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 Sunrise Birding team 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 few hours enjoying some of the excellent birding Los Angeles, and beyond, has to offer.

A half day birding are $200 ($50 per extra passenger) for up to six hours. In half a day one might be able to do some of the following: look for some introduced local specialties like Spotted Dove or Scaly-breasted Munia, check out a local beach for rocky shoreline shorebirds and more, seek out California Gnatcatchers or search local parks for wintering or migrant bird species or even take an evening run to the mountains to look for owls.

Full days are $300 ($75 per extra person) up to twelve hours. This opens up a wealth of different possibilities including a run into the mountains for White-headed Woodpecker, Green-tailed Towhee, Thick-billed Fox Sparrow and at the right time of year and a little luck Mountain Quail, 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.

Longer Tours

Panama Raptor Migration - Rafael Lau

Hawk Migration – Rafael Lau

Oct 28 – Nov -4 2017 — Panama Raptor Migration Spectacular

Come join me with the Hawk Migration Association of North America for the week of a lifetime witnessing the magic of Hawk 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 very peak of raptor movement when flights might range anywhere from the tens of thousands all the way up to a record breaking 2 million birds that were tallied on Nov 2nd 2014!

As well as the astonishing passage of migrant raptors there will be incredible local hawks to enjoy, with up to 40 species of hawks, eagles, falcons, kites and vultures. These include: King Vulture, Ornate Hawk Eagle, Tiny Hawk, Black Hawk-Eagle and if we win the birding lottery possibly even Harpy Eagle. As well as the raptors there will be much more to enjoy including birding that will garner us a host of incredible and bejeweled neotropical bird species: hummingbirds, motmots, toucans, tanagers, parrots and a whole host more. For more details visit the HMANA website (here).

Arrowhead Warbler

Arrowhead Warbler – Steve Bird

Dec 2-9 2017 — Jamaica: Rum, Reggae and Endemics!

Jamaica’s avian treasures are little known to most of its beach going tourists. This beautiful, warm, friendly island, known for rum and reggae has a rugged interior covered with lush forests that harbor no less than 29 endemic bird species.  These unique species are found nowhere else in the world and Jamaica is home to more endemics than any other Caribbean island making it the best kept birding secret in the tropics! Add to that at least 17 Jamaican subspecies and a host of other Caribbean endemics and you have a fabulous winter birding getaway!

Come join me with on this exciting winter getaway with Sunrise Birding (more details on their website here).


Sandhill Cranes – Willcox AZ

Jan 6-13 2018 — Sunrise Birding: Winter in the Southwest AZ/NM

Birding from Albuquerque to Tucson, highlights will include stops at magnificent mountain vistas for three different species of Rosy-finches as well as the wetlands at Bosque del Apache to witness the stunning gathering of cranes and waterfowl. We’ll enjoy the winter specialties of the southwest including a wealth of waterfowl, a stunning number and variety of sparrows and a sweep of three bluebird species. We’ll also explore the areas exciting border regions for resident and wintering specialties. As well as the regularly occurring species, we will search out rare wintering residents like Baird’s Sparrow, Bendire’s Thrasher and Montezuma Quail and you never know what might show up in Arizona in winter!

You can read more about the 2016 tour and 2018 itinerary on their website (link here) and see photos on my flickr page (here).

3 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.


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