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Leaders

Scheduled and custom tours

 

James Eaton

James's teenage years took him through Europe, North America and ultimately Asia, thinking nothing of skipping college lessons for a long trip to India! Since graduating from (and during!) university he has concentrated his birding activities within the region, studying the birds and building an intimate knowledge of their identification, vocalisations and behaviour, as well as discovering at least three undescribed species to science in Indonesia, as well as numerous rediscoveries. The culmination of his field-time has resulted in the publication of over 60 manuscripts and articles, primarily on birds but also mammals, in the past 12 years, viewable here, and lead-author of the recently published field guide, Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago, as well as studying a PhD about the taxonomically cryptic species of the region and their conservation status. James is a keen conservationist, with a particular interest in trying to put an end to the illegal bird trade in Asia by surveying and monitering bird markets, and has produced a number of reports on the subject. Like all our leaders, James has more than a passing interest in the mammals of the region, and is attempting to see all of Asia's megafauna and primates (a very slow, drawn-out and often frustrating process!), and delights in sharing his knowledge of them with others.

Rob Hutchinson

Rob began birding almost as soon as he could lift a pair of binoculars and foreign travel soon developed this into a passion for world birding, with a special interest in the birds of the Oriental region. Since graduating with a BSc in genetics he has travelled throughout the region spending several years in the field, visiting many remote areas in search of the regions very rarest birds. Rob is an accomplished photographer and keen sound recordist who has authored several scientific papers on the vocalisations, distribution and taxonomy of the region’s birds and enjoys sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson has been a birder since he was six, when he became fascinated with the birds in his English garden. With a father in the oil industry, he grew up in the Middle East and the Caribbean, eventually settling in the United States in 1980. Having lived in and travelled to over 40 countries he is an experienced world birder and as an avid sound recorder, he has logged over 10,000 sound recordings. Mike developed a particular interest in Asia during his birding travels and having led numerous tours in Asia, working as a full-time guide for Birdtour Asia was a natural progression to share his knowledge and enthusiam on tours throughout our region and is now a firm favourite on several of our tours where he now spends far more time on tours than he does at home!

Carlos Bocos

Carlos N. G. Bocos

Born and raised in Spain, birds have been a passion for Carlos since he was very young, but it wasn’t until just a few years ago he found his true home in Asia, during an extended trip to India. Repeated trips to the Orient, for months on end, took him to most countries of the region, from Iran to Laos and from Northern China to Indonesia. Indonesia particularly captured his imagination and he has spent much time learning the language and immersing himself in the rich cultures, amazed by the nature, amazing endemicity of the birdlife, and the Indonesian way of life. He is a regular contributor of high-quality photographs in a variety of publications and has built a fine reputation as a guide across Europe and North Africa and is reveling in the chance to share his Asian expertise too, especially within Indonesia.

Wilbur Goh Malaysia

Wilbur Goh - Malaysia

Wilbur is a Malaysian who started birding in his early teens, an obsession which has blossomed into a lifelong love affair with the region’s birds. Having travelled the length and breadth of the country for birding, Wilbur knows intimately the habits and calls of Malaysian birds. He has led numerous trips and field surveys as a member of Malaysian Nature Society, spending hours in the field honing his field skills, before deciding to be a full time guide. Birding in other countries like China, Taiwan and India has also helped him to broaden his experience in world birding but Malaysia will always remain his specialty. Whether in the field or out of it, he is always keen to share his knowledge and passion for the local avifauna. Few birders know Malaysian birds as intimately as Wilbur, who is fast honing an enviable reputation as one of the county's best bird guides.

Richard Foster

Richard hails from the lake district of Co Fermanagh, N. Ireland, but has lived in Taiwan for over 20 years. For several years now he has been sharing the amazing birdlife and other wild creatures with visitors from overseas who never fail to be impressed by the natural history and stunning scenery on offer, all of course delivered with a smile and the famous Irish sense of humour! Richard guides all of of scheduled and custom tours to the aptly named ‘Isla Formosa’ or ‘the beautiful island’.

Pete Simpson Mindanao

Pete Simpson

Pete started birding around Britain as a kid, graduated to Western Palaearctic trips in his twenties and world birding in his thirties. He left the UK for good in 2006 on a world trip that took in all seven continents in the first two years. His first trip to Philippines was in 2007 and he returned regularly between tours around Southeast Asia, eventually settling permanently in Davao, Southern Mindanao in 2010. Pete has been working since with the Philippine Eagle Foundation, Regional Department of Environment on shorebird and raptor migration and with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines to introduce more people to birdwatching. He is undoubtedly the the most active and knowledgeable birder in Mindanao and between guiding tours Pete is busy exploring Mindanao and adjacent area of the Visayas, finding new sites and studying its least-known birds.

Mark Villa

Mark Villa is a Filipino who developed a passion for birding at a young age and has become one of the keenest birders in the archipelago, where he has guided numerous tours and travelled throughout the islands in search of its endemics. Mark’s love of travel has also taken him to China, Malaysia and Indonesia, though his real expertise lies in his native Philippines. Mark is not only a likeable guy but is also an accomplished photographer, keen sound recordist and active conservationist, being a role model to new young birders through his ambassador position in the ‘Pledge to fledge’ initiative.

