#Cuba #Birding Tour 2018 available, check out http://ift.tt/2mK17Vy

Cuba Birding - the Cuban Today is just one of the endemics on the island
The lovely Cuban Tody

Our 2018 Endemic Birds of Cuba tour is now available. During this tour we will spend eleven days enjoying the finest Cuba birding, beginning on the 1st of February 2018. The tour is designed to see all the island endemics as well as the regional endemics. We have had several people sign up, but there are still some spaces available. Let us know if you are interested!

For more details, check out: http://ift.tt/2mK17Vy

Bee Hummingbird, the world’s smallest bird, in Cuba

The Bee Hummingbird, smallest bird in the world, found only in CubaWe have uploaded our Birding Cuba Trip Report for our 2017 tour. Everyone involved had an incredible experience. We were able to observe a staggering number of birds during our last tour to Cuba – 181 species in all, including all the viable endemics and most of the regional endemics. One of the highlights, of course, was the must-see Bee Hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world.

We are already getting reservations for our upcoming tour. Let us know if you are interested!

See the link for the trip report below:

http://ift.tt/2b3nSNC…

Cuban Trogon – Cuba’s colorful national bird

Cuban Trogon - a Cuban endemicOur first tour to #Cuba is about to begin! Cuba is the largest and most biodiverse island in the Caribbean. Pictured here is a Cuban Trogon, one of the 26 endemic species that can be seen in Cuba, in addition to the many near endemic and regional endemics. If you are interested in participating in our next tour to the island, send us an email. We have 8 spots available right now!

We found the Elusive Snow Leopard !

Snow Leopard in LadakhThe Snow Leopard is one of the rarest and most elusive felines in Nature. They live in the mountains of Central Asia in areas of difficult access. Their low numbers continue to be threatened by poaching and the illegal trade.
Very few people have had the chance to observe this animal in the wild and even fewer have been able to photograph it.
Whitehawk is currently in India, leading a trip looking for these beautiful cats and we are happy to report that once again, our clients have been very fortunate and have seen one or more Snow Leopards nearly EVERY day of the tour.
We will be repeating this fantastic trip very soon and encourage you to contact us if you are interested in participating.
Whitehawk donates 25% of its profits from this trip to @SnowLeopardTrust, one of the leading organizations dedicated to the conservation of this endangered cat.

Today is Vulture Awareness Day – help raise awareness!

The King Vulture - a species worth celebrating on Vulture Awareness Day, Today is Vulture Awareness Day! Therefore, we want to lend our voices to help spread the word about how important vultures are for the environment, and how they are currently suffering many threats, with some species even facing extinction.

In the Americas, the California Condor is considered to be Critically Endangered, while the Andean Condor is Near Threatened. These two species are amongst the largest species of birds alive, and the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere.

The other five species found in the Americas are doing well throughout most of their range, however, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be taken into account! One of our all-time favorites is the King Vulture. There’s probably not a fancier, better-looking vulture in the world, and it’s always a highlight during our tours. One of best places to see these spectacular birds is beautiful Belize, where we regularly run birding trips.

In the picture, we can see an adult King Vulture surrounded by lush tropical forest in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize.

Canary Islands Endemics Trip report is out! http://ift.tt/2bbQ7No

One of the Canary Islands Endemics - the Great Spotted WoodpeckerWe uploaded the Canary Islands Endemics Trip Report to our website. You can find a description of our itinerary and pictures of some of the highlights, like this Great Spotted Woodpecker of the subspecies canariensis, endemic to the island of Tenerife.

You can also find links to eBird lists from the trip, which we share to all eBird users that join our tours. This is very convenient to keep track of your lists when traveling on tour, as our tour leaders take care of submitting the lists!

This is the direct link to the report: http://ift.tt/2b3nSNC…

We hope you like it and that encourages you to join our next tour to the islands!

Environmental Education: Whitehawk’s Program thrives!

Environmental Education with first graders in Panama Despite its relatively small size, Panama is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world. Like many other countries, it struggles to find the balance between progress and preservation. We believe that one of the best ways to promote the continued conservation of a nation’s wildlife and wild places is to instill a love for our natural world in all of its citizens. Therefore, a little over 3 years ago, Whitehawk implemented its pilot Jr. Naturalist Program with first graders from Balboa Academy in Panama City. Last year, we were thrilled when the Metropolitan School of Panama joined our environmental education program.

Environmental Education: Where Nature and Learning Meet

Since we began the program, our goal has been to use the small fee paid by these private schools to subsidize the same environmental education program for public school children. This year were able to realize this goal! In June we brought our program, free of charge, to the Omar Torrijos school in Paraiso. We worked with three first grade classrooms to teach them about birds, bird adaptations, bird identification, and rainforests. The first activity was an in-class visit where students had the opportunity to dress up like birds and find “birds” hidden around the classroom.

Our next activity was a visit to  Metropolitan Natural Park.  Over three days, a total of 62 students were able to experience the park’s natural wonders up close . We spent each morning searching for sloths, birds, butterflies, turtles and other wildlife. Likewise, we also spent time learning about the trees and other plants that make up a rainforest. We at Whitehawk were surprised to learn that this was the first time many of the students, or their teachers, had been to Metropolitan Park and it was a thrill for us to see the look of wonderment and joy as they took it all in. At the end of the program, we were invited to come back next year and we are already looking forward it.

Humpback Whales come to Panama to give birth to their calves

Amazing view of a Humpback Whale in Panama Though Panama is well known for its tropical forests, colorful butterflies, abundant avifauna and impressive land mammals, one of its best-kept secrets is the opportunity it provides for excellent Humpback whales and dolphin watching.

Starting in mid June the first Humpback Whales arrive to the shallow waters of the Pearl Islands Archipelago to give birth to their calves. They remain there until late October before continuing on with their migration.

This time of year is also a good time to see pods of Pantropical Spotted Dolphins and many species of sea birds, including Blue-footed and Brown Boobies, colonies of Magnificent Frigatebirds, Black Skimmers and several species of terns and gulls.

We are happy to announce that Whitehawk is now offering Whale watching tours. Next time you are in Panama, consider spending a day with the whales – it will make a great addition to your birding experience!

Seeing mammals in #CentralAmerica trips is not unusual, like this Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth in Panama City!

Two-toed Sloth - one of the many mammals in Central America
Hoffman’s Two-toed Sloth

Considering how thick the tropical forest can be, it is quite surprising how many mammals one gets to see while hiking in the jungle. Coatis, several species of monkeys, sloths, tamanduas, armadillos… all can be seen relatively easily on a trip to the Neotropics. Even though we specialize in birding trips, everyone, even the most hardcore birder, enjoys seeing mammals in the wild. On many occasions, an encounter with a sloth or a troop of monkeys is the highlight of the day. Thankfully, seeing mammals in Central America can be relatively easy.

There are  378 species of mammals in Central America – about 21% of the number of species you can see in South America, but in less than 5% of the area. It is indeed an enormously biodiverse region. This high diversity is partly because of the Great American Interchange, a massive biogeographical event that took place when the volcanic Isthmus of Panama rose up from the sea floor and united North and South America. This resulted in the migration of mammals from both sides, causing the extinction of many species, and the colonization of new areas for others.

On our tours we take note, not only of birds, but also all mammals and reptiles seen, which we believe leads to a better understanding of the ecosystems we are visiting and increases the learning value of the whole experience. And you? Are you interested in mammals as well as birds? Would you participate in a trip that focuses in this class of animals? Let us know!