Tours and Private Guiding


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:

photo (14)

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 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.



Pasadena Audubon Day Trips 2019

March 16 – Anza Borrego — Swainson’s Migration, April 14 – LA Wildflowers, April 20 – Antelope Valley Migrants, May 25 – San Bernardino — Gray Vireo and Pinyon Jay, June 29 – Los Angeles Black Swifts and Lesser Nighthawks (evening), July 27 – Blue Ridge — Veined Blue and montane species, August 17 – Salton Sea – – shorebirds and Yellow-footed Gull, October 13 – Big Sit, December 8 – CBC Feeder Count prep. For more details on these visit the Pasadena Audubon Society website (here).

If you’d like to book a spot on any of these walks send me an email at

Longer Tours


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).


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).

5 responses

8 11 2009

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

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

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.


9 06 2018
Edward Stonick

Can’t make it this year but definitely would like to in 2019!

16 02 2019
Laura Stabell

Hi Luke,
Found this blog-and had been wondering for some time where you had landed! Im working on a NFP farm project in Westchester Ny just over the Ct Border.Could use input on eco-tourism use of the 21 acre site. Message me on Face Book Laura Tuttle Stabell or drop an email!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: