Meet Stephan Lorenz (Full Time Tour Leader)

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Stephan Lorenz was born in Germany, but moved to the United States at a young age and began birding in Texas, one of the most biologically rich areas of the US. He completed a Master of Science degree focusing on grassland birds, before joining various research projects in Australia, Jamaica, Costa Rica and especially Alaska. Stephan also has a broad background in education, including teaching college-level biology and working as a biologist educator for the National Audubon Society.

  1. Read more on Stephan Lorenz

    Stephan Lorenz resides in Texas, but has mainly been on the road for the past two years. He has guiding and birding experience throughout North, Central and South America with forays into southeast Asia, South Africa, Australia and the South Pacific. After looking into a career in outdoor education, he realized that he could combine his passion for birds and travel by joining various research projects. He spent several seasons as a field biologist, working for the Smithsonian Institute in Jamaica, Max Planck Institute in Australia and the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska. In addition, he spent four years teaching biology at a community college, and then pursued guiding full-time, leading tours throughout the Americas.

    How did you get into birding?

    I participated as a volunteer in Texas State Parks and assisted with a bird banding project. After seeing the intricate plumages of various sparrows in hand, I was hooked. I first approached birding from a scientific angle, but soon discovered that I could travel and look for birds instead, a perfect combination. Guiding and sharing the birds of the world with others has added a whole other layer of enjoyment.

    What led you to choose a career in tourism?

    After working on various scientific projects focusing on the evolutionary ecology of birds, I lucked into a guiding position in southwest Costa Rica. I spent two months tracking down endemics and dazzling Neotropical birds with one set of excited birders after another and I sincerely enjoyed the teaching and sharing aspects as much as the birds. I quickly realized I had discovered the perfect job.

    What are your other hobbies and interests?

    I like to write, naturally about birds and travel, and always think about fresh angles and perspectives to present birding to readers. I am also interested in mammals, reptiles and amphibians, often getting quite animated about non-feathered critters. Other interests include trekking, hiking, and occasionally climbing a mountain.

    What do you enjoy most about being on tour?

    Sharing the world of birds and travel with others. I deeply enjoy teaching people about the natural world, and at the same time having learning opportunities during each tour, no matter how often I have done it. There is always something new to see and appreciate whether it be natural history, bird identification or culture.

    What are your strengths as a tour leader?

    I have travelled widely and have visited every continent, gaining knowledge not only about birds, but also travel logistics and cultures. I have a diverse background in education, which allows me to adapt to clients very well. Due to my extensive guiding experience, I can understand clients of every interest level, having worked with serious listers and beginning birders. In general, I am passionate not only about birds, but anything living, and that excitement transfers to everybody on the tour.

    Are you a keen bird photographer?

    I would consider myself a birder first and a photographer second, but I do try to snap a picture of nearly everything I see. I enjoy setting out on photo projects to illustrate my articles, but have still much to learn in the realm of photography. I have been fortunate enough to have several of my bird photos published.

    Are you a lister; and if so, which lists are your main focus?

    I have narrowed down my listing to one list and that is my world life list. While in the past I have put more focus on my ABA list, having to admit to the occasional twitch, I have slowed to a near halt when it comes to chasing rarities. Of course, I still enjoy adding to my ABA list, especially when the winds are right and vagrants pour into Alaska. Seeing birds in their natural habitats gives me the most enjoyment. I am also keeping a close eye on my bird family list. 

    What are your future goals as a birding tour leader?

    I would like to expand my knowledge and guiding experience to other major regions of the world. I am always interested in seeing new places, learning new birds, and experience other cultures. Yet, at the same time I am hoping to be an ambassador for some of the fantastic birding available in the United States. Granted I am more than a bit biased here, but Texas is an incredible destination.

    What is your favourite place/country to guide?

    Tough question because I sincerely like them all. If I have to choose, I would say Alaska for the wilderness, sheer spectacle of migration, seabirds, and high Arctic shorebird drama. Colombia for its incredible diversity and Australia for its otherness and bold birds.

BB, Sri Lanka 2017

Rich Lindie and Stephan Lorenz were both excellent in both birding and handling of logistics, and were ever-resourceful if a problem arose. I would gladly bird again with either of them. We saw all of the endemic species and many of the regional endemics, most of them very well, and my list easily exceeded my expectations. The mammal show was also very good.

LC & PD, Northern India 2017

We had a wonderful trip with Rich Lindie and Stephan Lorenz, and we would certainly be happy to travel with either of them again. They were both excellent with the birds, had a great sense of humour, and were helpful and patient when individuals required extra assistance. In addition to the birding, we enjoyed a long list of mammals sighted in the various national parks. The accommodations and meals were also very good.

KH, Sri Lanka 2018

Stephan Lorenz did a great job of bird-finding and then managing to get everyone a chance to see the birds. Stephan provided lots of helpful tips about what to look and listen for and the general natural history of birds, kept us well-informed of the daily plans, and is personable and fun to be with. I'd love to be on another of his tours.

SA & PA, Sri Lanka 2018

So much went right on this trip that it is difficult to summarise all of our positive thoughts. One highlight: some of our group had the Sri Lanka Field Guide to birds, while others including ourselves were not able to get it prior to the trip. While en route, we expressed interest in getting this book; soon after the bus pulled over, the guide, Stephan Lorenz, exited to talk to someone, and returned with brand new copies of the field guide for all who needed it. We were flabbergasted! I call that service above and beyond. Everything else worked out very well, from the excellent guiding to the food and accommodations. Thanks again for a great trip experience.

