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February 2019 newsletter

March 5th, 2019 by Field Guides

Our February 2019 newsletter is making its way to the mailboxes of everyone on our mailing list. It features a look forward in our schedule, an update on 10 of our staff guides, and recent images from 23 of our recent tours in our Fresh From the Field section. You may also now see it online at this link.

Enjoy the new issue!

Interested in our past issues? See our Newsletter Archive.


February 2019 emailing

February 27th, 2019 by Field Guides

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!

Chenonceau, one of the chateaux on our June Birds & Wine route in France
Birding in the Pyrenees, a major focus on our September France itinerary

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:


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

Guianan Cock-of-the-rock in northern Brazil…click for guide Marcelo Barreiros’s video.
Musician Wren in northern Brazil….clcik for guide Bret Whitney’s clip.

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.

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!


January 2019 emailing

January 29th, 2019 by Field Guides

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!


Feb-Mar tours: one or two spaces for winter owls, Brazil, Mexico, Bahamas, Guyana, more

January 17th, 2019 by Field Guides

There is still some limited availability on our diverse schedule of thirty February-March Field Guides tours. Twenty of these are fully booked, but if you’re itching to get away birding somewhere exciting with our great guides, our Austin office can quickly help you make plans for any of the ten tours listed below, including assisting with your air travel. To get you started, here’s a cool image of a Great Gray Owl by 2018 Owlberta participant Don Taves…there are more fun pics below the listings, one for each tour!

Great Gray Owl by Owlberta participant Don Taves

Single spaces on:
Guatemala: Shade-grown birding, Feb 9 with Jesse Fagan
Owlberta: Alberta’s Owls & More, Feb 16 with Jay VanderGaast & Dan Arndt
Nowhere but Northeast Brazil II, Feb 19 with Marcelo Barreiros
Mexico: Oaxaca, Mar 9 with Dan Lane & Cory Gregory
Jewels of Ecuador II, Mar 16 with Willy Perez
Bahamas: Endemics & Kirtland’s Warbler, Mar 23 with Jesse Fagan

And two or more spaces on:
Cambodia, Feb 9 with Phil Gregory
Brazil Nutshell: Intervales, Iguazu Falls & Pantanal, Mar 9 with Marcelo Padua (2 open)
Costa Rica, Mar 16 with Jay VanderGaast
Guyana III, Mar 30 with Marcelo Barreiros (2 open)

Fulvous Owl by Guatemala participant Carla Bregman
Hooded Visorbearer by Nowhere by Northeast Brazil guide Marcelo Barreiros
Russet-crowned Motmot by Oaxaca guide Cory Gregory
There’s some fabulous Andean scenery along our Jewels of Ecuador route, as here in Cajas NP by participant Elena Laborde
Great Lizard-Cuckoo in the Bahamas is an impressive beast. Guide Jesse Fagan caught this one giving our group a good once-over.
In addition to some very cool birds, there are some rather stony-faced demons and such to be found along our Cambodia route. Photo by guide Doug Gochfeld.
Yellow-fronted Woodpecker is but one of the dozens of snazzy Atlantic Forest endemics we’ll see on Nutshell Brazil. Photo by 2018 participant Lois Wood.
Costa Rica participant Tracy Bauder captured this delightful Collared Redstart.
Not too shabby a place to go birding—we think Guyana participant Jan Shaw at Kaiteur Falls might agree! Photo by guide John Coons.

New Year 2019 emailing

January 4th, 2019 by Field Guides

Happy New Year, birding friends! We hope your holidays have been filled with family and friends and some great birding, too! We have six holiday 2018 tours still wrapping up, from Panama, Trinidad, and Arizona to Costa Rica and Ecuador. And in the next few days, of course, it’s time to launch right into 2019 with our more than 150 advertised tours plus our private groups. We have lots to see in all the links below, including recent bird news, our upcoming tours to Iceland and Hungary & Romania, a cool Swainson’s Hawk video from one of our Colombia tours, a new-tours update, comments from our participants, a fresh December Recent Photos Gallery with 100+ great images from recent trips (our Chile group amidst a swarm of birds along the coast is one teaser from the gallery). Also linked below: a fresh batch of 10 recent triplists and 8 recently posted itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our January-April tours. We look forward to seeing you in the field!

FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS recent photos

Think summer: Iceland II awaits…

We know…it’s not exactly the best time of year to be pushing a tour to Iceland as most of us are wearing coats and our new Christmas scarves! However, our original 2019 Iceland tour, Jun 14-23, has just seen its last space filled…so on to a second departure!

Anticipating additional demand for this great destination, we have reservations for a second tour ready to pull off the shelf! Demand for services such as hotels and buses is high in the summer months, and we won’t be able to hold those reservations for too much longer, so if Iceland is on your radar now is the time to act. Guide Godfried Schreur will stay over after the first tour to lead this second departure, Jun 23-Jul 2.

