PO Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
E-mail: font@focusonnature.com
Phone: Toll-free in USA, Canada, & Puerto Rico 1-888-721-3555
 or 302/529-1876

Focus On Nature Tours

in our 


noting tours in Arizona, Brazil,
Colorado, Guatemala, Japan,
Mexico, North Carolina

1 of as many as 400 seen at one place 
during the FONT tour in Brazil in March 2009.


FONT E-NEWS, May 2009: in NORTH CAROLINA, bird specialties of the pines, swamps, & more

FONT E-NEWS, May 2009: our GUATEMALA Tour in the highlands & lowlands, including the Mayan site at Tikal

FONT E-NEWS, April 2009: our tour in COLORADO for Grouse & other birds & nature too

FONT E-NEWS, March 2009: our MEXICO Tour mostly in the Yucatan; also Cozumel Island

A PHOTO GALLERY from our March '09 MEXICO tour in the Yucatan

FONT E-NEWS, March 2009:  during 1 BRAZIL tour: a Jaguar, a Harpy Eagle at its nest, about 40 Hyacinth Macaws, & nearly 400 Jabirus at one place

FONT E-NEWS, February 2009: Our Tour in JAPAN, mostly HOKKAIDO

FONT E-NEWS, January 2009: a Winter Tour in Northern MEXICO (SONORA) & Southern ARIZONA

FONT E-NEWS, January 2009: Our Holiday Tour in GUATEMALA

Earlier FONT E-MAIL Bulletins in 2008 & 2007

The above link to E-News relating to FONT tours conducted in: Arizona, Belize, Brazil (and nearby Argentina & Paraguay), Chile, Guatemala, Iceland, Japan, the Lesser Antilles (St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Dominica), Mexico (in the Yucatan, Cozumel Island, and in Sonora), Puerto Rico, Sweden.

A Chronological List of Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours

FONT Past Tour Highlights

Narratives & Photo Galleries relating to Past FONT Tours 

North Carolina - May 2009 

During this tour, we found the birds that we sought. Among the over 100 species of birds, during this landbirding & nature tour in eastern North Carolina, those sought-species included:
the Swainson's Warbler and some others in that tribe, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the Bachman's (or "Pinewoods") Sparrow, and the Painted Bunting.
Other notables included Wilson's Plover, Mississippi Kite, Chuck-will's-widow, Red-headed Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prothonotary Warbler, and Summer Tanager.
Unexpected birds that we saw included a Loggerhead Shrike, and a dozen or more Cliff Swallows to seemed about to nest on a ferry boat that crosses a river (continuously during the day) in south-central North Carolina, not far from the seacoast. According to most books, that species really is not to be expected there - during the breeding season.        
Birds that we saw along the seacoast that were particularly nice were flocks of White Ibises, and a single flock of Red Knots that stopped to feed during their long journey from far-southern South America to the tundra almost as far north as birds can go in far-northern North America.
Not going very far, from where we saw them, was some other wildlife that we saw during the tour: an Eastern Fox Squirrel with its white nose, and a Cottonmouth snake, with its white mouth wide-open.     


List of Birds & Other Wildlife during our North Carolina Tour in May 2009

List of Birds during Previous North Carolina Tours

Lists of Mammals (Land & Sea) during Previous North Carolina Tours

Selected List of Butterflies, Dragonflies, & Damselflies in North Carolina

Selected List of North Carolina Reptiles & Amphibians

Upcoming North Carolina Tour Itineraries


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Guatemala - April/May 2009

During this, the 16th FONT tour in Guatemala, we visited both the highlands and lowlands of the country. We saw much, in that picturesque and interesting land, including 16 species of hummingbirds, and 280 species of birds in all. 
Among them there were motmots, and manakins, orioles and oropendolas, wrens and warblers, and tanagers, trogons, toucans, toucanets, thrushes, and tityras.  
Among the mammals, there were a couple beginning with the letter "t": a tapir and a tayra.
Maybe most notable among our birds was a pair of very rare Azure-rumped Tanagers. We saw them so very nicely! 
Two other bird species were seen with "Azure" in their names: both actually with the same adjective, the Azure-crowned Jay and the Azure-crowned Hummingbird.
Among our smaller hummingbirds were the Black-crested Coquette and the Emerald-chinned Hummingbird; among our larger ones, there were 3 species of Sabrewings: the Violet, Rufous, and Wedge-tailed.
Among our Woodcreepers, there was the Wedge-billed, while among our Woodpeckers, there was the Pale-billed (rather like the infamous, and now probably extinct, Ivory-billed Woodpecker of North America - it's in the same genus.)
Among our Warblers, a good one indeed was the Pink-headed. We viewed well that wonderful bird.
And among our many other birds also viewed well are 2 others deserving mention here: Long-tailed Manakins as they performed on a forest branch, and a Leaftosser doing just that, tossing leaves, on a forest floor, just a few feet from us!
As during our previous Guatemala tours, again we saw Orange-breasted Falcon by a Mayan temple. We've always enjoyed our tours in Guatemala, and in April/May 2009 we did so again. 


