On a pleasant Sunday evening visit to the Charca de Suarez in August I had some fun photographing a flock of foraging Common Waxbills.
I stood quite still on the path along the east border of the reserve and they seemed unaware or unconcerned by my presence, giving me plenty of opportunity for some good close-up photos as they foraged among the trees and tall grasses, announcing their presence with thin piping calls.
The shot below catches a bird against a red wall of an adjacent apartment block, providing an interesting change from the more natural looking shots in the tall reed stems. It's also a reminder that this is a little urban bird reserve, nestled between an industrial estate and some beach-side apartment blocks.
There were other birds to see of course, it was nice to find an Audouins Gull amongst the many Black-headed, Mediterrannean and Yellow-legged varieties.
Spotted Flycatchers are always easy to photograph at the Charca. I only post the Common Moorhen below because the light was good so the image is high quality.
The Turtle Dove is not a good photograph but I include it because I have not seen many lately. I fear they are getting fewer every year. This one was outside in Turtle Dove Alley, also spotted here were a few Red Avadavats including one or two males in breeding plumage.
Other birds of note include Glossy Ibis, White Stork, Pochard, Purple Swamphen, Common Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Barn and Red-rumped Swallows and plenty of resident Red-knobbed Coots.
Finally I spotted this handsome Chameleon climbing around in the bushes. It seems to have been a good year for them as there have been many sightings posted on Facebook.
Elena and I picked up fellow naturalist Hans Borjesson who was in Nerja holidaying with his family. We drove to the top of Sierra Nevada above the ski resorts to look for the butterflies that abound up here in Summer, gradually working our way down ultimately to Guejar Sierra for some well earned refreshments.
I post here a few of the better or more interesting shots from the day in which we picked up about 39 species. It was a lot of fun but I was surprised at how tired I became in the afternoon from scouring hillsides and regularly crouching down for close ups of the insects we encountered. I suspect also that the altitude and heat had something to do with it as well.
I start with a few of the yellow species for no particular reason other than they are some of my favourites, along with the Fritillaries that follow.
The photo below is a lifer for me so I was very pleased to see it. The Hermit is not the prettiest butterfly but it was the star of the day in my book. It's a species of grayling but not one I had come across before.
The Robber Fly is a voracious and lethal predator of other insects which it pounces upon in flight. The prey is immobilised by stabbing with the short strong proboscis and the injection of saliva containing neurotoxic enzymes which very rapidly paralyze the victim and digests the insides; the fly then sucks the liquefied material through the proboscis.
This Fly is seen here devouring an unlucky blue butterfly. The shot below shows the proboscis piercing the thorax of it's victim.
Bob Wright and I decided a trip to Tablas de Daimiel would be a good idea now that provincial boundaries have been unlocked. So after a leisurely breakfast we did the four hour drive with a stop along the way to look around Padul Reserve near Granada. Here we spotted about twenty species including a circling pair of Booted Eagles and a quartering Marsh Harrier, Waxbills were busy nesting and Nightingales were prolific and in good voice.
Continuing onto Daimiel we started birding at Laguna Navaseca which fortunately was blessed with plenty of water. There were lots of birds large and small, from Flamingos, White Storks, Marsh Harriers and Glossy Ibis through the gamut of waders and wildfowl down to the diminutive warblers, the most interesting of which was the Savi's Warbler which we could clearly hear but not see, being too well hidden in the reeds.
The Avocet is a vey elegant wader which is always a pleasure to watch. As a young boy I dreamed about seeing Bee-eaters which are rare visitors to the UK. Little did I know then that they would become daily sightings in Summertime in my adopted home in Andalucia. This pair perched on a wire by the lagoon were making regular sorties for winged insects.
After Laguna Navaseca we checked in to our country hotel then made our way for an evening visit to the Tablas de Damiel reserve.
Birds of the reedbeds can be very satisfying to photograph. They are often in exposed positions on reed stems and in Spring the males sing their hearts out to attract a mate. These pictures of a Great Reed Warbler are typical examples.
Reed Buntings are in decline in many places due to loss of wetland habitat so it is good to see a healthy population in the reedbeds here. Water levels were very low but still enough to provide cover, food and nesting sites for this delightful bunting.
