Thank you Arturo Kirkconnell Jr for working hard to make our Cuba birding trip so successful.  I’m sure I speak for the four of us when I say that we enjoyed Cuba, its nature, and culture surrounded by joy.  I’ve been at a loss to think of a single negative comment to balance out all the praise.  Everything was great, starting with our airport pickup by Adrian and his father, Roberto.  I’ll never forget them as our first greeters to Cuba.  Adrian actually pointed out our first endemic—Cuban Blackbird.  Hostal Guido in Havana was perfect lodging for our first and last nights.  I especially liked the kind lady who prepared and served breakfast there.  Our chief goal was to sweep Cuba’s 26 endemic species.  With your extensive knowledge and experience with where and how to find these birds, coupled with your keen eyes and young ears, we surprised ourselves by sweeping all 26 by day 7 of our 9-day adventure.  Simply stated, the birding just couldn’t have been better.  And it wasn’t just the endemics—as a group, we tallied more than 160 species, many of which were new birds for all of us.  Personal highlights were the “swarm” of Snail Kites on our drive to Viñales, a (second!) Gundlach’s Hawk dashing past us in the Valle Ancon, TWO Stygian Owls!!, “swimming with quail-doves” on two mornings, the Zapata Swamp experience with you and your father, and the unforgettable Palpites hummingbird garden.  I also appreciate your smooth inclusion of the Cohiba tobacco farm visit, and for teaching all of us to enjoy Guarapo.  And gosh, our driver “Ray”—I tip my hat to Ray and his trusty vehicle—always skillful, always safe, and always courteous.  I was also delighted to meet Arturo Sr and have him autograph my Cuban bird guide in Playa Giron.  It is obvious to me that Y’all have a great thing going with Kirkconnell birding and I will highly recommend your services to anyone seeking serious ornithological study of Cuba’s great birds.  I already have, by the way!  Again, many thanks to you and everyone involved with our highly successful trip.  And best wishes in the future.

Sincerely,

Randy Pinkston

 

 

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Our Cuba birding trip
Our Cuba birding tripBirders

My ten-day tour with Arturo Jr, my first organized birding tour outside the U.S., was well represented and organized. What called my attention to it was being in the “out back” of Cuba, seeing the countryside and getting to know the people outside of the cities. I was not disappointed. At every destination, we had lovely experiences awaiting us, delightful Casas particulares – similar to B and Bs in the States_ with gracious hosts and charming accommodations. Arturo has a wonderful network of people prepared to allow his “charges” to have the most all-encompassing experience possible in Cuba, be it birding, local products, city tours, restaurants or anything else. 

Arturo is persistent in that he perseveres in finding, not only as many birds as possible but those elusive ones as well. It is nice to see someone passionate about what he does yet with a warm and caring attitude. His English is great but he is always willing to learn the latest slang, descriptive phrase or joke. 

For a successful birding tour of Cuba, I highly recommend Arturo, you will encounter so much more than just the birds.

Betty in Denver Colorado 

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Cuban Tour Oct 2017 Birders

After a truly wonderful trip to Cuba led by Arturo (Jr.), I can’t sing his praises highly enough. As I expected, the guiding was superb. It was all the extra efforts to make the trip as enjoyable as possible that really made a difference. In addition to fantastic bird watching, we had culture, sightseeing, and even some live music, making it a memorable trip in a myriad of ways. I hope to be able to revisit Cuba one day and would hope to again have Arturo as a guide! 

Patricia 

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Birding trip to Cuba Birders

I cannot say enough about the fantastic birding in Cuba, thanks to our guide Arturo Kirkconnell, Jr. Arturo made sure that we all heard the calls, saw the birds and were able to get good photos as well. Arturo has great contacts and was able to put us on even the most reticent birds. The accommodations were very good, the food excellent & plentiful and the country beautiful. I was able to add 57 birds to my life list and we saw over 150 species in our time there. Kirkconnell Birds set up an amazing 10 day trip for us and I would highly recommend them!

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Cuba BirdingBirders

What a great time I had birding in Cuba! The birds are stunning – from the diminutive bee hummingbird to the endless flocks of flamingos, they will take your breath away. Exploring the countryside to find these birds was equally thrilling. Our guide, Arturo Jr., took us on a journey across this stunning landscape to locate almost every Cuban and West Indian endemic possible. He went the extra mile to find me a mangrove cuckoo! All in all, I had 60 life species while there! Come with an appetite. The Cubans love to feed you amazing, wholesome, home-cooked fare in very large portions. This is just a fabulous trip and I would recommend it – just don’t bring a dry bag ; ).

