Monday, February 25, 2013

Owls – Travelling is a hoot!

Yes, yes, I know, I am one very lucky and privileged person to get to lead and guide wildlife tours all around the world! I appreciate the opportunities and one way to show it is to share experiences here on my blog. I have never been a bird lister or keep account of the number of species I’ve seen, but I am constantly reminded of why I love birds. On virtually every tour there are birds that make an impression and stick around in my memory, very often my first thoughts of a country are associated with birds I’ve seen there. I have now been birding, researching, drawing and writing about these great creatures for over 50 years, so some of my blogs get written as a whim, a recollection of some particular bird or sometimes I get inspired when I study one of the many emails I receive asking for help on an id. More recently I had the thrill, although no good photographs, of seeing Costa Rican Pygmy-Owl and both colour phases too! The experience was a reminder of what a wonderfully diverse and appealing family owls are, which leads me to the thoughts behind this particular blog, owls!

I like so many families of birds, that it becomes impossible, almost, to choose a favourite. I guess the group of wheatear species tend to hold a special place in my life, but how on earth do I choose any others when I get so enthused by so many? Trogons, hummingbirds, raptors, tanagers and so the list goes on. I have friends who love nothing better than seabirds, others that believe there are only two types of bird in the world – Birds of Prey and Prey!! Yet, who doesn’t like owls? Fluffy, characters, wide-eyed and somehow endearing, owls tend to be a great favourite among adults and children alike. Here I share a few favourite owl species from my travels and very much hope you enjoy this pictorial journey across several continents.


Long-eared Owl

Little Owl

Tawny Owl


Striped Owl

Crested Owl

Tawny-bellied Screech Owl


Spotted Eagle Owl

Verreaux's Eagle Owl

African Scops Owl


Asian Barred Owlet

Brown Fish Owl

Spotted Owlet

You can join Peter’s travels on any of his tours worldwide. Why not take a look at the link to tours visiting various continents below:

Peter also does day tours and self-made holidays in Spain, to learn more see the links below:

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Birds of 3 Continents

Pallid Scops Owl

After such a very successful recce tour to Turkey last autumn, Worldwide Birding Tours have decided to organise another for 2013. For this tour WBT are also including the area around the Hakkari-Van Plateaus, the idea is to provide a diverse tour in terms of both habitat (scenery too), birds and culture. It promises to be an exciting route and after the experiences of last year with great accommodation, food and very friendly people of this region, it is hardly surprising WBT already have bookings for this new tour. Of course a major attraction are the birds, representatives from 3 continents Africa, Asia and Europe, which can all be found here and will provide some memorable sightings throughout the duration of the tour.

“Turkey, it really was a great trip! Lots of different habitats and birds that come along with the change in landscape. The food was terrific and we really did travel as friends. Peter and Pieter, as always, organized a memorable and enjoyable adventure. J.O’B & G. d’E Canada”

Western Rock Nuthatch
The journey starts from WBT's meeting point in Van, a city lying in the southeast of the country and surrounded by lakes, wetland and high mountains. In this region arid areas also provide chances for some typical desert species such as Cream-coloured Courser and the surrounding countryside also gives opportunities to find Mongolian Finch, Grey-necked Bunting and Red-wattled Lapwing among a host of other target birds. The tour then leaves the Hakkari-Van Plateaus in a westward direction and will visit the river basin of the Euphrates and search for some local specialities such as Bald Ibis, Dead Sea Sparrow and Iranian Babbler, also Little Swift has a good local population here. It is hoped to take a meal alongside the Euphrates and WBT can guarantee this as being a very special occasion.

Terek Sandpiper
The second half of the tour leads the group into the Taurus Mountains and down to the coastal deltas of the Gaziantep and Cukurova. Both deltas represent superb birding areas and the mountains are home to some great species, one site even holds the possibility of finding Brown Fish Owl, so the tour live in hope! Speaking of owls, WBT have sites for Pallid Scops Owl as well as Scops Owl, so there will be some thrilling moments to enjoy on this wonderful tour. Limitation of space and vocabulary make it impossible to describe how great a tour this is, so I hope you trust me when I say it is one tour not to miss. Please do join us.

Tour Dates - June 10th to 20th 2013
Full Details HERE
Tour Guides: Peter Jones and Emin Yogurtcuoglu

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Raptors and special moments

As a nature guide, mostly specialising in birds, I often get asked what my favourite bird is. After a lifetime of birding I can honestly say I have no ‘real’ favourite, I love so many! Even breaking it down using a simple formula of families or even groups becomes difficult. What is striking is the number of friends who accompany my forays into different parts of the world who, without hesitation, are smitten with raptors. And so I thought it would be fun to share a few raptor snaps with readers here.


Pallid Harrier.

Black-winged Kite.



Crested Serpent Eagle.

Upland Buzzard.

Brahminy Kite.


Martial Eagle.

Tawny Eagle.

Eastern Chanting Goshawk.


Harpy Eagle.

Southern Caraca.

Aplomado Falcon.

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of self-indulgence and if you did please leave a comment if you would like to see more!

Peter is principle guide for Worldwide Birding Tours why not join him on one of many nature tours operated through the world?

Contact Peter DIRECT.