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Welcome to our May emailing!

Migration is winding down with just the last stragglers still to come for many of us. But that means our summer residents have moved in and are getting busy with raising the kids and getting them out the door—just to raise another brood of kids. Lots of interesting bird behavior to see over the next few weeks as the young start showing up at feeders, or perhaps hopping around on the lawn.

At Field Guides, we've always got one eye on our groups in the field—as you read this we've got folks on our inaugural Central Asia tour, and another group just setting off to France's Loire Valley—while our other eye is looking ahead. This month's email has a sharp focus on fall and very early winter, including Northern Peru: Endemics Galore, which runs October 5-24 with Peru expert Dan Lane. The dramatic photo above of the two Cordilleran Parakeets (now split from Scarlet-fronted) came from our most recent departure of this endemic-rich every-other-year itinerary in 2022, when we tallied 449 species and over 30 endemics. Thanks to participant Paul Beerman for the great photo.

Below we have a section on our Australasia tours coming up this fall (locally the austral spring), we highlight our two distinct India tours and announce an added Thanksgiving departure of our Belize tour, and we suggest a dozen tours in November and December to some New World destinations to enhance your holiday season. You'll once again find a couple new highlight videos from recent tours to enjoy. And as always we have our regular sections: there are 21 new triplists to check out, plus 14 fresh itineraries for tours late this year and in 2025; we have a listing of all our tours with space through November; and our monthly Recent Photos Gallery with images from nine countries on four continents.

Enjoy clicking your way through this emailing. We hope there's something that grabs your attention and also works with your schedule. If so, contact our office and we'll help you get on your way.

Our thanks to guide Eric Hynes for this fiery shot of a Ruby-topaz Hummingbird that he took during our most recent Trinidad & Tobago trip last January; you can join Marcelo Barreiros on our next departure coming up December 5.
Field Guides Conservation Support
As an international ecotourism company focused primarily on bird watching, Field Guides has been deeply concerned with environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. For many years it has been our practice to make an end-of-year financial contribution to organizations that are dedicated to preserving and protecting our natural world. Please visit our Conservation Support page to see recent projects we've been supporting in Brazil, Chile, South Africa, and Virginia.
Down Under this fall?
Australia and New Zealand are home to hundreds of species of birds found only there. Well over a third of Australia's nearly 900 species are endemic to the island continent (including the spectacular Regent Bowerbird, pictured above), with seven bird families only found there as well. New Zealand is home to far fewer species, but boasts six families unique to the islands—as well as being the land-based home address for multitudes of seabirds. Aside from the birds, "Oz" is home to other animals that have stoked the imagination, things like koalas, platypuses, wombats, bandicoots, and of course kangaroos. Add some breathtaking scenery, and these destinations nudge their way to the front of the line of places to visit next.
And though New Guinea is not traditionally considered "down under," we also offer a combination tour that puts a deep scratch in the surface of New Guinea and Australia's avifauna. Papua New Guinea occupies a place on many a birder's' list of "must-visit" destinations, and rightly so as it is home to fantastic birds-of-paradise and whimsical, bower-building bowerbirds.

Each of our upcoming fall departures—right in the heart of the austral spring— to this captivating and amazing part of the world has space available. There is no better way to visit these places than with our trusted and experienced guides! Have a look below at each of our offerings.
Our Australia tour is in two parts—a complete tour of the entire country takes about five weeks. Part One is three weeks long and visits Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, southwest Australia, and Alice Springs. Part Two is two additional weeks and starts in Darwin—at Australia's "Top End"—and travels to Queensland, where we visit Cairns, Atherton Tableland, Outback Queensland, and O'Reilly's Guest House. These can be combined for an unforgettable birding experience. Birds we expect include emus, the imposing Southern Cassowary, kookaburras, frogmouths, fairywrens (including the Superb Fairywren seen here), parrots, pittas, birds-of-paradise, bowerbirds, and many others. We also offer an extension to Tasmania after Part Two, seeking all 12 of that island's endemic birds. Both of these parts have at least two spaces available.

