Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January birding and things…

Here in the southern most reaches of Spain, January and February can be pretty hit and miss with the weather, so getting out around my high mountain area is always a bit of a lottery at this time of year. Towards the backend of 2013 and now during January, we have had some rain at last, so expectations have risen for a better show of flowers this coming spring. A journey into the hills yesterday provided a taster with Broad-leafed Iris Juno planifolia in abundance, we also enjoyed finding grey and white (hypochromic) varieties, which are locally common, but generally rare, if you see what I mean? A number of flowers have been emerging through the change of weather, where rains have provided the necessary incentive for blooms to appear.

Large Tortoiseshell - Olmera - Nymphalis polychloros

Sunny days brought out several species of butterfly and so far this month my species list has just passed into the twenties, quite amazing and also delightful to see one or two favourites such as Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros, to think friend Clive Burrows and I spent all of an April’s day last year trying to find this species in order to get a half decent photograph! The day was planned for a drive around a favoured area with a picnic lunch; I also wanted to check known territories for Golden Eagle occupancy. It was a relief, as has been the case in recent years, to find all pairs present and correct with some already displaying.

Golden Eagle - male and female photo taken from 1km!!

On various scrubby slopes Dartford Warbler were out in force, with little wind birds were more disposed to venture to the tops of broom, gorse and scrub oak bushes. I can’t recall ever seeing so many Dartfords on the same day. Like many warbler species they can be very skulking and often only allow fleeting glimpses, so it was a pleasant change to view them in a leisurely fashion! Echoing around the rocky mastiffs were songs of Blue Rock Thrush and Black Wheatear, though Blue Rock Thrush as ever kept their distance as if knowing my camera was at hand. Cirl and Rock Bunting were also singing with Thekla Lark dispersing and laying claim to breeding territories. Crag Martin tumbled and glided around cliff faces, whilst Swallow and House Martin were absent despite numbers now being seen on the coastal marshes.

Dartford Warbler - abundant on our day in our mountains

Another purpose for my journey yesterday and also some planned excursions this week, is to become more acquainted with the Canon SX50. I am off to Costa Rica leading 2 tours, so I am going to leave heavy camera equipment behind on this occasion and see how things progress with this lightweight point and shoot camera. Photos here demonstrate that it can cope with some conditions, but I will have to wait and see how things work out in Costa Rica, I hope you might pop-in at some point in the future when I have posted the results?

Black Wheatear

Small Gallery from January 2014 – Canon SX50

Common Cormorant
Rock Sparrow
Common Crane
Common Buzzard
Fuente de Piedra
Serrania de Ronda
Broad-leafed Iris Juno planifolia - Grey variant.
Broad-leafed Iris Juno planifolia - typical colouration
Broad-leafed Iris Juno planifolia - White variant - Hypochromic
Red-legged Partridge

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

Strait of Gibraltar - Migration, wetlands and so much more read HERE


Mary Howell Cromer said...

I would say that so far the use of your new Canon SX50 camera, has so far done very well and this said, am anticipating on viewing some more amazing photographs following your upcoming visit to Costa Rica. Your flowers, birds there are gorgeous, the scenes breath taking. Take care Peter~

Peter Jones said...

Really very kind Mary. I am hoping to post a range of photos to the blog once I return from Costa Rica, until then though I'll be out of circulation for a few weeks! Peter

eileeninmd said...

Beautiful post and scenery! And the birds are all gorgeous..the flowers are lovely. Enjoy your week ahead!

Karen said...

The weather looks quite nice to me! You got some great shots!

Jen said...

I use the Canon SX40. It's easier to tote around than multiple lenses and suits my purposes. I'm looking forward to seeing what you're able to capture with what I believe is the newer model.

Peter Jones said...

Thanks and very much appreciate the kind words Eileen, Karen and Jen... Peter

Stewart M said...

Great set of pictures.

I also liked the ringing (although its banding here swell) post.

Ringed a small amount of paserines in the UK - and lots and lost of waders and terns here.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Jon Mularczyk said...

Very nice photos!

BettyLouAnn said...

Wish I had known about your services when I was in Ronda. Will look you up next time I am there, though I am not sure when that will be.