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Another Great Day in the Pyrenees - 2020

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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 10:32   #51
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Grrr, please don't rub it in. We were due to set out to your patch tomorrow...
Enjoy the relaxed restrictions and good luck with the wallcreeper!
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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 10:55   #52
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edited photo

Sorry that you can't be here Dragnil. The weather doesn't look promising for a few days but there is plenty about and some things to come...

I'm going a little further afield on Friday and hope to find bee eater and maybe something special - its Red Foot time...
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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 14:40   #53
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Grrr, please don't rub it in.
This might hurt a little...

Did get 1 Snowfinch but he dissappeared over to La Mongie side of the mountain.
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Old Tuesday 12th May 2020, 14:45   #54
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You can go off people you know! Nice Marmite ;o)
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 07:25   #55
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Headed to Lannemezan for the weekend. Got the car to service - changing brake callipers and pads which looked pretty dangerous.

Anyway, took the circuitous route to search for bee eater. Not sure sounds strange but not sure. Did hear a Golden Oriol, and picked up first Red Backed Shrikes of the year, and second and third etc etc. In fact around one small cow field were three cracking males and one female so a total of 6 on my short drive!

That isn't the biggest news of the day. I had a bet with the parc guy about where we would find the Wallcreeper nest - expressing great confidence in our abilites. I have been saying for years that they have to be at the entrance of the valley whereas he was saying the top. So I got a text saying I had won the bet! Even more incredible was that the bird was sneaking into the Lammergeier nest and stealing wool to furnish his own nest a little bit higher on the cliff...

I can't get there until Sunday/Monday but I'm super stoked!
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 10:53   #56
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Is this the site in Val d'Ossoue?
Bizarrely, we saw a pair in the shale quarry beside the road in that valley on a warm September day in 2002.
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 11:17   #57
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It is!

I found a really old map for a nest site in 1993 in this area - with an old school hand drawn trip report - which I had just circulated to the parc. I will find the name of the drawer/author when home...

I have been searching this area for about 3 or 4 years for a nest site.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 10:10   #58
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5 Golden Oriols so far! Including one female and great views of one of the males. RB Shrikes into double figures, cracking Whinchat this morning...
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Old Monday 18th May 2020, 11:36   #59
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Ok so Wallcreeper hunting!

Headed up to gavarnie once the kids were at school - a huge distance of 12 miles. Immediately rewarded with two Citril Finch flying out of the roadside - pictures to follow when I can edit.

I decided on a more distant but higher view to begin with. Again scored an Egyptian Vulture as I was parking - these are not massively common at this altitude - probably single figures in 15 years here. I found the Lammergeier nest with one adult and the chick moved into view after a couple of minutes. I scanned for some likely nesting areas but no Wallcreeper.

So moved to the nearer spot but a worse angle. Through bins I could see a Wallcreeper as it flew just above the lammy nest. No scope as only just pulled up! I couldn't see where or how far it flew left. Out with the scope and typically nothing for 20 minutes. Then the bird again, a male. He paused in front of a likely nest entrance but then flew off. Again couldn't see how far...

I stayed for an hour and had 6 viewings of the Male. He flitted above to the left and right but sadly I never saw him enter into any of the crevices. On one occasion he flew out away from the cliff. But otherwise scooted along ledges, flitting his wings, did a couple of peregrine like dives to the general nest area - on one occasion landing and the other swooping back up before landing. I was trying to imagine the bird calling from various vantage points around his nest. He seemed to favour one crack/hole but I wonder if I was actually getting the right angle - it felt the right area but I think I will have to play a bit more...

During this time the adult Lammy came and went, and another adult passed. The sun was beginning to hit various parts of the cliff and seemed to be working up the face - below the overhang. To me it seemed like the birds - Wallcreeper and Crag Martins were following the sun - almost like playing around the shadow line.

Also interesting was the Crag Martins landing and feeding around the Lammergeier nest. I'm guessing that particular nest is a great source of insects for both these birds.

All around Garden Warbler and Blackcap were chirping away, bit derogatory sorry, and I did get one Rock Bunting...
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Old Monday 18th May 2020, 13:22   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
Even more incredible was that the bird was sneaking into the Lammergeier nest and stealing wool to furnish his own nest a little bit higher on the cliff...
I seem to remember something else about vultures and Wallcreepers ....the Wallcreeper wasn't suspiciously close to the Lammergeier's head was it? :)
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Old Monday 18th May 2020, 13:59   #61
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The Wallcreeper didn't get within 3 meters of the Lammergeier head...
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Old Monday 18th May 2020, 18:07   #62
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Here we have seen them several times around Lanners. Obviously in wintering sites as we don't seen them in summer. Also Black Redstarts. Brave creatures!
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2020, 06:29   #63
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pictures

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2020, 14:31   #64
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Lammers head is different position...
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2020, 15:17   #65
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Oh its much harder and more devious than that....
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2020, 17:33   #66
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I think I know what I'm supposed to be looking for but I'm damned if I can find it!
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2020, 19:14   #67
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I think I know what I'm supposed to be looking for but I'm damned if I can find it!
same here!
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Old Tuesday 19th May 2020, 19:35   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
pictures

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
It's easy - one is a Citril Finch, the others are cliffs :)

I presume there is a red blob on one cliff.
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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 23:08   #69
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There is a red blob. A clue is that the picture is framed for a reason - two nests (?) one top one bottom...

Great news is that the Wallcreeper has returned to the 2018 nest site at Gloriettes. I went for some prospecting and although didn't make the full hike I did manage to see a bird in the bins (two in two days) - again not much shout about because it was a bit of a distant blob - read speck. The parcs guy did the hike today.

I took the lazy option of car birdwatching down the mountain. Bonellis Warbler and then three white storks above argeles. Non- breeders maybe. Sadly no Sardinian Warblers where I was prospecting...
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Old Sunday 24th May 2020, 05:55   #70
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Ok so someone got it...
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Old Tuesday 26th May 2020, 21:50   #71
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Can actually hear the Scops Owl from my bedroom...
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Old Friday 29th May 2020, 11:06   #72
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So the list of new singers continues
Serin came and sang from a tree in the garden (garden is 6mx4m) and this morning was welcomed by a melodious Warbler by the back shed and a short toed treecreeper opposite the front door!

After the school run dashed to Gavarnie but in an hour only got the briefest glimpse of the Wallcreeper. The Lammergeier was waiting for me as was a Rock Bunting, the two choughs and other bits and pieces....
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Old Monday 8th June 2020, 02:33   #73
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So headed to Gavarnie again. Another territory has been found seen twice two days apart - an adult male anyway so I walked up the valley to try and locate. Sadly, no sign and great it started to rain! I was wearing shorts and no waterproof - then thunder and lightening - brilliant. No such thing as bad weather just bad choice of equipment - or complete lack of it!

Anyway I made it back to the car pretty wet.

The rain had stopped by the time I got back to almost the village I stopped to check above the lammergeier nest and quickly got onto a Wallcreeper. It's not really how you want to see a Wallcreeper, I mean a little distant for bins, but he danced around, had a couple of goes at a Chough which is nesting about 5 metres away from him. After a couple of minutes of relocating he dived into the same hole pictured above. This has to be the nest...

The young Lammergeier, sat below, was beating his/her wings. Great.

Still no sign of the Eagle Owl on way home or should I say no sign since April. I was hoping to be seeing the chicks by now. Maybe I just need to extend the search a little. Is there another nook or cranny in the vicinity? Bearing in mind that in previous years we have regularly seen the adults and chicks during the day and even, thanks Alan, seen the adult bringing food c.6pm.

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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 11:53   #74
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So a bit of wild camping to wake up under the wallcreeper.

The Lammy was present most of the time and one distant wallcreeper in the morning. Went to the village for an ice cream and clocked the alpine Swift’s...

Great.

Three grass snakes and 2 green lizards which were incredibly colorful!
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 13:00   #75
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The birds are a bit boring , but the reptiles sound great. Still feeling envious as it's quiet here; we're all walking around looking like yetis...

The ferries are running again and we've booked for Aug/Sep and fingers are very firmly crossed, hope to see you then.
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