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Tour Leaders

Alexander Alvarado

Alexander grew up in Copan Ruinas in western Honduras. He became interested in birds many years ago whilst working for a hotel in Copan. He then began to work for a bird park and nature reserve in Copan which served as an open door for his passion. In 2006 he started studying Honduran birds in different habitats by traveling to various parts of the country and at that time started guiding birders in Copan Ruinas. He is a member of the Honduran Ornithological Association and is now one of the top bird guides in Honduras with extensive experience leading birding groups and individuals. He has currently seen more than 500 species in Honduras.

Dr Svetlana Ashby

Svetlana was born in Russia but lived in Kazakhstan for many years where she led scientific research in wildlife biology and was a lecturer in environmental studies at the State Agricultural University in Almaty. She has birded widely around the world including Russia and other former Soviet Union countries. She is founder of and principal tour leader for Kazakhstan Bird Tours having extensive knowledge of all aspects of Kazakhstan’s natural history and culture.

Vaughan Ashby

Vaughan became interested in birds in the early 1960s and started birding seriously in the mid 1970s. He founded Birdfinders in 1993 running tours for local RSPB groups and in 1996, after 24 years working as an assistant bank manager, turned it into a full time occupation. He has since travelled extensively around the world and has led over 200 tours to every continent on earth. He is former treasurer of Portland Bird Observatory and former Dorset Bird Report editor.

Suchit Basnet

Suchit was born in the eastern Terai of Nepal and worked as a full time naturalist in the Royal Chitwan National Park for five years during which time he accumulated an invaluable knowledge of its flora and fauna. He started work as a full time wildlife leader in 1994 and his great enthusiasm, cheerful and friendly disposition, together with exceptional ornithological knowledge has made him a very popular leader of our Nepal tours.

Solomon Berhe

Solomon has been interested in birds since childhood in Tigray province. After gaining a Natural Science degree at Addis Ababa University, he developed experience of Ethiopia’s birds and habitats as he travelled to various parts of the country with his work in the coffee industry. He then began working as a birdguide and 10 years ago, started his own ground agency.

Bill Blake

Originally from south London where he studied and trained as an Industrial Chemist, Bill started birding in his early teens and soon developed a fascination for bird migration. His travels have taken him to every continent, except Antarctica, and to some of the best migration hot-spots in the world. He has travelled extensively on the Indian sub-continent, in Asia and in Africa and has led tours to these areas as well as to Europe and North America.

Tudor Blaj

Tudor is a forest engineer by profession in Romania but now leads birdwatching and wildlife tours on a full-time basis. He is an enthusiastic ornithologist with a keen eye and all-round wildlife ability and has a great love for all aspects of natural history. The Carpathian Mountains are his ‘local patch’. It is an area he knows better than anyone, making him the perfect guide on our tours.

Chris Collins

Chris has visited over sixty countries and territories around the world in search of birds including multiple visits to all the continents and has seen well over 5,000 species of birds on his travels. In 2003 he decided to become a full time birder and wildlife guide and now guides trips all over the world. He has been on the managing Committee of the Neotropical Bird Club since the mid-1990s and has recently retired from the Editorial Committee of the widely acclaimed Neotropical Birding magazine.

Chamindra Dilruck

Chamindra, known as Chammy, has led Birdfinders groups in Sri Lanka since 2011 and has been guiding birders around his country for the past 15 years. With Chammy as your guide, you have the greatest chance of seeing all of the endemic and specialty birds of Sri Lanka. He has had a passion for birding since his college days and spent a whole year in the field just to learn all the sights and locations. His particular forte is finding nightbirds, particular at their daytime roosts, a skill he excels at.

