To describe www.wildwatchingspain.com in one sentence: AVOID AT ALL COST!
I must have done something to the Spanish people in a previous life. Because every time I go to Spain, my trip end up been a DISASTER!
Three years ago I went to photograph Lammergeier with www.Birdinginspain.com (The Company of Steve west) that was a disaster… Poor service, poor hide. I even got insulted!
This year was also very special. It was as bad as it get!
Most of the time, I do my photography on my own. Every year I try to photograph a new species. A species that need preparation.
This year, my choice was little bustard. The little bustard is a very pretty bird but it is very difficult to approach. Someone has got to know the site, prepare hides etc.… It is not a five minutes Job. For that reason, I decided to trust a company called www.wildwatchingspain.com . I contacted them in February and ask them when was the best time to come in Spain to photograph the species. They told me that the best time was in May. The other species I wanted to photograph was the Rock Thrush. Again May seem to be the best time.
All the species were supposed to have permanent hides on them. But that was far from the truth!
We met our guide on the Sunday. His name was Carlos Gonzalez bocos. Carlos was mid twenties early thirty. We met him at a church and took him for a drink. He explained the way we were going to photograph the different species. He told us then that he would meet us the next day at 6h30 in the morning. (To be quite honest, I could not wait and I was very excited, this was the first day of our trip, and I was ready to rock and roll) He then took us in a basic Hotel. The Hotel was OK ish….Anyway it did not matter as tomorrow; I would start to take pictures. I was awake at 5h00! My friend and I took a very basic breakfast and we went to our car at 6h20. We could see that the sun would rise very soon. We could not wait to take pictures….Then 6h30 came and went, 6h45,7.h00,7h15,7h30,7h45 and Carlos was nowhere to be seen… My friend text the chap asking him where he was…..He reply, Oh sorry! I will be there soon….I was ready to have a fatal attack on someone! Carlos arrived at 7h55! (I was fuming!)He then said “sorry, I had problem with my girlfriend!” He took us then to a place where it would be “easy” to photograph larks. We arrived on a track where he had place piles of rock by the side of the road. He then placed a hide 8 meters away from the pile of rock and told my friend to sit in it. We knew that it would not work. The hide should have been placed there two days before…He then told me to sit in another hide. We waited and waited and waited, nothing happened. I think that Carlos was starting to panic…He told us to forget about larks and to drive 180km south to a lesser kestrel hide.He then said that we would photograph little bustards the same way! That would have been impossible…. That was the last time we saw Carlos. We told him to get lost. In the lesser kestrel hide (For one person and not two!I sat on a chair while my friend was taking pictures!) after that debacle, we met a Spanish professional photographer who tried to help us during the rest of the trip. But due to the lack of time it was difficult for him to prepare stuff….
Anyway, our trip in Spain was a disaster. I think that those people of www.wildwatchingspain.com are a bunch of amateur charging professional price. If you go in Spain make sure not to use them as you will be very disappointed!
Those people would not be able to organize a piss-up in a brewery !
Ps: One good thing came out of this entire debacle. The little hotel we stayed at El Barraco was one of the best I ever stayed in. The hotel was VERY clean and the owner could not do enough for us. In the village of El Barraco everybody seems to know each other…it is like a big family.
If you go to that hotel you will meet “Jesus” Yes, it is his first name. He is a very, very nice chap. Again someone who could not do enough to help. Thank God that we met those very, very nice people (I had wished that the people of wildwatching in spain would be as helpfull!”)
Here is the link of that hotel: http://www.toprural.com/Casa-rural-habitaciones/El-Mirador-De-La-Cebrera_81789_f.html
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