Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn's Road to Nature

Its official, autumn post migration is tough work for the birder! Or at least at higher altitudes, when even familiar birds, ones that don’t migrate, can disperse to lower lands! Of course my patch, the Serranía de Ronda, is so peaceful now, no holiday traffic, not so many walking the trails, just me and my toy camera! Even though by local standards this is the quiet time for birds, the cross over from summer departing migrants and the awaited arrival of wintering birds, there is still plenty to make the journey out of the door worthwhile, besides I am getting bored doing admin tasks!!

Autumn's (October) road to nature
Lately I have been sneaking days out, when really I should (must) do some administration work for the tour companies. However the lure of the great outdoors has been irresistible and the promise of winter is fresh on the winds, so I do not want to waste opportunities whilst the sun shines. Our days are still warm, the nights a little cooler, so I guess its no surprise to find plenty of dragonflies, butterflies and plants still attracting attention whilst walking the area or just driving around. Work also provided some nice birds plus some interesting ones like one of the photos below of a Thekla Lark with an abnormal upper mandible, just look how long and hooked it is, quite the reverse from what it should be i.e. blunt ended. Also a colour ringed Griffon Vulture (immediately below) and a Black-winged Kite in the area, which was a very pleasant surprise.

Griffon Vulture, Serrania de Ronda, Andalucia, Spain - yellow colour ring black lettering 15P
The photos below of Thekla Lark, ringed Griffon Vulture (above) and Black-winged Kite were taken by Peter Bonne Eriksen and reproduced here with the kind permission of Peter. 

Thekla Lark with abnormal upper mandible.
Thekla Lark above... Really a very strange individual with abnormal upper mandible. Normally the bill is blunt and hook tip more associated with Crested Lark, although some juvenile Thekla can have slight hook to U.M. Thought this might interest some of you.

Black-winged Kite - rare visitor to my patch!
All other photos are mine and were taken with the Canon PowerShot SX50.

Rock Petronia / Rock Sparrow
Rock Sparrow or Rock Petronia above, not the best of photos, but it does help with id, especially the head markings which always show. Unlike the yellow breast spot seen on the bird to the left, this can be tricky to spot on most occasions. Another noticeable field mark is the faint white tip to the tail when the bird is flying away from you, which is very often the only view you get of this species!! I hope this might be helpful.

Western Willow Spreadwing Chalcolestes viridis
Collared Dove
Griffon Vulture
Red-rumped Swallow nest - wonder if they will use it next year?
White Wagtail - through the fence....

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Brian Carruthers said...

Excellent reading
Terrific birding

Brian Carruthers said...

Excellent reading
Terrific birding

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Wonderful entry Peter and so well done as always. The images are superb~