Virtual Tours

Although our wings were clipped for some time during lockdown, we remained as keen as ever to offer you some quality guided wildlife-viewing to enjoy, albeit from your own home! During the pandemic we rallied several of our leaders around the world to deliver live, 1-hour online tours, where viewers could enjoy ‘walking’ with them to see stunning landscapes and wildlife. Our leaders were thrilled to have an opportunity to resume doing what they do best, and were all too keen to bring their love and passion for their local wildlife to your screens! All Virtual Tours are co-hosted with Naturetrek staff via Zoom, with the live chat function enabling you to put questions to the leader as the virtual tour unfolds. 

Our virtual tours are free to join, although there is an opportunity towards the end of the virtual tour to leave a voluntary donation/tip. There will be absolutely no pressure or obligation to do so. 100% of proceeds will be given to the local guide(s) and landowners. This initiative by Naturetrek has raised over £25,000 for our guides and partners around the world so far! This brought much-needed income to them to care for their families while they had had little work during the pandemic. Now we’re out of the pandemic, tips and donations will be used for local conservation work. 

We run our Virtual Tours throughout the year and announce them on this page and via our mailling list

Catch up on previous Virtual Tours:

Although we didn't intend to make recordings of our Virtual Tours publicly available (in order to preserve the immediacy and excitement of a live tour), we have decided, due to high demand, to publish a selection of them for you to watch at your leisure. We hope you enjoy browsing the previous tours below!

Birds of the lower Andean foothills of western Ecuador

First aired 9th May, 2024 1pm (GMT+1)

Join our team again on our second day live from Ecuador further down the western (Pacific) slope of the Andes close to the town of Pedro Vicente Maldonado. In an area so heavily logged, the security of remaining patches of forest lay largely in the hands of entrepreneurial local families keen to generate sustainable income from ecotourism. This morning we visit ‘Fruttitour’, a small family-owned farmstead with a newish set of feeders and trails, the former attracting birds such as Choco Toucan, Golden-olive and Black-cheeked Woodpeckers, Orange-fronted Barbet and a selection of hummers and tanagers.

Donations are very gratefully taken for those attending this tour; funds will help the local landowner, Marcelo, rewild the reserve (from its previous use for grazing cattle) and continue to allow it to support birds and other wildlife, which are under pressure from local logging and agricutural activities. 

Hummingbirds and Tanagers in the cloudforests of NW Ecuador

First aired 8th May 2024, 1pm (GMT+1)

Join our team live in north-west Ecuador at the Reserva Mashpi Amagusa, an area of highly threatened subtropical foothill forest deep within the choco biozone. Guests of Sergio and Doris Basantes for the morning, we’ll spend some time with our cameras trained on the active hummingbird garden which attracts Empress Brilliant, Velvet-purple Coronet, Violet-tailed Sylph, Brown Inca, Purple-bibbed White-tip and White-whiskered Hermit. This is also a great location for tanagers which come readily to the feeders. During the course of the session we can hope to see Glistening-green Tanager and Black-chinned Mountain Tanager along with the more common Golden-naped, Golden and Flame-faced Tanagers, amongst others.

Donations are very gratefully taken for those attending this tour; funds will help the local landowners, Sergio and Doris Basantes, to buy and protect more land in the surrounding area, as well as buy camera traps and fund other conservation projects supporting the local wildlife, which is under pressure from local logging and agricutural activities. 

Ecuador – Dawn at Sacha Tamia Lodge

First aired 10th January, 12 noon (GMT-1)

Join our team live in the cloudforests of the Choco in north-west Ecuador with tour leader Andrea Molina delivering a fabulous feast of dazzling hummingbirds and tanagers at a feeding station just outside Mindo. If you have taken part in our Andes & Amazon tour, or Cock of the Rock tour, this session will bring back memories of birds such as Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown and Collared Incas, Violet-tailed Sylph, Gorgeted Sunangel, Golden-naped, Golden, Blue-capped and Flame-faced Tanagers, Blue-winged Mountain Tanager and, hopefully, a visit from a Toucan Barbet or Plate-billed Mountain Toucan. Prepare to be enthralled!

