Javi Elorriaga (pronounced “habee”) was born in the Txorierri Valley, which means “land of birds” in Basque, in 1978. It was in this region close to Bilbao, in northern Spain, where he started to develop a deep interest in birds at an early age. While an environmental management student, Javi avidly participated in a number of bird surveys and research projects in Biscay (Basque Country).
Over the last decade, he has worked on the conservation of the Cinereous Vulture in Dadia National Park (WWF-Greece), the Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier) in the Pyrenees and Picos de Europa National Park (FCQ), the monitoring of bird migration in the Strait of Gibraltar (Migres Foundation) and the Osprey reintroduction in Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve (Urdaibai Bird Center). Additionally, in 2011 Javi was granted a Leadership Internship in Conservation by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (Pennsylvania, USA) to participate in the study of the migration geography of the Turkey Vulture in North America.
Javi’s career as a field ornithologist is enhanced by contributions in over 30 scientific papers, book chapters and articles in birding journals. He has also been a member of the Spanish Committee of Rare Birds (SEO/Birdlife). Wildlife photography is another of his great passions and a powerful tool he uses to raise awareness of conservation issues through social networking and lectures.
Javi’s link to Tarifa and the Strait of Gibraltar began in the late 90s, when he regularly participated as a volunteer in the raptor migration counts. This unforgettable experience resulted in a strong attachment to Tarifa and the surrounding natural paradise. As a field ornithologist at the Strait of Gibraltar, Javi has continually engaged in the monitoring of bird migration, the Osprey reintroduction in Andalucía and the study of the Long-legged Buzzard in Northern Morocco. Later, Javi began working intensively as a nature, bird and photography guide. He founded Tarifa Birding Tours in 2012, while also guiding with SEO/Birdlife and other European tour operators.
This combination of skills and experience in education, research, teaching, photography and guiding has lead to the formalisation of Birding the Strait, in partnership with fellow ornithologist and photographer, Yeray Seminario.