I had a four-hour (southern route) tour with Susan last week and was absolutely giddy about the experience from start to finish. She was very kind and patient with my novice skills and helped me get some truly amazing shots. But I learned as much about island history and bird habits, behavior, and migration routes as I did about shutter speed priority. She's an absolute wealth of information with her extensive history on the island and a true joy to spend time with. I'll be doing another tour with her at my next possible opportunity, and you should too.
Angoisse W., via Facebook
My husband and I went on a birding tour with Susan. She gave us a choice of areas and which species of birds we might see. We chose south of the island and flamingos and parrots. She was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and graciously shared her expertise in spotting and photography with us. She extended the tour by a bit as we had spotted some active parrots about to roost. Probably the best thing was that she showed us how to get back to places where the birds could be easily seen. We will absolutely go again on our next visit to Bonaire! Thank you, Susan!
I spent two weeks in June 2022 with my family in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. While my family was shopping one afternoon, I spent 3-1/2 hours with Susan looking at the beautiful birds and learning about the island, its culture, people, politics, and especially the birds. In two weeks I saw 31 new life species and about 60 or so total species. In the short time with Susan, I saw 18 of those lifers and 36 total species, including nearly two dozen American Flamingos at close range, and about 70 Yellow-shouldered Parrots flying in to roost at sunset. Those two birds were at the top of my target list, and seeing so many so close was a dream come true. June isn't the most species-diverse time of year for these islands, but the experience, with Susan's help, exceeded my wildest expectations. I recommend her as a knowledgeable, experienced, and friendly guide who will greatly enrich your time with the beautiful birds in the Dutch Caribbean. Snorkeling and swimming with dolphins are fine, and I enjoyed my time with my family, but seeing and photographing flamingos and parrots and parakeets, etc.? It doesn't get any better than that.
I visited Bonaire in mid-September 2019 and scheduled a 3-hr bird photography tour with Susan. Susan picked my mother & me up at the house we were staying at, and provided greatly appreciated water, snacks, and binoculars, which she taught us how to use. She can definitely be considered an expert on the birds of Bonaire. I am a newer & relaxed birder, so I just wanted to go do something I loved in a place new to me. Susan knew where the birds were and had many suggestions, such as whether would I prefer to see shorebirds, parrots, flamingos, warblers, etc. I saw so many new to me species, but even the ones I did know I was able to learn more about. We counted (with her help) 43 species. Some of the highlights for me included white-cheeked pintails, common gallinule, southern lapwing, and Groove-billed ani. And, though I may not understand the rarity of the sighting, she also led us to see a striated heron. She knew where it had been hanging out and luckily we were still able to see it. My mom and I had a lot of fun on the tour. Susan was very knowledgeable of her birds, told us many fun facts about them, and was a very kind host for the evening. We would be happy to go on a tour with her again and would definitely recommend her!
We had a wonderful time on our birding photography tour with Susan in January 2020 on Bonaire. My wife and I were, of course, there to see Flamingos, and Susan was able to get us some fantastic, close-up looks of Flamingos before the cruise ship tours arrived and drove them further away from the water’s edge.
We also ventured to other areas of the island to see lots of other species and Susan did a wonderful job finding the birds despite our schedule only allowing us to bird in the late morning to early afternoon hours. She even took us to her own personal garden to watch the hummingbirds! She was very patient allowing us to control the pace of the tour as well. If we had a cooperative subject, Susan was happy to let us work with it for as long as we wanted. I can’t recommend a photography tour with Susan enough if you’re coming to Bonaire for the birds!
We identified 33 birds during our midday tour with her, 6 of which were new life list birds for us. There would have been many more lifers for us in Bonaire had we not spent the previous day birding in Aruba as well. We even saw a banded Ruddy Turnstone and got to report its sighting.
Susan deserves way more than 5 stars for the birding adventure she provided for me. She knows and shares birds, and she knows and shares Bonaire. I learned so much, all the while being comfortable and sharing some fun laughs. Find her and you will find Bonaire birds for your list!
We’ve visited Bonaire in the past as part of an organized trip to a diving resort and always enjoyed looking for birds that we can’t normally see at our home in Northeastern USA, so when we discussed returning we decided to book two bird tours with Susan and the experience brought the birds of Bonaire to life for us!
