Activities and Interests
Peter's interests include
international travel, classical music, "oldies-but-goodies," and
However, his chief hobby is bird watching.
As of January 14, 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 2017) stands at
6489 species (out of a
6300 seen and 189 heard only.
- 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
- 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, Patmos, Israel (Caesaria and
the southern desert),
Egypt (Suez Canal,
Sharm-el-Sheikh, Safaga 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 splits. Click
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. Click 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
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
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).
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