Amidst Iceland’s stunning volcanic landscape we’ll search for Black-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Northern Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Harlequin Duck, Pink-footed Goose, White-tailed Eagle (as in participant Judith Dunn’s image at right), and many more species in their breeding plumage or even with young. We will visit Latrabjarg, a huge cliff-nesting seabird colony with the greatest concentration of Razorbills in the world (alongside Atlantic Puffins and Thick-billed and Common murres). And with a bit of luck we should see the largest falcon of the world, the glorious Gyrfalcon. Here’s your opportunity to join us in magical Iceland this summer — contact our office to hold space.


Recent bird news of note

Three recent pieces caught our eye:

  • First up, an article in Audubon magazine about one of Africa’s iconic birds, the Shoebill, and the efforts to help conserve the species via cooperation between local fishing communities and a conservation non-profit.
  • Second, a post on the All About Birds site about the continuing development and evolution of detailed, animated eBird maps revealing not only range but also abundance and population trends.
  • Last, if you’re as jazzed about birds-of-paradise as we are, check out this piece in the Cornell Chronicle about what drives the males’ amazing displays and dances. There are some cool pics and video clips to enjoy along with the text.

Hungary & Romania: Apr 27-May 13

If you want a great excuse for some of finest spring birding in the whole of Europe, guide Terry Stevenson (r.) has a suggestion: his upcoming Apr 27-May 13 Hungary & Romania tour with co-leader and local expert Lajos Nemeth-Boka. From the Danube Delta to the Carpathian Mountains, Dracula’s Castle, and Transylvania, it should be another great Field Guides trip to the region, with lots of waterfowl and waders, Wallcreeper, Western Capercaillie, European Roller, Imperial Eagle, Saker Falcon, Great Bustard, and many more to be sought along the way. And there will be some rich cultural stops as well, plus an option to add day-tours to Budapest and Bucharest if you wish. Read more about this tour in an illustrated post just up on our news page. There is still some space available.


Video: Swainson’s Hawks on the move

Jesse Fagan and his recent tour group completed a fun run of our Colombia: Cali Escape tour itinerary. A highlight along the way was watching a movement of 8000+ Swainson’s Hawks over the high Andes. Click on the image at right for a short peek at the phenomenon in a video clip by Jesse and an image by participant Chris S. Wood for a sense of this wonderful experience!


New tours update: 2019-2020

We have numerous new and returning itineraries on our 2019-2020 schedule, and here’s a quick update. Our new tours typically fill very quickly once announced, but we do have a few spaces on the following three for 2019: Idaho: Snake River to Sawtooths in May with Eric Hynes & Mitch Lysinger; Brazil: Roraima Adventure in October with Micah Riegner & Tom Johnson; and New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands cruise in November with Doug Gochfeld. Our 2020 Succinct Suriname, Taiwan, Central Mexico & Baja: Birds, Butterflies & Whales (*), Southern Africa Spectacular, and South Africa: Birds, Wines & Wildflowers are tentatively full but have waitlists available, while 2020’s Michigan: Great Lakes Grandeur and Canadian Rockies: Alberta have one or more spaces. (* Have a peek at guide Micah Riegner’s video clip of the endemic Black-chested Sparrow for one of the neat endemics from the Central Mexico & Baja tour.)


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.

“This was an excellent tour experience. This was our first organized birding tour, so we have no way to compare. But if this is the ‘usual’ Field Guides treatment, then you’ve set a very high bar. The combination of Marcelo Padua and lodge owner Andy Foster as guides was dynamite — they complemented one another and definitely enhanced the overall experience.” T.K., Serra dos Tucanos, Brazil 2018 

“I took this tour because of my wonderful experiences on many past Field Guides tours. It was absolutely outstanding! David Stejskal and Tom Johnson are truly outstanding guides, educators, and hosts. Your office service was, as always, outstanding as well.” C.H., Southern Argentina 2018
“A wonderful tour. Megan Crewe is an excellent leader. Her tours are well planned and executed. She’s a great birder but, more importantly, a caring guide. Her co-leader, Uditha Hettige, was an amazing naturalist and great guy. They worked very well together.” B.C., Sri Lanka 2018

“Field Guides has never disappointed us, and we had always wanted to visit Australia. With so much unique bird life, koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, the platypus, Tasmanian Devil, Spotted Quoll, Flying Foxes, and the lure of Australia we wanted to see it all, and we did, including Tasmania. It was an exceptional experience. John Coons has been to Australia so many times, and with his friendly personality, gift of gab, memory of people’s names, the right places to go, and knowledge of local birders who are current with their bird finds, it makes the trip very special. John Coons and Cory Gregory were exceptional guides and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.” J.R., Australia 2018