Susan was friendly and delightful to talk to as she shared her expertise on the local birds and history. We are casual birders who love to “see what we see” and do not keep lists, but she kept track for us and between the three of us we saw 43 species including some that we were hoping to find and some nice surprises! We visited in mid-January and some of the highlights included a Black-bellied Whistling Duck with babies, an encounter between Lapwings with their babies and a Crested Caracara, a lucky closeup of a whole flock of Magnificent Frigatebirds, and spotting a rare Great White Heron (AKA White Morph Great Blue Heron) in the distance. While we were very pleased by the species identified, the real treat was the way Susan’s knowledge and experience with the birds’ behavior enriched the experience, such as when a bird was skittish and likely to be spooked, the hunting behavior of a Reddish Egret, or the Lapwings defending their babies. This set the trip apart from our usual self-guided tours of hot spots during some of our other trips closer to home.
We came prepared with our viewing gear and a camera. Susan chose the route carefully to provide the most ideal lighting and angle for the camera, including some beautifully lit scenes of Flamingos. She also provided helpful advice on approaching some of the shots with the smallest chance of spooking the birds before getting a good photo. Although we did not need assistance with the gear, she was prepared to provide it if necessary. We did both a driving tour and a walking tour in the island interior which was very easy, but did require foot/ankle protection due to the thorny brush, which Susan had prepared us for in advance.
Next time we return to Bonaire we are hoping to take another trip with Susan and would heartily recommend to photographers and bird lovers regardless of their experience level. We’re familiar enough with birds to know there’s never a guarantee of spotting something rare, but even if we hadn’t spotted any rarities, the tour with Susan would still have made our bird encounters special.
Sarah & Jev V.
Fantastic! I had such a great time. We saw nearly 40 bird species and a few rare birds. Susan was professional, very knowledgeable and helpful. She was very prepared (with water, binocs, and rain protection). She kept a list of what we saw and was patient with photography. I did the water treatment viewing and while that sounds odd, it was fine! If you are novice or experienced, you won’t be disappointed! Book a tour!
Laura from Colorado, USA
I visited Bonaire on a cruise ship and wanted to go birding while I was there! I was very happy to make a reservation with Susan to be my guide! I love taking photos of birds and she understood perfectly about finding birds that weren't just "specks" in my viewfinder, and to photograph them in "good" light. So I got many great photos. We found 37+ species, with some lifers for me! I had a great time. When in Bonaire, book with Susan, and you will have a great trip!
When you go to Bonaire do NOT forget the birds. There are many beautiful colored species. In April 2019 we went on a birding trip with Susan. She is a very enthusiastic birding guide. That makes the trip already worth it. She looks for birds at places we would never expect to look at ourselves. We saw 33 species with her. And with her advice, we saw 17 species ourselves. Bonaire is a paradise for birders!
I had an opportunity to take a day trip to Bonaire from my recent week-long vacation in Aruba with a friend. This was my fourth visit to Aruba and I had been wanting to visit Bonaire to see American Flamingos in their breeding habitat, and finally had the chance. After researching options, I booked a tour with Susan--what a phenomenal experience, from start to finish! I am all too happy to share my highest recommendation!
Susan communicated with me several times prior to my trip and I felt like I had known her for years before I even met her. People on Aruba, as well as people on the island hopper flight to Bonaire, knew or knew of Susan, which made me even more comfortable that I had made the right choice. She customized an itinerary for the day based on birds I had shared that I was interested in seeing. She willingly shared her expertise in an easy-going, friendly style, and it made it so fun and easy to learn from her. She knew just where to look to find the birds I was hoping for, and some I didn't even expect to see! She seemed to delight in my excitement, which made it even more fun. She had a delicious lunch planned for a "garden sit" at her home--I honestly felt like a family friend. Her hospitality was amazing and her garden even more amazing! In all, we ended up seeing 48 species, of which 9 were lifers for me, in about 7 hours.
