Birdwatching Olympics in BonaireT he Caribbean island...


Birdwatching Olympics in Bonaire

T he Caribbean island of Bonaire is holding its first Birdwatching Olympics, a program to encourage experienced and novice birders to spot some of the 190 species found there, from Sept. 20 to 26, a peak migration period. The competition will provide birders with opportunities to see such rare birds as the Caribbean Eleania, the Amazona parrot and the Caribbean parakeet during access to private property and expanded hours at the Washington-Slagbaai National Park, a 13,500-acre wildlife preserve.

Medals and prizes will be awarded at a weekend barbecue to the three individuals who spot the most species. A committee comprised of Bonaire and foreign birding experts will oversee the competition. The committee has identified 10 sites, including three in the national park, as prime locations for birdwatching.

Registration costs $75 a person, which includes a ticket to the awards dinner. Information: (212) 779-0242 or (800) 826-6247.

Playing at being Chuck Yeager

Ever wanted to climb behind the control stick of a fighter plane? Air combat U.S.A., (800) 522-7590, and Sky Warriors Laser Combat, (404) 699-7000, can arrange it. Count on paying $400 or more for the chance to play Chuck Yeager.

The air-fun outfits are described in the July/August issue of Endless Vacation, a magazine aimed at time-share owners. You can get the July/August issue by sending a $5 check to Endless Vacations, 3502 Woodview Trace, Indianapolis, Ind.46268; phone (317) 871-9500.

Think ahead to pumpkins, cider, apples fall in N.Y.

W ith the arrival of the crisp, cool air of autumn, visitors to New York State naturally think of wine, apples, pumpkins and all the bounty of the fall harvest. The I Love New York September calendar invites travelers to tour, taste and take some home.

A fall foliage hot line becomes operational Sept. 16. Reports of specific color conditions across the state will be available via a toll-free number, (800) CALL NYS (225-5697). Callers may also get information on other events Monday through Friday during regular business hours.

A two-month exhibit opening Sept. 10 at Ellis Island revolves around the seven million immigrants who sailed to America from the German ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven between 1815 and 1915. Among them were Felix Frankfurter, Irving Berlin and Kahlil Gibran. The exhibit, "Fame, Fortune and Sweet Liberty," will show the stages of the immigrants' travels, using historical photographs, videos, props and audio explanations. Information: (212) 363-5830.

Although more than 700 cities and areas in China are open to visitors without permits, Chinese regulations prohibit travel in certain areas withoutspecial permission, a State Department advisory says. In particular, Americans visting Tibet must apply in advance for approval from the tourism administration of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Americans should defer all travel to Peru, says another State Department advisory, issued July 23, because of an upsurge in terrorist violence.

Adventure trips to Israel

Rafting on the Jordan River, spending a night in a Bedouin-style tent, camel trekking and relaxing at a Dead Sea spa are some of the activities in store on Isratrek-'92, 10-day adventure trips to Israel in October.

The trip -- for get-up-and-go types -- includes hiking, climbing, horseback riding and Jeep trekking. Stops include Jerusalem and Masada as well as Rosh Hanikra, the northernmost point on Israel's Mediterranean coast, and Qumrun, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

The rate is $2,995 (per person, double occupancy) and covers round-trip air fare from Chicago, deluxe lodging, meals (including a "Roman feast" with togas) and activities.

Departure dates are Oct. 19 and 25.

The trips are available from Isratrek-'92, Suite 295, 600 Central Ave., Highland Park, Ill. 60035; (800) 878-5344 or (708) 831-6671.

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