MM & GM, Southern India 2018

We really enjoyed both tours. The leader, Stephan Lorenz, was very helpful and worked hard to make the birding trips a success. We appreciated the local guides on both trips as well. They were all very good at getting the job done and making it all enjoyable and seamless. We always feel we are in good hands when we go on a Rockjumper tour.

MM & GM, Sri Lanka 2018

We really enjoyed both tours. The leader, Stephan Lorenz, was very helpful and worked hard to make the birding trips a success. We appreciated the local guides on both trips as well. They were all very good at getting the job done and making it all enjoyable and seamless. We always feel we are in good hands when we go on a Rockjumper tour.

RS, Alaska 2018

Stephan Lorenz was great. He knew every bird and plant and was helpful to me in getting the photos that I wanted.

EL, Alaska 2018

Stephan Lorenz is an exceptional guide, being both a wizard at finding and identifying birds and also dealing with people. He has a kind and funny manner that puts everyone at ease. I am glad that Rockjumper has hired him and look forward to being on some of his trips in the future.

CM & JM, Alaska 2018

The tour was very well organised and run. The guides, Stephan Lorenz and Dave Krueper, were excellent. They went out of their way to ensure that all the group members had a chance to see and identify the birds, especially concentrating on those they knew were life birds. Having two guides for 10 tour members was great and being in two vans for travel ensured that we all had sufficient space and window area to spread out and see everything. Even the weather was pretty good. Great tour!

ML, Alaska 2018

Stephen Lorenz and Dave Krueper were terrific guides. Complemented each other beautifully. Thanks so much for an incredible experience.

PG, West Papua 2018

Stephan Lorenz was excellent in all respects, he went out of his way to try and find a way for me to continue with the tour and then helped with my arrangements in getting home.

SH, Hawaii 2018

Stephan Lorenz was fabulous - excellent in all respects. He's very knowledgeable and professional at his job, an excellent companion, superb birder and guide, attentive, helpful and he always made sure each client got the bird(s). His ability to spot and identify shy species in difficult conditions was amazing.

PM, Hawaii 2018

This was my first Rockjumper tour and I felt it was first rate from start to finish. Stephan Lorenz was superb. Not only a great birder but he is thoughtful and has great “people skills”.

MF, Sri Lanka 2019

The Sri Lanka Exclusive Tour was awesome. Stephan Lorenz was knowledgeable and worked very hard to get all tour members on the birds. I can highly recommend this particular tour and guide for a super life birding experience.

KH & DH - Colombia 2019

Stephan Lorenz is an outstanding guide – extremely knowledgeable, extremely diligent in getting target birds, and is full of enthusiasm every day.  A real pleasure.

TM - USA 2019

Stephan Lorenz is a fantastic guide. I chose this tour for the itinerary and for the length of it. Stephan had designed the tour based on his extensive knowledge of the birds in the area, so we ended up seeing a variety of habitats and lots of birds. He is a superb naturalist with a solid academic background and knowledge of many taxa - herps, fish, mammals, plants - in addition to birds. He was good at dealing with the variety of participants, getting everyone on the birds and allowing photographers good opportunities for taking photos. He also handled the various emergencies of the trip with calm.

SJ - USA 2019

Stephan Lorenz was a fantastic guide! He found all the birds; and also importantly, he made sure everyone was able to see them. He and Claudia were delightful to travel with. Stephan was also very knowledgeable about the general natural history of Texas and the state in general. It made the trip especially interesting. Stephan was stellar, the trip was great!

SS & JK - Sri Lanka 2019

Stephen Lorenz and our local guide were both great. Stephen's upbeat personality and unfazeable response to the unexpected are great assets to Rockjumper. We will travel with him again.

GW - Papua New Guinea 2019

This has been an incredible tour with Stephan Lorenz and Dušan Brinkhuizen as amazing guides. Experts in their knowledge of the New Guinea birds and wonderful companions who looked after the needs of all the participants. We all worked as a team under their guidance and saw many challenging as well as beautiful birds.

PM - Papua New Guinea 2019

Stephan is an incredibly great guide and New Guinea is a wonderful birding destination.

CG & CP - Papua New Guinea 2019

Stephan is a top notch guide. Great eyes, ears & local knowledge found us all the specials. A healthy dose of patience also ensured we all got onto the birds (those that hung around!)

RL & CL - Papua New Guinea

We thought the birding went very well. Both Dusan and Stephan were great guides - very knowledgeable, very dedicated, quite determined to get everyone onto pretty much everything, and they combined very well. And, they both tried very hard to help all the participants who needed it, whether it was locating a bird, getting up a steep section or getting in or out of the boats. They did an admirable job.

EA - Brazil

The trip was excellent, and there is no praise too high for Stephan Lorenz!

PM, Brazil 2019

I had the very best time on tour with Stephan. He is an excellent leader and a lovely, kind human being. In terms of his technical ability as a birding leader, his eyesight and hearing skills are excellent, which coupled with his first class fieldcraft and ID skills, meant that we saw/heard over 500 species during our tour. He also gelled well with the local guide Caio , so that in terms of finding, IDing and showing the birds to the group, we were treated to splendid views of our target species plus many many 'bonus birds' too. Stephan was also very patient with group members, some of whom for a variety of personal reasons, were less able to see the birds than the majority of the group-so that wherever possible-every group member who wanted to, had the opportunity to see every bird.

MR, Ghana 2019

Stephan was great! I would not hesitate to sign up again for another tour with him as leader. He worked really hard to help us find a lot of very tough birds.

ID, Ghana 2019

The tour was well planned and well paced. The Tour Leader Stephan and Local Guide were both excellent, and worked well as a team. Indeed they were the icing on the cake as to making the tour so good.

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