GENERAL: Late autumn is a wonderful time to visit the bird-rich Delmarva Peninsula. We’ll visit Bombay Hook and Prime Hook NWR’s in Delaware where huge flocks of waterfowl reside, Bald Eagles hunt, and late-season migrants such as pipits, larks, and perhaps a longspur may be found. From our base in Chincoteague, Virginia, we’ll spend two days birding Virginia’s Eastern Shore at places like Kiptopeke State Park and Chincoteague NWR. Kiptopeke is strategically situated at the bottom of the Delmarva Peninsula and funnels migrants just like Cape May. We should expect to see a large variety of waterbirds, raptors, Brown-headed Nuthatch, and perhaps a rarity or two. Previous trips have recorded such goodies as Eurasian Wigeon, American White Pelican, Swainson’s & Rough-legged Hawks, Sandhill Crane, Bar-tailed Godwit, White-winged Dove, Western Kingbird, Cave Swallow, and Yellow-headed Blackbird, among others. Expect approximately 140 species of birds, plus the Chincoteague ponies, Sika Deer, other mammals, and late-season butterflies and odes.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Easy
COST: Cost is $1,295 per person, based on double occupancy; $300 single supplement. Price includes round-trip van transportation from NJ to Virginia, three nights’ accommodation, tour leadership, and entrance fees. Meals are not included. A deposit of $100 will hold your place until Oct 7, 2022 when full payment becomes due.
Scott Barnes: Scott Barnes began birding in the mid-1980’s and has been an avid naturalist ever since. Encouragement and learning came from his parents and many birders, including members of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club and staff of New Jersey Audubon. An interest in travel and natural history has led him from the Bering Sea to the desert southwest to the tropics of Central America in search of birds and other wildlife. Scott compiles the Sandy Hook Christmas Bird Count, served for thirteen years on the New Jersey Bird Records Committee, was a leader on See Life Paulagics boat trips for 19 years, serves on the NJ Waterfowl Stamp Advisory Committee, and is an eBird reviewer for NJ. He is the assistant director of the NJ Audubon Travel Program. Scott has led NJ Audubon tours in 23 states in the U.S., and Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Linda Mack: Linda Mack’s interest in birding began more than twenty-five years ago on a Cape May Weekend and she has been hooked ever since. She served as a member of New Jersey Audubon’s Board of Directors for fourteen years and is an Associate Naturalist for All Things Birds. She is a past President, Program Chair, and Conservation Chair for Monmouth County Audubon Society and served as a voting member of the New Jersey Bird Records Committee. Linda has traveled extensively throughout North America and to Trinidad & Tobago, Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama in Central America. Her infectious enthusiasm and willingness to share knowledge are well known. She has co-led tours to 22 states in the U.S., and is a regular leader on long weekend trips to coastal Massachusetts, the Adirondack Mountains, and Bombay Hook.
This fun and easy exploration of Puerto Rico’s prime birding locations will target the nation’s endemics and specialties. We’ll seek all 17 endemics plus a whole list of Caribbean specialties.
Many of the species we will seek are threatened or endangered … and in the case of the Puerto Rican Parrot, there are very few left.
During our trip we will explore a variety of habitats from the northern Atlantic coast to the forests of “haystack hills” in the west, to the southwest coast, and dry forests along the Caribbean Sea, the central mountain rainforest and eastern coastal region.
Your guide will be Gabriel Lugo, a certified Puerto Rico guide.
Pace, Weather and Travel Conditions:
The pace of this tour is easy to moderate. Easy walks with a fair bit of driving between locations.
March 19 to 25, 2023. Tour starts and ends in San Juan.
EASY TO MODERATE
This tour is limited to 14 participants. Please note there is very limited availability.
A current U.S. passport valid for 6 months beyond your travel dates is required.
Cost is $3150 per person, based on double occupancy, from San Juan, Puerto Rico. If single occupancy is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, the single supplement of $400 will be added.
All lodging, meals, guide fees, ground transportation, airport transfers.
Price does not include:
International airfare, passport fees, visa fees, airport taxes, phone calls, alcoholic or bottled beverages, or anything of a personal nature or not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary.
Send Deposits and Payments To:
All arrangements are made through Wildside Nature Tours. For more information, or to register, please contact Wildside Nature Tours by phone at 888-875-9453.
Please be sure you let Wildside staff know that you learned about this tour thru NJ Audubon/Cape May Bird Observatory. Or, click here for details, including itinerary, on this tour.
