birdwatching on aruba
birding on aruba
birding tour on aruba
Steven Mlodinow, MD wrote:
“My first trip to Aruba was during March 2003. I came for a continuing education conference and was swept away by the people and natural history of the island. I returned again in March 2004, March 2005, October 2007, and April 2013. Shortly after my last visit, the Cornell Lab for Ornithology asked me to help with its eBird project in Aruba. It was through eBird that I (virtually) met Michiel Oversteegen. I was immediately struck by the awesome beauty of his photographs. He also proved to have an inquisitive and highly intelligent nature, which made him an ideal person to work with. I returned during April 2017, in no small part, to spend time in the field with Michiel, to meet him in person.
I had a fabulous time. He was a great companion, who showed me a number of places on the island that I'd not discovered, species of birds that I'd not yet seen on Aruba, and improved my photography. Since then, I've been honored to be able to call Michiel my friend. His abilities as a naturalist are very good. As a nature photographer, his is spectacular. As a companion, highly valued. “
Steven Mlodinow, MD
Longmont CO USA
eBird reviewer for Colorado and Aruba
author of Merlin Caribbean (Cornell Lab for Ornithology)
Member of the Colorado Bird Records Committee
Former member of the Washington Bird Records Committee
Former technical and regional editor for North American Birds
Author of Chicago Area Birds
Co-author of America's 100 Most Wanted Birds and Birds of Washington State
Jon Johnson wrote:
“My wife and I had our first birding experience in Aruba several months ago. We arrived by cruise ship and were met near the pier by a handsome man with binoculars and cameras hanging off is neck and shoulders. Kay had arranged for us to meet him online two months earlier. What followed were many joyful hours of birding, photography and an informal history lesson of this enchanting island.
The abundance of beautiful birds in this lovely Caribbean Island Nation was exceeded only by the abundant knowledge and kindness of our charming guide, Michiel Oversteegen. Michiel is a world class nature photographer and expert birder.
We have birded in dozens ports of call over the last 20 years and Michiel is by far the best guide we have met. Do yourself a favor and seek out Michiel Oversteegen before you visit Aruba.”
Duluth, Georgia, U.S.A.
Alexander Viduetsky wrote:
“I visited Aruba in April 2016. In 5 days, I was able to see 61 different avian species, thanks in large part to invaluable help of Michiel Oversteegen.
He is a very knowledgeable birder, a superb photographer and a linguist. Michiel knows everything about Aruba and the local birds. I was very lucky to have him as my guide.
For example, on April 10, 2016, early in the morning, Michiel picked me up from my hotel and took me in his car to the Spanish Lagoon (Spaans Lagoen). That place was a birder’s dream! Among different avian species there, Michiel had shown me three of my favorites: Burrowing Owl, Venezuelan Troupial and Blue-tailed Emerald. Michiel had given me some very interesting facts about the special status of the Burrowing Owl in Aruba - as one of the island’s National Symbols. Having seen hundreds of different birds in various countries on different continents, I would say that the Venezuelan Troupial and Blue-tailed Emerald were among the most beautiful that I have ever seen.
Besides the Spanish Lagoon, Michiel and I went to Bubali Bird Sanctuary. It was another great place, which he knows in depth. Among the most exciting observations out there for me was to see the Whistling Heron and Southern Lapwing.
I had no troubles communicating with Mr. Oversteegen because of his fluency in English (he also speaks Dutch and Spanish). In fact, I enjoyed all our conversations on numerous topics.
I’m looking forward to seeing and birding again with my dear friend Michiel Oversteegen in the nearest future. I highly recommend him as a birding guide and photography expert.”
Valley Village, California, USA
Contributor to the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Pocket Guide to BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA; Princeton University Press The WORLD'S RAREST BIRDS and other American and International publications
June Kalman wrote:
I am so excited about your new venture(s). However I am a bit jealous that I will now have to share one of the best birding guides and nature photographers I have encountered in my many travels with a wider audience.
I had been coming to Aruba for several years and doing some birding on my own but you introduced me to so many diverse species and new locations. It became clear that Aruba had far more to offer a birder, naturalist and or photographer than I previously had thought.
Your appreciation and sensitivity to the natural world of Aruba and ability to capture this in your photography is to be admired. As importantly, your make your voice heard through your many skills regarding the need and importance of continued conservation efforts in Aruba.
I look forward to birding with you the next time in Aruba !!!.”
Beth Measley wrote:
“Michiel is a superb birding guide; he knows Aruba, the birds, and where to find them! He is informed, fun, adventurous, and will go the extra mile to ensure you have a great experience. I birded 1:1 with Michiel twice in April 2018 while on a 2 week vacation. Michiel is among the best of international birding guides, a true pleasure.”
