECTACLE
with Jay VanderGaast

ARIZONA: BIRDING THE BORDER II
with Dave Stejskal


Private tours for your group or organization

Private groups with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

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. Here’s an example of a Namibia & Botswana tour’s illustrated triplist, with guide Terry Stevenson, and there is one more example from Portugal among the recent triplists above. Just contact our office to start planning your group’s next great birding trip.

A recent 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: August through December

COLOMBIA with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Check our listing below for space still available on select tours from August through December. Included are openings on two distinctive Colombia itineraries with Jesse Fagan in November: our Colombia: Cali Escape tour, from which participant Steve Parrish brought home the lovely Multicolored Tanager image last year, and our Colombia: The Llanos & More tour, to the eastern reaches of this rich country (see one of our lodges featured in the NY Times article linked above). As you can see by the dates, they can be taken back to back, too, if your schedule allows.


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!

GUATEMALA: SHADE-GROWN COFFEE
Feb • Jesse Fagan

SPAIN
May • Chris Benesh & Godfried Schreur

NEW MEXICO: BIRDING THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT
Jan • Doug Gochfeld & Cory Gregory

SOUTH TEXAS RARITIES
Jan • Chris Benesh

COLOMBIA: MEDELLIN ESCAPE
May • Jesse Fagan

GHANA
Mar • Phil Gregory

SPRING IN CAPE MAY
May • Tom Johnson

PUERTO RICO
Mar • Tom Johnson

ARIZONA NIGHTBIRDS & MORE
May • Two departures

ARIZONA: BIRDING THE BORDER
May • Two departures

BHUTAN
Apr • Megan Edwards Crewe

FLORIDA
Apr • Doug Gochfeld

FLORIDA
Apr • Chris Benesh & Dave Stejskal


June 2018 recent tour photos gallery is up!

June 29th, 2018 by Field Guides

We’ve just posted a fresh gallery of more than 100 images contributed by our guides and participants from various recent Field Guides tours, from Uganda and Mongolia across the globe to Panama, Florida, Arizona and more. Have a look for some great armchair birding! Click on this link or the sample image below.


June 2018 emailing

June 26th, 2018 by Field Guides

Hello, birding friends! Summer’s in full bloom, and with it a very busy schedule of Field Guides tours from Arizona and Alaska to Iceland, Norway, Borneo, Peru and many other destinations. There’s much to see in this emailing: a fresh June Recent Photos Gallery with more than 100 great images from a dozen tours (e.g., the Texas Scissor-tailed Flycatcher above by guide Cory Gregory, and the Montezuma Quail below by Arizona participant Jeff Barnum — just a couple of teasers). Also linked below: some very cool bird news, six extensions you can take as standalone tours, tour updates (Honduras & NE Brazil), videos from Florida and Cape May, a fresh batch of 24 recent triplists, and 17 updated itineraries for 2018 and 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our August-November tours. Thanks for checking it all out — we look forward to seeing you in the field.

Recent photos from FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


Tour updates: Honduras, Northeast Brazil (x2)

Honduras: With the unexpected closing of Pico Bonito Lodge earlier this year, an adjustment was in order for our upcoming Holiday in Honduras jaunt in December. Guide Jesse Fagan (yes, that Jesse, co-author of the very field guide you’ll be using!) made the most of the opportunity and has our holiday group staying at two alternate wonderful lodgings, Corinto Pearl Eco-Resort and Panacam Lodge, with a finale at the famed Mayan ruins of Copán. And did you know there’s a special bonus of the itinerary change? The tour checklist has now more than 150 additional species on it with the visits to Panacam/Lake Yojoa and Copan. Dates are Dec 21-29, and you can see the full itinerary here. Should be some fun birding!

Nowhere but Northeast Brazil: Our popular tours to Northeast Brazil have been on the Field Guides schedule for (can we say it?) decades. But 2019 brings something new: we are offering a second departure of the same itinerary, including the post-tour Southern Bahia Extension. Our first departure with Bret Whitney and Marcelo Barreiros is tentatively full. The second tour, Feb 19-Mar 8 with Marcelo Barreiros and a group of 8 participants, has just one space available as of this writing. This second tour will benefit by Marcelo’s having lots of fresh stake-outs from the first tour, and it is also somewhat less expensive, due to lower cost of smaller or fewer vehicles at some of the tour venues, and the fact that we will not need to cover a second guide’s airfare (and caipirinhas, ha!). Final bird lists for the two tours are going to be quite similar, and excellent, of course! You can see the full itinerary here. Contact our office if you’d like to grab that last space. (For just one example of the cool things to be seen on the tour, see this recent piece about the fabulous Araripe Manakin on the All About Birds website.)


Cool bird news: Whimbrels, Tadoussac & more

Whimbrels by guide Doug Gochfeld

If you read our March 2018 emailing, you saw a very cool story map of the migration of a Semipalmated Sandpiper created by our friend Maina Handmaker and colleagues at the conservation organization Manomet. Well, Maina and gang have been at it again, creating a beautiful new story map featuring Whimbrels…in fact, the migration of three different Whimbrels. It’s quite an amazing story, beautifully presented with numerous images, informative text, and some cool video clips. And it illustrates the conservation challenges facing shorebird populations that are dependent on just 3 or 4 key areas for breeding, wintering, and migration stopovers to refuel. Definitely worth a few minutes of your time. (BTW, the photo above is a small part of a large flock guide Doug Gochfeld photographed on our May Spring in Cape May tour…yet another population’s stopover site.)

