Ben was born in 1968 and is currently living in Vlaardingen, a town just west of Rotterdam. In his early years he was interested in amphibians and other aquatic wildlife, but he can clearly remember that his birding days began on November 8th 1980 when a big black-and-white bird of prey flew right over his head. This event made such an impression that he borrowed a birdbook from a neighbour and looked up the bird: an Osprey.
In April 1981 Ben joined the NJN, a Dutch organisation for youngsters interested in nature, and became a fanatic birder. Until 1988 Ben birded his local patch and some well-known birding areas in the Netherlands, but somewhere during that year he started twitching as well, travelling across the Netherlands in search of rare birds. One aspect about birding Ben particulary likes, is sharing his passion for birds with other interested people. Ben has not birded outside of the Netherlands (yet!), but he doesn’t regret this at all because he loves birding in the Netherlands. He is member of an extremely select group of birders who have found two new birds for the Dutch list: Spanish Sparrow and Northern Waterthrush! Ben would be very happy to share his knowledge of Dutch birds with people visiting the Netherlands looking for both the common and rarer species.
Ben is only available for people who have their own transport. Don’t let this minor issue hold you back, a day’s birding with Ben is a highlight for any birder. Feel free to check his client comments below!
Thanks to Birding Holland for a great day’s birding in November during a stopover before my return to Hong Kong. My flight was 3 hours late getting in to Amsterdam and I was a little worried that this might curtail our plans. I needn’t have worried, my guide for the day, Ben Gaxiola, was patiently awaiting my arrival and it seemed like only minutes before we arrived at our first birding site. I had requested that we focus on northern birds, especially geese, with my target lifer being Tundra Bean Goose and Ben had worked out a splendid itinerary in the Oostvaardersplassen and Noord-Holland which not only produced a flock of several hundred Tundra Bean Geese but also a bonus Black Brant – skillfully found by Ben – as well as five other goose species and both Bewick’s and Whooper Swans. Other highlights were raptors including a Rough-legged Buzzard and a Merlin. I am also interested in mammals so we made sure of seeing the ‘wild’ Heck Cattle and Konig Horses with another bonus being Red Deer, several Red Foxes and a Harbour Seal.
I would unreservedly recommend Ben and Birding Holland and look forward to another enjoyable and successful day in the field on my next stopover.
Mike Leven, Hong Kong
Thank you for a wonderful afternoon. Ben was just great – very nice, really knew what he was talking about, where to go, and took us to many habitats so we could see the most birds. I had a great time, and I am just a general nature lover (not a serious birder). We would highly recommend Ben and Birding Holland. This was my first excursion with a private guide. It was worth every penny. It was a real pleasure to get out into the countryside, see the seaside, and to go down country lanes to see rural homes and farms – a perfect balance to our city sightseeing in the Netherlands. Thank you again.
Jennifer Bennett, Duluth, MN, USA
I had a very enjoyable day birding in the south of the Netherlands with Ben. We concentrated on woodland birding, which is not especially easy in September, but still managed to see a good number of species including some which can be difficult to find in the UK. Ben is a good birder, very good on calls, and easy to get on with. I would be happy to use Birding Holland for a future trip in the Netherlands.
Trevor Warren, UK
I had just a short time at the end of a business trip, but wanted to fit in some birding.; I was able to arrange a trip with Ben Gaxiola of Birding Holland. Visiting a number of sites in North Holland in the afternoon, followed by others near Rotterdam the next morning, we were able to find over 100 species even in mid-April, including specialties like Bittern and Grasshopper Warbler! Ben is an incredibly skilled birder with a particularly good ear. The sheer numbers of individuals were also a treat–we saw easily the most Common Redshanks and Shelducks I’ve ever seen in a day.
David Bates, Watertown, MA, USA
Ben is a good birder, very good on calls, and easy to get on with. I would be happy to use Birding Holland for a future trip in the Netherlands.
Trevor Warren, UK
I went birding with Ben on Texel in May 2014.
Ben knows the area well, has fantastic hearing and able to get clients on target birds.
In addition he is enjoyable to spend time with and is hard working.
I look forward to birding with him again.
Mark Citsay, MN, USA