"...In Melbourne on business in September 2011, and
with exactly two non-consecutive days for bird photography, I decided to
hire Steve to help me get to the best places and to sort through the
myriad of species, mostly mysterious to me. Steve
was the perfect choice. His knowledge of birds, by sound and sight is
absolutely phenomenal – and he clearly enjoys what he’s doing. He
picked out a two-day itinerary for me to maximize the diversity of
landscapes. The first day being wet and dry forest types to the NE of
Melbourne. The second day being coastal heath and bush along with the
Werribee ponds. Epic birding.
was great company – willing to push hard to keep up with my energy –
but also keeping things loose. Taught me as much as I could absorb –
and was excellent at honing in on some difficult targets. I got great
photos of my symbolic ‘targets’ for each day – a female Suberb Lyrebird
at Toolangi only a few feet away, and a pair of tricky Southern
Emu-wrens near Anglesea. Other photographic highlights included Rose
Robin, Pink Robin, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Long-billed Corella,
four Cuckoos, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and
Baillon’s and Spotted Crakes. Steve even apologized for having family
obligations that kept him from spotlighting – after two 12 hour days.
All told 110 photographed birds. I’ll definitely use his services
"...Steve is a first rate birder and more. I have taken nature trips all overthe US and he ranks with the most enjoyable leaders. He couldn't have been more professional - mailing me likely bird sightings from the places we would visit well in advance of our tripsso I could prepare. He selected a diverse geography to ensure we saw the broadest range of Australian birds from theshores to the woods.He not onlyis an expert atbirdidentification but also their habitat and calls.
I know of noother leader who provides banana bread he bakesfor morning tea.My only regret is that I didn't book more time with him..."
USA (Jan 2011)
"...First and foremost I would like to thank you Steve for a great day of bird photography in Melbourne. Despite the short birding trip, it was most enjoyable and most fruitful collection of a wide variety of birds I have managed to capture with my camera.
I am most impressed by your level of service. I could see you are just as anxious to ensure that my birding trip is a fruitful one. I had several bird guides at various places around the world that I had been and you are clearly one of the best I had. Keep up the great service and I hope to be able to return to Melbourne sometime soon for more birding adventure..." Sandy Chian, Singapore. (Jan 2011)
"...A most enjoyable day out with Steve! He picked me up as pre-arranged at 6.30 am in Frankston and then we headed in his Landrover to
BunyipState Park. He proved his outstanding expertise at our first stop off point, listening to the dawn chorus of a variety of honeyeaters, thornbills and parrots. As a Pom who had spent many years birding throughout
Australasia, I had engaged Steve specifically to find me three birds which had eluded me; the Southern Emu-Wren, the Crescent Honeyeater, and the Red-browed Treecreeper. The first proved seriously elusive as we went from place to likely place, many where we heard it but could not get any sort of view. We were finally rewarded with a series of short but splendid sightings in some long reed grass opening in the forest. The other hoped for lifers came almost on cue...and in the process the day yielded a further lifer for me. Steve is a thorough professional who certainly knows his Victorian birds and has an energetic enthusiasm which is infectious. He was great company - we discovered we had birding mates in common! He plied me with coffee and biscuits to keep my energy levels up. I ended the day, exhausted, but well contented with some 60 species, four lifers, a giant goanna and a 'roo or two, all from one day's birding in Bunyip forest area..." Robert Falkner, UK (Jan 2011)
"...While I was in Melbourne I had to good fortune to spend a day chasing birds with Steve Davidson, the Melbourne Birder. His knowledge of the area and its various habitats made the most of my limited time. We had wonderful views of a wide variety of birds on my wish list. Without his specialized knowledge I would have never seen nearly as many birds nor as well. Additionally, he has a quick wit and a bright mind making the entire experience memorable and rewarding. He is the one to see to get the birds best..." Larry Sall, Dallas, Texas (Dec 2010)
"...We had a wonderful day birding around Melbourne in perfect weather at the end of September, with Melbourne birding guru Steve Davidson. Steve knew where to go and more or less what we would find when we got there. Steve is easy, comfortable company, and his encyclopeadic knowledge of bird calls and keen hearing powerfully complement his excellent birding knowledge. Highlights on our day included a fine male lyrebird displaying, and, firsts for us, a scarlet honeyeater and an emu-wren. We were pleased to be able to engage Steve for a second trip a couple of months later, also greatly enjoyable in spite of poor weather, and hope to again before too long..." Jeremy Hogan, Melbourne (Nov 2010)
"...An early morning flight from
Melbourne and we were met at the airport by Steve Davidson, local bird guide and good mate of Sean Dooley's who had put us in touch. We immediately clicked with Steve and knew we were in for a good day. Many thanks, Steve, for great birding and a really enjoyable day; we really hope we can bird together again one day, top bloke. Check out Steve's website and if you're in the area give him a shout for great birding and great company.."
