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Andy Jones

For almost 40 years Andy has been leading wildlife trips all over the world. Known to many as 'The Iceland Naturalist', his knowledge of Iceland's natural history is extensive and he has immense experience of travelling in that remarkable country. He has been leading groups to the Azores since 1995 and has a soft spot for travelling in this mid-Atlantic archipelago. 

We asked him what he finds so special about these seemingly very different destinations:

‘The geology of Iceland and the Azores is very similar,’ said Andy. ‘Basalt rock, formed by volcanoes in the recent geological past, underpins the ecology. The landscapes are agonisingly beautiful and provide a wonderful backdrop for a wildlife trip. Vegetation cover on the Azores is extensive and there are several endemic plants, but Iceland’s much harsher climatic conditions mean wildlife needs to be tough to survive.'

Andy continued, ‘My favourites? Well, we see lots of cetaceans in both Iceland and the Azores but for me it’s always the birds that steal the show. Of course, in the Azores the endemic Priolo or Azores Bullfinch is a speciality but my favourite is Cory’s Shearwater. In Iceland I’ve so many — Great Northern Diver, Harlequin and Barrow’s Goldeneye but my heart invariably misses a beat when a Gyrfalcon appears!’

Andy has decades of experience at the sharp end of nature conservation — he was a warden on Skomer Island, a ranger with the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the RSPB's senior investigations officer and a Wildlife Trust director. He studied geology and is currently a part-time university lecturer in natural history.

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The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: +44(0)1479 821248