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Marian's bird "illustrated diary" 2010 (Spain, mainly) (1 Viewer)

madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
First day in England. I stayed in Nottingham visiting my BF friends Sandpiper and Damselfly (Mike & Carol Powell) but managed to see loads of people from BF too!!! :bounce: (In the Members Faces section of the gallery there is a pics galore of these encounters! :-O) Another BF buddy (Scottishdude) picked me and my sister up at Luton airport and arriving to Nottingham we did a couple of stops to have the first taste of the summer birds in England. Here I ticked another species for the year list:

10 August 2010: Nottingham, C England

229. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

It's the first pic. I'm including here another picture taken in Nottingham a few days later. It's the Common Starling… oddly, I thought it was going to be very common but saw it only in 3 spots and always quite far away! :eek!: This was my only close encounter with a little flock, in a very cloudy and dark morning.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
In the first outing of my English holiday I was taken to the famous Bempton Cliffs. Even if I knew the Puffins had already left, I was longing to see any other possible bird still breeding there. Razorbills and Guillemots had left too :)-C) but at least it had plenty of Gannets (pic a), and some Fulmars (pic b) and Kittiwakes (pic c, a juvie), two species I was longing for seeing again (I had seen Kittiwakes last year but far away during migration in the sea). So, with this update my year list is as follows now:

11 Agust 2010: Bempton Ciffs, East Riding of Yorkshire, E England

230. Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glaciaris)
231. Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactila)

And before going back to Nottingham, we still visited another spot in the area, Filey Brigg, where a little bunch of Guillemots was relaxingly (but far) swimming in the bay. Swell!!! o:)

11 August 2010: Filey Brigg, E England

232. Common Guillemot (Uria aalge)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
I must admit the weather was not very kind to me in England during the holidays! :-C Still I had a great time, even if it did birdwatching a bit hard and the photographic opportunities scarce. But taking advantage of the moments with no rain and the spells of sunshine, I was taken to make several interesting visits in the surroundings of Nottingham.

One of the best visits (even if it was pouring rain) was to Rutland Water, to see the breeding Ospreys and to meet several BF members, which made the day very enjoyable!!! :bounce: Plenty of birds there too, in spite of the weather conditions, but it was almost impossible to take pictures. I'm happy I saw the Osprey wonderfully and managed to take pictures of one in flight in a break of the deluge, ;) (pic a)

13 August 2010: Rutland Water, C England

233. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

In the following day I visited Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park with Mike. Very dark day, making photography very frustrating. But I managed to see quite a good variety of forest birds, including a new bird for the year list… and an unexpected lifer, wow!!! :eek!:

14 August 2010: Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, C England

234. Common Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)
235. Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) :cool:

The Treecreeper pic is bad (pic b) but the Mandarin Duck is even worse and I decided to keep it hidden in my hard disk! :-O

And next day, a Sunday morning, I joined Mike in a Survey of Wildfowl in the area. Again it was quite dark but the temperature was milder than days before, so I had the chance to see several Butterflies and Dragonflies. And even if it was impossible to take pictures, another year bird appeared:

15 August 2010: Hoveringham Railway Pits, Nottinghamshire, C England

236. Marsh Tit (Parus palustris)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
My second week in England started with sunshine! |=)| Mike took me on Monday (August the 16th) to Attemborough Nature Reserve, it was a beautiful day and there was good variety of birds there, but didn't see or snapped anything new. But I saw my first Banded Demoiselle ever! o:) There we met with my buddy Scottishdude, as I was joining him for a few days away from Nottingham area.

On Tuesday we headed for the famous Martin Mere. Again it was a very wet day but the main aim there was joining several BF members. We had a fabulous time that not even the rain could spoil!!! But it spoilt the birding, of course! ;) I didn't mind though, the "human factor" was amazing, and that was the most important thing for me!!!

