Saturday 28 June 2014

A Lammergeier in Salamanca

This evening we went down to our vegetable plot about 1,5km from the village to check up on the beans and the tomatoes. Suddenly I saw an unfamiliar but utterly recognisable dark form loom over the hill above the plot. It was a young Lammergeier, my first since childhood passing through the Pyrenees. It took it's time and circled soaring quite low, allowing us to get a really good look: luckily we'd both of us brought our binoculars. No camera of course, though I doubt I'd have got anything I was trembling so much with emotion!
Lammergeier  Quebrantahuesos
 Photo J.M.Garg Wikimedia Commons
I heard that one (this same one?) was seen flying over Gredos mountain range last year, which is rare enough, but for it to be flying in our hilly area which is just 1000m above sea level with more Holm Oaks than rocks is pretty amazing.  
Feel so grateful for that wonderful gift.

Last weekend we went out looking for Harriers again, as time is running out for those that are not fully fledged and risk being harvested along with the wheat and barley.
The first attempt was frustrating: we saw various couples but the female landed out of sight just above the horizon. Our companion was able to go back the following day and locate the nest and talk to the farmer.

We saw a female Great Bustard – beautiful creature – but I only managed to photograph it's prints in the sand.
A few days later we went to where the nests had already been located and put wire mesh around the area. The farmers who have been told of this will harvest around the pen and hopefully the parents will continue to feed the chicks despite the rest of the field being suddenly exposed.
Sea of Barley
Looking for the nest
Laying out the mesh

Fixing the pen around Montagu chick
Montagu Harrier chick

Hen Harrier chicks
In a sea of cereal there was one lonely little strip of woodland: consisting of Cork Oak surprisingly. It was a true oasis.
Long-eared Owl in nest
Cork Oak Oasis
Lastly I want to introduce you to the kids. Best year so far for our village storks!
Mum and the storklets
Three wise storks

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