The Jungle Babbler - Tropical Birding's newsletter

August 30th, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter! In this issue we feature a great winter tour to Japan, which we are offering again next year, along with the usual tour status updates, new tours, new trip reports, and upcoming events.


Japan in Winter: Birding on Ice

Japan has a long held fascination to people from the west; a modern country that seems so far away, and so different from everything we know. Japan is arguably at its very best in winter, when snow covers the ground; giant Steller’s Sea-Eagles (below) come in from Russia to rest on sea-borne ice floes; Japanese Macaques, or “Snow Monkeys” come to bathe in hot springs during the seasonal temperatures; and one of the largest of all owls, the colossal Blakiston’s Fish-Owl, comes in to hunt fish by night along tranquil snow bordered streams. And that’s not to mention the cranes; Japan is one of the ultimate countries on Earth for the family with up to 7 different species possible. Among the regular sightings are tens of thousands of Hooded and White-naped Cranes on the southern island of Kyushu, and the immaculate and regal Red-crowned Cranes (above) on the northern island of Hokkaido, which patrol the snowfields and take low flights over the heads of the awestruck birders. Japan is also home to numerous other rare and endangered birds, like Scaly-sided Merganser, Baikal Teal, and Japanese Murrelet. The tour will be led by Charley Hesse, who once lived in this country and not only is he fluent in the language, but also has a deep understanding of the culture of this unique country. A short extension at the end offers time at sea to search for pelagics, like the rare Short-tailed Albatross, and stops off on a small island for the newly recognized endemic Owston’s Tit.

Next tour dates:
Main tour: 4 - 17 February 2017
Pelagic extension: 17 – 18 February 2017
Tour Leader: Charley Hesse
Click here for more info on this tour

We are offering a limited-time 10% discount on the following tours

South Africa: Fairest Cape to Kruger 9-25 September 2016
Northwest Ecuador: In Search of Choco Endemics 26 Sept-9 Oct 2016
Eastern Ecuador: High Andes to Vast Amazon 29 Oct-12 Nov 2016

All of these tours are confirmed and still have space available at time of writing. 

Birding tours:
South Africa: Fairest Cape to Kruger 9-25 September 2016
Northwest Ecuador: In Search of Choco Endemics 26 Sept-9 Oct 2016
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 23-30 October 2016
Eastern Ecuador: High Andes to Vast Amazon 29 Oct-12 Nov 2016
Northwest Argentina (including Iguazu extension) 1-12 Dec 2016 (1 available)
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 10-17 December 2016
Southern Ecuador: Highland Rarities & Tumbesian Endemics 7-23 Jan 2017
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 22-29 January 2017
Costa Rica: The Introtour 16-26 February 2017
The Philippines: Endangered Endemics 27 February - 15 March 2017
Jamaica: The Caribbean Introtour 25-30 March 2017
Kazakhstan: Birding the Silk Road 5-17 June 2017
Mongolia: The Great Asian Wilderness 26 June - 3 July 2017
Lowland Jungles of Borneo: Broadbills and Bristleheads 1-11 July 2017
Brazil: The Pantanal and Amazon 26 Aug - 9 Sep 2017
Brazil: The Atlantic Forest Introtour 10-17 September 2017

Photo tours:
India Photo Journey 3-19 February 2017

Birding tours:
Madagascar: The Eighth Continent 7-23 November 2016
Northern Colombia: Santa Marta Mountains & The Caribbean 11-19 Feb 2017
Oaxaca: Legendary Birds and Temples 15-26 March 2017
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 18-25 June 2017
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour 5-12 August 2017
Northern Peru: Across the Marañon Canyon 13-29 August 2017

Photo tours:
Ecuador Photo Journey 29 Nov-8 Dec 2016
Ecuador Photo Journey 14-23 January 2017
Costa Rica Photo Journey 18 Feb-1 Mar 2017

Ecuador Photo Journey 15-24 July 2017

A new tour to Israel will be of interest especially to fans of migration:
Israel: Migration Hotspot at the Crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe 14-25 March 2018

We have added three expedition cruises to the Russian Far East - two of these have trip reports by TB guide Lisle Gwynn - check them out in the Trip Reports section - they will tell you a lot about what the tour is like.

Ring of Fire: Kamchatka, the Commanders, and the Kurils 30 May - 11 June 2017
Russia: Sea of Okhotsk and Sakhalin Island 12-23 June 2017
Siberia’s Forgotten Coast 27 June - 10 July 2017

These are just some of the tours we offer; for the complete tour schedule, please see our website at Also don't forget that we run dozens of customized private tours every year to these and many other destinations; a custom tour can be an attractive option for groups that enjoy traveling together, for those who want to get off the beaten track, or for people whose work schedules make joining a set-departure tour difficult.

Costa Rica: The Introtour 16-26 February 2017
Colorado: Chasing Chickens from Prairie to Mountaintop 11-20 April 2017
Northern Peru: Across the Marañon Canyon 13-29 August 2017
Eastern Ecuador: High Andes to Vast Amazon 10-24 October 2017

For more trip reports, click here.

Costa Rica: The Introtour, July 2016 (set departure tour)
Brazil: The Atlantic Forest Introtour, July 2016 (set departure tour)
Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk, June 2016 (set departure expedition cruise)
Russia’s Ring of Fire, May-June 2016 (set departure expedition cruise)
Uganda & Rwanda, Jan-Feb 2016 (custom tour)
Ecuador: The Andes Introtour, June 2016 (set-departure tour)
Brazil: The Pantanal and Amazon, June-July 2016 (set-departure tour)
Borneo: June-July 2016 (custom tour)
Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice: June 2016 (set departure tour)
Scotland and Ireland, June 2016 (set departure tour)

Catch up with the Tropical Birding guides and staff at the following events.

American Birding Expo 16-18 September 2016. We'll have a stand at this year's event in Colombus, Ohio, one of the largest trade shows available to birders in North America. It is free and open to the public, though attendees who preregister get special benefits.
Cape May Fall Bird Festival 21-23 October 2016. Iain Campbell and Sam Woods will be attending this year's festival, giving photo procession workshops, and leading photography walks.
Nature Visons Photo Expo 18-20 November 2016. Iain and Cristina will be heading down to this weekend event in Manassas, Virginia.

Just send us an email to or call us at (800) 348-5941 or +1-409-515-9110 to check availability and ask any questions you might have. We'll then send you a link to our online booking form. Once we receive your booking form, we'll send you invoice for the tour deposit.
Tropical Birding Tours
(800) 348-5941