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PRE & POST CONGRESS TOURS

IOCongress2018 has worked hard to create unique, one of a kind Expeditions for congress attendees. Click on the tour you are interested in below for more details, dates and to tentatively register!


To celebrate the first time an International Ornithological Congress has been hosted on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, we are offering three post-congress birding expeditions to Ecuador. Each expedition is being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 delegates and will have an experienced leader and local bird guides.


 

A) COMPLETE AMAZON/ANDEAN CLOUD FOREST/GALAPAGOS EXPEDITION (~20 DAYS):

Departing Vancouver on Monday 27 August, we fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador situated at almost 3,000m in the Andes. The next day, Tuesday 28 August, we will explore the culture and heritage of Quito’s “old-town” UNESCO world-heritage site.

Wednesday 29 August, we fly into the rainforest and travel down-river to a remote jungle lodge to explore the diversity of Western Amazonia. Here be macaws, toucans, and Hoatzin by day, and the call of the Potoo echoing through the forest night.

After a three-night stay, we travel by private bus into the high elevation eastern cloud and montane forests of the Andes on Saturday 1 September. We will reside at Papallacta Hot Springs for two nights and bird the high Andean landscapes for Mountain Tanagers, Sword-billed Humming birds and Torrent Duck.

On Monday 3 September, we descend into the western cloud forest around Mindo, but not before a stop at the equator line. We encounter a diversity of habitats and species as we travel across the Andes; special birds will include Andean Cock-of-the-Rock, dozens of hummingbird species and secretive antpittas.

Heading back into Quito on Wednesday 5 September, the next day we visit the Antisana Ecological Reserve (over 4,000m) on the high paramo plateau to observe more Andean specialties, including Andean Condor and Black-faced Ibis.

Friday 7 September, we trade fleece jackets for t-shirts and fly to the Galapagos for an eight-day cruise on a chartered yacht. We sail in search of “Darwin’s finches”, Waved Albatross, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins and the full diversity of endemic wildlife, including Galapagos tortoises and marine iguanas.

We return to Quito on Friday 14 September and depart for Vancouver on Saturday 15 September.


B) AMAZON/ANDEAN CLOUD FOREST EXPEDITION (~12 DAYS) OPTION: 

Enjoy the same expedition schedule as above, but depart Quito for Vancouver on Friday 7 September, and leave the Galapagos for another time…

C) GALAPAGOS EXPEDITION (~12 DAYS): 

Departing Vancouver on Monday 27 August, we fly to Quito, the capital of Ecuador situated at almost 3,000m in the Andes. The next day we explore the culture and heritage of Quito’s “old-town” UNESCO world-heritage site. Wednesday 29 August, we fly to the Galapagos for an eight-day cruise on a chartered yacht. We sail in search of “Darwin’s finches”, Waved Albatross, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins and the full diversity of endemic wildlife, including Galapagos tortoises and marine iguanas.

Returning to Quito on Wednesday 5 September, the next day we visit the Antisana Ecological Reserve (over 4,000m) on the high paramo plateau to observe Andean specialties, including Andean Condor and Black-faced Ibis.

We depart Quito for our return to Vancouver on Friday 7 September.


COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will be in $US (the currency of Ecuador) and include international airfare (Vancouver-Quito-Vancouver), all hotels, transfers, lodges, Galapagos cruise (if selected), airfares within Ecuador, guides, park entrances, and service fees, etc. - but not some miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities.

We are arranging for first-rate bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by these Ecuadorian experiences.



IMPORTANT – Register now: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:


 

The first leg of this tour focuses on the Eastern Andes. After your first night in Colombia, wake up in bustling Bogotá and travel a short distance into the wet páramo habitat of Chingaza National Park where you will search the moist, epiphyte laden cloud forest trees for dazzling tanagers and rare endemic birds, stopping at the La Calera Hummingbird Garden on the way back to the hotel for a taste of the amazing variety of hummingbirds Colombia has to offer. The next day you will bird at local wetlands of La Florida and Lake Tabacal for Bogotá savannah endemics, before dropping down in elevation to the dry forests of the Magdalena Valley the following day.

The next leg of the tour takes you to the Caribbean coast and the towering Santa Marta mountains. Fly to Cartagena and explore the lush botanical gardens before taking in the city cultural shows and then moving onto the coastal cities of Barranquilla and Santa Marta. Then you will climb up from the humid coastal lowlands into the clear mountain air of the Santa Marta mountains where the world famous birding lodge of the El Dorado Reserve is located. Due to its isolation and height, the pristine montane forest around El Dorado holds one of the highest densities of endemics of any spot in the entire world, including the Santa Marta Parakeet, Santa Marta Antpitta, and Rusty-headed Spinetail. After 3 nights at this fabulous lodge you will descend through the humid tropical forest at middle elevations before finishing the tour in the dry Guajira Peninsula and Flamencos National Park before returning to Bogotá.

