Friday, 26 June 2009

Summer Bee-eaters

26th June 2009

Been rather busy over the past couple of weeks and have not had much time to get out in the field with the camera. Today, though was an exception. I waited until evening as it was a little cooler to go out and see what the local bee-eaters where up too. Seems like the juveniles had fledged their nests and where happily taking out the insect population.
The sun was still intense at this time of the day, but hiding under an avocado tree, it provided just the shelter I needed. Quickly set up the tripod and got in position...wasnt long before a couple where in view and was able to get a few shots off.
Not much else about..except a flycatcher trying to compete with the bee-eaters.
Birdlist: Bee-eater, Flycatcher, Goldfinch.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Hoopoe's in Nerja

11 June 2009

Last week I took Steven out for a mornings birding, he was on holiday in Nerja and had contacted me to hopefully see some Bee-eaters and Hoopoe's in the area. I knew where the bee-eaters are nesting
so that was not a problem and generally one would nearly always see a hoopoe fly across the fields. I collected him at 9.00 and we set off. Steven is a keen birder and wildlife artist, producing some remarkable paintings of birds he has photographed. I took him to a place I knew for a certain had hoopoe's and before long we were watching them flying about. We noticed in one particular tree in the distance there was a lot of activity. As we made our way quietly we figured a nest may be near. We were able to hide near a old rustic wall and gladly I brought the camoflage sheeting with me so we set up our tripods and cameras and waited, covered by the camo. Not wanting to get too near the nest we just waited and hoped for the best. Not too long a hoopee flew onto the trunk of the tree like a woodpecker would do and within a flash entered a small hole in the tree. Amazing, i had not ever seen this before. Then a minute later he peep his head out and flew from the tree. Steven got some shots of all the action and was well chuffed. We packed away and set off to the bee-eaters. On the way Steven saw another new bird not seen before, a Blue rock thrush, there he was on another wall as we drove away. A couple of days later I returned to the nest and was able to get some photos myself, although I still am looking to photograph a hoopoe in flight...something that is proving very difficult!

Birdlist: Hoopoe, Bee-eater, Thekla lark, Blue rock thrush, Kestrel, Swift, House martin, Swallow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Rio Gordo - Barn Owls?

4th June.
Luke and I were invited by Bob (Birding Axarquia) to take a trip to the Rio Gordo area of Axarquia to hopefully see a pair of Barn Owls. Apparently they have been nesting in this same place now for the past few years. In fact the owners of the property had raised the chicks themselves and since them one of them keeps returning. We met Bob at the agreed location and as he arrived we were greeted by a Short-toed Eagle flying from pylon to pylon. He was of the white plumage variety and watched him hover just like a kestrel in search of prey. Along the track we saw a lovely Woodchat Shrike perched on the end of a olive tree. Thekla Lark were darting to and fro over the track. We arrived at the house which had fantastic views over the valley and were made very welcome by Mark and Kate. As we were scanning looking for the owls, we saw a big bird flying over the valley slightly toward us. I thought it was a buzzard, but both Luke and Bob felt it was a Montagu's Harrier. They arrive in Summer when the Hen Harrier's leave. The tail was rather long so likely was a Montagu's. This was a first for both Luke and myself. The owner had cameras on the nest linked up to his laptop so we could see the chicks inside viewed from his laptop, this was like Springwatch in Spain. Also there was another nest, this time of a Kestrel. It too had I think 4 or 5 chicks in it. We positioned ourselves outside and waited.....and waited. Scanning the countryside guessing where the owl may roost. After an hour still nothing, except the kestrel flying about. What kept us amuzed was watching a family of Stonechat in the bushes just opposite us. A chick had just fledged and still had some of the chick feathers (slightly blueish in colour) on its wing. As the evening fell, still nothing. We had seen in the distance across the valley another Short-toed Eagle perched on a post and noticed a fox walking toward it. Then the fox disappeared, then the eagle?? Ten o'clock came and it was virtually dark by now and still no owl. We packed up our things, said "goodbye" to Mark and Kate, hoping we may see it along the track using the car headlights...but No!. Never mind, still an enjoyable evening in the middle of Axarquia.
Birdlist: Short-toed Eagle, Kestrel, Montagu's Harrier, Stonechat, Thekla Lark, Woodchat Shrike, Goldfinch, Sardinian Warbler, Swift,