Never heard of Tadoussac in Canada’s Quebec Province? Well, then, you probably missed the biggest buzz of the spring. View this checklist on ebird for a peek into the flood of northbound birds the rest of us missed that day. Lots of photos, and a couple of cool video clips right below Wilson’s Warbler. Dream on!

Bird evolution buffs will be interested to see this piece on the All About Birds website about the asteroid cataclysm 66 million years ago and its impact on the avian descendants we see now. Thank goodness it’s not all tinamous, tapaculos, and partridge today (no offense to all those wonderful taxa, of course)!

Cassia Crossbill on BNA: There’s a limited-time opportunity to see what the Birds of North America website is all about for free (it’s by subscription otherwise) via the account for the recently split Cassia Crossbill, a species we’ll seek on our 2019 Idaho: Snake River to Sawtooths tour with guides Eric Hynes and Mitch Lysinger. Enjoy the informative account here.


Take an extension as a standalone tour…

Are you going to be in one of the following countries on your own or perhaps (oh no!) on tour with another company and would like to extend your stay? Or do you have very limited time and would like a very targeted birding experience? We have some fun and birdy extensions to upcoming fall tours that might fit the bill. Click the links to get to each tour’s itinerary; scroll down to the extension section for complete information. With the exception of the Canary Islands, each of these has at least two spaces open. Contact our office if you are interested.

Tasmania Extension with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


New videos: Florida, Spring in Cape May

Bridled Terns in Florida with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Black Skimmers at Cape May with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Guide Doug Gochfeld recently created two video compilations, the first (left above) from our 2018 Florida tour he co-led with Mitch Lysinger, the second from our 2018 Spring in Cape May tour co-led with Tom Johnson. Some fun sightings of everything from Bridled Tern and “Great White” Heron to White-rumped Sandpiper and Magnificent Frigatebird.


Triplists from 24 recent tours

Click on any image or link below to see our annotated and illustrated online triplist. (And be sure also to see our June Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA I
with Terry Stevenson

BRAZIL NUTSHELL
with Marcelo Padua

SOUTHEASTERN ECUADOR
with Mitch Lysinger

SOUTHWESTERN ECUADOR
with Willy Perez

JAMAICA I
with Eric Hynes

JAMAICA II
with Tom Johnson

WESTERN PANAMA
with Jesse Fagan

ISRAEL MIGRATION MAGIC
with Doug Gochfeld

TEXAS COAST MIGRATION SPECTACLE I
with John Coons

TEXAS COAST MIGRATION SPECTACLE II
with John Coons

PANAMA’S CANOPY TOWER
with Chris Benesh

PANAMA’S CANOPY LODGE (ext. to CANOPY TOWER)
with Chris Benesh

SPRING IN SOUTH TEXAS I
with Chris Benesh

TEXAS’S BIG BEND & HILL COUNTRY
with Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory

COSTA RICA
with Jay VanderGaast

COLORADO GROUSE II
with Eric Hynes & Doug Gochfeld

BORNEO I
with Dave Stejskal

MAINE IN SPRING
with Eric Hynes & Cory Gregory

HUNGARY & ROMANIA
with Terry Stevenson & Lajos Nemeth-Boka

FLORIDA
with Doug Gochfeld & Mitch Lysinger

PENNSYLVANIA’S WARBLERS & MORE
with Tom Johnson & Micah Riegner

ARIZONA: BIRDING THE BORDER I
with John Coons

SURINAME (a private group)
with Dave Stejskal

PANAMA (a private group)
with John Coons


Private tours for your group or organization

Private groups with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

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. Here’s an example of a Namibia & Botswana tour’s illustrated triplist, with guide Terry Stevenson. Just contact our office to start planning your group’s next great birding trip.

A recent 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: August through November

Chile with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Check our listing below for space still available on select tours from August through November. Included are a few spaces on our upcoming Chile tour with guide Willy Perez—it’s a destination with not only great birding but some pretty spectacular scenery, as you can see in the image above by 2017 participant Bill Byers in Torres del Paine National Park in the far south. There are fabulous mountainscapes from tip to tip!


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!

COSTA RICA: BIRDING THE EDGES
Jan • Tom Johnson

WINTER JAPAN
Jan • Phil Gregory

ALBERTA’S OWLS & MORE
Feb • Jay VanderGaast

NORTHERN INDIA
Jan • Terry Stevenson

NOWHERE BUT NORTHEAST BRAZIL!
Two departures • Jan or Feb

SOUTHEASTERN ECUADOR: ORANGE-THROATED TANAGER & SPECIALTIES
Feb • Mitch Lysinger

JAMAICA
Three departures • Feb, Mar or Nov

BIRDS & WINES OF CHILE AND ARGENTINA
Feb • Marcelo Padua

SOUTHWESTERN ECUADOR
Mar • Willy Perez

SPRING IN SOUTH TEXAS
Mar • Chris Benesh

WESTERN PANAMA
Mar • Jesse Fagan

BRAZIL NUTSHELL
Mar • Marcelo Padua

BELIZE
Mar • Dave Stejskal

MEXICO: OAXACA
Two departures • Mar or Dec

COSTA RICA
Mar • Jay VanderGaast

PANAMA’S CANOPY TOWER & LODGE
Mar • John Coons

TEXAS COAST MIGRATION SPECTACLE
Apr (2 departures) • John Coons


May 2018 emailing

May 17th, 2018 by Field Guides

Hello, all! Where has the last month gone? Our guides and groups have been off to places as familiar as the Texas Coast, Colorado, and Florida, and as far-flung and exotic as Bhutan, Cambodia, and Ghana…with detours to Portugal, Hungary, and India. Spring is rushing to a close! But summer brings Alaska, Kenya, Brazil, Peru, Spitsbergen, Borneo, and myriad other destinations — another great season ahead. In this emailing we have a fresh May Recent Photos Gallery with more than 120 great images from 16 itineraries (from the Bay-headed Tanager above by Panama participant Stan Lilley, to the curious Collared Redstart below by Costa Rica participant Tracey Bauder — just a couple of teasers). Also linked below are a great bird news source, 3 just-opened Manaus (Brazil) spaces, some cool Antarctica tour videos, a fresh batch of 8 recent triplists, and 11 updated itineraries for 2018 and 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our July-October tours. Thanks for checking it all out — we look forward to seeing you in the field.