Common Reed Warblers and Linnets were abundant.
and Iberian Yellow Wagtails provided a splash of colour in the reeds.
Out list total for two days birding came to 87 species which is quite respectable. It had been a very pleasant interlude after the confinement caused by covid19.
Greylag Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, White-headed Duck, Red-legged Partridge, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Night Heron Squacco Heron, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Flamingo, Griffon Vulture, Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Little Owl, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Bee-eater, Roller, Hoopoe, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Nightingale, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Golden Oriole, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Waxbill, Serin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting.
Once the intense lockdown was lifted Elena and I stopped off at the Guadalhorce where I was delighted to see a family of Garganey, my favourite duck and one which is not seen very often around here. Here they are in company with a couple of Shelducks.
There were actually more birds present than I was expecting which was nice. I am not in the habit of posting photos of all the regular species but I admit it was pleasing to capture this little Kentish Plover on the beach as this is a breeding ground for the species, so at least they have survived thus far.
Here is a Little Ringed Plover which is quite a common species but I like the clear and obvious yellow eye-ring in this shot.
The Covid 19 pandemic lockdown kept us at home for much of the winter, but this little Firecrest made an appearance one evening on the floor by our kitchen window. He must have hit the glass quite hard as he sat stunned for some time. I took a couple of photos using flash then left him alone and watched from a distance. Once he recovered his senses he took off seemingly unscathed and disappeared into the night.
Just before Provincial boundaries were closed I did visit the Charca de Suarez in Granada Province. A Moustached Warbler had been reported but no photos obtained to verify its presence. Well with considerable patience I did manage to get a record shot, not great but definite. While waiting for the warbler to put in an appearance I was entertained by the resident Bluethroat who at times came so close to the hide I couldn't get a focus. Anyway I post one decent shot and we can see it has been ringed.
As far as I am aware I was the only person to capture an image of the Moustached Warbler this year. I saw no other shots posted on the Friends of the Charca's or any other Facebook site. It is a very elusive subject.
Elena and I picked Bob Wright up at eight and we arrived at El Algarrobo watchpoint near Tarifa shortly after 10 am. Strong Easterly winds had pushed most migrating raptors over this way and low cloud cover created some excellent viewing as Black Kites, Booted and Short-toed Eagles and Griffon Vultures were numerous and quite low. Honey Buzzards were streaming across at much greater heights so few close views were available.
I start the blog with a very nice shot of a young Booted Eagle sitting on an old fence post on a hillside overlooking the sea. Probably it was waiting for favourable winds before making the long crossing to Africa.
The Griffon Vulture in this shot shows just how low many of the birds were flying due I think to the low cloud cover and strong winds blowing out towards the Atlantic.
After spending a good 45 minutes watching the activity tailed off so we decided to move on to Cazalla Observatorio where an entirely different display was in progress. Here there were fewer birds in sight but those we saw were almost exclusively Egyptian Vultures. Why they followed a different path to the other raptors is a mystery but they were all flying low and following the contours of the land. Perhaps they are not such strong flyers and require more shelter from the strong winds, I don't know but it was in stark contrast to the other raptors a little farther East of here.
After Cazalla we decided to drive down to the coast following the military access road, past the Bateria de Costa "Cascabel", down to the cliff area and then west past Punta del Oliveros and on to the CIMA Centre for Migration Observation. This is a pretty rough track and I would not do it in any car, fortunately my old Suzuki 4x4 is designed for this type of terrain.
Here's another look at the magnificent young Booted Eagle that we saw down here, and a low flying Honey Buzzard that I initially mistook for another dark morph Booted Eagle, so it was very pleasant surprise to dicover the more interesting species instead.
Finally a couple of shots of Griffon Vulture and Short-toed Eagle to finish this section on the migration watch for this trip, which had been very productive.
Apart from the easily seen raptors there were very few other birds to be seen. A few Wheatears down by the coast, including this Black-eared Wheatear male on a fence. Stonechats were numerous but nothing much else except a few larks and Sardinian Warblers, a flock or two of Bee-eaters flying low, but little else, so we decided to move on to La Janda.
