Meet Tuomas Seimola (Part Time Tour Leader)PREVIOUS PAGE
My birding has grown from a passionate hobby to a passionate full-time career as an ornithologist. The part of my work that I enjoy the most, is to be able to show remarkable sightings of rare, or just desirable birds to fellow birders around the world. During the last 15 years I have guided wildlife and birding tours on four continents, but in my heart, nothing beats South America. Two years ago, I had an unforgettable moment, when we set a new “Big Day” world record in Ecuador with a team of friends and observed 431 species in a single calendar day.
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I spent most of my childhood summers in the countryside in southern Finland, where there were plenty of forests, bogs and agricultural areas to explore and, most importantly, birds to observe. My first close encounter with a Common Buzzard, when I was seven, triggered an avalanche that couldn’t be stopped. From that moment on, birds were number one in my priority list, which was not so highly appreciated by my teachers, football coaches or girlfriends. During the years, my birding has grown from a passionate hobby to a passionate full-time career as an ornithologist. Something must have changed, though, because I’m married and have two beautiful daughters. The part of my work that I enjoy the most, is to be able to show remarkable sightings of rare or just desirable birds to fellow birders around the world.
My day job in Finland is working on farmland birds research and carrying out all kinds of field surveys. Monitoring and studying the Finnish Ortolan Bunting population and its migration routes have been one the main themes for recent years. In Finland, we have had two fast declining species of buntings suffering from illegal hunting along flyways and wintering areas. Yellow-breasted is already extirpated and Ortolan bunting’s ongoing decline is not easy to watch.
Tuomas Seimola is a great find. He’s a fantastic birder, and even though it was his first trip to W Africa, he is an obvious quick study. Tuomas is steady, personable, and funny. He wasn’t just the leader of our good group, but part of the group. We really enjoyed and appreciated him.
Congratulations to our guides (Tuomas Seimola and Victor) who were simply excellent. Tuomas was always helpful and smiling. In addition to knowing all of the birds he did a great job of communicating the information.
This was my first international birding tour experience, and so while I have no basis for comparison, I was completely satisfied by this tour. The guides were excellent. Their knowledge was near encyclopaedic, and most importantly, never-ending. I would actively seek to go on tour with Tuomas Seimola again.
As is the tradition with all of the Rockjumper guides that we've had the pleasure of being in the boonies with, Tuomas Seimola was outstanding. We enjoyed the trip a lot.
I really enjoyed the tour. Guides were knowledgeable and helpful, the group dynamics were good and - most importantly, we saw loads of exciting birds. I would undoubtedly have missed many species without the expert guidance and knowledge of Tuomas Seimola and the team.
I am writing to let you know what an amazing trip we had with David Erterius and Tuomas Seimola. They are both outstanding bird guides and a pleasure to travel with.
Tuomas was an excellent guide and organizer.
"Tuomas was very knowledgeable, personable, and savvy. He did an excellent job of balancing hard core birding with the needs of the group. The accommodations and food were good throughout and the transportation was excellent! This was an adventurous, fun, and challenging trip and I very much enjoyed it. Roger, the local guide, was also very good. Thank you!"
Two great tours led by Tuomas, who is an outstanding birder and great tour leader. Local guides were also very good, so we all saw virtually all of our hit list birds. Thanks to all.
Tuomas was excellent. He was an excellent birder and group leader, ensuring the everyone saw each bird. He was persistent in pursuing our target birds but knew when enough was enough for the day. Tuomas has an easy going manner, but he (and the local leader) were efficient and effective in dealing with problems in the field or with the accomodation.
This was the third time I have travelled with Tuomas and I find him very professional and good fun to be with.
Tuomas was constantly on the birds, even during our long drives. He was infectiously enthusiastic throughout the tour and able to get even the most difficult in our group on the birds. He was also flexible, tweaking the itinerary when the opportunities arose to ensure we got all the target birds. This flexibility is critical to a well-executed tour and does not happen often enough.
The birding exceeded all expectations. We expected a good number of endemics and a lot of other birds. We saw ALL of the endemics and a pile of other birds. Besides the endemics, there were several life birds for us including painted bunting and American Flamingos. Our guides were simply outstanding. Excellent birders, Tomas and the local guide were also really likable guys, with a lot of flexibility and good humor. Should you decide to make this trip, it is hard to imagine you could do better than these two.
