Activities and Interests
Peter's interests include international
travel, classical music, "oldies-but-goodies," and reading.
However, his chief hobby is bird watching.
As of October 3, 2018:
- Peter’s US life list (ABA area) stands at 690 species (out of a possible
800+). His latest ABA lifers were seven species in Arizona: 3 world
lifers (Baird’s and Sagebrush Sparrows and Cackling Goose) and
four others (Rufous-backed Robin, Rufous-capped Warbler, Ruddy
Ground-Dove, and Rosy-faced Lovebird).
- Peter’s World life list (Clement's 6th edition including updates
through August 2018) stands at 6533
species (out of a possible 10585):
6343 seen and 190 heard only.
- Peter’s World Family life list now totals 233 out of 250 recognized families of living species (all
the species of one additional family are extinct).
- Peter has posted 766 photos to eBird, representing
412 different species.
- The August 2018 annual taxonomic update of
the Clements List resulted in a net 16 species gain to Peter’s
list (1 new species, 16 splits, and 1 lump).
- In March-April 2018, a 28-day transatlantic
cruise on the Holland America Prinsendam
added 28 lifers: 4 in Puerto Rico (Yellow-shouldered Blackbird and Puerto
Rican Parrot, Nightjar, and Tanager); 7 in Cape Verde; 2 in Gambia
(Western Red-billed Hornbill and White-backed Night Heron); 1 in
Senegal (Sudan Golden Sparrow); 9 in the Canary Islands; 4 in Morocco
(House Bunting, Moussier’s Redstart, Northern Bald Ibis, and
Barolo Shearwater); and 1 off southern Spain (Balearic
Shearwater). A well-photographed Fea’s
Petrel was Peter’s milestone 6500th Life Bird.
- In January 2018, a two-week trip to Phoenix, AZ,
and Mazatlan, Mexico,
added 13 lifers: 3 in the USA
and 10 in Mexico (Rufous-bellied Chachalaca, Elegant Quail,
Aztec Rail, Mexican Woodnymph, Mexican Parrotlet, Spotted Wren, and
three wonderful jays—Tufted Jay, Purplish-backed Jay, and
While in Phoenix,
Elaine and Peter visited Mal and Riet.
- In October – November 2017, a 37-day
trip to the South Pacific
added 136 lifers. The trip
started in Honolulu;
then we sailed on the Holland America Noordam cruise ship to Auckland,
NZ, via Pago Pago, American Samoa;
Suva and Lautoka, Fiji;
Esau, Lifou, Ile des Pins, and Noumea, New Caledonia;
Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart (Bruny Island),
Australia; and Milford Sound, Dunedin, Picton,
Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, and Auckland, New Zealand. We finished with three days on
North Island of New Zealand.
I added several new
families including Kiwi, Kagu, New Zealand Parrots, New Zealand
Wrens, and New Zealand Mohouas. In addition, throughout the trip, I was
successful in finding and identifying many pelagic
species. Click on the
bold-faced, underlined, blue links to see photo albums for each
- In March 2017, a 10-day birding trip with
WINGS to the Santa Marta
Mountains region of Northern Colombia and adjacent coastal
plain—via Miami and Barranquilla—added 48 lifers.
- In February – March 2017, a 21-day
cruise on the Holland America Rotterdam to the Eastern Caribbean with stops in Bahamas
(Half Moon Cay), Dominican Republic
(Amber Cove), Puerto Rico,
Sint Maartin, Antigua,
Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent,
Bonaire, Aruba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island,
and Cozumel Island
added 40 lifers.
- In October – November 2016, a 21-day
cruise on the Oceania Nautica with Elaine to Mykonos,
and the southern desert),
Egypt (Suez Canal,
and Luxor), Jordan, the Red Sea, Oman (Salalah and Muscat), & United
Arab Emirates (Dubai
and a Nature Reserve). Pre-trip stay in Athens (2
days) and post-trip stay in Dubai (2
days) added 16 lifers.
- In August 2016, we visited England with our
daughter and grandson.
Great fun but no lifers were added.
- In May 2016, after a brief visit to Lisbon, we
made a 5-day stopover in Furnas on Sao Miguel Island in the Azores, where
we added 2 lifers (Island Canary and Azores Bullfinch).