“Absolutely wonderful. I loved this tour. Bret Whitney and Marcelo Barreiros were outstanding guides, and the birds and experiences were really good. Your office staff does an outstanding job. Field Guides manages to provide excellent tours on a regular basis.” L.R., Spectacular Southeast Brazil 2018


Triplists from 10 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 December Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

NEW GUINEA & AUSTRALIA
with Jay VanderGaast

BOLIVIA’S AVIAN RICHES
with Dan Lane & Micah Riegner

COLOMBIA: THE LLANOS & MORE
with Jesse Fagan

COLOMBIA: CALI ESCAPE
with Jesse Fagan

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

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

SOUTH AFRICA
with Terry Stevenson & Joe Grosel

NORTHWESTERN ARGENTINA
with Willy Perez

LOUISIANA: YELLOW RAILS & CRAWFISH TAILS I
with Dan Lane & Eric Hynes

AUSTRALIA: PART TWO
with John Coons & Cory Gregory


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. 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 private-group Panama participant noted: “Wewere 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: January through April

Our tours from January through April listed below have, for the most part, just one or two spaces still open, so this is a good time to make your plans for an early-2019 birding adventure. Included below are two spaces on our Brazil Nutshell tour, Mar 9-23 with guide Marcelo Padua—it’s a wonderful three-site introduction to the very diverse and endemic-rich birding of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and Pantanal biomes…not to mention some spectacular landscapes (including Iguazu Falls) and great food, all with Marcelo, who is himself based in Brazil. Contact our office to join this tour or to request any of the open spaces 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!

ICELAND
Jun • Godfried Schreur

PERU’S MAGNETIC NORTH
Jun • Dan Lane & Dave Stejskal

RIO NEGRO PARADISE: MANAUS, BRAZIL I
Sep • Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros

RIO NEGRO PARADISE: MANAUS, BRAZIL II
Sep • Marcelo Barreiros & Dave Stejskal

IDAHO: SNAKE RIVER TO SAWTOOTHS
May • Eric Hynes & Mitch Lysinger

SAFARI BRAZIL: THE PANTANAL & MORE
Sep/Oct • Marcelo Padua & Dan Lane

FRANCE: CAMARGUE & PYRENEES
Sep • Jay VanderGaast & Willy Perez

MOUNTAINS OF MANU, PERU
Aug • Dan Lane


Spring birding in Hungary & Romania with Terry and Lajos, Apr 27-May 13

December 31st, 2018 by Field Guides

Some of finest spring birding in the whole of Europe is in Hungary and Romania, where guide Terry Stevenson and local expert Lajos Nemeth-Boka have co-led full and successful Field Guides tours for the past four years. If you’re calendar is free for our Apr 27-May 13 departure, this would make an ideal birding break at peak birding time.

Landscape at Cheile Dobrodgei in Romania by participant David Woods

One highlight of our itinerary is a three-night stay on a comfortable boat in the Danube Delta. Each cabin has a private bathroom, large windows in the dining room allow for great birding while we enjoy delicious meals, and a roof viewing terrace works perfectly for scanning over the reedtops. We’ll be towing a shallow-hulled smaller boat which will give us access to the narrower channels and lagoons where larger vessels cannot go. In previous years, many participants have said this is the perfect way to start the tour, as we enjoy up to 15 species of waterfowl including Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, and Ferruginous Duck. Displaying Red-necked and Great Crested grebes are common, while flights of Pygmy Cormorants and Great White and Dalmatian pelicans frequently pass overhead. The reedbeds are home to Purple and Squacco herons, Eurasian Penduline-Tit, Bearded Reedling, and Savi’s Warbler, while the shores provide feeding grounds for Eurasian Spoonbill, and a large variety of migrant shorebirds, which may include Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, and Spotted Redshank in breeding plumage. Eurasian Marsh-Harrier or White-tailed Eagle could pass over at any time, sending hundreds of startled birds into a swirling mass of zig-zagging flying shapes.

European Scops-Owl by participant Jean Perata

Other tour highlights include the Carpathian Mountains, where we’ll search for Western Capercaillie, Eurasian Pygmy-Owl, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Nutcracker, Goldcrest, Firecrest,  Ring Ousel, White-throated Dipper, and the unique Wallcreeper! In the gorgeous countryside of Transylvania (where many people still practice traditional strip farming), it’s like stepping back in time one hundred years. With the forests, grasslands, and traditional hedgerows still intact, it’s wonderful to bird this mosaic landscape where seven species of woodpeckers occur, as well as Woodlark, Eurasian Nuthatch, Common Nightingale, Collared Flycatcher, Yellowhammer, and Hawfinch. Three of Europe’s most colorful birds — Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater and European Roller — are still common, and migrants include a variety of flycatchers, wheatears, warblers, shrikes, and buntings, which differ in number and species from year to year but always make for exciting birding. Finally, we’ll visit the famous ‘puszta’ grasslands, home to Imperial Eagle, Red-footed and Saker falcons, and breeding grounds of the magnificent Great Bustard. 