Observing the American Flamingos close-up was the highlight of my day, and I could have watched them for hours alone. I learned so much from Susan about some of their behaviors, their movements, and their habitat. I was also thrilled to get some nice photos of the Brown-throated Parakeets and Saffron Finches--beautiful! A beautiful Pearly-eyed Thrasher showed up in her garden, along with a Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, and I got close views of the White-tipped Doves. She located a Brown Booby on our drive about the island, and while it was a bit far away for a great photo, it was an exciting find! She knew where to locate Southern Lapwing chicks and we observed them for several minutes--SO cute! And we even had a surprise drop-in from a White-tailed Nightjar on our hike! But our day was so much more than birdwatching--I learned some interesting stories about the history of the island, the interrelationships between the ABC islands, landmarks, the commercial salt industry, and pink salt ponds... everything about the day was mesmerizing. I will absolutely enlist Susan for future visits to Bonaire (yes, I plan to go back!) 🙂
Our three-hour evening bird tour with Susan was a highlight of our recent trip to Bonaire. Actually, I think the term “bird tour” is too restrictive. Susan spoke knowledgeably about not just the many birds we encountered but the history, culture and unique features of Bonaire. I found some of the sites we visited so interesting that I returned the next morning at sunrise to get some more photos. Plus, Susan pulled over in time for us to watch the sunset and I got to see the Green Flash, which I’ve often heard about but always been skeptical of. No more skepticism! Thanks, Susan for being such a wonderful guide!
Like so many who come to Bonaire, I was part of a dive group vacationing and diving for a week in September of this year. As a mid-week break from diving, I talked my girl-friend Joyce (another diver; my husband said no way) into doing a 3-hour bird watching tour. My knowledge of birds…small, medium, large. Susan was the perfect guide. She took us to different parts of Bonaire that we would have never seen. We counted about 30 species on our tour and enjoyed getting to know someone who clearly loves and appreciates Bonaire. Novice or advanced, I would highly recommend Susan for your next bird watching tour. Thank you, Susan, for a memorable 9/11/2019.
My wife, Ann, and I, together with our son, Andrew, took a 4-hour morning tour with Susan on 3 March, whilst on a Caribbean cruise. Susan met us at the port, before the ship’s tours left, and we were able to obtain excellent views of the Flamingos before the buses scared them off. Susan was very friendly, extremely knowledgeable and knew exactly where to look for the birds. The 4 hours passed by so quickly – we could certainly have done with longer on the island.
We identified 34 species of birds during our tour, of which 13 were personal ‘Lifers’. The highlights, apart from the Flamingos and parking at the local prison, were a Belted Kingfisher and a Northern Waterthrush.
We would highly recommend Susan if you are considering a bird-watching tour on Bonaire.
Wonderful day with Susan! Lovely and knowledgeable about all the resident and migrating birds and she knew all their little hiding spots! She picked us up at the ship and even let us enjoy her personal bird sanctuary! Highly recommend.
A fabulous day with Susan. Highly recommend. Beautiful views of the island as well as some great bird spotting. Whilst I am not a real birder, I enjoy seeing all kinds of wildlife and this tour was just amazing. If you get the chance to join Susan on one of her tours, you won’t be disappointed.
If you love nature, this tour is a must do! My husband and I did the southern birding tour with Susan. What a wonderful afternoon! Not only did we see 33 species of birds but we got to see a rare species, a white version of the great blue heron. Susan was extremely knowledgeable about the birds, their habitats as well as the history of the island. We certainly learned a lot. We came away with a new appreciation of Bonaire. We highly recommend touring with Susan. We were sad when it was over, can't wait to return and tour again with Susan.
My wife Nancy and I, from New Jersey, and our daughter Sarah from Washington, DC, took the four-hour tours with Susan on January 9 and January 16, 2020. We are all experienced birders and have traveled with many guides in many countries and can highly recommend Susan. She runs a very well-organized and equipped operation providing drinks, snacks, guidebooks, a scope, and binoculars if you need them; most of which we usually have to provide for ourselves. It is also a great convenience to be picked up and dropped off at the place where one is staying which helps you make the best use of your time (if you have a choice you need the full four hours to see everything). I’m not the lister but we saw many species, and large numbers of some, and spent a lot of time observing the flamingos. Also while driving around we saw historical sites, different habitats, unique salt ponds, and other landscape features. Our trips with Susan were a highlight of our two-week stay on Bonaire. We would also recommend taking the custom early morning tour at the Echo Foundation parrot sanctuary at Dos Pos at the north end of the island to see the Yellow-shouldered Parrots, parakeets, and their reforestation projects. Finally, if you want to photograph birds Susan is the one to contact.
