Thursday, 24 April 2014

More Barbate Birds

A Squacco Heron arrives on the coast

The Squacco Heron's breeding plumage is especially beautiful

A Calandra Lark looks out over the wild mustard blossom

A (Greater) Short-toed Lark searches for food on the bare earth

Collared Pratincoles at Barbate Marismas

 Tawny Pipit

Little Owl sitting in a wild olive tree

A male Little Bustard feeding amongst a mass of fresh sunflower plants

Little Bustard

Montagu's Harrier, female

Montagu's Harrier male displaying

(Common) Nightingale taking off from his thorny perch. Nightingales are more often heard than seen!

The fine colours of a Red-legged Partridge

….and of this busy European Bee-eater who has been busy excavating a new nest tunnel.
Interestingly they will wear down their bills losing up to 3cms in length during tunneling. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

April Migration around Barbate

Male Subalpine Warblers are just stunning…

 A Melodious Warbler blasts out his long spring song

Montagu's Harriers are such wonderful birds of prey to watch. Their slight and light bouncing forms come across the rolling landscape in Cadiz province each spring as the breeding season once again kicks in and the cycle of life continues. Female birds like this one compete for males who sit around and watch the girls tussle or fight it out with one another or themselves display across green and yellow fields.

 The Montagu's Harrier is a very agile and light bird, weighing only a quarter of say a robust female Marsh Harrier. Their speed and energy is fascinating to watch and often they forget about the mammal on the ground pointing a camera at them! Below are some interesting shots of two females fighting it out...

The male Montagu's Harrier sits in the morning sunlight surveying the developing 'fight for the right' as the females tussle and expend an enormous amount of energy on the right to breed with the waiting male. He watches and assesses each of the females stamina, strength and determination as a suitable breeding partner.

I managed to take some flight shots of the single Spanish Imperial Eagle from last year's brood near La Janda. The plumage change is slowly progressing and darkening in shade as the bird matures.

I took this full-frame shot of a male Little Bustard displaying near Vejer de la Frontera. There were three females quite distant and keeping well hidden. Below is a crop of the male leaping and 'clicking' as he shows his wonderful 'Newcastle United football scarf ' breeding plumage!

Always lovely and impressive to watch is the Short-toed Eagle. This bird has quite a lot of new plumage coming in...

A newly arrived Tawny Pipit at Barbate Marismas sings amidst the spring flowers

A Little Owl looks around its patch of yellow mustard and milky thistles

Female Stonechats are already on their second brood

More news from The Strait later….