Lists of Birds & Other Wildlife during our Guatemala Tour in April-May 2009

Guatemala Birds, noting those during FONT tours

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Central America

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(& adjacent states) - April 2009

(the adjacent states were Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, & Wyoming)

This tour, during the second week of April in 2009, was a slightly abbreviated version, that ended a day or so early due to a large mid-spring snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains. (None of us wanted our trip home to be delayed.) 

But what we did of the tour, in Colorado and nearby Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, was wonderful! 
We particularly enjoyed an early-morning with about 50 Greater Prairie Chickens performing their displays and antics, close and all around us. The displaying Greater Sage Grouse were also a treat.
Other birds that were treats included Mountain Plover (seen well) and Sage Thrashers (singing atop bushes in brilliant late-afternoon sunlight).

A special treat was one morning (as the snowstorm was about to begin, but when the sun still shone through the clouds) when, at a place with bird feeders in the mountain forest, there were hundreds, and maybe a thousand or so, "northern finches". There were hundreds of Pine Siskins, including a swarm of them feeding on seeds on the ground. There were dozens of Pine Grosbeaks, including a number of them like ornaments in coniferous trees. And, along with the siskins and grosbeaks, there were also nice numbers of Cassin's Finches and Rosy Finches. Among the latter, most were the Brown-capped Rosy Finch (a Colorado near-endemic), but also there was the Black Rosy Finch (that does not breed in the state) .

Nearly 20 species of mammals were seen ranging in size from the Least Chipmunk to the Moose. Among those in between, highlights included a Badger that ran in front of us, and an all-black Abert's (or Tassel-eared) Squirrel.

Colorado is a wonderful state in which to enjoy nature, but we also had good times in Oklahoma and Wyoming. 
In Oklahoma, we ventured one day as far west as one can, to the New Mexico border, in the narrow "no man's land", where still nearly no men (nor women) live. Among the birds for us there, a Golden Eagle flew closely by.
Actually, and oddly, the most western bird that we saw in Oklahoma was the Eastern Phoebe (a pair).
In Wyoming, our birds included another Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk, and a plethora of ducks of various sorts.

Lastly, to be noted here, back in Colorado, 4 sorts of juncos were seen at 1 place, all Dark-eyed: the "Oregon", "Pink-sided", "Gray-headed", and "Slate-colored". Juncos, as you may know, are sometimes called "Snowbirds". As to that snow, about 2 feet occurred in parts of the Denver area, and as much as 6 feet fell in the high mountains.

The Brown-capped Rosy Finch was one of birds sought
and nicely seen during the FONT April 2009 tour in Colorado. 

In addition to the birds and animals just noted, the wonderful scenery and interesting history, along the way, as we traveled about, added to our overall experience, which was made all the better by the good comradeship of those on the tour.    
The dates for this tour in 2009 were April 10-16.


Birds & Other Wildlife during our Colorado Tour in April 2009

Birds & Other Wildlife during previous FONT Colorado Tours in April  

A List & Photo Gallery of Birds in Colorado & nearby states, in 2 Parts:

Part #1: Quails to Woodpeckers
Part #2: Flycatchers to Buntings

A Feature - the Grouse of Colorado & Kansas 

Mammals during FONT tours in Colorado & nearby states  (with some photos) 

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Colorado & nearby States 

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(mostly the Yucatan: also Cozumel Island) - March 2009

