FriendsZone Newsletters Birding News - May 2011

Worldwide Birding Tours

plus latest News from Spanish Nature

WBT & Spanish Nature E-news
May 2011 - Volume 3, Issue 2

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


We hope the year has been as successful so far for you as it has been for us! We started the first 4 months of our year with a very hectic schedule and apart from our main tours, we have also organised many tailor-made holidays. These holidays have focused mainly on Spain and Morocco with friends asking us to make arrangements and itineraries best suited to their own requirements. Of course we are able to organise these special holidays to fit your own budgets and needs, so should you consider a personally guided tour in Spain, Morocco or indeed any of the destinations where we organise tours, please do get in touch with us and we would be delighted to tailor a tour just for you and/or your friends/family. Read more >>

We have been working hard on our new website, which concentrates more on our full tours throughout the world. We have also incorporated a friend's zone, which is exclusive to all our many friends and newsletter subscribers (see the right-hand sidebar for more information). By dedicating the new site to our various full tours, we have been able to give you more information on each of our destinations and incorporate extra points of interest to the tour itineraries. Please do visit the new site and we would very much appreciate your feedback on what you think

Our Recce tour to Brazil, where we will visit the famous Pantanal area as well as other great birding regions, is being well subscribed to and yet another Recce favourite with friends. The tour will also incorporate an optional extension of 6 days to visit the Atlantic Forest region and a pre-tour optional extension of 6 days to visit the southern amazonian region. With the main tour starting on the 8th and finishing on the 20th October, why not join us? For details contact us

Our warmest best wishes,
Pieter and Peter
Spain News - an update on our own backyard....

Black-winged Stilt

Peter has recently posted an article on the Spanish Nature website entitled 'The Joy of birding Andalucia'. He gives his take on birding the various provinces and suggests the route for best exploring the 'birding' hotspots in Andalucia. We hope you enjoy the article and gain an insight to this great natural resource in Spain. Read the full article here.


Since our last newsletter we are delighted to announce a new day tour here in Andalucia. Few people know the province of Jaen better than our guide José Luis Sánchez Balsera and what better way to find Pardel Lynx and great birds such as Spanish Imperial Eagle, than spending time with José in his back yard! Read more on these day tours here.

Of course don't forget we also offer some other 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:

Birds and more of Almería with Jesus Contreras

Mountains/Steppe & Wetlands (Málaga/Cadiz/Sevilla) with Peter Jones

Fauna and Flora (Granada) with Mick Richardson

Walking in Flowers (Malaga/Cadiz) with Brenda Jones

Migration here has been memorable this spring and the spectacle will be repeated this autumn, so we have designed a special Raptor Migration Tour which will be from 15 to 21st September 2011, it promises to be an experience not to be missed. Why not consider joining us? To see details read more here.

Coursing our way through Africa

Hueglin's CourserEveryone's favourite? Judging by comments we get on various tours, coursers are certainly extremely popular and appreciated by all. Their habit of running, rather than flying, away makes them easy to observe, more so as most of them tend to live in open and arid areas. Many have cryptic plumage and rely on this for concealment, those with a plain colour, like Cream-coloured Courser, also blend with their desert surroundings. All prefer open ground and feed much like plovers by using short runs and a peck to find insects, although members of the genus Cursorius will also use their curved bill to dig for larvae and sometimes take seeds using this technique.

Cream-coloured CourserIt is rare for us to miss Cream-coloured Courser on any of our main tours to Morocco, where it is most often found in desert areas. The bird's reluctance to fly and habit of running in short bursts allows close views from our safari 4x4s and can be the day's birding highlight. During our March safari tours pairs can have very young birds and tend to stay even closer guarding their charges, sometimes finding a small bush to crouch behind and relying on their perfectly coloured plumage to camouflage their whereabouts. On occasions when these birds fly, then their typical wader profile and long pointed wings give a spectacular display of the black wing bar and elegant shape.

Egyptian PloverDuring our tours to Gambia, we deliberately spend some time looking for the elusive and sought after Egyptian Plover. It is allied and placed together with coursers, although it has been placed in its own family at times i.e. Pluvianidae and even subfamily Plivianinae. It is spectacularly marked and the colours and patterns make it an attractive bird, although the name can be misleading as it no longer occurs in Egypt, causing some concerns that it may be declining in some parts of its range. It is a species found in lowland river deltas with sand and gravel bars. Our own observations tend to suggest it prefers sandbars and small sandy islets on river systems where it can probe and dig soft areas for food. It is exceptional among the coursers as it prefers these large tropical river systems with sandbars, whilst the remaining 8 species of this family prefer dry habitats ranging from open dry forest to extreme desert.

