Our Guides

Santi Villa

Santi Villa

Director and principal leader

Member of the local environmental association ADENEX (from Extremadura) and co-founder of the SEO-Cáceres group, Santiago runs Spainbirds Nature Tours since the beginning in 1999. He has also led tours for some of the well known UK and American tour companies such as Sunbird, Wings, Heatherlea, The Travelling Naturalist, Celtic Bird Tours, Jaeger Tours (now Wildside Tours) and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours as well as for ABA (American Birding Association) and several RSPB local groups (SE Hertfordshire, Bristol…). Santiago has also taken part as an expert in Ecoturism in meetings and conferences in different localities of Spain such as Madrid, Cádiz, Trujillo, Monfragüe and Doñana, as well as in Lisbon (Portugal). He also has a proved experience leading tours into another countries such as Morocco, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Scotland, Turkey, Romania, The Gambia, Norway and Finland.

 
John L. Muddeman

John L. Muddeman

Principal leader

A naturalist at heart, including a particular interest in orchids, dragonflies, butterflies and moths, birds however have been his principal focus from the beginning, having accrued almost 40 years of birdwatching experience. Following post-graduate research work on passerines at Oxford University extensive volunteer work in Armenia lead to almost a year in the United States helping write and giving advice on production of the Field Guide to the Birds of Armenia. A translator and writer too, he published A Birdwatching Guide to Extremadura in 2000 and is working on The Birds of the Balearic Islands too. Apart from specialising as a guide in Spain -from the Canary Islands to the Balearics, the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa-, he has also lead in such classic destinations as Scotland, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Lesvos, as well as further afield in Canada, Galápagos & Ecuador, Trinidad & Tobago, South Africa and New Zealand.

Paul Hackett

Paul Hackett

Digiscoping expert

Paul Hackett, one of the UK’s leading bird digiscopers, has been at the forefront of the digiscoping revolution and has pioneered many of the techniques and best practice used to great success today. As well as having his work widely published in all the leading birding journals such as Birding World and Birdwatch, Paul’s bird images and footage have been used by both regional and national news services. Perhaps Paul’s most famous image was his portrait of the pair of Bee-eaters that bred in County Durham in 2002 that made it onto the front cover of the Daily Telegraph. A regular at Birdfair, Paul has held many digiscoping lectures and field demonstrations. Most recently, Paul organised and led the world’s first digiscoping holiday that was held in Extremadura (Spain) in 2005. Since then Paul and Santi have been leading together our digiscoping trips (Doñana 2006, Extremadura & Gredos 2007, Picos de Europa 2008).

Rafa R. Porrino

Rafa R. Porrino

Local guide in Andalucia

Birds, mammals, dragonflies, amphibians and reptiles, plants… Everything attracked to Rafa since very young when started his interest in wildlife in his birthplace, the charming village of Aracena (Huelva). He loves traveling to know new landscapes, fauna and trails having travelled into Ecuador, Turkey, Uruguay, South Africa, Morocco, USA, Poland, The Netherlands or Greece… besides of course all throughout Spain. He currently works as an independent ornithologist, making bird studies and census, guiding tours and as environmental consultant. Amongst his main projects he has worked tracking and monitoring the population of Spanish Imperial Eagle in Andalucia, promoting ecoturism in Sierra Morena, adviser to B&B and rural hotels or in the census of wetland passerines in Portugal. He is author of several guides about where to watch birds and wildlife in Sierra Morena (4 volumes) and writes articles in his blog: www.rafaporrino.com

Xesco Macià

Xesco Macià

Local guide in Catalonia

An active volunteer and naturalist by profession mainly dedicated on research with raptors (Lammergeier and Griffon Vulture overall), woodpeckers (Lesser Spotted Woodpecker) and seabirds. He has been also in charge of several studies and census for both breeding and wintering Bird Atlas of Spain. Xesco has also worked for the Observatori de La Tordera and Investigación de Medios Agrarios. Having worked for the University of Barcelona, the Natural History Museum of Granollers, SEO/BirdLife and ICO, he is currently leading the tours which take place into the Catalunya region.

Juan M. Soria

Juan M. Soria

Hiking guide

Juan M. is nowadays the responsible of the Andará Rutas S.L., an Spanish company specialist in offering hiking trips all around Spain. He was also founder in 1995 of the “El Club Viajero” Mountain Association having a deep knowledge of the Spanish mountains and its nature. Juan M. has been leading trips from 1995 with a total of more than 500 guided tours with groups having organized also trips to France, Portugal and Morocco. Amongst the most important travel agencies who has been working for are the El Corte Inglés, Marsans (in Spain), Exodus (England) and Nomad (South Africa). His love by nature and hiking led him to travel throughly the Himalayas, Kenya, South Africa and Costa Rica.

Jose A. Sánchez

Jose A. Sánchez

Local guide in Doñana

Born in Seville, José A. Sánchez studied Biology at Seville’s University. For the next 10 years he organized walking a nature tours all around Andalusia. In 1992 he moved to El Rocío to work as an educational monitor in Doñana National Park for several years; it was then when he got interested on birds and involved in numerous activities related to the local avifauna with the Doñana Biological Station. He spent 3 years living in the UK and travelling around Asia and became a fluent English speaker. Back in Doñana he has been working as a nature and birdwatching guide for the company Discovering Doñana, which he now runs, since 2000. He has been guiding independent travellers and working as a local guide for Naturetrek, Travel Naturalist, Greentours, local RSPB clubs, Natura Aragon, Reisen in die Natur, Swiss Orni-Group and other specialized companies. He has achieved a good reputation as a bird guide in Doñana.

Ricardo Montero

Ricardo Montero

Local guide in Extremadura

Ricardo Montero is a local guide living near the well-known Monfragüe National Park. He is mainly focused on birding and nature tours in Extremadura and the South West corner of Spain. Ricardo has been working for different environmental organizations such as the local ADENEX and SEO/Birdlife (the Spanish partner for BirdLife International). He was born in San Sebastian (Vasque Country) spending his early childhood in Barcelona before moving definetely into Extremadura. He has been mainly guiding independent travellers for more than 15 years and he is currently collaborating with the Extremadura Regional Government in several projects such as organizing the first ever Spanish Birdwatching Fair, called FIO, the Crane’s Festival and some other promotional activities related to Eco-tourism. The mountains of Gredos, Monfragüe National Park, Cáceres steppes and Arrocampo wetlands are his main birding spots. Member of GUIDEX (Extremadura Professional Nature Guides Association) he also collaborates as a bird guide for Spainbirds, Iberian Nature, ECOTUREX , Norfolk Birding or Ramblers, just to mention the most representative companies.

Oriol Baena

Oriol Baena

Local guide in Ebro Delta & Catalan Pyreneess

Interested in birds since he was just 8, Oriol’s passion started with an innocent present from his uncle: his firsts binoculars and a very simple bird guide of Spain. In spite of his youth, he has dedicated several years to census for Catalan Breeding and Wintering Bird Atlas, SOCC… and studying other taxonomic groups such as amphibians and reptiles, opisthobranchs and orchids. Degree in Environmental Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), his main specialties are Applied Ecology and Geographical Botanical Analysis, apart from his other passion, the Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Oriol has been also guiding locally for several NGO’s such as ADENC or SEO/BirdLife. For Spainbirds Nature Tours he has led tours in Catalonia, Extremadura, Picos de Europa and the Spanish Pyrenees. Oriol is a member of the Catalan Institute of Ornithology (ICO), the Catalan Herpetology Society and Catalan Research Group of Opisthobranchs (GROC).

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