This was the third FONT tour in the Yucatan region of Mexico in less than a year. The previous two were in June & November of 2008.
Each of these tours were actually quite different, in terms of the seasons and the birds & other nature found. March was much drier than either June or November. There was less song, by the resident birds, in March than there had been in June. And, of course, both in November & March, the bird population was augmented by migrants that breed in North America. Those in our group, who wouldn't normally see many warblers in the summer where they live, were certainly treated to many of those colorful birds during the tour. One person tallied 50 during a very short roadside walk in mangrove and scrub habitat, with all at his eye-level or lower. Many were Northern Parulas, with not one of them giving the "warbler neck" a birder can often get when observing that small species high in a tree!
Some birds were seen during the March 2009 tour that were not found previously in June & November '08. Especially notable among them were Pinnated Bittern and King Vulture. Both were seen well, in a scope, by everyone in the group.
Two notable hummingbirds were seen during the tour: the beautiful Cozumel Emerald (endemic to the offshore island of Cozumel) and the Mexican Sheartail (a rare bird also with a limited range, in the Yucatan along the coast). During the month of March, as to the Sheartail, we were able to see not only the distinctive male, but also a female on the nest - as well as another nest in which there were some very tiny eggs.
In all, 245 species of birds, of a fine mix, were found during our March 2009 Mexico Tour. (Click the link above for the complete list.)
And the mammals & other wildlife, during the tour, were good too - actually more than good because once again, as during our November 2008 tour, A JAGUAR WAS SEEN - as it was on a road at night, in a forested area of southern Mexico!  

No, we didn't feed any Jaguars during our March '09 Mexico Tour,
but we did see one - 
as did during our previous Mexico Tour in November 2008. 
(photo during a FONT tour by Irene Goverts) 


This odd creature was seen in the water of a coastal bay 
from the shoreline in the northern Yucatan,
after dark, during the FONT Mexico tour in March 2009.
In English, it's called the Atlantic Black Sea Hare. 
Its scientific name is Aplysia morio.
In Spanish, it's a "Tinta", so called because it ejects ink when disturbed.
The word "tinta" in Spanish means "ink".
The creature, 16 inches long, and 14 inches across, 
is in the Phylum Mollusca (the Molluscs),
and in the Class Bivalva (Bivalves) as are other things such as 
the Common Periwinkle, the Slipper Limpet, and the Green Ormer.   
The Sea Hare swims in the direction of its "two-pronged head",
in other words, toward the upper left of the photo.
(photo by Marie Gardner)  


Lists of Birds & Other Wildlife during our Mexico Tour in March 2009

List of Birds of the Yucatan Region of Mexico  (with photos)   

A Photographic Sampling of Nature & Culture during our March '09 Tour in the Yucatan of Mexico

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Mexico & Central America

An adult King Vulture was one of the highlights of our March 2008 tour in southern Mexico.
When it was perched on a large tree branch, everyone observed it through a scope.
Later, at the end of the tour, when the 10 participants voted for their "top birds", it was Number #1.

At the end this 10-day tour, the participants voted for their "top 10 birds", and following below is the composite-list of that vote. 10 people voted, and 43 birds received votes, out of the 245 species found during the tour.

 2 - Mexican Sheartail
 3 - Ferruginous Pygmy Owl
 4 - Pinnated Bittern
 5 - American Pygmy Kingfisher
 6 - Yucatan Jay
 7 - Bat Falcon
 8 - American Flamingo
 9 - Red-crowned Ant Tanager
10 - Ocellated Turkey
11 - Yucatan (or Black-throated) Bobwhite
12 - Gartered (or "Violaceous") Trogon  
13 - Lesser Roadrunner 
14 - Black-headed Trogon
15 - Keel-billed Toucan
16 - Cozumel Vireo
17 - Squirrel Cuckoo
18 - Pale-billed Woodpecker
19 - Blue Bunting
20 - Painted Bunting
21 - Crane Hawk
22 - Laughing Falcon
23 - Gray-throated Chat
24 - White-tailed Kite
25 - Bare-throated Tiger Heron
26 - Wilson's Plover
27 - Cozumel Emerald
28 - Rufous-browed Peppershrike
29 - Red-throated Ant Tanager
30 - Eye-ringed Flatbill
31 - "Golden" Yellow Warbler
32 - Hooded Warbler
33 - American Redstart
34 - Black Catbird
35 - Crimson-collared Tanager
36 - Barred Antshrike
37 - Dusky Antbird
38 - Yucatan Wren
39 - Black-bellied Whistling Duck
40 - Black-cowled Oriole
41 - Orchard Oriole
42 - Great Black Hawk
43 - Ridgway's Rough-winged Swallow

The last of these was actually the last of the birds to be found during the tour. A pair, that appeared to be quite territorial, was found on a projecting ornament up near the ceiling INSIDE a shopping mall at Tulum, as we stopped for a snack and some gift and souvenir shopping on the way to the hotel by the airport!     