Recent Photos from FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


Late Manaus openings, cool bird news

First, a quick heads up that we’ve had a few rare, late cancellations on the first departure of our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus, Brazil tour (the second departure is full) with Bret Whitney and Marcelo Barreiros, and there are 3 spaces currently open for this Sep 1-15 departure. If you’re interested in a river-based adventure, check out the itinerary or a 2017 triplist, too (the long opening video gives a great taste of the tour).

On the cool bird news front, if you are not already subscribed, let us suggest you check out The Birding Community E-Bulletin compiled by Paul Baicich and Wayne Petersen. Paul and Wayne do a great job assembling the latest news and updates on everything from endangered species status to rarity sightings to upcoming key legislative moves affecting birds…and more. There’s an archive of past bulletins here, but if you want to be right up to date, go to this link to subscribe. It’s free, and you’ll get the news a week or two before the latest issue gets posted to the archive. Just as an example, the most recent May bulletin has a rarity focus on Marsh Sandpiper, interesting conservation news about Chimney Swifts, a piece about Black-capped Vireo being delisted as an Endangered Species, a Kirtland’s Warbler proposal, some surprising news about three well-known species that might be in much more trouble than we thought (Atlantic Puffin, Snowy Owl, Black-legged Kittiwake), and more. It’s worth a look.

In more bird news, check out this article in Canada’s Globe and Mail about the intersection of Red Knots, tracking technology, climate change, Horseshoe Crabs, and more. If you need a teaser to have a look, here’s an eye-catching line: some Red Knots “have been known to fly farther in their lifetimes than the distance to the moon.”


Some video fun from our Antarctica tour

Antarctica with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Have a look at this gallery of 6 video compilations by guide Bret Whitney from our 2018 Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands tour he co-led with Tom Johnson. You’ll see some spectacular (and humorous) experiences with birds, wildlife, landscapes, and life on board. You can also see the complete annotated triplist at this link.


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 May Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

ALBERTA’S OWLS & MORE
with Jay VanderGaast & John Coons

MEXICO: OAXACA I
with Chris Benesh & Dan Lane

ANTARCTICA
with Bret Whitney & Tom Johnson

THAILAND
with Jay VanderGaast & Uthai Treesucon

PANAMA’S CANOPY TOWER & LODGE
with John Coons

MEXICO: OAXACA II
with Cory Gregory & Jorge Montejo

COLOMBIA: SANTA MARTA ESCAPE
with Richard Webster & Cory Gregory

THE HEART OF CHILE
with Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros


Private tours for your group or organization

Private groups with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

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. Here’s an example of the recent Namibia & Botswana tour’s illustrated triplist, with guide Terry Stevenson. Just contact our office to start planning your group’s next great birding trip.

A recent 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: July through October

France with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Check our listing below for space still available on select tours from July through October. The image above was taken by guide Cory Gregory in the French Pyrenees, looking into Spain. We have two France: Camargue & Pyrenees September departures again this year, with one space still open on our first tour with Megan Edwards Crewe (Sep 1-11), and two open on our second tour, with Jay VanderGaast & Marcelo Padua (Sep 5-15). Great birds, great eats, and great landscapes! If you’re interested, contact our office. You can also have a peek at a 2017 illustrated and annotated triplist here.

Recently posted 2018 & 2019 itineraries

Click on any image or link below to see the detailed itinerary for the following 2018 and 2019 tours. Lots of info in these, and some great images as well!

GUYANA: WILDERNESS PARADISE
Four 2019 departures • Jan – Mar – Nov

AMAZONIAN ECUADOR: SACHA LODGE
Jan or Jun • Willy Perez or Mitch Lysinger

COLOMBIA: LLANOS & MORE
Nov 2018 • Jesse Fagan

THAILAND
Jan • Jay VanderGaast & Uthai Treesucon

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Feb or Dec • Dan Lane or Tom Johnson

JEWELS OF ECUADOR
Jan or Mar • Mitch Lysinger or Willy Perez

COLOMBIA: BOGOTA, MAGDALENA VALLEY & SANTA MARTA
Jan • Jesse Fagan

PANAMA’S CANOPY TOWER
Feb • John Coons

CAMBODIA
Feb • Phil Gregory

COLOMBIA: SANTA MARTA ESCAPE
Feb • Cory Gregory

ANTARCTICA
Feb • Doug Gochfeld


April 2018 emailing

April 19th, 2018 by Field Guides

Greetings, birding friends! It’s full-on spring and we are delighted, with Texas Migration Spectacle, Big Bend, and Colorado Grouse tours wrapping up and ventures farther afield to Bhutan, Ghana, Portugal, and Hungary/Romania also underway. Over the next month we head to Florida, Arizona (6 tours), Northeast India, Point Pelee, and much more — it’s a wonderful and busy season! We have just a few spaces still left on May tours to Cape May, Pennsylvania, and Greece listed below if you have the itch to get out birding pronto. We have a fresh April Recent Photos Gallery with more than 100 great images (including the imposing Stork-billed Kingfisher above by Borneo participant Paul Bisson and those in the collage below of Trinidad Motmot and guides Megan Edwards Crewe and Marcelo Barreiros — hat tip to Marcelo and participant Lynn Hemink). Also linked below are a clarion call piece on insect-eating birds, a note about our upcoming Canary Islands trip, a heads-up about our new 2019 itineraries (and new guide news), a bellbird video, a fresh batch of 18 recent triplists, and 12 updated itineraries for fall 2018 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our May-September tours. Thanks for checking it all out — we look forward to seeing you in the field.

