Holiday Leaders

 

 Tristan Lafranchis

Tristan is a celebrated expert and author. His published works include the highly acclaimed field guide "Butterflies of Europe" and the wonderfully illustrated two-volumed work "Flora of Greece" in 2009. Tristan's knowledge of the wilder parts of France and Greece, particularly their butterflies and plants, is second to none. This and his friendly and easy-going manner make him an invaluable and much sought after leader. Tristan is also a proficient birder and a keen herpetologist. He speaks fluent English, French, Italian and good Greek.

 

Tristan was the 2011 winner of the Marsh European Lepidoptera Award, which recognises the efforts of those whose work has had a major and positive impact on butterfly and moth conservation within Europe. In summarising some of Tristan's special qualities they said,  "Those who have accompanied him in the field are constantly amazed how the combination of botanical and butterfly knowledge produce an insight into a butterfly fauna that is shared by very few. If the food plant is there he will find the egg or the caterpillar. This sort of knowledge is the product of a field season that starts in February and ends in November".

 

 

 

 

 Roger Gibbons

Roger lives on the south coast of France for most of the year and has done so for the past eight years. He is on a personal quest to see all 240 mainland species and to date he has seen 221. He actively researches the Countries butterflies of the PACA (Provence, Alpes, Côte d’Azur) and submits his data to French national and regional databases of conservation bodies.  Roger studies the ecology and regional variation of species within the PACA region and has a particular interest in the identification of Pyrgus (Grizzled Skippers), of which there are 14 species in France.

 

Roger is also a keen photographer and shares his butterfly images and knowledge on his own Butterflies of France website. His photos are widely published in a variety of European publications and he also gives presentations on European butterflies to UK conservation groups and various other groups, including U3A (University of the Third Age).  He helped to organise the 2013  Internation EIG and Proserpine Conference on Butterfly Conservation in France. His in-depth knowledge and passion for butterflies combined with his easy going manner make him an ideal guide for the French Alps holiday this summer.

 

 Yiannis Christofides

Yiannis is a botanist living in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus. Having obtained a degree in Chemistry from the University of London he returned to his mountain village where he took up botany.  This led to a new book on the Orchids of Cyprus, with colour photos to aid identification. Several new plants were recorded for Cyprus and new locations were found for old ones. He was invited to be one of the authors of the Red Data Book of the Flora of Cyprus.

 

His interests include Orchids round the Mediterranean, the Floras of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and also the flora of European Mountains. He takes a keen interest in other life-forms such as Butterflies and other Insects, Reptiles, Dragonflies and even Lichens. He likes to share his knowledge with members of his party. Yiannis is also knowledgeable about the geology and history of areas he visits. Yiannis currently leads our Cyprus, Crete, Rhodes, Peloponnese and Italian Dolomites trips.

 

 Steve Mills and Hilary Koll

Steve & Hilary manage BirdWING (Birdwatching in Northern Greece), a charity been set up to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region.

 

Steve and Hilary are award-winning writers and have written over 200 books for teachers, parents and children in the UK. Steve also writes a Birdwatch column for the Athens News, an English-language newspaper in Greece. As a result of connections with the management staff at the Evros Delta, Steve and Hilary have also written a children's bird book, translated into Greek & sold in Greece to raise funds for bird protection. They have also written two site guides, raising money for projects such as building a tern raft at Kerkini.

 

Steve is also a proficient wildlife photographer. In 2011 he won the Birds: Behaviour category in the prestigious Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards for his picture of a Merlin with a Snipe. He was also a winner in the International Wildbird Photographer of the Year awards for 2007 with his picture of a Hen Harrier, taken at Porto Lagos in Greece. For more of Steve's photography see here - Steve Mills Bird Photography

 

 George Spiridakis

George was born in Cyprus in 1988, where he first started birdwatching as a teenager. He was always fascinated by nature and wildlife, so just after the end of his army duty in Cyprus he moved to Thessaloniki to study forestry and environmental management, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has since travelled to many parts of Northern Greece, visiting most of the wetlands and mountains of the region. He now resides in one of the villages, just next to Lake Kerkini, where he has become involved in the Lesser-White Fronted Goose conservation program and the monitoring of other birds and wildlife, in collaboration with the National Park Management Authorities. He also now leads birdwatching tours in Lake Kerkini National Park and further afield, to others parts of north Greece. George is an excellent birder and general naturalist, with a keen interest in mammals and reptiles. He leads on our winter birding trip to Kerkini and we are sure he will become a regular and very popular guide for us in the years to come.

