Monday, January 14, 2013

Andalucia Bird/Wildlife Guides

Some of the foremost and most knowledgeable bird and wildlife guides have come together to form a network that covers the southern most province in Spain. Not only does this offer visitors a chance to combine the 4 corners of the province for nature holidays, but it also combines some of the most popular day tours available to birdwatchers seeking the best hot spots for birding in Andalucia. From the western Odiel Marshes through the Doñana and across to the Strait of Gibraltar, ascending the high limestone peaks in Malaga Province to the highest point in Spain in the Sierra Nevada, to Lammergeier country in Jaen to the Deserts of Almería, see what’s on offer!

Andalucia Wildlife Guides is a union of 4 individual bird and wildlife guides coming together to form a network covering the whole of the most southerly province in Spain - Andalucia. Working together for each other, they hope to offer you an opportunity to plan an itinerary with options to incorporate professional guiding wherever you might wish to visit in the area. You have the choices of so many great areas for wildlife here in Andalucia, now you have the ability to contact a single organisation for local guiding and unsurpassed local knowledge. They can help you plan your nature holiday or simply respond to a request for a day tour. Please contact them and they will be delighted to assist in anyway possible.

Name: José Luis Sánchez Balsera
Based: Ubeda, Jaen Province
Area covered: Jaen Province- The Sierras of Cazorla, Segura and Las Villas, The Sierra of Andujar, The Sierra of Magina, the steppes of Southern Jaen.
Bio: Former regional biologist for the sierras of Jaen and publisher of several papers on related issues, José Luis guides with formidable knowledge and an instinctively keen eye. A naturalist with a profound understanding of the life and lore of the province. Please see the link for tour details i.e. options/locations.
LINK: Jaen and Cordaba - Jaen, Granada, Almeria and Cordaba Provinces

Name: Manuel Mojarro
Based: Corrales – Huelva province
Areas covered: Tours to Doñana, Odiel Marshes and Sierra de Aracena. Also bird holidays to the Extremadura, Tarifa and Southern Portugal.
Bio: Manu is a wildlife enthusiast and has 10 years experience as group leader and heritage expert, organising professional birdwatching trips since 2004. Besides he usually participates in local bird ringing and tracking as a volunteer: Manu loves his homeland and loves to show it.
LINK: Donana and Odiel Marshes - Huelva and Sevilla Provinces

Name: Peter Jones. 
Based: Ronda – Málaga Province
Areas covered: Nature day tours in the Serranía de Ronda and Sierra de Grazalema. 3 day tours and full tours in all of Spain, Morocco, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Kenya, China and many other countries.
Bio: Well known and popular with the great many who have already been guided by him. There is no finer testimony to Peter's popularity than the fact many friends of various tour operators will sign-on tours knowing he will guide them. Some great day tours are also offered by Peter.
LINK: Mountains Steppe and Migration - Malaga and Cadiz Provinces

English: Natura 2000 spaces in Andalusia (Spain). Map shows sites of community importance (colored in yellow) and special protection area for birds (green) and both (blue). Data source: Ministerio de Medioambiente y Medio Rural y Marino - Red Natura 2000. Cartographic data without use restrictions (in fact public domain). 

Español: Espacios Red Natura 2000 en Andalucía. El mapa muestra lugares de importancia comunitaria (coloreadas en amarillo), zonas de especial protección para las aves (verde) y ambas (en azul) Fuente de los datos: Ministerio de Medioambiente y Medio Rural y Marino - Red Natura 2000. No se aplican restricciones a las condiciones de uso. (Dominio público en la práctica) "Acceso público y gratuito. Será necesario nombrar la fuente de procedencia de la información de la siguiente manera: Fuente: Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thoughts on Nature 2013

I had been determined that today, the 1st January 2013, would be a set-aside day, a day of self-indulgence. The past days had seen clear blue skies and warm daytime temperatures, little wind and ideal conditions for doing some birding. However, completing the latest edition for Birds of Andalucia, submitting ringing totals, doing our travel newsletter and copious amounts of other commitments to finalise before the end of the year, all conspired to keep me away from my beloved countryside! Well the best laid plans eh! Today, when I desired clear skies and sunshine, it’s raining, dull and with low cloud outside, so what to do instead? Think of the year ahead, that’s what…

During an early morning of doodling on my computer I stumbled across a fine idea by a friend Mark Avery on his latest blog. Basically Mark is advocating making a list of one wildlife ambition for each month during 2013. Nice idea I thought, and agree with Mark, this can motivate you to get out and interact with nature. So I ponder, what is achievable and useful….

Like Mark, I have compiled a list for January through to June inclusive; I will update it later in the year. I’d be interested to hear what you think about this idea and what would be your list?

Update: Reaction so far seems positive and one comment I like very much is: "I think it would be positive in several ways, interaction but also actually seeking out info & ways to maybe improve things - every little thing helps - a task a month is also manageable" CA UK.

Photo courtesy of Juan Luis Muñoz
January: Attempt to find an additional territory for Bonelli’s Eagle (currently 38) within my local patch – Serranía de Ronda.

February: Map local breeding sites for Lesser Kestrel, we have 2 populations 1. resident 2. Migrant.

March: Put the camera down and do more fieldwork! Find breeding pair of Black-winged Kite… suspected as breeding for the 1st time within my patch 2012.

April: Set aside at least one day to ring spring arrivals with a focus on Sub-alpine Warbler, but Spectacled would be most welcome!!

May: Continue my research with Black Wheatear social and breeding biology!

June: Census Chiffchaff both Common and Iberian – confusing as we have both in Andalucia!

Finally, what would your list be for 2013? Let me know.