Field Guides Birding Tours

Have you birded the Canary Islands?

Field Guides is going to the Canary Islands! Our first trip to this endemic-rich island group is scheduled for Sep 24-30, 2018, as a standalone or an extension to our Morocco tour. Our itinerary includes visits to four important islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura) for targeting those island endemics, which include Bolle’s and Laurel pigeons, Blue Chaffinch, Canary Islands Chiffchaff, and Fuerteventura Stonechat. We’ll also see several near-endemics (e.g., Plain Swift, Berthelot’s Pipit, and Canary), all of which are found only on the Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Azores, as well as some interesting subspecies (Houbara Bustard, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Eurasian Blue Tit, and Goldcrest, among many others). A few spaces are still available, so contact Tour Manager Sharon Mackie and get signed up! A bonus of taking this trip will be the chance to travel with our expert European guide, Godfried Schreur, who lives in Spain, and our “Motmot” (guide Jesse Fagan). You can check out a description of our route in the extension section of our Morocco itinerary (see pages 2 and 7). The tour fee for the Canary Islands as a standalone is $2450 from Tenerife.

The Canary Islands are volcanic in origin and feature some impressive landscapes. Below is a scene from the slopes of the Teide volcano on Tenerife by guide Godfried Schreur.

Canary Island with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Bird news: aerial insectivores, Red Warbler

Have you noticed a decline in aerial insectivore birds where you live…species such as Whip-poor-wills, Common Nighthawks, the various swallows? Certainly that’s been the sobering case for some parts of the U.S. and Canada. A recent article in the magazine Anthropocene reports on some creative sleuthing on the history and likely reasons for these declines.

On a brighter note, guide Dave Stejskal got some nice press recently when he helped document a Red Warbler that had been found on Tucson’s Mt Lemmon…an apparent first record for the US! Check out this article, which includes a fine image of the bird by Dave.


New Field Guides luggage tags

FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSWe’ve got some eye-catching new luggage tags with a beautiful image of a male Torrent Duck by participant Bob Speare. These are going out now with tour packets to participants on upcoming tours — they should serve well both to beautify your luggage and as a conversation piece with others at the airport luggage carousel!
And where can you see Torrent Ducks? These birds are specialists of fast-moving rivers and streams in the Andes of South America, and we encounter them on many of our itineraries from Colombia and Ecuador south through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. These birds, and even their small young, are amazingly powerful swimmers in the turbulent waters they frequent.

Some video fun from recent tours

Trinidad with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSCheck out this short video by guide Megan Edwards Crewe of a calling Bearded Bellbird from a recent Trinidad & Tobago tour. Our ears can only hear part of the frequency range of his loud anvil call, but there’s no mistaking those shaking wattles! We hear and see this iconic species right on the grounds of the Asa Wright Nature Centre during our visits.

2019 schedule: new tours

There is a great deal of interest in many of our 2019 tours, especially the new offerings. The Birds of Britain, Idaho, Japan in Spring, and Emperor Penguins in the Weddell Sea tours are all provisionally full. We encourage you to waitlist if you are interested, however, as those itineraries are not yet out and we generally have folks drop off when a deposit is required with itinerary release.

New 2019 offerings with spots still open are:

New Mexico, Jan 26-Feb 1, with Doug Gochfeld & Cory Gregory
Brazil: Minas Gerais & Tocantins — Blue-eyed Ground-Dove and Beyond, May 25-Jun 9, with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros (tour page just added)
Brazil: Roraima Adventure, Jul 23-Aug 3, with Micah Riegner (tour page just added)
Maine in Fall: Seabirds & Coastal Migrants, Sep 9-17, with Eric Hynes
Holland: Birds & Art — Waterfowl Spectacle & Dutch Masters, Dec 1-8, with Godfried Schreur & Jay VanderGaast(a description of the tour just added to tour page)

You’ll note above, too, the names of new guides Marcelo Barreiros and Micah Riegner. Marcelo is a young Brazilian who has been working with us over the past few years in Brazil as well as in Guyana and Trinidad on tours with Bret Whitney, the “Manakin” (Marcelo Padua), Dave Stejskal, and Megan Edwards Crewe. Micah is based in Arizona but has spent considerable time in recent years in the Brazilian Amazon as well as elsewhere in the Neotropics; he’s been working on tours with Bret, John Coons, and Tom Johnson. Both Marcelo and Micah are ace birders, of course, but just as important, each is a generous guide with a ready laugh — a Field Guides kind of guide. We’ve just added a guide bio page for each on our website: check out Marcelo’s page and Micah’s page. We think you’ll enjoy traveling with them as much as we do!

Our tried and true 2019 departures are also filling, so reserve your spaces early!