 

Kathy Minch

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Cuba birding just a blastBirders

My sister and I signed up for this Cuba birding tour from a site we found on the Internet. What we hoped for was to see a few Cuban endemics and maybe add in some snorkeling. What we got was way beyond our expectations. Our companions (luck of the draw) were hilarious. Our driver, Hernan, was skilled, especially at dodging potholes. Our accommodations and victuals were varied and interesting. And the Cuban countryside, culture, and companeros were superlative. Best of all was our guide, Arturo. He knows every bird’s secret hiding place and they seem to appear upon his command, a genuine bird whisperer. Our ten days in Cuba in summary: good food, great company, birds and more birds, some beautiful fish and just a rollicking good time. Wish we had signed up for longer.

Ellen Przyuski

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April 2 to 12, 2017 Cuba tripBirders

Arturo: I am not very good at the computer thing, and could not get the reference you sent for the testimonies to work on my computer. But I wanted for sure to send you a message of thanks for one of the best trips of my life (and my sister’s too) We have been to many birding festivals and on guided trips in other places, but none like the one we went on with you. It seemed nearly miraculous that every day you would tell us what the target birds for the next day would be– and then march us out to whatever surrounding terrain there was, and there were just exactly those birds, plus many others! So many new birds, plus lots of information about their habits and habitat. You were amazingly patient with us rather novice birders, helpful to our photographer friend, and really good with our fellow traveller expert. Finally, we were very pleased with our accommodations and if anything overfed! The only place we were less happy was the final resort, which seemed a bit overdone to us; but I understand that the ordinary accommodations are not available there, plus we really loved the snorkeling trips and you and the others seemed very happy there. All in all a wonderful trip, way beyond our hopes and expectations. I am sending your website to other birders I know in the hopes that more people will want to join you in the future. Ellie and I hope to meet up with you in October when you come to the US. Please let us know where and when if you can.

Muchas Gratias!

Fran OReilly

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Thanks for the wonderful tripBirders

I had a great time visiting Cuba with Arturo. We had great views of lots of endemics. The places we stayed at were great and the food was always delicious. The driver of our van was friendly and got us safely to where ever we needed to go. There was time to visit museums, old cities, gardens and the beach which made it extra enjoyable. Going into the swamp and seeing the Zapata Wren and Sparrow was especially exciting. Getting great views and photos of the Bee Hummingbird near Playa Giron was a true pleasure. 

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Loren HintzBIrders

What a wonderful tour! Arturo’s keen eyes and ears led us to see so many endemics. His knowledge made the journey a true cultural learning experience. His humor put all of us in a good mood no matter how early in the morning we were off to bird.  

Thank you so much!! 

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Our Birding Trip By Thomas Carlisle April 2017Birders

My husband and I enjoyed a wonderful first-time trip to Cuba in early February. Thanks to Arturo’s lifelong experience with local habitats and species’ ranges, we were able to document even some of the most uncommon endemics. His sharp eye and persistence yielded sightings of species that we would otherwise have missed entirely. Since Arturo is himself a great bird photographer, he naturally steered the photographers in our group into spots providing optimal lighting and proximity to get the best possible photos. In addition to the birding, Arturo arranged fine lodging for us, and took us to restaurants spanning the spectrum of Cuban food. He also served as our cultural guide, answering our questions on Cuban customs, culture, and history. I felt like we were able to see and do a lot in our short time in Cuba and would like to do it again.

 

Thanks so much for this great adventure!

Mindy and Doug

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Services - Kirkconnell Birds
February 2017 Cuba TripBirders

I have so enjoyed reading the testimonials posted by other birders who, like me, have so thoroughly enjoyed a birding experience with Arturo! Everything that the others have said applies equally to my trip in Cuba February 1-10, 2017. Arturo is such an incredibly talented birder (and photographer), locating and identifying the endemic and migratory birds by song and sight and sharing his knowledge of their habitat and habits. By my count, our small group of five saw 146 species in eight days. Arrangements for lodging and meals were excellent, and the support offered by Adrian and our driver Miguel were most welcome. I also enjoyed learning about life in Cuba today and the care and oversight to protect and conserve Cuba’s extensive national park system. I highly recommend Kirkconnell Birds and Partnership for International Birding for a fascinating and rewarding birding experience in Cuba!

 

Deedee

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Services - Kirkconnell Birds
Birding with Arturo Jr (February 2017)Birders

Thank you for a fantastic trip in Cuba. Arturo’s skills are legendary. He was able to locate the important endemic birds for us. We were treated to great looks at the Cuban trogon, Fernandina flicker, Cuban solitaire, Cuban gnatcatcher and bee hummingbird and more! His ability to hear the birds was so important in finding these birds. In addition, we stayed at wonderful places with delicious food. This was a trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful for the experience.

