Meet Stephan Lorenz (Full Time Tour Leader)

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Stephan Lorenz

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.

  2. Testimonials Stephan Lorenz
    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.

    AS, Texas 2021

    Stephan and Claudia are a great team: Stephan is simply amazing hearing, spotting and helping all get on the relevant bird(s). As the only non-master birder and the oldest person on the trip, I thought that they both were helpful, careful and mindful of the needs of me and each of the group. Claudia often got on the bird as quickly as Stephan spotted it. The group worked for the best interest of the group. .... During a pandemic, the group acted responsibly and carefully.

    NM, Texas 2021

    The group saw 24 warblers (me 21) & I was elated!! Not to mention all the other quality birds. Stephen was superb. There were 13 of us & tho a high count of clients by RBT standards, it worked very well-we were lucky too-a fallout. Thanks Stephan thanks RBT.

    KH, Texas 2021

    Stephan Lorenz is a fantastic guide. His ability to find tough birds is amazing, plus he has a great personality which makes the whole trip very enjoyable.

    YB, Texas 2021

    Stephan & Claudia were so hardworking, friendly & fun! And I feel their personal efforts made a huge impact for our first ever RJ birding tour, a success.

    EL, Texas 2021

    It is great to be traveling again, even if it is a short domestic trip. But I don’t want to sell the tour short. It really was an excellent short tour. We saw a great number of migrating warblers and shorebirds. Stephan Lorenz has an uncanny ability to find the one special shorebird or a rare migrating warbler buried in the bushes. He is also kind, informative and always helpful. And a special thanks to Claudia for her help with the driving and coordination.

    NM, Texas 2021

    Overall it was a great trip. Stephan made sure everyone got good looks at all the found birds. Highly recommend it.

    JA, Texas 2021

    Stephan was a great birding guide and tour manager. He knew his patch and worked tirelessly to find and ensure all participants had good birds views. He located all the key 'target' birds. He and his partner produced great al fresco dining and ensured all arrangement worked well, not easy in these COVID impacted times. As always with RJ, I had a most enjoyable trip and satisfied my birding wishes. Well done RJ and Stephan/Claudia. Than you all.

    MC, Texas 2021

    We enjoyed the tor especially seeing so many warbler the first day. Stephan is a fantastic guide and makes sure that every participant gets a chance to see every bird, as much as possible. We never expected to see so many birds in Texas, and I credit Stephan with that achievement.

    WW, Texas 2021

    Stephan Lorenz is a fantastic leader. This is my second trip with him and the reason I booked this trip. His attention to details and relentless searching for sought after birds makes any trip with him well worth the time. He and his wife, Claudia work well together as a dynamic team solving any problem that arise. We missed our connections and were late for the first day and efforts were made and resolved for us to join the group quickly. Despite the stormy weather we were able to see the target birds. This trip was selected because of the shorter amount of days making it easier to fit into our schedule. During this pandemic we felt safe traveling with this group and with the conditions of lodging and take out meal dining. I look forward to my next trip with Stephan.

    JS, Texas 2021

    We enjoyed the tour. Stephan was great in every way and Claudia also terrific. The locations were interesting. The Lost Maples area was really lovely. The bat cave experience was amazing!

    LT - Texas 2021

    Both Stephan and Claudia gave attention to my desire to get good photographs.

    KD, Texas 2021

    Stephan was an excellent guide and made sure everyone was able to see the birds and many times obtain photos. He was patient with the requests of the group members and facilitated an enjoyable experience for all. Claudia was a great addition to the team and we really appreciated her help finding birds in the scopes, identifying birds in the van, and working with Stephan to make sure our trip was as seamless as possible.

    MS, Texas 2021

    Loved Stephan and Claudia! They were a great team and made the experience very pleasant and enjoyable. The sit down lunch on the last day was great! Pre-ordering lunch might help expedite the meal if needed for time. The Bat flight was worth the wait! Thank you! We look forward to birding with Rockjumper again.

    CB, Texas 2021

    I would rate my experience on the Texas Coast trip with Stephan and Claudia as excellent. They are both superb at what they do.

    KS, Alaska 2021

    It really was a great trip with some difficult developments handled well. Flights out of Barrow were cancelled due to fog and Leader Stephan Lorenz and Claudia worked hours to get booked on a replacement charter flight by Alaska air. While doing so Stephan also added birding drives which were productive. As usual on tours led by Stephan he persisted to track down every possible bird. I have done two tours with Stephan and Claudia and have been extremely pleased with there professionalism and dedication to providing a satisfying experience.

    DH, Texas 2021

    This was my 4th tour with Stephan, and he continues to be welcoming, caring, and on-point the entire trip. He always goes the extra mile to ensure everyone has a chance to see the birds and is very informative throughout the tour, always slipping in identification characteristics, sounds, or habitats that will help us in the future. He does all this with a very easy-going manner despite his high energy level and excellent people skills to ensure comraderie within the group. Despite the varied skill levels of the group’s participants, he is able to make each of us feel special, whether it is for me as a beginner birder with limited name associations to the species and a brain that doesn’t recall the information from day to day, all the way for those who are excellent at spotting birds and already knowing the species, perhaps due to a career in the field. This tour provided more challenges with some restaurants and toilets closed due to the pandemic or limited hours which did not mesh with the tour route, but Stephan and Claudia did an excellent job of rounding up food, supplies, meals, drinks, and toilet breaks. Because of the intense nature and number of miles/hours required each day to see the target species, they arranged for one vehicle to return to lodging each night at dinner time to provide an early night for those of us who needed a bit more sleep or for those whose abilities limited nighttime walking on uneven surfaces! I really appreciated that effort and concern, even though I love to see owls, etc. They are wonderful guides and friends!!!