Silverio Duri

Silverio was born in the rainforests of Peru and comes from the Ese-Eja indigenous community on the Tambopata River where he has spent most of his life. He has worked for many years as a rainforest natural history guide in the Tambopata-Candamo National Park and has specialized in leading bird tours for the last few years. He has the eyes and ears of a true native of the rainforests and is incredibly adept at spotting quietly sitting birds. He has broadened his horizons and is now one of our top bird tour leaders in Manu and Machu Picchu and North Peru. He is reknowned for his fieldcraft and knowledge of all aspects of rainforest ecology.

Steven Easley

Steven was born and raised in Arkansas but now lives in Costa Rica. He lived in Kenya for 5 years and has led many birding tours to the country where he has seen nearly 1000 species. He was head guide at Rancho Naturalista, the famous birding lodge in Costa Rica, for several years and now leads a number of Birdfinders’ tours.

Elmer Escoto

Elmer was born in Honduras and raised in the countryside. It was there, at the edge of the Honduran rain forest, that his intimate knowledge of nature and birds was born. He began working at The Lodge at Pico Bonito in 1999, constructing trails and clearing vegetation. Within a few years, his enthusiasm, patience, natural teaching abilities, and love of nature saw him promoted to The Lodge’s guide staff. Elmer applied himself, learned to speak English and eagerly began to devour every birding and nature field guide he could find. Along the way, he received extensive guiding and interpretive training from a number of organizations and The Lodge itself. Today, with nearly 10 years’ experience leading international birding clients over much of Honduras, Elmer is perhaps The Lodge’s most well-known and requested birding guide.

Andy Foster

Andy Foster owns and manages Serra dos Tucanos, a birders lodge based in the Atlantic rainforest of southeast Brazil. Now in its 11th year, Andy set up the lodge together with his wife Cristina back in 2002 in this endemic-rich area! Andy previously worked at a nature reserve on the south coast of England and was responsible for bird and botanical surveys. In 1995 he made his first visit to Brazil, after which he was hooked on the Neotropics! He was responsible for helping with the establishment of a local wetland reserve and conservation NGO based in the State of Rio de Janeiro. From there he went on to establish Serra dos Tucanos lodge and begun to guide birding tours within the local area. Having now spent over 10 years birding within the Tres Picos State Park where Serra dos Tucanos Lodge is located, Andy knows the local area extremely well, and has spent numerous hours in the field guiding birding trips and sharing his knowledge of the local birds with many guests!

Sid Francis

Sid's background ranges from being a shepherd on the Falkland Islands to eight years as a Red Cross worker in a refugee centre. Several years ago however, he decided to retrace some of his early birdwatching adventures but after meeting his wife to be, Meggie, he never got further than the birding hotspot of Sichuan and is now based in Chengdu. Sid and Meggie have for the last 3 years made ornithology their full-time profession; both with helping organise and leading bird tours into Sichuan and through Sichuan bird surveying work.

Robert Galardo

Robert grew up in California where he was fond of the outdoors at an early age. His passion for butterfly collecting and family camping trips kept him interested in nature ever since. He arrived in Honduras in early 1993 as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer where he worked in Olancho and then in the Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve. After his service he immediately returned to Honduras to continue working and eventually became a self-taught naturalist focusing on the country´s birds, butterflies and native orchids. He soon began leading bird watching tours and in the long run became Honduras´s leading authority on its avifauna having seen 94% of its birds and adding over 35 country records. To date he has produced two CDs of bird songs and native orchids and two regional bird guides. He is currently authoring The Field Guide to the Birds of Honduras, slated to be published in 2014. See his extensive website for more info: Birds of Honduras

Neil Gartshore

Neil was formerly the Senior Warden of the RSPB’s Arne-based reserves in Dorset and Dorset County Bird Recorder. From 1983 his work in nature conservation took him to many places, both in the UK and overseas, before arriving at Arne in 1991. Neil has travelled extensively in Europe, Africa, North America, Australia and the Far East and, since marrying his Japanese wife, Japan is now a regular destination.

