Together with Peter Jones, Pieter is the founder of Spanish Nature and his philosophy is very simple 'enjoy everything while you can'. His main interests are photography, travel and nature, an ideal combination for organising our tours!
Pieter writes: "One of the reasons for setting-up Spanish Nature was to share my travel experiences and apply the many don't do aspects I have suffered when accompanying organised nature tours. The very first thing was to ensure we tailored our tours to be relaxed and enjoyable; everything else was then a case of paying attention to details. On my travels with many nature tour operators I nearly always returned exhausted and needing another holiday to get over the experience. Of course getting up an hour or two before daybreak and returning to just about adequate forms of accommodation maybe some people's idea of what to expect from a nature holiday, but it has never been enjoyable for me! Spending hours on end chasing from one good site to another is both boring and tiring. So it has been important to me to establish guidelines for our tours which provide good standards of accommodation, time to enjoy nature and above all ensure you, the client, return home relaxed and enriched from your experience".
Peter Jones author, naturalist, co-founder of Spanish Nature and founder of the Andalucia Bird Society. Peter has been involved in a great many environmental projects and has had several works published over many years. Peter has a passion for birds, having also been involved in scientific research into birds for over 36 years, but his many interests also extend to flora and fauna. Peter is well known and liked by the great many who have already been guided by him in many different countries. There can be no finer testimony to Peter's popularity than the fact that many friends of various tour operators will sign-on tours in the knowledge he is their guide.
Peter writes: "Having been frustrated on many occasions trying to conserve and preserve important areas by presenting scientific evidence to support environmental impact surveys, I am convinced we can make a much greater impact on conservation of important areas, using tourism as an economical argument against unwanted forms of development/speculation. The fact that I also enjoy sharing my experience of nature with people, making new friends and love visiting new places, makes guiding with Spanish Nature a very real privilege".
Author Guy Hunter Watts recently wrote: Peter Jones, a nature guide based close to Ronda, who leads groups and individuals throughout the province. He also leads guided tours to other parts of Spain, Morocco and many other destinations worldwide. The author can not speak too highly of Peter’s birding excursions. A natural communicator, Peter has that rare ability of conveying specialist knowledge in a way that’s accessible to one and all. A day in his company offers a unique insight into the extraordinarily diverse birdlife of southern Spain and would dovetail perfectly with your walks in and around Ronda and Grazalema.
Mick Richardson our guide specialising in the Granada / Sierra Nevada area of Spain. Along with Peter, Mick guides in specialist areas for day tours in Spain. Mick's great passion is for the area Sierra de Loja near to Granada. His knowledge of fauna and flora is a real eye opener for beginner and expert alike. Mick has an unsurpassed knowledge of his area and can guide you to the best bird and flower areas within the Granada area.
Mick shares a passion for photographing wildlife with Pieter and is happy sharing experiences with others of a like mind. He is also working with Peter to create the 'perfect' tour of Spain and has a good working knowledge of famous areas such as Donana and hot spots in Extramadura. For those visiting the Granada area seeking to enjoy both the cultural and natural wonders of this spectacular area, then Mick is the 'man'. Mick is also, along with his wife Jane, able to provide accommodation for those requiring a stay in the countryside!
Mick writes: "Working together with Spanish Nature is easy for me. Both Peter and I share a special affinity with all natural life and we share a passion for the Spanish Mountains and high Sierras. Peter has an unrivalled knowledge of the Ronda and Grazalema areas, so we compliment each other, especially as so many visitors choose to spend time both in the Ronda area and then here in Granada. I am hoping in the near future to lead tours here in Spain for multi-destination tours and other countries for Spanish Nature. I am currently compiling species lists for Birds, Dragonflies, Butterflies, Reptiles, Mammals and Flowers in the Granada area. Hopefully, we will be able to list them on this website in the future".