Spain: Migration in the Strait of Gibraltar

First aired 30th August 2022 (9:30am):
Perfect conditions for migration greeted us for this virtual tour broadcast live from southern Spain on 30th August 2022. Our efforts were rewarded with views of Black Kites, Booted and Short-toed Eagles and Honey Buzzards as they soared overhead getting ready to make their crossing back to Africa! We were accompanied by superb guiding and commentary from tour leaders Niki Williamson and Simon Tonkin who taught us about the biology and conservation of these birds.

Our Virtual Tours are free to join, but if you enjoyed this one we'd greatly appreciate donations to a Rüppell’s Vulture telemetry project in Spain, which will enable scientists and conservationists to fully understand the extent and status of vagrant Rüppell’s Vultures in Europe and their movements both within the Iberian Peninsula and possibly their return to the Sahel. This knowledge will better equip the “conservation tool-kit” for the species in the future. If you'd like to donate, please do so at the bottom of this page.

Costa Rica – Arenal Observatory Lodge

First Aired 16th February 2022, 12 noon (GMT)

Join us at the wonderful Arenal Observatory Lodge, which sits on the lower slopes of Costa Rica’s spectacular Arenal Volcano. This is one of the country’s birding and wildlife hotspots surrounded by flower-filled gardens and lush mid-elevation forests inhabited by a wonderful variety of birds, mammals and other wildlife, meaning a return visit will be well worthwhile. Some of the species enjoyed on this Virtual Tour included Montezuma's Oropendola, Great Curassow, Collared Aracaris, Green Honeycreeper, Violet-headed and Rufous-tailed Hummingbirds and many tanagers (to name a few highlights!).

Moth Trap at the Naturetrek Office

First aired 27th July, 7:30am 

Join our expert Dave Shute at the Naturetrek office, Hampshire, as he shows you what we caught overnight in our meadow... (full species list below can be provided on request!). Highlights included Poplar, Privet and Elephant Hawmoths, Chinese Character, Buff Ermine and more.
You can also join our Moth Traps in person at our monthly Open Days (from June to September). For more info, see:

Spanish Wetlands

First aired 20th July

Join resident Andalucía Naturetrek tour leaders Simon and Niki at two different superb Iberian wetland habitats! Situated on the eastern side of Doñana Natural Park, the salt pans of Bonanza are amongst Cádi's premier sites for wading birds, gulls and terns, and this is where we'll start our Virtual Tour. We'll be on the look-out for resident Kentish Plovers, Black-winged Stilts, Pied Avocets, Little Terns, Slender-billed Gulls and Greater Flamingoes as well as waders like Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Dunlin and Sanderling passing through these expansive salinas. After 30 minutes there will be a 10 minute break for you to get a coffee, and then Simon and Niki will transport you to the area's hidden pools and lagoons. Here, we hope to encounter exciting wildfowl like White-headed, Marbled and Ferruginous Ducks, Red-crested Pochard and Red-knobbed Coot. Other occupants hanging out in the lush waterside vegetation include Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Bittern, Purple Heron and Great Reed Warbler!

Costa Rica: Arenal Observatory Lodge

First aired 23rd June, 12:30pm (GMT+1)

Join us live at the wonderful Arenal Observatory Lodge, which sits on the lower slopes of Costa Rica’s spectacular Arenal Volcano. This is one of the country’s birding and wildlife hotspots surrounded by flower-filled gardens and lush mid-elevation forests inhabited by a wonderful variety of birds, mammals and other wildlife. Some of the species we hope to see on our virtual tour include Montezuma Oropendola, Keel-billed Toucan, Great Curassow, Red-legged Honeycreeper and Crested Guan to name but a few. Our guides, Paco Madrigal and Erick Guzman, may even be visited by a group of White-nosed Coatis or perhaps a troop of Mantled Howler Monkeys or Central American Spider Monkeys.

Greece – Cruising on Lake Kerkini:

First aired 24th May

In this live tour on Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece, with local guide Christos Kotselis and boat captain Nikos Gallios, we were transported across the lake and into one of Europe’s most exciting birding hotspots. Vast numbers of birds migrate through the region each spring and an impressive variety of waterbirds including both the White and the Dalmatian Pelican, Spoonbill and Night Herons nest on the islands and the inundated trees in the lake. Enjoy hearign about the history of Lake Kerkini and its rich ecosystem whilst viewing birds from the deck of Nikos’ boat.

