Why the name Oretani Wildlife?
Oretania, the Roman name for the region that encompasses most of La Mancha in central Spain, and extends into northern Andalucia and eastern Extremadura. They were a pre-Roman Celtiberian race. Remains of these people are scattered about the central meseta of Spain. The significance of this choice of name stems from the fact that Oretani Wildlife and Tours focuses on the region that the Oretani people lived in as well as the fact that they were a Celtic-Iberian people.
Oretani Wildlife is run by Mike Grimes, an Irish man who loves nature and birdwatching and has lived in the heart of this region in Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha since 1998, the Iberian connection. Born in Cork, Ireland, and a graduate of Earth Sciences of the National University of Ireland, Galway, he spent over twelve years working at sea as a geophysicist. Realising that a change of life would allow him to spend more time doing what he truly loves outdoors he is currently in the process of renovating with his wife a 130 year old village house to provide accommodation in the quiet village of Picón. This will provide full board facilities for those who wish to relax and see the real heart of Spains wildlife and culture. The house itself is but a stone throw away from some of the best birding areas encompassing many different habitats, some actually within walking distance.
His interest in birding, wildlife and nature has always been a passion throughout his life. He has also been a fisherman, a tour guide on the UNESCO Heritage site Skellig Michael for the Irish government, an English teacher and has given a course in Nature Photography and its use in the Classroom for the civil service and teachers union, CSIF, in Ciudad Real. He has visited five continents, and crossed the equator three times, the Atlantic twice and the Arctic Circle once all by sea, making sure his camera was with him at all times. He has travelled extensively, including to Botswana, Cuba, the United States and has had the unique opportunity of offshore birding whilst working at sea. He is also an avid sailor of his Drascombe Lugger, Kittiwake. View his Flickr account to see what birding and wildlife photography he has been doing recently or read the Oretani Wildlife blog.
Over the years his passion for birding and wildlife photography has grown exponentially leading him to some of the most beautiful and wildest areas of La Mancha which has rich and varied habitats. His intimate knowledge of the region, its fauna and its habitats now allows you to visit some of the remotest and most beautiful areas of La Mancha in search of the best birding, wildlife and culture that Spain has to offer.