The leading bird tour operator for Central Asia and Russia.
Argynnis Adippe Tienshanica, Rubythroat Birding Tours
Rubythroat Birding Tours
White tailed Rubythroat, Rubythroat Birding Tours

OUR STAFF & LEADERS

birding_bonny
Bonny Valkenburg
Director
Bonny Valkenburg-Kubentayeva is director of LTD Rubythroat Birding Tours. She was born and raised in the northeast of Kazakhstan in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk, which is very close to the Altai Mountains. During her university years, she lived in Almaty where she studied finance and graduated summa cum laude as a financial analyst. She continued working in the banking sector until joining Rubythroat Birding Tours in 2012. Bonny has also a very active social life in which she loves reading, travelling and hiking in nature with friends. Bonny is working with RBT behind the scenes where she is leading the entire office team.
birding_machiel
Machiel Valkenburg
Field Specialist

Machiel Valkenburg is owner of Rubythroat Birding Tours. He was born in the Netherlands but travels all over the world finally brought him to Central Asia where is has lived for over eight years. He currently resides in Spain from where he runs the daily management for RBT. He is a tourleader for the biggest bird tour company in the world, Victor Emanual Nature Tours for whom he leads tours in Asia and Europe. Machiel has an excellent ear for bird sounds and a keen eye. Nowadays he also counts butterflies to his expertise and is developing himself more and more in the field of Asian nature. Machiel is a devoted traveler, making trips in Europe, Africa and Asia. The former Soviet Union countries and their avifauna however have a special place in his heart. Travelling extensively the last 10 years to Central Asia and Siberia has resulted in the founding of Rubythroat Birding Tours. He has a calm approach. Respect, good atmosphere and a good laugh combined with good birding are keywords for trips guided by Machiel.

Ed Michels
Tour guide
Ed Michels has been interested in wildlife since an early age and nowadays he spends most of his professional time outdoors either as photographer or ecologist. Ed is born and raised in the Netherlands and has traveled all over the world. He is the owner of Ecodat, which has two fields of competence; ecology and nature photography! His pictures are known for its strong atmosphere and colorful expression. To make ‘that special picture’ Ed wakes up hours before sunrise and is willing to wait until the moment is perfect. Next to these skills Ed has been teaching and training people for many years. His approach can be described as empathic, respectful and inviting to improve. Ed will lead all the photo tours that Rubythroat Birding Tours offers.!
Koshkin Alexey
Field Specialist
Koshkin Alexey was born in the Akmola region. In 1987, he graduated from the Saratov State University with a major in biology. For 22 years he was working in the Korgalzhyn State Nature Reserve: 1984-2006 as a researcher at the Department of Science. In 2006 he became Deputy Director for Science KSNR. Alexey is permanently involved in several field studies within the GEF / UNDP project on wetland conservation. He monitored the Saiga population in the Tengiz region as well. Alexey speaks German as a foreign language and has a wealth of knowledge about the fauna of his native land. He has years of experience with birdtour groups as he is guiding them for many years around the Korgalzhyn State Reserve. Alexey is for Rubythroat Birding Tours the main local guide in the Astana region.
Aleksander Povarintsev
Field Specialist
Aleksander Povarintsev (1988) was born in the Siberian town of Nizhneudinsk but he lived for the most part of his live in Irkutsk, the Paris of the East. Nature, especially birds interested him since childhood. For many years, he studied the avifauna of the Irkutsk region. He conducted bird surveys on birds of prey in the South Baikal migration corridor, and wintering waterfowl on the Angara River. In 2010, he graduated from the Irkutsk State University with a major in biology, following a three-year period of working in the Research Institute of Biology. He currently works part-time in the Irkutsk State Agricultural University in the Institute of Natural Resources Management. His PhD is devoted to factors that influence to migratory behaviour of raptors in the South Baikal migration corridor. Aleksandr is a very social person with a wonderful, dry, English sense of humor and a true gentleman. He will be leading most of our tours in Russia plus the occasional trip in Central Asia.
Madina Akhmetova
Operational Manager

Madina Akhmetova was born in eastern Kazakhstan in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk. She studied international relations in Almaty, after her graduation she started here her professional career. She is an open-minded person whom loves to meet new cultures and persons from all over the world. She loves to widen her horizon and spends a lot of time traveling, Italy being a favourite destination. In her spare time, she loves sports, reads books and spends time with friends and family. She is a talented young woman with a very organized and thorough mind, perfectly skilled for the job of operational manager in RBT.