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 April Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

AMAZONIAN ECUADOR: SACHA LODGE
with Willy Perez

JEWELS OF ECUADOR
with Willy Perez

GREAT RIVERS OF THE AMAZON I
with Bret Whitney & Tom Johnson

EAST AFRICA HIGHLIGHTS
with Terry Stevenson

SAFARI BRAZIL
with Marcelo Padua & Willy Perez

ECUADOR’S WILDSUMACO LODGE
with Willy Perez

SOUTH TEXAS RARITIES
with Chris Benesh

SOUTH TEXAS (Maine Audubon)
with Doug Gochfeld & Doug Hitchcox

COLOMBIA
with Jesse Fagan

COLOMBIA: MEDELLIN ESCAPE
with Richard Webster

GUYANA WILDERNESS PARADISE I
with Dave Stejskal & Marcelo Barreiros

WINTER JAPAN
with Phil Gregory & Jun Matsui

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO I
with Megan Edwards Crewe & Marcelo Barreiros

PANAMA’S CANOPY LODGE
with Chris Benesh

COSTA RICA: BIRDING THE EDGES (Part II)
with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory

GUYANA WILDERNESS PARADISE II
with Megan Edwards Crewe

BELIZE: TROPICAL BIRDING SHORT & SWEET
with Megan Edwards Crewe

CAMBODIA
with Phil Gregory & Doug Gochfeld


Private tours for your group or organization

Private groups with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

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. Here’s an example of the recent Namibia & Botswana tour’s illustrated triplist, with guide Terry Stevenson. Just contact our office to start planning your group’s next great birding trip.

A recent 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: May through September

FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
There are still a few spots open on May and June tours if you are free to travel in the next couple of months. Or if July is your sweet spot for summer birding travel, why not consider one of our Jaguar Spotting: The Pantanal & More tours? The fabulous big cats are a high probability, but the birds aren’t just a sideshow — there’s everything from Hyacinth and Golden-collared macaws to “dot-on-the-map” Cone-billed Tanagers and Amazonian specialties such as Gould’s Toucanet and Black-girdled Barbet, among the 330-350+ species we should see. Marcelo Padua and John Coons team up to guide the Jul 9-20 departure and Marcelo Barreiros and Jesse Fagan follow Jul 21-Aug 1. There are spaces open on each tour as of this writing. If you’re interested, contact our office. You can also have a peek at our 2017 illustrated and annotated triplist here.

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!

SOUTHERN ARGENTINA
Oct-Nov • Dave Stejskal & Tom Johnson

VIETNAM
Nov-Dec • Dave Stejskal & Doug Gochfeld

ECUADOR’S DEEP NW LOWLANDS
Sep-Oct • Willy Perez

SPECTACULAR SOUTHEAST BRAZIL
Oct-Nov • Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros

MADAGASCAR
Nov • Phil Gregory

HOLIDAY COSTA RICA I & II
Dec • Cory Gregory or Megan Edwards Crewe

ARIZONA WINTER SPECIALTIES
Dec • Dave Stejskal

COLOMBIA: CALI ESCAPE
Nov • Jesse Fagan

PANAMA’S CANOPY LODGE
Dec-Jan • Chris Benesh

CHILE
Nov • Willy Perez

PANAMA’S CANOPY CAMP
Dec • John Coons

ECUADOR’S WILDSUMACO LODGE
Dec • Willy Perez


Late March and April single spaces on Ghana, Colorado Grouse, Hungary, and Greece

March 15th, 2018 by Field Guides

Traveling by yourself and want to go birding in the next month? We have four diverse options for you on everything from our Ghana tour (Mar 29-Apr 17 with Phil Gregory) for White-necked Rockfowl and other highlights, to Colorado Grouse I (Apr 5-15 with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory) for fabulous displaying prairie-chickens, sage-grouse, and more, to our springtime Hungary & Romania (Apr 21-May 7 with Terry Stevenson & Lajos Nemeth-Boka) or Classical Greece (May 5-19 with Megan Edwards Crewe) tours combining great birding against fascinating cultural and landscape backdrops. Contact our office for more details and to check possibilities for a possible roommate if that is your preference.

Watching the interactions of Greater Prairie-Chickens at a lek is a highlight of our Colorado Grouse tours. Photo by guide Cory Gregory.


March 2018 emailing

March 8th, 2018 by Field Guides

Greetings, birding friends! March brings the first of spring in our schedule. In addition to our tropical tours this month from Belize, Brazil, Hawaii, and Jamaica to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Ghana, we are heading out on two Spring in South Texas departures to observe the early push of northbound birds. We have two spaces still open on the Mar 17-25 trip if you want to catch that early wave with guide Tom Johnson. Links in this month’s emailing include our March Recent Photos Gallery with more than 95 great images (including a Costa Rica birding dawn below by guide Cory Gregory). Also linked below are a fabulous “story map” about shorebird migration, some fun recent videos from tours, a cool Gray Jay tale, a fresh batch of 14 recently completed triplists, fully annotated and illustrated, and 12 updated itineraries for fall 2018 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our late March-August tours. Thanks for checking it all out — we’ll see you in the field!

Bird news: a cool migration “story map”

Do you enjoy compelling visual storytelling? Then check out the cool story map of the long-distance migration of a Semipalmated Sandpiper linked below. Here’s a little background. Assembled by the conservation organization Manomet and our friend Maina Handmaker who works there, it features some lovely images and video clips along with informative captioning. Move through the image panels on a laptop by swiping up or down, or on a desktop computer by using the scroll button on your mouse or your up and down arrow keys. The second image panel gives you some alternate language choices…but move down past that to continue in English.

What’s so cool about it? Well, the visuals alone are pretty neat. But it also tells the story of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN or “wiz-ern” as they say), a joint conservation effort spearheaded by Manomet involving more than 35 million acres of shorebird habitat across 15 countries. The tie-in for us? WHSRN’s efforts directly support our ability to enjoy shorebirding as part of so many of our North American and Neotropical tours, from Cape May and the Texas Coast to San Francisco Bay, Nova Scotia, and the coasts of Colombia, Peru, and Brazil.