Our New Guinea & Australia tour combines these two unique destinations into a single trip to sample the bird life of each. While in Papua New Guinea, we divide our time between the highlands and the Port Moresby region. We seek out a dozen or so birds-of-paradise (including the stunning Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise pictured here), hope for the weird Wattled Ploughbill, plus bowerbirds, fruit-doves, and many more New Guinea specialties. Aside from the birds, we'll experience a very different civilization, with many people still practicing their traditional lifestyles.

During the Australian part of our tour, we'll look for Southern Cassowary, other birds-of-paradise and bowerbirds, the iconic Laughing Kookaburra, fairy-wrens, and Superb Lyrebird. We'll spend two days at the famous O'Reilly's Guest House (Lamington National Park), home to Regent and Satin bowerbirds and Logrunner, and we'll have a shot at trickier species such as Noisy Pitta and Paradise Riflebird. We'll also spend some time looking for some of the unusual mammals that Oz is well known for, such as Platypus, kangaroos, wallabies, and perhaps even Koalas.

New Zealand is one of those faraway places that conjures thoughts of laid-back people, a sense of adventure, sport, and maybe bungee jumping. What it is less known for (to foreigners, at least) is its wildlife. Six unusual families of birds call the islands their only home, along with nearly 50 endemic species. We'll track down kiwis, kokakos, Keas, and forest-nesting Fiordland Penguins. New Zealand is also home to a booming seabird population, with short boat trips (think four hours!) getting us out among albatrosses and tubenoses. And as for scenery, there are majestic fiords, glaciers, volcanos, primeval forests, and meadows. We visit the most beautiful and wild parts of both the North and South islands during our stay.

Chris Benesh
John Coons
Jay VanderGaast
To sign up or for answers to any questions, please contact our office. The Tour Manager for all of our Australasia tours is Karen Turner, and she is certain to be able to assist you.
India tours, north and south
India is one of the top birding destinations on the planet, thanks largely to the diversity of habitats found on the subcontinent. From the Himalayas to the coast, India's manifold landscapes are home to over 1300 species, with more than 60 of them endemic to the country. From forest to grasslands, and from wetlands to desert, India has it all.

We offer two distinct tours to India, both guided by the venerable Terry Stevenson, one of the foremost bird-guides to the country. Our next visit is our Southern India: Western Ghats Endemics tour November 11-December 1. What is a "ghat," you may ask? Good question! In this instance, it refers to one of the two mountain ranges (and their passes) in southern India. The landward slopes of the Western Ghats (where we spend much of our time) are gentle, giving way to valleys and wetlands. Southern India is home to some of the best national parks in Asia, including Nagarhole National Park, where we kick off the tour. The tour is designed to provide a survey of the best birding and wildlife sites in Southern India. We’ll be looking in particular for the endemic and near-endemic birds, but we'll also have ample time to enjoy and study many of the more common and widespread species. Some of the birds we'll be looking for include Malabar Parakeet, White-cheeked and Malabar barbets, White-bellied Treepie, Malabar Trogon, Gray Junglefowl, White-bellied Blue-Flycatcher, Crimson-backed Sunbird, Brown Boobook, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Great Eared-Nightjar, and Cotton Pygmy-goose—to name just a few! The tour is also great for mammals, with lots of Indian Elephants, Gaur (the world’s largest bovine), Sambar, Spotted Deer, Indian Giant Squirrel, both Common and Nilgiri langurs (monkeys), and Bonnet Macaque (another monkey). With a little luck, we might also see Tiger! Click here to see the triplist from our most recent departure for this itinerary.

