Thursday, April 9, 2015

Birds in April - Serrania de Ronda

Our rivers are in full flow as part of nature’s self sustaining life lines. They are such an enormous asset and valuable resource here in my mountains, and beyond of course. Unfortunately our lagoons are depleted and I really do wonder if illegal extraction for irrigating crops is mostly to blame? There is no doubt water, such a valuable resource for us all, is being used in huge quantities for olive growing. It is of real concern, but more about that in a future blog. Right now I am rejoicing in the gift that is Spring!

Painted Lady is also migrating northwards and stops at a feeding station!
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, on this Earth more precious than nature. And for me at least, Spring is a celebration of our natural heritage, a time of renewal and wonder. Here in Andalucia, I live in a migration bottleneck for birds, where they make their way to and fro on journeys that involve huge efforts between continental Europe and Africa. It is one of life’s spectacles, a time to catch your breath as you witness the arrival of so many different species of bird. A time where you can stand amidst nature and just feel a kind of spiritual sensation that raises the hairs on your neck. As an encore, flowers emerge and grace the landscape with carpets of colour, you can feel the energy being released after a long winter’s slumber.

Griffon Vulture finding a thermal. Always look above them for other raptors
As a flock of Bee eater fly overhead, their merry calls great you and you really feel their joyful sound is one of relief, having successfully navigated the amazing migration from the southern reaches of Africa, crossing the Sahara Desert and finally making it home. Others such as Short-toed Eagle greet each other and make excited honking calls as if to celebrate being home, I suspect too that some of these are already paired before arriving here, which would give a different meaning to these excited exchanges! Name a bird and it seems it is on migration over my mountains at the moment, sheer numbers add to the joy.

Blue Tit. Of course not to overlook common resident birds at this busy time!
Enough waxing lyrical and left alone I could fill several pages to describe my mountains at this time of year. Onwards with another pictorial and this time from being out and about during this early part of April. I hope you might enjoy some of these happy snaps.

By the rivers.

Green Sandpiper. Rio Grande - Good numbers are passing through along with Common Sandpiper, both heading North. Feeding was particularly hard for these birds on the river, as newly established territories by Little Ringed Plover meant the male of this species attacked and harassed these migrants. Good fun to watch though!
Little-ringed Plover the main antagonist for migrant waders on our rivers.
Common Sandpiper not given a moments peace by LRPs as they feed
Yellow Wagtail have arrived and are currently battling for territories

And there's more

Black-eared Wheatear males arrive before the females and set-up shop waiting for the ladies!
Water Pipit feed along the riversides alongside both Meadow and Tree Pipit
Woodchat Shrike are one of our early arrivals
Bee eater is perhaps a symbol of Spring for me
Of course what would Spring be without some Bonelli's Eagle watching?
Red-rumped Swallow are already nest building

Why not join Peter on one his Day Tours? See Links below.

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

 – Steppe Country – for further information read HERE

 - Mountains to Lagoons - for further information read HERE

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



Margaret Adamson said...

HI Peter These photographs are tremendous and I am sorry i am not living closer to you or this area. I would love to explore it more but one cannot have everything in life (although more oney would help achieve it). This weekend I am going to the Copleland Bird Observaatory Island which is just about 2 miles down the road from me. I wonder what will turn up there this weekend? Have a wonderful weekend yourself.

Peter Jones said...

Best of luck at the Copleland Bird Observatory Margaret. Raining here today, hence some catching up on work! Thank you as always for your kind comments. Peter