Dimiter Georgiev

Dimiter has been working on conservation projects for over 25 years, 18 of which have been spent monitoring wintering geese around the Black Sea. Dimiter has been interested in birds since 1975 and has led birdwatching and natural history tours in Bulgaria since 1992.

Gerard Gorman

English by birth, Gerard has lived abroad for many years and is regarded as an expert on birds in Eastern Europe, where he has led over 500 tours. He is the author of several books, including Where to Watch Birds in Eastern Europe, The Birds of Hungary and Central & Eastern European Wildlife. His main interest is in woodpeckers and is also author of Woodpeckers of Europe, the monograph The Black Woodpecker and the acclaimed Woodpeckers of the World – The Complete Guide.

Joe Grosel

Joe grew up in northern South Africa and since a very young age showed a great passion for the natural environment around him. He is qualified in conservation and wildlife management and has a Masters in ornithology. However, he is most famous in the birding world for beating the 300 species in a day record in South Africa! Joe has been involved in a vast array of wildlife related activities ranging from field research in the Kruger National Park, game capture and translocation, field guide training, management of large private game reserves and environmental management for local government. Joe is based in the Limpopo Province, were he has been instrumental in establishing birding routes, bird clubs and bird watching sites. He has designed organized and conducted birding and other eco-safaris across southern Africa for over twenty years and still enjoys every excursion as much as his clients do.

Trausti Gunnarsson

Trausti is a professional wildlife guide who has been leading naturalist tours in his native country, Iceland, for more than 15 years. With a lifelong interest in birds his knowledge also extends to the flora, mammals, geology and cultural history of the island. When not looking for birds or whales he also spends many winter nights looking for the elusive Northern Lights.

Nicky Icarangal

Nicky is Birding Adventure Philippines’ President and lead bird guide. Nicky has had extensive experience leading birding trips for private individuals and groups as well as for tour operators. A veteran birder himself, Nicky knows his birds. He is recognized for his talent for spotting birds and patience in calling in elusive endemics such as pittas, shamas and tailorbirds. His experience in leading tours, his keenness as a birder and his easy-going nature has made Nicky very popular with both his local and foreign clients.

Solomon Jallow

Solomon is a Gambian national who has an extensive knowledge of the birds, sites and people of his country. He is president of the West African Bird Study Association and organises Habitat Africa, a group of the best birdguides in The Gambia. Solomon’s enthusiasm for birds and his easy-going nature cannot fail to make an impression on you.

Kamol Komolphalin

Kamol lives in Thailand and, as well as being an expert on its birds, is a superb artist. With his wife Patcharee organising all of the ground arrangements for our tour, we are in very safe hands.

Luis Ku

Luis was born in Yucatan and studied in the University of Yucatan. He worked for 17 years in the Botanical Garden,” Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin” of Puerto Morelos and is a specialist birding guide, the most experienced and qualified in the Yucatan Peninsula. Luis has spent the last 20 years searching for the best places to find birds around the Yucatan Peninsula and regularly guides birders in the field.

Przemysław Kunysz

Przemysław works in the Polish Forestry Department and has been involved in many conservation schemes including those for Ural Owls and Wolves. Przemek’s knowledge of the sites and birds of Poland is excellent. He has led Birdfinders tours to Poland for the past ten years.

Peter Lansdown

Peter has been bird recorder and report editor for Glamorgan, a member of the British Ornithologists Union Records Committee and chairman of the British Birds Rarities Committee. His main interests are bird identification, migration and recording. He has written many published papers and is co-author of Birds of Glamorgan. Peter is a regular Birdfinders tour leader.

Neil MacLeod

Neil is rated as one of the top wildlife guides in Namibia. Neil has expanded his phenomenal birding knowledge to include wildlife, plants and almost everything else to do with nature. Working with people is second nature to him and he sets high standards for birding and wildlife tours to create memories that are never to be forgotten. Neil’s intimate local knowledge ensures that his groups always find the birds and other wildlife. He is also the author of An expert’s guide to finding the animals in Etosha.