Our other itinerary to India is Northern India: Birds, Tiger & the Taj Mahal. Our next departure is January 25-February 14, 2025. This tour takes you from the Ganges plains to the Himalayan foothills, with the Bharatpur wetlands, Tiger at Ranthambhore, and a visit to one of the "new" seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal—to mention just a few of the venues. At Bharatpur we can expect a cacophony of bugling Sarus Cranes and the honking of Bar-headed and Graylag geese. Ranthambhore is a 150-square-mile park that is one of the best places in India to see Tiger. During our three days there, we'll spend plenty of time birding, of course, looking for Jungle Bush-Quail, Painted Spurfowl, Painted Sandgrouse, Great Thick-knee, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Spotted Owlet, Plum-headed Parakeets, Rufous Treepie, Ashy-crowned Sparrow-Lark, Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher, and White-capped Bunting, among others. We'll head to the Himalayan foothills and visit Corbett—India's oldest national park—which boasts more than 500 bird species, including Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Red Junglefowl, Brown Fish-Owl, and Black-hooded Oriole, as well as Plumbeous and White-capped redstarts, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, and Himalayan Bulbul. If the fates are smiling upon us, we might luck into Sloth Bear. Our 2025 trip is provisionally booked, but it's often worth putting your name on the waitlist, as unexpected openings are possible.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to sign up!
Added departure: Thanksgiving in Belize
Not fancying a turkey feast and football for Thanksgiving this year? Can we interest you in a chance to see a fancy Ocellated Turkey in Belize instead? We've added a November 21-29 departure of our popular Belize tour, Thanksgiving in Belize: Tropical Birding, Short and Sweet. Marcelo Barreiros is the guide for this short, two-lodge visit to English-speaking Belize. Whether this is your introduction to or a broadening of your Neotropical birding, Belize is sure to please. Many families of birds of the New World tropics can be found in Belize; motmots, puffbirds, jacamars, toucans, and manakins are just a sampling of what awaits. There are also fine meals, excellent local guides, and intriguing Mayan ruins. We've just announced this departure, and we expect it to fill up quickly.

Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to sign up!
November and December getaways
Now is a good time to be looking ahead toward year's end and to plan a holiday adventure. We have a nice selection of New World tours to Middle America, South America, and the Caribbean that still have space available, each offering something a little different from the others—including the guide, with a dozen of our guides leading these tours! There is surely something here for everyone who is looking to spend at least a portion of the holiday season enjoying some fantastic warm-weather birding. Each tour below has at least two spaces available (unless noted otherwise).

A comprehensive tour with loads of southern South American specialties. We travel from the Peruvian border to the tip of the continent, from the Andes to the sea.

A week-long dash for all 28 of Jamaica's endemic species, based out of just two lodges.

Some 40 species of hummingbirds, oodles of tanagers, and gobs of flycatchers await on this tour which is lodged primarily at the famed and comfortable San Isidro lodge.

On this tour in our Birds & Wine series in this gem of South America, we'll ogle the best avian offerings and sample some of the most under-appreciated wines found anywhere.

A quick, jam-packed Mexican get-away to explore the islands, estuaries, and cactus forests near Kino Bay. Sea life abounds, the landbirds are excellent, and the cuisine is outstanding.

A fantastic introductory foray into South America's avian riches. Bellbirds, toucans, manakins, and motmots are among many typical bird families unfamiliar to folks who have yet to travel to the Neotropics.

One-site holiday tour based at the comfortable Rancho Naturalista Lodge—one of Costa Rica's finest—with excursions to other habitats along the country's bird-rich Caribbean slope.

Rewarding winter birding in an area of Mexico with a high concentration of endemic species (nearly 20 of them), all based in Oaxaca city. While the focus of the tour will be on birding, there will be ample opportunity to sample the rich Zapotec culture, The Christmas holiday brings an additional bonus, with pre-colonial and Catholic traditions observed, including the famous Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes).

We travel to remote eastern Panama, with many local specialties found nowhere else in Central America—even for birders with considerable experience in Middle America.

At 4600 feet in the Ecuadorian Andes, this beautifully designed lodge is right in the habitat we want to bird (offering a great mix of cloudforest species, foothill specialties, and upper Amazonian species), offering us fine meals and comfortable sleeping, along with an incredible view of the Andes.

