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Welcome to our April emailing!

Spring migration is in full swing for many of us, and about to kick into high gear for those a bit farther north. Warmer temperatures have arrived across much of the continent, meaning flowers, leaves, and lots of birdsong (as well as dusting off the lawnmower for that first cut). It is an exciting time of year for birdwatchers, and the little pack of Gentoo Penguins above seem ready for it as well! Our thanks to participant Debby Vogt for the charming photo from our Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands tour last December. Antarctica is the quintessential bucket list destination, and we have another departure coming up December 3-26!

As you read this, we have groups on two tours in Texas, another exploring Hungary & Romania, a dozen folks enjoying our Birds & Wine tour to Portugal, a custom private group in the Dominican Republic, and another checking out the nightbirds in Arizona. In the next few days we're off to Florida, Spain, Taiwan, Britain, and Greece. Spring is a busy and exciting time for us! We hope you have a tour booked with us soon, but if not, keep reading, as we have quite a few with which to tempt you.

In this month's emailing we're looking at some of our upcoming Africa offerings; we have a short feature on guide Dan Lane and his fondness for Peru and Bolivia; and Bret Whitney whets your appetite for an upcoming Brazil river cruise. We also have an added July departure to Arizona with Cory Gregory to tell you about, along with a couple videos from recent tours. Lastly, there's a piece of news about the avian family tree that you might have missed that we've linked to below. As always, we have our regular sections: there are 13 new triplists to check out, plus 19 fresh itineraries for tours late this year and in 2025; we have a listing of all our tours with space through October; and our monthly Recent Photos Gallery with images from ten countries on five continents.

Enjoy clicking your way through this emailing, we hope there's a tour that catches your eye. If so, contact our office and we'll help you plan your next great birding vacation.

Our thanks to participant Don Burlett for this great closeup below of an Inca Tern, taken during our Chile: The Classic Tour trip last November; our next departure is coming up November 15 with Willy Perez.
Africa in 2024
Africa is the home to more iconic wildlife than anywhere, which keeps a visit to the continent firmly in the minds of those who seek such creatures. Why not make 2024 the year it finally happens? (Or happens again!)

There is still time to join us on one of three departures to southernmost Africa in the second half of this year—all nearly certain to encounter these birds and mammals in person. We have two different itineraries to South Africa (with a visit to encircled Lesotho). One is combined with visiting wineries and sampling the region's viticulture; the other is our comprehensive, three-week survey of this amazing region. We also have a tour to neighboring Namibia & Botswana, taking in the otherworldly desert scenery of Namibia and the rich, wet expanse of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Each of these tours has space available. The venerable Terry Stevenson, Marcelo Padua, and Tarry Butcher are guiding the three tours. Tarry Butcher is a recent addition to our roster of guides, and he is either first or second leader on each of the three tours. Tarry was born and raised in Namibia and has had a lifelong passion for birds and wildlife, inevitably leading him to a career in guiding—which he has been doing for well over a decade now.

We have two other tours that offer a different Africa experience. One is to Morocco—rich with northwestern African endemism, spectacular landscapes, and fascinating culture. The other is to Madagascar—a place which may redefine endemism—with well over 100 endemic bird species expected, plus lots of lemurs, geckos, and chameleons! While both of these tours are provisionally full for 2024, we encourage you to put your name on the waitlist, as openings are quite possible.

To sign up or for answers to any questions, please contact our office. The Tour Manager for all of our Africa tours is Sharon Mackie, and she is certain to be able to assist you.
Spotlight on a guide: Dan Lane
Did you know that Dan Lane has been involved in the description of eight bird species new to science? It's true! (And he says there are more to come.) It takes a lot of time and visits to a place to get to know the birds so well that you can tease out when you hear or see a new one. Dan estimates that he has cumulatively spent more than seven years of his life visiting Peru as a researcher and guide, and another year or two in Bolivia, along the way observing a whopping 1680 and 950 species, respectively. Somehow he's also managed to find the time to co-author Princeton University Press's Birds of Peru. This level of expertise isn't found just anywhere, and this is why Dan has guided more than 40 trips to Peru for Field Guides, and another dozen or so to Bolivia. A tour with Dan is a tour with an ornithologist at the forefront of the field. Dan is known for his remarkable ear, his knowledge of taxonomy, distribution, and natural history, as well as his art—he is quite the accomplished illustrator. We're lucky to count Dan as one of our guides! If you are interested in knowing more about Dan, and checking out some of his artwork, Dan's personal website can be reached by clicking here.