 

 

Day 1. Arrival to Bogotá / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 2. Chingaza National Park and La Calera Hummingbird Garden / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 3. La Florida Park, Lake Tabacal and the Enchanted Garden / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 4. Mana Dulce Reserve (Humid Tropical and Dry Forest of Magdalena Valley) / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 5. Flight to Cartagena de Indias, birding in Cartagena Botanical Garden and Culture Shows at night in Wallet City / Night in Cartagena - Hotel Corales de Indias

Day 6. Birding all day in Tubará Natural Reserve and Puerto Velero / Night in Barranquilla

Day 7. Isla Salamanca National Park, KM4 Dry Forest, transfer to Santa Marta / Night in Santa Marta - Costa Azul Hotel

Day 8. Tayrona National Park, then transfer El Dorado Reserve in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta / Night in El Dorado Lodge

Day 9. El Dorado Reserve and San Lorenzo Ridge (medium elevations of Santa Marta Mountains) / Night in El Dorado Lodge

Day 10. El Dorado Reserve and San Lorenzo Ridge (medium elevations of Santa Marta Mountains) / Night in El Dorado Lodge

Day 11. El Dorado reserve and Minca Humid Tropical Forest, transfer to Riohacha city with birding in Caricari / Night in Riohacha - Taroa Hotel

Day 12. Birding Flamencos National Park and Wayuu Community Dry Forest (cultural show of Wayuu Indigenous in the afternoon) / Night in Riohacha - Taroa Hotel

Day 13. Birding in Playas de Mayapo, flight to Bogota / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 14. International flight home

Tour Leader - Ana Gonzalez-Prieto Born and raised in Colombia, Ana is an enthusiastic person, passionate about birds and people. She obtained her degree in Biology in Colombia, where she studied the distribution of birds between 400 and 4000 m in the Central Andes. After graduating she studied endangered species of parakeets and birded many remote areas in her natal country. She migrated to North America in 2006 where she became a bird bander and worked as the bander-in charge at the Klamath Bird Observatory, the Delta Marsh Bird Observatory, and then at the Long Point Bird Observatory. Her passion for birds has also taken her birding and banding in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, and Honduras. In 2012 she graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a Masters degree in Science, which combined with an ever growing fascination for bird migration, led to her starting a Ph.D at the University of Saskatchewan in fall 2013. As a result, she now migrates back to Colombia every winter where she spends five months birding and studying the overwinter ecology of Neotropical migrants in the Andean forests.

*COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include international airfare (Vancouver-Bogota-Vancouver), all hotels, transfers, lodges, airfares within Colombia, guides, park entrances and service fees, etc. - but not some miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities. We are arranging for first-rate bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by these Colombian experiences.

**REGISTRATION: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:


This tour focuses on the megadiverse Western Andes and Pacific lowlands of the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot. We will start the tour by flying to Cali for the first leg of the tour, visiting the renowned KM18 Reserve and the Anchicaya Canyon, as well as local Hummingbird and Tanager gardens, where a myriad of brightly colored birds will dazzle you. Then we will climb into the Western Andes and visit the Montezuma Nature Reserve in Tatamá National Park. This untouched park is one of the best birding destination in Colombia, with endemics such as the Golden-ringed Tanager, Black-and-Gold Tanager, Beautiful Jay, and the recently described and critically endangered Munchique Wood Wren, to name a few.

After the incredible diversity of the Western Andes you can relax in the Pacific lowlands of Chocó. After arriving in Bahia Solano and settling into the exquisite El Almejal Ecolodge you will bird the trail around El Valle seeing species such as the Baudo Oropendula, Saffron-headed Parrot, Chocó Toucan, and Great Green Macaws, and follow a hot morning's birding exploring the beaches to search for nesting sea turtles. Then you will move down the coast to gorgeous Utria National Park, where Humpback Whales visit to give birth in September, and where you may encounter birds such as Great Curassows, Brown Wood Rails and the enigmatic Broad-billed Sapayoa. You will finish the tour traveling through Bahia Solano and returning to Bogotá.

