Tropical Audubon's Field Trip Leaders

See the TAS calendar for trip details. Click on each leader's name to contact via email.

Angel and Mariel Abreu

Angel & Mariel are naturalists, professional birding guides and mentors to young birders. Guiding birders around the busy cities of South Florida is our specialty. Let us guide you to see South Florida's ABA-countable exotic and native species such as: Mangrove Cuckoo, Short-tailed Hawk, Black-whiskered Vireo, Spot-breasted Oriole, Red-whiskered Bulbul, White-winged Parakeet and more.

With Nature is Awesome Tours you get two knowledgeable guides for the price of one! We design our tours with passion and enthusiasm, and a woman's thoughtfulness in each and every tour! We both speak english and spanish fluently, which is a plus in this melting pot we call South Florida. Knowing where to find your wish list items is our job, you just sit back and enjoy the scenery. Check out our website.

2017-18 Field Trips

Everglades National Park Birding: Saturday, January 20, 2018 (CANCELLED)

Joe Barros, TAS President

Jose Francisco Barros, DDS, is a Miami-area Endodontist. He has practiced in South Florida for 25 years, and joined Tropical Audubon Society shortly after arriving in Miami in 1987. He joined the TAS Board in 1992 and became its president in 2002.

Born in Spain after his family returned to their homeland escaping the revolution in Cuba, Joe and his family immigrated to United States and settled in Jacksonville Florida in 1962. Joe grew up on the North Florida beaches and along the St. Johns River where he came to appreciate the natural environment that made Florida so unique. As a young boy exploring the great outdoors, he learned to identify local fish, snakes and birds. As a boy scout, Joe furthered his knowledge of the environment by hiking and camping in area forests. Primed by his outdoor education, Joe attended University of Florida where he received a B.S. in Zoology. He then attended Emory University where he received his dental degree in 1987; a certificate in Endodontics was earned in 1999 from Nova Southeastern University.

Joe’s family had since resettled in South Florida and he followed suit, balancing his private dental practice with his love of Nature. In the 25+ years since joining TAS, Joe has run Native Plant Sales, lead bird and plant walks locally and internationally, and has represented Tropical Audubon Society at numerous events. During his tenure as its president, TAS has been instrumental in defeating plans for the airport at the Homestead Air Reserve Base, protecting Biscayne Bay, holding the Urban Development Line, and supporting the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

Joe is also an adjunct professor at the Nova Southeastern University School of Dentistry, teaching clinical and didactic courses there. He recently participated in the international endodontic surgical externships, traveling with the endodontic residents to Peru and Colombia.

Joe is married to Helen Torres. Together they enjoy music, traveling and birding, and take great pleasure in the camaraderie of the extended TAS family.

2017-18 Field Trips

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens Bird Walk: Saturday, September 9 (CANCELLED), 2017; Saturday, February 3, 2018; Sunday, April 15, 2018

Key Largo Hammocks State Botanical Site: Birds, Butterflies and Native Plants: Saturday, May 5, 2018

Paul Bithorn

Paul Bithorn is a Miami native and has led birding field trips for Tropical Audubon Society and many other environmental and civic groups for over 20 years. He served for many years as a TAS board member and is currently a board member of Curtiss Mansion, Inc., an organization dedicated to the restoration and operation of the home of Glenn Curtiss, an aviation pioneer and “Father of Naval Aviation.” This beautiful mansion, originally constructed in 1925 and a classic example of Pueblo Revival style architecture, is at 500 Deer Run in Miami Springs. Paul also served as Mayor of his hometown, the Village of Virginia Gardens, for nine years and has encouraged residents to xeriscape by planting native species of plants and shrubs to attract birds and butterflies.

Paul has contributed to several bird-finding guides, including the ABA’s A Birders Guide to Florida (4th edition) and A Birders Guide to the Bahama Islands, the Birding Florida Falcon Guide, Parrots of South Florida and The Crossley Guide; Eastern Birds. His documentation of parrot species in Miami was featured in the June/July 2008 issue of the National Wildlife Federation magazine and the November 1st, 2008 issue of Birders World (now Birdwatching).