Dan's tour schedule for the remainder of 2024 is below. His two June Peru tours are fully booked, but he does have space available on his other departures, with Peru, Bolivia, and New Zealand among the destinations.

Here's what Dan has to say about Bolivia: "If you’re interested in nature, (and birding in particular), you may be surprised to learn that Bolivia has a lot to offer you! Field Guides has been guiding tours to Bolivia since the 90s, and we’ve found that it’s one of those destinations that really gets short-changed. While it may be overshadowed by its neighbors Brazil, Peru, and Argentina in many realms (culture, history, wine, cuisine), Bolivia can handily hold its own in epic scenery (see the photo below) and birdlife—and our Bolivia tour offers you both, as well as comfortable lodging, and first-class service from our ground crew. Despite being landlocked, Bolivia has an impressive country list of over 1400 species."

This is what Dan says about this Northern Peru itinerary: "We offer several tours to various corners of this great country, and this one may cover more of its varied habitats than any of our others. We concentrate intently on the more westerly region and the high endemism present there. Our 2022 inaugural run of the updated route was a smashing success and resulted in a list of nearly 450 species in 18 days, including 30 country endemics!"

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to sign up!
Great Rivers of the Amazon
If a birding tour to the Amazon Basin is on your bucket list, or if you’ve already enjoyed birding some of the lodges in the western regions of Amazonia in Ecuador or Peru, we have a newsflash for you: we now have five spaces available on our Brazil's Japura & Tefe Rivers: Mamiraua, Amana & the Unknown in our "Great Rivers of the Amazon" series. The tour runs Aug 26-Sep 10 and will be guided by Bret Whitney and Micah Riegner, This fabulous, almost entirely boat-based tour visits remote, little-disturbed localities both north and south of the central Amazon River. The boat is our beautiful hotel, restaurant, bar, and canopy platform for cruising through the calm, blackwater Japurá and Tefé Rivers (read: very few mosquitos) and is exclusively ours for the tour. We expect to see more than 300 species of Amazonian birds and a fine list of mammals as well—our finds likely including Wattled Curassow and the rare and bizarre White Uakari Monkey—with many species of parrots and macaws, antbirds, and who-knows-what else as we do multiple night-lighting excursions with our thermal-imaging scopes in hand (we found two Margays on our 2019 tour!). By day, we are excited to send up our drones to scan shallow backwaters where we just might be lucky enough to spot a rarely seen Amazonian Manatee! We might get lucky and see a tree full of Sand-colored Nighthawks, as in the photo below by Micah. You can whet your appetite by checking out the two most recent triplists for our most recent departures by clicking either of the two years here: 2022 and 2019. Bret and Micah are a great team, our boat crew is top-notch (certainly including the kitchen staff!), and they’re all ready and anxious to show you a truly once-in-a-lifetime Amazonian experience this August. And by the way, the Brazilian government has just pushed back the requirement for a visa until sometime in 2025, so all the easier to make a visit later this year!

To pique your sense of adventure, click here to check out a video Bret put together that outlines the itinerary and shows all its runs up remote and little-visited rivers.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to sign up!
Departure added for Arizona's Second Spring
Amongst our Arizona tours is a summer visit that coincides with the monsoon season that breathes new life into the desert, as wildflowers bloom and some birds begin their breeding season. We've dubbed this tour Arizona's Second Spring, and we've just added a second departure for this year, guided by Cory Gregory.

This ten-day itinerary offers a great chance to see all of the region's breeding species, including Arizona specialties like Five-striped and Botteri's Sparrows, Elegant Trogon, and Montezuma Quail, and we'll keep our ears and eyes open for Mexican rarities like White-eared Hummingbird, Eared Quetzal, and Flame-colored Tanager, among others. We have space on both departures this summer. If you're interested in a short highlight video of one of our recent tours, click here.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to sign up!
Short videos from recent tours
Many of our triplists contain videos that feature some aspect of the tour. Sometimes they are fairly short, showing a neat behavior of a bird, while others are longer, edited productions that showcase highlights of a tour.