It's worth noting that Elena and I returned here a few days later and found the "Torreta Dep Buque Espana", which is the name of a very large disused gun battery overlooking the Straits of Gibraltar. The photo was taken with my phone and it shows Morocco in the distance across the Straits, which must be at or near the narrowest point just here.
The main track through La Janda produced very little, we did see a Montagu's Harrier but it flew away before I could get the camera onto it. One or two distant Marsh Harriers were around but it wasn't until we made the right turn & headed up towards Benalup that we saw much of interest.
Along this track we saw the first of three Black-shouldered Kites, I even managed to grab a quck snapshot of one before it flew off into the distance.
As we passed "The Smelly Farm" as Bob likes to call it we spotted a beautiful and very large Otter in the water. I was driving so it took me a minute or two to get the camera onto it but just in time I managed to grab a quick record shot of what was a really nice wildlife sighting.
As we swung left towards the village of Benalup we came across a pond, or more accurately the flooded edge of a rice field containing a "Raft" of Glossy Ibis, all densely packed and crouching down into the face of a strong wind. There must have been more than 250 birds huddled together.
A closer looked around the Ibis raft turned up a few other waders including this very handsome Ruff, which was a nice surprise. In addition there were Greenshank, Ringed Plovers plus Common and Green Sandpipers.
After La Janda and Benalup we went on to Barbate and the salt flats to the South of Town. Here we watched this Osprey swoop down and emerge with a large fish in its talons, whereupon it was joined by a young osprey looking for a meal from its parent. A fun sighting.
There were a lot of birds on and around the ponds, most were Gulls of various types but not least this group of Audouins Gulls which are always a delight to see.
Flamingos were present in quite large numbers, along with a few Spoonbill, Avocet, Red and Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, a Great Egret plus Common and Green Sandpiper.
On the ground and in the trees fringing the ponds we picked up several nice species. Elena spotted a Little Owl which sat nicely for a while allowing us to get some nice photos.
Crested and Short-toed Larks were foraging in the sandy soil.
Sardinian Warblers were quite numerous in the stunted trees and bushes....
...and I was very pleased to pick up a nice Whitethroat in the trees. Small birds are, in my opinion, in serious decline, we see a fraction of the numbers we did just a few years ago. It's a disaster unfolding rapidly with some formerly common species becoming scarce now.
Zitting Cisticolas were once extremely common, we don't see many any more so it's nice to find a few here.
It's alway nice to find the Common Redstart. Common is a bit of a misnomer here as they are definitely not common, I suppose it just differentiates them from the other Redstart species we have in Spain which is the Black Redstart, which is in fact far more common.
There was more than one pair of Redstarts and I knew there was a high chance I might find a Pied Flycatcher or two, sure enough there was at least one pair present in company with the Redstarts. I have learned that they are often seen together, and so it was here as predicted.
Across a narrow strip of water we spotted a Stone Curlew on one of the islands. There always seem to be one or two present on this rather barren plot, probably because it is secure from homosapiens and other land based predators.
It was good to see a number of adult and juvenile Woodchat Shrikes flitting around the bushes. Evidence of a successful breeding season.
As we made our way out of the barbate wetlands we caught a second view of the Little Owl that we saw on the way in. An nice bird to finish up with.
On a later pass through La Janda we were held up by a roadblock of Cattle Egrets. There must have been 200 or more closely packed and spread across the road showing no signs of wanting to clear a path for cars that were stopped on each side.
It was fun watching them and speculating on the reasons for such strange behaviour. I always believe the motivation must be something to do with food or nesting, and as the breeding season was over I concluded there must be a food source here somewhere.
I noticed that there was a valve manifold/sluice gate close by which was something to do with the adjacent rice field. i believe they must have been waiting for the valve or sluice gate to open to release water from the rice field which looked very ripe and ready for cutting. They were waiting for the nutrient rich water to be released which would contain at least harvest of the American Crayfish that thrive in the paddy fields, and perhaps much more. Clever birds.
Well we obviously couldn't wait indefinitely so eventually edged slowly forwards, whereupon the egrets flew up, and immediately settled back on the road once we had passed. They appeared to be very single minded and determined to wait patiently for a good meal, something they must have had prior knowledge of.
