Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Spain - Day 4, El dia de los vencejos! 20th July 2017

This was the last day of our short trip, so we were just hanging around near our hotel in Torremolinos. I decided to try and get some pictures of the swifts, which were flying around in hundreds above everyone. I noted 3 of the 4 species- Pallid, Alpine and Common. I took a lot of pictures, merely to try and get a good one of any Swift. Also had a mystery small bird - I say mystery but the picture was just so bad I couldn't identify it.

Pallid and Common

Pallid and Common




A great trip to Spain. With it no being the holidays, hopefully I'll get a bit more time to go out.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Spain - Day 3, Ronda y Mijas, 19th July 2017

Today was the day I was looking forward to the most. By 9.00am our coaches had set off on the journey to Ronda - the town on the cliffs. 
The journey itself was eventful, with incredible views and good birds as well. A group of Cattle egret flew overhead, while 2 Great white Egret sat by a boating lake. More birds of prey were seen, and more poor silhouette shots were taken. Alpine Swifts swirled around, as did White-rumped Swifts.


Cattle Egret




White Rumped Swift
After around an hour and a half, we arrived and were given some free-time to have a look around. By a little park, a Short-toed Treecreeper could be heard but not seen. Then we got to the cliffs - Crag Martins flew around in numbers, and a Rock Sparrow flew downwards. A large bird flew over very fast, leaving me frustrated. 

In the gorge, there were around 50 Choughs.


A pair of Kestrel clung to the cliff, and the Swifts and Crag Martins dashed by.


Crag Martin

Fortunately, I spotted a small blue bird leap across the cliffs around 300m down. A delightful Blue Rock Thrush!

Blue rock Thrush

Blue Rock Thrush
Now is a bird that I've spent every day trying to identify. It's probably something very common but I've missed it, but it looked around the size of a small falcon, circling the bottom of the gorge, then disappeared. This is completely unedited, only cropped. Please comment if you have an idea of what this is.

(I have absolutely NO idea what this is)
After a walk in a bullring, we were given a little more freetime, and I added Bonelli's Eagle, Booted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Griffon Vulture to the day's birds. 
Booted Eagle

Griffon Vulture
After leaving, we went to a small village called 'Las Mijas' where a House martin was feeding young in a little tower.
House Martin

House Martin
A great day, with lots of unknown species. With the last day being the 20th, hopefully some other things would get added to the list.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Spain - Day 2, Sevilla, 18th July 2017

After waking up very early for a day trip to Sevilla, we were all on the coach by 6:30am. Much to my grief, I fell asleep for the journey through the mountains so saw nothing on the way bar a Peregrine nearer arrival.
When we arrived, there were lots of Sparrows, Goldfinches, Collared Doves and Swifts - this time the Swifts included both Common and a few White-rumped Swift. 
While walking towards the Spanish cathedral - where there were Lesser Kestrels nesting last year - and the 'Alcazar' I spotted a Short-Toed Treecreeper sidling up a tree. Since we were sightseeing not birdwatching I couldn't stop for pictures :(
After walking around all the normal birds had been seen with the bonus of a Sandpiper sp. on the River Guadalquivir, and a Spotted flycatcher in the park Maria Luisa.

Collared Dove

Spotted Flycatcher

Sparrow on lamp

In the Alcazar gardens, there was another Spotted Flycatcher and lots of Parakeets. A warbler species flew across, but I couldn't identify it from the fly-through.

Spotted Flycatcher
Soon after, with no sign of the Lesser Kestrels, we set off back towards Malaga.
What an incredible journey. The only downfall was that I couldn't take a single good flipping picture as the coach continually bumped along. On the way, it started with one bird of prey. Golden eagle. No pictures 😒. Within an hour, Black kite, Common Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, Booted eagle and Short-Toed Eagle had all made the list. With a rubbish tip on the way, around 30 Black Kites circled as did many more White Storks and a few Black. Another bird of prey arrived, but only a silhouette. . As did another. Not sure which species for either.
White Storks


In the evening, I thought I heard a Common Bulbul, but might have been mistaken for another bird.
The next day was a day where the plan was to go to Ronda in the mountains - a day I had been looking forward to for a long time!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Spain - Day 1, Malaga, 22nd July 2017

I've just returned from a trip to Malaga with school. 
After waking up at 2:30am, we travelled by plane and arrived at around 12pm. The whole day was spent in and around our hotel, and going down to the nearby beach and chilling. From our hotel window, many Collared Dove lazed around, a Herring Gull sat on the roof of a rotting building and House Martins flew around. A mix of House and Spanish Sparrows also were also seen. Quite a dull start.
House Sparrows
Collared Dove

House Martin

Herring Gull

On the beachside, a pair of Monk Parakeets squabbled while more gulls flew around. A Great White Egret flew down the coast, annoyingly evading the camera; meanwhile, I tested the camera's zoom with distant gulls out at sea.

Monk Parakeet

Herring Gull

Yellow legged Gull
In the evening, we went for a walk to buy some drinks in the main part of the city. After watching some Starling fly up, I was alerted to my first bird of prey which seemed hungry, as it whizzed over allowing me possibly the worst record shot ever. It seems like a Red-footed Falcon anyhow.

Spotless Starlings 

Eleonora's Falcon
The next day we were off to Sevilla, on a near 3 hour coach journey. Plenty more to be seen!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A bonanza of Butterflies and Damselflies. 16th July 2017

Over the last week, while I've been playing cricket, I've noticed that all the butterflies and dragonflies have started to come out much more. 
A few days ago a Common and interestingly a Small Blue came through our garden.
Today a Small Skipper came through and landed on the grass, and one of the first Gatekeepers were around.
Small Skipper

In the afternoon, I went for a walk in Morden Hall. It was quiet bird-wise, so other than finding a Grey Wagtail nest, a Wren nest, the Reed Warblers and a pair of Kestrel I focused on the insects.
Two Comma at the front were very showy, a Small Copper flew past, Red Admiral and Peacock dashed around, while Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper were 'guarding the meadows?'
Lots of whites were around but never landed. 


Meadow Brown

Small Tortoiseshell
There were lots of different damselflies, including the below and a Southern Emerald and lots of blues.
Banded Demoiselle

Banded Demoiselle (fem)

Banded Demoiselle

Southern Blue Damselfly
Interesting behaviour from a male Banded Demoiselle, and I have no idea what it was up to. Be happy for suggestions. This is a sequence. 

And a bird pic. 
Grey Wagtail