Having trouble seeing this email? View as Webpage
Welcome to our October emailing!

Fall has arrived for much of North America, and with it longer nights, frost on the pumpkin, and spookily clad trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell in a few days. Surely none will be as eerie as this squad of Flying Foxes!

As for the birds, songbird migration is winding down across most of the continent—though there are a few sparrows and finches yet to come. There are plenty of waterfowl and raptors yet to make their annual trek to places south as well. The hummingbird feeders come in soon, and the birdseed starts flying out of the feeders.

We have only two more U.S. Field Guides tours left for 2023; just about everything else is much farther south. In the field right now we've got a group in Australia, and over the next few days we're heading off to Brazil, Louisiana, Madagascar, Namibia, and Botswana.

In this month's emailing we're already looking ahead to spring and beyond, with some ideas for domestic travel, and we also showcase new and returning tours for 2024 and 2025 that are not domestic at all—Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and China, to name a few. We also have some odds and ends to report, and of course our regular features, including our popular Recent Photos Gallery—this month's collection contains more than 115 pics taken by participants and guides from 11 destinations on three continents. Lastly, we present 12 new triplists from recent tours and nine updated itineraries for 2024.

October trivia question: Colombia ranks number one on eBird with 1923 species reported. Which two countries rank second and third? (Answer at the very end of this emailing)

The creepy image above was taken last summer by tour participant Matt Denoncour on one of our two annual Borneo tours. Doug Gochfeld will guide another expedition to Borneo—one of the planet's most naturally rich places—departing February 20th, and there is space available.

Thanks also to group member Doug Clarke for the photo below of the noshing Blue Tit from our most recent Birds of Britain tour last May with Megan Edwards Crewe & Willy Perez. The tour departs again next year on May 4th, and there is still space available.
2024 spring birding in the U.S.
Our suite of domestic spring tours offers a variety of birding options. Some tours have a heavy focus on migration while others track down targets in reliable spots. There are "chickens" performing their funky dances in Colorado, the potential for songbird fallouts on the Texas Coast, and owls (and range-restricted specialties) in Arizona—there's even Hawaii, for something completely different. An adventure for everyone is out there! Below are a few short descriptions of tours with space available.
Texas Coast Migration Spectacle — Texas during the peak of spring migration has the potential for jaw-dropping fallouts of songbirds along the Gulf coast, and we'll be well positioned to bear witness. Daily destinations are dictated by weather (=migration) conditions. Aside from the migrants, there are specialty-species in the pine woods—southeastern gems like Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow, and the squeaky Brown-headed Nuthatch—with coastal and marsh birds to seek as well. Purple Gallinules, Fulvous Whistling-Ducks, and Roseate Spoonbills are regulars. Guide John Coons leads two departures (as he has for many years!) April 13-19 & April 20-26 and knows exactly where to find the goods.
Texas's Big Bend & Hill Country — Places like Big Bend National Park, the Chisos and Davis Mountains, and Texas Hill Country sell themselves. But we'll throw in Colima Warbler, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Montezuma Quail, Lucifer Hummingbird, Black-capped Vireo, and a few million bats just to sweeten the pot. Chris Benesh and Alex Sundvall lead this tour April 20-29 for what will be the last time for a couple years due to renovations of the lodge in Big Bend.
Florida: Mangroves & Migrants — The Sunshine State is loaded with reasons to bird there. Our tour is focused on the southern third of the state. Guides Owen Hilchey and Micah Riegner are at the helm April 27-May 6 for eight full days of birding. We spend time in the Florida Keys, visit Dry Tortugas National Park, and pluck goodies from both the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. We target species that are at the very northern end of their ranges, such as Antillean Nighthawk, Mangrove Cuckoo, White-crowned Pigeon, and Black-whiskered Vireo. An unforgettable experience is sure to be the visit to Dry Tortugas where we sift through thousands of Brown Noddies and Sooty Terns for the uncommon Bridled Terns and rare Black Noddies.
Here is a list of all of our March through May 2024 U.S. tours (not listed here are our three Alaska tours from May 29 and in June). If a tour is fully booked, it is a good idea to put your name on the waitlist as openings do occur.

