‘Flamingos In The Desert’, by ABS member and regular contributor to this magazine Kevin Borman, is a book with a difference. It’s not specifically a bird book – though almost 40 species get a mention in the detailed index and there are intriguing passages on Greater Flamingos, White-headed Ducks, Trumpeter Finches, Black Wheatears and other specialities of the far east of Andalucía – because this is a guidebook that gets under the skin of Almería province, the semi-desert furthest eastern part of Andalucía.
From earthquakes to gold mines, prickly pears to floods, the reminiscences of those who left now-deserted villages, and from wildfires to the sets of cinematic history, Kevin Borman has walked, talked and researched his way, in this book of 30 chapters, from the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park to the Sorbas Gypsum Karst and beyond. Six maps, a detailed index and bibliography, and a link to an online gallery of 256 photos which accompany the text, help to fill out the intriguing picture that is painted of this little-known region.
Kevin Borman explains: “I’ve been intrigued by this area since first coming here nearly nine years ago. It’s superficially barren but once you look a bit more closely, you find all kinds of fascinating features. The more I’ve explored – not just physically but by talking to lots of people and also by reading Spanish sources – the more I wanted to produce a book that would give English-speakers an insight into what really makes this little-known pocket of Andalucía tick. ”
He says: “I hope everyone will find things of interest in this book. If you want to know about the reintroduction of loggerhead turtles, the history of the gold industry, the disused airfield near Turre, how to take your olives to the local olive mill or how to walk down the Río de Aguas from source to mouth, it’s all in here. There are floods, nuclear bombs, threshing circles, Moorish irrigation systems, and the iconic plants of the area such as agaves. Peter O’Toole, Sergio Leone, John Lennon and Jack Nicholson make brief appearances. There’s even a recipe for prickly pear jam.” The author says; “I’m delighted by the response. In four month’s it’s sold over 600 copies locally, plus an unknown quantity online. It’s already achieved what I wanted – to put the word out there that this is a fascinating area with so much of interest to investigate. I’m pleased that I decided to put my email address (email@example.com) into the book. It’s led to lots of people giving me some very positive feedback: ‘Thoroughly enjoyed reading your book from cover to cover. Can I have a couple more copies, please?’ (AS, Velez Rubio) and: ‘Definitely the most informative and readable book of its genre which I have read.’ (MK, Alfaix).
Flamingos in the Desert is available from amazon, from the publishers at feedaread.com, from many local outlets in Almería province and also direct from the author, who would be very happy to hear from those who wish to see the online photo album or buy the book. A Kindle version is also available on amazon, where a lengthy extract from the book can be seen.