Temminck's CourserOn our journeys further south in Africa, we can observe other species in this wonderful family, none more cryptically patterned than Hueglin's Courser, also known as Three-banded Courser. Although it is not easy to spot, we normally can find Hueglin's Courser on our tour to Kenya and usually in the Masai Mara reserve. It is a striking bird with large eyes that capture the hearts of fellow travellers and although elusive, once found we often spend time just revelling in their discovery! Together with our tour into Botswana, we will find other and equally appealing members of the courser family including Burchell's and Temminck's Courser, all so attractive in their own right and all adding to the reasons why you should join one or all of our tours to Africa!
Okavago Delta - with friends...

Okavago DeltaIt is a spectacular area, rich in wildlife and world renowned for birds. The Okavago is the largest inland delta in the world where some 15,000 km² are flooded annually attracting huge numbers of birds and mammals. The Moremi Game Reserve, a National Park, spreads itself across the eastern side of the delta, providing fantastic opportunities for viewing the wildlife here. Our tour will also take in other areas of the Kalahari Desert, an area of sand, grassland, scrub and some areas lightly forested, the Kalahari covers some 70% of Botswana. It will be a wildlife extravaganza with so many opportunities to see real Africa in all its glory.

Kalahari DesertBotswana is still very much a wilderness and with a population of just over two million people, large areas are unpopulated. Its impressive fair governance and economic development add to the areas security and makes this country a safe haven for the tourist. We will travel the country camping for 2 or 3 nights in different areas and end up visit Victoria Falls. The value of this tour is 2nd to none and we invite you to compare the cost of this tour with others! We believe you will enjoy this real opportunity to view wildlife in natural surroundings and also the whole experience we have planned for you. We should add that with Peter Jones leading the tour, it will also be great fun. Read more >>

Main Tour Date: 14 to 26th October 2011

Join us on Safari in Kenya during November 2011

Kenyan PeopleKenya holds some of the most remarkable birding sights and such variety. You can find the world's biggest bird, the Ostrich, but also we will see spectacular flamingos that congregate in their millions, painting the various lakes of the Great Rift Valley pink. With 11% of the world's species of bird, 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 on a single day! The variety of birds in Kenya is made possible by the favourable climate, diverse habitats and geographical features that make it a suitable migratory route for birds (a reason for making this tour in November) and this tour has been organised to cover some of the best birding areas and aims to visit a wide range of habitats.


African LionBesides 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! We have carefully planned our route and from our past experiences, we will stay in comfortable and well appointed accommodation, making our tour one of the best possible to this wonderful destination. The pace of our travels also makes for relaxing viewing of both the bird-life and wildlife in general. With expert guides you will not miss any of nature's spectacles and scenically too the tour has so much to offer. So if you require the ultimate safari experience, whilst enjoying our relaxed style of holiday then Read more >>

Main Tour Date: 2 to 13th November 2011

The Gambia a perfect winter's break

Gambia coloursPlanning ahead for a winter's break might seem excessive now we are approaching our summer, but a January break, after activities of the New Year, has great appeal for those of us who want to wind-down from our family commitments and just take a relaxed holiday enjoying warm temperatures and an unhurried view of Africa. Gambia, wrongly thought of as a destination of the package holiday, gives you an ideal introduction to the 'real' Africa, especially with our well planned route and very different approach to this friendly and tranquil country. We can promise a wonderful holiday experience and a thoroughly relaxing time whilst enjoying nature in comfort, Read more >>

Main Tour Date: 13 to 23rd January 2012

Relaxing Moroccan Safari

Lanner FalconContinuing our theme for Africa in this latest edition of our newsletter, then we cannot recommend highly enough our Spring Safari in Morocco during March 2012. It has proved an extremely popular tour and is always well subscribed, so what better time to consider this holiday and be sure of booking your place? Our journey across the beautiful High Atlas Mountains, descending into the green fingers of the Draa Valley as it stretches into the Sahara Desert is in itself a reason for joining this tour. It is not just about the wide variety of bird species we will see, but as much about the scenery, life and people that are Morocco. For a relaxed and no pressure bird tour this is a must join holiday. Read more >>

