Trip Leaders

Forrest Davis is owner and founder of High Lonesome BirdTours. In 1994, following a varied career that included a tour in the Marines, several years at NASA, and career as a health care executive, he decided to retire in pursuit of his favorite interest: birds and other wildlife.

He began leading private tours in 1995, and moved on to group tours in 1996. He specializes in Alaska and Sonora, Mexico, and still enjoys co-leading many of the company’s tours. He has written articles for Winging It and is a well-known figure in the birding world.  Forrest lives in Southeastern Arizona.

David MacKay has led tours for High Lonesome since 1996. His specialties are Alaska and Mexico (he speaks fluent Spanish). He makes his home in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico where he is hard at work building a new birding lodge there.

David and his wife, Jennifer, managed a lodge for several years in Alamos. They now run a fine restaurant in Alamos as well. David was previously Operations Manager for BackRoads (the largest bike touring company in the world) and led tours for them as well. Dave is our lead guide at Gambell.

Jennifer MacKay is a gourmet cook, and she doubles as our cook at Gambell — a treat for our guests and guides as well. She is a casual birder, but enjoys it.

She leads bike tours in Europe and the US for BackRoads, and she is the chef of her own restaurant in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico.

Wezil Walraven has been involved in birding most of his life. He spent several years as a naturalist at a nature center in Alanta. He relocated with his wildlife artist wife, Lisa, to Arizona in 1997, and he has been leading trips there and in Mexico since that time.

Wezil lives with his wife in Asheville, NC, from where he continuse to lead trips for High Lonesome in Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and Mexico while developing new trips on the East Coast. Wezil is an exceptional birding guide — and highly entertaining as well!

Dave Krueper is a non-game-bird biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, based in Albuquerque, NM. He has been an avian biologist and an avid birder for over 30 years. Dave has lived in Alaska for four years and has birded on six continents. Although his particular love is birding in the Western Hemisphere tropics, he has made a special effort to bird in all habitats in North America, and particularly loves Alaska for its dramatic landscapes and diverse avifauna. He’s on the Board of Directors of the Western Field Ornithologists and is a past president.

Phil Davis is a government consultant in his day job, and he’s a first-class birder the rest of the time. Phil is secretary for the Maryland Ornithological Society. His birding interest is long-standing, and he has written birding articles for several publications. He has a special interest in Asiatic species and sub-species.

He enjoys photographing birds, and his photo of the only living Eurasian Wryneck in North America was published on the cover of Western Birds. He has birded and led birding trips in a number of locations. He co-leads our tours to Alaska and the Dry Tortugas. He resides in Maryland with his wife Barbara, also an avid birder and sometimes co-leader.

Juan Carlos Calvachi leads our Ecuador and Galapagos trips. He was a protégé of Paul Greenfield, co-author of Birds of Ecuador, and has led many trips with him. He now has his own guiding business.

He is probably the most accomplished native guide in Ecuador. He speaks fluent English, and he resides in Quito, Ecuador with his wife, Paulina and their three children, where they operate a very comfortable bed and breakfast for birders.

Neil Donaghy is owner of Celtic BirdTours in Wales UK. He will be leading our tours to Wales and Great Britain, Romania, Scandanavia, and other European destinations. Neil has a diploma in German and has been a bird watcher since childhood. He has travelled extensively throughout Europe and has worked in France and Germany. It is this love of travel and birds that finally convinced him to take the long desired step of combining the two.

He is a committee member and field secretary of the Glamorgan Bird Club and has the happy knack of finding rare birds. Neil is married to Ceri, a physician, and they have three sons. He has written articles for Birdwatch magazine, Welsh Birding and authored the The Birds of Bridgend, which was published in February 2001. He is planning a new book—The Birds of Kenfig National Nature Reserve—which he is co-writing with Steve Moon.

Kip Miller will be leading Alaska trips. He lives in Southwest Michigan, where he spends much time birding the beaches, dunes and forests along the Lake Michigan shore. As a nature center naturalist, he shares his enthusiasm for birds by leading regular local field trips and hosting special events to promote birding.

Since 1989 he has also guided tours to multiple regions of the U.S. and Canada and has organized over a dozen trips in the American tropics. He enjoys the sharing aspects of group birding and understands the importance of making tours both fun and comfortable for all participants.

Sheri Williamson is co-director, with her husband Tom Wood, of the non-profit Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory in Bisbee, Arizona. She is author of The Peterson Guide to the Hummingbirds of North America. She has authored numerous articles about hummingbirds and the behavior of other species as well. She and Tom also produced the Southeast Arizona Birding Trail map. Sheri and Tom were managers of the Nature Conversancy, Ramsey Canyon Preserve for several years. She co-leads trips to Belize, Ecuador, and Arizona. She resides with Tom in Bisbee, Arizona.

Tom Wood is co-director, with Sheri, of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory. He leads trips for us to Arizona and Texas. He trained as a wildlife biologist, and he has a special interest in mammals. He was the naturalist at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge for many years before coming to Arizona to manage the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon

Jim Black leads tours in Costa Rica and Venezuela. He speaks fluent Spanish. He spent several years in Costa Rica and Mexico engaged in avian research projects. He has led his own tours throughout the Western Hemisphere for a number of years. Jim lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Paulita.

Stephan Lorenz has traveled and birded in literally every corner of the continent, from the Aleutian Islands to Dry Tortugas, from Newfoundland to Baja, and south to the Darian Gap, Panama. In between, he has visited 48 states, birded all of Central America, and has extensive birding experience in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Malaysia, Borneo, Australia, and South Africa. He has been involved with bird research and guiding for more than ten years and started birding during the winter months in Texas, which invariably meant looking down at sparrows, one of his favorite groups.

He completed a BS in Biology at the University of Houston and earned a MS in Biology from the University of Texas. His research focused on, no surprise, the landscape ecology of wintering grassland birds, mainly sparrows. Continuing ornithological field work, he joined several research projects, ranging from studying fragmentation of tropical forests in Jamaica for the Smithsonian Institute, to observing the breeding ecology of fairy-wrens in Australia for the Max Planck Institute. He also worked as a biologist for US Fish and Wildlife, conducting seabird studies in Alaska for three seasons, then joined National Audubon as a Bird Biologist and Educator in southern California, and has done extensive bird and mammal surveys in Texas. His love for the tropics lured him to Costa Rica, where he guided for two seasons in the Osa Peninsula at the Bosque del Rio Tigre Ecolodge. During the summers he has braved the cold working as a tour guide on St. Paul Island, Alaska, for two seasons. In addition to guiding experience in Texas and California, he recently worked as a bird guide in the Brazilian Amazon.

He has published more than sixty papers and articles on bird distribution, natural history, bird identification, and travel. Some of his photos and writing have appeared in BirdWatcher’s Digest, WildBird, Birder’s World, and ABA Winging It. He likes to share his experiences through regular presentations for Audubon Societies, Conferences, Festivals and Nature Clubs, with 30 presentations and workshops to date. Currently, he is a Professor of Biology at San Jacinto College and tries to turn up rarities in Texas, in addition to work on future articles and a book. His unbridled enthusiasm for anything feathered, or living for that matter, makes him an excellent companion in the field.

 

 

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