Birding In Spain Advent Calendar December 21st

Hello again

Open post in our advent calendar series. If you would like to see those which are password protected please subscribe and then send us a request by email or comment.

This turtle is a survivor, like all of us.

This turtle survived a hellish struggle as a mere hatchling, flailing its flippers in a desperate bid to get to the sea. It made it, but it couldn’t have done so without the sacrifice of most of its brothers and sisters.

We are here, now, as we are, largely as a result of what our forebears did, but also of what our brothers and sisters of the human race do for us every day. Even if you, like the turtle, are a solitary creature, you have the responsibility of bearing the sacrifice of others with the dignity their memory deserves.

Turtle in the sea

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed

Michael Jordan

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Birding in Spain Advent Calendar 2023


Only a week to go until December 25th or, for many of us, Christmas Day. That will bring us to the last post in this “advent calendar” series. But until then, there’s a whole week of nature images and motivational quotes for you all to enjoy.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I remember when I was a kid when me, my younger sister and brother took turns in opening the little squares on the advent calendar hung somewhere where I forget, and revealing a chocolate treat moulded into the shape of something that had some resonance with Christmas or the “festive season”. It could be a Christmas tree, a sleigh, a stocking to be filled with gifts, holly leaves with berries, and so on. We were kids back then and not adults shaped by cynicism about the power and the opportunism of marketing. For us it was something just a little bit different, just a little bit special.

So I’m hoping that these images and the experience as a whole is just a little bit different, just a little bit special.

Special effects Griffon Vultures in flight


Never regret anything that made you smile

Mark Twain

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Advent calendar – December 15th

A colourful morning to you all!

Have you ever done something and thought “yeah, that’s quite neat”, and then left it, gone back to admire it a month or two later and thought “What? What was I thinking?” and then gone over it again, improving, modifying, enhancing, left it for a while, then gone back to it again and again thought “What the hell?” Yes? Then you know the feeling that I had before getting to this image with the Great Crested Grebes!

There’s a danger that if I ever come back and read this post after a few months have passed that I may want to delete it, if I have the energy to make another attempt at improving this image.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for

Have you ever watched a pair of Great Crested Grebes displaying and thought how truly wonderful birds are?

Advent calendar – December 14th

Brrr! Is it cold outside? Have you got the heating on? Or have you been out gathering winter fuel?

When I write file names for photos I often write the first unimaginative word that comes into my head, often followed by a number to distinguish it from the previous, similar but slightly different file that preceded it. It’s a symptom of my inherent indolence and disorder, and is something which almost inevitably leads to organizational problems further down the road. Florinda, the wife, well, I can almost hear her sighing in frustration and disapproval, because she is so organized (and it’s often her who has to pick up the stray bits I leave in my trail and rearrange them in some meaningful order). I’m not proud of that, but I’m not young either, so that’s why I’m telling you this.

Well, no, actually the reason why I’m telling you this stems from what I was intending to say (easy distraction being another symptom of my age): that I actually named the image file of these two Griffon Vultures sitting together in a snowstorm “Snow Griffons” How about that? It actually sounds quite fitting for these two very stoical birds who would have already written off the rest of the day given the weather conditions.

There’s so much I could tell you about Griffon Vultures, and maybe I will remember some of it in later posts.

The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem

Pirates of the Caribbean

Note that this image is smaller than the rest: that is intentional, as I surrounded the Griffons with a wide white frame in order to extenuate their isolation and exposure to the elements.

The original photo was by Rudmer Zweiger

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Advent Calendar – December 12th


Sometimes images are much better than words …

And sometimes it can be the other way round, if it’s the right number of words, and in the right order.

A winner is a dreamer who never gives up

Nelson Mandela

I worked this image of a Little Egret from a photograph taken by Adam Crowther in the Ebro Delta in November 2021. I was with him and his wife, Daniela, also a keen amateur wildlife photographer, when he took this photo. They were virtually the first travellers I was fortunate enough to guide after almost two years of forced inactivity, thanks to Covid-you-know-who.

Since then another two years have passed. You can’t sit still, because life is always in motion; yet if you are too impatient and you make a false move you’ll either scare the fish away, or miss it when you strike.

I’ve watched Little Egrets catching little fish before in the Ebro Delta, but I’ve also watched them try and fail. Imagine what would happen if the egrets just gave up after a couple of misses. They don’t.

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