Sunday, 30 June 2013

Tavira, Algarve, Portugal. 13th-20th June 2013

For a change of scenery a holiday was spent in the East of the Algarve staying in Tavira.
A delightful fishing town. A Moorish Bridge links the two parts of the town over the Gilão river. There are delightful shaded gardens near the bridge and this is also where local Craft stalls were to be found on some evenings. Pallid Swifts seen daily over the town were a delight to see especially so in the cooler temperatures of the evening when many were hawking low for insects along with Swallows and Martins.

The Hotel we stayed in was close to some Salinas (Salt Pans), it was lovely to walk along the paths alongside the salt pans early in the mornings before the heat of the day arrived! Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Little Egret, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Little Tern, Crested Lark, Yellow Wagtail, Kentish Plover, Bee-eater, Kestrel, Moorhen, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Sardinian Warbler, Slender-billed Gull, Swallow, Martin and Swft were regularly seen on the walks. I was so pleased that the Salinas were in walking distance and visible from the Hotel room!

I had booked a days guided birdwatching with Algarve Birders prior to arriving and my choice of area to visit was across the border to Spain, to the Doñana area. We stopped at the José Antonio Valverde visitor centre where huge numbers of Glossy Ibises were nesting, great views were had of them, also nesting in the trees there were many Cattle Egrets with smaller numbers of Little Egrets, Squacco Herons, Little Bitterns and Black-crowned Night Herons. Purple Herons were viewed at times feeding there young! The huge amount of birds in the trees was awesome, quite a spectacle to see! Later a huge roost of Glossy Ibis were a sight to see as they lifted from the trees, they were another spectacle to see!

The rest of the species seen today were Marsh Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Short-toed Eagle, Booted Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Black Kite, Common Kestrel, Lesser Kestrel, Collared Pratincole, Green Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Kentish Plover, Lapwing, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Purple Gallinule with chick, Little Bittern, Coot, five Red-knobbed Coots, a species not often seen, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, White Stork, Corn Bunting, Bee-eater, Spanish Sparrow, Crestred Lark, Short-toed Lark, Mallard, Gadwall, Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Magpie, Azure-winged Magpie, Woodpigeon, Raven, Jackdaw, Spotless Starling, Yellow wagtail, Common Swift, Pallid Swift, Goldfinch, House Martin, Barn Swallow, Sardinian Warbler, Blackbird, Zitting Cisticola, Great Reed Warbler (an amazing sight and sound of this Warbler), Whiskered Tern, Cormorant, Yellow-legged Gull and Greylag Geese! Another treat to see on the trip was a Wild Boar! A fantastic days birding in fortunately cooler temperatures than the previous few days had been!
Species in bold are Lifers!

A drive over to the West coast to Lagoa dos Salgados and Quinta do Lago was enjoyable. Nothing different seen with bird species but lovely to see familiar territory!

 As ever a great holiday in the Algarve!

Images will be added in the next post.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dowles Brook, Wyre Forest....09/06/2013

A sunny and relatively warm morning for the walk around Dowles Brook. No Dipper or Grey Wagtails seen but a stunning male Common Redstart made up for them. Blackcaps were seen and heard and Wood Warbler is still heard only for me! I shall have to pay another visit here before they depart again! Butterflies were the target today, they were quite flighty but I did manage a few shots  before they took flight once more!

A shy Beautiful Demoiselle, Immature male.

A shy Common Buzzard! A Buzzard later in the morning was seen being chased away  by a Raven!


Pearl-borderd Fritillary...I believe! Confirmation on ID as opposed to Small pearl-bordered would be appreciated on this image and the following 2 images.

Speckled Yellow, Day-flying Moth. A first for me! There were umpteen of them in flight and not often settling.

The suns rays through the trees were a treat to see, unfortunately my photo does not do it justice.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Walking the 'North Worcestershire Path'..well a smidgen of it!.... 08/06/2013

The walk was the bridleway at Sugar Loaf Lane, a lengthy bridleway...on shanks's pony! A sunny morning with a slight breeze, perfect walking weather!
Birds were mostly heard than seen today,  as the foliage on the trees and hedgerows is now giving ideal cover for the birds. A pair of Buzzards were most definately seen as they eventually both perched in a dead tree, too distant for any meaningful image of them. Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Starlings (at least 3 sizeable flocks were seen and very flighty), Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Corvids were seen and heard, Great and Blue Tit were heard only. Surprisingly not one butterfly was seen, I had at least expected Speckled Wood, Peacock and a few Whites to have been flitting around!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable 2 hour walk in an area I have not visited for a long time!

Not the best of views at the start of my walk! It beggars belief the mentality of some folk!
Now this is much better! A long time since I had managed a 'record' shot of a Green Woodpecker!

Lovely seeing and hearing Song Thrushes on this super sunny morning!

Plenty of these in the fields and paddocks!


Friday, 7 June 2013

A sunny walk and one not quite so sunny!.... 4th & 5th June 2013

A local walk was enjoyable on a gloriously sunny and relatively warm morning made all the better with sightings of  Skylarks galore, Yellowhammer,  Buzzard, Little Owl and a flyover Red Kite! Peacock and White butterflies flitted around in the adjacent fields though not settling very often and a Pheasant called several times but was well hidden!
Spot the Little Owl!

A very busy and tired looking Blue Tit!

The gorse looked lovely in the sunshine. Such a vibrant colour!

The not so sunny walk was taken in the Wyre Forest in the area of the Visitor Centre. Great, Blue and Marsh Tit,  Blackbird, Chaffinch and a Pied Wagtail were the highlight birds.

Dunnock parents feeding their youngster in my garden.


Sunday, 2 June 2013

Brake Lane to County Lane....01/06/2013

After an early start to the day, namely a quick visit at 7.00am ish to the local Car Boot for some bedding plants, I returned home with my goods and proceeded to Brake Lane! For a change of scenery I decided to walk the path that leads to County Lane instead of walking the circular route. A  family of Starlings flew across the open fields as I began my walk and Corvids and Gulls were sighted feeding in distant fields. Swallows hawked the fields and later on the walk House Martins and an the odd Swift were sighted hawking alongside Swallows, well not literally alongside! A Common Buzzard was spotted on the ground in a field inhabited by sheep, the sheep having been relieved of their winter coats looked rather skinny! The Buzzard was later sighted several times in flight and 'hovering' like a Kestrel, the wind had picked up so no doubt helping the Buzzard to 'hover'! In fact the wind had cooled the air somewhat even though the sun continued to shine, in full sun it was still pleasantly warm but in the shaded areas.....brrrr!! Skylarks intermittently sang whilst 'Flying High' and hovering, lovely to see and hear but I do fear for them as they suddenly parachute down to earth! Singing Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird were a delight to hear and some of the species were actually seen despite the bright green foliage on most of the trees making it difficult to see the birds. Treecreeper, Yellowhammer, Great and Blue Tit were seen busily foraging for insects no doubt for their chicks. A Great Spotted Woodpecker suddenly alerted me to it's presence as it alarm called, it was not me it was wary of but a Jay who probably knew there to be a nest in the tree! The Woodpecker called for several minutes then the Jay gave up and took flight, I walked on and left the GSW to settle down.

The only butterflies seen were White species, maybe it was a little too early in the day and cool for the butterflies. I was pleased to see my first Wild Poppies of the Spring/Summer, though they were distant it was lovely to see their red heads bobbing about in the breeze...or rather in the wind!

It was a refreshing two hour walk, I linger a lot!

A beautiful Holly Blue butterfly has been flitting around in my garden the last couple of days, today I managed a couple of photo's as she settled.