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. The culmination of his field-time has resulted in the publication of over 50 manuscripts and articles in the past 10 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 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 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 Nazario 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.
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.
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.
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 South East 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.