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Another Great Day in the Pyrenees 2019

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Old Monday 12th August 2019, 14:11   #26
rosbifs
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And somemore!

Picnic at Saligos - just by luz. 152 black kites in three main groups before got the blanket out!
Bizarrely none in the next hour or so.

However, some great views of short tied eagle and then a black vulture. Really played the game by being the lowest most visible bird...

There were lots and lots of Swift’s and martins and an occasional swallow which threw up their alarm when a hobby went through the middle. The hobby made three passes and each time the alarm calls sounded. The Swifts responded by climbing higher. When they came back one was larger and sure enough an alpine!

A second short tief eagle but this one struck me as a migratory - early if the case...

What a great way to spend a couple of hours over a picnic...
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Old Wednesday 21st August 2019, 07:07   #27
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Trip to tarbes and some airport time. Actually very quiet - one black shouldered kite and some fan tailed warblers zitting and some stonechat sitting...

Then some migration action. 23 white stork and some black kite - three groups, a booted eagle m, honey buzzard and acually 9 griffon vultures. Not a bad return.

Headed to the military base where again fairly quiet but there were two hobbies hunting very low - it almost seemed like they were taking insects off the top of the ferns!

Only a couple of strikes - red backed, one wheatear, sone fan tails...

The drive across the top produced some more strikes then a female woodchat shrike followed by a hoopoe.

Just great to spend some time in the field - soulor today...
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Old Monday 2nd September 2019, 20:58   #28
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Bit of migration around luz today

Few kestrels moving about with a hobby a bit higher. Maybe 6 or 8 short toed eagles, some honeys, common buzzard and a booted eagle.

Some distant grifters with a lammergeier - all from the garden. Rounded off with 50+ bee eaters overhead and a sparrow hawk!

Great days....
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Old Friday 6th September 2019, 19:36   #29
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Few hours round abouts Tarbes

I spent 15 minutes trying to get onto a flock of Buntings they kept dissappearing into and behind someones hedge. I also felt very conscious that I looking into someones garden! In the end they were put down as sp but I think they were Ortolan. The candidates are Ortolan or Cirl but the seemed to have well marked backs and light - I only kept getting glimpses of their backs - not to worry.

Anyway, this was followed by a Black Shouldered Kite diving on something by the road. It flew up and landed on the wires with a mouse of sorts. I tried to get a picture but it took off and landed further away. This went on for about 5 minutes but I couldn't get the picture of it eating!!!

The airport was really quiet but did see one Crested Lark. Finally after a bit of twisting and turning a Woodchat Shrike Juv. Really struggle to believe they don't breed somewhere here because they are so regular - spring, autumn latest May earliest mid July...

The military camp was occupied so some more tooing and froing. Only to find some Backed Shrikes and not a lot else. Ended up at the lake at Argeles to find some Yellow Wagtails. Booted Eagle overhead and numerous Buzzards, Flycatchers and a Redstart....

All day the commonest bird seemed to be Whinchat - probably just most visible.

Great time out...
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Old Saturday 7th September 2019, 10:07   #30
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Love the shrike on the post, really envious as this autumn's visit has given way to a wedding (Grrr). Still, something to look forward to in the spring of next year then perhaps I'll get a shot of the kite in flight like yours.
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Old Sunday 8th September 2019, 18:49   #31
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It seems that the Spanish imperial eagle seen in the soulor the day before I was there in August has been reidentified as a tawny eagle and a first for France!

I think I overheard that the photos were being sent to forsman for his opinion as at the time they weren’t sure about race.... I’m assuming that this resulted in the tawny eagle call!
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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 13:43   #32
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Oh, you also rely on Dick's expertise?!

I think he has been very busy lately... Weird looking Harriers in Finland etc.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 21:30   #33
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A day up the mountains in the rain!

Set off in search of the wallcreeper, An easy 20 minutes walk but the weather wasn’t kind. On the way a late rock thrush and a couple of dippers - one floating in a small mountain lake.

The wallcreeper was the only one that missed our morning rendezvous! 30 minutes in the pouring rain was enough so we set off back to the car. The rain stopped and the sun began reflecting off the damp mountainsides. Keeping an eye of the river and a flicker of movement, there was the wallcreeper. It showed up and down a small cliff by a small waterfall - great!

As the weather began to improve some alpine choughs overhead and then bizarrely a grey heron! The dippers played in the stream and then a golden eagle overhead. One turned into three - I couldn’t work out the phase of the first but the other two were adults - on checking it was two going into three.

Finally on the way down the mountain a lammergeier!!! A pretty fantastic morning.

The afternoon failed to produce black woodpecker but at least a crested tit lifted spirits.

Great day in great company rounded off with a couple of beers...
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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2019, 18:55   #34
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Summer season finally over and pretty tired! The weekend fete was hectic. 16 hours straight on Saturday followed by a couple of beers in town!

Anyway, flying visit to Portugal and of course a trip to the airport. Couple of black shouldered kites, a female harrier. Now typically in the panic of trying to get off the road i didn’t actually get much time to assess it so I’ll leave it as sp. A late red backed shrike finished the entertainment.

Onto Portugal and a couple of hours on the Tagus. Got some directions in April to Azure Winged Magpie (didn’t have time to pass in April but thought I’d try today). South of the estuary was nice to see flamingos and tons of waders. With limited optics, lack of book, and time most we left as waders but there were curlew, avocet, little egrets, ringed plovers, Dublin, I think a lone sanderling (worrying because i usually see them in groups), two spoonbill and a Caspian tern. A lone birder said that they had never seen azure winged magpie there but I tried anyway.

After a bit of searching found a small group then a second group 10-12 birds in total - result! Then 4 hoopoe and some bits and pieces st treecreeper etc

Great couple of hours...
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Old Sunday 6th October 2019, 19:39   #35
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Stayed at Ribiero – Mafra – near the coast

The day started with some Sardinian Warblers buzzing away and some brief sightings. Then a fly by Goshawk, Juvinile – my favorite all time bird.

I heard a Rock Sparrow last night but I couldn’t find them to see nor this morning.

However, while wandering around I saw a Booted Eagle and a distant Peregrine with a couple of Buzzards. Then a Short Toead Eagle which hung around for a good 5 minutes hunting by the radio aerial and fairly close to the wind turbines. To round off the raptors two Kestrels!

Great morning!

Ps I had a very brief view of three hirundells species – I’m pretty sure they were Red Rumped Swallow – because I got some orange tinged rumps but the view was brief!
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Old Thursday 17th October 2019, 22:52   #36
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Back out on the local patch with a couple of friends.

Cold over night and headed to Argeles for some migrant action. A bit of work required but paid off with lots of finches and small birds - Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Siskin, Serin, Brambling etc etc if etc is possible. Flocks and flocks - some easy to call and others in the light and movement tricky!

Great to see such numbers and a good call for the morning.

Headed up the Soulor - but in fairness it was cold: 7c but determination provided some cracking birds. A distant Golden Eagle, Griffon Vultures etc, a couple of Alpine Chough playing on the cliffs and finally a glimpse of a Wallcreeper!! Sadly only brief views and only 2 of the 3 of us saw it but a Wallcreeper none the less.

Time to move on and a flyby Lammergeier head height, followed by a second. Fantastic. Back in the car and then straight out as a Golden Eagle flew past at head height and then a second and then a third!

Great day despite cloud, cold, wind....
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Old Friday 18th October 2019, 21:22   #37
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So revisited same spot today with a few additions

Little Egret
Woodlark - 2
About 20 Swallows
1 House Martin
2 Cirl Bunting

I was super happy walking around the fields and trying to hone my 'call' skills on the various birds all mixed in. A Peregrine was out looking for a nice meal and a few Red Kites looked to be migrating...

Simple but great!
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Old Saturday 19th October 2019, 12:06   #38
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"flyby Lammergeier head height, followed by a second. Fantastic. Back in the car and then straight out as a Golden Eagle flew past at head height".