Gabriel Lugo: Gabriel Lugo is a certified Puerto Rico guide. His passion for birding was sparked by an invitation to join an Audubon Christmas Bird Count a number of years ago. A curiosity became a passion and Gabriel was soon making major sightings throughout Puerto Rico, earning a strong reputation with the local birding community.
Gabriel has since become one of the top birding guides in Puerto Rico. His contributions to Puerto Rico birding led him to be elected as President of the Puerto Rico Ornithological Society. Gabriel’s eyes and ears have proven him an excellent birder and his contagious enthusiasm helped make him an excellent leader.
Mexico Monarch Migration 2023: February 5 to 11, 2023
Price: $3,995.00/person, based on double occupancy. Single supplement $250
Tour starts and ends in Mexico City
Offered in partnership with Holbrook Travel
Virtually all monarch butterflies found east of the Rocky Mountains in the US and Canada migrate to central Mexico in the autumn. Here they cluster by the millions in just a few small patches of mountain forest within the Transvolcanic Mountain Range, west of Mexico City. Join NJ Audubon’s Gretchen Whitman, Director of NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, (NCCM) and Emily Wilmoth NCCM Teacher Naturalist, for a visit to three of the Reserves where astounding numbers of wintering monarch butterflies may be seen. Along the way get a taste of the history and culture of Mexico.
ACTIVITY LEVEL: ACTIVE
PACE, WEATHER, TRAVEL CONDITIONS: This is an active adventure in high-altitude conditions (over 10,000 feet). Participants should be in good health and able to hike comfortably at high elevation for a distance of 2-3 miles to the colony site and then back the same way (could be around 5 miles of hiking in one day). Typically, the hike takes between one and two hours, but the colony site varies throughout the season, so hiking times and distances may vary. There may be opportunities to hire a horse (at an additional cost) for travel to one or more of the reserves.
INCUDED: Lodging, meals, entrance fees and activities listed in itinerary; private vehicle transportation unless otherwise noted in itinerary; non-alcoholic beverages with meals, full time local guide for duration of program; most tips/gratuities except main guide and driver.
TOUR COSTS NOT INCLUDED: Flights, trip insurance, alcoholic beverages, phone calls, laundry, any item of a personal nature, anything not specifically mentioned as included.
Additional information about the tour, with specific meeting times, a list of participants, lists of things to bring, a reading list, a list of probable/possible birds, further information about weather, dress, etc., will be mailed to all participants well in advance of the tour.
DEPOSIT REQUIREMENTS: Deposit of $500 required to reserve space. Final Payment due by November 1, 2022.
SEND DEPOSITS & OTHER PAYMENTS TO: NJA Eco-Travel, c/o Rene’ Buccinna, 600 Route 47 North, Cape May Court House NJ 08210 tel. 609-400-3852 or [email protected] Please make checks payable to New Jersey Audubon.
For inquiries and a detailed itinerary, please email [email protected]
Emily Wilmoth: Emily Wilmoth is the Program Director for New Jersey Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May. She has a bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in Environmental Education from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She loves all things with wings including birds, bats, and insects like the monarch butterfly. Emily conducts school and family programs focusing on monarchs, organizes an annual monarch festival, and assists with tagging efforts for Cape May’s Monarch Monitoring Project.
Gretchen Whitman: For 24 years Gretchen L. Whitman has served as New Jersey Audubon’s southern most environmental education center’s director. Overseeing not only the daily operations of this award-winning facility, Whitman has been an instrumental leader in expanding the suite of nature-based programs for all ages.
As a master gardener who helped coordinate the County’s programming, Gretchen also strives to show the gardens and grounds of the Center as model for backyard wildlife habitat gardening. She utilizes her education talents in holding a variety of gardening workshops focusing on native plants and sustainable practices.
New Jersey Audubon’s Eco-Travel Program has taken participants around the world for over 30 years.
NJ Audubon staff design natural history and birding trips to a variety of domestic and foreign destination sites, ranging from relaxed nature getaways to relatively intensive birding adventures. Specific trip goals are stated in each trip’s itinerary, but one goal of every trip is for participants to better understand ecological systems both far and near, and from that understanding to maintain a high ethic concerning earth and resource stewardship in their daily lives. By traveling with New Jersey Audubon, you are helping preserve your natural heritage, since proceeds from our Eco-Travel Program directly support NJAudubon’s mission of conservation, environmental education, and wildlife research.