- In April 2016, we visited Slovenia, Croatia,
and Serbia—cruising along the Adriatic
Coast. No lifers were added.
- Over New Year’s in January 2016, we cruised the Western Mediterranean. No lifers were added.
- In October 2015, a 21-day Field Guides
“Safari Brazil” birding trip to Central Brazil: Campo Grande, Pantanal,
Emas NP, Belo Horizonte, Serra do Cipo, Caraca, and Canastra (Brazilian Merganser extension) added 46
- In April-May 2015, a 18-day vacation to Ecuador (San
Jorge lodges), a cruise on the M/V Eclipse in the Galapagos
Islands, and a visit to Machu Picchu, Peru,
via Cuzco and Lima added 30 lifers.
- In January 2015, a
11-day Southern Caribbean
cruise added 11 lifers—10 of them on St. Lucia, where we hired a
local naturalist guide. St.
Lucia endemics seen included St. Lucia Parrot, Warbler, Black-finch,
and Oriole. The other
lifers are Lesser Antillean endemics like White-breasted and
Scaly-breasted Thrasher, Antillean Crested Hummingbird, Saltator, and
Pewee, and Purple-throated Carib.
Barbados Bullfinch was seen and photographed several times on
Barbados. Selected photos can be found here.
- In October 2014, a Field Guides trip to Northwest Argentina
added 88 species including Andean and James’s Flamingo,
Rufous-throated Dipper, Red-tailed Comet, Giant and Horned Coot,
White-browed and Zimmer’s Tapaculo, Salinas Monjita, Tucuman
Parrot and Mountain-Finch, Crested and Sandy Gallito,
White-throated Cachalote, Spot-winged Falconet, and several new
warbling-finches, brush-finches, sierra-finches, and flycatchers. Photos can be found here.
- In May 2014, Peter passed the 6000 threshold by seeing 121
new lifers on a very productive trip with Zoothera Birding to Sichuan, China
(see this trip description). #6000 was a Chinese Gray
Shrike. There were many
highlights including Crested Ibis, Black-necked Crane, 13 new pheasants
and allies, 3 new woodpeckers, several parrotbills, 8 new tits, Ground
Tit, Firethroat, Crested and White-browed Tit-Warbler, Sichuan Jay, Przevalski’s and Snowy-browed nuthatches,
Tibetan Lark, Slaty and Pallas’s Bunting, numerous rosefinches and laughingthrushes,
3 new grosbeaks, 2 new snowfinches, 2 new
accentors, and many new bush-warblers and leaf-warblers.
Click here for
a full trip report.
Selected bird photos can be found here.
- In Sep-Oct 2013, a fabulous trip to South Africa
(with a visit to Sani Pass, Lesotho)
with Birding Africa resulted in 512 species (including 210 lifers) with
many South African country and regional endemics. Highlights include Cape Griffin,
Black Harrier, Southern Bald Ibis, Buff-spotted Flufftail
(seen—two other flufftails heard only),
Damara Tern, Ground Woodpecker, lots of Karoo specialties, many endemic
larks and several endemic sunbirds, Knysna
and Livingstone Turacos, Cape and Gurney’s Sugarbirds, Cape and
Drakensburg Rockjumpers, Woodward’s and
Green-backed and Pink-sided Twinspot, and
Barratt’s, Knysna, Victorin’s,
and Namaqua Warblers—all hard to see skulkers. Click here to see
the list of species seen on the trip (one record per species per
country) and click
here for a full trip report. Photos of many of the South
African birds, mammals and scenery can be found here.
- In August 2013, he picked up 17
“armchair” species with the latest Clements updates including
Iberian Magpie, Japanese and Cinereous Tit, Blue-headed Bee-eater, and
Bismarck Crow along with several South American and Southeast Asian
here to see my
current eBird “Top 100” ranking. Click
here (and change
the number of records per page to 100) to see my ABA ranking—much
lower because not every ABA lister enters
sightings into eBird and, even if they do, they have not necessarily
had time to enter all their sightings records yet into eBird, so their
totals on eBird are lower than they are on the ABA Listing Central site
(e.g., #1 Peter Kaestner).
