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Virtual Tours

Join a LIVE online Naturetrek wildlife tour – for free!

Although our wings have been clipped for the time being, preventing those of us in the UK from heading overseas, we remain as keen as ever to offer you some quality guided wildlife-viewing to enjoy, albeit from your own home! We have rallied several of our leaders around the world to deliver live, 45-minute online tours, where you can enjoy ‘walking’ with them to enjoy stunning landscapes and wildlife. Our leaders are thrilled to have an opportunity to resume doing what they do best, and can’t wait to bring their love and passion for their local wildlife to your screens. Some of you may have travelled with them on previous Naturetrek tours, in which case, you are welcome to revisit as old friends!

Our virtual tours are free to join, although there will be an opportunity towards the end of the tour to leave a voluntary donation/tip. There will be absolutely no pressure or obligation to do so. Any proceeds will be divided equally between the local guide(s) and Naturetrek (to help meet our costs).

Each virtual tour will be introduced by a Naturetrek staff member before handing over to our tour leader on location. Sessions will be hosted on Zoom, with the live chat function enabling you to put questions to the leader as the virtual tour unfolds. Please register by clicking on the links below to reserve your place(s). Also on this page are recordings of some of our previously-aired virtual tours – we hope you enjoy them! 


NEW: Spain – In search of the Rufous-tailed Bush Robin

Monday 21st June, 8am (GMT+1)

Join us in the organic, nature-friendly vineyards of Trebujena, Cádiz Province – featured on our Swift Weekend tour – where such Mediterranean birds as Melodious Warblers, Woodchat Shrikes and Red-rumped Swallows live amongst, and above, the vines. The star of our show will be the Rufous-tailed Bush Robin. Declared endangered in Spain, this gorgeous migratory passerine finds its remaining stronghold on these traditionally-managed farms.
Join us at 8am (UK time).

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NEW: Costa Rica – Arenal Observatory Lodge

Wednesday 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.

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Spain – Breakfast at the Vulture Café!

Monday 28th June, 8am (GMT+1)

The Egyptian Vulture is endangered and declining, but in Spain its population is beginning to buck this downward trend, thanks to intensive conservation efforts. This morning we join our local guides, Simon & Niki in Andalucía, at a vulture feeding station run by conservation organisation Fundación Migres, to learn more about one such project. Here we hope to see some of these fascinating and beautiful birds up close, devouring their breakfast among hordes of equally beautiful Griffon Vultures! An appetizing start to the day!

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NEW: Ecuador – Mindo Loma with Alejandro Solano

Wednesday 30th June, 1pm (GMT+1)

A new venue for our virtual tours in Ecuador, this small, friendly, family-run lodge accommodates our Cock-of-the-Rock groups several times a year. We will update with likely bird species closer to the time.

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NEW: Costa Rica – Paraiso de Quetzal Lodge, Talamanca Mountains

Wednesday 7th July, 12:30pm (GMT+1)

Join our tour leaders Paco Madrigal and Esteban Biamonte live in the moss-draped cloudforests of Costa Rica to enjoy the montane birdlife of the Talamanca Mountains. Paraiso de Quetzal Lodge sits at around 2,600 metres (8,700 feet) in the Cerro de la Muerte Highlands. The lodge’s private cloudforest reserve is home to a wonderful variety of birdlife and the hummingbird feeders that edge its observation deck ‘hum’ with White-throated Mountain-gems, Fiery-throated Hummingbirds, Talamanca Hummingbirds and Volcano Hummingbirds, amongst others. In the surrounding reserve we will be looking for Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher, Acorn Woodpecker, Sooty Thursh and Collared Whitestart to name but a few, and, if luck is really on our side, we may even find a Resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rica’s most famous avian inhabitant and one of the most beautiful birds in the World!

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NEW: Spain – Southern Spanish Wetlands

Tuesday 20th July 9am (GMT+1)

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!

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NEW: Spain – Early Autumn Migration Spectacular!

Monday 2nd August 9am (GMT+1)

While the spectacle of the September raptor migration across The Straits of Gibraltar is becoming well known, few are aware the southwards passage of raptors and soaring birds is already beginning in earnest by July! Join local guides Simon and Niki as the season begins in spectacular fashion, and tens of thousands of Black Kites and White Storks gather in Andalucía to make the crossing!
Join us at 9am (UK time).

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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!

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.


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' 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. 


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.


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.


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. 


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. 


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! 


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.