On the subject of Egrets, here's a Great Egret that was also seen in the fields of La Janda.
This Little Egret on the other hand I photographed in good light on a subsequent visit to the Charca de Suarez, Motril. It's worth posting for the unusual amount of detail of the all white plumage, which close proximity and good light achieve.
Here's another couple of images of a very beautiful Spoonbill, again at the Charca. It is fresh and clean and unencumbered by the usual heavy bling around it's legs. As yet it had not been caught and manacled by the dreaded ringers who seem to take pleasure in blighting the lives of these stunning birds simply because they can. It contributes nothing but misery for the poor birds who are trussed up looking ready for a supermarket shelf with labels and rings all over their legs.
As well as the Spoonbill this juvenile Flamingo was wandering around in fromt of the hide so I took a picture to show that remarkable downcurved bill designed to sweep the mud on the bottom of the shallow water in which it wades.
Finally a nice shot of one of the most common birds in this part of Spain, the Stonechat. This is a handsome male perched conspicuously on the top of some low scrub, making it very easy to take its picture. So here it is.
I don't usually count, or make a list of birds seen, but Bob compiled this list of 70+ species which I think was pretty good in a quick overnight visit. It includes 12 species of raptor so I'll start with them:-
Booted Eagle, Buzzard, Kestrel, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier.
Waders and Herons
Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Ruff, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Great Egret, Heron, Glossy Ibis, White Stork, Spoonbill, Flamingo
Little Owl, Whitethroat, Common Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Northern Wheatear, Black-eared Wheatear, Cetti's Warbler, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Willow Warbler, Stonechat, Woodchat Shrike, Audouin's Gull, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Common Swift, Bee-eater, Hoopoe, Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-rumped Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Raven, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Mallard, Gannet, Cormorant.
We set off for an early start butterfly counting up in Sierra Nevada with friend and wildlife guide Mick Richardson. A previous count in 2012 came up with a grand total of 47 species of which I saw 45, that was hugely impressive. I was not confident we could match that as subsequent visits have not been anywhere near as successful, but we would give it our best shot.
Our first butterfly was a Grayling which landed on my car bumper as we sat having a coffee on the way up. Needless to say we did not get a photograph, it was probably a Common Grayling.
Up on the higher slopes, out past the Virgin of the Snow Statue we picked up our main target species. This Apollo sat down long enough for a decent shot.
Next was one of several Spanish Brassy Ringlets, a local endemic.
Small Tortoiseshells were fairly numerous, providing a very bright splash of colour against the grey rocks.
There were a few Blues around. Mick suggested the Idas Blue was more likely than Silver-studded up at this altitude. I admit that I cannot distinguish between the two. Apparently the black upper wing border is wider on the Silver-studded but I didn't get good enough open wing shots to differentiate.
Purple Shot Copper was a fairly numerous species up here.
There were a few of the endemic Nevada Blues about, always a good species to find here.
The photo below is an Argus but I'm not sure if it's Spanish or Mountain. I do not have the ability to distinguish from just an underwing photograph. My gut feeling is it is Spanish Argus because of the rounded edge of the upper forewing, which would be straighter in Mountain Argus. But hey??
We were not only looking at butterflies and I was pleased to get a couple of nice opportunistic shots of a parent Northern Wheatear feeding a fledged youngster. The Wheatears were in their Summer moult which makes them look a bit scruffy, but this was a decisive moment shot, well worthwhile.
Other birds of note included Booted Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Rock Thrush (female), Tawny Pipit, Red-billed Chough and Mick spotted a solitary Common Cuckoo fly across as we parked lower down the slopes to continue with our butterfly count. We heard many other birds which Mick is able to recognise, I do not know the calls well enough to do that.
At the lower altitude the observed species changed. here is a Bath White and below I managed to capture a flying Bee in the shot which makes it more interesting.
Marbled Whites were quite prolific and I post this shot of what I believe is an Iberian Marbled White - melanargia lachesis. I hoped it was a Western Marbled White, which would be a first for me as I usually see the Common or Iberian varieties. Unfortunately it is the Iberian variety.
