Wednesday 14 May 2014

The Harrier Campaign and a Golden Oriole

I've been practising my digiscoping but I'm afraid I've still got a long way to go. A new pair of eyes might help. Anyway I managed a Melodious Warbler that was singing his little socks off and a couple of other local residents...

Melodious warbler  Zarcero

A very pleasant evening with a birding group in Puente del Congosto was accompanied all along the way by a Golden Oriole calling. Tantalisingly invisible. I quite rashly promised them that they would get to see it (rule number one for birding guides NEVER PROMISE YOU'LL SEE A BIRD!!!!). But I'm intuitive, or a bit of a witch as they say over here, and sure enough on our way back, there it was perched on top of a dead tree, clearly visible to all and wonderfully yellow. I couldn't stop grinning!

Photo Wikipedia

On Sunday morning we continued our Harrier campaign – this time looking with some urgency for Montague and Hen harrier which, because of a wet winter followed by hot weather, run the risk of being harvested along with the crops which are being cut still green for fodder.  

Our team were in an area of the Campos de Alba where there's not a tree to be spotted anywhere. Which means no shade of course. We waited and watched and eventually we saw a male Montague's fly over the wheatfield and drop food for the female, which flew up to meet him and then disappeared into the green.

Those of us with telescopes followed her and fixed our scopes on the spot where she'd vanished. Then two of the team walked out and were given directions- forward a bit , to your right, no, left a bit, sort of Golden Shot type instructions (the older generation'll know what I'm talking about) until suddenly, up erupted the female Harrier and they knew they'd found the nest. Three eggs: she wasn't incubating yet so she didn't come back to the nest for a good while.

Meanwhile another pair appeared and we waited and hoped for a repeat performance. But it didn't happen. Another inspection was made of where they'd thought there was a nest but it must have been a false start.

We got a fright when a harvester turned up but luckily he was only going for the purple fodder.

After over 4 hours under a merciless sun we packed up until the next session.

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