Click here to view the story map.

We are going to be adding a link to WHSRN efforts to our tour pages to which they most apply. If you want more information or wish to participate in supporting those efforts, you may do so through this donation page.


Added departures: Oregon II & Cape May II

We’ve added two US departures to our Aug-Sep 2018 schedule, as our original first offerings for each tour are fully booked and waitlisted. Contact our office to hold space on either of these trips.

Oregon II: Coast to Cascades
Aug 29-Sep 8 with Cory Gregory

Oregon is our exciting new offering developed by Cory for specialties of the Pacific Northwest as we explore the beautiful coast and Cascade Mountains, and we’ll be visiting famed sites such as Malheur NWR and scenic Crater Lake.

Cape May Megan’s Way II
Sep 30-Oct 6 with Megan Edwards Crewe

Cape May Megan’s Way is our long-popular tour to a fabulous migration hotspot, and with Megan’s guidance and her inside knowledge of the area we’ll see a terrific variety of migrants and phenomena.


Some video fun from recent tours

Check out these three short videos from recent Field Guides tours, one by guide Doug Gochfeld of highlights from a South Texas tour we did in partnership with Maine Audubon, a second by guide Tom Johnson of a huge coming-to-roost flight of Yellow-headed Blackbirds on his Arizona Winter Specialties tour, and the third by guide Bret Whitney of some cool birds from his recent Guyana tour. All feature in the respective tour triplists.


More bird news: Gray Jays

An interesting piece about Gray Jays from Living Bird also caught our eye this month. This well-illustrated and info-rich example of great sleuthing covers the birds’ unusual behavior of food-caching for the nesting season and the negative effects a warming climate appears to be having on their success in raising young. It’s worth a read.

If you join us on a tour to Alaska, Maine in Spring (where this image by guide Eric Hynes is from), Newfoundland & Nova Scotia, Owlberta, Colorado Grouse, Oregon, or New Mexico, watch for these birds and ponder their hardiness, amazing sense of location, and distinctive reproductive strategy.


Triplists from recent tours

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
with Megan Edwards Crewe

BRAZIL: SERRA DOS TUCANOS
with Marcelo Padua

HOLIDAY COSTA RICA I
with Jay VanderGaast

ARIZONA WINTER SPECIALTIES
with Tom Johnson

HOLIDAY COSTA RICA II
with Jesse Fagan

CHRISTMAS IN OAXACA, MEXICO
with Dan Lane & Doug Gochfeld

AUSTRALIA PART TWO
with John Coons & Tom Johnson

CHILE
with Willy Perez & Megan Edwards Crewe

VIETNAM
with Dave Stejskal

HOLIDAY AT SAN ISIDRO, ECUADOR
with Mitch Lysinger

WESTERN PANAMA III
with Jesse Fagan

PANAMA’S CANOPY CAMP
with John Coons

COSTA RICA: EDGES (Part I)
with Jesse Fagan

GUYANA: WILDERNESS PARADISE
with Bret Whitney


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 a trip for your local birding club or Audubon? We regularly put together private departures for groups of 6 or more (recent examples include South Texas, Panama, Guyana, Colombia, Namibia/Botswana), and they are invariably a big hit. Here’s an example of the recent Namibia & Botswana tour’s illustrated triplist, with guide Terry Stevenson at the helm. You can start planning your group’s next great birding trip — just contact our office.

For another example, check out guide Doug Gochfeld’s compilation of some of the highlights from a recent South Texas tour with Maine Audubon.


What? Hot showers and macaws?!

Have you heard? Things just got a whole lot more comfortable at TRC, which we visit on our Peruvian Rainforests of the Tambopata tour. TRC stands for Tambopata Research Center, an incredible wildlife destination located along the Tambopata River in wild southeastern Peru. Originally designed in 1989 to study and protect the ccollpa de guacamayos, or macaw clay lick, TRC now also functions as an ecolodge. The site is situated within the immense 3.7 million-acre Tambopata Nature Reserve, which in turn is part of a larger system of protected areas in the Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. This is a huge expanse of forests and rivers, one filled with lots of birds and mammals. The area protects more than 600 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, and 1000+ species of butterflies! It also protects a way of life and culture for the indigenous Ese-eja people.

TRC is one of three impressive birding locations we visit on our Peruvian Rainforests tour, aptly subtitled Macaw Lick Extraordinaire. In 2017, TRC received a much-welcomed remodeling plus the addition of several new cabins with four room types to choose from. It is now possible to sleep in modern comfort, all the while enjoying the sounds of the Amazonian night. TRC also added more than 300 meters of new elevated walkways within the forest, along with a canopy tower, more forest trails, and two parrot clay licks, which makes this is a birder’s paradise.

There are spaces still available on this year’s departure, Aug 6-16. Consider joining me for jaguar spotting, a macaw frenzy, a long bird list, and some tangy pisco sours. I can’t wait to share the experiences with you! –Jesse Fagan, aka Motmot, in Peru


Tour openings: late March through August

Winter is waning across even the northern states and the first whiff of spring is in the air. That means it’ll soon be time for the fantastic show of returning warblers and other northbound migrants. Our upcoming Pennsylvania’s Warblers & More tour hits all the highlights, with up to 30 species of warbler beauties possible, both residents and migrants (how about Cerulean, Worm-eating, Prothonotary, Blackpoll, and the lovely Blackburnian above?), and a wonderful array of other much-wanted species, from Upland Sandpiper and Ruffed Grouse to Eastern Whip-poor-will, Grasshopper and Henslow’s sparrows, and Bobolink.