 

 

Gabor Orban

Gábor Orbán became entranced by nature in the 1970's as a young boy, after spending time at a Birdwatching camp at Lake Kondor in Hungary. Later he broadened his wildlife interest, especially mammals & butterflies. During the 1980's and 1990's he led several tours, first in Hungary, later in other European countries. During this time he became a licenced and professional birdwatching and nature guide. Since 2006 he and his wife Andrea spend 6 months of the year in Latin America & 6 months at their ecotourism lodge in Kiskunsag, Hungary. Gábor now leads various bird, butterfly, nature, culture and photo tours worldwide. His passion is to share his knowledge about nature and culture of different countries with his groups. His own hobbies match those of the guests he leads with – nature and travelling to hidden and wildlife rich places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Yeray Seminario

Yeray is an ornithologist working as a nature guide and photographer. His interest in wildlife led him to graduate in Veterinary Medicine and later to work in wildlife rehab centres and breed raptors in captivity. Later, he earned a Masters degree in Conservation Biology while he dedicated himself to studying the causes of the disappearance of the Red Kite in the Canary Islands, where he was born. After an internship in California at a rescue centre for marine birds he went to Argentina to work with the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Later he began work as a field biologist on an Orange-breasted Falcon conservation project with The Peregrine Fund in Central America. Yeray has guided tours in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, but he always comes back to Tarifa, a charming town in the Strait of Gibraltar, and one of the most important migration sites in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 Javi Elorriaga

Javi was born in Bilbao in northern Spain and has spent his career as an ornithologist in various parts of the world, including: the conservation of the Cinereous Vulture in Greece (WWF), the reintroduction of the Bearded vulture in Northern Spain (FCQ), the study of the migration geography of the Turkey vulture in north America (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary), the recovery of the Osprey in the Basque Country (Aranzadi SC), etc. He is a member of the Spanish Committee of Rare Birds (SEO/Birdlife) and has co-authored more than 30 papers both in scientific and birding journals. He maintains a strong link with the strait of Gibraltar since the late 90s when he participated in the raptor counts. He has been settled in Tarifa since 2008 where he has worked five years for Fundación Migres in the study of bird migration. Nowadays he works as a freelance bird consultant, nature photographer and nature guide in the Strait (including Morocco) and leads tours for his own company, SEO/Birdlife and different European tour operators.

 

 

 

 

 Julian Hoffman

Julian is a writer, photographer and naturalist who's been living beside the Prespa Lakes in northern Greece since he and his wife left London to move there in 2000. His work regularly explores the relationships between people, place and wildlife, with specific interests in the ecology and landscapes of the Transboundary Prespa Park, shared by Greece, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Having been organic market-gardeners for a number of years, he and his wife now monitor birds - particularly pelicans and large raptors - in sensitive upland areas where wind farms have been built or proposed. 

 

Julian's book, The Small Heart of Things: Being at Home in a Beckoning World, explores some of the many ways in which connections can be forged with the natural world. It was the winner of the 2012 AWP Award for Nonfiction, described by the judge, the American writer and environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams, as "a tapestry of embodied stories...a book of faith in the natural histories of community." In recognition of his work on behalf of the Prespa Lakes, Julian is a member of the international Ramsar Culture Network, as well as being an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide to the natural and cultural wonders of the Prespa region.

 

 Julian Dowding

Julian has had a passion for nature and in particular butterflies and moths, ever since as a child. He joined Butterfly Conservation many years ago, and later spearheaded a successful campaign to bring Brimstones back into east Suffolk where they had become quite scarce. By encouraging widescale planting of their larval hostplants, the butterfly is now flourishing. He is also secretary of the Suffolk branch of Butterfly Conservation and site warden for Purdis Heath SSSI, part of the Ipswich Heaths Project, which aims to reverse the fortunes of the declining Silver-studded Blue butterfly.

 

He has also been a volunteer warden at a number of other local wildlife sites, with duties including habitat management, species monitoring and recording, leading volunteer work parties and hosting public events. He is an accomplished photographer with his photos appearing on the cover of Butterfly Conservation's Magasine 'Butterfly' and other publications. For the past 4 years he has been building his reputation as guide on wildlife and in particular butterfly watching holidays.