And on Wednesday it started what I called the "Welsh adventure". We went to do camping there with other bunch of BF members (I did a checklist of BF members met during the holiday: 25 in total, :-O) in Llanguring, not far from the also famous Gigrin Farm. Of course, the gang went there to photograph the Red Kites… and of course I went back home with many pictures of them! |=)| (pic a) The afternoon was glorious with perfect light, I really enjoyed the Gigrin experience!!! :bounce:

But next day, the weather changed again! :-C The morning was very dull but we headed to the Welsh coast to take advantage of the lack of rain before it started pouring. So, we arrived to Aberystwyth… very few things to see around, but had a good chance to photograph Rooks very close, and got pictures of Great Black-backed Gull (pic b) and Jackdaw (pic c), which I still had not added to this thread. After lunch it wasn't still raining, so we headed to Bwich Nant yr Arian, the other place were Kites are fed in the area. It's a beautiful forest, the feeders had plenty of small birds… but the best was the presence of a bunch of Crossbills! o:) They were hard to photograph but managed to get a clear view (more or less, ;)) of one. (pic d).

As you can see, I didn't see new birds for the year list in Wales, but I'm very happy with the birds I saw and the pictures I took… and the company was fantastic!!! :bounce:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
And this was the last birding day during my holiday in England. And the icing on the cake, a glorious sunny morning spent in Old Moor RSPB, full of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and with wonderful company!!! :bounce: I saw more than 40 different species of birds, and this time some are new for the list:

21 August 2010: Old Moor RSPB, South Yorkshire, C England

237. Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
238. Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

The opportunities to take picture were better than most of the previous days, and I could catch up with several waders that I still had not photographed this year:

a) a couple of Ruffs
b) Green Sandpiper
c) Snipe
d) Greenshank
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
How to make the most of a wasted day. |=)|

This Sunday I had a family meal right by one of my favourite hotspots of my area, Villaviciosa. The day was bright and migration on its way… so I dealt with the family a couple of free hours on my own to check the marshes just in case something interesting had arrived. And I couldn't believe my luck!!! :eek!: Not only a Great Egret was there (very scarce visitor, in fact the first time I see it in my area, pic a), but Wood Sandpiper was there too. The funny thing is that I saw it in England a couple of weeks before, after more than 10 years without spotting a single one… and here it appears for me again! o:) (pic b) And the icing on the cake was an Aquatic Warbler perched on a rail in the open!!! :eek!: I'm glad I could take a series of pictures, otherwise nobody would believe me!!! A mega-scarce bird here, only the local ringers are fortunate enough to see it when they trap Warblers in migration among the reeds… of course, it was a lifer for me!!! :bounce:

29 August 2010: Villaviciosa, Asturias, N Spain

239. Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) :cool:
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Odd this, but my next bird findings took place while Butterflying!!! :eek!:

Here the summer arrived late but was very hot and humid, more than usual. The Butterflies season was hence late and it was in the second half of August when we had the blast of them. So I went first to Cabo Peñas, where a couple of specialties are found (for those interested, the False Greyling and the Alcon Blue). Fortunately, I had my binoculars with me and was very pleased to come across finally:

31 August 2010: Cabo Peñas, Asturias, N Spain

240. Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

On the contrary, my photographic equipment was for Butterflies and failed to snap the Redstart! :storm: We can't have it all! ;)

And next weekend went to one of the best places in Spain for Butterflies, the moorlands of Burgos Province. I didn't make the same mistake and this time I carried all the cameras with me! :eek!: My poor back complained in the end but saw and photographed:

4 September 2010: Páramo de Poza, Burgos Province, N Spain

241. Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
At the beginning of September, I had to attend a Chemical Meeting in S Spain, in fact not so far from the famous Doñana N. P.! :eek!: Sadly, it was impossible for me to organize things and had time to visit the area. :-C But still, I took with me my binos and the compact camera just in case something could be seen around the hotel or during the breaks of the meeting. I was chuffed to find that right around the hotel were flying:

8 September 2010: Punta Umbría, Huelva Province, S Spain

242. Pallid swift (Apus pallidus)

And not only that, but the hotel was by the beach and in between there were plenty of pine trees. In the garden of the hotel there were Azure-winged Magpies (pic a) and Red-rumped Swallow, and in the pine trees by the beach Sardinian Warbler, Crested Tit (pic b), Pied Flycatcher, Green Woodpecker,… WOW! And in the beach, along with the Yellow-legged Gulls I spotted Gull-billed Tern and Sandwitch Tern (pic c). Not bad for a week of work! ;)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
After the Chemical Meeting, I spent the weekend in Madrid again, and as many times, I visited my two favourite places around the big city. On Saturday went to Rivas-Vaciamadrid, where I expected to take pictures of the late Dragonflies in the lagoon. But, of course, I kept an eye on the birds around just in case something interesting appeared. Nothing new for the list but got these two birds not photographed during the year:
a) a Cattle Egret… the pic looks odd but it was taken through the not-very-clean window of the information center of the reserve! :-O
b) delighted to see the first Shovelers of the Autumn! o:) Still in eclipse plumage though.