Our home on the Danube Delta by participant Jan Shaw

History and Culture: For those with an interest in historical and cultural sights, included in the main tour are short visits to the city of Brasov, Dracula’s Castle, a Transylvanian village (for the Szekler Gates), Viscri (for a Fortified Church), and the medieval city of Sighisoara. Additionally, you may wish to add a few extra days to the tour and join our optional city tours in both Bucharest and/or Budapest.

If it sounds like fun — and it will be, with Terry and Lajos — contact our office to hold a space or two. There are still a few openings available for this tour departing in late April.


November 2018 emailing

November 29th, 2018 by Field Guides

Greetings, birding friends. The year is rushing to a close! We hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, wherever you celebrated. We’re wrapping up what has been a busy and fun year with 10 upcoming December tours (there are still just a few spaces…see below!). Then we launch into 2019 with more than 150 Field Guides departures in the works. Check out the various news and updates in all the links below, including a fresh November Recent Photos Gallery with 96 great images from numerous recent trips (the Itatiaia National Park scene below by guide Bret Whitney is a teaser from one highlighted Brazil tour). Also linked below: a guide video conversation hosted by Rose Ann Rowlett with Terry Stevenson and Joe Grosel that we know you’ll enjoy, some fun vignettes from guide Marcelo Padua about our three upcoming Birds & Wine tours, a trip down photo-memory lane, a fresh batch of 8 recent triplists, and 10 updated itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our December-March tours. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you in the field!

FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


Your guides: Rose Ann speaks with Joe & Terry

Field Guides co-founder Rose Ann Rowlett hopped on a plane recently to join our South Africa tour group with guides Terry Stevenson & Joe Grosel. While many of you know Terry, you may not yet have had the chance (or shall we say delight?) to travel with Joe. Our “Grebe” sat down with Joe and Terry after the last morning’s birding for a few minutes—and we think you’ll enjoy the resulting video at this link. Some of us here stateside hadn’t yet met Joe in person either…and we were delighted to watch him and Terry recount tales from the trip. We’ll be doing more such guide videos, so keep an eye out! And should you have a hankering for some African birding, next up on our schedule is Joe guiding our Namibia & Botswana tour Feb 19-Mar 10. Space is still open, and it should be great…


Marcelo’s three Birds & Wine vignettes

Chile & Argentina with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSGuide Marcelo Padua, who led or co-led each of our four tours in the 2018 Field Guides Birds & Wine series, has a fun “day in the birding life” post on our news page that’ll take you through the highlights of a day on each of our three upcoming 2019 itineraries: Birds & Wines of Chile and Argentina (Feb 9-23), Beyond the Ports of Portugal (Apr 23-May 4), and France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine (our second departure has space, Jun 12-22). There are some nice pics included as well—the one at right is a view of the Argentine Andes from a vineyard we visit (and bird), by participant Dennis Serdehely.


6 spaces, 5 tours: last holiday openings

We have just these 6 spaces still open on 5 holiday tours over Christmas or New Year. Contact our office if you want to get away birding with us in December!

A trip down photo-memory lane

We were looking through past photo galleries in our online archive and thought you might enjoy doing the same! We realized we have 10 years worth of galleries (more than 100, all told) of tour highlights now in our collection. Have a look at this link for our Recent Tour Photos section…lots to enjoy.

FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


Triplists from 8 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 November Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

ETHIOPIA
with Terry Stevenson

BORNEO II
with Megan Edwards Crewe

NEW BRITAIN (extension to PAPUA NEW GUINEA)
with Jay VanderGaast

AMAZONIAN ECUADOR: SACHA LODGE II
with Mitch Lysinger

FRANCE: CAMARGUE & PYRENEES II
with Jay VanderGaast & Marcelo Padua

MCHUA PICCHU & ABRA MALAGA, PERU II
with Jesse Fagan

CAPE MAY I
with Megan Edwards Crewe

CAPE MAY II
with Megan Edwards Crewe


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 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: December through March

CAMBODIA with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The tours from December through March listed below still have some space available, including guide Phil Gregory’s Cambodia: Angkor Temples & Vanishing Birds itinerary for Feb 9-24, which will take you into the heart of Southeast Asia for a long list of regional specialties and rarities. If those dates don’t work for you, here’s some breaking news: we’ve just had two very late cancellations on our January Northern India tour with Terry Stevenson, and one cancellation on another tour that’s been full for many months, Bhutan in April with Megan Edwards Crewe. Contact our office to grab any of these spaces.


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!