The goal of NJ Audubon’s Eco-Travel Program is to reflect our broad conservation mission through a balanced offering of natural history and birding ecotours for NJ Audubon members, New Jersey residents, and any other interested individuals.
These tours reflect natural systems education and maintain a high ethic concerning earth and resource stewardship.
COVID PROTOCOLS FOR NJA ECO-TRAVEL
NJ Audubon continues to put health and safety first. We follow federal and state health guidance about best practices to ensure the health and safety of participants, staff and volunteers. These requirements may change, depending on both domestic and international COVID-19 conditions.
Because our travelers come from many areas and are in close contact with each other for extended periods of time, NJA requires all leaders and participants to be fully vaccinated (two shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or one shot of J&J) with at least one booster.
Participants must submit proof of vaccination to NJA Eco-Travel office no later than two weeks prior to tour start date. Participants should carry their vaccination card or photocopy with them on the tour; an image on your mobile phone is usually adequate.
We highly recommend that all travel participants self-test no more than 3 days prior to the tour to do everything possible to keep everyone safe. If the tour is visiting an international destination, there may be additional requirements to enter/exit the country.
Pre-tour recommendations to minimize your exposure:
- Avoid mid-large size gatherings.
- Practice social distancing, wear masks when indoors in public places
- Purchase travel insurance that specifically covers COVID-related illnesses or expenses.
During the tour:
- Use of face coverings is optional and based on individual comfort level, unless it is required by a transportation conveyance or country/state/local policy
- Bring several well-fitting face masks and plenty of hand sanitizer on the tour.
- We will make every effort to dine outdoors and to minimize contact with people outside the group.
- If you feel ill or exhibit any possible COVID symptoms during the tour, let the tour leader know immediately.
NJ AUDUBON ECO-TOURS FEATURE:
- Small group size (maximum 12 on most trips)
- Leader to participant ratio of 1:6 or better on domestic tours
- Destinations planned to coincide with greatest bird diversity
- Window seats for all participants on most domestic tours
WE OFFER TOURS WITH A VARIETY OF PACES AND GOALS:
- Relaxed vacations with nature
- General ecology exploring a diversity of animal and plant groups, as well as geology
- General ecology with a focus on birdlife
- Intensive birding adventures
A NOTE on PHOTOGRAPHY
NJ Audubon tours provide plenty of opportunities to take photos of birds, other animals and scenery. If you enjoy digiscoping, please contact the tour leader about bringing your own telescope as the leader’s scope will be utilized for all tour participants. Serious photography is not a focus of NJ Audubon tours, unless specified. The NJ Audubon tour leader will manage participants’ photographic desires with birdwatching activities.
Learn about past Eco Travel tours
Hear from our guides and attendees, view stunning images and discover what species they encountered
Activity Levels Defined
In addition to being properly prepared for the trip in terms of attire and optical equipment, for maximum enjoyment of any Eco-Travel tour, you should be properly prepared for the activity level of the tour. We have developed the following logos and descriptions for use to define the activity level of each of our tours. Please make sure your tour selection matches your expectations in terms of daily activity. For instance, if you are a recreational birder who enjoys short walks, or are not capable of hiking, then a tour listed as “Moderate” or “Active” is not for you. However, if you enjoy long hikes in more remote areas, then you should focus on our “Active” tours. In all cases, please contact us if you have any questions regarding the activity level for any tour.
A relaxed tour with low activity. Daily walks include walking relatively short distances over level terrain or paved walkways. Tour involves mostly van travel, with stops at various sites. Minimal steps. Free time to relax between morning and afternoon outings.
A more active tour with daily intermediate- to long-distance walking on sloping or uneven terrain, and/or climbing stairs. Includes several long field days, with many lunches in the field. Those with physical limitations should take this into consideration, or contact the tour leader for details.
An intensive tour with long-distance, sometimes strenuous hiking most days. Participants should be physically fit.
Be sure to read and understand the following New Jersey Audubon Society Eco-Travel Policies before booking a trip with us.
Click Here to download our policy document in PDF format.
Participants in NJ Audubon Eco-travel are expected to understand and accept the conditions covering tour price, refund policy, responsibility, and terms as outlined in the tour information. By registering, participants affirm that they have read the itinerary and are in general good health and are physically able to keep up with the group in the ordinary course of field activities. Participants accept as their personal risk the hazards of participation inherent in field activities, and will not hold the New Jersey Audubon Society or its tour leaders responsible for same.