    KH, Texas 2021

    Stephan is outstanding. His ability to find difficult birds is amazing. Both Stephan and Claudia's personalities make the trip very enjoyable.

    EL, Texas 2021

    This was a short trip, but we saw a great number of really good birds, rarely seen in the US or, in some case, elsewhere. Stephan is one of the best guides I’ve traveled with and he is also very patient and very accommodating. We had a fairly large group – 10 – but I believe everyone had a chance for good views of every bird. I am looking forward to traveling with Stephan again in the near future to Barrow

    LP, Texas 2021

    This being my first Rockjumper tour, it far surpassed my expectations. Stephan was a fantastic guide, attentive to the entire group and making sure everyone had a good look at the bird in front of us (sometimes, several birds!) The depth of his knowledge along with his raport and friendly/kind demeanor made him feel more like a good friend on a bird walk - with tons of knowledge and ability on top of a love for birds. Thanks Stephan/Claudia and Rockjumper for providing an amazing experience!

    JM, Texas 2021

    I just wanted you to know that the trip to Texas with Stefan and Claudia went fantastic. The birding was unbelievable and the logistics to pull that all off in such a large state as Texas were near flawless. Stefan is an amazing birder and his persistence and patience made certain everyone got on the birds; the views were amazing. Claudia was a great help for him and was fantastic at quickly getting the scope on the birds as well. It was all wonderful Rockjumper birding until you drop at its finest! On side notes, the food was great.

    JM, Texas 2021

    I just wanted you to know that the trip to Texas with Stefan and Claudia went fantastic. The birding was unbelievable and the logistics to pull that all off in such a large state as Texas were near flawless. Stefan is an amazing birder and his persistence and patience made certain everyone got on the birds; the views were amazing. Claudia was a great help for him and was fantastic at quickly getting the scope on the birds as well. It was all wonderful Rockjumper birding until you drop at its finest! On side notes, the food was great.

    BD, Arizona 2021

    The hotel was a very nice place to stay and it was so nice staying in one place the entire tour. Stephan was an excellent guide and a very safe driver, He went out of his way to find the birds for us and he made sure that everyone saw them. I also admired Stephan's concern for other wildlife and how he would make the effort to move them to a safer location.

    CC - USA 2021

    This was my first birding tour, not only with Rockjumper, but any tour company. Being a first for me, I was a bit anxious, but am happy to say the tour met and exceeded my expectations. The lodging, meals and other tour participants were all great. Best of all was our tour guide, Stephan Lorenz. His knowledge, kindness and willingness to accommodate each member of the tour were phenomenal. I am also happy to say I picked up 94 life birds!

    WC - USA 2021

    Great trip overall. Stephan is a great guide, knows where the birds are and makes sure everyone sees them. Very enjoyable trip.

    EL - Alaska 2021

    This was a great trip – way better than could even be expected. Yes, we saw Ross’s Gulls streaking across the distant horizon, but we also saw a polar bear mom and two cubs and our time in Barrow coincided with the Inupiat whale harvest. While the death of whales is always a bit sad, the opportunity to see subsistence hunters is rare these days. Stephan Lorenz has proved to be one of my favorite guides – his combination of ‘bionic eyes’ (Claudia’s report), great hearing, real understanding of bird behavior and incredible patience means he is my go-to guide for difficult species that I’ve missed on other tours (or not tried to see before because it seemed too difficult). With Stephan, I have ‘ticked’ Bachman’s Sparrow, Swainson’s Warbler, Buff-collared Nightjar, Short-tailed Albatross, Whiskered Auklet, Spectacled Eider, Emperor Goose, Bar-tailed Godwit (in Alaska), among many other much-sought after species. But Stephan and Claudia also keep every trip enjoyable. Claudia is a great birder in her own right and can set up a scope on the target bird as fast as Stephan. It is great to have two scopes set up immediately. What could be very discouraging to an older birder with poor eyesight and poor hearing like me turns out to be a delightful trip. Imagine spending hours and hours in a freezing wind staring out to an empty sea and still calling it fun. I am looking forward to traveling with Stephan and Claudia again as soon as possible.

    RJ - Alaska 2021

    Stephan was an outstanding guide, as usual, and Claudia was a great spotter and helper. The lodging in Barrow was better than expected, as was the food there.

    RJ - Alaska 2021

    Stephan Lorenz is an outstanding guide. His knowledge of birds - including their identification, behaviours and biology - is exceptional. He and his partner Claudia provided excellent service to the clients. They made sure all our interests and needs were attended to, and they actively engaged in making the trip both educational and fun.