JAPAN IN SPRING
May • Phil Gregory

BIRDS OF BRITAIN
May • Megan Edwards Crewe & Willy Perez

ALASKA (two tours in two parts each)
Late May/Jun • 4 guides

ALTA FLORESTA & THE NORTHERN PANTANAL
Jul • Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros

CLOUDFORESTS OF ECUADOR
Jul • Willy Perez

JAGUAR SPOTTING: PANTANAL & GARDEN OF THE AMAZON
Jul • Marcelo Padua

GREAT RIVERS OF THE AMAZON II
Jul • Bret Whitney & Tom Johnson

ETHIOPIA
Sep • Terry Stevenson

FALL FOR CAPE MAY (2 departures)
Sep/Oct • 3 guides

FRANCE: CAMARGUE PYRENEES
Late Aug/Sep • Megan Edwards Crewe & Marcelo Padua


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

November 13th, 2018 by Field Guides

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

Chile & Argentina

Elegant-crested Tinamou in Argentina with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The well-named Elegant Crested-Tinamou, by guide Dave Stejskal

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

Birds & Wine: Argentina with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The Andes with a fresh dusting of snow as seen from wine country in Argentina. Photo by participant Dennis Serdehely.

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


Portugal

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

Portugal Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The Douro River valley, by participant Ken Havard

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

Portugal Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

An immense Eurasian Griffon soars past, by participant Maureen Phair

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


France

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

France Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The chateau and gardens at Villandry

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

France Birds & Wine with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The Chateau de Chenonceau, by guide Megan Edwards Crewe

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

Birds and Wines of Chile & Argentina

Beyond the Ports of Portugal

France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine


October 2018 emailing

October 23rd, 2018 by Field Guides

Hello, birding friends! We hope fall is treating you well and the birding has been productive. Since our September emailing we’ve been busy with tours to Brazil, Cape May, Ecuador, South Africa, Peru, and Australia, and the reports have been exciting. We have a lot of news and updates for you in all the links below, including a fresh October Recent Photos Gallery with more than 80 great images from numerous recent departures (the dazzling Purple-breasted Cotinga below in Brazil by participant Roger Holmberg is a sample). Also linked below: a one-week Brazil getaway in late January or early March, a second Birds, Chateaux & Wine departure to France in June, open spaces on holiday tours, interesting bird news of various sorts, a last Antarctica cabin, videos from Brazil, a fresh batch of 14 recent triplists, and 12 updated itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our November-February tours. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you in the field!

Recent Photos from FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

A Week in Brazil: Join us in Southern Bahia…

Do you have limited time and would like a very targeted birding experience? Or are you going to be in Brazil on your own and would like to extend your stay? We have a very birdy extension to each of our two upcoming Nowhere but Northeast Brazil! departures that might fit the bill. In the description below, click the link to get the tour’s itinerary; then scroll down to the extension section for complete information. Contact our office if you are interested.

BRAZIL: Southern Bahia Extension — Jan 31-Feb 7 or Mar 7-14

We have two sets of dates for this short, late-winter getaway to birdy Bahia, Brazil, featuring several Atlantic Forest endemic and rarely seen birds difficult to see elsewhere. These include Hook-billed Hermit, White-winged Potoo, Banded Cotinga, Slender Antbird, Rio de Janeiro Antbird, Striated Softtail, Pink-legged Graveteiro, and Bahia Spinetail. The first departure (Jan 31) will be guided by Bret Whitney and Marcelo Barreiros (limit 12, 2 spaces currently open), then Marcelo will follow with our second departure (Mar 7, and all the birding intel gleaned from the first tour!) limited to 8 (1 space currently open). Check out more information in the itinerary.


Second France Birds & Wine added for 2019

France Birds & Wine tour with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSOur Birds & Wine series has been very popular since we inaugurated it five years ago. In 2018 we launched France’s Loire Valley: Birds, Chateaux & Wine. Our original departure for next year (May 31-Jun 10, 2019) is down to one space open, so we’ve released dates for a second tour — Jun 12-22. This 11-day itinerary will also be guided by our great team of Megan Edwards Crewe and Marcelo Padua. We’ll bird our way through forests, grasslands, and wetlands along the Loire River with stops at the chateaux of Chambord, Chenonceau (at right), and Villandry, and of course we’ll sample great wines, wineries, and French food along the way! Contact our office …si ça vous intéresse!


Birding Escapes for the Holidays

If the type of holiday hubbub you prefer is of the birding sort, we still have space open on these short Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s trips to the New World tropics, all of which are confirmed departures:


Recent Bird News of Interest

There’s lots of interesting news related to birds and birding this month!

Participant Joyce Miller published a fun piece in the Glen Falls Chronicle about birding in Borneo on our 2018 summer tour guided by Megan Edwards Crewe.

If you’ve been wondering what the economic impact of birding is in the US, check out this piece from the All About Birds website.

Heading to the post office? Pick up some of these new USPS bird stamps with stylized depictions of some familiar species.

