Sunrise Birding, LLC

Birding & Wildlife Tours

Mongolia: Snow Leopards & more!
June 5-19, 2022
>Info & reservations

Brazil: Pantanal
Wildlife Safari
plus Jardim

July 18-27/31, 2022
>Info & reservations

Greece: Lesvos Fall Migration
Sept 11-18, 2022
>Info & reservations

Chile: Condors, Penguins & Pumas
Oct 10-20, 2022
>Info & reservations

Chile II: Condors, Penguins & Pumas
Oct 13-23, 2022
>Info & reservations

Argentina: The South & Valdez
Oct 21-31, 2022
>Info & reservations

with Diego Calderon
Plus Blue-throated Macaw & San Pedro Tanager

November 6-21,2022
>Info & reservations

Northwest Argentina
with Eduardo Patrial
Dec 2-17, 2022
>Info & reservations

Jamaica: 29 Endemics
Dec 4-10, 2022
>Info & reservations

Serbia: Long-eared Owl Spectacle
December 9-18, 2022
>Info & reservations

Lesser Antilles:
Every Endemic Tour!

January 4-17, 2023
>Info & reservations

Japan: Winter Specialties
February 4-15, 2023
>Info & reservations

Texas: Winter Specialties
February 11-19, 2023
>Info & reservations

Costa Rica:
Toucan/Tanager Special

Feb 18-24, 2023
Info soon!

Costa Rica:
Quetzal/Humm Special

Feb 24-Mar 3, 2023
>Info & reservations

Sahara to Atlantic

March 21-31, 2023
>Info & reservations

Colombia: Specialties of Mitú
April TBA 2023
>Info & reservations

Grand Spain
April 6-20, 2023
Info soon

Lesvos: Spring Migration
April 22-29, 2023
>Info & reservations

Bulgaria: Spring in the Balkans
May 4-13, 2023
>Info & reservations

Finland: Owls, Grouse & more!
May 19-25, 2023
>Info & reservations

Norway: Lapland & Varanger
May 25-31, 2023
>Info & reservations

Spain: Pyrenees Birding & Nature
June 24-July 2, 2023
>Info & reservations

Brazil: Pantanal
Wildlife Safari
plus Jardim

August 6-15/19, 2023
>Info & reservations

New Zealand:
Islands of Endemics

Nov 11-Dec 1, 2023
>Info & reservations

Honduras: Easy!
Feb 18-26, 2024
>Info & reservations

Chile & Argentina:
Birds & Wine

March 3-14, 2024
>Info & reservations

Solomon Islands!
May 15-June 8, 2025
Info soon!

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Sunrise Birding tour in Lesvos, Greece.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 our 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 BirdSteve 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.

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.

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 Panama and Guyana tours.

Frank Gallo
Frank Gallo in CubaFrank is a leading expert on where to find birds in Connecticut. Through his birding tours, lectures, and classes he has inspired countless birders to discover and appreciate the region’s rich bird life. Before joining the Sunrise Birding team, Frank worked for the Connecticut Audubon Society for twelve years, as the Senior Naturalist and Director of the Connecticut Audubon Society Coastal Center at Milford Point. Previously, he served at the New Canaan Nature Center as Director of Public Programs and Director of Eco-Travel and Field Studies, and before that with the New Haven Parks Department. Currently, he is a member of the Connecticut Avian Rare Records Committee, is federally licensed as a master bird bander, and is a past president of the New Haven Bird Club. Frank has recently completed work on his bird finding guide, Birding in Connecticut, published in May 2018. In 2003 he received the Connecticut Outdoor Environmental Education Association's award as Environmental Educator of the Year. Frank leads local bird walks for Sunrise Birding and will be developing weekend trips as well as international birding tours.

Julian HoughJulian 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. 

John Kricher
John KricherJohn 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.
Photo: John Kricher, credit Bruce Hallett. 

Pirita Latja
Pirita LatjaPirita was born in Northern Carelia in Eastern Finland. Her father Ari Latja, also a Finnature guide, took Pirita and her siblings birdwatching and bird ringing from very young age. Birdwatching has been an important part of Pirita’s life, taking her to new places and challenges again and again. She likes learning new things and there is always something new to learn with birds, from their behavior to details in their plumages. Pirita’s interest in nature led her to study biology and nature and wilderness guiding. She graduated in biology from University of Eastern Finland in 2012 and continued to postgraduate studies in 2013. Her PhD thesis focused on bird communities in restored rainforests in Uganda. Pirita earned her Doctor of Philosophy in 2017. Pirita’s favorite place is an old growth taiga forest in Finland and favorite bird is the Great Gray Owl.

Aaron de Leon
Aaron de Leon.Aaron was born at Los Tarrales Estate in Guatemala. He grew up observing birds in their natural environment and as a teenager, he assisted a monitoring team that trained local people in his family's private reserve an opportunity that sparked his passion for birding. After years of experience as a local guide, Aaron was invited to be part of the Audubon Society Training Program for Birding Guides in Lake Atitlan where he earned the highest performance of his class. Aaron is now leading tours and traveling to other destinations in Guatemala as a guide. Beside the birding skills, he speaks Quiche, Kakchiquel, Spanish and is improving his English.