2018-19 Field Trips

Everglades Agricultural Area Birding: Saturday, August 25, 2018

Shark Valley/Loop Road Birding: Saturday, October 20, 2018

North Florida Birding: Monday, January 7 - Thursday, January 10, 2019

South Florida Exotics Trip: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Ft. DeSoto Birding: Tuesday, April 16 - Thursday, April 18 2019

Bill Boeringer

Bill Boeringer is an attorney specializing in maritime law, and has been practicing in Miami for over 30 years. He has been an avid birder since the early 1970s, starting with Lyman Langdon Audubon Society (Nassau County, NY) and continuing with Tropical Audubon after his family relocated to Miami in 1977. In addition to leading local trips for TAS, he has been a co-leader with Brian Rapoza on out-of-state TAS trips, and has led trips during local ABA Conventions. Bill is also Count Compiler for the Kendall Christmas Bird Count.

Bill has been married to Liset, a native of Nicaragua, for over 25 years and has one daughter (who occasionally accompanies him on local trips). He and his wife also enjoy rock concerts, movies, and spending time with their daughter.

Bill is still looking for a Mourning Warbler . . .

2018-19 Field Trips

A.D. Barnes Park Bird Walk: Saturday, September 15, 2018; Sunday, October 21, 2018, Sunday, January 20, 2019, Saturday, April 20, 2019

John Boyd

Bio to come.

2018-19 Field Trips

Matheson Hammock Park Bird Walk: Saturday, September 22, 2018; Saturday, April 27, 2019

Everglades National Park Birding: Saturday, November 10, 2018; Saturday, March 9, 2019

Paddy Cunningham

Paddy Cunningham has been a naturalist in South Florida for 35 years, managing nature centers and restoring habitat. Her passion is birds and she teaches a variety of bird classes to help birders gain advanced skills. She's presented workshops at numerous birding festivals, as well as regularly at Bonnet House and Flamingo Gardens in Broward County. Her motto is "You learn the I.D."

Paddy’s company, Birding Adventures takes small groups of birders throughout Florida, the U.S. and the tropical destinations such as Jamaica and Colombia. She calls her trips "Intense Birding at a Relaxed Pace." She is also the Coordinator of the Everglades Birding Festival. Paddy is a popular speaker and guide at Florida birding festivals, including the Big O festival in Hendry County, the Bird Festival at Fairchild Gardens, the Wings & Wildflowers festival in Lake County and her own Everglades Birding Festival. Despite being a busy mom and a full time gifted science teacher, during a 2008 Big Year she was 1st in Florida, 20th in the lower 48 states and 27th overall for the A.B.A. area. She is proud to be sharing her native home with local and visiting birders and to show the uniqueness of the Everglades and it’s incredible birds.

2018-19 Field Trips

Plantation Preserve Birding: Saturday, November 17, 2018

Evergreen Cemetery Birding: Saturday, May 4, 2019

Rangel Diaz

Rangel Diaz is a native Floridian who was born and raised in Miami-Dade County. All through high school, he volunteered at the Falcon Batchelor Bird of Prey Center which led to him becoming a paid staff member when he turned 18 years old. While mostly handling the general maintenance of the collection, he also assisted with medical procedures including admittance, medicating and surgery. After spending a year working at the Museum of Science’s Wildlife Center he went on to become a naturalist for Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces where he has been employed for 8 years. Originally stationed at A.D. Barnes Park assisting with the management of an educational reptile collection in 2006, it was not until a few years later that he finally picked up birdwatching.

After being moved to Crandon Park to work with nesting sea turtles. Rangel's interest for shorebirds began to grow and spiked after meeting Robin Diaz, who enthusiastically monitored wintering Piping Plover populations. Eventually, after stumbling across a Least Tern ground nest in the Crandon Park South Beach, he would start the local chapter of the Florida Shorebird Alliance. From Crandon he was transferred to Bill Sadowski for a year before moving to Cary, North Carolina for most of 2014. Currently, he is an Interpretive Program Leader at the Deering Estate at Cutler and is also completing his coursework towards a degree in secondary science education.

2017-18 Field Trips

Deering Estate at Cutler Bird Walk: Saturday, October 21, 2017

Robin Diaz

Currently retired, Robin Diaz is very active in birding and data collection related to bird conservation. Since 2002 she has been compiler for the Long Pine Key CBC and participates in many other South Florida Christmas Bird Counts. Robin has helped eBird as a county reviewer for the past seven years. Since 1997 Robin monitors the wintering Piping Plover population on Crandon Park Beach, especially keeping track of banded birds. In North Carolina, she conducts two Breeding Bird Surveys, a Nightjar Survey and numerous Important Birding Area point counts for Audubon North Carolina.

