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Archive for September, 2006

Heston
Updated Navasola Nature home page today with revised details of our April 2007 Natural History of the Sierra de Aracena tour. Watched the BBC’s “Galapagos” last night, missing the first 20 minutes of the fascinating geological history.

However, as I’ve now changed my flight to Spain tomorrow to the 8th of October, perhaps I’ll be able to watch next week’s episode. I guess Georgi and I would be somewhat envious of Teresa‘s opportunity to go there by leading a tour. But, with Georgi’s brother having been one of the first ‘guinea-pigs’ to visit Vorovoro in Fiji with the tribewanted ‘escapade?’ – pictured in last week’s Guardian Travel, and our desire to visit both the Galapagos and Easter Island as well as other parts of the Pacific and perhaps the other Trevor Bending in Tonga, perhaps we’ll get there one day!

Just run that last sentence past the Word grammar-checker!
And out of the blue this morning, Vic rang me from Plymouth about driving to Spain via Santander and enquired if I’d be interested in cycling (from Plymouth) to southern Spain or the Algarve next May. He may be over 70, but I’ll need to give that some thought!

Now, I really must get on with that tax return and ‘packing’ for next week, or I’ll have that nervous breakdown anyway.

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Heston
Updated Navasola Nature home page today with revised details of our April 2007 Natural History of the Sierra de Aracena tour. Watched the BBC’s “Galapagos” last night, missing the first 20 minutes of the fascinating geological history.

However, as I’ve now changed my flight to Spain tomorrow to the 8th of October, perhaps I’ll be able to watch next week’s episode. I guess Georgi and I would be somewhat envious of Teresa‘s opportunity to go there by leading a tour. But, with Georgi’s brother having been one of the first ‘guinea-pigs’ to visit Vorovoro in Fiji with the tribewanted ‘escapade?’ – pictured in last week’s Guardian Travel, and our desire to visit both the Galapagos and Easter Island as well as other parts of the Pacific and perhaps the other Trevor Bending in Tonga, perhaps we’ll get there one day!

Just run that last sentence past the Word grammar-checker!
And out of the blue this morning, Vic rang me from Plymouth about driving to Spain via Santander and enquired if I’d be interested in cycling (from Plymouth) to southern Spain or the Algarve next May. He may be over 70, but I’ll need to give that some thought!

Now, I really must get on with that tax return and ‘packing’ for next week, or I’ll have that nervous breakdown anyway.

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Spent the weekend in Bath with Bill, Kevin, Mike, Pete, Jean and Bet (+Will and Simon) from 4SK days. Will see if I can add a picture later (being organised to do all this across two computers is tedious and time-consuming).

On Sunday afternoon Georgi arrived and we later went to Westonbirt arboretum where pleased to discover that my ‘Kew’ card, unused since last January, gained us free admission. Time is now running out to do all the jobs I ought to before leaving for Spain on Sunday next. Coincidentally, Bet, (see above) will be in Seville (and Cordoba and Granada) from 26th October, so perhaps we can try and meet up.

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Heston

Just a quick note that my home page has been updated to show Navasola Nature which, amongst other things, links back to the post below concerning the wildlife course in April 2007
Navasola Nature at www.humber.co.uk

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lucidez embriagada
Another fantastic opportunity to practise my Portuguese, from Brazil I think
Um outra opportunidade fantastica a practicar o meu Portugues, creio que e do Brasil. Se faz favor, corrige o Portugues!

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Barton on Humber
As I’ve just put together an edited version of a forthcoming webpage to use as a promotional flyer for a first Navasola course or tour, I guess I might as well post it here – see post below.

Otherwise it’s time to go!

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Navasola Nature
Living with Nature Breaks
Courses – Holidays – Retreats
Natural History of the Sierra de Aracena
Spring flowers, birds and more in Western Andalucía
(including visits to Doñana, Extremadura and Portugal’s Alentejo)
2007 Dates:
Sat 14 April – Sat 21 April
This week will be our first based in Fuenteheridos, for which we are delighted to be accompanied by guest leader Teresa Farino:
As you will know , the success of any special interest holiday depends crucially on the abilities and experience of the tutor or course leader. Teresa lives in the Picos de Europa, in northern Spain, and has been leading very successful wildlife tours in Spain and Portugal since 1989, for some of the leading companies in this field. Teresa knows Andalucia well and amongst her many publications is Travellers’ Nature Guides: Spain (co-authored with Mike Lockwood), which was published by Oxford University Press in 2004. She describes herself as “probably a botanist first and foremost”, but is very knowledgeable about all aspects of Iberian wildlife, particularly butterflies and moths.

