Free Webinar! August 16, 2017: Circumnavigation of Hokkaido, Japan’s Wild Island

Emanuel Victor MOST RECENT by Brenda Ladd

Victor Emanuel

My colleague Barry Lyon and I will host a free webinar Wednesday, August 16, the next in our series of webinars in collaboration with Zegrahm Expeditions, in which we’ll discuss VENT’s upcoming cruise: Circumnavigation of Hokkaido: Japan’s Wild Island, May 19-June 3, 2018.

For this special trip, we’ll travel aboard the beautiful Caledonian Sky, voyaging from Honshu (“mainland” Japan) north through the Sea of Japan to Hokkaido before performing a circumnavigation of Japan’s northernmost island.

This cruise route was constructed by Mark Brazil, an expert birder and ornithologist with Zegrahm Expeditions who lives in Japan. Representing VENT will be David Wolf, one of VENT’s longest serving tour leaders who brings many years of birding.

Lake Shikotsu 490730002 Kevin Teh--shutterstock

Lake Shikotsu, Hokkaido. Photo: Kevin Teh/shutterstock

Hokkaido is the second largest, northernmost, and least developed of Japan’s four main islands. Characterized by dramatic volcanic scenery, rugged coastlines, and numerous national parks, Hokkaido is a paradise for outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts. During scenic cruising and excursions for birds and wildlife, search for iconic Red-crowned Cranes, a variety of island and regional specialty birds, and impressive megafauna that includes eagles, Brown Bears, and whales.

Please visit our website to learn more about this special trip.

Click here to register for the webinar.

I hope you’ll join us!

Victor Emanuel

 

 

 

Victor Emanuel to speak at Sedona Hummingbird Festival in Arizona

Emanuel Victor MOST RECENT by Brenda Ladd

Victor Emanuel

Dear friends:

I am delighted to be one of the speakers at this year’s Sedona Hummingbird Festival in Arizona. The festival runs July 28-30, and I will speak Saturday, July 29 at 1:30 p.m.

The Sedona Hummingbird Festival is always held at the end of July when Sedona’s hummingbird population is highest and most diverse, and with typically five times the number of hummers as in early summer.

Festival activities include presentations, hummingbird garden tours, exhibits, a banding demonstration, birding trips, and a Gala Banquet Celebration.  See more details at http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/hummingbird-festival/

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird – photo by Barry Zimmer

I hope to see you there!

Victor Emanuel

Free Webinar! July 19, 2017: Greenland to Iceland Cruise 2018

Emanuel Victor MOST RECENT by Brenda Ladd

Victor Emanuel

Free Webinar! 2018 Greenland to Iceland Cruise

Next Wednesday, July 19, my colleague Barry Lyon and I will host a free webinar in which we’ll discuss VENT’s next birding and natural history cruise to the North Atlantic: The Untamed North: Greenland to Iceland, June 24-July 8, 2018.

On this two-week expedition to the Far North, we’ll travel aboard the lovely Hebridean Sky for a voyage from Greenland to Iceland, witnessing remarkable landscapes and seascapes as we cruise among flotillas of ice, rugged fjords, calving glaciers, and wave-sculpted islets.

Nansen Fjord Zegrahm Expeditions

Nansen Fjord – Zegrahm Expeditions

In the long days of summer, the seacliffs and surrounding waters of the North Atlantic Ocean are prime breeding and feeding areas for thousands of seabirds and a marvelous assortment of marine mammals. Our time on the water will be complemented by excursions on shore to view nesting waterfowl, shorebirds, and landbirds; Arctic Fox and Musk Oxen; and wildflower-carpeted tundra. Designed for birders and non-birders alike, this multi-themed program includes cultural activities as well, and those who wish will have opportunities to visit handicraft markets, museums, churches, and brightly painted fishing villages.

This trip will be led by VENT leader Machiel Valkenburg, an up-and-coming young leader with deep roots in European birding.

Please visit our website to learn more about this special trip.

Click here to register for the webinar.

I hope you’ll join us!

Victor Emanuel

Talk & Booksigning at BookPeople

Emanuel Victor MOST RECENT by Brenda Ladd

Victor Emanuel

Dear friends:

If you live in the Austin, Texas area, I hope you’ll consider joining me Saturday, July 15, at 4:00 p.m. at BookPeople, 603 North Lamar Boulevard. I’ll be signing books and talking about my recently published memoir, One More Warbler, a Life with Birds.

For more information, please check the BookPeople website: http://www.bookpeople.com/event/victor-emanuel-one-more-warbler

Cover of Victor's book Emanuel_6675_S17

I hope to see you there!

Victor Emanuel

 

Talk & Booksigning at Bunch of Grapes

Dear friends:

I am delighted to announce that Bunch of Grapes, a wonderful independent bookstore on Martha’s Vineyard, is hosting a talk/booksigning this Friday, June 30, 2017, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, for my memoir, One More Warbler, A Life with Birds, published by the University of Texas Press in May. 

Cover of Victor's book Emanuel_6675_S17

Bunch of Grapes is located at 23 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02568. Their phone number is 508/693-2291. Please check their website for more information about the store and my book:  http://www.bunchofgrapes.com/event/author-event-victor-emanuel

I hope you will consider joining me there.