A short, relaxing trip based at a charming, single lodge (with excellent service, food, and accommodations), offering an introduction to Neotropical birds—or a complement to your broader Middle American birding.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about any of these tours, 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 avian and culinary highlights from this past February's Central Mexico & Baja: Birds, Butterflies & Whales tour, guided by Micah Riegner & Bret Whitney. Our next departure is February 16, 2025, guided by Jesse Fagan & Chris Benesh. Click here or on the Monarchs below to watch the video.

The second video, by guides Micah Riegner & Megan Edwards Crewe (linked by clicking here or on the Greater Sage-Grouse), shows some fun dancing chickens (and a few other birds) from our Colorado Grouse tour in April of this year. If you've never done the grouse circuit, what are you waiting for? Our next departure is in April 2025, and again in 2026. To learn more about either of the above tours, or to hold a space, please contact our office.
A displaying Greater Sage-Grouse from our Colorado Grouse tour
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.
“I chose this tour because I had been with Willy Perez years ago to the Ecuador cloud forests (fabulous trip) and had already signed up for the Sacha Lodge tour, so I decided that as long as I was already going such a long distance, this would be a good chance to see more of the birds of Ecuador. The best parts of the tour were birding along the roads, both from the Wildsumaco Lodge, and travelling to and from—including San Isidro Lodge. And Willy Perez, who is an outstanding guide. I would absolutely travel with Willy again! That's why I chose these trips to Ecuador: I knew how great a guide he was, and what fun it always was to travel with him.” J.P., Ecuador's Wildsumaco Lodge, 2023

“I have wanted to book this particular Africa tour for years, and my overall tour experience was fantastic! Having all of the travel details taken care of in advance really made it possible to enjoy the planned stops in so many different great birding locations. Some of the best features of this tour for me were traveling with Terry Stevenson and getting to know his favorite birding spots along the way, and experiencing so many incredible wildlife sightings and having opportunities to photograph them. I would travel with Terry again in a heartbeat. I just wish Terry was not half a world away. He was great to travel with. He made it look easy to traipse around two countries with a million logistical aspects to the trip while accurately identifying birds, mammals, tribal areas, and geological features. I can proudly say for the rest of my life that the legendary Terry Stevenson led the birding trip of a lifetime and I got to enjoy every moment of it. The office staff was great, and I am looking forward to the next trip and working with Sharon Mackie and the rest of the staff. The Field Guides experience is hard to beat.” M.A., East Africa Highlights: Kenya & Tanzania, 2024
Tours with openings through November
Each month we list in this section the Field Guides tours between now and about six months from now that still have space available.
See all those specks in the picture here? Those are raptors, swirling in a "kettle" during their southern migration. One of the premier places in North America to witness thousands upon thousands of migrating raptors is Veracruz, Mexico, an experience unlike any other. From October 7-17, our Mexico: Veracruz River of Raptors tour will seek Swainson's Hawks, Broad-winged Hawks, and Turkey Vultures as they pour through the region, with a couple million of them seen annually. We won't be limiting our targets to raptors, however. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, White-winged Doves, American White Pelicans, and Anhingas will also go by in the tens of thousands. And it isn't all skywatching. We will also spend time looking for a number of Mexican endemics, including Bumblebee Hummingbird, Transvolcanic Jay, and the lovely Red Warbler, to mention a few. There are also butterflies and dragonflies that use this flyway! Aside from the flying objects, we'll visit the ancient ruins at Quiahuiztlan, as well as the Antigua River, where the Spanish conquistadores first set foot in the Americas. To top it all off, we'll have our fill of flavorful, fresh, local cuisine. Guide Doug Gochfeld will be joined by Jorge Montejo-Diaz—one of the pioneers who "discovered" Veracruz's "River of Raptors." For more information please contact our office.







To learn more about any of these tours or to claim a space, please contact our office.
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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