Since 2002 she helps band birds each fall at Cape Florida Banding Station, where she also manages the Adopt-a-Net program. Before that, she helped with a MAPS banding station in North Carolina. Robin is an active volunteer at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and in 2007 she received the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Medal Award. In 2010 she was awarded Certificate of Recognition from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for her volunteer efforts at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Robin is a regional compiler for the Florida Field Observation Committee and she also contributes articles to the TAS newsletter and website.

Robin is technically a Miami native but grew up in Ft. Lauderdale where her father’s keen interest in Nature influenced her passion for birds and birdsong. She has a B.A. in Spanish and a Certificate in Latin American Area Studies from University of Florida. Later, she received a B.S. in Microbiology from Florida International University. She’s married to Manuel Luciano Diaz and luckily, their three daughters live in great birding locations.

2018-19 Field Trips

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Bird Walk: Sunday, October 14, 2018; Sunday, April 28, 2019

Nancy Freedman

Nancy Freedman participated in her first TAS bird trip in September 1999, a walk led by Todd and Ellen Snow at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. She has taken almost every weekly TAS walk since. From that beginning birder back in 1999, she went on to become a board member of Tropical Audubon for six years and a TAS trip leader for the last eight. Her walks take us to Wakodahatchee and Green Cay Wetlands, Okeeheelee Nature Center and other birding locales in Palm Beach County.

Nancy has been an Earthwatch volunteer since 1988, when she participated in a Human Origins in Africa study in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). She's worked with sea turtles in Mexico (1989), St. Croix (1992) and Costa Rica (1999). She also participated in a wildlife dynamics study in Zimbabwe (1990) and returned to that country to work with endangered black rhinos (1996). In Kenya, she's studied African elephants (2000) and Grevy's zebras (2004). Her most recent Earthwatch assignment was a Conserving an Ecosystem project in Brazil’s Pantanal (2005). She has also participated in birding trips to Cuba, Uganda, Panama, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Mexico, Ecuador and throughout the US with TAS and Wings.

Nancy is a graduate of Florida International University and has worked as a legal assistant for 34 years.

2018-19 Field Trips

Southern Palm Beach Birding: Saturday, January 26, 2019; Saturday, March 16, 2019

Luis Gles

Luis Eduardo Gles is an economics graduate, but also an environmental scientist in the making. He graduated from Universidad Autónoma de Occidente in Colombia with a Bachelors in Economics and is currently attending Miami Dade College for his second degree. Shortly after he finished his first degree, while exploring the Andes mountains in South America, he was exposed to the incredible variety of birds in Colombia; it was at that point where he decided that the study of birds was his true passion.

For almost seven years now, he has been involved with conservation foundations and bird tracking agencies there. He is one of the founding members of “Valley of the Colors,” an organization and tourist company which focuses on developing ecotourism products, especially for medium-sized tours for birds enthusiasts. To date, he has run tours in Colombia as well as in South Florida. Since 2014 he has participated in several South Florida Christmas Bird Counts and has also volunteered for the Cape Florida Banding Station.

2018-19 Field Trips

Greynolds Park Bird Walk: Saturday, October 6, 2018

Enchanted Forest/Arch Creek Park Bird Walk: Saturday, April 13, 2019

Roger Hammer

Roger L. Hammer served as the senior interpretive naturalist for Miami-Dade County Parks & Recreation Department in his role as the manager of Castellow Hammock Nature Center for 33 years before retiring in 2010. He had joined Tropical Audubon Society's Board of Directors in 1997 and currently serves as an honorary Board member. He leads annual wildflower walks in Everglades National Park for the society. In addition, he is a volunteer instructor and field trip leader for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.

Roger received the first Marjory Stoneman Douglas Award presented by the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society in 1982 for "outstanding, consistent, and constant service in the areas of education, research, promotion and preservation of native plants." TAS awarded him the prestigious Charles Brookfield Medal in 1996 for "outstanding service in the protection of our natural resources." In 2003, he received the Green Palmetto Award in Education from the Florida Native Plant Society. In 2010, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Dade Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, Tropical Audubon Society and the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. Florida International University honored him in 2012 with an honorary Doctor of Science degree. In 2013, he served as keynote speaker at the Florida Native Plant Society's state conference, which marked a return appearance.