 

 Sotiris Alexiou

Sotiris is a Greek biologist with 15 years of field experience, predominantly the flora of Greece, but also the study of butterflies, reptiles and other fauna. Sotiris is passionate about promoting and protecting the rich diversity of wildlife in his home country, hence he started up his own publishing company 'Wild Greece Editions'. He is the author of the book '100 endemic plants of Greece' and the editor of the open-accessed journal 'Parnassiana Archives', where various scientific papers are published, e.g. 'The genus Colchicum L. (Colchicaceae) in Greece'.    

 

Sotiris's love for flowers has led him to explore many parts of Greece, from the islands such as Crete and Rhodes, the floristically rich southern Peloponnese, to the higher ground there, such as Mt.Chelmos. His intimate knowledge of Greek flora make him an indispensible guide for some of our holidays in his beautiful home country!

 

 

 

 Stephen Daly

Stephen is a birding and wildlife tour guide, photographer and writer. Since 2001 he has been based in Andalucia, Spain. As well as tours in Spain he also leads groups to many other world-wide destinations and is a principal tour leader for Limosa Holidays. Stephen is a contributing member of SEO (The Spanish Ornothological Society), he is also an accredited birding and wildlife guide for the Non-Governmental Organisation Fundacion Migres on The Strait of Gibraltar, as well as a member of COCN and contributor to the environmental and conservation action group, 'The Friends of the Laguna de La Janda' at Tarifa.

 

Stephen is also an approved Birding and wildlife tour Guide to GONHS (The Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society). Many of his photographs have appeared in various books and other publications. Stephen's friendly, easy-going manner and his birding and wildlife skills make him the most popular guide in this part of Andalucía.

 

 

 

 Matt Berry

Matt has over 15 years experience of working in nature conservation in the UK. He has managed Country Park’s, SSSI’s & other nature reserves. Matt also has extensive experience in designing and managing public events, anything from a guided wildlife walk with fifteen people to large scale events attended by thousands. He also leads on conservation projects such as a Silver-studded Blue rescue project for a network of heathlands and creation of a 35ha mosaic of new urban wildlife habitat.

 

Matt is a proficient wildlife photographer and renowned as one of the leading butterfly photographers in the country. His work is widely published and donated to wildlife charities,it gives him great satisfaction to know that an image he has created can be used to help inspire the care and conservation of the natural world.

 

Matt is an active committee member for his local branch of Butterfly Conservation, working on projects, publicity and events. In his first year Matt launched social media sites (the first branch in the UK to do so) and membership rose by 21%. Three years later and membership has now gone up an impressive 62%!

 

 Armin Riegler

Armin Riegler was born in 1973 in Austria. While working in an animal rescue shelter, he finished the school of animal caretaker and veterinary assistant in Vienna.  Since the foundation of CALLISTO he has become a stable member of the Field and Bear Expert Team and finished his study of bio-resources and environmental management in January 2009 at the University of applied Life Science Vienna (BOKU). He recently finished his  MSc on "Conservation and Management of Protected Areas" at Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland. He lives and works in Nestorio, Greece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Orestis Boskos

Orestis Boskos is the local expert of Rhodopes, a region in North East-Greece. He is actually present at every event that demands intervention, information and dialogue, individual or collective participation for the preservation of Rhodopes’ natural beauties. He is an official eco-tourist guide specialized in Rhodopes mountain range and Nestos river and represents wildlife charity CALLISTO in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. Orestis Boskos is also owner of Adventure Travel company FORESTIS and has over 20 years of experience with organizing Adventure Travel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Antoine Longieras

Antoine has been interested in plants and insects and travelling since his childhood. He lives in Digne-les-bains (an aurelian's dream) because of his passion for butterflies.

 

He trained in conservation management and biology and graduated from Marseille University in 2001. He further developed his skills in entomology, botany and events organisation working at the Butterfly Gardens in Digne for 13 years. His other passions of photography and cycling have taken him to the Spanish Pyrenees, the Alps, Morocco, Greece and New Zealand. He has also collaborated on many books and specialist magazines, such as the glossy bi-monthly conservation publication, ‘Courrier de la Nature’, and  ‘La Saison des Papillons de Provence’. The latter is a book about the creation of the famous Butterfly Garden of Digne-les-Bains, the first of its kind in France. It documents the ten years of the garden's painstaking creation culminating in the presence today of 131 species of butterflies in just one hectare!