These books were published a decade or so ago but, shamefully, it's taken that long for me to finally obtain a full set. I picked up Volume 2 - Sierra Morena de Jaen the spring of 2012 when Liz and I visited the Andujar area in search of Iberian Lynx. Fortunately, we'd already knew in which areas to look and had successfully seen the target feline before we came across the guide in a Visitors' Centre. However, the book did encourage me to explore nearby areas that I might otherwise have missed. The following year at the UK Bird Fair I was delighted to meet the author, Rafael Romero Porrino who very kindly gave me a copy of Volume 4 (Sierra Morena Cordobesa). It had always been in my mind to return to Aracena and the sierras north of Seville with Liz to explore an area we had both loved when we visited it some years before. Having been so seduced by central Cadiz that we bought a small house there, it wouldn't have been too great a detour to go there again. Alas, Liz's long illness meant that such things quickly became impossible so buying volumes 1 (Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche) and 3 (Seville) quickly became painfully pointless. (NB one of my few criticisms of these books is that, bizarrely, running from west to east the volumes are numbered 1, 3, 4 & 2).
However, having only two volumes - 2 & 4 - of the quartet sitting on the shelf above my desk was a constant annoyance and rebuke. I'd half-heartedly tried to get the missing volumes before but without success and their absence was beginning to really irritate me!. For some unaccountable reason, though, I'd never tried the excellent Liberia Agricola in Jerez (www.agricolajerez.com/) and it was no surprise to find that they had copies of the missing volumes. Hence this month I was delighted to finally complete my collection of this superb, but apparently little-known, series of books on the Sierra Morena. They're well-written (and unusually well translated into English), full of details and suggestions with decent maps and an interesting selection of routes to explore. As already indicated, Vol 2 - Sierra Morena de Jaen remains a very useful guide to have on hand if you're visiting the Andujar area for Iberian Lynx. Certainly, Liz and I would never have visited the delightful Banos de la Encina area had we not had this guide (although it may be questionable whether a decade on Rufous Bushchat is still found here). Now that I have copies of Vol 1 - Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche and Vol 3 - Seville) once I am again able to return to Spain I plan to visit the area even if it will now be a sadly poignant experience for me.
About me ...
Hi I'm John Cantelo. I've been birding seriously since the 1960s when I met up with some like minded folks (all of us are still birding!) at Taunton's School in Southampton. I have lived in Kent , where I taught History and Sociology, since the late 1970s. In that time I've served on the committees of both my local RSPB group and the county ornithological society (KOS). I have also worked as a part-time field teacher for the RSPB at Dungeness. Having retired I now spend as much time as possible in Alcala de los Gazules in SW Spain. When I'm not birding I edit books for the Crossbill Guides series.