 

 

Day 1. Arrival to Bogota / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 2. Flight to Cali, KM 18 Reserve and Finca Alejandria Hummingbird Garden, transfer Queremal Village - El Campanario Hotel

Day 3 & 4. Anchicaya Canyon and Queremal Hummingbird and Tanager Garden / Night in Queremal Village - El Campanario Hotel

Day 5. Laguna de Sonso Sanctuary Fauna and Flora, transfer to Montezuma Nature Reserve in Tatama National Park / Night in Montezuma Lodge

Day 6 & 7. Montezuma Natural Reserve, Tatamá National Park / Night in Montezuma Lodge

Day 8. Montezuma, flight to Medellin / Night in Medellin - Porton Medellin

Day 9. Flight to Bahia Solano, birding on the road Bahia - El Valle / Night in El Almejal Ecolodge

Day 10. Birding in El Valle Road all day and Rio Tundo Path (exploring for sea turtles) / Night in El Almejal Ecolodge

Day 11. Birding on the path El valle - Utria all day / Night in El Almejal Ecolodge

Day 12. Transfer by boat to Utria National Park (exploring for humpback whales and dolphins), birding in Mangroves of Utria / Night in Utria National park cabins

Day 13. Utria National Park and Cocalito Trail / Night in Utria National park cabins

Day 14. Utria National Park then transfer to Bahia Solano and flight to Medellin - Bogota / Night in Bogota - Dann Norte Hotel

Day 15. International Flight to Canada

Tour Leader - Dr. David Bradley Raised in East Africa, David has been a birder for as long as he can remember. Currently he works as the British Columbia Program Manager at Bird Studies Canada, where he came after completing a postdoc at the BSC head office in Ontario and the University of Guelph on migration and breeding phenology in Tree Swallows. Although his PhD was conducted in New Zealand on the ecology and conservation of the endangered and endemic North Island Kokako, David has also been involved in several behavioral studies of Neotropical birds in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. He is currently working on several ornithological field studies in BC, including an invasive mammalian predator study in Haida Gwaii, one of his favourite natural environments, and a Long-billed Curlew migration tracking study in the Kootenay Mountains. Married to Colombian, David makes frequent visits there and has birded widely in this sensational birding destination, including to both the Santa Marta mountains and the Chocó coast.

*COSTS: Costs are not yet available but prices will include international airfare (Vancouver-Bogota-Vancouver), all hotels, transfers, lodges, airfares within Colombia, guides, park entrances and service fees, etc. - but not some miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities. We are arranging for first-rate bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above – and still be thrilled by these Colombian experiences.

**REGISTRATION: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details:

 

"Sponsored and led by British Columbia Field Ornithologists"

Day 1, Monday 27 August:

We depart Vancouver in the early morning by road and head for our primary destination, E.C. Manning Provincial Park, 70,844 hectares in the heart of the Cascade Mountains of British Columbia (elevation ~1,200m). After travelling the full length of the Lower Fraser Valley we will start our ascent into the mountains passing the famous Hope Slide, a short distance east of the town of Hope. Along the way, at a couple of Fraser Valley hotspots, we will sample lower elevation species typical of riparian forests and wetlands. Wood Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks and Hooded Mergansers are typical waterfowl, with a chance for Cinnamon Teal. Passerines will include Western Wood Pewees, Steller’s Jays, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks and Bullock’s Orioles. Gaining elevation as we head toward the Park, we will cross the transition from wet coastal zones to the Interior Dry Douglas-fir zone. Once in the Park in the early afternoon, the diverse landscapes will offer many species of birds in habitats varying from riparian thickets and coniferous forests, to open, sub-alpine meadows. At Sumallo Grove, a stand of huge, ancient Douglas-fir and Western red cedar, we will look for typical rainforest species including Varied Thrush, Western Tanager, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pacific Wren, and Vaux’s Swift. We’ll be listening for Sooty Grouse, and on the Skagit River at this location, we may find an American Dipper. Continuing to gain elevation to around 1200 m, we’ll look for species more typical of the mountains such as Townsend’s Solitaires, Western Tanagers, McGillivray’s and Townsend’s Warblers, Pine Grosbeaks and perhaps crossbills. Check-in for the night at the Manning Park Resort, dinner and bird-lists.

Day 2, Tuesday 28 August:

Early morning birding before breakfast. Then, our first priority will be to gain elevation to about 2,000m at the base of Blackwall Peak. We’ll drive the mountain access road stopping frequently on the way up, to look and listen for, among other species, Boreal Chickadees, Clark’s Nutcrackers, Gray Jays, Spruce Grouse, Dusky (rare) and Sooty Grouse (these two species’ ranges overlap here). From the Cascade Lookout we’ll enjoy truly spectacular mountain views. After a picnic lunch, we will spend some time walking the Heather Trail as it winds through the sub-alpine meadows, not only looking for birds but also for mammals such as hoary marmots, before we head down again to continue exploring the park’s rich variety of habitats. Barrow’s Goldeneyes are possible on the lakes, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Red-naped and Red-breasted sapsuckers are possible in the forests. In the park there is always the chance to see black bears. Mule deer are common. Columbian ground squirrels are abundant. River otters may be seen in the lakes, and beavers, while common, are largely nocturnal. If time allows, we’ll take the short drive down toward Princeton to explore the Ponderosa Pine, Interior Douglas-fir zone to find species typical of the Dry Interior such as Dusky Grouse, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Vesper Sparrows, and White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches. Second night at the Manning Park Resort, dinner and bird-lists.

