Friday, June 14, 2013

Andalucia Wildlife Guides and more…

Are you going to the Birdfair this year? It is being held at Rutland Water UK and the dates this year will be 16th - 18th August 2013. Andalucia Wildlife Guides will have their full compliment of associates Manuel Mojarro, Peter Jones and José Luis Sánchez in attendance on their stand 'Andalucia Wildlife Guides' in Marquee 8 Stand 9. Do please come and see us, we would all love to see you. We are all very excited about being present at the most important international wildlife event of the year, especially having our very own dedicated stand for the first time at such a large event. AWG is an organisation where some of the foremost and most knowledgeable bird and wildlife guides have come together to form a network that covers the southern most province of Spain, providing day tours, nature holidays, specially tailored tours to suit individual nature lovers, heritage tours and all with the provision of highly acclaimed guides at all times. In short we provide an unrivalled service for those seeking guided tours to observe nature in southern Spain. Please do come and discuss nature in Andalucia with the experts.

AWG will also be representing Andalucia Bird Society and will have several pieces of their publicity with us and will also be able to enrol new members for and on behalf of this progressive Society. Hopefully we will also have copies of their latest Summer Edition magazine (front cover illustration below), always a great read and another reason why folk should join ABS, worth it if only to receive their 4 copies (published each quarter) of ‘Birds of Andalucia’ a year! So again another great reason to come along to Marquee 8 Stand 9 on any of the days of this year’s Birdfair 16th to18th August.

Here at home in my mountains, the weather has finally turned a corner, so now you can expect to hear complaints about it being too hot and dry. I’m due to head on over to the Osuna area in the morning where forecasts are for blazing sun and temperatures peaking at 38C… must remember to take my hat and sun cream! Exceptional light conditions can be good for photography, but as all those budding nature photographers know, too much bright sun can also be your enemy, but still looking forward to getting a few more snaps using the Canon point and shoot SX50 HS. I have managed one or two more snaps since my last blog, so I am using the opportunity to show some here.

Bee eaters cheering-up a dull and cool day in the Serrania de Ronda
Our Marsh Frogs can give severe earache with huge numbers 'singing'..
Thinking most of my orchids were over until I came across this Lizard Orchid
Rock Bunting are not so easy to spot during June
A distant shot (full zoom) of Little Owl characters and comical too!
Finally (for now) a landscape shot of my mountains in the Serrania de Ronda
You can read more about Peter's tours on Spanish Nature's website or if you want a day's trip in his mountains read about the details here

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Out and About and Back Again

Most days of May saw me working leading groups either on tours or day trips. The combination of work and my age conspired to make the month pass by in no time at all. It increasingly feels like each month gets shorter and each day I have less time to do all those tasks I want to do! Being out and about so much I get to see a lot of nature, lots of people and also have fun at the same time. Truth is I could almost write a daily blog on activities warranting a comment or two, but of course read the aforementioned problems with finding time! I am forever grateful for being able to spend so much time in my local area the Serranía de Ronda and the Sierra de Grazalema, the local wildlife is spectacular and varied, so here I can show you one or two photos from the month of May and hope you enjoy them?

Cirl Bunting - Common resident
Sifting through the pile of photographs I took for May, more than normal, I thought I’d concentrate on those taken with a new point and shoot Canon SX50 HS. It might interest readers as it is a cheap and portable solution for me compared to the heavy equipment involved in Digital SLR with the accompanying heavy lenses! It has always been difficult for me to be in the business of getting photographs and guiding folk, the two are NOT compatible in terms of giving people your undivided attention and focus. However, many of my friends (clients to most other guides) tend to come armed with an array of cameras on either full tours or day trips, so it is easier for me to pack a simple and lightweight point and shoot for each tour or trip. I should add I never take shots without the permission of those using my services and only then when they too are involved with taking photos.

Phlomis purpurea
May is a time of plenty here in my mountains, but this year has been different due to a very wet winter and early spring, along with cooler than normal temperatures. Butterflies, despite a fantastic spring for flowers, are late and down in numbers, I assume due to the prolonged wet and cold. Whilst some birds have been late arriving and to begin the reproduction process, one very disturbing and worrying late breeder and with some nests failing is Bonelli’s Eagle, where the nest is productive it is reduced from 2 to 1 nestling, interested to see how many of these fledge. Maybe the problem for this emblematic eagle is lack of prey i.e. Rabbit and Red-legged Partridge? Rabbit is almost entirely absent in the higher elevations, so this may also impact on other raptor’s breeding success this year. Weekly sightings of Long-legged Buzzard kept my pecker up on the raptor front, so not too upset yet!

The ever present and common Corn Bunting
Okay onwards and upwards with a few happy snaps from May. - - -

Lavatera - So common and a few different species too!
Bee eater arrived on time but locals delayed breeding!
The common Meadow Brown feasting on Sheep's Bit
PrayingMantis - Empusa Pennata (male) just praying?
Male Greenfinch looking very handsome
Okay I won't bore folk with more photographs, but I am impressed with Canon SX50 HS and as a highly portable point and shoot I have found it a useful addition to my guiding toolbox!

I hope to update folk on the progress of various raptors and other birdlife here in a separate blog.

You can read more about Peter's tours on Spanish Nature's website or if you want a day's trip in his mountains read about the details here