Saturday, 29 May 2010

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 7 - Tawny Pipit

Driving along the road, I stopped the car right next to this bird. It didn't fly away. I was in the drivers seat and the bird was on the passenger side of the car. Luckily my Cannon EOS 1000D was at hand on the seat and I was able to take a few snaps.

Above & Below: A Tawny Pipit.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Shadow play...

Cap de Favoritx, Menorca was a bit of a barren landscape. Everywhere we visited on else on this island had green vegetation in abundance. Here however, there was no green - just shades.

Above: Thumbs up!

Above: Hello!

Above: A weak joke ...!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 6 + Drain Pipes ... of course!

We went for a walk from Cala Galdana up Algendar Gorge (having already done part of the gorge from the other end where I got photographs of the Egyptian Vulture). We were aware that this was a great place to go for migrating birds but missed this on our visit last year.

I didn't find anything spectacular, or add anything to my holiday list but I did get some good photographs.

Above: A Sand Martin. I tried to find a crag martin during the holiday - unsuccessfully.

Above: Lots of house martins resting in a Tamarisk tree after an arrival.

The weather wasn't great but as the water droplets came down with increasing regularity, I noticed a significant arrival of House Martins on the way back to the car that weren't there on the first pass. Numbers must have been around the 4 figure mark.

Last year, whilst walking around I noticed a variety of 'interesting' (to me anyway)drainage solutions.

Above & Below: These are both the same house.

Below: This one was not such a good example. It is draining water from a balcony above but is clearly staining the wall. Most buildings in Menorca are white and I reckon they must sell billions of litres of white paint every year!

Below: Somebody with a sense of humour, although technically, I don't think it would be draining water from anywhere!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 5

Still more photographs from Menorca:

Above: Although I got a view of Purple Heron flying, this was the best view I got whilst one was grounded.

Above: An influx of Bee-eaters (50+ at Cala Tirant) occured on 27th April. The light was poor but I did get this photograph.

Above: A stonechat near our appartment at Arenal d'en Castell. There were Stonechat all over the place.

Above: A hoopoe near our appartment at Arenal d'en Castell. I saw several of these across the island but this was the only opportunity I got for a photo.

Above: The morning after the storm, I got close enough to this Turtle Dove to photograph it without the scope and just my Panasonic Lumix FS7 compact camera! I treated me almost as a pigeon in the town centre would!

Above: My dad walked straight past this - a land turtle (of the Testudo hermanni subspecies. Apparently it was brought to the Balearic Islands in very ancient times. Adults can grow to a lenght of 20cm with the males being smaller in general than the females.

Above: And the hare said to the turtle ...

Mediterranean Storm

During the night of 3rd/4th May, I spent an hour unable to sleep in our appartment in Menorca due to a severe storm, the likes of which I've not seen before. The wind was banging the shutters around and the outdoor chairs and tables were getting blown around everywhere! I've no idea what the birds did to stay out of the worst of it!

By the next morning, the wind had calmed down.

Above: A view of the local coastline (taken last year) in normal circumstances (no waves to speak of) - this bit is quite sheltered.

Above: The same place from further back and a slightly wider angle, the morning after the storm.

Above: A wider angle still - further out where it is a bit more exposed.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 4

A variety of digiscoped images from Menorca:

Above: An Egyptian Vulture in Algendar Gorge - a site great for migrating birds and a dramatic landscape.

Above: An Audouin's Gull at Punta Prima. I've noticed that I tend to only find these gulls on the south coast of Menorca.

Above: A Kentish Plover (left) and Little Ringed Plover (right). My first ever Kentish plover!

Above: A Blue Rock Thrush near Pont d'en Gil.

Above: A digiscoped image of the moon.

Above: A Common Sandpiper along the coast near Es Grau.

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 3

This edition is devoted to Black-Winged Stilts. Again, a species I've never seen in Britain but that is hardly surprising.

Above: There were 20 + Black-Winged Stilts on this site - Las Salinas de Montgofre - probably the best site for them (and waders) on the island.

Above: An adult male Black-Winged Stilt.

Above: Male (right) and female (left) Black-Winged Stilts.

Above: A female Black-Winged Stilt.

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 2

This edition features Cattle Egret. I've never seen one in Britain (they're just starting to colonise Britain - perhaps in the same way Little Egrets have - but are rare at the moment). Last year I saw one group of 4 and a group of 7 but only briefly. This year I saw many more!

Above: A cheeky shot of a Cattle Egret I just had to include!

I was driving along a road I saw a group of 13 Cattle Egret flying away. 2 hours later I was driving the opposite way when I saw a number of Cattle Egret in a small grove of pine trees. It turns out I found a nesting site! Would this be an Egretry?

Stopping, I got my scope and camera out to get some superb photographs!

Above: A Cattle Egret preening at a nest site.

Whilst preening, birds are perched in the same place. I found it quite a challenge to get the timing right to get a good photo inbetween or whilst preening! This must happen regularly with digiscoping going on my experiences. I also found that when the birds aren't preening, they're usually moving making photographs hard.

Above: These were the only two Cattle Egret I could photograph 'on the nest'. Views were restricted from the road (the Egrets were on private land) where I was forced to stand.

Above: Another cheeky shot! Some of these birds were seen carrying twigs = nesting.

Above: One or two came down to the ground (presumably for nesting materials) and this was the only photograph I managed whilst it was sneeking away from me.

Above: At another site completely, I discovered 7 Cattle Egret in their natural feeding environment! Alas, before I could get a classic photo of one standing atop of a cow, it flew off not to return.

Above: One early morning I got a digiscoped image of these egrets - a mixture of Cattle and Little Egrets. There were 31 birds in total at roughly a 50/50 split (an accurate split was impossible to to the distance involved).

The total holiday count for this species was well over 30 birds!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Menorca Birds 2010 Edition 1

I've just got back from a holiday in Menorca. There were plenty of highlights and I am really happy that I had a scope and camera (with attachment) to record some of these.

Above & Below: A Woodchat Shrike near Son Parc.

I waited quite a while for this bird to turn to the side or the opposite way round to get more images but to no avail.

Above: Before we found the Woodchat Shrike in the other images, my dad found this partially eaten, dead bird, skewered on a branch right next to the path we were walking along. Did it end up as a meal for a Woodchat Shrike? It certainly ended up as a meal for ants!