From Audubon: Chickadee brains swap out old brain cells for new ones to help them remember where they stashed all those seeds. Very cool!

Some amazing info about aerial bird traffic through North American airspace seasonally from All About Birds — we’re talking billions of birds northward and southward.

An interesting NYT article on saving hummingbirds in the Andes as part of an overall effort by the organization SavingSpecies to create birds-and-wildlife corridors through reforestation.

Would you like to improve your estimates of numbers in the field—and make your ebird entries better? Here’s your chance: Bird counting 101 from the ebird site.

“Every species is a set of solutions to a set of biological problems, and any one of those at any time can become transformative to the life sciences.” So says biologist Tom Lovejoy in this piece (focused on the Manaus area in Brazil) on the connection between climate change and biodiversity loss titled Camp Amazon: Inside the ‘lungs of the Earth’ from the Christian Science Monitor. Also featured prominently is our longtime friend and colleague Mario Cohn-Haft.


One Antarctica twin cabin open: Feb 14-Mar 8

We just heard from our cruise operator that there is one twin porthole cabin available if two of you would like to join guide Doug Gochfeld and our upcoming February group on this birding-and-wildlife trip of a lifetime. It will be a small group of just 12 (with you) and should be a lot of fun. See our Antarctica tour page for more info. Contact our office (ask for Karen Turner) soon if you are interested as the operator is looking for takers too.


New videos: Roraima & Manaus (Brazil)

Four new video clips from our recent Brazil tours to Roraima and the Manaus area in northern Brazil: below, from top, a compilation of some cool antbirds from guide Bret Whitney on the Roraima trip, including the fabulous Ferruginous-backed Antbird and the little-known Rio Branco Antbird; a lovely Crimson Fruitcrow, a birding prize of the Guiana Shield region of northern South America; a morning outing with our group, rubber boots required (!); and guide Micah Riegner’s clip of a Black-eared Fairy hummingbird building a nest. Click on the images to see the videos.

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS


Triplists from 14 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 October Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

GALAPAGOS
with Willy Perez

BEYOND THE PORTS OF PORTUGAL
with Marcelo Padua

CLOUDFORESTS OF ECUADOR
with Willy Perez

RAINFORESTS OF TAMBOPATA (PERU)
with Jesse Fagan

ARIZONA’S SECOND SPRING II
with John Coons & Felipe Guerrero

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
with Jay VanderGaast & Doug Gochfeld

WILD KENYA: A TENTED CAMP SAFARI
with Terry Stevenson

OREGON I
with Cory Gregory

BRAZIL: RORAIMA ADVENTURE
with Bret Whitney & Micah Riegner

BRAZIL: JAGUAR SPOTTING I
with Marcelo Padua & John Coons

MOUNTAINS OF MANU, PERU
with Dan Lane

FRANCE: CAMARGUE & PYRENEES I
with Megan Edwards Crewe & Ned Brinkley

MOROCCO
with Jesse Fagan

CANARY ISLANDS (ext. to MOROCCO)
with Jesse Fagan & Godfried Schreur


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: November through February

NEW MEXICO with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

The select tours from November through February listed below still have some space available. Included is our all-new New Mexico: Birding the Land of Enchantment itinerary for Jan 26-Feb 1 with Doug Gochfeld & Cory Gregory. And if those dates don’t work for you but you want to bird the States this January, check out Chris Benesh’s South Texas Rarities tour, Jan 12-18.


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!

BEYOND THE PORTS OF PORTUGAL
Apr • Marcelo Padua

MONGOLIA
Jun • Phil Gregory

MACHU PICCHU & ABRA MALAGA, PERU I
Jun • Jesse Fagan

MACHU PICCHU & ABRA MALAGA, PERU II
Oct • Dan Lane

WILD KENYA: A TENTED CAMP SAFARI
Jul • Terry Stevenson

NEWFOUNDLAND & NOVA SCOTIA
Jun/Jul • Chris Benesh

ARIZONA’S SECOND SPRING I
Jul • John Coons

ARIZONA’S SECOND SPRING II
Aug • Chris Benesh

ICELAND
Jun • Godfried Schreur

LESSER ANTILLES
Mar/Apr • Jesse Fagan

BAHAMAS
Mar • Jesse Fagan

FRANCE’S LOIRE VALLEY: BIRDS, CHATEAUX & WINE II
Jun • Megan Edwards Crewe & Marcelo Padua


September 2018 emailing

September 20th, 2018 by Field Guides

Hello, birding friends! Our fall season is off to a great start, as we hope yours is as well. There’s much for us to catch up on with you after an August emailing hiatus. Here we have a fresh September Recent Photos Gallery with more than 100 great images from numerous recent departures (the lovely Yellow-collared Macaws in Brazil above by participant Gregg Recer and the Red-faced Warbler below in Arizona by participant Henry Trombley are just a couple of teasers). The gallery also includes some images from our late-August annual Field Guides staff meeting, which was great fun. Also linked below: five additional new and returning tours for 2020, interesting bird news of various sorts, videos from New Guinea and Brazil, a fresh batch of 18 recent triplists, and 20 updated itineraries for 2019 tours, as well as remaining spaces on our October-January tours. Enjoy, and we look forward to seeing you in the field!

FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS recent tour photos

2020: Additional New & Returning Tours

  • Michigan
  • Birding Plus South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Birding Plus Mexico
  • Taiwan

Our Scheduling Committee has continued its good work on our 2020 schedule, and here are some recent additions they’ve made. Contact our office to hold a space at no obligation until the itinerary is ready. Our new tours tend to fill quickly!

NEW
Michigan: Great Lakes Grandeur

Guide Cory Gregory is developing a tour that will explore the various reaches of this bird-rich state, including north to the Upper Peninsula for some boreal species. It’s scheduled for May 16-24, 2020 and should be a lot of fun. You can read Cory’s initial description on the tour’s web page.

NEW BIRDING PLUS
South Africa: Birds, Wine & Wildflowers

Guides Joe Grosel (based in South Africa) and Marcelo Padua (who has co-led our other birds & wine tours in addition to his regular tour schedule) are teaming up for this fabulous combo of birding and two other compelling interests amid some beautiful landscapes. Check out the initial description on our website page. Dates are Aug 29-Sep 10, 2020.

NEW
Succinct Suriname: Trumpeters & Cotingas

If hard-to-see trumpeters, colorful and flashy cotingas, and a big expanse of wilderness sound like fun, join guide Dave Stejskal for his 12-day tour to this small country in northeastern South America. Dates are Jan 18-29, 2020, and we’ll have a fuller description of the tour on its web page soon.

NEW BIRDING PLUS
Central Mexico & Baja: Birds, Butterflies & Whales

Guides Jesse Fagan and Micah Riegner — each with a lot of Middle America birding experience — are conjuring up this new itinerary for some cool birds, the amazing wintering Monarch spectacle, and some up-close whale-watching, Feb 8-19, 2020. We feel like packing our bags already! More coming soon on the tour page here.

RETURNING
Taiwan

Back in our schedule after a long hiatus is this island itinerary with guide Phil Gregory. Star attractions include Swinhoe’s and Mikado pheasants, Taiwan Hill-Partridge, the stunning Flamecrest, and much more. Dates are Feb 1-12, 2020.

Yellow Rails 2018: Louisiana II added for Oct 25!

Yellow Rails in Louisiana with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSDoes watching Yellow Rails and chowin’ down on crawfish tails in Louisiana in October sound like a fun theme for a few days of birding? Well, you are in luck! With our first departure fully booked, we’ve added a second departure for our Louisiana: Yellow Rails & Crawfish Tails 2018 tour with guides Dan Lane and Eric Hynes coming up very soon, Oct 25-29. Join Dan and Eric for a rail-rockin’ good time in Louisiana on this short, five-day tour where we plan to get nice views of Yellow Rails (possibly from a rice combine, if you are up for a ride!), plus several other rail species (Clapper, King, Virginia, and Sora are pretty standard).

Other exciting birds of this region we expect to see include Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman’s Sparrow, and a big variety of waterfowl and waders. All of this while enjoying some delicious Cajun cuisine along the way makes for a great getaway, we think! You are sure to delight in the birds (if not the few extra pounds you might go home with!). We still have some spots open on this added tour — just contact our office to hold a space for yourself. For a sneak preview, have a look at one of our 2017 triplists. That lovely shot of a Yellow Rail above is by guide Cory Gregory from one of our 2017 tours.

Holiday Tours for November & December

We have a nice variety of holiday tours coming up, offering some great birding (and an escape from all the seasonal hubbub) on short trips from Mexico southward through Costa Rica and Panama to Trinidad and Ecuador, each of these with space still available:

Recent Bird News of Interest

As tracking technology for birds and other animals gets ever smaller and lighter, researchers are discovering some amazing feats by birds large and small. Check out this piece about the feeding sorties of nesting Leach’s Storm-Petrels—and just how far an adult will go in a single outing to find food for itself and to bring back to its single chick…quite amazing!

From Audubon magazine comes an article about some interesting discoveries regarding the evolutionary origin of hummingbirds…perhaps in a region you’re not expecting. See the article here.

Northern Bald Ibis is one of the most-wanted target species we seek on our Morocco tour (our 2018 departure is currently in progress with guide Jesse Fagan as we write this), and this Facebook video featuring artist Catherine Hamilton includes some great footage of the birds while relaying their conservation status and story.