To sign up, add your name to the waitlist, or for any additional information, please contact our office.
New and returning tours for 2024 & 2025
We are pleased to review with you our new tours that are coming up in the first half of 2024 as well as some favorites returning to our schedule for the first time in several years. Contact our office to hold a space or to get on the waitlist, or please do so if you have any additional questions about any of the tours below. We cannot stress enough that it's worth getting on the waitlist for currently fully booked tours, as spots do open up regularly!

NEW IN 2024
  • Atlantic Odyssey: South Georgia to Tristan de Cunha and St. Helena — Join seabird aficionado Doug Gochfeld for exceptional seabirding opportunities and a few island endemics on this re-positioning cruise. For the first time, we have spaces on this legendary cross-Atlantic excursion where we'll explore seldom-visited swaths of the central Atlantic Ocean, including some of the most remote islands on Earth. March 26-April 20, 2024 — 2 spaces

  • Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan — A three-country tour led by Jay VanderGaast and a local guide exploring the scenic Central Asian steppes, deserts, canyons, and high mountains, for an enticing mix of localized resident species and northbound migrants, with the added cultural element of the beautifully preserved Silk Road cities of Samarkand and Bukhara. May 22-June 12, 2024 — Waitlist available

  • China's Sichuan Province — Sichuan's wide range of habitat types can produce a great diversity of bird species. Doug Gochfeld and a local guide will lead the search for a host of fantastic birds, including 14 species in the pheasant family; eight species of Parrotbills; plus Rosefinches, Redstarts, and Old World Warblers (more than 20 species). From big and fancy to small and subtle, with fascinating culture and delicious food to boot, Sichuan has it all. June 2-22, 2024 — 1 space
Aside from the new tours above, 2024 marks the return of a couple tours that haven't been scheduled in several years.

  • Hungary & Romania: The Best of Eastern Europe — Dracula's castle and medieval cities, the Danube Delta and Carpathian Mountains, Pygmy Cormorants and Saker Falcons—it must be Romania and Hungary. We're eager to return to Eastern Europe, and what better way to explore it than with Terry Stevenson and local expert Lajos Nemeth-Boka. (This is an annual tour we haven't been able to offer since 2019.) Apr 20-May 6, 2024 — 1 space

  • Classical Greece — Timed for the peak of migration, this tour offers stellar southeast European birding with many archaeological and cultural stops. Greece's geography is such that the country's suite of birds is unexpectedly diverse. Megan Edwards Crewe leads this journey that starts with a day in Athens, and then visits the mudflats of the Evros delta, the rugged mountains of the northeast, and the slopes of mythical Mount Olympus. (This is an every-other-year tour that we have been unable to operate since 2018.) May 5-19, 2024 — 2 spaces

The following tours are also returning in 2024. They are all currently fully booked, but waitlists are available:

  • Lesser Antilles — What a tour this is! If you have ever dreamed of island-hopping, this tour is for you. Jesse Fagan is your guide as we visit ten(!) islands tracking down all the accessible endemics (there are 15 single-island endemics we target, many of them highly endangered). It is an ambitious tour—eight flights as we link our way from Barbados to Montserrat (all on twin-engine turboprops). We stay in good hotels, and believe it or not, the birding is such that we often have afternoons free. Sipping a rum punch with your toes in the sand is one way to spend them! (This is an every-third-year tour.)  Apr 4-20, 2024
  • Newfoundland & Nova Scotia, Jun 30-Jul 10, 2024, with Chris Benesh & Jay VanderGaast
  • Papua New Guinea, Jul 18-Aug 5, 2024, with Doug Gochfeld and Alex Sundvall
  • Sri Lanka - Oct 26-Nov 12, 2024, with Megan Edwards Crewe & local guide

Returning in 2025

To sign up, add your name to the waitlist, or for any additional information, please contact our office.
The OutBirding service will be ending
OutBirding originated in the first year of the pandemic, and to date we have posted 100 episodes to the OutBirding library. We are very thankful to all of you who subscribed over the past three years, but with the death in July of Tom Johnson, who was a major motivating force of the OutBirding team, we have decided to discontinue OutBirding in its present form. In the near future we hope to post many of our episodes to a public site (such as the Field Guides YouTube channel) where they can be enjoyed by many. (We have posted a few OutBirding sample episodes to our YouTube channel previously.) We will make an announcement in this monthly emailing and on our Field Guides news page about any episode postings. We know how much our audience enjoys high-quality video about birds and birding, and we plan to continue adding to the content as guides have time to create new episodes.