Our guide Tuomas was excellent, the trip was excellent!
"Tuomas was excellent. He made extreme efforts to make sure everyone saw the birds. Great itinerary. Covid testing was easy and smooth. Local guides were wonderful. Special dietary needs were met. Thanks again!!"
Tuomas is a great guide and excellent with bird IDs and helping people see all of the birds as much as possible. He also managed to maintain group morale despite a very ambitious and exhausting itinerary.
Very productive and relaxing tour
Overall we were very pleased with the trip. We have been to the tropics in various places in SA but hadn’t really experienced the heat of the Amazon. At first I was concerned about the siesta in early afternoon and the loss of bird time but by the third day I looked forward to it!! The lack of ant swarms, foliage-gleaners and mixed foraging flocks was disappointing. Some of the key target species had not been seen by local guides for several months to over a year. We hope it is not an on-going trend due to climate change but it may be. We felt fortunate to have had the opportunity and hope that others can continue to have this experience. We were pleased with the “tag-team effort” by Tuomas and Bradley. They worked well together with making sure the logistics flowed, everyone had their needs met as much as possible, and kept the pace moving. We were fortunate to have 8 people that had all travelled in groups before and were tolerant of various personalities and their strengths and weaknesses. Both Tuomas and Bradley were patient and talented in getting everyone (usually) in the group to see the target species. I will be giving a presentation to the local Audubon Chapter in November and will be recommending Rockjumper and their various trips to the group.
WOW – this was an entirely different trip than the main trip. The Pousada facility was a little more rustic than some of the other accommodations but nothing we couldn’t handle. It was certainly better than a hammock at the guard headquarters which Bradley indicated was the only thing available prior to Pousada. This portion required what seemed like a lot more walking and climbing over tree falls than anywhere else on the trip. It seemed that more of the birds were skulkers but then we were focusing on “ant-somethings” which are notoriously secretive. Again, it was disappointing there was not a single ant swarm and the mixed flocks were generally small and moved away from the trails fairly quickly. It was also frustrating that the best of the three trails (Capelinha) in the park was not available to us due to an on-going mammal-use survey. But, none of these things were within the control of Tuomas, Bradley, or our local guide. They were pros at adapting and modifying to take advantage of the trails that were available to us. By my count the main trip list was about 446 and we gained 81 sp on the extension, however, 40% of those were lifers, so worth the effort and expense, in my opinion. Our local guide, Gilberto, was indispensable. His recent knowledge was invaluable to know where to go for the target species.
Guides - in addition to Tuomas we a great local guide - whose bird-finding skills were fully up to Rockjumper standards, so had all the resources needed to get us onto the birds. Highlight of the trip was undoubtedly birding in comfort and style on the river cruise section. Being paddled in a canoe through flooded varzea forest must be the height of birding luxury. Land-based sections of the tour were also rewarding despite the inevitable heat and chiggers (fortunately minimal rain). Overall a very satisfying tour, with more lifers for me than on a longer trip to Colombia in 2019 that also included Amazonian habitat on the Vaupes River. A great bunch of people too.
Before our trip Daniel Danckwerts, with Rockjumper, was so attentive with our question and concerns. This was a wonderful experience. My favorite was the week at Sani Lodge - fascinating and fun. The Galapagos was such a learning experience and Darwin (the Galapagos guide) was so knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions. Tuomas (our Rockjumper guide) was Very knowledgeable of birds and bird vocalizations. Very impressive and so helpful.
Overall the three consecutive tours were very very good. Tuomas was a superb, highly experienced/knowledgeable leader. It is amazing all the songs and calls he has mastered. He was most congenial, patient and always helpful to everyone. Highly recommend him as a leader. Local leaders and staff were all very good and most kind. Accommodations were comfortable and food was very tasty and well prepared.
This was our first birding tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The support from the tour leader, the ground staff, hotel, boat and lodge staff, local guides and families was exceptional. In particular we'd like to express our appreciation to Tuomas whose local and bird knowledge, combined with people skills made this a really memorable trip.