Our first video here shows some highlights from this past winter's Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands tour, guided by Bret Whitney. In the video, Bret showcases some of the landbirding in Argentina before the cruise shoves off. Click here or on the Thorn-tailed Rayadito below to watch the video. We'll operate the tour again in December this year, and there is space available.

The second video, by guide Micah Riegner (linked by clicking here or the Lesser Ground-Cuckoo), is of highlights from our Mexico: Oaxaca's Atlantic & Pacific Slopes tour earlier this year, guided by Dan Lane and Micah. This tour covers both coasts of the most biodiverse state in Mexico. We're offering departures again in March of 2025 and 2026. To learn more about either tour, or to hold a space, contact our office.
Thorn-tailed Ryadito by participant Debby Vogt from Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands
Lesser Ground-Cuckoo by guide Dan Lane from Mexico: Oaxaca's Atlantic & Pacific Slopes
Tree of life: for the birds
An international effort of researchers across the globe has recently published the results of the largest-ever study of more than 360 bird genomes, and it has produced the clearest, most accurate family tree of birds to date. A further goal of the study was to produce a more accurate timeline of the family tree. Many of the results are fascinating. You can read a summary of the article by clicking here. We will give you one spoiler. There remains one bird that they still don't know what to do with, and that is the mighty Hoatzin, of course. (Photo by tour participant Doug Clark)
Triplists from recent tours
We have triplists from past tours linked below, each with some lovely images and some with video clips, and all with great annotations by our guides. Enjoy!
Comments from participants
We carefully read each post-tour evaluation we receive from our participants, so that we can continue to offer the best possible birding experiences and service on Field Guides birding tours. Here are two representative recent comments. From all of us at Field Guides, our thanks for all your valuable feedback.
“This was the 18th or 19th trip I have taken with Field Guides...also, this was my seventh trip with Megan Edwards Crewe and in my opinion there is not a better guide in the business of birding. She is helpful, organized and makes every day a pleasure to be in the field. No other tour company can match the overall service provided by Field Guides. Ticketing, holding spaces, pick-up and drop-off, et cetera, Field Guides is the best in the business. The overall tour experience was excellent. We had very nice accommodations. Tour manager Ruth Kuhl and office staff were excellent, as always.” S.W., Panama's Canopy Lodge: El Valle de Anton 2023

“I have loved my tours with Field Guides in the past and always wanted to go to Australia, so this was perfect! The overall tour experience was awesome! We had a really great time in Australia. We loved the guides, the places we stayed, the birding and the people we met. The best features of this tour were the guides and the birds. John Coons was an excellent guide...professional, experienced, expert at finding the birds and making sure everyone was on them—and taking us to just the right spot to see the target birds. Cory Gregory was fabulous! He was so helpful, nice, and patient. He was an expert at finding the birds and getting everyone on them. Our group was great. Everyone was keen on seeing the birds and equally excited about seeing them. We really had some great spotters, which made the birding really fun. Tour manager Karen Turner was great! She was professional and answered all our questions. Really an awesome job! Field Guides tours are really well organized and the guides are amazing!” K.N., Australia Part Two, 2023
Tours with openings through October
Listed below are Field Guides tours between now and the end of October that still have space available. Occasionally you'll find some of our most popular tours in this section, including right now. Our entire suite of Alaska tours still have some space, including our flagship Alaska: The Great Land, our fantastic Alaska: No Place Like Nome tour, and our two-parted fall quest for Rarities on the Pribilofs and Ross's Gull at Barrow. If you've been thinking about going to Alaska to see the sights and the birds, perhaps now is the time to make it happen. For more information or to claim a space on any of these tours, please contact our office.






Featured itinerary
For some, New Zealand is known for sheep, rugby, and Lord of the Rings. For ornithologically inclined naturalists, it is known for its primitive and endemic families of birds (think kiwis), its robust seabird specialties, and a host of endemic landbirds. We visit the most beautiful and wild parts of the islands during our stay. While the list of birds isn't long, we expect more than 40 endemics, such as this close Kea getting snapped in the photo above. Have a look at our most recent triplist by clicking here.
Other recently posted upcoming itineraries
Click on any image or link below to see the detailed itinerary for the following tours. All of these itineraries are packed with information (and have a few nice photos as well).
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