NJ Audubon reserves the right, at the sole discretion of the tour leader, to ask a participant to leave any group trip at their own expense, if, in the leader’s judgment, that person’s continued participation is detrimental to the overall quality of the tour, to other trip members or to the individual. In such a case, NJ Audubons’ liability would be limited to costs recoverable, if any, by NJ Audubon from vendors and tour operators of unused portions of the tour. We reserve the right to decline the registration of any individual whose previous conduct on a NJ Audubon program has been deemed detrimental.
Minors (children under the age of 18) are welcome as participants on some (not all) of our tours. Minor participants must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Please confirm suitability of the tour for minors with the tour leader before registering.
To register for a specific tour, to request detailed itineraries for specific tours, or for additional information, contact:
NJ Audubon ECO-TRAVEL
600 Route 47 North
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
E-mail: [email protected]
Click Here to download the Registration Form in fillable PDF format.
Click here to download the Registration Form as a fillable word document
A registration form must be completed in full and signed by the participant (s) for all tours.
All tours require a $500 deposit on registration, with the balance due 60 days prior to the start of the tour for domestic tours, unless otherwise noted in the tour information. For international tours, refer to the individual tour information.
Deposits are required to reserve your space, unless otherwise stated in the tour itinerary. All tours (with the exception of weekend van tours) require a $500/person deposit on registration, with the balance due 60 days prior to the start of the tour for domestic tours, unless otherwise noted in the tour information. For international tours, please refer to the individual tour information.
For weekend van tours, the required deposit is $50/person, with the balance due 30 days prior to the start of the tour.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, personal check, or cash as payment for tours.
The following items are not included in the tour price unless specifically stated in the tour itinerary: Airfare to and from departure city, passports, visas, departure taxes, immunizations, excess baggage charges, optional excursions, telephone calls, alcoholic beverages, laundry, room service, snacks and anything of a purely personal nature, excursions deviating from the scheduled tour, gratuities to non NJ Audubon employees (bus drivers, local guides, tour operators, lodge staff etc.). NJ Audubon employees are unable to accept gratuities.
The New Jersey Audubon Society reserves the right to alter itinerary or arrangements, if necessary, without penalty; and to prorate any increases or decreases in trip price caused by such alterations; and to cancel the tour at any time prior to departure, with full refund as settlement to tour participants.
REFUNDS FOR DOMESTIC TOURS
For cancellations more than 60 days before the starting date of the trip, deposits will be returned less a $50.00 service charge. Cancellations made 60 days or less before the starting date of the trip will be charged $250.00, unless the space can be filled (in which case the $50.00 service charge would apply). However, if cancellations made less than 60 days before the start of the tour take place after hotels and vans have been booked and other services contracted for, hotel, van rental and other service policies will determine what portion, if any, of payments are recoverable. No refunds will be made to no-shows or for any unused portion of the tour, unless arranged prior to departure date.
Deposits transferred from tour to tour are subject to service charge schedule for cancellations and are conditional upon available space for tours.
All cancellations must be in writing and are presumed final.
FOR INTERNATIONAL TOURS
Refer to the individual tour information.
IN CASE OF CANCELLATION OF A TRIP BY NJ AUDUBON
Rarely, NJ Audubon Eco-travel programs must be cancelled by us.
We make every effort to avoid this situation. If a trip is in danger of being cancelled, we will notify any participants of that fact two weeks prior to the date final payment for the trip is due.
If NJ Audubon cancels a trip, and has notified participants of the potential cancellation 10 weeks prior to departure, and notifies participants of final cancellation four or more weeks before scheduled departure, our liability is restricted to refunding in full any deposits or payments that have been made to NJ Audubon for the trip.
Tour participants are required to make arrangements for their own air travel unless this is covered by the tour price. Please do not purchase non-refundable air tickets until assured that the trip will run as planned. We recommend purchasing travel insurance and/or deferring the purchase of airline tickets until the date final payment is due (normally 60 days prior to departure), at which time it will be known whether the trip will run or is in danger of cancellation.
New Jersey Audubon, as tour operator, does not act as an agent for any person or firm providing transportation, accommodations, or services on the tour; and the Society accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage, expense, injury or claim arising from any defect in any vehicle, conveyance, or accommodation provided by any such person or firm. Neither shall New Jersey Audubon be held responsible for any loss or delay caused by changes in transportation services, strikes, illness, weather, or other cause. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance.
Download our TRAVEL POLICIES document in PDF format.