Saturday 17 October 2015

Summer’s end, autumn at last

The long hot summer has finally passed and the drought here is hopefully coming to an end with some very welcome October rain.

Very busy with the renovation work on the house, I only managed to get out on the occasional evening when the heat let up in July and August. Here’s some of what I saw.
Stonechat, Melodious warbler and Serin
Singing Linnet
Rhinoceros beetle
In August I went to Birdfair in Rutland where I was talked to prospective clients and fellow birders at our Castile and Leon stand, alongside Eugenio and Alberto of the regional Junta.
Me with Eugenio
On my return in late August some of the first waders started to arrive at the reservoir, Dunlins, Redshanks and Ringed plover amongst others.  

Tracks near the water’s edge .
  Bee-eaters entertained us catching insects from wires and young Woodchat shrike watched us as we hand-harvested our wheat and rye accompanied by the odd Mantis.  

Bee-eater strikes from perch
Young Woodchat shrike
Straw coloured Mantis
Harvest moon
One of Salamanca’s most important artificial wetlands, the Azud de Riolobos, was the chosen port of call for a group of Glossy Ibis at the beginning of September.  Though at a fair distance we were able to see them as they pecked their way chicken-style following one behind the other at the water’s edge.
Glossy Ibis with White Stork
Azud del Riolobos
Over a few days we saw an adult Golden Eagle flying with a younger bird over our village.  Quite a sight as they soared and circled above the rooftops, huge wings spread out majestically.

Soaring golden eagles
Another day brought an unusual sight: three Black storks, most likely two adults and one young circling the fields at the back of our house.  I dashed back in to fetch my camera, grateful to have stepped out at the right moment.

Around our local patches we checked out ponds for roaming Sandpipers and in the fields were Rock and Spanish sparrows, Crested lark and Whinchat come from the north.  


Spanish sparrows

Rock sparrow
YOung Rock sparrow

Crested Lark
 Swallows gathered before setting off on their southbound journey and House Martins attacked Red-rumped swallows on the wires.

Resuming our walks at Puente del Congosto I was lucky to spot a Short-toed Eagle on a rooftop just outside the village.  I managed to get a lucky shot of a dark phase Booted eagle as it swooped overhead hunting for some unfortunate small mammal or bird….
…meanwhile the local Crag Martins rest on tiny window ledges after spending the day swooping below and above the old bridge.

Short-toed eagle
Booted eagle


Crag martin
One of our routes through mixed oak woodland gave us the chance to see a group of Firecrest feeding frenziedly amongst Holm oak, fly-catchers catching, err, flies and Black and Griffon vultures wheeling overhead whilst at a lily-pad covered pond there was a queue for the bathroom…


Pied flycatcher

Spotted flycatcher
Black vulture
Lots of vultures
Willow warbler
What are you doing?
Can I have a go?
Aw, come on!
Garden Warbler and Cirl bunting
Cirl bunting

Black vulture
Lots of vultures
We explored a new route in the Gredos mountains.  It’s a beautiful mix of open hillside and woodland and we were rewarded by the sight of one of the local residents peeping out at us from a treetop.

Red squirrel


Griffon vulture are ever present, the resident Bluetit continues to peck madly at a rancid piece of coconut and we watched the fabulous Super Moon rise before it became a red Moon during the eclipse.
Griffon Vulture

Meanwhile the village cats and dogs play up to the cliché of cats and dogs.
Spot the of the beam.

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