 

Susan Schott

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Services - Kirkconnell Birds
Susan Schott (February 2017)BIrders

Arturo and his great assistant, Adrian, led a small group, two-week tour, with six of us on board.  The ostensible purpose of the trip was birding – Arturo excels at that! – so we saw tremendous birds throughout Cuba…endemics and many others.  Highlights we still remember are the cuban tody, bee hummingbird,  trogon, a variety of owls, pink flamingos (several times!), and a whole array of magnificent winged species, small to large.  One of us (me) is a photographer, and Arturo gave constant tips about how to best capture these birds, as well as taking extra time to allow for those opportunities.   So that’s a good trip right there.  

 

But that is not nearly the whole story – not for us.  What was equally wonderful was Arturo’s expertise in making the whole experience such a smooth one.  We stayed in top-notch small homes and bed & breakfasts – the five-star kind. Home-cooked meals, delightful hosts, and every detail covered ahead of time (or if needed, at the time of a request).  We are vegetarians (one of us entirely, the other mostly), and we’d been warned that this might be difficult.  Not under Arturo’s planning…instead, organic produce at every meal, salads until even we’d eaten enough salad, and always an extra plate or order to accommodate this diet.  Delicious at every turn!

 

Additionally, we aren’t hard-core birders; we love the whole nature thing…land, water, ecosystems, bugs to bats to bears.  So we asked for time and opportunities to go scuba diving (in some of the clearest oceans and living reefs we’ve ever seen, as a side note), and time to venture on walks on our own.  Another tour member wanted to see music and dance in old Trinidad – so that was added into the trip (to our delight, too), and we arrived early to allow for some time in Havana where Arturo found us a fantastic historical/city guide, as well as setting up all transport to/from the scuba sites, our bed-and-breakfast accommodations, etc.

 

The ease of travel (despite knowing that any country has its quirks and challenges) and the quality of the experience we had in every area is a testament to Arturo’s care, attention, knowledge of local culture and people, along with his renowned expertise in the birding realm.  And apart from Arturo and Adrian, who are a delight to be with,  we made four lovely friends along the way, in our other tour members. As very independent travelers, that’s saying a lot.  

 

We would recommend Kirkconnell Tours to anyone and everyone – and have been doing so already.  We hope we’ll have a chance to return.

 

Thank you, Arturo!

 

Juliet & Phil

 

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Top-Notch Cuba Birding & Nature Tour ( Jan 2017) Birders

My wife and I recently went on a Cuban 11 day birding trip with Arturo Kirkconnell, Jr., his driver Hernan, and our master helper, Adrian. We were very impressed with every facet of the trip. Arturo is keenly aware of the sites for all of the endemics and other near endemics. The weather was gorgeous, the accommodations fine to excellent, and the Cuban people were so friendly. A fantastic trip to a fabulous island that we would recommend highly to anyone. Ron Hoff and Dollyann Myers, Clinton, Tennessee USA.

 

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Ronald Hoff and Dollyann MyersBirders

Thanks to Arturo Jr and our driver, Rodolfo, my wife and I had a great two weeks Birding in Cuba.

 

Arturo’s knowledge of where (and when) to go regarding the different places to find birds enabled us to see every endemic possible. His zesty sense of tongue-in-cheek humor, and ease in speaking English made for a fun trip, more like going on a trip with a friend than on an elementary school field trip.

 

Cuba was a far easier trip regarding driving, walking, and early rising than many of our previous trips. At the age of 61, that’s a plus!

 

The private homes (B&Bs) we stayed in were great, and the hosts terrific. It enabled us to be part of the life of the Cuban people more directly. The other birding couple we traveled with were also great people to bird with. The more professional resort accommodations were, of course, very nice and pampered us delightfully. The food was also fabulous, whether at fancier restaurants or served home-style. And NO tummy trouble of consequence!

 

The Zapata peninsula was especially terrific to bird, with so many places to see, and the one guide who joined Arturo and us in finding the more secretive owls and doves. What a treat!

 

Thank you so much Arturo! It was a delight to have you guide us.

 

Roger and Celeste Lau

 

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Roger and Celeste LauBirders

1. What went well?  What exceeded your expectations?

One week before our scheduled trip I had an accident that cause me serious mobility issues. my participation in the trip was very questionable. Charles and Arturo had the problems solved in no time. they brought in the most delightful young man who helped me every step of the way. this was my companion Adrian.

