Tuesday 18 February 2014

February and back in Spain.

I spent the first half of February on a parental visit to Yorkshire. Not alot of time to go birding, nor the best weather for it but I was taken out one wonderful morning by birding pal Linda Jenkinson of Start Birding! to Golden Acre Park and it's small but perfectly formed Adel Dam reserve. Can't believe I was brought up just down the road and I didn't know about Adel Dam. When we got taken to Golden Acre we always moaned because it felt like second best to Ilkley moors....

Gt. Spotted Woodpecker. Photo Linda Jenkinson
We stopped by both hides and were lucky to see a female Gt Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch on the feeders.
From the Dam hide we watched a very sickly looking juvenile Grey Heron and a much livelier female Kingfisher.   

Heron and Kingfisher photos Linda Jenkinson
Lots of Treecreepers around and I was surprised to see how much whiter they are underneath than the Short-toed ones we have in my part of Spain. I assume it must be because they have to deal with poorer light conditions in the north? Ours are much duskier. 

After two weeks in the UK I was very lucky to make my escape from Liverpool airport just before flights were grounded due to the terrible weather and gale-force winds. The massive waves and flooding were shocking to see on the TV and my heart goes out to all directly hit as well as the wetland reserves under water. I just wish this will make our 'leaders' take climate change seriously and stop postponing measures.

During my absence the female stork arrived at our church-tower nest and now they're busy fixing it up.
Storks reunited

We had an interesting outing to our local patch on Sunday afternoon. On our way down we saw Corn Buntings taking up position on their tree-top perches, Rock Sparrows, Meadow Pipits, Crested Larks and Spotless Starlings as well as our neighbourhood Black Redstarts and Stonechats. Down at our plot there were Blue-Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Serin and a tiny Wren hiding quickly in the bushes overlooking a very swollen stream. 
As we were leaving we noticed a very large silhouette on the electric post on the hill overlooking our vegetable plot. As we got nearer we realised it was a Golden Eagle.  
Golden Eagle
It eventually took flight and appeared to be an immature or sub-adult – tail still predominantly white but with very small white crescents on the underwings. Then as it circled two Red Kites appeared and tried to see it off. They chased it around with no success. They were suddenly joined by a much smaller yet fiercer Buzzard, which dive-bombed the eagle several times but to little avail. The Golden eagle kept dipping down to avoid it but remained in the area a good while. Eventually it circled higher and higher and disappeared over the hill.
Red Kites and Buzzard mobbing Golden Eagle
A few seconds later a couple of Black vultures appeared, clearly following the same thermals to gain height. These are possibly the Black vulture pair we hope will nest in the area. We watched them for a while and a Griffon appeared too.

As we approached a stream looking at various mammal trails we heard a grunt and a young Wild Boar thundered up the opposite bank and stopped by a Holm oak to get a good look at us. It was one of those breath-stopping moments. Beautiful.

Then a large hare sprang up and ran across the field, putting the cherry on the cake.

It may still be winter but spring is definitely in the air for alot of nature!

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