Day 3, Wednesday 29 August:

Early morning birding before breakfast. Departure back to Vancouver (arrival early afternoon).


Costs:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, accommodations, guides, and some meals. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

Birding Ability and Physical Fitness:

We are arranging for locally experienced bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above - and still be thrilled by this experience.
Walking will be over relatively flat trails with mostly gentle inclines. A low to moderate level of fitness is all that will be required.

What to Bring and Expect: 

We will be in high mountain terrain where, even in August, weather can change suddenly and dramatically. Be prepared with multiple layers of clothing, which can be added and removed to match the conditions. Rain is possible, wind likely, and in sunny conditions the UV index can be extremely high. Sunscreen is a necessity. The need for bug spray will depend on the season’s conditions. If you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent.

Important:

Register now: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details.


 

Situated in spectacular Rocky Mountain foothills landscapes, Tumbler Ridge in northeastern British Columbia is a premier dinosaur location, part of UNESCO’s Global Geopark Network, and a fabulous place to go birding.

Departing Vancouver early morning, a flight of less than 2 hours takes us to Fort St John, followed by a 2-hour drive to Tumbler Ridge. En route, we will sample the richest birding locations the area has to offer. All three nights will be spent in Tumbler Ridge at the Trend Mountain Hotel and Conference Centre, with birding and dinosaur-focused trips to a variety of locations.

Home to some of the world’s oldest fossil bird trackways (early Cretaceous) and theropod dinosaur trackways, including the only known tyrannosaur trackways, this tour is a unique opportunity to appreciate birds past and present. We will observe the outcomes of avian evolution in both the recent and distant past. We will visit dinosaur tracksites of the Mesozoic age, as well as the location that provided the evidence for the split of Winter Wren and Pacific Wren in North America – a divergence that took place during the Pleistocene.

As part of the tour we’ll get a behind-the-scenes visit to the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery where we’ll meet the paleontologists and learn first hand about the important dinosaur discoveries being made in the area.

Over 240 species of birds have been recorded in Tumbler Ridge’s diverse habitats, which range from subalpine and alpine tundra, to low-elevation mixed forests, through wetlands, lakes, rivers, canyons, and prairie. As glaciers retreated after the last Ice Age, the Tumbler Ridge area became the meeting place of eastern and western species that were isolated in separate refugia during the Pleistocene. As a result, interesting species pairs are found that include Townsend’s (western) and Black-throated Green (eastern) Warblers, MacGillivray’s (western) and Mourning (eastern) Warblers, and both Myrtle and Audubon’s forms of Yellow-rumped Warblers. In August few birds to be singing, but they will be calling. There will be many young birds and some early movements of migrants taking place. While focusing on the birds, field trips will also incorporate spectacular waterfall destinations and mountain scenery.

We will have easy access to the alpine to look for White-tailed and Willow Ptarmigans and Gray-crowned Rosy Finches. Lower down we’ll look for Dusky Grouse. Black Terns may be seen on the wetlands, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Boreal Chickadees and White-winged Crossbills in the forests.

In the evenings we will be treated to northern BC hospitality, including a welcome reception, a dinosaur footprint tour by lantern-light, and a barbecue featuring a local and traditional menu.



COSTS:

Costs are not yet available but prices will include all transportation, guides, and some meals. Miscellaneous local costs such as snacks, alcoholic drinks, some meals, souvenirs and gratuities are not included.

BIRDING ABILITY AND PHYSICAL FITNESS:

We are arranging for locally experienced bird and naturalist guides to accompany all groups. You can be a birder, photographer, naturalist, learner, traveler, adventurer, or none of the above - and still be thrilled by this experience.

Both visual skills and aural skills will be needed. A moderate level of fitness will be required. Most field trips will involve fairly short and level walks on trails, but the alpine excursion will involve elevation gain and loss of 400 meters.

WHAT TO BRING AND EXPECT:

Unless the weather is unseasonably wet or stormy, expect to dress for warm summer conditions with a couple of extra layers in case it is cooler at higher elevation. Rain is possible, so a light rain jacket is recommended. Although it is likely to be sunny, even overcast conditions in the mountains require sunscreen. The need for bug spray will depend on the season's conditions, but if you are sensitive to mosquito bites, bring repellent.

IMPORTANT – Register now: These expeditions are being planned exclusively for IOCongress2018 as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Spaces are limited but you can register your interest now without obligation and we will keep you updated on details: