Friday, November 22, 2013

Birds and things of November

With a lousy weather forecast for this weekend and today, I headed out to various parts of my local patch for a couple of days to enjoy reasonable conditions whilst they last. Normally, taken with the photo bug, it is a case of giving yourself opportunities and for that you have to venture forth armed with binos and camera! Half the fun was to just be in the countryside enjoying anything and everything about the scenery and the nature of the Serrania de Ronda and fringe areas such as Olvera. Frustrating too, got up close and personal with a pair of Bonelli’s Eagle and enjoyed the moment so much I forgot to get my camera up and focused until it was too late before they disappeared over a ridge, probably one of the best opportunities I have ever had for decent flight shots, have you ever done that by just enjoying the moment so much?

A Griffon Vulture cruises over nearby trees, take a photo or enjoy the moment?
Of course the time of year makes it difficult to concentrate solely on birds; autumn colours just wash the landscape with their golden yellows and reds. It is mission impossible not to get carried away with the colours and shoot several scenes without regard for flying birds or anything else that should catch the eye. My first day was spent doing a rough loop, striking out towards El Gastor, via old Ronda, then taking a route to the historic town of Olvera, then back again via some off road tracks hoping to see a few raptors and winter finch flocks. It was a journey of rich reward both scenically and for birds. Per chance I happened on a gathering of Griffon Vulture feeding away from my eye line on a high grass slope, I had to wait for them to tumble from the ridge and cruise over my position before being able to photograph them! As you can see from the photo I still haven’t mastered the technique of flight shots with the Canon SX50, it will take time getting the focus and speed connected with my own coordination!

Juzcar - now a bizarre Smurf Blue, framed by autumn Sweet Chestnut trees
Yesterday I visited the high valley of the Rio Genal, one of two rivers in my area that flows all year round. The valley is particularly renowned for its Sweet Chestnuts and at this time of year the tree’s autumn colour is vibrant and spectacular. So the day was spent looking at the scenery, the colours and just enjoying being out and about. In recent years, one of the villages in the valley played host to the Sony movie about Smurfs! In the build-up to this affair, the village was asked to paint itself Smurf Blue and the episode meant a vote by villagers to agree to denigrate themselves for a few bucks. Of course the area is famous for its Pueblos Blancos, white villages, so it was quite a departure from tradition. Anyway, the village is now on the tourist map as locals and natives of the region take their children to see the village and a few glass fibre Smurfs. Keeping the village blue has brought people and money to Juzcar, which in these times has proved life saving for the locals.

Of course what would a blog be here without a Goldfinch photo?
Anyway, enough of my rambling and down to the business of sharing my passion of the area with you, (via a pictorial) showing aspects of the autumn here. Hope you will have enjoyed the show?

The higher reaches of the Genal Valley in autumn.
The historical town of Olvera
One of the Bonelli's Eagle nests I am watching, this show signs of recent activity
Serin (male) comes close to get a drink
The Rio Genal, one of two main rivers that flow all year here
Stonechat (female) uses higher elevations to find ground dwelling insects
Why not join Peter on one his Day Tours? See Links below.

Serranía de Ronda – My Mountains – for further information read HERE

Osuna – Steppe Country – for further information read HERE

Campillos - Mountains to Lagoons - for further information read HERE

Wildlife Guides you can trust - Leading you closer to nature


Mary Howell Cromer said...

The birds, the towns, they look magical. The feather colouration fo the beautiful birds and the lighting that you had for photographing of the towns, just beautiful Peter~

Peter Jones said...

Thanks Mary, just now it is beautiful here and autumn rewarding with the light and colours!

Brian Carruthers said...

# # # JEALOUS # # #

Peter Jones said...

Haha Brian, hope you aren't really, your photos are always so good. Lucky for me to live in an area so diverse and full of opportunities regarding scenery and wildlife. Thanks Brian. Peter