Sunrise Birding, LLC

Birding & Wildlife Tours

plus Havana extension

April 2-13, 2017
>Info & reservations

Lesvos: Spring Migration Magic!
April 28-May 6, 2017
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Finland: Owls, Grouse & more
May 28-June 3, 2017
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Norway: Lapland & Varanger
June 3-9, 2017
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Svalbard: Ice Bears & Ivory Gulls
June 15-22, 2017
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Panama Canopy Camp Special
Sept 3-8, 2017
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Brazil: Pantanal with Eduardo Patrial
plus Jardim da Amazonia Lodge
Sept-Oct 1, 2017
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Wildlife Cruise

Sept 23-Oct 1, 2017
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Guyana: Jewel of the Neotropics
Oct 29-Nov 11, 2017
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Jamaica: Endemics & Specials
December 2-9, 2017
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Bosque del Apache & Arizona
Jan 6-13, 2018
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New Zealand: Island of Endemics
Jan 31-Feb 20, 2018
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Costa Rica Special!
Feb 3-9, 2018
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The NEW Hotspot plus Tikal

February 2018
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Amazon RIver Cruise!
March 16-25, 2018
Plus Machu Picchu extension

>Info & reservations

Southern Brazil
March 27-April 11, 2018
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Colorado Grouse & Chickens
April 7-17, 2018
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Chile: Penguins, Condors & Pumas
October 10-20, 2018
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A Sunrise Birding client once commented "You are the MASTER at finding the best!" The absolute best is what we strive for and that is what we've created with the Sunrise Birding team of tour leaders. We've carefully selected tour leaders based on their knowledge, enthusiasm, ability to find wildlife, and eagerness to share their expertise so that clients come away with the best possible tour experience and memories that will last a lifetime.

Gina Nichol
Gina in Costa Rica.Gina Nichol is the founder and principal tour leader of Sunrise Birding. A naturalist and birder for more than twenty years, Gina began leading ecotours for Audubon Nature Odysseys in the early 1990's in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, the Pacific Northwest, and Baja California. Gina's avid interest in wildlife biology led her to the Yellowstone Institute in Wyoming where she studied animal behavior as well as methods for tracking animal movements. She also worked on a research projects investigating habitat requirements of Eurasian Otters and Mountain Lions in the Jim Sage Mountains in Idaho. Her varied interests and love of the natural world have taken her to Alaska, Costa Rica, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Kenya, Chile, the Northwest Territories, Panama, the American Southwest, California, Belize, Florida, and a host of other destinations. She has led tours in New England, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, Colombia, Antarctica, India, Montana and Yellowstone, Big Bend, and Coastal Texas and continues to expand the Sunrise Birding's wildlife tour offerings.

Steve Bird
Steve inspired me to start Sunrise Birding. He has been bird watching since he was a small child and having traveled throughout the world, Steve now enjoys passing on the wealth of information he has acquired. His enthusiasm and tireless leadership skills, combined with a pleasant, easy-going attitude and great sense of humor have made him a very popular leader, and it is this and his uncanny success in finding birds that has seen him gain an avid band of followers. As a wildlife artist Steve has illustrated several books and is a well-known figure in the birding scene in southwest England.  He now co-leads several trips for Sunrise Birding including Costa Rica, Colombia, China, Papua New Guinea, and many others.

Nick Bray
Nick BrayNick has been birding since the age of nine and has travelled widely throughout the Western Palaearctic, including much of Eastern Europe. He has also spent much time in the field in North America, including Canada, California, Florida and Texas. He has led tours to 5 continents, with a strong interest in Asia. A principal leader for Birdseekers, a respected British tour company, he acquired an immense following and has now formed his own company, Zoothera Global Birding. His great skill in finding birds has made him a well respected leader and his friendly, easy going manner is just one of the factors that make all his tours so enjoyable. 

