Doñana National Park
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,
Patrick writes knowledgeably about Donaña National Park, and Scottish Natural Heritage provide information about the Peatlands of Caithness, also known as the “Flow Country”.