Ruth & Alan, The Biggest Twitch www.thebiggesttwitch.com (Nov 2008)
"...spent a day birding with The Melbourne Birder, aka Steve Davidson. One of the best day's birding ever, Steve is a top birder, and extremely knowledgeable as well as being funny and friendly too! It felt like I'd been out for a day's birding with a mate rather than a guide. Saw 123 species of which about 80 were lifers..." Iain Johnson,
Auckland NZ. (Jan 2009)
"...We went out for a days birding with Steve on 25th Jan 2009, having never birded
Victoria before. We had a brilliant day out, 138 species with 21 lifers! Steve was fantastic company, took us to some great places to see some wonderful birds. Very professional, very focused, so how come it felt like birding with one of your mates? Highly recommended and can't wait to bird with Steve again..." Jon, Alison & Lyn. (Jan 2009)
"...Having spent some time in the Dandenongs, and birding along the Yarra River, I decided I needed to see species from the drier habitats close to Melbourne. The Melbourne Birder (Steve Davidson) seemed to me to be the best offer on the web, and I took a day tour out to the Greater Bendigo National Park Area. The day was exceptional. Steve is an exceptional birder. He knows his species (by sight and call) really well, and more importantly, exactly where to find them. Ten honeyeaters, six thornbills, and really good views of Musk, Little and Purple-crowned Lorikeets were a treat for me, amongst a long list of other species. Steve's company is also warm and his local knowledge of plants and habitats very useful when these details are as important as are the birds. There's no doubt that I will be back for more..."
Steven L. Chown Director, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology Stellenbosch University
Matieland 7602 South Africa
"...I travel to Australia frequently on business. I have come to rely on
Steve Davidson (The Melbourne Birder) to help me rapidly grow my life
list and help me to obtain quality photographs of Australian birds.
His assistance has been instrumental in obtaining quality photographs
of species that I would not have otherwise seen. Some of these
species can be seen on my website www.wildlifehobbies.com. He has
access to areas that a common tourist could not get into such as the
Werribee Waste Treatment facility. This spot is a world known location
for waders. I have birded with him in a quest for waders as well as a
search for bush birds. I have used his services multiple times on
separate occasions. I highly recommend him and intend on relying on
him as a guide during my next visit to Melbourne..."
Eric Skrzypczak, Marylands, USA. (Oct 2009)
"...Being in Australia for the first time and with only a few days spare I decided that a bit of help might be a great way to get started. I'd never hired a guide before and wasn't really sure what to expect. However, Steve picked us up at 6am and I think I can sum up Steve's enthusiasm and dedication with an example, because it was only at 7.00pm that evening when he turned to me and said "If you're tired we can call it a day but we could go and try to find a few more!" (Thirty minutes later and five more species seen we did then decide to head home). It was a phenomenal day's birding. I had said to Steve that being new to the area it would be great to see a wide variety, so we visited, forests, dry bush areas, coastal wetlands and also stopped in-between whenever we saw, or Steve thought he heard, something interesting. What was particularly impressive was Steve's local knowledge of what might be around and where to go and look for it. Many times he stopped the car saying "There have been a few of these just around here recently and we might also see a few X, Y and Zs too". More often than not we got back into the car a few minutes later having seen (or at least heard) what Steve had suggested might be around. They may not seem so exciting for locals but my particularly fond memories are of excellent views of a scarlet honeyeater, mistletoebird, southern emu-wren and cape barren geese. However, we identified over 140 species (seeing most of them) and as testament to Steve's advice I even found myself identifying birds by their calls during the following days. Steve was excellent company, only stopped when we said we needed something to eat or drink and I would recommend his fantastic services to anyone looking for a local expert to help them have a great day's birdwatching..." Ed Champness, UK. (Jan 2010)
"We started birding at sunrise in a marshy area to catch up with ducks and wading birds, moved on to grassland birds and raptors, and ended up about 6 hours later with a wonderful sighting of two species of corellas (related to cockatoos). We really took the time to watch the birds' activity, enjoying such sights as ducks feeding on water plants, a black falcon chasing a galah (species related to cockatoos) but eventually letting it fly off, a small flock of magpies feeding and fussing, and so forth. We saw many birds on my "would be great to see" list, and probably the most exciting bird for me was a red-rumped parrot -- iridescent green! We covered a lot of ground, and over the half-day I was able to identify 76 species.
I DEFINITELY would recommend Mr. Davidson to anyone who wants to bird in Melbourne!"