Looking forward to my next trip to Aruba (hopefully late Spring this year). Will definitely be in touch if and when I get there, and I’ll bring Sven more Salt Water Taffy 😉.”
Best wishes for future success.
Karen Carbiener wrote:
“I messaged Michiel through Facebook on Oct. 20, 2016 requesting a birding guide suggestion for my upcoming trip to Aruba, not knowing he would be willing to take me out to various birding hotspots for my first trip in December 2016. We conversed over the next few weeks and set a date and time to go birding. He picked me up at the agreed upon time at the hotel I was staying and off we went to the Bubali Bird Sanctuary. While there, he made sure I got great looks at life birds as well as other local specialties.
We then birded Balashi where Michiel got me on one of my nemesis birds – a Burrowing Owl! There were multiple owls in varying ages and he also showed me their burrows – I was thrilled!
From there, we went to the Tierra del Sol golf course and saw more Burrowing Owls (the national bird of Aruba). Unfortunately, we also saw some of the destruction the off roaders and 4-wheelers do to the fragile environment. I hope in time, (soon), the tour companies will change their habits and see the negative impact on the environment.
We birded the coastline for ocean and shorebirds before bringing me back to my hotel. I have never been so pleased and surprised at how much time Michiel spent with me as well as making sure I got all of my target species. He is very professional and truly cares that I had an enjoyable experience.
I came home with an astounding 14 life birds and a total count of 53 species!
When I get back to Aruba, Michiel will definitely be part of my plans!”
Peter-Paul Schets schreef:
“Na vele bezoekjes aan Curaçao, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Saba en Sint Eustatius had ik in juni 2019 eindelijk de kans een dagje op Aruba vogels te gaan kijken. Via een bevriende vogelaar op Bonaire kwam ik in contact met Michiel Oversteegen. Dit bleek een schot in de roos.
Op 14 juni stond Michiel mij vroeg in de ochtend al op te wachten bij de airport, het begin van een prachtige dag die in no time voorbij was. Michiel nam me mee naar alle goede vogelplekken van Aruba, en ondertussen toonde hij zich niet alleen een scherp waarnemer die de soorten op zijn duimpje kent, maar ook een kenner van allerlei andere aspecten van Aruba, waaronder de achtergronden van de bedreigingen van de natuur op het eiland. Gelukkig zijn er mensen zoals hij die zich inspannen voor het behoud van wat er nog is aan natuur op een toeristeneiland als Aruba.
Na bezoekjes aan Spanish Lagoon (Burrowing owl, Caribean elaenia), Bubali (Caribean martin, Roseate spoonbill, Black skimmer), Arashi, Bachelors en Baby Beach (Brown en Black noddy, Roseate en Sooty tern) stond de teller op ongeveer 60 soorten. Waarvan drie nieuwe voor mijn ABC-lijst (owl, spoonbill en black noddy).
Als klap op de vuurpijl zagen we ook nog een Whistling heron. Grappig genoeg een soort die ik nu op alle drie de ABC-eilanden heb gezien. Michiel stuurde mij in de avond een vlijmscherpe foto die hij van deze reiger had gemaakt terwijl die net een hagedisje verorberde. Ook qua natuurfotografie valt er veel van hem te leren.
Na een geweldige en zeer gezellige dag met Michiel vertrok ik laat in de middag naar Curaçao, met een toch wel wat bijgesteld beeld van het eiland Aruba: inderdaad een zeer toeristisch eiland maar tegelijk een eiland met nog een aantal prachtige rustige plekken met schitterende vogels.
Ik denk niet er iemand anders beter in staat is die te laten zien dan Michiel Oversteegen.
