Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-800-721-9986
THE FOCUS ON NATURE TOURS ARCHIVES
With people, places, birds and other nature during Focus On Nature Tours in:
Alaska, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Texas, Venezuela
To the Focus On Nature Tours Archives Gallery 1
In Gallery #1: some of our tours in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, Puerto Rico.
To the Focus On Nature Tours Archives Gallery 2
In Gallery #2: some of our tours in Arizona, Brazil, Hungary (and Romania & Slovakia), Mexico, Sweden
the Focus On Nature Tours Archives Gallery 4
In Gallery #4, some of our tours in Argentina, Brazil, Dominica, Jamaica, Poland, Puerto Rico, Spain, and those with solar eclipses in Bolivia, Costa Rica, & Turkey
Highlights from Previous FONT tours, by year & location
Narratives & Photo Galleries from Previous FONT Tours
Upcoming FONT Birding
& Nature Tours:
by month in: 2012 2013 or: by geographic locations worldwide
The FONT Tour in Venezuela in February 2000:
during our February 2000 Tour
at Colonia Tovar in Venezuela,
and the end of the tour
The participants on
this tour in Venezuela were from Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania in the US,
and from England.
We recently (in January 2011) received an e-mail, that follows below, from the Pennsylvania participant, Jim:
" (Referring to the FONT February 2000 Venezuela tour) it was a fabulous trip for me, full of good memories, and you might like to know that I am going to "immortalize" it.
I've been hemming and hawing for years about getting a tattoo, but not making myself take the first steps to get one done.
My sister finally made me either "show up or shut up" by getting me a Christmas gift card at a place she goes to (for tattoos), and so that will make me do it finally.
I always said that it would be of a bird seen on on one of my trips, and the one I chose was from this very trip - the Handsome Fruiteater, an all-time favorite bird and sighting for me.
I remember Dottie (one of the participants), at a lunch after this sighting, as we were all enjoying mangos, papayas and the like, remarking about us men - that there we were, "a bunch of handsome fruiteaters".
Well, to be sure, we WERE eating fruit!
I'm debating whether to use a field guide illustration, or to replicate my photo - showing the top half of the bird - the same photo as in the FONT website photo gallery." (That photo, below)
Top of page
During FONT December/January "Holiday Tours" in Costa Rica:
During these tours, in the 1990s, a tradition for us was to be on a Pacific
Coast beach in Costa Rica on New Year's Eve, as female Leatherback Sea Turtles
came ashore to lay their eggs. It was always a special experience.
Since then, the population of the Leatherback Sea Turtle in the Pacific, and nesting in Costa Rica, has declined terribly.
Prior to our tours, that huge reptiles lived in that ocean, and nested on Costa Rican beaches, for a long, long time, for thousands and thousands of years.
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Costa Rica
& elsewhere in Central America
Top of page
Seatrips as part of a FONT Tour in Chile during an "El Nino" Year:
There were so many
birds during our two pelagic trips, one out of Valparaiso, and one out of Arica
in far-northern Chile near the border with Peru.
A listing follows here of the birds that were seen during those two pelagic trips, during that year, 1997.
In the photo below, during a FONT pelagic trip out of Valparaiso, FONT tour participants are looking out one way, while a Black-browed Albatross on the water, to their right, is being ignored.
We had 2 boats at sea, accompanying each other, during that trip. The photo was taken from the other boat.
during FONT Chilean Pelagic Trips
in November 1997
account compiled by tour leader, Armas Hill
our more than a decade of pelagic trips off the Chilean coast, it was during the
year 1997 that the most birds were seen.
That was due largely in part to the "El Nino phenomenon". Another factor was our abundance of "chum". Anyway, our 2 pelagic birding trips off the coast of Chile in November 1997 were among our best ever!
There were always birds in large numbers around our boats. Nearly all of the species were seen closely. Among them were 6 species of albatrosses!
One trip was on November 17, from Valparaiso, in central Chile.
The other, on November 27, was from Arica in northern Chile, just south of Peru.
Each trip lasted about 5 hours. Each went out about 15 miles offshore.
Regarding the "chum":
During the Valparaiso trip, there were 11 buckets of it (fish parts).
During the Arica trip, there were 6 buckets.
A second boat, from Arica, accompanied the boat with the birders. That second boat was just to carry the chum.
During both trips, the chumming was continuous.
In the following list of oceanic birds:
the red number relates to what was seen off Valparaiso (v),
the blue number off Arica (a).
