Using the Birdingpal resources you must agree to the following: If you contact a local Birdingpal and make arrangement to go birding, you should note it is common courtesy to make sure you show up for the appointment. If for any reason you are unable to do this, the least you must do is contacting the local Pal right away.
Please note that most Birdingpals are serious birdwatchers. It is a privilege to contact them, and your message should reflect it. A local Pal does not get paid, but should he/she offer to take you out birding, using their own vehicle, it would be courteous to pay for the fuel. A lunch and/or a small gift would also be appropriate, something as simple as a souvenir of your country, or a pin from your local birding club.
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If you contact a professional Birdingpal guide you must be prepared to pay a fee for guiding services.
My wife and I have just returned (Nov 2010) from a Jamaica vacation, which included our 3rd tour with this wonderful group. Wolde, Veda, Deceita and Vaughan are top-notch birders and considerate hosts. Their tours are well-planned, and they are highly skilled at finding birds, especially the endemic species. We have been very pleased with our experiences, and have booked a 4th tour for 2011.
"In February 2010 we spent seven wonderful days in the company of Wolde, Vaughan, Deceita and Veda. In that time we saw all 28 of Jamaica’s endemic birds as well as several Greater Antillean endemics. They were always so punctual and so accommodating to our needs. Their birding skills were on a par with anything that we have seen in operation anywhere in the world. Not only were they experts in finding birds by call but their knowledge of the history and culture of Jamaica seemed almost limitless. The whole experience of being on their tour was truly outstanding.
Bob & Kathleen, Bedford, UK
22 February 07 - "Veda (our guide) was superb. So knowledgable and enthusiastic. Excellent thought to include spare binoculars, cold drinks, snacks, insect repellant etc. Couldn't have thought of more."
Claire, Sudbury, Ontario.
4 March 07 - "Great birding day. Great tour, a slice of real Jamaica."
William and Becca, New Hampshire.
19 April 2007 - "Excellent tour, very friendly and knowledgeable guides".
22 April 07 - "The guide was fantastic! We really enjoyed our birding trip."
Mariesta and Joe, Illinois.
"In March of 2014, I took a 6 day birding tour of Jamaica with RAJ. It was simply wonderful! Our leader, Veda, was extraordinarily skilled at locating the birds and making sure that everyone had a good look at each bird. All endemics were located and well seen. Veda was also attentive to all administrative details and very aware of the well-being of each guest. And, of course, traveling with a local guide, we got to go to the best jerk restaurants and eat at small spots along the coast where there were no other tourists. I highly recommend RAJ for a birding trip to Jamaica."
I took part in a 6-day birding tour with Reliable Adventures Jamaica in March, 2014. It was a wonderful experience! Our guide, Veda, managed to show us all 28 endemic species, and many more. We covered a lot of terrain, but made frequent rest stops (and indulged in lots of fresh, local fruit along the way!) Veda was extremely helpful and attentive. She made sure that everyone saw the birds clearly. Her son, Dion, was our driver and provided excellent service. We were well supplied with drinking water, snacks and insect repellent. It was a memorable trip! From mountains to marshes, RAJ shows you a Jamaica that few tourists get to see.
Robert Sutton: Co-author of "Birds of Jamaica a photographic field guide" (Cambridge University Press) and "Bird Songs of Jamaica" (Cornell Lab. of Ornithology) has been leading major bird tours in Jamaica for more than 30 years.