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Brazil - March 2009

This was the 44th FONT birding & nature tour in Brazil, during which there were some tremendous highlights, among them a Jaguar (1 of 3 species of wild cats during one night's excursion), a Harpy Eagle on a nest, as many as 40 Hyacinth Macaws seen closely, and nearly 400 Jabirus at one place - on an island in a river. Over 300 of the big, tall Jabirus were standing or walking about on short grass. The others were soaring about on thermals in the sky above. This tour also included a sojourn into neighboring Bolivia.      

When this Morpho Butterfly (Morpho achilles) opens its wings and flies, 
it is a most brilliant blue.
This photograph was taken during the FONT birding & nature tour 
in Mato Grosso, Brazil in March 2009.
(Photo by Patricia Yoder.)


List of Birds & Other Wildlife during our Brazil Tour - March '09

Cumulative List of Birds during FONT Brazil Tours:
Part #1: Tinamous to Doves
Part #2: Macaws to Flycatchers
Part #3: Antshrikes to Grosbeaks

Birds in Mato Grosso do Sul

Birds in Southeast Brazil 

Rare Birds during FONT Tours in Brazil

Mammals & Other Wildlife during FONT Brazil Tours

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Brazil

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Japan (mostly Hokkaido & some Honshu) - January/February 2009

This was the 31st FONT birding & nature tour in Japan. It was an abbreviated version of what we've done over the years, with what would well be called "the best of Japan in the winter". The tour was mostly on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, with also some birding on the main Japanese island of Honshu.
Highlights of the tour, as they have been in the past, were: groups of Japanese, or Red-crowned Cranes, dancing and calling on snowy fields, and numbers of both White-tailed and Steller's Sea Eagles. And again, as always (for us), we saw the Blakiston's Fish Owl, said to be the largest and about the rarest owl in the world.   
The upcoming FONT Winter Tour in January 2010 will again be the longer tour, on the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, and Kyushu, with an optional extension to the more-southerly island of Amami for endemic & specialty birds.

This immature White-tailed Eagle was photographed in February 2009
during the annual FONT Winter Birding & Nature Tour in Japan.
Some other photos of birds during that tour are below.
(photos by Karl Frafjord)

The word in Japanese for the Crane is "Tancho". 


Birds & Other Wildlife during FONT Japan Tour in January-February 2009  

A List & Photo Gallery of Japan Birds, in 2 Parts:

Part #1: Pheasants to Pittas
Part #2: Minivets to Buntings

Rare Birds during FONT Tours in Japan

Upcoming FONT Japan Birding & Nature Tours

The following written by Armas Hill, leader of the tour:

Of course, during our winter tours in Japan, particularly in Hokkaido, birds that are highlights are those such as the dancing and calling Red-crowned, or Japanese, Cranes, the gatherings of Steller's and White-tailed Eagles, the flocks of Whooper Swans, and the large & rare Blakiston's  Fish Owl.
All of those we experienced again during our Jan/Feb 2009 Japan Tour in Hokkaido. In fact, that tour was the 20th FONT birding & nature tour in Japan during which we've seen the Blakiston's Fish Owl. (We've never missed!)

But, during the tour, there were other birds too - a number of them, including some not as well known outside Japan, such as the Brown-eared Bulbul and Olive-backed Pipit, in photographs below taken during the tour. The Brown-eared Bulbul is nearly endemic to Japan.  

Brown-eared Bulbul, photographed during the FONT 
January/February 2009 Tour in Japan

(photo by Karl Frafjord, of Norway)

Olive-backed Pipit, photographed during the FONT 
January/February 2009 Tour in Japan

(photo by Karl Frafjord, of Norway)

In February 2009, during our Japan tour, 
when we were near some cliffs
along the southern coast of Hokkaido, 
2 Peregrine Falcons were hunting in unison.
They were going in fast flight after a Dusky Thrush.
When one of the Peregrines flew by us quickly,
to our eyes its was but a blur.
But, as shown above, to the eye of the camera,
its image was clear. 
(photo by Karl Frafjord, of Norway)

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Northern Mexico
(in Sonora) & Southern Arizona - January 2009