Custom tours

On top of the broad range of scheduled tours offered, we offer a range of custom tours, whether it be extensions to the advertised scheduled tours, but also stand-alone tours. Using Birdtour Asia in-house expertise we can tailor the custom tours to suit your requirements. We use a number of locally-based guides for this, including the following:

Steven An

Steven An - China

Majored as an International Tour Guide in China and after graduation from college, he guided numerous cultural tours throughout China for several years before he peered through a birders telescope at Poyang Lake in 2008 and discovered a new passion! This was his life-changing moment and since then has become a top birder, and proficient in leading birding tours throughout China. He has co-led several tours with Birdtour Asia since 2013 and already solo-guided several of our private, custom tours. Steven is able to lead private tours throughout China, including targeted trips for the rarest species.

David Bakewell

Having cut his teeth on ‘patch birding’ in the UK, Dave's first experience of Asian avifauna was in China as part of two expeditions which helped put Beidaihe on the international birding map in the mid-1980s. From then on, he has spent most of his time living and birding in East and Southeast Asia. His special interest is in field identification, in particular shorebirds (having co-authored the Shorebird Studies Manual, as well as playing a part in establishing the identity of Swinhoe’s Plover). He has lived in Malaysia for the last 20 years, where he has built up a detailed field knowledge of the country’s avifauna. He enjoys sharing his passion for birds via his blog, tours and workshops. Dave uses his unsurpassed field experience guiding some of our tours in Sabah & Sarawak, Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia.

Rommel

Rommel Cruz - Philippines

Rommel started his passion for birds at 9 years old growing up in the lowland tropical wilderness of Palawan. Palawan is still his home and the passion for birding continues in one of the Philippines’ birding hotspots, and he eagerly guides our visitors to this beautiful island where birds are showy and endemics abound. He has worked for several years as a field researcher focused on eliminating hunting and illegal wildlife trade of cavity-nesting birds, and has participated in numerous biodiversity surveys and expeditions throughout Palawan. Palawan makes an excellent introduction to Philippine birding or a nice return trip for anyone who previously missed the stunning Palawan Peacock Pheasant.

 

Agus Nurza, Aceh

Agus Nurza - Aceh, Sumatra

Born and raised in Aceh, the northernmost provice of Sumatra, Agus has been a birder since 2007. A qualified vet, his first experience of birding in Sumatra was part of a migratory water-birds survey studying Avian Influenza in Sumatra, since which time he has spent many years conducting and organizing exploration within Leuser Ecosystem Forest in Aceh and is currently very active in promoting tourism through a Birds conservation awareness program in Sumatra. In addition to his birding expertise across Sumatra, he has more than a passing interest in the wildlife and is attempting to see all megafauna of Sumatra. He has taken numerous birding trips across Sumatra including several scheduled and custom tours with Birdtour Asia. A competent photographer, he enjoys sharing his passion for birds via his blog, tours and workshops and can take people on custom tours throughout Sumatra including clean-up trips for the toughest endemics.

Hery Bali

Hery Kusumanegara - Java & Bali, Indonesia

Hery is a senior ranger of Bali Barat National Park in Bali, Indonesia.
He has worked tirelessly for the protection of the Critically Endangered Bali Myna conservation program for several years now, empowering locals community around the park. He started birding at an early age and has extensive experience leading custom birding tours for Birdtour Asia for several years now, primarily in East Java and his native Bali. His patience, passion and keen eye are already well-known, add to that his ever-present smile he’s been a firm favourite with all of our participants. Whether it be an extension to a scheduled tour or a stand-alone tour we are able to offer the best opportunities to see the Java and Bali specialties with Hery.

Yeo Sarawak

Yeo Siew Teck - Sarawak, Borneo

Born and raised in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo, it was little surprise that Yeo grew up influenced by the natural world. He was involved in numerous expeditions to remote areas of this rich island, and he can include the rediscovery of Black Oriole among his achievements. Although his first love has always been birds he is renowned for his all-round expertise in Borneo’s organisms, including finding a new species of pitcher plant, Nepenthes appendiculata, and was the first person to record the sound of a rare, fossorial frog species - Gastrophrynoides borneensis.
Yeo is a keen conservationist, heavily involved with the Malaysia Nature Society and the Sarawak Forest Department, for whom he surveys the states National Parks. A Sarawak tour with Yeo will not only be productive birdwise, but an all-round nature experience as he enjoys sharing his knowledge with participants.

Khaleb Yordan Jakarta Birder

Khaleb Yordan - Java and Sumatra, Indonesia

Born and raised in the metropolis of Jakarta, Khaleb was soon venturing outside of the urban sprawl while still a kid, where he soon gained an appreciation for birds and mammals. Since then he has gained an intimate knowledge of the endemics and specialities of Java, Bali and Sumatra with a particular emphasis on west Java, where he has shared many of his adventures with his brother, Boas. He has been involved in several bird research monitoring projects, including taking boats off Java for Burung Laut Indonesia as a member of the Seabird Working Group. Khaleb is the perfect guide for custom tours throughout Java, Bali and Sumatra.