FriendsZone Newsletters Birding News - March 2012

Worldwide Birding Tours

plus latest News from Spanish Nature


WBT & Spanish Nature E-news
March 2012 - Volume 4, Issue 1

Lesser Flamingo Lake Nakuru
For Quality Birding Holidays!
Dear Pieter,


It's been another busy time here with our early year tours running at the same time to Costa Rica and Thailand. These tours were enjoyed by all and we look forward to offering them again during 2013. The tour to Costa Rica yet again produced over 400 species of birds with a further 24 species heard, it is amazing how consistent this particular tour is for the variety of birds and photo opportunities it offers our fellow travellers.
Our March and April tours to Morocco are fully booked once more and this spring will see us making our 20th group tour to this wonderful destination. Our experience in organising tours to Morocco puts us way ahead of other nature tour companies, not just for nature experiences, but also for great accommodation and smooth transport arrangements. Certainly it is a destination best enjoyed as a group and with cheap flights now available from most European countries, we expect more and more people to accompany our future tours. Visitors from Europe and North America are not required to have a visa, so again this adds to the attraction of tours here.
In between tours we have also been busy scheduling and negotiating 2 of our main 2012 tours, namely Kenya (June) and Brazil (October). The great news is prices have been dramatically reduced for both of these destinations and give real value for money in each case. See our tour descriptions on both these holidays below.
Lastly, we apologise for the late sending of this latest newsletter. We hope the wait is worth it.

Warmest best wishes,
Peter and Pieter

Spain News - an update on our own backyard....

Tropical MockingbirdSpring is arriving! Our winter has been slowly receding and we are currently enjoying glorious sunny days, but the night times are still on the cool side. In fact, it has been a particularly dry winter and locals are praying for rain. Birds are already starting to arrive for the breeding season and migration has just begun. Swallows, swifts, martins and Great-spotted Cuckoo are evident and rarities have been appearing, including an amazing record of Tropical Mockingbird seen and photographed on Gibraltar, no doubt ship assisted, this truly is a remarkable record.

Lesser Flamingo has taken up residency at the favoured Laguna Fuente de Piedra and waders such as Little Stint are passing through in good numbers. Common Crane are reducing in numbers as they gradually depart northwards, whilst wildfowl are lingering, almost reluctant to continue to the colder northern breeding grounds. Our flowers have been late, due no doubt to the very dry winter, but some areas are now covered in dwarf Iris and several orchid and narcissus species are emerging. Butterflies are now fluttering in good numbers and many species have emerged to take advantage of our sunny days.

Our day tours in the area and wildflower tours are getting several advanced bookings, so please do consider booking your day tour as soon as possible to secure your chosen day (see links below).

Of course don't forget we also offer some great birding days here in 'our' part of Spain! If you plan a visit, then be sure to include a day tour near you, see below:

Brenda's Pictorial Blog

Day Tours for flowers

Winter Breaks

Serrania de Ronda

Granada Wildlife

Almeria Wildlife

Great News, some bargain holidays...
Kenya - June 1st to 12th at an amazing price of 2,950 Euro per person, a saving of 1,000 Euro!

Hueglin's CourserThe country's dramatically diverse geography has resulted in an enormous range of natural habitats, making Kenya one of the natural wonders of the world. Great migratory herds of the open savannah to an incredible abundance of birdlife, from the depths of a tropical rainforest to the depths of the Indian Ocean teeming with fish, Kenya truly is a world of natural wonders.
It holds some of the most remarkable birding sights, with such spectacles a must see experience! You can find the world's biggest bird, the Ostrich, but also we will see spectacular flamingos that congregate in their millions at the various Lakes of the Great Rift Valley, painting them pink.
See here for full tour details...
With eleven percent of the world's species - some 1089 different varieties, Kenya's birding is one of the best in the world. It is not unusual to record 300-600 different varieties on a short trip or to record more than 120 at a particular site in a single day! Our tour has been organised to cover some of the best birding areas and aims to visit a large range of habitats. Besides bird watching we will also pay attention to game-viewing in general. Most places do have fabulous possibilities. Kenya offers more than 400 mammal species.

Brazil - October 10th to 23rd at a now much reduced price of 3,250 Euro per person a saving of almost 1,000 Euro!