Peru – Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu):

First aired 21st May

Enjoy 45 minutes of live birdwatching from the gardens of the sumptuous Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel in Aguas Calientes with our guide Jose Antonio. After 45 minutes, we then go for a stroll through Aguas Calientes (which is a bit of a ghost town at the moment!) before taking the bus ride up the mountain to Machu Picchu! While we wait for the bus, Andy Tucker, Naturetrek’s General Manager, uses the 30 minute gap to show an illustrated presentation of the hike along the Inca Trail, as well as taking any questions. Jose then re-joined us (at 1hr 35 mins in) to provide spellbinding views of Machu Picchu itself, and a guided walk around the citadel ruins! 

Spain – Honey Buzzard Migration from the Strait of Gibraltar:

First aired 6th May

Perfect conditions for migration greeted us for this virtual tour beamed live from southern Spain on 6th May. Our efforts were rewarded with an awe-inspiring passage of hundreds of Honey Buzzards, accompanied by superb commentary from tour leaders Niki Williamson and Simon Tonkin. 

Panama – Dawn along the Pipeline Road:

First aired 4th May

The third of our virtual tours from Panama was an ambitious effort with no feeding stations or platforms in sight. Watch for the tree full of toucans and a lovely surprise right at the end of this action-packed virtual tour!

The Pipeline Road is a favourite excursion of Naturetrek groups staying at the nearby Canopy Tower. On this Virtual Tour, Carlos gives us a sense of what it is like to spend the morning birding this transect. 

Panama – Dawn at Canopy Lodge

First aired 19th April

We were back with Carlos and the team in Panama for a virtual birding session streamed live from Canopy Lodge, with both Tody and Rufous Motmots and Tawny-crested Tanagers providing some of the highlights.
Canopy Lodge, in El Valle de Antón, is a beautiful lodge much enjoyed by Naturetrek groups in Panama. The lodge nestles in the caldera of an ancient volcano where the garden’s fruit feeders attract over 40 species of birds including Collared Aracari, Blue-grey Tanager, Crimson-backed Tanager, Flame-rumped Tanager, Thick-billed Euphonia, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Grey-cowled Wood-Rail, Red-crowned Woodpecker, Spot-crowned Barbet and others.

Ecuador – Early morning at Tambo Condor, Antisana:

First aired 16th April

Andean Condor, Giant Hummingbird, Streak-throated Bush-Tyrant and far-reaching views were the highlights of this early morning virtual tour on the slopes of Volcan Antisana, guided by Iris Schaffer. 

Naturetrek groups frequently stop for lunch at this rustic restaurant and in the surrounding scrubs and on feeders dotted around we also look for such birds as Rufous-collared Sparrow, Sparkling Violetear, Black-tailed Trainbearer, Shining Sunbeam and Black Flowerpiercer.

Ecuador – Dawn at 'Birdwatcher's House' with Andrea Molina

First aired 9th April

We re-visit Mindo, this time guided by Andrea Molina, who chats through life in lockdown in Ecuador and her work as a female bird tour leader, in between appearances by an array of tanagers and hummingbirds. 

Panama – Dawn at the Canopy Tower

First aired 19th March

A glorious sunny morning greeted us as we joined Carlos Bethancourt virtually atop the Canopy Tower in Panama, with Gartered Trogon, Black-breasted Puffbird and Mealy Parrot complementing the stunning views.

Ecuador – Dawn at 'Birdwatcher's House'

First aired 5th March

This is a recording of our first ever Virtual Tour on 5th March when we joined Naturetrek tour leader Manuel Sanchez in the gardens of Birdwatcher’s House in Mindo, NW Ecuador. Plate-billed Mountain Toucan and Toucan Barbet stole the show!

Birdwatcher's House is a favourite coffee stop on our 'Andes & Amazon' and 'Cock-of-the-Rock' tours. This session will bring back memories of such birds as Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Velvet-purple Coronet, Brown and Collared Incas, Violet-tailed Sylph, Gorgeted Sunangel plus a large variety of tanagers.