2019 Trips, Excursions and Camps

 

 2019 Camps


Hearing the cries of a hatching gull chick is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you find at Hog Island. ©Scott WeidensaulHog Island Audubon Camp, Maine


Summer sessions at Hog Island usually include visits to the restored puffin colony on Eastern Egg Rock. (©Scott Weidensaul)June 16-21, 2019

Sept. 8-13 and Sept. 15-20, 2019

Join Scott Weidensaul and an exceptional faculty of instructors at Hog Island, the National Audubon Society's oldest educational center -- a spectacular 330-acre island in Muscongus Bay, on the beautiful mid-coast of Maine.

Scott will be directing four sessions at Hog Island in 2018:

Field Ornithology, June 16-21

Join some of the top ornithologists in the country for a week-long exploration of the science of birds, hands-on and in the field. We'll explore the region's boreal forests, hardwoods, offshore islands and open bay, with instructors that include Dr. Sara Morris of Canisius College; acclaimed bird artist Catherine Hamilton of California, and other bird experts.  All that, and puffins, too! 

 

Coastal Maine Bird Studies 2, June 16-21 

A field ornithology program designed for teens ages 14-17, CMBS runs concurrently with the adult session, allowing participants to learn from the same superb faculty, in addition to three veteran CMBS instructors.

 

Living on the Wind: Migration and Monhegan, Sept. 8-13 and 15-20

These special, small-group sessions are devoted to fall migration, and include overnight excursions to Monhegan Island, a world-renowned Monhegan Island isn't just ruggedly beautiful, it is one of the best migrant traps in the East. (©Scott Weidensaul)migratory hotspot and beautiful island village. 

This intensive week of birding will take participants from tidal marshes and beaches to hawk watches, spruce forests, and the outer islands and waters of Muscongus Bay, depending on where the birding is hottest. The highlight will be a trip to Monhegan Island, one of the best "migrant traps" in the Northeast -- a place justly famous for its birding and dramatic rocky coastline, which has inspired artists for more than a century. Learn about how and why birds migrate and the conservation challenges facing them. 

Register as soon as possible, as these sessions are limited and tend to sell out very quickly.

 

 

 

 2019 Excursions

Galapagos Islands Photo and Birding Adventure

Amy Weidensaul meets an unusually friendly red-footed booby. (©Scott Weidensaul)Aug. 11-21, 2019

Join Scott and Amy Weidensaul on an extraordinary, small-group cruise through some of the richest islands in this fabled archipelago.

Limited to just 12 participants and four guides, you will have an unparalleled opportunity to experience the Galapagos' wildlife in an intimate, unhurried way -- walking among nesting waved albatross and swooping boobies, watching marine iguanas clamber from the surf or seeing immense, land tortoises lumbering through the forest.

Most days will feature a chance to snorkel with sea lions, sea turtles, Galapagos penguins and an eye-popping diversity of fish. The wildlife beneath the waves is as stunning as that above.

We'll be cruising on the 110' motor yacht San Jose, with a crew of seven and private en suite facilities, above-deck cabins, hot showers and air conditioning. Best of all, the main leader is Kevin Loughlin, president of Wildside Nature Tours, making his 40th trip to the Galapagos -- the expert's expert. 

 As a bonus, after our initial arrival in Ecuador we'll drive east across the Andes, watching for Andean condors and visiting Guango Lodge, one of the most astounding hummingbird hotspots in South America.

 

 


 

 

Tens of thousands of Amur falcons leave their roost in Nagaland, India. (©Scott Weidensaul) Galaxies of Falcons: Nagaland, India

Oct. 27-Nov. 7, 2019

 

If you're up for a true adventure -- and a chance to experience what may be the world's greatest raptor spectacle -- this is the trip for you. Join Scott Weidensaul and Wildside Nature Tours president Kevin Loughlin in Nagaland, a remote corner of northeastern India, where each autumn millions of Amur falcons pause in their migration from Siberia and China to southern Africa.

One of more than 3,000 Indian rhinos in Kaziranga National Park. (©Scott Weidensaul)Only discovered by scientists in 2012, this migratory concentration was the scene of an annual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of falcons by local communities, but those same hunters have now become fervent conservationists and falcon protectors, welcoming the few tourists who make the trek to the Naga hills. It's worth the trip. To watch a hundred thousand falcons leaving their roost at daybreak, filling the sky with flashing, whispering wings as wild elephants trumpet in the distance, is the experience of a lifetime.

Over the course of this 12-day trip, we will spend three nights in the village of Pangti at the epicenter of the falcon migration, living with a Naga family in their spartan but comfortable homestay, eating delicious local food, and learning about this fascinating Tibeto-Burmese hill tribe culture (the Naga were, until the mid-20th century, headhunters). Outsiders are rare; on our first visit in 2017, bird artist Catherine Hamilton was told she was the first Western woman ever to visit Pangti.

After our visit to Pangti, we'll travel to the neighboring state of Assam to spend three days in Kaziranga National Park, one of the crown jewels of Asia's park systems. Home to more than 3,000 Indian rhinos, as well as elephants, tigers, wild buffalo, boar, deer and multitudes of birds, it is staggeringly beautiful and diverse -- and after roughing it in Pangti, we'll be staying in luxurious accommodations. Finally, we'll visit Nameri National Park to look for the endangered white-winged duck, rafting the Jia Bhoroli River and staying in an elegant 19th century tea plantation.

Curious for more? Read Scott's 2018 Living Bird article about the Amur falcons of Nagaland.