Monday, April 15, 2019

Little Bustard

On Friday the 12th April. John, Michelle and myself return to Bonete and the surrounding area the main reason was to relocate the Little Bustard's which Trevor and I had found one week earlier.   We took a slightly different route from the one Trevor and I took mainly because, to get off road where its quieter and away from the tarmac, you see and hear so much more, there's a chance you can pick up a few small stone in the tires and the car can get a little dusty, but it worth it, you can always pop any stones out later and these tracks easily navigated.

 Plains of Bonete
 Our 1st time around.
We pick out 14 Great Bustard and a few small groups of Little Bustards, which looked great through the scope, before trying to approach closer, some birds took flight and landed in the middle of the field but a single male stuck, it looked to me that this was his patch as he was displaying and calling in the middle of the track, we got a little closer, but still along way away,
suddenly he was off and gone. At that point the WertherS came out and more than happy with the scope views of those Little Bustard's, if that was the end it, it was fine, but little did we know what was to come?

There were lots of Calandra Larks  singing /flight displaying, Northern Wheatear, Merlin, Tree Sparrow on route.

Calandra Lark  

In Flight

At the station we had a tea break and chat about what options we had and where to go next?  it was unanimous, "we agreed" lets go round the again.
Reminds me of the Average White Band - Let's Go Round Again (1980)
link  below
 Average white Band

2nd time around
Much the same as the first time around but now the male Little Bustard was back in the same place holding his ground, bold and displaying with a few females in his harem.  Slowly but surely we move close taking time before moving again
 I was busy hanging out the side of  the car taking photos, it was starting to get good! and moving ever closer.

It was a real shame that there was a lot of heat shimmer as it was throwing the auto focus way off, we continued to stalk the Little Bustard's, we got closer and close  until enough was enough and the male slowly walk away following his females.

Absolutely amazing to see them so close,, I've never been that lucky with little Bustards or getting photographs of them and these may be my best so far, it could of been perfect if not for the heat diffraction, Michelle even managed a few photos, and a new bird for her, how luck is she.  It just goes to show, making the right decision is key, and getting off the tarmac does reward you.

 Happy we achieved what we'd set out to do, and headed towards Petrola. On the way there several Gull billed Terns following a tractor. I suggested we should look at lake Laguna del Salobrjo  as the Marsh Harriers were performing great last week, on the way to the viewing bridge we flush a big flocks of Yellow Wagtail, and a few more Corn Bunting perched up.

And at the bridge all the same birds as the week before, but it was windy and we decided headed off, to  Laguna de Petrola,  I said to John just one more scan around. "Hold on what's this I said" we all got on the bird as crossed back and forth along the ridge. Get back in the car, "lets get closer" we got back in the car and drove fast to get a better views.   I struggled to ID  the bird, nothing seamed to fit properly  I took a few photos, and between us, we all seen some different features of the bird, the bird drifted away I looked at the few photos on the camera,

 I came to the conclusion it was a Golden Eagle?  But still not really happy, as it turns out it may be a Juv Spanish imperial Eagle, I've now had a chance to look on the computer,  I've never though we could see this species around Petrola?   I think its quite rare?  It never crossed my mind to consider Spanish imperial Eagle. I've only seen adults before in Extremadura and Portugal, with there white leading edge to the wings, makes easy ID, Just goes to show you anything can turn up and the birds don't read the books.
At Lagunas de Petrola about 200/300 Greater Flamingo  a single Common Sandpiper, Kentish Plovers, a few more Gull billed Tern, but not much else. On to the Plain's of Corral Rubio some more Great Bastards and 5 Lesser Kestrel.

We were now heading back to Alicante as we drove along a Male Black eared Wheatear crossed the road and landed we turned around and searched, but it had moved on.  A quick stopped at Laguna de Salobrjo lots of White headed Duck, Common Pochard, Red crested Pochard, etc.
Well what super day. It was Amazing !!! these moments don't happen very often but glad they do.

Next week
Gabo de Gata.  Lets see what that's got to give ?
See John Edwards excellent blog click link below for his review
john Edwards
Thanks to Julian Sykes
for the ID help on the Raptor
cheers Bryan

1 comment:

  1. It was a great day in excellent company too. And the birds - well one of the best days. And thanks to Julian for his identification skills.