- In February 2013, a fabulous and
comprehensive tour of Ghana
with Birdquest (Nik Borrow, guide) delivered
217 new species (13 heard only) including such mega-specialities
as White-necked Rockfowl, Egyptian Plover,
Congo Serpent Eagle, Hartlaub’s Duck, Nkulengu Rail, Forbes’s Plover,
Standard-winged Nightjar, Rosy and Black Bee-eater, Yellow-throated and
Thick-billed Cuckoo, five spectacular turacos, and many new hornbills,
sunbirds, greenbuls, and weavers.
here for the whole trip report. For photos of birds, click here;
for mammals, click here.
- In August 2012, the latest Clements update
added 14 “armchair” species including splits of House
Sparrow, Common Stonechat, Golden Whistler,
Little Spiderhunter, and a number of
Philippine species newly split from their south Asian congeners.
- In September 2011, a great tour with Field
Guides to Manaus and the
Brazilian Amazon resulted in 108 new species including
Harpy Eagle, Orange-breasted Falcon, many Guianan Shield endemics, and
lots of localized ant-“things”. Click here for the
whole trip report.
- In August 2011, the latest Clements update
added 13 “armchair” species including Common Gallinule,
Snowy Plover, and
a number of Philippine species newly split from their south Asian
- In July 2011, a wonderful tour with Colombia
Birding to the East, Central, and Western Andes resulted in 123 new
species including many
Colombian endemics: parrots, hummingbirds, tanagers, and more. Click here for the
whole trip report.
- In November 2009, a cruise in French Polynesia
(Tahiti, Raiatea, Rangiroa, Huahine, Bora Bora, and Moorea) yielded 12
new species including Tahiti Petrel, Kingfisher, Monarch, Swiftlet, and
Reed-Warbler; Kermadec Petrel, Christmas
Shearwater, Blue Noddy,
Gray-backed Tern, Gray-green Fruit-Dove, Blue Lorikeet, and
Bristle-thighed Curlew. Click
here for the whole trip report.
- In July 2009, he added 47 species as a result
of a 15-day birding trip with Legacy
Tours to Southern Mexico.
Life birds included White-bellied Chachalaca, Great Curassow,
Double-striped Thick-knee, Tuxtla Quail-Dove, Pacific Parakeet, Pacific
Screech Owl, Blue-capped, Azure-throated, and Wine-throated
Hummingbirds, Slender Sheartail, Tody and
Blue-throated Motmot, Rufous-breasted Spinetail, Yellow-bellied
Tyrannulet, Belted Flycatcher, Gray-collared Becard, Black-capped
Giant, Nava’s, Rufous-browed, and Sumichrast’s
Wren, Blue-and-white Mockingbird, Slate-colored Solitaire,
Aztec Thrush, Azure-hooded, Black-throated, Dwarf, and Unicolored Jay,
Slaty and Dwarf Video, Green Shrike-Vireo, Hooded Yellowthroat,
Pink-headed Warbler, Red-headed Tanager, Ruddy-breasted and Blue
Seedeater, White-throated Towhee, Bridled,
Cinnamon-tailed (Sumichrast’s), and
Oaxaca Sparrow, Rose-bellied (Rosita’s) Bunting, and Bar-winged
here for the whole trip report.
- In January 2009, he added 16 species as a
result of a 6-day birding get-away to the Yucatan
Peninsula of Mexico.
Life birds included Ocellated Turkey, Ruddy Crake, Gray-headed
Dove, Yucatan Poorwill, Yucatan Nightjar, Wedge-tailed Sabrewing,
White-bellied Emerald, Mexican Sheartail,
Tawny-winged and Ruddy Woodcreeper, Stub-tailed Spadebill, Yucatan
Wren, Gray-throated Chat,
Yellow-winged Tanager, Green-backed Sparrow and Blue Bunting. Click here for
the whole trip report.
- His home yard list from July 1975 to February
2002 is available (click here).
You may select from the
following to see a sampling of his photos and to download his trip reports. Not
all the sets of photos are available--these are marked with an asterisk. The
trip reports are in HTML format and may be printed after viewing.