I think the insect below is a Common Blue, but for all I know it could be one of several varieties, for example Eschers Blue. I just wish I could tell the difference but prudence requires us to choose the most common species.
Here's another example of doubt. Is the next photo a Silver-studded or an Idas Blue? I really don't know but because it was seen lower down the mountain I will opt for Silver Studded Blue. It must be one of the two as it has the blue scales inside the outer black wingspots.
There were relatively few Fritillaries to be seen today. This is a Dark Green Fritillary, I post two shots as an underwing view is good for identification.
The only other Fritillary I photographed all day was at a stop on the way down the mountain where we picked up this Lesser Spotted Fritillary. I would expect to have seen at least three or four more varieties which were conspicuous by their absence. I do believe insects in general are in decline and this is more anecdotal evidence of that.
We stopped by the botanical Gardens on the way down where Mick drew my attention to a pair of mating Clouded Yellows. It's not often we see this common species like this so it is definitely worthy of inclusion.
The Spanish Purple Hairstreak is a nice species to find as it is restricted to the Iberian Peninsula. This one was on an Ash Tree which is one of its favoured foodstocks.
I also post here a previous photo of this species as the one we captured today was rather faded, the markings and colours less distinct than my previous effort.
The Speckled Wood is one of the most common species in these parts but I post this shot anyway as it has fully open wings showing it to advantage.
Here's one I missed from earlier in the day, a Long-tailed Blue. We also saw Lang's Short-tailed and False Ilex Blues.
The shot below is a nice one of Lang's Short-tailed Blue on a wild dog-rose.
......and the next is a Blue Spot Hairstreak
We picked up both species of Swallowtail further down the mountain, I post here a decent shot of the Scarce Swallowtail, even though it's missing a large section of one wing.
The last butterfly shot is a Dusky Heath.
Finally an image of a rather nice beetle that caught my eye. I have no idea what it is called, I just include it here as I like it.
In summary we had an excellent day. It was great to see Mick again after such a long time and we hope to have more wildlife adventures with him in the near future. We didn't manage the 45 - 47 species we picked up in 2012 but I understand Mick's count is 36 which is not bad at all. I hope to list them all later. We also enjoyed the birds but today was all about the mariposas of Sierra Nevada, a special environment.
Here's my butterfly count, I make it 33 species which I was very pleased with. I must say I was pretty tired out by the end of the day and was thankful that Elena drove back to Frigiliana while I slept. Climbing around the mountain with two cameras with 500mm and 180mm lenses is exhausting work, but very satisfying.
Great Banded Grayling
Spanish Brassy Ringlet
Purple Shot Copper
Spanish Brown Argus
Langs Short-tailed Blue
Spanish Purple Hairstreak
False Ilex Hairstreak
Blue Spot Hairstreak
Dark Green Fritillary
Lesser Spotted Fritillary
Iberian Marbled White
Elena gave me an excited call from the terrace so I grabbed my camera and hurried out in time to see a pair of Bonellis Eagles circling and wheeling around above us.
As usual the camera settings were not quite right for this so it took me a frustrating minute or two before I was ready. Fortunately they were still up there, allbeit not as close. The photos are pretty good though, showing great detail of the lower plumage of the male and female birds. Bonellis Eagles are quite special as their numbers have declined quite drastically in recent years so it was a delight to see them.
On the previous day we had climbed a peak (castle Rock, top of Rio de la Miel valley) hoping to see and photograph the Alpine Swifts that I remember wheeling around the summit on past occasions. Unlucky this time, no swifts, so I contented myself with photos of one of the numerous Lacewings that were fluttering around on the steep and sunny slopes. This is the best of the bunch and I was quite pleased with it.
We agreed to meet Bob Wright at the gates of the Charca de Suarez at 6pm on Thursday. This has to be arranged in advance with contact details given for every visitor for corona virus contact tracing reasons. Once inside it was a very pleasant two hours with a few nice bird sightings.
The Turtle Dove shot here was taken at the Rio Guadalfeo picnic site where until this year there had been a long-standing dippers nest. Those days are gone unfortunately, all the vegetation on the bank around the nest site had been stripped bare, another casualty of habitat destruction by homosapiens.