And on Sunday, another visit to El Pardo provided me (finally!) with the very sought after Spanish Imperial Eagle!!! :bounce: But the views were distant, so I'm not showing here the white-shouldered blur of pic I got! :-O

12 September 2010: El Pardo, outskirts of Madrid, C Spain

243. Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Yes, I confess it… this day I did twitching!!! :eek!: I never do it, there is no excitement for me to go after a rarity that you know were it is and there is no "surprise factor". But this day was exceptional, by chance I met with a birding friend who is not interested in twitching either, but he told me: "There is a Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Bañugues. What about going and having a look, just for fun?" And I said "yes", mainly because it's such a cute wader that seeing it "in the flesh" would be thrilling. At least we didn't know where it was and had to find it by ourselves, which was at least a bit of effort. And it was even more beautiful in real than in pictures!!! :bounce: What a charmer!!! I didn't dare to try to get closer for pics and bother it, so my pics are rubbish but at least it's my proof I didn't dream!!! (pic a)

21 September 2010: Bañugues, Asturias, N Spain

244. Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis) :cool:

And in the way home we stopped in other areas looking for more interesting birds. Nothing new for this thread appeared but I photographed two more birds I still had not added to this diary of mine:
b) Stonechat, posing nicely by the sea in a cliff.
c) a flapping Black-tailed Godwit in the company of several Bar-tailed Godwits. I had it a bit closer than this but preferred to add this pic showing the wing pattern.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Well, the summer season and Autumn migration are over and there are a few summer migrants that I photographed but didn't post in this thread expecting to get better pictures of them… but the chances didn't arrive, so I've decided to add them now as I feel they should be here even if the quality is low. At least they are perfectly recognizable! ;)

a) An Egyptian Vulture from Sepúlveda during the Easter holiday. This has been one of the poorer years for them I remember, only saw it 2-3 times in the whole spring and summer. :-C
b) The only Subalpine Warbler I've seen this year, in Laguna de la Nava, again during the Easter holiday. I admit I've been very optimist to think I could get a better shot… they are scarce and difficult to see in the open…
c) A really frustrating year for the Little Ringed Plovers too… only seen once! :eek!: This pair was in Zeluan with other waders (Dunlin in the picture), as usual too far away from the hides for decent pictures. But it's better than nothing for me!

Soon I'll add more updates, I'm still sorting out pictures from my last outings.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
As I do when I can, I join the guys of the local Birding Club in the monthly survey of Seabirds, so I'm useful at the same time I have a great time, birding in company. October is a good moth here to watch the sea, this day the variety wasn't significant but the numbers of passing birds were quite good, the winds were not the best but the visibility good and in an overall was a super day. The most numerous species, as usual, were the Gannets, and then the Sooty Shearwaters, but passed too Common Scoters, Manx Shearwaters, Great Skuas… and some little bids in migration like the first Meadow Pipits were seen arriving to the shore from the sea. In summary, the new birds to be added to the list are:

2 October 2010: Cabo Vidío, Asturias, N Spain

245. Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)
246. Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus)

And next weekend, I helped in a project of cleaning a local area of invading vegetation to improve the native habitat. I'm glad I took my camera with me, just in case something interesting was around… because something was around! o:D A couple of Spoonbills were found in the beach at closer range than usual (still far and the day was dismal, but at least I could immortalized them):

10 October 2010: Zeluán, by Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

247. Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Almost a month without proper birding due to work and dreadful weather had me at the edge of desperation! :-O Fortunately I thought about organizing an expedition to see Cranes, a bird I didn't see in the last 5 years and I was dying to see and photograph. I asked my buddy Scottishdude from Nottingham to join me and there we went for a long weekend.