Hyacinth MacawThe Pantanal is one of the largest wetlands in the world, encompassing approximately 210.000 km² spread over Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. During the rainy season from the end of October through March this area floods and plant life explodes. Then in April as the waters recede, the birds return in vast numbers and variety. Due to the wide-open areas between patches of forest, birds can be easily seen.There are around 600 species of birds, 95 of mammals, and 50 of reptiles within this ecosystem.
In the early morning and evening visitors can enjoy the magnificent spectacle of thousands of birds flying. Macaws abound within this area. This is one of the last places where the largest hook bill, the endangered Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus can be seen daily.
We have carefully chosen 4 different locations to observe the wonders of this magnificent destination. We will visit the Paraguay River and stay in a remote location to enjoy the rich birdlife and try to spot the elusive Jaguar. The Pantaneiro (a sandy track with many wooden bridges) is the only road into the real Pantanal. All lodges are situated along this road. We have selected 3 different places with different habitats to have the best chance to see a wide variety of birds and wildlife.
See here for full tour details...
We also offer the possibility to extend this trip with a visit to the remaining parts of the Atlantic Forest, visiting the part close to the ever expanding city of Rio de Janeiro. The forests are under intense pressure from development and is disappearing. It is therefore no surprise that many of the forest's birds are rare and endangered. A visit is still very rewarding with many endemic's to be seen. We will stay in 2 different lodges with an important difference in altitude and habitats.
Raptorama - a look at raptors throughout the world
Slowly and as time allows, Peter Jones has been building a succession of articles regarding raptors on his blog. The focus has been on those species we see on our various tours and also species of particular interest. Rather than fill this edition of our newsletter with text, we give links and descriptions here to some of his recent observations.

OspreyThe Osprey has a global distribution and is well known to many people, not just birders or those with a passion for birds. The Osprey Migration Foundation has put into place a scheme that is linking schools and communities by following the migration of this magnificent raptor. In his article Peter describes the basis of this work and the objects behind the education programme. Of course by linking schools throughout the migrations route for the European breeding population of this species, it is hoped both children and adults become better acquainted with and appreciate more birdlife in general. Read more >>

Black-collared HawkThe Americas hold such a diversity and variety of raptor species making visits on many of our tours to such places as Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica a rich and rewarding experience. Here Peter deals with the Black-collared Hawk, a fish eating hawk that can be found throughout Central America and the northern areas of South America. It is colourful and has some unique features such as quills on its feet, enabling it to hold onto slippery fish. We most commonly encounter this species on our tours to Brazil, in particular the wetland area of the Pantanal. A bird that frequents fresh or brackish waters, it can be seen along river systems we visit. Read more >>

Bonelli's EagleThe Bonelli's Eagle is perhaps the most 'wanted' raptor by visiting birders to Andalucia in Spain. Peter is fortunate to live in an area where this species has its most densely populated zone in Europe, the Serrania de Ronda. It is a medium sized eagle, but one of the most active and aggressive raptors Peter has observed in his many years of watching eagles throughout the world. What Peter calls a value for money bird! As with all these blogs, the species is well illustrated with some great photographs and with the Bonelli's being so well known to the author, the insight into the everyday activities of this eagle is well worth the read. Read more >>
Botswana - now an extra night for the same price!

Tour Date: 29th October to 11th November 2012


To complete the bargain holidays contained in this issue of our newsletter, we are pleased to announce we have included an extra night free in our tour schedule for Botswana. What an opportunity this destination offers friends travelling with us, just imagine gazing across the open savannah as Springbok dance and a Leopard silently advances through the tall grasses or watch literally thousands of Buffalo and Elephant wade through the Chobe river, returning from the level pastures across the border from Nambia, all this whilst sipping an ice cold wine during sundown! We visit the spectacular Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert and the impressive Lake Ngami, a famous Ramsar Site. Where journeys involve any great distance, we travel between camps on a small chartered airplane and at other times we cruise through veld and plains in our open 4x4 canvassed-topped vehicle, getting great close up views of both animals and birds. It is an adventure, exciting and relaxing, full of prime game viewing and the unexpected. All of our past fellow travellers have remarked how it is a holiday of a lifetime, why not join us and treat yourself to a very special wildlife experience? See here for tour details...
Last Minute Special Offer - Sichuan China
TOUR DATE: May 9th to May 21st 2012

We have 3 places availableRed Panda on this very interesting visit to Sichuan in China. Our tour in 2011 was a great success and everybody really enjoyed the experience.
There are about 650 species of birds recorded in Sichuan. Most are resident, some are summer visitors and some are migrants. Sichuan features 37 endemic bird species, which comprises almost two thirds of the endemic birds of the whole of China.
Besides such wonderful birds as the Parrotbills, Laughingthrushes and Pheasants you will enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Most of Sichuan is unexplored by the tourist and remains an unspoilt part of the world with impressive mountain ranges and wonderful small towns. Last year we were lucky to see the Red Panda in the wild on the summit of the fantastic Wawushan.  We hope to be lucky again this year.
This tour offers an extension to visit Tibet, one of Asia's natural wonders providing a wilderness and haven for so many birds and animals. We will stay at the roof of the world and enjoy the beauty of this very special place (be prepared for high altitudes).
Our guide this year, Paul French, is a real specialist on birds in Asia. We are really happy that we can offer his service to you this year. See here for our Tour details
'Finale'.... at a glance Tour Diary

Our 2012/13 Nature Tours Tour starts              Nights Price €*

China - Sichuan 9 May 12 2.950

Ecuador 17 August 11 2.360**

Spain - Andalucía 6 September 7 1.295

Morocco (coastal area) 14 September 9 1.695

Spain - Raptor migration 15 September 6 1.195

Kenya 1 June        11 2.950**

Brazil - Pantanal 10 October                  12 3.250** 
Botswana 29 October 12 3.950