The accomplished wildflower photographer and author of Everglades Wildflowers, Florida Keys Wildflowers, A Falcon Guide to Everglades National Park & the Surrounding Area and Florida Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Sunshine State is credited with the discovery of two species of native orchids that were new to the flora of Florida; with the rediscovery of the atala hairstreak butterfly that was feared extinct; and with the discovery of the first pair of Bahama woodstar hummingbirds in Florida. In addition to wildflower photography, Roger’s hobbies include long-distance solo canoeing, kayak fishing, birdwatching and gardening for birds & butterflies. He resides in Homestead with his wife, Michelle.

2017-18 Field Trips

Miami Pine Rocklands Walk at Larry & Penny Thompson Park: Saturday, January 27, 2018

Kirsten Hines

Kirsten Hines is a Coconut Grove-based author, photographer and conservationist. Anchored by her master’s degree in biology and background as an environmental educator, her writing and photography highlight nature and wildlife around the world, as well as closer to home where, among other conservation work, she aims to inspire the re-greening of South Florida’s urban corridor.

Her photography illustrates her co-authored books Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens (2015 Florida Book Awards winner, Home & Garden), Birds of Fairchild (2015 Florida Book Awards winner, Coffee Table Book), and the recently published book Biscayne National Park. She is also co-author of the award-winning book Key Biscayne and the Institute for Regional Conservation’s online native plant resource, Natives for Your Neighborhood. Kirsten’s photography has appeared in Shutterbug, Expressions, Audubon, various nature photography showcases, public art programs, and solo and juried exhibitions locally, nationally and internationally. She leads bird photography workshops for Tropical Audubon Society.

2017-18 Field Trips

Bird Photography Field and Classroom Workshop: Saturday, March 10, Sunday, March 11, 2018

John Hutchison

John Hutchison has been an avid birder since age 7. In his teens he had the pleasure of birding with Roger Tory Peterson. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, he spent four years as a medical service corps officer in the US Army. Following his service John continued his education with advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and from Western New England College. For over forty years John has been a bird trip leader for numerous organizations and is past president and lifetime honorary member of the Allen Bird Club of Springfield MA. For the last twenty five years John has served on the board of directors of the Fannie Mae Stebbins Refuge, a private 175 acre preserve.

John is married to Jim Barnes, his partner of 34 years. They both play musical instruments, enjoy concerts and theater as well as art, cooking, nature and birding.

2018-19 Field Trips

Southern Palm Beach Birding: Saturday, November 3, 2018

North Broward Birding: Saturday, January 12, 2019

Shark Valley/Loop Road Birding: Saturday, February 16, 2019

South Broward Birding: Saturday, March 23, 2019

Jim King

Bio to come.

2017-18 Field Trips

Greynolds Park Bird Walk: Saturday, September 30, 2017

Enchanted Forest/Arch Creek Park Bird Walk: Saturday, April 14, 2018

Ana Lima

Bio to come.

2017-18 Field Trips

Mother and Child Bird Walk: Saturday, May 12, 2018

Trey Mitchell

Trey Mitchell began taking photos and birdwatching at the age of eight. Just two years later, he built his own darkroom to process photos in the garage with his dad. He and his neighborhood friends enjoyed spending time exploring natural areas in Houston Texas, the Bayou City. Trey would get up before sunrise and head out looking for wildlife; he spent much of the time sitting in trees hoping to get closer to birds.

Trey received artistic training at the Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He lived in Miami since 1992 and for the last 10 years, spent much of his spare time birding and taking nature photos in Miami-Dade County. Birder first, photographer second, or sometimes the other way around. Trey loved sharing what he has learned over the years out in the field with anyone willing to listen.

Trey was a software developer and created the website, where birders from all over the world could post and share their observations as they attempt to see a bird a day, one day at a time.

Trey passed away unexpectedly on November 8, 2017. He will be greatly missed.

Stephen Paez

Bio to come.

