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Messing about in Andalucía; birds, butterflies, and other bichos

Home Forums Field Trips & Conservation Messing about in Andalucía; birds, butterflies, and other bichos

This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Matt 2 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 30 total)
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  • #354499

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Ventas de Zafarraya

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     Pyrrhocorax graculus (Alpine chough)

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     Oenanthe leucura (black wheatear)

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    #354551

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Alhama de Granada and surrounding countryside with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance.

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     Fuente de Piedra and overwintering Grus grus (Eurasian crane)

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     Almond blossom is everywhere in Málaga province during spring

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     Northern face of the Sierra de Huma with the Guadalhorce reservoir in front

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     View back at the same reservoir from the Sierra de Huma

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     We came up here to see if the nesting egyptian vultures had arrived yet, but saw only griffon vultures (pics taken beginning of March)…

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     Circaetus gallicus (short-toed eagle) at rest before continuing its migration

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    #354560

    Graham Ramsay
    Participant

    Do the vultures get fed?

    #354600

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Yep. See feeding station at this site earlier in thread. Unfortunately the Egyptians still haven’t been seen this year – not a good sign.

    #354618

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Some pics from two excursions to the Straits of Gibraltar in early March. Plenty of raptor migration going on.

    One of the most abundant eagles during this period of migration is C. gallicus. This species really seems to struggle crossing the water and often flies in quite low.

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     When they do eventually arrive, they are typically gasping for breath, as seen by the open beak here.004.jpg

     As if the physical exertion isn’t enough, they often have company for the last stretch of the journey…gull id would be appreciated.

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     “Why don’t you just shut up?”

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     Milvus migrans (black kite)

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     White and black storks (Ciconia ciconia and C. nigra); the former tend to form large groups whereas the latter arrive singly or in small bands.

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    Neophron percnopterus (Egyptian vulture) tend to arrive very high so no chance of a decent pic with my 200 mm lens.

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     Some of the raptor viewpoints on the straits.

    Punto Carnero

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     Cazalla (with Africa behind)

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     Tráfico; first shot shows view across the straits to Africa, second one the view towards Tarifa and the Pacific Ocean

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     Short-toed eagle arriving at Tráfico with the African coastline as a backdrop. Really impressive scenes!

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    Sometimes, when the levante (easterly wind) is strong, the birds get blown out to sea and arrive further to the northwest, on the beaches west of Tarifa…

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     …or near the town of Bolonia and the ruined Roman town of Baelo Claudia.

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     Also close to Bolonia is this outcrop with nesting griffon vulture, eagle owl, and later in the year, egyptian vulture.

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    One for id. Maybe crested or thekla lark?

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    #354624

    Graham Ramsay
    Participant

    The gulls would be Larus michahellis. As for the lark? Not the best angle to see the beak, which is the best way to separate them. It looks like it’s quite long though, so maybe crested.

     

    Have a look here – comparison.

    #354626

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Crested for sure then. Thanks Graham!

    #354628

    olly
    Participant

     Beautiful places and nice pics, Matt. The birds are not afraid of you at all.

    #354629

    Plaamoo
    Participant

    A lovely part of the world! Thanks for sharing Matt!

    #354653

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Thanks Olly and Jim, and glad you’re enjoying the pics! Olly, the birds are VERY scared of me, but am improving slowly. :)

    In addition to migration over the straits and a lot of mountainous terrain, the interior of Andalucía also has some interesting steppe-like habitat. In Sevilla province, an area close to the town of Osuna provides the best opportunity to see the increasingly rare Otis tarda (great bustard) in these parts.

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    O. tarda is Europe’s heaviest bird and arguably the heaviest extant flying animal; males can weigh some 18 kg (!) and have a wingspan in excess of 2 metres. It is not easy to approach this species, and our views have mostly been very distant so far. Despite their size, the birds can be surprisingly tricky to spot…

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     Several females here, with a large sexually-mature male on the left.

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     Another male – what a massive, stunning creature. We were also lucky enough to see rival males displaying to each other.

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    The only close(ish) view to date. Three birds walked across the track in front of the car around 100m metres away. Unfortunately the light and heat haze made life difficult in terms of photography. :(

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     Some poor shots of bustards in flight.

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    #354654

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Other stuff seen around Osuna.

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     White stork on nest

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     Record, i.e. crap, shot of Pterocles orientalis (black-bellied sandgrouse)

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     Berberomeloe majalis (red-striped oil beetle) – a large, toxic species with a remarkable life cycle

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    Upupa epops (hoopoe)

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    The very beautiful Passer hispaniolensis (Spanish sparrow). Male, female and a small stand of eucalyptus trees containing hundreds of nests of this species (many can be seen in the pic).

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    Nest of Cecropis daurica (red-rumped swallow) with typical entrance tunnel. In places where both species occur, these nests may be ‘appropriated’ by Apus caffer (white-rumped swift).

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     Recurvirostra avosetta (avocet)

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    NB: any pics labelled with a 2013 copyright in this thread should read 2015. Also apologies for the sometimes robotic tone; in many cases I am learning as I go.

    #354666

    Graham Ramsay
    Participant

    When I lived in Saudi Arabia people sometimes approached me about a strange bird they had seen. It was always, without exception, a Hoopoe.

    #354674

    Plaamoo
    Participant

    Nice birds. Love the hoopoe!

    #354706

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Record shot of Cyanopica cyanus (azure-winged magpie)

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     SubadultTimon lepidus (ocellated lizard)

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     Habitat of the above species, close to Archidona

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    #354827

    Matt
    Keymaster

    Río Alaminos, Málaga.

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    Squalius pyrenaicus

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