Carlos Bethancourt
Carlos Bethancourt. Photo by Gina Nichol.Carlos Bethancourt was born in Panama City, Panama and grew up in the little village of Huile, bordering the forest of the old Panama Canal Zone. His lifelong fascination with the natural world comes from his childhood visits to his grandmother's home, deep in the neighboring forest where he spent hours observing the avifauna of Panama. After finishing high school, Carlos won a scholarship from the USAID and Georgetown University to study natural resources at Mt. Hood College in Gresham, Oregon. There he received his first formal training in ornithology and upon his return to Panama in October of 2000, he immediately started working at the famous Canopy Tower where he further refined his birding skills. Now affectionatly known by many as "Hawk Eyes, Carlos leads many birding tours for Canopy Tower. His great sense of humor and enthusiasm for everything nature makes him a wonderful leader and we are pleased to have Carlos leading our Panama tours. 

Diego Calderon
Diego CalderonBorn in Medellin, Colombia, Diego has conducted ornithological expeditions and field work throughout Antioquia and explored the biological riches Colombia's Caribbean coast, the inter-Andean valleys, the verdant jungle of the Amazon basin, the vast plains of the Llanos, and the lowlands of the Pacific Chocó.  On one of our scouting trips in 2009, Diego enthusiastically introduced us to the wonders of birding in Colombia.  His strong passion for birding, knowledge of the birds and excellent birding and leadership skills make him one of the very best guides in Colombia.  We are pleased to have Diego leading private and group birding tours exclusively for Sunrise Birding!  Diego leads all of our Colombia tours in the Andes and also led our very successful our Panama tour in 2012 with Carlos Bethancourt and and our Guyana tour in 2014.  Diego will lead our Guyana tour in 2017.

Julian Hough
Julian is a nature writer, photographer, Illustrator, and graphic designer and well as an expert birder. Julian spent his early years birding around the British Isles in the pursuit of rare birds. His passion for birds led to extensive travel to far-flung corners of the globe, that included extended periods in India, Nepal, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. His penchant for American birding was nurtured and inspired by research work as a field biologist for both Long Point and Cape May Bird Observatories. His photographs have been published in books & magazines across Europe and North America including Birding World, Birdwatch, Birding, and many other periodicals.  The Sunrise Birding logo is Julian's original design.  He also leads shorebird and raptor identification workshops and tours for Sunrise Birding. 

Kevin Karlson. Photo by Jean Kevin Karlson
Kevin Karlson is an accomplished birder, professional tour leader and wildlife photographer with 30 years experience in the field. He has published numerous articles on bird identification and natural history for an variety of magazines, journals, and CD/DVDs. A former photo editor for North American Birds, he currently writes the Birder's ID column for Wild Bird Magazine. Considered one of the foremost authorities on shorebirds, Kevin is well known for his innovative book The Shorebird Guide with co-authors Michael O’Brien and Richard Crossley, released by Houghton Mifflin in April 2006. This comprehensive field guide presents a different approach to field identification based initially upon unchanging impressions before applying details of plumage and feather patterns. Kevin led our Spoon-billed Sandpiper Tours in January 2013 and January 2015 and we were pleased to have Kevin as the Sunrise Birding leader for our very successful Kenya Safari in 2014. Kevin will once again lead our Thailand Spoon-billed Sandpiper tour in January 2017. 

John Kricher
John Kricher is a Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts who teaches ecology, ornithology, and vertebrate evolution. His most recent book is The New Neotropical Companion, to be published in early 2017. John has also written Tropical Ecology, (Princeton University Press 2011), now the leading textbook on the subject of global tropical ecology. He has also authored The Balance of Nature: Ecology’s Enduring Myth (Princeton University Press 2009), and Galapagos: A Natural History (Princeton University Press 2006). Other books include the best-selling A Neotropical Companion, and three North American ecology field guides (Eastern Forests, Rocky Mountain and Southwestern Forests, California and Pacific Northwest Forests) in the Peterson series. His widely used book, A Neotropical Companion has been translated into Spanish through the Birders' Exchange Program of the American Birding Association. He has also produced three recorded lecture series, one on dinosaurs, one on ecology, and one on the biology of birds, all published by Modern Scholar. John is a Fellow in the American Ornithologists Union and has served as president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, president of the Wilson Ornithological Society. In addition to being an expert on Tropical Ecology, John is an avid birder and traveler and we are pleased to have him leading our 2017 Honduras Pico Bonito Special! Photo: John Kricher, credit Bruce Hallett. 