2017-18 Field Trips

Kendall Indian Hammock Park Bird Walk: Sunday, October 1, 2017

Brian Rapoza, TAS Field Trip Coordinator

Brian Rapoza is an environmental science teacher, outreach specialist and internship coordinator at MAST Academy, Maritime & Science Technology High School in Miami. During his tenure with the Miami-Dade County Public School system, dating to 1988, he has led thousands of school children on bird-watching expeditions through Everglades National Park and other area birding destinations. In 2006, he was named MAST Teacher of the Year. He has served as Tropical Audubon Society Field Trip Coordinator since joining the society’s board in 2001. In this role, he leads birding field trips throughout Florida, the U.S. and the Neotropics.

Brian is the author of Birding Florida, a bird-finding guide to more than 200 locations throughout the state. Since 2001, he has also served as the Christmas Bird Counts compiler for both Miami and Coot Bay/Everglades National Park. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in the Philippines from 1983 to 1985, and is past president of the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of South Florida. Brian is originally from New Bedford, Massachusetts, attended the University of Massachusetts and graduated in 1980 with a B.S. in Marine Biology.

2018-19 Field Trips

Everglades Agricultural Area Birding: Saturday, August 25, 2018

Islamorada Area Birding: Saturday, September 29, 2018

Corkscrew Swamp / Ft. Myers Beach Birding: Saturday, October 13, 2018

STA-5/6 Birding: Saturday, November 17, 2018

North Florida Birding: Monday, January 7 - Thursday, January 10, 2019

South Florida Exotics Birding: Saturday, February 2, 2019

Colombia - Birding the Central Andes: Friday, February 8 - Monday, February 18 2019

Ft. DeSoto Birding: Tuesday, April 16 - Thursday, April 18 2019

Carlos Sanchez

Born in Miami, Florida, Carlos Sanchez has had a fascination with wildlife as far back as he can remember combined with an unquenchable thirst to learn — the first books he checked out of the library were Beehler’s “Birds of New Guinea” and Stiles and Skutch’s “Birds of Costa Rica.” While studying at the University of Chicago and the University of Miami for his International Studies degree, he began to bird in earnest throughout Florida, South America, and even Australia. Currently, Carlos sits on the board of the Tropical Audubon Society, is a regular contributor to the birding blog 10,000 Birds, and leads local tours through his company, EcoAvian Tours.

After graduating from the University of Miami, Carlos accepted a position to do shorebird and waterfowl surveys across the northern Gulf coast, as well as taking advantage of an opportunity to do pelagic bird surveys in the Gulf of Mexico on a NOAA ship — the Gordon Gunter. However, the Neotropics were beckoning for his return — in 2010, he guided at Bellavista Lodge in Ecuador as well as spending time to extensively travel throughout the country. In 2013, Carlos returned to South America again to guide at Cristalino Jungle Lodge in Brazil. In one of the most biologically complex, difficult, yet rewarding sites in the world to bird, his experience guiding there strengthened his resolve to follow his passion.

Despite having experience birding on four continents, Carlos always returns home with renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for the birds of southern Florida where he has guided clients for the past five years.

2017-18 Field Trips

Kendale Lakes Park Bird Walk: Saturday, October 7, 2017

Raul Urgelles

Raul Urgelles has been an avid birder for nearly 20 years. He works as a wildlife biologist for the National Park Service South Florida/Caribbean Inventory and Monitoring Network where he has conducted research and monitoring in nearly all the ecosystems within Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve and other parks and monuments in the Dry Tortugas and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Raul started his biology career as a technician in the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory in Florida International University, where ultimately he received both a B.S. and an M.S. in Biological Sciences. He focused his studies on the aquatic ecology of the Florida Everglades and specialized in the identification and sampling methods of Everglades fauna and flora. His passion for birds grew quick and strong early on and, while working in the Everglades, he was able to meticulously observe and record birds in remote areas, inaccessible to most. Soon the birding bug took him well beyond the south Florida environments. Raul has birded in Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, the Caribbean, several countries in Europe, Canada, and many states including Alaska and Hawaii. Every year he plans to go somewhere new.

Raul likes to lead birding trips for the Tropical Audubon Society, particularly those that take birders into the south Miami-Dade agricultural areas, where a rare bird may show up at any time. He has lived in Miami for 45 years and is always eager to share his extensive knowledge of south Florida natural communities with anyone willing to listen. He has a wonderful wife and two beautiful growing boys.

2017-18 Field Trips

South Dade Birding: Sunday, September 24 (CANCELLED), 2017; Saturday, January 6, 2018 (CANCELLED)