Michiel, nogmaals dank voor deze dag op Aruba! "
eBird reviewer Bonaire en Curaçao
Albert & Gail Holm wrote:
“One good reason to visit Aruba is Michiel Oversteegen and his birding tours. In early November, he picked up my wife and me at our Bed & Breakfast and took us from north to south to give us an introduction to the birds of Aruba. Often we did not have to leave his SUV, which functioned as a rolling blind. Aruba hosts endemic species as well as birds of South American, of the West Indies, and even migrants from the Arctic, and it was great to see a sampling of them. Michiel has great eyes and ears for locating birds, and the knowledge to identify them. He also knows where they nest and when migrants and exotics are visiting. We even spotted a Northern Harrier at Bulbali, not exactly an exotic bird for us North Americans, but this was the first ever sighting of one in Aruba. It must have followed us. Michiel can customize his tours to meet your interests. Do you have a life bird to find? Michiel knows where. Do you want to photograph birds? He is your expert; check out the gallery on his website. Thank you, Michiel! "
Albert & Gail Holm
Elaine & Harvey Smith wrote:
“My husband and I spent an amazing morning with Michiel birding on our first ever holiday to Aruba. We love wildlife and nature and seeing the other side of everywhere we go, off the beaten track, and could find no other type of offering through our travel agent or on Trip Advisor. I contacted him in advance of our trip through Facebook messenger (do bear in mind the time difference!) and he responded very promptly to my enquiry. Michiel collected us from our hotel and took us to Arikok National Park early to see the wonderful birdlife there; the Caribbean Elaenia, Hudsonian Godwit, Wilson’s Snipe, Ruby Topaz and Emerald Hummingbirds and the beautiful Burrowing Owl to mention a few. I’m a keen photographer and managed to get some reasonable shots with my limited experience. We then went on to the North of the island past the California Lighthouse to the habitats there seeing more Burrowing Owls, and water/wading birds and migrant visitors. Throughout Michiel was spotting all sorts along the way, stopping for a closer look, he has such an eye! We then headed back to our hotel, stopping at the Bubali Bird Sanctuary and then other spots along the way Michiel showed us that we could make our own way to on foot from the hotel. Michiel is an honest, friendly and funny guy and an incredible expert on all fauna and flora of Aruba and so passionate about conservation on the island. We really had a great time and can’t recommend this tour enough. Get out and see the real Aruba!! Thanks Michiel, Elaine & Harvey. "
Elaine & Harvey Smith
Geoff & Cheryl Lindstrom wrote:
“We had the pleasure of spending the morning birding with Michiel this week and it was one of the highlights of the trip. Not only does he pick you up where you are staying, but brings you to parts of the island you would normally not see. We saw over 70+ species of birds in 5+ hours! As an experienced birder, that’s an amazing day. Not only is Michiel a fantastic bird guide and photographer, but he is a gem to the island with his efforts in the conservation and protection of its beauty. Guaranteed great experience! Thank you Michiel. "
Geoff & Cheryl Lindstrom
Sarah Moloney wrote:
“I’m an amateur birder to say the least. Michiel’s tour around Aruba was educational, adventurous, and of high quality. He was able to answer my questions about the wildlife in Aruba, in addition to my boyfriend’s more specific and technical questions. As my first visit to Aruba, Michiel was: friendly, welcoming, had a snack on hand when I had low sugar, and overall a genuine person—who truly cares about the current wildlife and the future conditions of the wildlife on Aruba. By the end of the tour, I was comfortable identifying most of the species around me. This is a 10/10 tour, whether you are an amateur birder like myself, or an expert, you will thoroughly enjoy your time with Michiel! "
Nick Morosco wrote:
"Whether you’ve been coming here for years or this is your first time to Aruba, this tour should be on your to-do list. He truly has a passion for all local wildlife, and knows exactly where to find rare species such as the burrowing owls. I highly recommend scheduling a tour early in your stay. Some of the things you learn while exploring the island with him can be applied to the rest of your vacation, including local food places, secluded beach areas, and simple guidelines to follow that greatly help the conservation efforts on the island. The tour began being picked up at the hotel lobby, and covered the majority of the island. We traveled from the hotel down to San Nicholas, and back up past the California lighthouse visiting unique ecosystems along the way. We had 30-40 confirmed sightings, and a few more while looking over pictures after the trip. Our next visit will definitely include another tour. Thank you Michiel!"
John and JoAnn wrote:
"We arrived on Aruba by ship on Christmas Day and Michiel was there to meet us. We had a list of birds we were interested in seeing and due to Michiel’s local knowledge, we found them. Aruba has a wonderful collection of birds and so many of them were new to us, which made it all the more exciting. I would recommend Michiel Oversteegen as a guide to anyone wanting a good birding experience."
John and JoAnn
Adair Prall wrote:
"I found Michael on the web and emailed him to see if he was available, a month or two in advance. He immediately responded and we planned for a day while we were here around the holidays. He picked me up at our rental home on time and the rest of the day was a fantastic tour of the island and as many of the birds as were available to be seen at this time of year. He is incredibly knowledgeable and truly cares about his island and the flora and fauna that are here. He has a great ear and we heard a number of birds that we never saw, thanks to his knowledge of different calls of the birds on the island. Unfortunately, development is taking its toll on the birds here, but we had a fantastic time both seeing and hearing birds as well as talking about what is going on here and what efforts are afoot to advocate for the island and it’s natural gifts. I highly recommend him to anyone who is here on vacation who would like to see some of the greatest treasures on the island."