Wednesday 17 September 2014

September travellers.

The first ten days of September brought high temperatures and northern travellers. Pied and Spotted Flycatchers started appearing everywhere, and Redstarts and Whinchats and Willow Warblers. I love this time of year, when you don't know what to expect and the first time you see a passage migrant you think: 'What?? Ah, yes, of course!'
Pied Flycatcher Photo Jon OlabarrĂ­a Valle
The Black Kites were the first to go, followed by the Bee-eaters, and as they left the Red Kites from somewhere in the north started to appear, boosting our local numbers again. The Booted and Short-toed eagles are still around, but then again they could be others on their way south.
Booted Eagle Photo J O V 
We had an afternoon and a morning´s birding with a family of keen birders from the Burgos region. They were after Warblers – the Sylviidae family in particular, and they weren't disappointed. We saw Spectacled, Western Orphean, Subalpine, Dartford and Blackcap, and the Willow Warbler.  

Spectacled Warblers Photos J O V 
with Willow Warbler Photos J O V
We also saw Calandria, Crested, Thekla and Woodlarks, Corn Bunting, House and Spanish Sparrow, Woodchat and Iberian Shrike, Whinchat, Stonechat, Serin, Linnet, Chaffinch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Booted and Short-toed Eagle, among others: 42 species within a mile radius.
 Woodlark Photo J O V 

I took them to the reservoir where as the water recedes the waders start to arrive. We witnessed the Peregrine falcon swooping and attacking a Hoopoe which miraculously got away in a cloud of feathers, and then spent ten minutes on a wire fence possibly in shock. A few days later in the same place we witnessed a Booted Eagle try to steal a woodpigeon from a Peregrine Falcon, only to be attacked by a group of crows and another Booted eagle. On our way back there was just a pile of feathers left, so somebody got their meal.  
Peregrine Falcon Photos J O V 

On the shore we saw Common, Green and Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint and Little Ringed Plover. As we were leaving a pair of Black Stork flew overhead, possibly on their way south? A few days later we saw two Spoonbills there, along with Cormorant, Grey Heron, Laughing Gull and Ringed Plover.
Little Ringed Plover and Dunlin

Black Stork Photo J O V

Sunset at the reservoir
We decided to go to Puente del Congosto. On the way there we saw families of Kestrel. We had a quick walk by the river Tormes at Puente del Congosto, and saw the Great Spotted Woodpecker and lots of Nuthatch.  

Kestrel Photos Ander OlabarrĂ­a Valle
Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Nuthatch photos J O V
And I'm glad to see that the Nightjar is still with us: here it is caught in the car's headlights. It only flew off when I got out of the car.
Apart from the birds we've had a few visitors at home too. The Tree frogs are starting to call and it's fun to spot them camouflaged in various parts of the patio. And this little fellow was hiding under the sink: he's a Horseshoe Whip Snake, and although harmless he can deliver a keen bite!
Horseshoe Whip Snake

Our resident Tree frog
And just to finish here are some splendid cloud formations at sunrise yesterday.

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