Back Yard Birding - Serrania de Ronda
I am the first to admit that I have a very privileged life, I mean; I get to travel the world as a wildlife guide and tour leader, doing the things I most love. The pay is not great, but then not having bad days at the office must count for something! During my time as a guide, I have met and befriended many throughout the world, another bonus of the job, where I maintain contact and work alongside many of them. It might come as a disappointment for these friends to learn, that despite all the fantastic scenery and wonderful variety of wildlife I enjoy in their company, nothing compares for me to the most beautiful area of the Serranía de Ronda, my backyard.
It has become a joke among friends that I often refer to the Serranía as ‘my mountains’, but that’s exactly how I feel and nothing gives me more pleasure than to be given an opportunity to write about them. Well, that’s not strictly true, guiding people here and sharing my understanding of the area and its wildlife probably rates as an equal first. There can be few other places where its possible to see such a diverse landscape by travelling very short distances, from dramatic limestone mountains to soft rolling green hills and fine old mixed woodlands, the area has it all. Is it any wonder I shamelessly promote, bully and encourage anyone who will listen to visit here?
Bearing in mind the Serranía is landlocked and some distance away from the sea and wetlands, then the bird list exceeding 230 species is excellent. We also have a diverse and comprehensive mammal list and with a butterfly specie count in excess of 80 the area can be counted as a wildlife haven, although with around 2000 plant species, perhaps this ought to be wildlife paradise. Encounters with wildlife here can be thrilling and an experience hard to repeat elsewhere in Europe. Raptor migration is spectacular, yes I know you can go down to the coast and see the migration, but somehow it looks a more natural spectacle here in the mountains, with clouds of migrants following the high ridge lines of our mountain ranges.
I very much hope that one or more of the full tours and day trips we do here in Andalucia might appeal to you. Also that you might join me in this most wonderful part of the natural world, it would be an honour and a privilege to welcome you to my BACKYARD!
Peter Jones - Senior Wildlife Guide for Spanish Nature
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