You can join Tom and Micah on this 6-day Eastern extravaganza May 22-27 — there are still 2 spaces open as of this writing. If you’re interested, contact our office. You can also have a peek at our 2017 illustrated and annotated triplist here.


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!

NEW GUINEA & AUSTRALIA
Oct • Jay VanderGaast

BRAZIL: SERRA DOS TUCANOS
Nov • Marcelo Padua

BRAZIL’S CRISTALINO LODGE
Nov • Marcelo Padua

AUSTRALIA (Parts One & Two)
Oct-Nov • Four guides

ECUADOR: HOLIDAY AT SAN ISIDRO
Nov • Mitch Lysinger

CAPE MAY MEGAN’S WAY II
Sep/Oct • Megan Edwards Crewe

BOLIVIA’S AVIAN RICHES
Sep • Dan Lane

LOUISIANA: YELLOW RAILS
Nov • Dan Lane

MEXICO: YUCATAN AND COZUMEL
Nov • Chris Benesh

IRELAND: BIRDS. MUSIC, PUBS
Nov • Terry & Karen McEneaney

MOROCCO
Sep • Jesse Fagan

NORTHERN PERU: ENDEMICS GALORE
Oct • Dan Lane


February 2018 emailing

February 1st, 2018 by Field Guides

What an exciting start to 2018! We’ve enjoyed multiple departures to Costa Rica, Texas, Guyana, and Ecuador, plus tours to Colombia, Kenya & Tanzania, and Thailand, and our late-January groups to Japan, Chile, Suriname, and Antarctica are on their way. Below, in two of more than 80 great images featured in our February Recent Photos Gallery, are guide Jay VanderGaast at right doing bellhop duty on his recent New Guinea & Australia tour, and guide Dave Stejskal and participant Jenny Golden enjoying some birding from a skiff in Vietnam. Scroll down to see 8 recently completed triplists, fully annotated and illustrated. You’ll also find 14 updated itineraries for summer and fall 2018 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our March-July tours and links to articles on fire-spreading birds of prey (!) and Turkey Vultures. Thanks for checking it all out — we’ll see you in the field!

Recent photos from FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


Raptors in northern Australia spreading wildfire

A recent article published in the Journal of Ethnobiology by an international group of researchers describes fascinating behavior by Black Kites (one pictured below in an image by guide Eric Hynes), Brown Falcons, and Whistling Kites across a wide swath of northern Australia. The article requires a subscription, but you can read a good summary here. These “fire-foraging” raptors pick up and relocate burning sticks with their feet or beak, thereby spreading wildfire and presumably enhancing their chances of flushing prey. Based on ancient artwork by Aboriginal people, this behavior has long been known to locals. A controlled study is planned in May to try to observe and film the behavior.

Black Kite by Eric Hynes


A May highlight: Uganda with Jesse Fagan

Pictured above are just two of many reasons to join our upcoming Uganda tour, May 19-Jun 8: Shoebill, aka “Whale-headed Stork” (here in a photo by participant Rachel Hopper), and guide Jesse Fagan, fondly known at Field Guides as our “Motmot.” The immense Shoebill is one of the most bizarre birds in the world, assigned to a family all its own, Balaenicipitidae. Jesse, of course, is pretty tall himself, but more important and in the words of a participant on a recent Peru tour, “Jesse is an outstanding leader and he made every single event memorable. Not only that, he is personable and engaging with all members of the group, the driver, and the local guide. He has an instant rapport with the service representatives at the hotels and venues that are used. He is truly an asset to Field Guides.” We couldn’t agree more!

Of course a bird tour to Uganda involves so much more than Shoebills. There are numerous Rift endemics and specialties, and in addition to all the fabulous birds, we’ll attempt to see Mountain Gorillas — one of the most unforgettable wildlife experiences on the planet. The wonderful photo below by guide Phil Gregory comes from a slideshow of past tour highlights. There are still two spaces left for Jesse’s small group of 9, so if you are interested in more details about our May departure check out the itinerary or contact our office.

Uganda with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Teddy’s presidential patch list

Wood Thrush by guide Eric HynesOur 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, was a champion of conservation and a well-known naturalist, but did you know he kept a bird list during his time at the White House from 1901 to 1909? When queried by an author working on a bird book of the region, Teddy produced an impressive list of 93 species. Now someone has entered that list into eBird. There’s a short blog post here, and the complete eBird list here. His notes referenced Wood Thrush as nesting on the property. Today, Teddy would probably be spearheading an effort to bring back this species from its long decline, explained here.

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 February Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

MADAGASCAR
with Phil Gregory & Doug Gochfeld

PERU: TAMBOPATA RAINFORESTS
with Dave Stejskal

BRAZIL’S REMOTE RIO TAPAJOS
with Bret Whitney

ECUADOR’S SHIRIPUNO LODGE
with Mitch Lysinger

NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA
with Terry Stevenson

NEW GUINEA & AUSTRALIA II
with Jay VanderGaast

NEW GUINEA & AUSTRALIA I
with Jay VanderGaast

AUSTRALIA PART ONE
with Chris Benesh & Jesse Fagan


Private tours: plan your own for 6 or more

Want to organize your own tour with a group of special birding friends and one of our staff guides? We regularly put together private departures for groups of 6 or more (recent examples include Panama, Guyana, Colombia, and Namibia/Botswana), and they are invariably a big hit. Here’s an example of an illustrated triplist from one such 2017 tour, a wonderful Thailand survey with guides Dave Stejskal and John Rowlett. You can start planning your group’s next great birding trip — just contact our office.


