Thursday, 4 November 2010

Going out with Peter Jones (or Peter and his birds)

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about with Peter Jones.

A day in the company of this (in)famous research biologist is entertaining and informative. If you are just a dabbler with birds, you will learn a lot. If you are a card-carrying twitcher, he can still teach you something.  No interest at all? You are guaranteed a fantastic day full of laughter and fun, fascinating insights into Andalucian culture, flora, fauna, geology,  and, there's always Good Food.

All this hype may lead you to suspect I am somehow in his pay but no, I am just an ardent fan and very grateful to him for giving so much joy to so many of my guests at Los Castanos.

Spanish White with new born
Andalucian Red

Peter took us to a secret valley where Andalucian Reds grazed, Spanish Whites and their newborns mooched, and frogs lurked in a pond. (I stole this picture from you, Peter. Hope you don't mind!)

The first bird of the day was easy to spot and recognise - an ostrich.

After that warm-up session, we needed Peter's eagle eye to tell us where to look and what to see. Even the griffon vultures, largest bird in Europe, were hard for us amateurs to see even when Peter told us where to look.

Up there, says Peter. Where? we follow his pointing finger desperate not to disappoint him.
Up there!!
And then we saw them through the lens of his powerful telescope. Four griffons and another lurking shyly behind. Such a thrill to see them so clearly.
Griffons Vultures perching

Many birds followed - from the enchanting Meadow Pipit to the Black Redstart, Firecrests and Flycatchers. Little birds, hard to see without guidance. Here, you try!
This is why we need Peter!

There it is - lurking in the undergrowth.


For more information on this fantastic and generous and funny man, go to his site Spanish Nature
And, for his newly formed and vibrant Andalucia Bird Society, click here.

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