Actually this blog starts with an ABS November field trip to the Sierra Magina in Jaen province. Elena and I set off very early in the morning & arrived at the meeting point in the town of Ubeda in good time. I was surprised at the number of members who had travelled so far for this one, perhaps because it is a new and interesting location, but a convoy of ten or more cars is not conducive to good bird watching. In fact birds were few and far between but the scenery was spectacular and worth the trip for that in itself.
There were admitedly long range sightings of Golden Eagles soaring over the sierras, but the only photograph I took on the entire trip was of a Crossbill that sat nicely on a bare branch giving the whole group good views.
A quick walk around the Charca de Suarez yielded very little. The only birds of note were a pair of nice Pintails, that most elegant of ducks, and an over-flying Booted Eagle. There was a Marsh Harrier also outside on the marshes.
I took a keen birding friend Gerry Bennet along to Zapata and the Guadalhorce. He had recently invested in a superb micro 4/3rds camera with a quality Leica 100 - 400mm lens. The advantage of this type of mirrorless camera is the very compact size and reduced weight, of the lens in particular because the smaller sensor requires a much shorter focal length for the equivalent magnification and reach of a full frame, or APSC type DSLR like my Canon 7D.
I was very impressed with the quality of his images, particularly the long range shots which gave better detail than my big 500mm lens. The downside however is thay my larger sensor, extra glass and longer focal length gives better quality images at short range. The soft bokeh/background created by a larger aperture is just not possible with the smaller kit. Here are a couple of short range shots that I think were better than Gerry's equivalent, a White Wagtail and a Common Sandpiper.
These two long range shots below however, of a roosting Buzzard and a Booted Eagle, both taken from the main hide at the Guadalhorce, are not as clear and detailed as Gerry's. Swings and roundabouts I suppose but his kit is less than half the size and weight of mine, and less than half the price too.
There were quite a few other species seen this day including a group of Avocets, a pair of Flamingos, several Greenshank, Green Sandpipers, eight Shelduck, a lot of Black-necked Grebes, an Osprey, a Great Egret and much more. The Great-crested Grebe below was one of a pair seen off the beach, the sea was very calm at the time.
Finally I thought I would post this image of a magnificent rainbow taken from our terrace during a pause between showers recently. Some pots of gold out there somewhere.