The first part of this wonderful tour was in the Mexican state of Sonora, where we saw hundreds (actually thousands) of birds of various sorts along the coast of the Sea of Cortez (also called the Gulf of California), and where in the rugged hilly interior of the state, some of the "good birds" were 2 with the same adjective, the Elegant Quail and the Elegant Trogon, in addition to the Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Bendire's Thrasher, Streak-backed Oriole, and the largest of the subspecies of the Wild Turkey, known as the "Gould's Turkey".
During the second part of the tour, in southern Arizona, we saw thousands of Sandhill Cranes, and numerous Hawks of a variety of species, including the Ferruginous, Rough-legged, Harris's, and various morphs of the Red-tailed.
It was a great tour for January (the weather was superb!), and a first for us at that time of year.      

A hovering light-morph Rough-legged Hawk,
as seen during our Jan 2009 tour in Arizona. 
(photo by Howard Eskin)

A Yellow-footed Gull.
We saw hundreds of these birds during 
our January 2009 FONT tour in Sonora, Mexico
along the coast of the Sea of Cortez.  
(photo by Abram Fleishman)


Birds & Other Wildlife during our southern Arizona & northern Mexico Tour in January 2009

A List & Photo Gallery of Arizona Birds, in 2 Parts   

A List & Photo Gallery of Mexico Birds, in 3 Parts:

art #1: Tinamous to Woodpeckers

Part #2: Jaegers to Woodpeckers

Part #3: Manakins to Buntings

Arizona Mammals (with some photos)

Mexico Mammals (with some photos)  

Arizona Amphibians & Reptiles  (with some photos)

Mexico Amphibians & Reptiles  (with some photos) 

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Arizona

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Mexico  

Above: The island called Alcatraz (or "Pelican") 
that we visited when we went to the Sea of Cortez
during our January 2009 in Sonora, Mexico.
Below: The race of the Brown Pelican that occurs
at that island is Pelecanus occidentalis californicus,
which has a bright red gular pouch in breeding plumage. 
(photos by Abram Fleishman)

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Guatemala - December 2008/January 2009

During this tour, our 15th in Guatemala, as many as 316 species of birds were found throughout a country with a variety of  habitats and some most spectacular scenery. Highlights among the birds included: Pheasant Cuckoos, Orange-breasted Falcons, and Ocellated Turkeys near the Mayan ruins at Tikal, 5 species of kingfishers during one river-boat ride in the Peten in addition to Sungrebe and Boat-billed Herons, while in the mountains our birds included: looks at both Ferruginous and Mountain Pygmy-Owls, Chestnut-sided Shrike-Vireo, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Black-throated and Bushy-crested Jays, Hooded Grosbeak, Pink-headed Warbler, and the dapper Prevost's Ground Sparrow.

Prevost's Ground Sparrow
(photo by Marie Gardner)

And there were more than birds, as would normally be the case during a tour in the Neotropics. But what was not expected was to be another tour with ANOTHER JAGUAR, following our previous tour a couple months earlier just to the north in southern Mexico when that large, wild cat was also encountered. During the Dec 08/Jan 09 Guatemala tour, the Jaguar was at Tikal at night, where it roamed just outside our rooms. The roar of the animal was heard 3 times there during one of the nights of our stay.
Other animals during the tour included: both Yucatan Howler and Central American Spider Monkeys, White-nosed Coatis, Central American Agoutis, and White-tailed Deer. We saw all of them during the day not far from where the roaring Jaguar wandered about at night.
In the mountains, in darkness before dawn, a sound that we heard was that of the animal called the Cacomistle (a raccoon-like creature).
In darkness, after one fine day of our tour, we saw in the distance a red glow in the sky and a red flow on the slope of a high volcano - another notable experience during our week-plus Guatemala "festive, holiday tour". 

The Ruddy Woodcreeper was one of over 300 species of birds
during our FONT Guatemala tour in Dec '08/Jan '09.
Photos of some others seen during the tour follow.
(above photo by Marie Gardner)


Lists of Birds & Other Wildlife during our Guatemala Tour in December 2008 / January 2009

Guatemala Birds, noting those during FONT tours

Upcoming FONT Birding & Nature Tours in Central America

The following set of photos are just a few of the 317 species of birds that were found during the FONT Holiday tour in Guatemala in Dec/Jan 2008-09. (These photos by Dick Tipton.)    

Plain Chachalaca

Ocellated Turkey

Boat-billed Heron

Squirrel Cuckoo

Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

White-fronted Amazon 

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