Another Great Day in the Pyrenees - 2020

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Had a nice day at Puydarieux

Started with a cracking Black Shouldered Kite near the lake. The sun and haze mean that realistically I wasn't going to identify any smaller waders but the obvious Black Winged Stilt and Curlew stood out. Over the lake an Osprey appeared once big splash - again too far to really be appreciated.

Nice to find a Red Backed Shrike and a Cirl Bunting sat together and then a Hobby overhead, keep your heads down!

Finally a male Common Redstart - not common here but probably just passing through...

Great couple of hours.
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Last weekend with the girls before school so headed out. Usually consists of an adventure, some daddy 'short' cuts (diversions past birdwatching sites), some shopping and some lunch...

I decided on sandwiches and a short walk to Buala - where the Sardinian Warblers used to breed - not too strenuous and great views (and the occasional bird if I'm lucky.

We were welcomed with a Cirl Bunting and Short Toed Treecreeper and his bigger cousin the Short Toed Eagle hovering overhead. Which was great for me but made the girls nervous when I said that it eats snakes and lizards...

Anyway then a group of 25 Honey Buzzard on migration, another advantage of this hillock.

Pied Fly. and a Nightingale on the walk up and sadly not very good views as the girls were making so much noise. I actually considered it would increase my chances of setting off the alarm rattle of the Sardinian so didn't mind too much. We picnicked and played at the top for a good 90 minutes without really adding to my list - another group of Honeys (39 in total) one straggler Black Kite, some Griffons and a Firecrest but otherwise quiet...

The big news was when I got home and my friend called to say she had rescued a Kestrel from here garden and what should she do with it. I suggested the parc national who had already told her to leave it in a box outside the door - which she didn't want too. The bird of prey flying centre told her to feed it Mince meat. Anyway, this is turning into a long story. She sent some pictures and its a Lesser Kestrel! I told her it was rare and to find some insects for it. The parc are collecting it this morning and hopefully I will get to see it later...

Pretty bird...
 

Attachments

  • lesser kestrel.JPG
    lesser kestrel.JPG
    124.1 KB · Views: 23

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Another great afternoon on the Soulor with a great mix of birds.

Starting with 70+ Honeys over 20 minutes and then a Black Stork and a bit of a rush on Harriers, three came through together - two Marsh and 1 Monties/Pale.

I was reluctant to give an opinion other than it was 'very high' - obviously a very useful opinion.

A very distant Black Shouldered Kite, again I was asked my opinion and again the response was '?????'. It was the first the main man had seen migrating but to clear things up another appeared from the other direction and came over head.

Another questionable Harrier - definately a ringtail but the wing moult was making id difficult - the wings were definately broad and the tail shorter so we concluded Hen. I managed to get onto it a couple of times but was 'posted' in the other direction. Once again my advice was that either we need to climb higher or the birds fly lower!

Short Toed eagle with a super white head was drifting around so that was nice.

Some Egyptians as well.

Onto the 'carias' to meet Dragnil. Great to see him after 18 months. And some good birds to boot. 70+ Honey, a couple of BLack Kite, Lammergeier, a couple of Short Toed Eagles, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and best of all a good old chat.

On the way home I picked up a Hobby and a few bits but nothing as exciting as earlier.....
 

Attachments

  • Elanion 01 09.JPG
    Elanion 01 09.JPG
    107.5 KB · Views: 22
  • marsh harrier 01 09.JPG
    marsh harrier 01 09.JPG
    347.4 KB · Views: 25
  • Two Harriers 01 09..jpg
    Two Harriers 01 09..jpg
    21.5 KB · Views: 23

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Prospecting day - Gavarnie

I was a bit surprised by how cold it was as I heard up the mountain - 10 c! With this in mind I went to at the Lammergeier thinking they would all be curled up together but I couldn't find them, I had a Griffon and a Honey overhead. I bit of low cloud so the lower road for me.

A couple of Rock Buntings announced their presence but didn't provide anything but a rear end view as they disappeared into a bush.

The road was fairly bumpy but I got a bit of relief in the small migrant trap. It was dripping with Black Redstart and a handful of Common Redstart, including a cracking male still showing his bib, Then a Blackcap, two Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler. Back in the car and the first Rock Thrush, a juvenile. From the end there is a nice flat walk - my favourite kind.

Two Dippers in the lake which crystal clear. Another couple of Rock Thrush, one male moulting and losing his colourful underparts. A troop of Griffons and then a glorious Golden Eagle. A the end I tried to cheat by scanning rather than walking uo hill too far but could see anything but then I heard a distant rising highpitched whistle, and again but could I find it!!??!! Wallcreeper, somewhere... I crossed the stream but alas in 30 minutes I couldn't find the bird, 25 of the minutes in silence so I gave up. I turned to a flypast Lammergeier.

Back to the car the and a brief stop overlooking a narrow gorge, nothing but turned the corner and a male Wallcreeper flew across the bonnet of the car. No time to grab my camera and he was gone. I reversed up the track to the gorge and decided I would eat my sandwich and wait. Again nothing!

I spent the rest of the afternoon pottering about thinking about seeing birds but seeing very little although I had a final count of 6 Rock Thrush and two Wallcreeper which was pretty good. Some Good views of Lammy, Goldie and then some fo the commoner birds.

A coffee to warm and walk up then a beer.... Great.

Oh nearly forgot, I stopped at one point to look over an edge and a Water Pipit flew up to land on my open door, then flew into the car to explore. I managed to grab a phone picture as he was trapped inside and then opened the windows to let him escape. During his short visit he managed to leave three presents on the passenger door!
 
Last edited:

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Great few days in the mountains capped this morning by extreme close ups of Griffons. Had a morning and picnic with Dragnil.

We reckon more than a 100 Griffons had demolished a cow above Gavarnie but at the same time between 4 and 6 Lammergeiers including one younger bird and three adults, one of which had a wing tag - news to follow. A distant ST Eagle, Dipper very close, a couple of Rock Thrush - actually a pretty decent list, a nice walk in the cold (c.10c with a breeze). a nice flock of Swallows passed close enough to hear their wings!

At least 2 Goldies and a distant view of a Wallcreeper followed by a different bird closer but hard to see!

3 Whinchats rounded off proceedings...
 

dragnil

Well-known member
Great morning in a wonderful valley - many thanks, Charles. "Extreme close ups of Griffons" - yes, quite close enough thank you.
Brilliant spot, wonderful birds, excellent company - what more could one ask for?
 

Attachments

  • _DLC8032_c2r.jpg
    _DLC8032_c2r.jpg
    191.7 KB · Views: 24

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Fantastic! reminds me of our shot of an Imperial Eagle in Austria last year ...

Yep I can see the resemblance...

Short walk, although didn't feel like it for me, in the mountains today. One of the first birds was an Ortolan Bunting in a flock of Yellowhammers - I kept trying to grab a photo which I think I managed fairly unsuccessfully to get a decent shot. Some Whichats, Redstart, Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff...

Onward and upward, oh my legs!!!! Anyway, fortunately not too long, about 1h20 at a good pace when not birding, before picnic overlooking Gavarnie - terrific.

Set off back and had a Golden Eagle just over head. My friend had never seen one so he tried to get a picture. Then a buzzard, about half the size, had a small dig, then in the distance a Griffon or three and a Lammy... At which point I got a text from Dragnil to say he was watching 3 Lammys the other side of the hill to us!!!

The walk back was a little quicker as slightly more downhill but was blowing at the end - in fact still feeling the effects. Post summer resolution - GET FIT...

Great afternoon!
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Back on the birdie hunt.

And a weird hard working day. The migrant trap was devoid of birds - clear skies had allowed most stuff to clear out. So the track produced a couple of Wheatears and one Rock Thrush. The walk was similar one Rock Thrush, Wheatears, Water Pipits and not even a Dipper.

However, our luck was about to change, I quickly scouted the waterfall and looked for a safe place to sit when a Wallcreeper flew across and landed on the cliff, we settled in to watch and a second appeared! WOW and great. The two birds entertained for 20 minutes or so, flitting around the waterfall, occasionally playing with each other, occasionally fly catching away from the wall - literally flying out hovering then diving back - a cross between a flycatcher and a hummingbird!

I took some snaps and we headed back to the car.

What was weird about the morning is that we didn't see one single raptor, no vultures, not even a Kestrel! This is Gavarnie!

Change of plans needed - flog it or head elsewhere? Down to Argeles for our picnic. Pibeste produced lots of Griffons but again not a lot else. Damn these blue skies and warm days!

Plan C - the Soulor. Finally a Lammy and a second but sadly pretty distant. The Egyptian nest was empty (fledged yesterday). A fairly distant ST Eagle hunting away. Ok back uo to the migration watchpoint to say hello.

A super distant Golden Eagle - there was a theme here.

Luckily an Egyptian Adult and then a Booted Eagle gave middle distant views as they kettled up with some Griffons and a Black Stork, an awesome adult decided to fly right over the top of us and the watchpoint.

Great day but hard work saved by the company!!
 

Attachments

  • ticho 1.JPG
    ticho 1.JPG
    802.8 KB · Views: 22
  • ticho 2.JPG
    ticho 2.JPG
    500.4 KB · Views: 20
Last edited:

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
proud parent of 3 chicks - this second brood already....
 

Attachments

  • bs kite young.JPG
    bs kite young.JPG
    384.2 KB · Views: 24

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
So its been a funny year and difficult at times. It was great to see Dragnil and also to have some birders keen for some mountain specialities.

Confinement meant that prospection for nest sites was limited. I'm puzzled by the Eagle Owl - I can't believe that they are just failing each year but haven't seen chicks for 3 years now. At the same time the obvious answer is the nest has moved but then why am I seeing the adults around the nest site on a regular basis???

Tengmalms - a fraction late to get up to the nest site after confinement. Apparently a very good mouse year so they should be everywhere and anywhere at the moment.

Two nests of Wallcreeper found and feeding. One other territory. A hit and now have a friendly two birds up the mountain. The site is beautiful with relatively easy access.

Lammergeier was consistent enough although only three nests, instead of 4 last year. Its great watching the young growing and then fledging in June.

Golden Eagles - best day had five in the air at the same time - 2 plus 2 plus 1 in different directions. Other days don't see any. Thats birding.

Seeing the Goshawk from the house during the confinement and also Peregrine on a fairly regular basis were definite highlights. As was finding the ST Eagle nest - only a scope view from the garden away!

The Black Shouldered Kites are super birds and I saw mating in early March - apparently elsewhere a couple were already feeding chicks! Maybe three broods this year for them. Expansion continues in all directions and they are now being seen over the migration watchpoints suggesting, to me, birds cramped and wanting to find new pastures!

Keen to finish the year well. Hopefully a new tick here or there - I'm targeting WWBlack Tern in Portugal next month and want to nail Citrine Waggy and Red Throated Pipit. Fingers crossed...

Soulor later for that male Pallid Harrier - camera WILL work this time as it blanked on me with the bird in frame two years ago - SD card failure....

Keep safe all.

Great days and great dreams
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Another day another Wallcreeper! Headed back to Gavarnie with a couple of friends. It was cold, an odd spit and a bit of wind so a three layer day. The walk produced a fantastic adult Lammergeier giving so close up opportunity and a Rock Thrush. Obviously, being the fittest of the three (or maybe the one carrying the least) I was first to the Wallcreeper and there he was. He played around the fringes of the waterfall and generally gave brilliant views for a good 30 minutes.

Great.

The migrant trap also kicked up some interest with some Yellow Wagtails - we chased a group of 7 around trying to get some snaps of a clearly whiter one - I'm waiting for the snaps but could make an interesting id discussion even if the result remains Yellow.

Then to top it was a great Wryneck - again. He wasn't super friendly but did give some photo ops!

So this was Friday and Saturday felt like a Soulor day - I had hoped to spend a couple of days there this week but plans were changed by Fedex.

