People I work with
John (pictured with me above) is a long-term friend who has lived in Malaysia for around 30 years where he works primarily as a consultant ecologist on wetland conservation projects. John has been birding since his teens and sometimes assists me with guiding clients on birding and nature trips in Malaysia and Borneo.
Since 1988 he has worked extensively in China (most provinces) and throughout NE Asia in Mongolia, Russia, DPR Korea and RO Korea. He is a keen naturalist with superb all-round knowledge about wildlife in the rainforests, mangroves and wetlands of Malaysia. He is a keen photographer and regular contributor to iNaturalist
Aprilia is from Central Java, Indonesia, where she often hikes in the mountains. She regularly assists in making arrangements for trips within Indonesia, and sometimes accompanies tour groups to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Mongolia provides birding groups and eco tourists with an unforgettable adventure in unsurpassed wilderness. Mongolian trips require careful planning, and invariably involve some camping, whilst two four-wheel drive vehicles are a minimum requirement for safety reasons. Hence I work with a friendly, professional wildlife tour agency in Mongolia, run by Tumendelga Humbaa. Drivers, a mechanic, and a cook accompany me on all trips to Mongolia.
Indonesia is a vast country, with endemic bird areas scattered across the archipelago. Not surprisingly, it can be difficult to bird many of the important areas for birds without the assistance of local tour agencies who understand the requirements of a birding trip. I have travelled extensively in Indonesia during the past 30 years, and have seen many restricted range and endemic birds without going on an organized trip because I speak the language fluently, unlike most visitors.
For trips that I help organize in Indonesia, I work with local tour agencies and guides. Birders visiting Indonesia usually visit a small subset of islands, including Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, Halmahera and sometimes West Papua, but there are many other islands of interest that it possible to visit with my assistance. I have considerably more experience of Indonesian birds than the vast majority of bird guides, as reflected by my sound recordings.
In Colombia I work closely with Luis Eduardo Urueña, who I have known since he first started studying birds some 20 years ago. Luis Eduardo now runs his own successful birding company and provides the necessary logistics and advice for trips that I undertake in Colombia. He has thirteen years of experience working with international birding groups, and knows all of the important birding sites in the country.
Colombia has excellent infrastructure and a very good transport system, but birding there unaided is not recommended unless you have good Spanish language skills.
Organizing your own self-drive trip to countries in southern and eastern Africa like Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa will save you money and give you much more flexibility when compared to going with any bird tour company, although for parts of such trips it is advisable to use birding guides. Indeed, local guides are obligatory if you want to visit sites such as Kakamega in Kenya.
In Tanzania, it is impossible to reach certain areas without the logistical assistance of local agents, and many species are unlikely to be seen without the help of expert local bird guides like Elia Mulungu, pictured here. On my trips to eastern Africa I usually drive a rented 4WD vehicle to visit sites that are straightforward to visit but use local agencies and expert bird guides like Elia for periods of the trip when such assistance is essential.