Victor Emanuel

 

 

 

 

Travis Audubon presents “One More Warbler”

Dear friends,

My good friends at Travis Audubon and the University of Texas Press are co-sponsoring a book launch for my recently published memoirs, One More Warbler, a Life with Birds, at 6:30 p.m. on May 31 at the Thompson Conference Center in Austin. Details about the event and how to purchase tickets are below, and also on the Travis Audubon website, www.travisaudubon.org.

I am very much looking forward to being interviewed by my good friend, Stephen Harrigan. I hope you will join us!

Victor Emanuel

One_More_Warbler cover with TAS logo

May 31st, at 6:30 PM, Travis Audubon is sponsoring an exclusive book launch for Victor Emanuel’s, One More Warbler, in partnership with the University of Texas Press. Victor, the founder of the largest avian ecotourism company on earth, will be interviewed by New York Times bestselling author, Stephen Harrigan. The discussion will be followed by a book signing and reception with no–host bar.

Victor’s memoirs share his journey from inspired youth to world’s top birder including his biggest adventures, rarest finds, and the people who mentored and encouraged his birding passion along the way. The venue has a limited capacity and tickets may not be available the day of the event. To purchase a ticket for $30, which includes admission for two and a copy of One More Warbler, go to www.travisaudubon.org

Please note: Books signed at the event must be purchased through an event ticket. Outside copies will not be permitted inside the venue. To purchase additional books, please purchase separate event tickets.

An Amazing Day on the 2015 Freeport Christmas Bird Count

Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel

One of the many special aspects about participating in the same Christmas Bird Count year after year are the memories. Since I have been on 55 previous Freeport counts, the memories have built up. Every time I return, those memories come flooding back—memories of unusual bird sightings and of friends who birded with me. This year’s count provided even more great memories.

For over 15 years, the area I cover in the morning is the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area, which is just east of the small town of Jones Creek. It contains some woodland, but is mostly grassland and marsh. Cullen Hanks, Barry Lyon, and I greeted the dawn at the end of the central road, observing a great variety of waterfowl, egrets, herons, ibis, gulls, and terns. Traveling back inland, we enjoyed wonderful looks at several species of sparrows including a number of Le Conte’s, my favorite sparrow. We also saw some large flocks of Snow Geese and several White-tailed Hawks.

Barry Lyon and Victor Emanuel, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen  Hanks.

Barry Lyon and Victor Emanuel, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

At around 9 am we reached a small area of dense brush where we have seen a number of rare birds on past counts. Cullen’s Dad, Steve, had joined us. He and Cullen walked across the road while Barry and I entered the brushy area on a small trail. Years ago I had seen a Yellow-breasted Chat in this area. This large “warbler” usually winters further south. I was remembering that sighting when Barry said, “I hear a Yellow-breasted Chat!” While we were trying to get looks at the chat, Barry spotted a Prairie Warbler, a species that breeds in small numbers in very short pine stands. This species is seldom seen in Texas away from its breeding grounds. I had seen one on the count fifteen years ago. It has been recorded on only a few Freeport counts. We called Cullen and Steve to come see the Prairie Warbler. Cullen looked at the warbler and then looked at some of the taller trees. He said, “I see a Myiarchus.” We looked in that direction and saw two long-tailed flycatchers sitting side by side. At first we thought they might be Ash-throated Flycatchers since that species has been seen on a number of the Freeport counts, but these birds were bright yellow below their gray breasts. We soon realized they were Brown-crested Flycatchers, a South Texas species that had been seen only once before on the Freeport count. We continued around the corner of the brushy area and spotted two Fox Sparrows, a large bright rufous and white sparrow that is missed on a number of Freeport counts. Completing the walk around this area, we arrived back at our cars. Just then I saw an adult Bald Eagle, a species that we seldom used to see on the count, but that is now more numerous. A few minutes later Cullen said, “I see a Painted Bunting!” We all got on the bird. It was a first year male with bright yellow below and chartreuse above. In about an hour we had seen five species that would probably be seen by no one else on the count. Cullen had obtained good photos of all of them.

Prairie Warbler, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

Prairie Warbler, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

Brown-crested Flycatcher, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

Brown-crested Flycatcher, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

Since we had done so well in this brushy area, I suggested we drive back south to another brushy area. We walked into that area. Cullen and Steve were on one side of a big bush when I walked around it. They yelled, “anis!” Evidently I had flushed four Groove-billed Anis from that bush, and they had flown toward Cullen and Steve. We all obtained good looks. This species is seen on less than a third of the Freeport counts.

Groove-billed Ani, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

Groove-billed Ani, Freeport CBC 2015. Photo by Cullen Hanks.

We met for lunch with the teams that cover nearby areas. Unfortunately, none of them had seen any unusual birds. After lunch we birded the town of Jones Creek. The day before we had asked a number of homeowners for permission to bird their properties. All gave us permission. They were quite friendly and had read about the count in the local newspaper. In one yard we saw a Pine Siskin, a bird that has often been missed on recent counts. In another area we saw a Black-throated Green Warbler. Then further down a road, Cullen and Barry found a Magnolia Warbler, a species that has been seen on very few Freeport counts.

It had been an amazing day with one unusual bird sighting after another. We had seen over 100 species of birds in our area including eleven species of warblers. Ten of the birds we had seen were seen by no other parties.

We ended the day near where we had begun. There we spotted a Short-eared Owl flying over the grassland and marsh. We had it in view for over five minutes and savored its lovely buff markings and floppy flight. This owl sighting was as wonderful as the rare birds we had seen and provided a perfect ending to the day.