Humboldt Penguin v:3 a:3
Black-browed Albatross (or Mollymawk) v:30 a:10
Buller's Albatross (or Mollymawk) v:5
Salvin's Albatross (or Mollymawk) v:50 a:3
Chatham Island Albatross (or Mollymawk) v:2 (or more)
Gray-headed Albatross (or Mollymawk) v:3
Waved (or Galapagos) Albatross a:15
Southern Giant Petrel v:2
Southern (or Silver-gray) Fulmar v:4 a:2
Cape Petrel (or Pintado) v:100 a:10
DeFilippi's (or MasAtierra) Petrel v:25
White-chinned Petrel v:15 a:8
Westland Petrel v:2
Pink-footed Shearwater v: a few thousand a:10
Sooty Shearwater v: thousands a:800
a "Manx-type" shearwater (probably Townsend's) a:1
Wilson's Storm Petrel v:1,000 a:100
White-vented (or Elliot's) Storm Petrel a:50
Markham's Storm Petrel a:1
Peruviam Diving Petrel v:6 a:2
Peruvian Pelican v:1,000 a: many, many
Peruvian Booby v:200 a:5,000 (or more)
Guanay Cormorant v:10 a: 3,000
Red-legged Cormorant v:6 a:3 (by the harbor)
Red (or Grey) Phalarope v:2 a:2
Chilean Skua v:6
South Polar Skua a:1
Pomarine Jaeger a:20
Long-tailed Jaeger a:1
Gray Gull v:10 a:1,000
Belcher's (formerly Band-tailed) Gull a:500
Kelp Gull v:hundreds a:100
Franklin's Gull v:many (mostly close to shore) a:20,000 (10x that along the coast)
Laughing Gull a:1 (an immature)
Sabine's Gull a:100 (50 in one flock)
South American Tern v:100 (other terns possible)
Common Tern a:1
Elegant Tern v:3 a:30
Inca Tern v:1 a:100
Below, a photograph of a Waved Albatross lifting from the water, 1 of 15 seen during our November 27, 1997 pelagic trip from Arica.
The Waved Albatross normally does not occur in Chilean offshore waters. It breeds exclusively in Ecuador, on one island in the Galapagos (Espanola or Hood), and a very limited number of one offshore Ecuadorian island (Isla de la Plata).
The species is now classified by Birdlife International as "critically endangered", with about 15,000 pairs on Espanola and only 10 to 20 pairs on Isla de la Plata.
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Chile
Albatrosses and Other Chilean Seabirds
List & Photo Gallery of Chile Birds, in 2 Parts
Top of page
During FONT Tours at Various Places:
For years, during Focus On Nature Tours, we've gone to where the nature is, the birds, mammals, butterflies, and more.
Sometimes, as you can see in the photo below, nature has come to us.
In the photo below, Armas Hill is in Brazil, where, during the last two decades, there have been 50 FONT torus.
List & Photo Gallery of South American Butterflies, in 5 Parts
Below: At a place completely different than the Brazilian rainforest, and at a place where normally there are no butterflies, Armas Hill during a FONT tour in Iceland, with the late Nick Merriman who traveled with us many times.
Below: More of the participants on that same tour in Iceland, looking out at the sea.
Below: On another island, again so very
different, a moment during a FONT tour in the Dominican Republic
in the West Indies.
Below: On another island in the Caribbean,
called Dominica, Fred Lesser is with a Dominican Clouded Boa found along
The following three photographs are from FONT
tours in Japan.
Below: Alan Brady (left) and Armas Hill having some Japanese green tea, at the Japanese-style hotel where our group stayed during a FONT Japan Winter Birding Tour
Below: some of us in one of our groups "going through some logistics" in Hokkaido, Japan
Below: and a couple of our Japanese friends displaying the t-shirts, with bird illustrations, that we had just given them as gifts. The shirts were from a "hawk watch" in Pennsylvania.
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Brazil
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Europe, including Iceland
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in the Caribbean
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Japan
A Photo Gallery of Culture & Scenery during a FONT Japan Tour
Top of page
Some Drawings from FONT Tours:
A person who traveled with us a number of times to a number of places, always with his wife, and sometimes with his sons, would draw illustrations when he was with us.
Now deceased, he was Charles Gambill, from Ohio. 3 of this drawings, that he gave us as gifts, follow here.
Below: At the Mayan archeological site of Tikal in Guatemala. In the drawing are the Ocellated Turkey and Orange-breasted Falcons that we saw.
Below: Whooping Cranes at the Aransas Refuge in Texas
Below: male Rock Ptarmigans near Nome in Alaska
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Central America, including Guatemala
Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in North America
Top of page