David Milsom

David is an ex-pat who has lived and worked in Canada for many years. Over the past few years he has also visited many other countries throughout the world. He has a great deal of knowledge, not only of the birds of North America but also of its many other forms of wildlife, and his expertise is greatly welcomed on our Canadian Point Pelee and Michigan tour.

Xavier Muñoz-Contreras

Xavier is a conservationist by heart and is Neblina Forests founder, owner and guide by profession. He has been working as Board Member and been mentor for both AVES & CONSERVACION (previously known as CECIA) and the Jocotoco Foundation. Guiding Ecuador since 1997, Xavier nowadays also guides birding trips to Bolivia, Brazil, Guyana and Peru and is always looking for new destinations in the neotropics.

Loven Pereira

Loven, together with his partners Leio De Souza and Pramod Madaikar, operates Backwoods Camp in the Western Ghats of Goa. He is an excellent field birder who also has an in-depth knowledge of his country, its habitats and its people.

Lalaina Raoelinoro

Lalaina (known as Lala) has been a birding and wildlife guide in Madagascar since 2000 and has closely worked with our ground agents since 2005 so knows all the requirements of birders. He has been visited all the major sites in Madagascar and has worked with a number of different international tour operator both on general wildlife tours and specialist birding. He initially trained in the field of tourism in Antanarivo then trained in the field of wildlife in the Botanical and Zoological garden of Tsimbazaza and is now acknowledged as one of the best birdwatching guides in Madagascar. He speaks fluent English, French and Malagasy.

James P. Smith

James is a staff leader and has led many tours for us over the past 5 years. James was originally from Yorkshire but now lives in the northeastern US. He leads all of our US tours as well as tours to Gambia, India and Israel, where he still retains his position on the rare birds committee.

Chubzang Tangbi

Chubzang was born and brought up in Trongsa, Central Bhutan. He strongly believes in his country’s environmental protection and has extensive knowledge of his country, its culture, traditions and people. Chubzang began leading birding tours in 2000 and has worked with the International Crane Foundation. Chubzang is now acknowledged as one of Bhutan's top birders. He has travelled widely in the USA, India, Thailand and the UK but returns to Bhutan to lead birding groups and to research for documentary films, photography and editorials. He is a passionate photographer and has exhibited his work in Nature Reserves and Art Centres.

Peter Taylor

Although born in Adelaide, South Australia, Peter has lived in the ‘tall timber country’ of Manjimup, in the southwest of Western Australia (a hotspot for endemic birds and plants) for the past 10 years. He works as a freelance wildlife tour guide, having forsaken a comfortable career with the government to follow his true passion for birds and birdwatching. He is also a regional organiser for the Australian Bird Atlas project in Western Australia. Peter leads our Western Australia endemic bird tours and from 2011, will also be leading our new Southern Australia & Tasmania endemic bird tour.

Luis Eduardo Urueña

Luis is a biologist from the Universidad del Tolima with over 14 years’ experience of birding and conducting scientific research on endangered species in Colombia. For the past four years Luis has worked as a birding guide for a number of international birding companies, an opportunity that has given him valuable experience both in birding and tour logistics and now runs his own ground agency, Manakin Nature Tours. Luis Eduardo won a “Watcher Prize” from the British Petroleum Company Conservation Programme when he worked with the enigmatic Blue-billed Curassow for ProAves Fundation and has also worked with the Smithsonian Institute in the USA.

Toni Uusimäki

Toni lives on the west coast of Finland where he works as an environmental engineer. He started birdwatching in the late 1980s and over the past few years has led a number of birdwatching tours in Finland and Norway including for Birdfinders. The combination of Toni’s knowledge, energy and enthusiasm makes him a very popular leader.

Nigel Warren

Nigel works for In Focus and is a well-known figure in the south-west birding scene. His extensive birding experience in the Western Palearctic, North America and Asia, combined with his sense of humour, makes him a popular leader.


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