The Sierra de Aracena Natural Park lies at the extreme western end of the Sierra Morena Biosphere Reserve, abutting Portugal to the west and Extremadura to the north.

During our week in the Sierra we will visit all the principal habitats of the park from our base in Fuenteheridos. An exploration of Trevor’s quietly secluded finca nearby will give us a good introduction to the flora and fauna of the chestnut groves and evergreen forest. We will be ranging further afield to take in the colourful limestone vegetation of the Peña de Arias Montano, the evergreen oak dehesas (wood-pastures) of the Sierra de las Contiendas and the riverside pastures of the Río Múrtiga and the Rivera de Huelva.

A trip to the Gruta de las Maravillas in Aracena itself is a must, where water trickling through the subterranean limestone cave system for millennia has given rise to crystalline deposits, stalagmites and stalactites, forming one of the most spectacular caves in Europe. We will also visit some of the more picturesque villages, hamlets and chapels of the park.

In spring, the Sierra de Aracena bursts into life. Chestnut groves and dehesas are carpeted with drifts of western peony, pink, blue and yellow lupins, Spanish bluebell and Barbary nut iris, Fritillaria hispanica, mirror ophrys and conical and naked man orchids. Colourful migrant birds have already arrived by April, with bee-eaters busy staking out their nest sites in roadside banks, and red-rumped swallows investigating the many stone bridges of the park.
The chestnut groves are teeming with migrant passerines at this time of year, and are renowned for their breeding lesser spotted woodpecker, woodlark, Iberian chiffchaff, redstart and rock sparrow, while the dehesa harbours black-eared wheatear, crested tit, short-toed treecreeper, woodchat shrike, Iberian azure-winged magpie and cirl bunting.

Black storks feed in the marshy grasslands along the River Múrtiga, to the background accompaniment of myriad nightingales and Cetti’s warblers, while in the skies above, the huge silhouettes of black vultures are a frequent sight, on foraging expeditions from their stronghold in the nearby Sierra Pelada.
Griffon and Egyptian vultures, black and red kites and booted and short-toed eagles are also seen regularly, with other vertebrate denizens of the park commonly encountered including Iberian hare, large psammodromus and Bosca’s newt. Butterflies on the wing at this time of year include the delightful Spanish festoon.

As a complete contrast of habitat, one day will be spent in the internationally renowned Doñana National Park, where the bird-rich wetlands support spoonbill, glossy ibis, squacco and purple herons, purple gallinule and marsh harrier, and we will also visit the extensive arable plains of Extremadura, close to the Portuguese border, in search of lesser kestrel, Montagu’s harrier, great bustard and roller.

Price: £699, to include en-suite bed and breakfast accommodation in Fuenteheridos, evening meal, picnic lunches, minibus/4WD transport throughout, all entry fees and the services of Teresa Farino and Trevor Bending as leaders. Two persons sharing (twin or double) qualify for a 10% discount, taking the price per person to £629, with a 5% discount applicable to two or more bookings in single rooms (£664).

This is a land-based tour (Seville-Seville). Flights and travel insurance (obligatory) are the responsibility of the client.
Pick-up details: The tour will commence at Seville airport on Saturday 14 April. Trevor will meet evening Iberia and Ryanair flights from Heathrow, Liverpool and Stansted, subject to schedules (available in the autumn of 2006, in the case of Ryanair), which currently arrive in Seville between 20.20 and 21.00. It may also be possible to meet clients arriving on earlier flights, who would then spend the afternoon in Seville. Please do not book flights until final course booking is confirmed in December/January.

On the return trip on Saturday 21 April, Trevor will drop clients at Seville airport at lunchtime, to connect with Iberia flight IB4144, which departs at 14.05, arriving at Heathrow at 15.40. Clients travelling on later flights may spend the afternoon in Seville. (Please enquire for further details once schedules are published and before booking your flights.) Find out about flights on the Iberia and Ryanair websites – http://www.iberia.com and http://www.ryanair.com
Alternatively, those travelling to Fuenteheridos or Aracena independently can arrange to meet the group on the first evening.
Group size: maximum 7 persons.
Booking information: please contact Teresa Farino or Trevor Bending for further details and a booking form, or if you have any queries about this tour.
Trevor Bending
E-mail: trevor@humber.co.uk
Office phone (UK): 0208 572 6790
Mobile phone (Spain):00 34 690 747987
Address:
70 Westbrook Road
Heston
London TW5 0NG    UK

Teresa Farino
Email: teresa@iberianwildlife.com
Office phone: 00 34 942 735154
Mobile phone: 00 34 656 337129
Address:
Apartado de Correos 59
39570 Potes
Cantabria, Spain
www.iberianwildlife.com

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