Friday 28 February 2014

The Cranes have I'm looking forward to Swallows, Martins, Hoopoes and, most of all....Bee-eaters!

I can't help feeling sad when I realize that the cranes have flown north. Driving north to Salamanca last Tuesday morning we missed the usual groups scattered around the Holm Oaks and only saw a family of three looking a bit uneasy. We'd already seen a group flying from the south above the Sierra de Francia last Sunday, so we suspected that 'ours' would be following suit. That same evening I saw around a hundred heading for the reservoir to sleep, so they'd obviously not all gone, but we haven't seen them again since then. They've stayed here very little this year – they didn't arrive until mid November and other years they stay until the end of March or even early April. Perhaps they prefer the cold to the rain: it's normally much colder, drier and sunnier here but this year we've been getting the tail-end of the Atlantic storms and it's been a wet and windy winter.
Bye-bye Cranes
Still, we have the Storks to keep us company and yesterday I was able to practise my digiscoping on an itinerant visitor to the cow-pond and our village Stork couple. Doesn't help to be short-sighted and getting long-sighted too, which means alot of removing of glasses, squinting into camera screen and calling on the patron saint of digiscoping (now who would that be?) to get things into focus. I like to think my photos are a bit, er, 'impressionist' shall we say?

What the????
I was also pleased to see a Common Starling perched on a tree near my house. We don't normally get them around here, the local residents all being the Spotless Starling, and I thought I saw a group in a tree the other day but they flew off before I'd managed to id them. So here he is, looking good with a couple of Sparrows.

And just so's you can see the difference here's one of the usual suspects, who have a tendency to nest under our roof tiles and somehow their fledgelings squeeze their way into the loft. Guess who has hand-reared several over the last few years.
Spotless Starling doing Elvis impersonation

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