Before going to the Cranes place in Gallocanta, we payed a visit to Belchite, a good area for steppe birds like Sandgrouses, Stone-Curlew and Larks. Sadly, the time of the year was not the best to find these birds, but we did the best we could. In fact, managed to find the Black-bellied Sandgrouse, but the pictures were dreadful (I'm even ashamed of showing here mine, :-O). Other goodie seen was the Lesser Short-toed Lark (pic a)

13 November 2010: Belchite, Zaragoza Province, E Spain

248. Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis)
249. Lesser Short-toed Lark (Callandrella rufescens)

We found too a ringing station where they had just captured a Goldcrest, which I've not seen or photographed this year, but I'm not including it in the list because I don't feel the situation suits my initial idea of this thread, even if it was a wild bird.

As for the rest of the pics, they are:
b) A Mistle Thrush taken from the car window, too “twiggy”… recognizable though.
c) I've been very unlucky with Shrikes this year, I've seen very low number and mostly far away. Here you have a Great Grey Shrike (meridionalis, the race usually seen in Spain) not too cooperative but enough for a record shot.
d) A nice surprise, a Little Owl, when sunset was approaching.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
And finally the great day to visit Gallocanta and the wintering Cranes arrived!!! :bounce: I don't know how to explain with words the feeling of seeing thousands and thousands of Cranes, sometimes really close and passing flying over ours heads, simply breathtaking!!! o:) How beautiful they are, and so majestic!!! Other birds around were Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Kestrels, Buzzards, one Short-eared Owl, Black Redstart, even a couple of Merlins (great bird for me, only saw it 3-4 times in my whole life) but all were eclipsed by the show of the Cranes!!!

14 November 2010: Laguna de Gallocanta, Bello, Teruel Province, E Spain

250. Common Crane (Grus grus)
251. Merlin (Falco columbarius)

The picture attached was taken from one of the hides available for photography, the following day. More pics in my gallery and I've uploaded a clip in TVBF of the panorama from the hide, to give an idea of what it was watching so many together and the noise they make.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
I've just realized my last picture uploaded was bird number 200!!! :bounce: Superb, I was starting to doubt I could achieve that aim!!!

Following with my sightings, during the cold wave that had England covered with snow, we had here gales and terrible weather with some snow as well. I crossed all my fingers for the Redwings to arrive finally here and… Eureka, it worked!!! ;) During a break at work I visited a local park to check if there were some and indeed they were there, in the company of plenty of Song Thrushes, Meadow Pipits, White Wagtails, Black Redstarts, Robins, etc….

26 November 2010: Oviedo, Asturias, N Spain

252. Redwing (Turdus illiacus)

Sadly I had no camera with me. But, to "decorate" a bit this post (;)) I'm adding a couple of very common birds that I've still not included in this thread (mainly because of lack of space when I took the pictures, we only can upload 5 pictures in each post). But both pictures should be here. Both are from May, and both from visits of my British BF buddies, pic a) is a female Common Kestrel taken in the area of Villafáfila from Allen S. Moore's visit and b) is a male Linnet taken during the birding adventure in Gredos with Scottishdude.
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
The bad weather all over Europe had to affect our bird population in some way. I've known that during my working days several interesting species appeared in my area: Red-throated Diver, Grey Phalarope, Red-breasted Merganser, Black-necked Grebe, Little Gull… and of course I missed them all! :storm:

When the weekend arrived, I desperately spent the day out in the hope of seeing something interesting. I joined the birding club team for the monthly Seabirds survey, which was good: Great Skua, Gannet, Balearic Shearwater, Guillemot… no birds to add to the year list though, still I thoroughly enjoyed the sea-watching in spite of the cold wind!

And in the afternoon, I went to one of my local patches to see if somebody of the winter visitors was still around… and some had stayed!!! :bounce:

11 December 2010: San Juan de Nieva, by Avilés, Asturias, N Spain

253. Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) (pic a)
254. Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) (pic b)

Chuffed with these two sightings, Mediterranean Gull and Purple Sandpipers were around too but the Diver and the Eider obviously stole the show! Just for fun, I'm adding pictures of both of them flapping! ;)
 

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madamcoolpix

a.k.a. Madam Butterfly
Well, folks, 2010 ends and this is the last post of my "diary". It has been great fun to do but must confess the last couple of weeks I was exhausted with my work and family duties and I had no energy to go out to try to find new birds.

Still, I leave you here with the only new bird photographed in a very short outing a few days ago (a Redwing). Loads of thanks to everybody for the attention paid to my stories, a real pleasure to share and I wish you the best in 2011 to everybody!!! o:)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Cheers, everybody!!! B :)
 

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