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Another Great Day in the Pyrenees 2019 (1 Viewer)


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Happy New Year to you all and welcome to the 2019 thread.

Christmas was hectic as usual but now down to serious task of birding!

Heard the Eagle Owl last night and saw him fly over the trees in the distance. I couldn't relocate. I was really happy with my find until, well still happy to see it, but the parks guy heard two Tengmalms Owls last night in a reasonably accessible place - tomorrow night me thinks!

Bouyed by my success I headed back tonight and heard some calling 1/2 hour earlier than but I wanted to get there before it was too dark. I set up the scope and tried to locate the bird but was disturbed by a Wild Boar. I could hear it moving through the bushes and even an 'oink' - I tried to make a noise to scare it off but it didn't work so it managed to scare me off.

I dropped down to the roadside and then the Owl appeared, flew across the road past me and perched on a pylon next to me! Completely ignored me for 3 minutes then dropped onto something in front of me. I couldn't work out what but it wasn't the wild boar. About thirty seconds later he took off and went back over the road.

Absolutely, gobsmacked what a great experience....


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Had a short unsuccessful search for wallcreper followed by some more eagle owl time but at a different site.

No eagle owl but compensated 100x over by three Lammys, two of which decided to mate above us on the cliff - twice.

Never seen that before! My friends got pictures and video but doesn’t want them posting.


Heading to Finland, not birding, but will keep my eyes open...


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Not birding consisted of finding a sparrowhawk, three sea eagles and a gs woodpecker today...

Still great! One of the sea eagles came very close...


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Some of the piccies

Not disappointed just didn't see a lot! The Stellars Eider had gone by the time I got there, the day we set aside for the Hawk Owl didn't materialise as Dad wasn't allowed out as it hit -25.5°c.

Anyway, I tried for owls in various places but got no contact and Woodpeckers. The White Backed site a couple of times. Then I went to really good spot - I could hear three Woodys pecking away but couldn't find them!!! So frustrating as time was running out and in fact ran out on me.

I hit the town for the local Little Grebe which was easy but didn't find the Grey Headed Woodpecker which others found on the Tuesday! Just my luck.

The most interesting find was a flock of Redpolls - but they were by a main road and couldn't stop - they looked so pure white compared to the dull brown ones in the garden.

Like I said not dissappointed because I just love searching around even in the cold!


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Didn't you noticed, the Willow Tit shows you where the White-backed was lurking. ;)

Apparently Goldeneyes courtship has already begun.


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I've been reminded that I have been a bit lax with my posting. Firstly, I have not been out that much and secondly there isn't much around! Apologies...

That said I have seen the Eagle Owl sat in front of the nest. We think there is a fourth Lammy couple in the area but can't find the nest. Its a little complicated because there are three adults serving this nest - or should I say three adults seen together throughout winter and now there is only 1 or 2 so the thinking is they are serving a sitting female somewhere! This isn't an easy time to find a nest though because visits are so infrequent...

I had a great walk yesterday rekindling an old haunt in the woods looking for White Backed Woodpeckers. As usual I was unsuccessful but I had a great walk! I clocked Great Spotted Woodys at least 4, Short Toed Treecreepers on the lower slopes, a pair of amazing Firecrests and lots of usual suspects Tits, thrushes, Nuthatches etc etc. Griffons and a Buzzard overhead.

And a Black Woodpecker.

The excitement of the walk was two deer charging towards me - they worried me enough to clap my walking poles together. Actually, I could hear the movement about 30 seconds before they appeared - always a little tense because I never want the rustling to be an angry boar! Anyway, it was deer and they finally diverted about 7 or 8 metres in front of me and dissappeared back where they came from...

I had walking poles because I shafted my knee about a month ago but can't stop skiing (doesn't hurt when skiing - worse is sitting on the chairlifts or sitting anywhere actually)! They really help on the downhill bits. I had walked steadily, and steeply in some places, for about an hour so there was actually a fair bit of down.

Next time (as always)


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Despite previous posts and following massive searching the 4th Lammy nest has not materialised! That was until Saturday. A short walk and a family picnic above Luz and hey presto. A spot overlooking an old nest, used in 2016, but chosen for all the right reasons - warm, secluded, great views up and down the valley etc. What I mean by that is we weren't there for the nest!

I raised the bins to the nest and thought hello that looks like there is a bit of orange in the nest. I keep checking but it really is at the limit of range of the bins. But definately orange! Is it a branch or leaves? Then below our spot an adult Lammy flies passed - interesting.

