Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Birds from Extremadura, Spain

Having had problems with my internet connection, I have been unable to post any of my photographs taken on a recent holiday to Extremadura, Spain. Though I have been able to edit them in preparation. The situation has improved... slightly... so here you go (do click on the photographs to see larger versions & the species names below are also given in Spanish for Antonio Calvo):

Above: A party of House Martins (Avíon común) collecting mud for their nest building. This species is common in Spain. There were many places where I found them and there were large colonies - under bridges/dams especially. One very long bridge had hundreds of nests under various stages of constant construction - on both sides!

Above: Gulp! A swallow, but not the Barn Swallow type that we see in Britain regularly during the spring/summer but a Red-rumped swallow (Golondrina daurica). N.B. Britain sees a handfull of the red-rumped type each year. Smaller than a Barn Swallow, the red/white rump and the red neck also make this bird stand out. This bird was photographed at Monfrague National Park.

Not too widespread but not too hard to find in Extremadura.

Above: Up the crag without a paddle? Well these Crag Martins (Avíon roquero) seemed to be doing ok! Presumably taking a rest from feeding (they weren't nesting on this ledge), I was able to get fairly close from a bridge above them. I saw some in Sardinia last year but I got better views this time!

Above: Having now seen these photographs up close, I am struck by how similar they are to swifts (in their wing feathers and beak structure), at least sitting - they look different in flight. They are built for catching insects on the wing.

The holiday itself was good. Though you won't want to hear it, the weather was better in Spain than in the UK! It did rain quite a bit towards the end (snow on the top of the mountains) but overall we did well. Over 100 species were seen and about a quarter were species I'd never seen before.

For those of you who might be interested, the bird photographs from Spain posted here (and in future posts) will have been taken with a Cannon EOS 1000D and a Cannon EF 400mm 1:5.6L lens.

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