Humph! they are always at 20,00 feet when I'm there! I'll be expecting something like yours next spring :o)

PS Nice pix, well done.
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Old Monday 21st October 2019, 10:39   #39
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Hi Dragnil

This was actually the second Lammergeier because I wasn't primed with the camera!

One of the Golden Eagles had white patches like the Gavarnie bird. It struck me as odd that it would venture that far through maybe two or three territories to get to the Soulor. I know its making territories time but hadn't considered they would wander that far - interesting even if not ground breaking - maybe it wants a holiday in Spain...

Wallcreeper is a fascinating bird. Considering the size of the cliff where did it go? We watched it fly half way across the cliff until hidden by an outcrop - one person stayed and two of us went along the length of the cliff - nothing! The bird just evaporated and this happens quite often - adds to the allure I guess...
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Old Tuesday 5th November 2019, 16:00   #40
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Some more Lisbon birding

Amazing to have such diverse habitat within a stones throw - the marsh land, estuary, cork woods, sea watching, old woods and as Simon says on an id post 1 million chiffchaffs!

Decided to do the loop Porto-Alto, Alcochete, Punta Vasca de Gamma. Failed at the northern end because the reserve is closed. I was too nervous to 'walk it' as I have no idea how strict they are about this restricted access area. Found a dirt track with open gate and paddy fields - on a more determined day I would have snooped around here. Anyway, I got the feeling I could easily have explored here most of the day I think searching for bustards and harriers anything really but language and access were the main barrier.

So instead we headed to Pancas - in my where to watch birds in Spain and Portugal this is noted as the spot for Black Shouldered Kite - it was I should say it still is - my reference guide has to be nearly 30 years old as its pre-bridge! I also found a small party of Azure Winged Magpies here so great stop.

Round to the estuary and where we had visited before. The tide was out and the little brown blobs on the mudflats beyond my capability. In this wind and my travel scope and no tripod - I decided not to risk it at the eleventh hour on the plane! I could see plenty of Avocet, Grey plover, some spoonbills but didn't hang around other than to get some info from a reserve warden who was cleaning his car. He spoke very good english and was very helpful. He confirmed that the reserve/restricted area is closed on Mondays! But there was an information centre we could visit in Alcochete which we did - there was no where there so I took pictures of the maps for my next visit. He also directed us to some saltpans which would have been good had the tide been in and the birds taken refuge here...

Do you get the gist of my day? Ok I found a lifer! I'm not 100% sure whether I'm allowed to tick said lifer but a lifer none the less. A Crested Myna sat on a horse. These are an established population and I probably ticked dodgy-er birds so tick.

The Saltflats held a few bits and pieces like Shovelor, Black Winged Stilts, Avocet, Redshank, Common Sand and seaward three Sanderling. Looking forward to revisiting with a bit more time and not in a gale.

The main roads around the estuary are great but there were very few places to pull off and birdwatch and a fairly constant stream of lorries. We ended up eating in the freeport shopping area which was handy but Alcochete actually looked allright as another option. The supermarket was stocked with cheap wine and some great offers - 16 reduced to 4.50! It was pretty decent.

Anyway back to the birds some pictures attached including a very white tummied Meadow pipit - Portugal is also home to a million of them at this time of year...

(hopefully haven't double posted them)
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Old Sunday 17th November 2019, 12:17   #41
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Back in the land of the French...

A sales trip to orthez meant I could stop at the reserve / never open reserve. The lake is surrounded by hunters and they were in evidence all around. Fortunately birds are safe here provided they don’t fly anywhere!

I was rewarded with a swallow and a house Martin - wow how late are they! Also a black necked grebe in addition to usual birds egrets, pochard etc.

I stopped at Pau on the way back but none of the short eared owls I was hoping for. I did see black shouldered kite and could hear a Leothrix but couldn’t find it...

Onto tarbes and by this time it was getting pretty dark - 17.45. The black shouldered kites were hunting for a last meal - at least 7 of them which is a record for me at this spot. A cracking male hen harrier passed three times and there were three great white egrets...

Great few moments!

This morning the eagle owl was sunning herself - awesome...
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