India (north of Delhi) 14 November 11 1.930**

India (south of Delhi) 24 November 12 2.470**

The Gambia
++                     13 January                  10            1.650

Thailand ++                      29 January                  20            3.600

Costa Rica ++                     2 February                  13            3.000**

Morocco (desert area)  ++       19 March                    10            1.795

Special for photographers


Spain -      22 April 7 1.480

++ Provisional Dates.
* p.p. based on shared accommodation
** This price can fluctuate depending on the exchange rate (applied is 1,40 $/€) to US$.
*** Recce tours

Contact Info

For friendly and expert advice on any of our tours please telephone Pieter Verheij on +34 636 291 714 or email us using contact us

For full tour itineraries and tour listings please see

In This Issue
Spain News
Bargain Holidays!
Raptorama - Raptors
Botswana 1 night Free
Tour Diary
Join Our Mailing List

Featured Article

Bonelli's Eagle1
In this issue our feature article gives the personal take of Peter Jones on various raptors we encounter on WBT birding tours. We hope to include future blog articles by Peter and particularly the ever popular family of raptors. Here Peter indulges his passion for the latest education project involving Osprey and how a bird can link schools and communities. Also you can read very interesting and personal insights to the aggressive eagle species the Bonelli's. The Black-collared Hawk focuses on the little known behaviour patterns and peculiarities such as quills on its feet! We hope you enjoy reading these short articles on Peter's Blog.
Quick Links

Tours in Spain

Day Tours


Walking in Flowers

Granada Area

Jaen Province


Other Tours

3 Day Short Breaks

Nature Photography

Spring Migration

Mountains to Donana

Raptor Migration

Tours Worldwide




Costa Rica


Galapagos Islands






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Contact Us

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Birds of Southern Spain

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Book Store
Whether you are planning to go on a wildlife tour with us,
some other company or just doing your own thing, then bird books, such as field guides, can be an essential item. Take a look on the following link, buy your books and benefit our local bird club, at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Buy your books here



Introduce a Friend and get 10% OFF!

If you are a friend who has travelled with us before, why not introduce a friend to either accompany you on your next tour or to come on their own? For each introduction we will give you 10% off your next tour with us! See coupon at the bottom of this newsletter for more details.

Free Desktop ImageGiant Panda
With each edition of our newsletter we will be giving you a link where those who signed-up for our Newsletters can download a new Desktop Image for their computer. The images will be top quality and grace any computer screen. The March image is a Giant Panda / China Tour.

March Desktop Image

Bird Check Lists

We will be providing free bird check lists for each of our destinations and these will be available only for members and friends to download from our main website. We have already started uploading some of our checklists so get signed-up for our Newsletters to get your checklists.

Social Media

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Find me on Facebook

Some great photos & news on Facebook, plus you can post your own comments and interact with us.

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Visit my blog

Lavishly illustrated blogs, including trip reports, species specific articles, identification aids, articles on our destinations and of course some useful blogs on Andalucia and its abundant birdlife, we think this blog is really worth a visit......


If you are an existing customer and recommend us to friends who have previously not travelled with us and they book a holiday with us, we will give you 10% off your next holiday with Spanish Nature / Worldwide Birding Tours. The offer will also apply if you bring friends, who have not previously travelled with us, along on your next tour with us, so why not take advantage and reduce the cost of your next holiday with us? Places are still available on some of our tours during 2012. During the second half of 2012 we have some great tours where you can use your special discounts such as Kenya, Brazil and Botswana to name just a few, so why not ask friends to join you on one of these very special tours? Discount Voucher can be used when booking. Offer open only to those who have travelled with us on previous tours.

Offer Expires: 30th June 2012, booking to be received on or before 30.06.2012


Ecuador a Natural Wonder

Birding at its very best ...


India the Ultimate Destination

Choose from 2 different tours


Costa Rica - Birding Heaven

With so many habitats we can't fail to find our birds


Andalusia's Wilderness

The place in Spain for the perfect holiday


Martial Eagle

Soaring over Africa


Wheatears (Genus Oenanthe)

Article written by: Peter Jones


Flowers of Spain

See our list of Flowers


Birding in Morocco

Read about this beautiful Country


Birding in Spain

Spain has it all


Colourful Trogons

Birds of the Americas


Love Photography?

All tours offer time for photos but...


Birding in The Gambia

A different world close to Europe


Visit Pantanal en Brazil

To see the most beautiful ones


Laughingthrushes of Thailand

Difficult but beautiful


Botwana - Birds and Wildlife

Africa's ,most beatiful Wilderness


China and Tibet Adventure

Sichuan - Province of four streams


Galapagos Islands Cruises

Combine a cruise with an Ecuador Tour

Brazil - Amazonia
Ready for surprises
A superb experience
To see the unexpected
Join our next tour
You will like it
Thailand - Birding Wonderland
16 nights/17 days tour
To see the very best places
More than 400 species
incl. Laughingthurshes
Why not join us?