Tours and Private Guiding

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Searching for Black-breasted Pufflegs

James Fisher once said that “The observation of birds may be a superstition, a tradition, an art, a science, a pleasure, a hobby, or a bore; this depends entirely on the nature of the observer”. I hope that my trips fulfill a little of all but the last category! I love getting out into nature and showing people the wonders that surround them and sharing my knowledge with them. I think by experiencing places personally we start to gain an awe and respect for nature and a desire to preserve it for future generations.

Personally for me as a tour leader I enjoy the sharing the excitement of these trips and hope that participants get to learn something new and exciting whenever they are with me. As a tour leader I think one of the greatest compliments I ever received was when one of my regular participants told me that he enjoys the slower days in my company as much as the ones that are non-stop birding action.

I am excited to be part of the High Lonesome BirdTours and  Wildside Nature Tours teams as well as leading tours for the Hawk Migration Association of North America.  I also have a couple of private tours and some local trips for Pasadena Audubon Society (details and how to join PAS on their website). I am looking forward to being able to share with other people some of the more exciting and interesting places that I have visited over the years both in the USA and around the globe. Here are some of the forthcoming highlights:

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Noah Strycker – Ross’s Goose down, 6,041 to go

Private Guiding

In Los Angeles for work or vacation and want to go birding but not sure where to go, want some expert company for the day or even just dreading facing trying to navigate the city traffic then why not hire me as a private guide?  Whether you want to look for specific species or just spend a day enjoying some of the excellent birding Los Angeles, and beyond, has to offer.

Full days are $250 ($75 per extra person) for up to twelve hours: This opens up a wealth of different possibilities including looking for some introduced local specialties like Spotted Dove or Scaly-breasted Munia, checking out a local beach for rocky shoreline shorebirds. Other possibilities include searching local parks for wintering or migrant bird species or even take an evening run to the mountains to look for White-headed Woodpecker, Green-tailed Towhee, Thick-billed Fox Sparrow and at the right time of year Mountain Quail. A day in the desert might include a run out to the desert for things like Bell’s Sparrow and Le Conte’s Thrasher or a northward run to search for Yellow-billed Magpie, Tricolored Blackbird and California Condor or a combination thereof.

Send me a message and I can work with you to suggest an itinerary that will meet your needs luke.tiller@gmail.com You can see some of the birds we might expect to see on these kind of trips on my flickr page (here).

Ps You are not required to be involved in a global big year.

Longer Tours

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Sabine’s Gulls – Luke Tiller

May 30 – June 3 and June 3-7  — Nome and The Seward Peninsula 

“There’s no place like Nome!”

Last year I guided on back to back tours in Nome Alaska for High Lonesome Birdtours and it was incredible. This year I’m excited to be back guiding the same two Nome and Seward Peninsula Tours for High Lonesome! Last years highlights included Walrus, Beluga Whale, Spectacled Eider, Lesser Sand-Plover, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Gyrfalcon, White and Yellow Wagtails, Bluethroat and a host of breeding plumaged loons and shorebirds. The place is beautiful and magical and brilliant for photography with amazing birds and stunning scenery. High Lonesome run an amazing variety of tours to Alaska and have years of experience putting together trips to this remotest corner of North America. Come join me for an incredible few days!

The first Nome/Seward tour runs May 30th to June 3rd (details here) and the second from June 3rd until May 7th (details here). Of course, you can combine this tour with many of the other fantastic Alaskan tours run by High Lonesome: Gambell, Denali, Barrow etc (details here). There’s rumor I might even get on the Gambell portion of the High Lonesome/Rockjumper tour (here) if we get enough signups. A few photographic highlights from last year on my flickr page (here).

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Eurasian Wryneck – Luke Tiller

September 10-18 — Black Sea: Magical Migration Tour (optional 4 day extension)

Join me for a weeklong adventure on the coast of the Black Sea in the beautiful country of Georgia. In 2008 Dutch and Belgian birders set up the Batumi Raptor Watch. This site has quickly grown a reputation as the best place in Europe to witness the majesty of hawk migration, due to the incredible number of raptors that they tally each season: one million plus birds. As well as the great raptor numbers there’s also high diversity too with over 25 species of diurnal raptor possible on tour including such goodies as Levant Sparrowhawk, Pallid Harrier and Egyptian Vulture. Like many raptor migration hotspots around the globe, Batumi also promises good numbers and variety of migrating waders, shorebirds, passerines and more.

Batumi is a resort town and caters well to international visitors, with high quality hotels and restaurants. Though there’s always the chance of showers, the weather is lovely in Batumi at this time of year with average daytime highs in the mid 70’s lows in the low 60’s. The food and wine in Georgia are regionally known for its excellence: a mix of Middle Eastern and Eastern European fare. If you’d like to find out more about this amazing place you can check out (this) post on my blog from my visit in September 2018.  You can also see a few photos from the visit on my Flickr page (here).

We will also have an optional extension into the Caucasus Mountains for local specialties like Great Rosefinch, Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse and the stunning Guldenstadt’s Redstart among others. I am currently finalizing dates and pricing for this tour. Drop me a line and I will send you those details in the next week or two.

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Rufous-tailed Hummingbird – Luke Tiller

October 18-25 2019 — Panama Migration Spectacular

Come join me for the week of a lifetime witnessing the magic of migration through Panama. Based at the world renowned Canopy Tower, the tour will take in visits to both their own hawkwatch (Semaphore Hill) and to the world famous Ancon Hill. We will visit at the peak of raptor movement when daily passage of hawks might range anywhere from the tens of thousands all the way up to a record breaking 2 million birds that were tallied on one day in 2014!

As well as the astonishing passage of migrant raptors there will be incredible local hawks to enjoy including everything from King Vulture to Tiny Hawk. Other migrants on their way south will include large numbers of shorebirds as well as a mix of interesting warblers, tanagers and vireos. Focusing on the canal zone will allow us to thoroughly bird all the local hotspots and we will enjoy birding that will garner us a host of incredible and bejeweled neotropical bird species: hummingbirds, motmots, toucans, tanagers, parrots and a whole host more (290+ species in 2018 with 35 species of raptors).

Report from 2017 (here) and 2018 (here). Photos from the tour on my flickr page (here). Link for the 2019 tour with High Lonesome BirdTours (here).

3 responses

8 11 2009
erika

what’s this trip to costa rica you mention? let’s make it happen! we’re probably heading down in late february/ early march. check out the review for saladero on tripadvisor if you need some convincing!

21 03 2010
Cindy

Luke,
I was a member of the BwTCB group that you led in June. I was wondering if you will be leading walks in Fairfield on April 3rd. Might be staying at my moms and thought I might get some birding in.

Thanks cindy

22 03 2010
underclearskies

Hi Cindy,

Good to hear from you again. There should be some details about my upcoming walks on the Sunrise Birding website in the next day or so.

Luke

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