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Leon Moore

by Michael McCrystal

As an active and passionate eBirder and regional reviewer for eBird Guyana, Leon have seen more than two thirds of Guyana bird species and is ranked as the top eBirder for is country.

Leon Moore is an ex-military soldier and is now considered by many as one of the most knowledgeable birding and naturalist guides in Guyana. A genuine concern for Guyana’s ecosystem, the preservation of its wildlife coupled with his interest in birding ultimately led to this new direction in career. This redirection into in tourism and conservation started in 2008, during his tenure with Baganara Island Resort, located on the Essequibo River as their Guest Service Officer and General Tour Guide. There he developed his first Bird List in anticipation of birders’ interest in the location and unique sightings. During that time, his involvement with birding conservation extended to serving as Bird Censor as field officer for water birds with GATBS /Wetland International in the Essequibo River. In the years that followed, Leon developed a series of bird checklists by region for the ten administrative regions of Guyana and for several tourist resorts and lodges.

A momentous occasion for any birder is the identification of a new bird spotted 38 Miles up the Essequibo River for Guyana, Black- Legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyly) which Leon counts as an outstanding moment and a pleasure to have been involved in that discovery. The Black- Legged Kittiwake was considered a new recording for Guyana.

From the Essequibo River, to the Rupununi where Leon spent approximately three (3) years in the heart of nature, at the Rock View Lodge as their Tour Leader, Assistant Tourism Manager, and later as their General Assistant Manager. This position allowed him to explore the vast and wondrous expanses of savannah and rainforest terrain. alight with sounds varied biodiversity but more importantly … birds!! The Rupununi accounts for approximately 500 species of birds found in Guyana. Among some of the highlights include the Red Siskin, the Crimson Fruitcrow, Harpy Eagle, Sun Parakeet, Zigzag Heron, Guianan Red-Cotinga, White-winged Potoo, Capuchinbird and Gray-winged Trumpeter

On October 9, 2011, Leon spotted a new Bird for Guyana, Tawny crowned-Pygmy Tyrant (Euscarthmus meloryphus)
In 2013, The Guyana Tourism Authority (GTA) recognised Leon for his outstanding contribution as a bird guide and awarded him Tour Guide of the Year. Like many naturalists, Leon has a lot of local knowledge and is very good at identifying birds both by voice and field marks.
To promote birding in key hotspots around Guyana, Leon started volunteering as regional a reviewer for www.ebirds.org (Guyana). He speaks passionately of the work of naturalists and birders who contribute to developing the checklists of Guyana and other locations worldwide. He encourages all partners to use the site in their planning and marketing of Guyana Birding sites. Leon shared that it was important to improve knowledge of local bird guides to bolster visitor experience.

One might say that this belief led to his position as Assistant Instructor bird and tour guide training for Iwokrama International Research Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development.

Now, with over ten years of experience in the fields, Leon runs a small tour company, Leon Moore Nature Experience, specializing in birding, wildlife and photography tours mostly in Guyana, Suriname and is expanding to offer birding trips to Cuba for the endemic species there.
He also leads tours for some local companies in Guyana like Wilderness Explorers for example. In addition, when Leon is not leading tours, he is constantly involved in biodiversity surveys doing environmental impact assessments and monitoring for both local and international companies like Guyana Gold Field, U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan and Environmental Resource Management (E.R.M) to name a few. One of his most recent projects included representing Guyana Tourism Sector at the British Birdwatching fair in Rutland UK.