Chris Benesh

Field Guides Leader

Chris Benesh grew up birding in California. After earning his degree in zoology, Chris joined the Field Guides staff, and his life underwent a wonderful transformation. The intervening years at Field Guides have taken him to many corners of the world and across both the Arctic and Antarctic circles!

Chris's passion for education has led to his serving on the Arizona Bird Committee, leading the occasional workshop, and--we must add--thoroughly explaining in admirable detail the nuances of flycatchers to tour participants and colleagues alike. Chris's schedule includes tours to many parts of North America, Panama, Mexico, Australia, and occasionally Peru. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Scroll down to see Chris's current schedule of tours.

Client comment
"Chris makes birding extra fun. His birding style and talent and good humor and helpfulness ensure a great trip for participants with varying levels of birding experience. I hope to travel with him in the future." A.B., SPAIN: LA MANCHA, COTO DONANA & EXTREMADURA

"Field Guides is always our favourite tour company, and we decided it would be nice to escape the northwest winter for a while. We are always keen to travel with Chris, and there were several of the more difficult Texas species that we'd not previously seen that were on the list for this trip. We got them all. An excellent overall experience. Guide Chris Benesh was super as ever..." B.M., SPRING IN SOUTH TEXAS

"I chose Field Guides, in part, because the company had great reviews. My tour experience was great. The guides were very knowledgable and committed. The group gelled well and we had a lot of fun. Chris Benesh was a fantastic guide -- he brought a supreme birding knowledge and wealth of guiding experience along with patience and a sense of humor. He made the trip fun as well as informative. This was my first birding trip and it was fantastic! I would definitely go on another Field Guides Tour." R.H., PANAMA'S CANOPY LODGE


Chris's Upcoming Tours


ALASKA: THE GREAT LAND
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jun 1-17, 2024 ($13075) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
Our fabulous survey of the best of Alaska birding: the Pribilofs, Kenai Fjords, Nome, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow).
NEWFOUNDLAND & NOVA SCOTIA
Status: Open
Jun 30 - Jul 10, 2024 ($6375) with Chris Benesh & Jay VanderGaast
Tour Limit: 14
Boreal specialties, seabird colonies, and numerous breeding landbirds in the beautiful Canadian Maritimes.
ARIZONA'S SECOND SPRING
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jul 21-30, 2024 ($4150) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
An ideal time for visiting one of the best birding regions in North America: great for local specialties and Mexican vagrants.
SLICE OF CALIFORNIA: SEABIRDS TO SIERRA
Status: One space available
Sep 5-14, 2024 ($4850) with Chris Benesh & Alex Sundvall
Tour Limit: 14
A diverse mix of West Coast specialties, montane species, and pelagics in rugged and scenic sites.
AUSTRALIA
Status: Open
Sep 27 - Oct 17, 2024 - Part One ($10850) with Chris Benesh & Jesse Fagan
Tour Limit: 12
In two parts for those with limited time. Part I covers the environs of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, southwest Australia, and Alice Springs. Part II begins in Darwin and continues to Queensland (Cairns, Atherton Tableland, Outback Queensland, and O'Reilly's Guest House). Both parts combine for a complete birding tour of Australia. An optional endemic-rich extension to Tasmania follows Part II.
ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS
Status: Open
Dec 3-26, 2024 ($16500) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 10
The ultimate seabird and wildlife cruise, including fabulous South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Variable fee depending on cabin choice.
SOUTH TEXAS RARITIES
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Jan 11-19, 2025 ($3525) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
Escape the winter birding doldrums on our week-long tour to the bird-rich Rio Grande Valley, with specialties from kiskadees and Green Jays to Hook-billed Kites and Altamira Orioles. And the winter potential for Mexican vagrants is terrific!
BELIZE: TROPICAL BIRDING, SHORT AND SWEET
Status: Open
Feb 7-15, 2025 ($4850) with Chris Benesh & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
Two wonderful lodges for a rewarding tropical birding experience in this English-speaking country, including some regional specialties. Great as an intro to or continuation of your Neotropical birding.
CENTRAL MEXICO & BAJA: BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES & WHALES
Status: Open
Feb 16-27, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$5850) with Jesse Fagan & Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 12
Specialty birds, wintering Monarchs, and up-close whale encounters on this exciting tour!
MEXICO: OAXACA VALLEY
Status: One space available
Mar 1-8, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$3450) with Chris Benesh & Marcelo Barreiros
Tour Limit: 14
Superb birding with two dozen Mexican endemics and fascinating ruins while based in lovely Oaxaca City.
May be combined with Mexico: Oaxaca's Atlantic & Pacific Slopes
MEXICO: OAXACA'S ATLANTIC & PACIFIC SLOPES
Status: Open
Mar 8-19, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4200) with Dan Lane & Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 14
A new itinerary exploring Oaxaca's Atlantic (Gulf) and Pacific Slopes and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, with a long list of additional species for anyone who has already taken our long-running and popular Oaxaca Valley tour.
May be combined with Mexico: Oaxaca Valley
ARIZONA: BIRDING THE BORDER
Status: Open
May 9-18, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4125) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
One of the most exciting destinations in North America with a backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery.
ALASKA: THE GREAT LAND
Status: Open
Jun 5-21, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$13075) with Chris Benesh & Alex Sundvall
Tour Limit: 14
Our fabulous survey of the best of Alaska birding: the Pribilofs, Kenai Fjords, Nome, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow).
ALASKA: NO PLACE LIKE NOME
Status: One space available
Jun 23-30, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4175) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
A chance to spend the better part of a week birding in one of the subarctic's most famous hotspots!
ARIZONA'S SECOND SPRING
Status: Open
Jul 19-28, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4150) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
An ideal time for visiting one of the best birding regions in North America: great for local specialties and Mexican vagrants.
SLICE OF CALIFORNIA: SEABIRDS TO SIERRA
Status: Open
Sep 4-13, 2025 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4850) with Chris Benesh
Tour Limit: 7
A diverse mix of West Coast specialties, montane species, and pelagics in rugged and scenic sites.
AUSTRALIA
Status: Provisionally full; waitlist available
Sep 26 - Oct 16, 2025 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2024=$10850) with Chris Benesh & Alex Sundvall
Tour Limit: 12
In two parts for those with limited time. Part I covers the environs of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, southwest Australia, and Alice Springs. Part II begins in Darwin and continues to Queensland (Cairns, Atherton Tableland, Outback Queensland, and O'Reilly's Guest House). Both parts combine for a complete birding tour of Australia. An optional endemic-rich extension to Tasmania follows Part II.
BELIZE: TROPICAL BIRDING, SHORT AND SWEET
Status: Open
Nov 21-29, 2025 ($4850) with Chris Benesh & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
Two wonderful lodges for a rewarding tropical birding experience in this English-speaking country, including some regional specialties. Great as an intro to or continuation of your Neotropical birding.
PANAMA'S CANOPY LODGE: EL VALLE DE ANTON
Status: Open
Dec 28, 2025 - Jan 4, 2026 (Fee TBD / 2024=$4575) with Chris Benesh & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A superb introduction to Neotropical birds or a complement to your broader Middle American birding, all based at a charming lodge.