Machiel Valkenburg is the leading man behind Rubythroat Birding Tours. He was born in the Netherlands but travels all over the world finally brought him to Central Asia where he is living since 2007, with a short period residing in Valencia, Spain. He runs the daily management for RBT from our cosy office in the centre of Almaty. He is a leader for the most prominent bird tour company in the world, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours for whom he leads tours in Asia, Africa 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 traveller, making trips to almost all continents, only Antarctica has eluded him so far. The former Soviet Union countries and their avifauna, however, have a special place in his heart. Travelling the last 15 years extensively to Central Asia and Siberia has resulted in the founding of Rubythroat Birding Tours. He has a calm approach combined with respect, a pleasant atmosphere and a good laugh mixed with good birding are keywords for trips guided by Machiel.