Guide Doug Gochfeld participates with a team of birders each September 11 in monitoring birds flying through the powerful beams illuminating the sky over Manhattan during the “Tribute in Light” remembrance. This piece from the All About BIrds website tells a great story about the event, the lights, the people, the migration connection, the bird conservation challenges involved, and the city’s response.

Lastly, a sobering tale about poaching and Helmeted Hornbills, a species we see on our Borneo tour.

Our office has moved — check the new address

We’ve got great new digs for our Austin office — more space, better connectivity, and a better view — but it’s right next door! We are still in the same complex, just in a different building. So if you want to mail us something, be sure to note the new address (the only change from our old address is marked in bold red below):

Field Guides Inc.
9433 Bee Cave Road
Bldg. 2 Ste. 105
Austin, TX 78733

New videos: New Guinea, Brazil

New Guinea with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSA couple of fun video clips from recent tours here: click the top image at right to see the crazy antics of a male Raggiana Bird-of-paradise when a female visits the lek on this summer’s Field Guides Papua New Guinea tour in a scoped video-clip on our Facebook page by guide Jay VanderGaast.

Brazil with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURSClick the lower image at right for a fine view of a pair of elegant Aplomado Falcons from guide Marcelo Barreiros on our recent Alta Floresta & the Northern Pantanal, Brazil tour — and check out the big prey-grabbing toes visible on the right-hand bird. (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 September Recent Photos gallery for other great images.)

BRAZIL’S RIO ROOSEVELT
with Bret Whitney

MACHU PICCHU & ABRA MALAGA, PERU
with Jesse Fagan

ARIZONA’S NIGHTBIRDS & MORE I
with Tom Johnson

HAWAII
with Dan Lane & Chris Benesh

CENTRAL PERUVIAN ENDEMICS
with Dan Lane & Dave Stejskal

SPITSBERGEN & SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO
with John Coons

ALASKA I (PART I: PRIBILOFS & DENALI)
with Chris Benesh & Doug Gochfeld

ALASKA I (PART II: NOME, SEWARD & BARROW)
with Chris Benesh & Doug Gochfeld

ALASKA II (PART I: PRIBILOFS & DENALI)
with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory

ALASKA II (PART II: NOME, SEWARD & BARROW)
with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory

KENYA SAFARI SPECTACULAR
with Terry Stevenson

NEWFOUNDLAND & NOVA SCOTIA
with Chris Benesh & Cory Gregory

ICELAND I
with Godfried Schreur

ICELAND II
with Godfried Schreur

NORTHEAST INDIA: EAGLENEST, KAZIRANGA & MORE
with Phil Gregory

ALTA FLORESTA & THE NORTHERN PANTANAL
with Marcelo Padua & Marcelo Barreiros

PERU’S MAGNETIC NORTH
with Dan Lane & Jesse Fagan

MONGOLIA
with Phil Gregory


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: October through January

COSTA RICA with FIELD GUIDES BIRDING TOURS

Check our listing below for space still available on select tours from October through January. Included are openings on our two Holiday Costa Rica: Rancho Naturalista departures for Dec 21 with Cory Gregory and Dec 29 with Megan Edwards Crewe. And if your schedule doesn’t allow for a holiday visit, check out our Costa Rica: Birding the Edges tour (in two parts) in January with Tom Johnson. Lots of choices!


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!

COLORADO GROUSE I
Apr • Tom Johnson

COLORADO GROUSE II
Apr • Doug Gochfeld & Cory Gregory

NORTHERN ARIZONA’S CANYONS & CONDOR
Jun • John Coons

SPITSBERGEN & SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO
Jun • John Coons & Doug Gochfeld

NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA I
Feb • Joe Grosel

NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA II
Nov • Terry Stevenson

KENYA SAFARI SPECTACULAR
May/Jun • Terry Stevenson

FRANCE’S LOIRE VALLEY: BIRDS, CHATEAUX & WINE
May/Jun • Megan Edwards Crewe & Marcelo Padua

EAST AFRICA HIGHLIGHTS: KENYA & TANZANIA
Mar • Terry Stevenson

POINT PELEE MIGRATION SPECTACLE
May • Jay VanderGaast

SPRING IN CAPE MAY
May • Tom Johnson

HUNGARY & ROMANIA
Apr • Terry Stevenson & Lajos Nemeth-Boka

BORNEO I
Feb • Megan Edwards Crewe

BORNEO II
Jul • Dave Stejskal

ISRAEL MIGRATION MAGIC
Mar • Doug Gochfeld

PENNSYLVANIA’S WARBLERS & MORE
May • Tom Johnson

GALAPAGOS I
Jun • Mitch Lysinger

GALAPAGOS II
Jul • Willy Perez

TEXAS’S BIG BEND & HILL COUNTRY
Apr • Chris Benesh

NORTHEAST INDIA: EAGLENEST, KAZIRANGA & MORE
Apr • Phil Gregory

 


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