Andrew Spencer, USA

Saudi Arabia was always one of those destinations that evoked a sense of mystique for me, an exotic country with birds rarely seen by outsiders, and one I wasn’t sure I would ever get to. So when we found ourselves at a bit of a loss due to unforeseen cancelations, I and a couple of friends jumped at the chance to take a last minute trip to The Kingdom. Being last minute, we had very little time to do much research, and anyone who has birded internationally knows that even with lots of advance planning, having local knowledge and help is what makes all the difference on a trip. 

Thankfully, Greg was exactly what the doctor ordered when it came to guaranteeing a successful visit to the country! With only a few days to spend and a long list of targets, his help was truly invaluable in helping us connect with nearly all of them. He skillfully planned an itinerary that focused on the most important targets first (Asir Magpie and Arabian Woodpecker, anyone?) And as he was in constant contact with us, he was able to adapt his recommendations on the fly, based on how each day went. When we had difficulty connecting with Arabian Waxbill (winter is not the best time to find them), Greg was able to direct us to exactly the right spot to connect with the species. And when our plans evolved to include a jaunt down to the coast near Jizan, his directions to an unlikely looking dry and dusty farm had us looking at Arabian Golden Sparrow without breaking a sweat. Well, the air was so dry that our sweat disappeared instantly, but the bird was still exactly where he told us to look! I only wish he’d been with us in person so he could have shared the vagrant Black Heron we found the next day.

It is with a huge sense of gratitude that the three of us thank Greg for his help turning this trip from a potential last-minute scramble into a highly successful and unforgettable tour of a gorgeous country. I highly recommend his services to anyone considering a trip to Saudi Arabia!


In September 2021 Gregory guided me around his local stomping ground, Al Asfar Lake in Al Hasa. It was a stunning introduction to Saudi birdlife – an extensive wetland area in the desert brimming with wildlife. It was clear that Gregory knew every track, pool and dune in the area intimately, and his expertise helped us record 45 species, including gems such as Ortolan Buntings and Broad-billed Sandpiper. While I’m keen on wildlife, I was blown away with Gregory’s depth of knowledge, giving identification tips right down to the finer details of subspecies level. He was also able to provide an excellent overview of Saudi Arabia’s broader natural history and provide in-depth recommendations on where to go around the country to tick key species and experience the best of the kingdom’s wildlife. All in all, highly recommended!


I was fortunate this year to meet Greg and join him on 2 tours of the Al Asfar Lake area. In July 2021, thanks to Greg, I was able to realise my dream of seeing Egyptian Nightjar. Of course there was plenty more to see, so I did not hesitate to join him again in August 2021. We sighted Gray-headed Swamphen, Squacco Heron, Red-tailed Shrike, Black Scrub-robin and more. The Pharaoh Eagle-Owl was the highlight for me, since I was convinced I would never see an owl in KSA. The tours with Greg were relaxed and educational for me since I am a very enthusiastic but a complete novice with birding and photography. Greg's knowledge and passion for birding makes a trip with him more than worthwhile. I look forward to joining him again for another tour.


Andrew Larkin, UK

What an amazing day of birding here in Saudi yesterday! We explored the wadis and marshes of the Umran area in Al Hasa, Saudi Arabia. Thank you, local birder and expert Greg Askew, who so generously showed me around the area! We saw 52 species, 42 of which were new to me. That includes my detour into Qatif on the way home where I saw a flock of flamingo in the bay.

James Conder, UK

Alma Swartz, South Africa