David Lindo
David Lindo. Photo by Russell Spencer.David Lindo is The Urban Birder - broadcaster, writer, speaker and tour leader. His mission is to engage city folk around the world with the environment through the medium of birds. He has written countless articles on urban birds, urban conservation and wildlife in general for many websites, publications and magazines and has written the Forwards to several books. He is a regular television and radio presenter and has been featured on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 in the UK as well as other TV and radio channels around the world including CBS in the United States. David was recently named as the 7th most influential person in wildlife by BBC Wildlife Magazine.

David is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and a member of the British Travel Writers Guild. He is the Founder of Britain’s Vote National Bird Campaign in 2015 that resulted in over 226,000 votes. He is the author of The Urban Birder (Bloomsbury) his successful first book that was published in August 2011 and Tales From Concrete Jungles (Bloomsbury) in 2015. He has two new books launched in 2018 - #Urban Birding (Kosmos) April and How To Be An Urban Birder (Princeton/Wildguides) August.

David is a Vice-President of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust alongside giants like Sir David Attenborough and Chris Packham. He is also a proud Ambassador for Leica Optics and the London Wildlife Trust and a Patron of the Alderney Wildlife Trust and Birding For All – charity dedicated to facilitating access to nature reserves for disabled people. See more on David's website:

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.

Ricardo Miller
Ricardo MillerRicardo has built his knowledge of Jamaica's birds over the past 15+ years and his guiding experience has given him a clear vision of what it takes to run a tour smoothly and successfully. He is a certified Team Jamaica member and Tour Guide by the Tourism Product Development Company Limited, an agency of the Ministry of Tourism in Jamaica. His goal is to provide a high quality customer oriented birding experience in Jamaica and is committed to taking the Jamaican birding experience to a whole new level. Not only is he an expert on Jamaica's birds but he has broadened his repertoire to include butterflies and other insects, plants, natural history and the rich Jamaican culture. Ricardo has a great personality and is a lot of fun to be with and continually receives praise for the tours that he leads.

Leon Moore
Leon MooreLeon hails from Linden, Guyana and is one of the best guides in Guyana. In his earlier days, he served for five years as a recruit and section commander for the Guyana Defense Force. In 2008, Leon trained as a tour guide at Iwokrama International Research Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development. He graduated at the top of his class and then worked as a tour guide at Baganara Resort, Rock View Lodge, Atta Lodge and Iwokrama Canopy Walkway. A highlight of Leon's career was working with a BBC Film crew filming the Harpy Eagle and other wildlife in the Iwokrama Rainforest. In November 2013, Leon was awarded Tour Guide of the Year for Guyana by the Guyana Tourism Authority. In 2014, Leon became a freelance Tour Guide working with a number of local Guianan interests to further wildlife tourism and conservation in the country. Leon has a gentle personality and a strong knowledge of the birds and wildlife of Guyana.

Maynor Ovando
Maynor OvandoMaynor trained as a civil engineer and caught the birding bug while working on environmental impact assessments in professional practice. His enthusiasm for nature and birds and his ability to transfer that passion to others led him to become one of Guatemala's top birding tour leaders. Maynor has traveled, birded and participated in bird counts throughout Guatemala and he has worked with the Guatemalan Tourism Board to develop birding routes throughout the country. Maynor is currently a lead instructor with National Audubon Society's Training Course for Birding Guides and teaches students how to present the diversity of Guatemala's birdlife to visitors. Maynor's detailed knowledge of Guatemala's birds and his great personality make our birding tours in Guatemala the best they can be.

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. 

Dennis Paulson
Dennis PaulsonDennis Paulson grew up in Miami, exposed to subtropical nature in all its glory while southern Florida was still largely unspoiled. He received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Miami in 1966 with a study of the dragonflies of southern Florida, and shortly thereafter he moved to Seattle, where he has lived ever since. He retired as the Director of the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound, where he also taught in the Biology Department. Dennis has taught at three universities and continues to teach adult-education courses in many venues. He has also led nature tours and traveled on his own to all continents, and he has studied and photographed dragonflies and birds worldwide and published over 75 scientific papers on his favorite animals. He is an avid nature photographer, with many photos published in magazines, books and interpretive displays.

Dennis's published books include Dragonflies and Damselflies of The West; Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East; Shorebirds of North America:The Photographic Guide; Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest; Exotic Birds; and Alaska:The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide. Beyond these interests, he is a well-rounded naturalist with a broad knowledge of plants and animals of the world. We are pleased to have Dennis leading our dragonfly and nature trips.

Lisa SchmidtLisa 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 [email protected]  An accomplished horticulturist and enthusiastic birder, we plan to have Lisa lead Birds & Gardens tours whenever possible. 

Claudio Vidal
Claudio VidalClaudio is a native Chilean and has been bird-watching since the age of 12. Today, Claudio is one of the leading field naturalists and most respected ornithologists in South America. Based in Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan, Claudio's expertise in Chile's birds and mammals led him to co-author more than 20 books on the subject. Claudio leads bird-watching and natural history tours throughout Chile and he is extremely keen on pelagic birdlife and marine mammals occurring in the Humboldt Current, Patagonia, and Antarctica.

© Sunrise Birding.  All rights reserved.
All photos by Gina Nichol unless otherwise noted.
Contact Gina Nichol at [email protected]