There were still families of Spotted Flycatchers as usual, some with newly fledged young still in family groups. Here's one on top of an isolated stick, out in the open as is characteristic of this species.
Elena spotted a solitary Bee-eater on a dead tree branch, it makes a nice image without anything to clutter the frame.
Bob pointed out a single Ferruginous Duck, a male in very fine plumage, his eye shining bright in the evening sun.
This White Stork has been a resident feature at the Charca for a couple of years now. Apparently it has impaired flight due perhaps to an injury, but it survives very well in the wader pond, obviously finding enough food to sustain itself over a long period of time.
A single Glossy Ibis is a bit strange, I am used to seeing these birds in groups, they are quite social, so having one here at the Charca which is well off the usual beaten track for them is a bit odd. Perhaps it has a problem such as disease or injury, anyway it's always nice to see and adds to the list for the day.
This Pied Wagtail sat up so nicely with a beakful of insect food that I had to take its picture. This bird has a very extensive black bib but with grey upperparts as opposed to black, I guess it is technically a White Wagtail as opposed to Pied, but I call them all Pied out of habit.
Nightingales were quite numerous and although the singing season is over it's always nice to see this visually unobtrusive species. This one I captured in some undergrowth where he thought he was out of sight.
Red-knobbed Coots are a common feature here but it's worth posting a shot of one carrying some nest material in its beak. The Marsh Harrier below was one of a pair that was quartering the marshes just outside the boundary of the reserve, but I did come close enough for a worthwhile record shot.
Waxbills are escaped cagebirds which have flourished in Andalucia. This one is not the common variety but a Black-rumped Waxbill which is very slightly different, as the name suggests.
Finally, as it was time to leave we came across a Spanish lady holding a very healthy looking Chameleon. I don't think it's a good idea to handle animals, or birds, but well, there it was so I took a photo. Manu the warden asked that we didn't post the images on Facebook as it is not good practice to pick them up, however it seemed none the worse for wear and I doubt if it was harmed in any way.
Not much birding in late 2019 and 2020 as for me health and family matters dominated, and then the limited opportunities afforded by the corona virus lockdown situation in Spain. The Grey Heron below was photographed at the Charca de Suarez in nice evening light.
A stroll along the Rio Chillar near Nerja revealed a healthy population of Grey Wagtails enjoying the quite high levels of water flowing down to the sea.
During the lockdown period I have been limited to photographing birds on and around our terrace. Elena has attracted a large colony of Greenfinches which feed on her endless supply of seeds. The shot below shows an alpha male aggressively protecting his perch close to the seed tray.
Prior to the virus pandemic we had attended a day trip to Osuna arranged by Derek Etherton. It was a highly successful outing with the highlight being excellent sightings of a large flock of Great Bustards. The best photographs from the day were of this Common Buzzard which kept moving and perching ahead of the car as we progressed slowly along the road. I have always admired Buzzards, a fine looking raptor sometimes undervalued by birders because it is quite numerous.
This shot below is the best I could get of the Great Bustards which were quite distant. It was however really satisfying to see such a large number of these fantastic birds, estimates varied between 56 and 120+ depending upon who you asked. I am not a counter, preferring to enjoy the sight and take the opportunity to capture images with the camera.
One other shot worth including is this one of a Grey Shrike which perched nicely for a shot through the car window.
On the way home we stopped in at Fuente de Piedra which was very dry but I did catch quite a nice reflection shot of a row of Flamingos in evening light.
During the lockdown period I have been reduced to practicing my camerawork by chasing the Common Swifts as they dart around the house in the evenings. I have to admit I am simply not quick enough to get a close enough shot for the quality I would like. This one below is about the best I could do so far. I will keep trying.
Collared Doves are as common as muck but I quite like the next photo taken below our terrace, for its aesthetic quality.
I almost forgot to include two birds enjoyed by the Axarquia group on a trip to El Robledal. The Common Redstart was one of a pair making sorties from the same tree as a pair of Pied Flycatchers. Watching this activity was a real pleasure.
Retired seafarer living in Frigiliana, a white village in Malaga Province in southern Spain. Married to Elena. Keen bird and wildlife watchers.
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