MEET THE TEAM
JAVIER VILLOTA ARIAS – Ecuador Guide & Tour Leader
Javier is a Naturalist and birding specialist. He is Native and grew up in the bird-rich town of Mindo, Ecuador and has been involved in protecting the natural environment, birds, and wildlife through various conservation projects from the age of 14. He has spent a considerable amount of time birding in the Andes and the Amazon as well as in his native town of Mindo and has seen almost all species of birds in Ecuador. He knows all the secret spots where specific species can be found outside of the traditional birding routes. Javier leads some of our tours in Mindo, Andes, Amazon, and southern Ecuador and is a great asset to NEST Birding Tours.
JULIA PATIÑO – Ecuador Guide and Tour Leader
Julia is very passionate about birds and has been guiding for the last 16 years. She is a Naturalist and member of the Association of Guides of Mindo. Her geographic areas of specialty are Mindo, Andes, and Amazon foothills and basin. Julia’s depth of knowledge is utilized in these areas, where she knows all the hot spots for locating those hard to find species. She leads our tours in the Mindo Cloud Forest and Amazon.
MANISH CHOKSHI – India Guide & Tour Leader
Manish has been birding in India since 1984. His passion for birds and wildlife started after a trip to Ranthambore National Park where he went searching for Tigers. He fell in love with birds and wildlife and has been hooked ever since. Manish spent a considerable amount of time birding in the foothills of the Himalayas, in areas such as Jim Corbett National Park and the Nainital District. He is an avid golfer and hails the Sarus Crane as his personal favorite bird species in India. His knowledge about Indian culture and his passion for birds and wildlife makes the tours with Manish a real joy.
ARVIND SHARMA – India Guide and Tour Leader
Arvind, a native of Dharamshala, has been leading birding and wildlife tours in Northern India for over 15 years. He is incredibly passionate about conservation and preservation of bird habitat and North India’s natural heritage. He is the founder of the Himalayan Nature Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the natural heritage of Himachel Pradesh and is an active member of the Bombay Natural History Society where he is involved in the society’s bird banding projects. Arvind also worked with the World Wide Fund for Nature-India as project coordinator for environmental education programs for schools and participated in the Copenhagen World Environment Summit to address climate change issues affecting Himachel Pradesh. In addition, Arvind is a co-author of “Birds of Kangra,” a guide book for birds in the region which was sponsored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The depth of knowledge Arvind shares with his clients and his lifelong passion for India’s natural heritage including its many bird species and wildlife, is an experience most will never forget. Arvind is one of the Tour Leaders for our Himalayan Bird Tours.
MANOJ KULSHRESHTHA – India Guide and Tour Leader
Manoj Kulshreshtha is a wildlife enthusiast and Field Biologist working for eco-restoration and eco-tourism in India. Manoj also runs Wildbrook Retreat, an eco-lodge in Uttarakhand in the Rajaji National Park, where over 400 bird species can be found. He has travelled throughout the various regions of India including key birding destinations such as Ladakh, North Bengal, Jaldapara, Lava, and Sunderban on birding expeditions. He has done bird ringing training with BNHS and Wetland Study techniques with the Asian Wetland Bureau. Manoj works a lot with school children to raise awareness of climate change and human impact on the natural environment. His last assignment was the restoration of lake Man Sagar in Jaipur, where he experimented with different techniques in an attempt to improve the quality of water entering the lake through sand filters and bio-remediation. Islands were created in the lake trees planted. Six species of fishes were introduced to support fish eating birds. About 2000 resident waterbirds now call this area home including Indian Cormorant, little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Great Egret, Night Heron, Pond Heron, Purple swamp Hen, Common Moorhen, White breasted Waterhen, White breasted Kingfishers, Pied Kingfisher, Red Avadavat, Yellow Eyed Babbler, Clamourous Reed Warbler, Starlings, Sparrows, Francolins, and many more resident birds are nesting. Manoj has led bird conservation campaigns in the “Thar” desert to educate locals about its importance and urgent need to support and save the Great Indian Bustard from extinction. He has surveyed 48 major wetlands of Rajasthan which have appeared in the book entitled 34 “Wetland Survey of India – Conservation and Priority.” He also played a role in establishing the “Important Bird Areas in India” program in association with Bombay Natural History Society. Manoj leads some of our tours in Northern India.
GENOVER SANTAMARIA – Panama Guide and Tour Leader
Genover was born in Panama City and spent the early part of his childhood birding around the Panama Canal before moving to the Chiriqui Highlands in Western Panama at the age of 12. He has been birding the Western Panama Highlands ever since and has been a professional birding guide for the last 18 years. Genover works with Biologists, Photographers, and Birders from around the globe and he leads our tours in Panama.