Juan Serratosa is our latest incorporation to Spanish Nature. He is a Biologist and a local of the Serranía de Ronda, so he knows about the culture and the history of the area. He has worked in a Rehabilitation Centre for Wildlife and is now especially interested in environmental education in all of its forms as a way of preserving Nature. We are currently involved in the study of the local population of Bonelli's Eagle and Juan is heading-up this project. Juan’s main interest is birds, but he is also interested in fauna, flora and fungi.
Juan's natural enthusiasm and caring nature has already resulted in him being a favourite guide for visiting naturalists. As a graduate from the university of Cordoba, Juan has an in-depth knowledge of the surrounding area including Sierra Morena. We are hoping to develop tours which take-in both the Cordoba and Sevilla areas, where Juan will take charge of large and small tour parties.
Juan writes: “Working in Nature is just a dream come true. It´s a privilege to show people our Nature in the Serranía de Ronda and Grazalema and share my love for the area with them. After having lived most of my life here, I think it is a very important moment for projects like this one to help stop undesirable ways of development which will spoil the area. Coming with us is not only a great experience but also a way to contribute in the conservation of Nature”
Steve Lister has been birding for around 40 years. He started off in West Yorkshire and was a voluntary warden at Fairburn Ings (pre RSPB) at the age of 16 before moving to East Yorkshire when he went to Hull University in 1972. This led to a 16 year spell where he concentrated on the Yorkshire coast between Scarborough and Spurn, and, for the later ten years up to 1988, the lower Humber estuary. He was organiser of the Birds of Estuaries Enquiry monthly counts for the north bank of the Humber for several years.
Steve moved down to Leicestershire (and Rutland) in 1988 and quickly became involved in the activities of the LROS. The Charnwood reservoirs and Rutland Water became his main birding spots and he is now a well known face around the counties.
He has a knack of turning up good birds in unexpected places, none better than the 1999 Crag Martin at Swithland Reservoir. Wildfowl counting at Rutland Water has taken over from the Humber, and is almost as daunting at times.
Steve has been on the local records committee for many years and took over as county recorder in March 2007. Currently he is one of a small group working on a new Leics and Rutland avifauna that will hopefully be published in 2009. He is also a very active member of the BTO and an almost obsessive ring-reader, both at home and abroad: he monitors the colour-ringed Cormorants and gull roosts at Rutland Water and makes special trips to search through the flocks of Pink-feet in Norfolk and on the Humber.
Though always essentially a local birder, and never much of a twitcher, Steve has a strong interest in world birding and makes several foreign trips each year. His main area of interest remains the Western Palearctic, particularly the southern edge and he has visited Morocco five times, most recently in 2009: the first trip was way back in August 1980 and included the discovery of the first Great Knot for the WP and Africa.
Juan Carlos Calvachi was born in Quito, Ecuador, where he studied English and Italian before working in the tourist industry. During the course of this involvement in the tourist industry, Juan was introduced to the idea of ‘birding tours’, an aspect of tourism that was to marry his great passion of wildlife to his principle work.
Juan was fortunate to be able to learn his skills as a wildlife guide from celebrated and knowledgeable birders and scientists such as Neils Krabbe (author of the Birds of the High Andes) Paul Greenfield (co-author of the Birds of Ecuador) with whom he co-lead 2 trips a year, Mitch Lysinger, Paul Coopmans and several other experienced bird guides in Ecuador. He has subsequently been guiding professionally all over Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands..
Juan is a valuable member of the Spanish Nature team, and his excellent field skills, combined with a good sense of humour, have already earned him a good following amongst our regular tour participants.
Brenda Jones shares her great passion for plants with many visiting groups and individuals in Spain. Currently she is compiling a list of species in the Serranía de Ronda and Sierra de Grazalema for incorporating in her future flower book of the same region.
Many visitors have benefited from a day tour and full tours in the mountains of Spain with Brenda’s experienced guidance. A passionate plants person and keen flower photographer makes her a popular choice for visiting botanists, flower lovers and tour operators. With an easy going and friendly nature, Brenda is very much at home with the beginner or expert.