Frank Mantlik
Frank Mantlik in Svalbard. 2016An avid birder and naturalist for more than 30 years, Frank has been active in many bird and nature organizations in New England and has served as president of the Connecticut Ornithological Association. He is a popular field trip leader and has traveled extensively in the pursuit of birds leading trips to Point Pelee, Block Island, Cape Cod and Montauk Point. An accomplished photographer with his own stock-photo business, Avocet Images, Frank uses his wonderful slides to illustrate lectures to various groups. Publication credits include Natural History, Audubon, Field & Stream, and American Birds. He is most in his element when in the field sharing the joys of nature with others.  Frank has led our Cape Cod Shorebird Weekend and leads our Costa Rica Specials, Jamaica, Pantanal, and Texas Spring Migration tours.

Eduardo Patrial
Eduardo Patrial. Photo by Gina Nichol. Eduardo Patrial is one of the top birding guides in Brazil and is in high demand so we are delighted to have him guiding for Sunrise Birding. Eduardo lives in Londrina in southern Brazil and guides all over Brazil. He has led tours with us to Cristalino Lodge in the Amazon, the Pantanal, and his home state of Paraná in the south. Eduardo's early ornithological experience includes banding and surveying birds and conducting field research in several regions of Brazil including the Pantanal, the Caatinga, the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest among others. His years in the field have resulted in his superb understanding of bird habits and habitats. He is an avid bird sound recordist and has an extraordinary knowledge of bird songs. Eduardo is simply a master at finding birds! His excellent English, pleasant personality, good humor and way with people make him a fabulous tour guide.  Eduardo is leading our Pantanal tour in 2016.

Lisa Schmidt
With our hectic travel schedules, we are pleased to have Lisa Schmidt on the Sunrise Birding team to manage the home office.  Lisa is our right hand, returning phone calls, emails, and other correspondence and we are thrilled to have her help.  She is most helpful to answer questions and make arrangements for tours.  She can be reached via the Sunrise Birding main phone 203.453.6724 and email  An accomplished horticulturist and enthusiastic birder, we plan to have Lisa lead Birds & Gardens tours whenever possible. 

Luke TillerLuke Tiller
Originally from London, England, Luke transplanted to Wilton, Connecticut in 2003 and newly surrounded by wildlife he found his love of birds reignited. As well as being employed as a guide by Sunrise Birding, he is a professional hawkwatcher and a writer about all things raptor related. His passion and knowledge saw him recently invited to join the board of the Hawk Migration Association of North America. Currently based in Altadena CA, he looks forward to once again leading our Southern California tour in February 2017.

Dan Berard.Dan Berard
Dan is a lifelong birder for whom birds were a gateway into a fascination with natural history. He has led birding and natural history tours across North America, Hawaii, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Panama and pelagics on both coasts. While in Panama, he worked at the Canopy Tower counting raptors for the Panama Audubon Society’s Raptors Oceans to Oceans hawk watch and was a consultant for the Emmy Award winning documentary Earth Flight. He is the Vice President of the Ocean State Bird Club and enjoys teaching people how to identify birds and approach birding in a different way.  Dan recently led our very sucessful Tobago tour and will be leading more tours, workshops, and day trips in the future.

Ray Brown
Ray BrownThe newest addition to our team is Ray Brown of Ray Brown's Talkin' Birds radio show.  Ray has hosted radio programs in Boston and Providence, R.I. for more than thirty years, and in 2005 he combined his love of radio with another passion -- nature and birdwatching — with the launch of the Talkin' Birds program. Talkin’ Birds is now heard on sixteen radio stations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York and around the world through live streaming and podcasts.

Talkin' Birds enjoys a loyal following of listeners in every U.S. state, three Canadian Provinces, and thirteen other countries; and its growing advertiser involvement now includes the support of LLBean, Celestron Optics, and Birds and Beans bird-friendly coffee.

Regular guests on Talkin’ Birds include birding authors David Sibley, Sy Montgomery, and Donald Kroodsma; and birding experts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Birding Association, and the American Bird Conservancy.  Listen to past shows on  Ray will be leading our 2017 Galapagos Birding & Wildlife Cruise along with expert guides from the Galapagos National Park.


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All photos by Gina Nichol unless otherwise noted.
Contact Gina Nichol at