If you have current access to our OutBirding video service, you should have received an email notification on October 11 that this service will be ending in late November 2023. If you have not seen that email message, please check your junk email folder. If you still can't find the message, contact us at [email protected] and we can re-send it to you.
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!
It's official! We've moved!
As we mentioned last month, our Austin office was going to be on the move. It is a done deal, and we are unpacking and getting settled in nicely into our new space.

Our new address is:
Field Guides Incorporated
4425 South Mopac Expressway
Building 3 Suite 505
Austin, TX 78735
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 a couple of representative recent comments. From all of us at Field Guides, our thanks for all your valuable feedback.
“In my experience, Field Guides tours are routinely excellent from every imaginable perspective and are the best company for birding tours of the four companies I have traveled with. My Oregon tour was excellent—including guide services, potential for seeing and photographing a diversity of birds, organization of birding spots, accommodations, dining, and even the weather! I really liked our guide, Cory Gregory. Cory has excellent birding skills—meaning good knowledge, eyesight, and hearing. In addition, he has good social and organizational skills. I especially like the way Cory took time to explain what to expect each day and, once in the field, he used a field guide to point out field marks that differentiate similar species. I will look for him on future trips. Nicole Cannon (our Tour Manager), was excellent. She was responsive and helpful; she responded quickly and answered my questions. I wish I could think of useful information for improving this tour, but it was darn near perfect! Please keep up the good work!” C.H., Oregon: From the Coast to the Cascades I, September, 2023

“Our very first Field Guides tour was with Terry Stevenson in 2016. Since then we have taken many trips with Field Guides and loved them all! We don't travel with anyone else. The idea of traveling with Terry again to a new part of Africa was so appealing, we just had to go. And I must say, he and Tarry Butcher make an excellent team. Our overall tour experience was very easy and very enjoyable. And I must not forget the fact that Terry was incredibly charming, knowledgeable, and patient to boot! I would absolutely travel with my guides again! Terry plus Tarry equals a fabulous birding experience!” A.W., Namibia & Botswana II, September 2023
Tours with openings through April
Every month we present a list of the next six months' departures that still have space available, sorted by major region. The offerings run the gamut from close-to-home domestic tours to the opposite side of the globe to boarding a re-positioning cruise and sailing from the New World to the Old. If short-term travel fits your lifestyle, or if getting away for the holidays appeals, there is surely somewhere to visit listed below that offers a new and exciting adventure. You can click any link for more information, and contact our office to book.

This month we highlight here two tours to Ecuador that include individual species in their tour names. That's a surefire way to know that there's a bird of high interest on that tour. Our Southeast Ecuador: Orange-throated Tanager & Foothill Specialties and Southwestern Ecuador Specialties: Jocotoco Foundation Reserves tours are just around the corner, departing February 15th & February 24th respectively. The first tour visits the remote southeastern corner of Ecuador and explores the upper tropical foothills in search of the gorgeous Orange-throated Tanager and other local specialties. The second tour is a quest for the recently described Jocotoco Antpitta in its tiny range in the narrow middle-elevation swath of Andes it calls home. These tours can also be combined for a longer back-to-back experience.






AOS Taxonomic update
Back in July, the American Ornithological Society published their 64th Supplement to the Check-list of North American Birds. This annual update is where the splits and lumps happen—and how folks get "new" species added to (or subtracted from!) their lists. For North American birders, the two most prominent actions taken are the re-lumping of Western Flycatcher (Pacific-slope and Cordilleran Flycatchers were elevated to full-species status in 1989 and have reverted back to Western Flycatcher), and the splitting of Northern Goshawk to American Goshawk and Eurasian Goshawk. You can read the entire AOS supplement here.

Our friends at Cornell tell us that all the taxonomic changes will be reflected in eBird by the end of this month. If you are an eBird user, you can expect irregularities with your list totals during this weeks-long process.
Update on EU entry requirement
Back in August we shared news about a new entry requirement for travel to European Union countries (ETIAS). Initially that requirement was to be implemented at the start of 2024, however the the new process is likely being delayed until at least 2025.

News about the delay can be found here.
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).
Answer to the trivia question
Number 2 in eBird is Peru (1866), and number 3 is Brazil (1796).
Field Guides Incorporated, 4425 South Mopac Expy, Bldg 3-Ste 505, Austin, TX 78735
1+800-728-4953 • 1+512-263-7295