Main Tour Date: 12 to 22nd March 2012

'Finale'.... news round-up


Slender-billed KiteThis issue of our newsletter has focused very much on our tours to continental Africa. However, not far away now is the tour to Ecuador and it promises to be another great experience, visiting both the Andes and the Amazonian region of this fantastic destination. For sheer variety of birdlife, then Ecuador is one of the ultimate destinations on Earth. If you decide to join us, why not consider also taking extra time to visit the Galapagos? We organise a cruise for our friends and they visit all the islands with their individual and unique wildlife, it really can be an opportunity of a lifetime, so just contact us if you need further information. Of course, those wishing to take their holiday closer to home can join us on one of our many holidays here in Spain, the next tour being Raptor Migration in September, a really exciting and incredible time here, with large numbers of not just raptors returning to Africa, but also huge flocks of stork and small passerine. If you have never seen the spectacle of migration on a large scale, then this is an opportunity not to be missed.

Masked TrogonLater in the year we have our tours to India and our latest desktop image provides a taster to these wonderful tours, the Bengal Tiger, which was observed on our last tour to India! These 2 tours run back to back, so you can choose to do one or both, our last group all opted to do the 2 tours and they do offer some great opportunities to see both the wildlife and culture of this diverse country. Early in the new year, February 2012, we will be visiting our popular destination Costa Rica, a super friendly country and with excellent accommodation and food to compliment the staggering diversity of birdlife, we have never seen less than 400 species, then this holiday offers just about everything.
For those subscribers who wish to take advantage of our Friend's Zone offers and also be the 1st to know of any special offers, please visit our main tour website and create your new account, see register as a friend


Please keep well and in touch.

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
Feature - Africa
Botswana - Main Tour
Kenya - On Safari
Gambia - Bargain Break
Morocco - Relaxed Safari
News Roundup
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Featured Article

Cream-coloured Courser
This month our feature article focuses on Africa and in particular the different species of coursers found in this wonderful continent. We offer several tours where it is possible to see these great looking waders, from our tours to Morocco, Gambia and incredible value for money tours to Kenya and Botswana. With our 2011 tour to Botswana departing in October and for Kenya in November, there is plenty of time to sign-on to these great safaris. To find out more read our tour introductions in this latest edition of our newsletter or..

Read on>>

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






Book Online

Contact Us

You can view our tour calendar for dates by clicking Calendar

Friend's Zone

Birds of Southern Spain

It's arrived on a website near you!

The Member's Area (Friend's Zone) is for you. We have created pages that are dedicated on our main site for all our friends/members, that's everyone who subscribes to our E-newsletter. Just go to the link below & sign-up as a friend of ours!

Create an account with our Friend's Zone here

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 Image
Tiger3With each edition of our newsletter we will be giving you a link where those signed-up for our Friend's Zone can download a new Desktop Image for their computer. The images will be top quality and grace any computer screen. The May image is a Bengal Tiger / India.

May Desktop Image

Bird Check Lists
104We 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 Friend's Zone here

Social Media

We are just a click away! Keep up to date with our activities by following us on:

Find me on Facebook

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

Follow me on Twitter

Follow our Tweets!

Visit my blog

Lavishly illustrated blogs, the latest, a trip report for our two tours to India December 2010, is really worth a visit......


WBT Friend's Zone - Join Us

Sign up for our Newsletters


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


Martial Eagle

Soaring over Africa


Moroccan Education Project

Can you help our ‘For the Birds’ education project for schools in southern Morocco?
for-the-birds_moroccoA very important aspect of our education programme is the provision of new or used binoculars. If you are buying a new pair, please consider donating your old ones to our project. We are also assisting some local wildlife guides who are desperate for used telescopes, so again if you are buying a new scope, please do consider donating your old one.
Any quantity of good quality children’s clothing, notebooks, drawing and or colouring books, pen sets, crayons and pencils (plus sharpeners) are all very welcome. If you would like to donate any of the afore mentioned items or wish to make a monetary donation, please do contact us for further details.

Wheatears (Genus Oenanthe)

Article written by: Peter Jones


Flowers of Spain

See our list of Flowers


Butterflies of Andalucía

See our list of Butterflies


Reptiles and Amphibians

From southern spain


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


China and Tibet Adventure

Sichuan - Province of four streams


Ever thought about Kenya?

The very best in Safaris

Visit The Gambia
Birders Paradise
Many colourful birds
and friendly people
Economically Priced
A real bonus in Winter
Join our Safari Tour
We are going in November
Best for birds and Wildlife
Very competitive prices
Best locations in Kenya