With an extensive local knowledge of the best areas to see and find plants plant lovers soon realise the benefits of touring for a day with Brenda. Apart from Spain, Brenda has a desire to also lead tours specifically for flowers in Morocco and Costa Rica.
Along with her many attributes as an experienced guide, Brenda is also the long suffering wife of Peter!
Steven Easley lives in Costa Rica with his lovely wife Magdalena and their dog Rafiki. Growing up with a father and older brother who loved birding it wasn't long till he caught the bug himself. This became evident when he lived in Kenya for 4 years and where he is now considered one of the premier bird guides for that amazing country. Steven is also a very accomplished nature photographer, specializing in birds and more recently butterflies. He has been successfully guiding in Costa Rica for the past 6 years. During that time he has developed a large following of loyal birders who not only appreciate his guiding skills and birding knowldge but also his sense of humor and his many stories of living in Kenya. Steven is a bird guide who is serious about birding but also wants everyone to have a good time in the process. These rare traits make for an unforgettable experience while on tour with him in Costa Rica.
Gajendra Singh is our senior birding guide in India. A specialist in the birdlife of India and experienced in all aspects of the country’s wildlife, Gajendra is a real bonus to Spanish Nature whilst touring this wonderfully rich and diverse destination. For the travelling bird watcher, Gajendra is an absolute joy, his friendly and knowledgeable company whilst touring is a real treat. He has been a leading light in so many national bird censuses including the Sarus Crane project. A graduate from the University of Rajasthan, he has worked as an approved naturalist for several Indian government agencies including Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur Govt. of Rajasthan (Deptt. of Forest), Bandhavgarh National park, Madhya Pradesh as a resident Naturalist where he assisted various film and news gathering groups, Bird watching, wildlife photographer groups and Individuals . He has been involved with the Tiger habitat conservation programme at Royal Tiger Resort, Village, Talla, Dist-Umaria- (M.P.), Bandhavgarh (M.P.). He also has the distinction of being W.W.F certificated. As a natural communicator, Gajendra is equally at home explaining ‘his’ country’s wildlife to the beginner or more experienced traveller. For us he is as much a highlight to our tours as the destination itself!
Jesús Contreras is a well known naturalist based in Almería. He acts as a Bidwatching, Nature and Cultural guide, specialising in Almería province Andalucía. He also is a writer and occasionally works professionally as an ornithologist in local projects. Jesús infectious enthusiasm is obvious when showing ‘his’ hidden and fantastic Almería to visitors, allowing them to feel as if they themselves were local people! You will enjoy the very best of these friendly lands, fauna and flora, of course also enjoying the birds. Filabres Mountains, Cabo de Gata, Sierra de Gádor, Tabernas badlands, Almería side of Sierra Nevada, the Alpujarras… are all awaiting you and now with the service of a guide, the experienced and knowledgeable Jesús.
Jesús began officially working as a nature guide during February 2010, offering trips and tours across “hidden Almería”. For his tour he uses a 7 seater 4x4 vehicle, which ensures access to the most wild and marvellous places, even under poor weather conditions. All the comforts you would expect are provided on trips, including fresh water in summertime and always an extensive library of reference books. Apart from providing an excellent guiding service, Jesús is a prime motivator in the movement to promote sustainable nature tourism and believes we, as professionals, have also a responsibility for nature.
Jesús writes: "It is for me one of the greatest and happiest things happening in my life to be invited to join Spanish Nature and Andalucia Bird Society, so I can be able to join the Almería lands to these sustainable and interesting projects. It has been always one of my priorities to show people how great and natural my Almería is and how comfortable you can feel here with us, and what a high diversity of life and landscape you can find here. I have prepared for this moment for more than five years, discovering every patch of land in this part of Andalucía, and studying every bird, insect or plant existing here, so that I now feel absolutely equipped to develop my activity with you, making you feel at home in this area and in my company, enjoying Almería and Andalucía in a different way, specially prepared for you".