I had expected to have to sit in a vehicle and bird from afar, but with the help of Adrian i was able to be out and in the fields with the other birders and was able to get all the birds  that everyone else got and i did not ruin anyone’s enjoyment by having them be responsible for me and slowing them down. Arturo and Adrian made sure I got every bird.

everywhere we stayed the staff was very respectful of my problems and did everything they could to make my stay enjoyable. 

my expectations were met tenfold–I was not even sure I would be able to go and participate at all. 

 

2.What could have gone better? I cannot think of a thing that could have gone better. 

I was not prepared for the tipping as I did not have small currency.

 

3. What did not meet your expectations.

my expectations were pretty low as I was injured and i expected to be car birding. it was amazing that I was able to get out and go with everyone else. I was truly in tears that everyone was so helpful to make my trip a once in a lifetime experience. 

I am so grateful to everyone that the trip was so wonderful.

 

4. Feel free to provide any other feedback you may have?

I had no idea what to expect in Cuba.  my mind was a blank slate. I am so impressed with the Cuban people. they were so gracious, caring and genteel. they were so genuine in their concerns for me .they made me feel very safe. they treated me like an elder in their family which I thought was a huge compliment.

I enjoyed their wonderful tasty food. 

our travel company did a wonderful job of preparing us. they sent us travel and birding information that was so helpful and alleviated some of the apprehension of a foreign trip.

our guide Arturo is just the best. he knew the habitat and the songs and he got us on birds so fast I thought we would be done in 2 days. he is just amazing. he was so personable and just a joy to be around. 

my friend Adrian was the sweetest most caring man . he never let me take a step without him helping me.i could never have done the trip without his assistance. I will be forever grateful to him and everyone who made this trip possible for me. I cannot thank him enough.

thanks to everyone,

Sherry.

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Sheryl Estep 1Birders

Amazing birding trip to Cuba! We saw 22 of 23 Cuban endemics and had great looks at all the birds. Arturo Kirconnell Jr. is an astounding guide tremendous.. read more

Suzie Snyder & Jason EstepBirders

Many times finding birds, watching their behavior and getting a sharp photo is luck. To increase the odds of a successful birding expedition, a professional guide is key. Arturo Kirkconnell Jr. is that guide for Cuba. He knows where to find the birds and once at the right habitat, his ability to identify bird call is excellent. When he hears a bird, he’ll wait patiently for it to appear and when he sees it, he’ll make sure everyone gets a good look as well. On a boat trip in the Zapata Swamp, he partnered with local guides to help spot. We had a long look at and heard the musical song of the Zapata Wren.

There were many highlights of our trip including long sessions with the Bee Hummingbird, Cuban Tody and Fernandia’s Flicker. We saw 21 of 22 endemic birds during 9 days in March 2016. It was a special treat to watch the migrating warblers closer than we had seen them in the states.

As a lovely extra, Arturo has a great sense of humor. He quickly becomes attuned to his clients needs and interests. Many times he’d slow down the drive so we could get photos of the countryside and people. We also met many Cubans on our trip and learned about their country.

I hope you can be lucky as we were to have Arturo as your guide. Arturo and Kirkconnell Birds are a five star organization.

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Kay and Bob MerrickBirders

Cuba is blessed with beautiful and interesting birds, and our recent trip there did not disappoint. Our guide, Arturito Kirkconnell Jr was everything one could want in a bird guide–great at spotting the birds, explaining the intricacies of identifying them by plumage and calls, good at logistics, and great fun to be with. He was considerate of my non-birding spouse, so Gerry enjoyed the trip as much as anyone. Arturito was also a wonderful guide to his beautiful country and its people, going out of his way to show us areas and sights that were not to be missed. It was a rich and rewarding trip in every way, so thank you, Arturito!

Jane and Gerry Chelius

Invalid Displayed Gallery

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Jane and Gerry CheliusBirders

Trip to Cuba with Arturo Kirkconnell Jr.

Andrea and I very much enjoyed our 10-day birding tour with Arturo. Very few people combine the ability to quickly find birds by sight and by ear to the extent that Arturo does. His deep knowledge helped us find the endemics and near-endemics and also a great number of other birds. And he shared our excitement at seeing birds and noting interesting bird behavior. The places we stayed were all wonderful – with great food. Except for the fancy hotel in Havana, the service was excellent everywhere, We returned home with great memories of the birds and an appreciation of Cuba.

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Larry and Andrea- Birding in Cuba
Larry and Andrea GardellaBirders

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On the Kirkconnell family we have been birding for over 30 years, we can offer you the experience of your live in what birds are related. Enjoy Cuba, it Nature and Culture surrounded by joy.

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