There is only on thing to do - dump the kids and return with telescope. I dash home and return equipped. Sure enough an adult bird sat on a nest - chick or egg. There is quite a bit more of a nest with branches and yes coloured leaves so even through the scope a bird sat down is fairly well hidden.

It seems we had been distracted by reports of birds in a different valley or across the valley from this nest. Consequently, we have been searching in the wrong place - imagine I walked for about 2.5 hours the other day chasing shadows!! Incredibly I now have two nests within less than probably 7 minutes drive!! This new one giving probably the best views of any local nest - Great....


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A happy and sad day today. Two of the Lammy couples have failed to produce! One chick and one egg remain in our area. Fortunately, the local one is still on an egg but sad for the two failures. I take these losses personally....

On the happy side saw 5 adult Egyptian Vultures together! A great sight and should be at least two couples about to nest.

Also witnessed a pair of Kestrels doing their business. Great to see even the 'common' birds!

Saw a Short Toed the other day, and a pair of Goldies, but not seen a booted yet.

Found a Black Shouldered Kite nest so that is also great....
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After weeks of sunshine it started snowing today!

A visit with the kids to the climbing wall and a chance meeting with one of the parcs guards - 'I saw a Spanish Imperial Eagle yesterday'!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT

Anyway, my friend had taken some pictures and was showing them off as Golden and another said hang on they're not Golden! I got a couple of the photos and I have to say they look like the real deal. The plot thickens because the same 'guard' took some pictures in 2016 which look similar - has it been around that long and has it hybridised? Why haven't I seen it!!!!!!!?????

A hasty visit was organised to the area and whilst an Eagle was seen as I approached it was gone before I could stop the car....

At least I was compensated with a Lammy....


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Panic over and sadly not a Spanish Imperial Eagle...

The photo was sent to various experts and all but one concluded Golden Eagle and even the other changed his mind after a day of reflection. That said none had ever seen a Golden Eagle with landing lights. At the same time it was very educational and the responses awesome - its great to be able to learn from these experts and I'm grateful for the experience.

The matter was finally put to bed by Forsman, who also couldn't explain the landing lights.

I love a mystery and having to trawl through the text books but I'm not up to the standard of the experts who commented which is why they write the books and I try and interpret the text....

PS I will endeavor to get permission to post the photos or try and get my own or both. This is a unique bird!
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Mixed weather yesterday as I head up the mountains to see what I could find. Sunshine, rain and even snow!

Little sign of the Eagle Owl, hoping they are there still, and onward to the second surviving Lammy nest. I couldn't see in from my vantage point but I did see an adult in the area - spectacular at eye level but too quick for a photo! A handful of Griffons and some nice wheatears being held down by the weather.

Then fields of Water Pipits, or Water Pipits in a field - I think about 30 in the first field but they were present all the way down the hill to Luz. A group of Black Redstarts possibly also driven down by the whether, 7 in one group.

Not a huge return but as the Water Pipits are changing into breeding plumage very pretty...

Stop press - saw the Eagle Owl this lunchtime - well could see the top of his head as he guards, hopefully, the nest. The pattern is the same over the last three years whereby he stands about 5m diagonally down to the right of the nest. Some days more visible than others. When the chicks hatch and start their 'walkabout' he shifts position to the other side of the nest...

PS 8 Rock Sparrows near Tarbes the other day. My highest pre-fledging count. There looked to be three active nests...


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Eagle Owl

So after work, having finished at 20.30, I thought I would try my luck again. There are two vantage points - one you see his guarding point but nothing to the left of the nest and one where you see nothing to the right.

One I don't have to get out the car and one I do!

Always start with the car option where there was nothing. Still day light was I too early.

Shift to second spot and there he was. I had to wack up the ISO because it was fairly dark I'm hand held and its a long way away but definately him...

Great news.

Heading out Wallcreeper hunting today and bee-eater tomorrow.....


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A few hours up the mountain - main target Wallcreeper - FAIL

But did see a couple of Golden Eagles with potentially one nest. I saw potentially because one bird flew into the middle of a heavily branched tree and the other flew into a cliff crevice - both hidden both worth investigation!

Treat of the day was a couple of Citril Finches (another 1/2 target of the day) - making their way back up the mountain to nest I guess. I will keep my eye on the corner but it doesn't have a lot going for it in terms of a Citril Finch nest site.

As I got back into the car the Lammy flew over - always a treat.

Great Afternoon...

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