It was slow! Not Fedex but the Soulor... There were a couple of Lammies, Goldens, one disputed distant Marsh Harrier - I saw fully White head which made me think Osprey anyway about 30 minutes later an Osprey came back over the hill as the clouds started to form....

I met a Belgium birder who was keen to have a sniff for the local Wallcreepers so when the migration dried up we headed for a walk. About 45 minutes amble up and down with scoping the super high cliffs until one popped out a little bit above us. It gave some fairly high views for a good 10 minutes before it disappeared.

Nice way to spend the afternoon.
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Todays fair

Woodchat...

At the same time stork, white, three booted together, whinchats, spotted flys, pied flys, cpmmon redstarts evrywhere. Lots of swallows - one was suspiciously something else but there was so many with two flocks meeting that I couldn't prove anything.

Forgot couple of Whitethroats.
 

Attachments

  • Woodchat 22 9.JPG
    Woodchat 22 9.JPG
    258.8 KB · Views: 11
  • Woodchat 22 9 2.JPG
    Woodchat 22 9 2.JPG
    168.4 KB · Views: 7

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Check out me....

There were five of them!!!!
 

Attachments

  • Weasel 1.JPG
    Weasel 1.JPG
    444.8 KB · Views: 10
  • Weasel 2.JPG
    Weasel 2.JPG
    236.9 KB · Views: 11
  • Weasel 3.JPG
    Weasel 3.JPG
    454.5 KB · Views: 5
  • Weasel 4.JPG
    Weasel 4.JPG
    417.2 KB · Views: 14

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
And more - just going to scratch my nose...

Overhead 4 Lammies together. Can't recall 4 adults in sky at the same time. One was a Spanish bird - called Nieu 9 years old....
 

Attachments

  • Weasel 5.JPG
    Weasel 5.JPG
    525.1 KB · Views: 13
  • Weasel 6.JPG
    Weasel 6.JPG
    548 KB · Views: 11
  • weasel 7.JPG
    weasel 7.JPG
    340.1 KB · Views: 12
  • 4 lammy.JPG
    4 lammy.JPG
    222.4 KB · Views: 15

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
And finally a stoat

Taken on phone at about 1m!!!!!!!
 

Attachments

  • 825AC3F3-B25C-4780-993D-B92D40C2DEC3.jpg
    825AC3F3-B25C-4780-993D-B92D40C2DEC3.jpg
    166.5 KB · Views: 22

Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
:t: Wow! You can take bird photos for every day, but mammals are more tricky. (Except Squirrels.) Well done.
 

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
weather curtailed weekend but did manage a trip to Puydarieaux where I spotted a very distant Spoonbill - my first for this area, although I have seen them near Biarritz. Also 1000's of Swallows and 3 great white egrets.


I had gone in search of harriers but failed to connect.

On the way back today I took all the back roads, my favorites. Some wheaters, whinchat and three yellow wagtails...

After about 2 hours I finally clocked a very distant ringtail. Sadly too quick and distant for photos but nice to see anyway.

A cracking juv Woodchat popped out on the last stretch.....

Nb also posting the Wryneck from a couple of weeks ago.
 

Attachments

  • woodchat 4 Oct.JPG
    woodchat 4 Oct.JPG
    451.9 KB · Views: 6
  • bs kite.JPG
    bs kite.JPG
    256.3 KB · Views: 12
  • Wryneck18 9.JPG
    Wryneck18 9.JPG
    446.3 KB · Views: 9

rosbifs

Well-known tool
France
Refound the Woodchat Shrike today...

In the background a Black SHouldered Kite started mobbing a Buzzard. Another female Hen Harrier albeit a little distant and through the airport fence.
 

Attachments

  • Woodchat 8 Oct.JPG
    Woodchat 8 Oct.JPG
    328.9 KB · Views: 5
  • Woodchat 8 Oct 2.JPG
    Woodchat 8 Oct 2.JPG
    229.8 KB · Views: 4
  • Woodchat 8 Oct 3.JPG
    Woodchat 8 Oct 3.JPG
    270.7 KB · Views: 6
Top