Tour openings: March through July

Eleuthera Island, Bahamas, by Jesse Fagan

January has been a blast, and we have more birding fun ahead over the next few months. The gorgeous setting above is Eleuthera Island, photographed by Jesse Fagan on a previous Bahamas: Endemics & Kirtland’s Warbler tour. Jesse notes:

“The Bahamas were largely spared the wrath of several large hurricanes that passed through the Caribbean this past season. I’ve been in touch with one hotel owner, Floyd, who told me that Eleuthera received little impact: ‘We lost a few shingles.’ So, if you are looking for a fun, short spring tour, then there isn’t a better trip. We visit three of the most interesting islands (and least populated) in the Bahamas: Abaco, Andros, and Eleuthera. Targets include five Bahamian endemics, a few regional endemics, and, yes, Kirtland’s Warbler on its wintering grounds! Short and sweet. I hope to see you there.”

So you can still join Jesse Mar 31-Apr 4 for a spring break from winter. If that doesn’t work for your schedule, we have a host of other tours in the upcoming months, with more than 20 still open, listed below. If you’re interested, contact our office.


The nose knows: Turkey Vulture discovery

Turkey Vultures probably show up on more Field Guides checklists than any other bird in the Western Hemisphere. This is the world’s most widespread vulture, and the latest research puts some hard data behind how TVs manage to be more successful than other vultures in some habitats. It has long been accepted that TVs are scent-guided foragers, and we see this when they are soaring lower than other vulture species and circling an area. They also manage to discover carcasses in closed-canopy environments. Their brains have enlarged olfactory bulbs, four times larger than those of the sympatric Black Vulture, and relative to brain size larger than those of any other bird. This latest research discovered that the number of mitral cells (responsible for transmitting scent signals to the brain) is much higher, too. For a creature with no “nose,” a TV sure can smell!

Turkey Vulture by guide Eric Hynes


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!

BRAZIL: JAGUAR SPOTTING I & II
with Marcelo Padua & John Coons (I) or Marcelo Barreiros & Jesse Fagan (II)

RIO NEGRO PARADISE, BRAZIL I & II
with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros

SLICE OF CALIFORNIA I
with Chris Benesh

SLICE OF CALIFORNIA II
with Tom Johnson

ECUADOR’S SHIRIPUNO LODGE
with Mitch Lysinger

NEW ZEALAND
with Dan Lane & local guide

ETHIOPIA
with Terry Stevenson

BRAZIL’S MOUTH OF THE AMAZON
with Marcelo Padua & Jay VanderGaast

NORTHWESTERN ARGENTINA
with Willy Perez

SAFARI BRAZIL: THE PANTANAL & MORE
with Marcelo Barreiros & Dave Stejskal


New Year 2018 emailing

January 4th, 2018 by Field Guides

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!

Field Guides Birding Tours Alaska group

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

Cordillera Azul AntbirdWith 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.”

Visit the LSU site to see a more detailed description of the discovery, or read the original paper describing the species to science in The Auk.

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!

Cambodia with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
CAMBODIA • Feb 10-24
Phil Gregory & Doug Gochfeld

BHUTAN • Apr 7-26
Richard Webster & Megan Crewe

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.

Namibia & Botswana with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA
with Terry Stevenson


BRAZIL: JAGUAR SPOTTING
with Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros

Jamaica with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
JAMAICA III
with Jesse Fagan

Alaska Fall Goldmine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
ALASKA FALL GOLDMINE
with Tom Johnson

Colombia with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
COLOMBIA: LLANOS & MORE
with Jesse Fagan

California with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
CALIFORNIA: SEABIRDS TO SIERRA I
with Chris Benesh

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
BRAZIL: RIO NEGRO PARADISE II
with Bret Whitney & Dan Lane

Calfornia with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
CALIFORNIA: SEABIRDS TO SIERRA II
with Tom Johnson

Colombia with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
COLOMBIA: CALI ESCAPE
with Richard Webster

Mexico with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
MEXICO: YUCATAN & COZUMEL
with Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory

Private tours: plan your own for 6 or more

Want to organize your own tour with a group of special birding friends and one of our staff guides? We regularly put together private departures for groups of 6 or more (recent examples include Panama, Guyana, Colombia, and Namibia/Botswana), and they are invariably a big hit. Here’s an example of an illustrated triplist from one such tour this year, a wonderful Thailand survey with guides Dave Stejskal and John Rowlett. You can start planning your group’s next great birding trip — just contact our office.

Tour openings: January through May

Borneo with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

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.

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!

Texas with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
SPRING IN SOUTH TEXAS II • March
Tom Johnson

Mexico with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
MEXICO: OAXACA II • March
Cory Gregory

Papua New Guinea with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
PAPUA NEW GUINEA • July
Jay VanderGaast & Doug Gochfeld

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
BRAZIL: ALTA FLORESTA & PANTANAL
June • Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros

Oregon with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
OREGON • September
Cory Gregory

Peru with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS
PERU: TAMBOPATA RAINFORESTS
August • Jesse Fagan


Added March departures: Oaxaca II & Spring in South Texas II

December 4th, 2017 by Field Guides

With our original 2018 departures of each tour fully booked, we’ve added second departures with two great guides, Cory Gregory and Tom Johnson. Here are the details:

Mexico: Oaxaca IIMar 17-24 with Cory Gregory & local guide (see the itinerary)

Spring in South Texas IIMar 17-25 with Tom Johnson (see the itinerary)

Both tours are still open, so contact our office if you would like to hold a space for a March birding getaway…there should be lots of birding fun on either tour.

Below are a few highlight images from our 2017 tours to Oaxaca and South Texas for you to enjoy.


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