Strange as it may seem, the Doñana National Park near Huelva has similar characteristics as the Peatlands of Caithness.
Ex Navy man, Patrick Raines, says “I’m not an ornithologist, but I am a ´birder´ and can recognise most European birds. Waders give me a problem, and some raptors in flight. Anyone who says he/she can identify every raptor they see are fibbing!
My interest in birds goes back to my boyhood days in Kent, near the marshes of Stodmarsh & Minster. Like most boys growing up in the late forties and fifties I collected birds eggs. Little did I know then that my extensive collection included eggs from birds that had migrated from Africa, north through Europe to southern England. I was not an obsessive egg collector. By that I mean that once I had one egg of say a Yellow Hammer, I would NOT pursue and seek variations that sometimes occur in eggs of the same species.
When my school days ended I gave up collecting eggs and donated my collection to the Beaney Institute Museum in Canterbury.Not long after egg collecting became illegal.
I then joined the Royal Navy ( is there any other?) From then on it was birds from around the world that took my interest. My first bird book was “The Observers book of British Birds”, to which I have built up a large collection of bird books from such diverse locations as Panama, China, Singapore and The Solomons. So from those early days of collecting eggs and going shooting with an uncle, I became an avid conservasionist. Today I am a birder living in the mountains of southern Spain, not harming them, or indeed any wildlife in any way. When I am driving these narrow winding roads I even avoid lizards, snakes and chameleons and try to rescue them when I can. A long way from the hunting, shooting days in the brooding marshes of East Kent.
Patrick B Raines,
Canillas de Albaida,