We went on a morning birding tour with Susan when our cruise ship docked in Bonaire. It far exceeded any expectations we had! Susan shared her knowledge of birds, the island, and the island’s history with us. I took about 350 photos in 4 hours. Susan knew where the best spots were to see the flamingos and other birds. She kept a list of our sightings which she shared with us. Susan is so friendly, personable, and professional. If you are going to be in Bonaire, I highly recommend going on a birding tour with Susan. Even if you aren’t a photographer you will enjoy it!
Susan’s tour was outstanding! Her knowledge of birds and Bonaire’s history made for an interesting and enjoyable 4 hours.
We saw 33 species during our tour and took hundreds of photos. We can’t wait to take another tour on our next visit to Bonaire.
Cathy & Bruce B.
Susan gave us a wonderful experience birding as much of the island as we could in four hours. She was totally receptive to what we were interested in and did her best to accommodate that. She was excellent at explaining and discussing any and everything we were asking questions about. She also inquired as to whether or not we were interested in the history of the island, yes we were, and she gave us a very interesting overview of Bonaire. Her personality, humility, and knowledge made for a great experience.
Cara S. and Patty Z.
This was a Bonaire adventure, even though we live here. Susan took us south, so we could spot birds in the mangroves and the shore. There were many in the hours before sunset--all familiar to our guide, who knew where they hang out. She recorded them so we could look around. The mating soap opera of Least Terns revealed a male flirting to get near the female--we never saw that. Susan matched the tour to our interest and knows the sea life in the birds' diet as well as the island. Recommended for those days you don't dive. Bird lovers, you're in for a treat.
I contacted Susan because we were going to be in Bonaire and I really wanted to see some of the fabulous bird life the island has to offer. I knew that we wouldn't be able to see very much on a typical shore excursion from our cruise ship. Susan gave us an extraordinary tour that we couldn't have done on our own. She really knows her birds and where to find them. Not only did she come through with the birds, but she is also a joy to spend the day with. Her love for the birds and for this beautiful island really showed. Don't hesitate to organize an island bird tour with her! You will love it.
I visited Bonaire in August 2019 and spent two afternoons birding with Susan, as a break from the great diving. And what great afternoons they were! Susan is friendly and knowledgeable, and we had a great time. The uncommon striated heron was a highlight, but so was watching the baby white-cheeked pintails. I highly recommend Susan’s Bonaire Bird Photography Tours for birders and photographers.
We had a wonderful 4.5-hour tour with Susan where we saw approximately 40 types of birds and got a bit of an island tour to boot! Susan is knowledgeable and personable and created an itinerary specific to our goals. I would highly recommend her to anyone and hope to join her for another birding adventure in the future!
We enjoyed a 3 hour tour one afternoon with Susan, saw about 2 dozen species of birds, some from very close quarters - it was excellent! Susan is very friendly, well-organised, and extremely knowledgeable about life in general on Bonaire as well as about the birds and other wildlife. Highly highly recommended - if we visit Bonaire again, we will book a whole day trip if we can.
Rhiannon P. via Facebook
Susan is a delightful guide to experience the magic of Bonaire with! She quickly put me on target birds and suggested where to find some of the harder ones on my list. I would re-book a tour without hesitation and look forward to our next adventure together!
I went birding with Susan this week. She showed me locations that I would not have thought of myself. The fact that she is an experienced photographer herself added to the value of the trip. At my request, we focused on a limited number of species. Her expertise helped me to focus on photography. We had a very satisfactory birding trip resulting in marvelous photos to bring home.
The four of us had a wonderful outing with Susan on July 31. There was a total of 29 species identified which was amazing considering we were only out for 3 hours. My favorite was the striated heron feeding in the ditch near the salt ponds. Of course, there were many others that we were seeing for the first time and were amazing. Highly recommend others enjoy this activity and Susan’s photographs of the outing were professional quality. Thanks so much, Susan!
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