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…Rafa Porrino was attracted to all of these wild things from the time he was a young boy growing up in the village of Aracena in the province of Huelva, Spain. He loves traveling to new lands, discovering flora and fauna and has been to Ecuador, Turkey, Uruguay, South Aftrica, Morocco, the USA, Poland, The Netherlands and Greece, among others, and of course, has traveled extensively throughout Spain. He currently works as an independent ornithologist and an environmental consultant, taking part in bird studies and censuses as well as  guiding tours. Among his main projects he has worked tracking and monitoring the population of Spanish Imperial Eagles in Andalucia, promoted ecotourism in the Sierra Morena, acted as an advisor to bed and breakfast establishments and rural hotels and has been involved in the census of wetland passerine birds in Portugal. He is the author of several guides about birdwatching and wildlife in the Spanish Sierra Morena (4 volumes) and regularly contributes articles to his blog: www.rafaporrino.com

Xesco Macià

Xesco Macià

Local guide in Catalonia

An active naturalist by profession, Xesco’s main work includes research on raptors (Lammergeier and Griffon Vultures), woodpeckers (Lesser Spotted Woodpecker) and seabirds. He has managed several studies and censuses of both breeding and wintering which were contributed   to  the Bird Atlas of Spain. Xesco has also worked for the the Observatori de La Tordera and Investigacion de Medios Agrarios. Having worked for the University of Barcelona, the Natural History Museum of Granollers, SEO/BirdLife and the Catalan Institute of Ornithology, he is currently leading tours in the Catalonia region of Spain.

Juanma Soria

Juanma Soria

Hiking guide

Juanma currently manages the Spanish company Andara Rutas, S.L., which specialises in organising hiking trips in Spain. In 1995 he founded the ‘El Club Viajero’ mountain association and since then he has led more than 500 guided tours in Spain, France, Portugal and Morocco for a number of important travel companies which include El Corte Ingles and Marans (Spain), Exodus (England) and Nomad (South Africa). His love of nature and hiking has led him to travel throughout such diverse places as  the Himalayas, Kenya, South Africa and Costa Rica.

Jose Antonio Sánchez

Jose Antonio Sánchez

Local guide in Doñana

Jose Antonio was born in Seville, Spain and studied biology at the University of Seville. After completing his studies he organised and led walking tours around Andalusia for ten years following his graduation from university. In 1992 he moved to El Rocio (Andalusia) to work as an educational monitor. It was during this time that he became interested in birds and was involved in numerous activities related to the local avifauna with the Donana Biological Station. He lived in the UK and traveled around Asia for a few years and since returning to Donana he has worked as a nature and birdwatching guide for the company Discovering Donana, which he has run since the year 2000. He has worked as a private guide for independent travelers and for travel companies such as Naturetrek, Travel Naturalist, Greentours, local RSPB clubs, Natura Aragon, Reisen in die Natur, Swiss Orni-Group, amongst others.

Ricardo Montero

Ricardo Montero

Local guide in Extremadura

Ricardo was born in San Sebastian (Basque Country) but spent his early childhood in Barcelona before moving definitively to Exremadura. He now lives near the well-known Monfrague National Park in Extremadura, where he has worked almost exclusively around  the southwest corner of Spain and the Extremadura region as a private nature and birdwatching guide for independent travelers for more than 15 years. Currently he is collaborating with the Extremadura Regional Government on several projects such as organizing the first ever Spanish Birdwatching Fair (FIO), the Crane Festival and other promotional activities related to Eco-tourism. The mountains of Gredos, the Caceres steppes, Monfrague National Park and the Arrocampo wetlands are his main birding spots. He also collaborates as a bird guide for Spainbirds, Iberian Nature, ECOTUREX, Norfolk Birding or Ramblers, just to mention a few of the most well-known companies. He is a member  of GUIDEX (Extremadura Professional Nature Guides Association).

Oriol Baena

Oriol Baena

Local guide in Ebro Delta & Catalan Pyreneess

Interested in birds since he was just 8, Oriol’s passion began with an innocent gift from his uncle – his first pair of binoculars and a beginner’s guide to Spanish birds. In spite of his youth, Oriol has dedicated several years to the census for the Catalan Breeding and Wintering Bird Atlas (SOCC) and to studying other taxonomic groups such as amphibians and reptiles, opisthobranchs and orchids. He has a degree in Environmental Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). His special areas of interest are Applied Ecology and Geographical Botanical Analysis, in addition to his other passion, Geographical Information Systems (GIS). He has also been guiding locally in the Ebro Delta and Catalan Pyrenees for several NGO’s such as ADENC or SEO/BirdLife. He has led tours for Spainbirds Nature 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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