Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Shot in the dark

No Bins Bird Club
John and Michelle Edward and myself BT

Had an early start and were on the road to Montnegre well before dawn.  Some banter in the car about the footy and Covid 19 and face masks and Hancock's Half Hour of bull shit.  Talk turned to Birds and Birds missing from our year list, I said that I've not seen or heard any Nightjar so far this year? We also talked about a chance of a Short-toed Eagle today and Trumpeter Finch, and maybe even Black-eared Wheatear.  Little did we know what was to come?

As soon as we arrive we bumped into Nightjar's resting on the Tarmac road, also flying around us, we all definitely heard and seen Red-necked Nightjar and also managed this photo is of a European Nightjar? I only say its a European Nightjar because when it flew it had a dark leading edge to the wing.

European Nightjar?

Non-vocalising nightjars present a considerable problem
The identification of nightjars is arguably one of the most challenging dilemmas faced by birders, given the low light conditions

Red necked Nightjar from last year
thanks NBBC member Mark Etheridge.

As nocturnal visual hunters, nightjars have excellent eyesight and consequently, they are easily blinded with car headlights or are spot lamped and captured by hand or netted. This, together with their habit of resting on roads at night has become somewhat of an easy sport for some ( shooters)

So I am not going to go into all the details of the ID of this Bird other than to say there are some good online guides which are very helpful in pointing out what to look for and  how to ID Nightjar.

At the Trumpet site we heard the contact calls of Trumpets Finch, we waited and waited for the best part of an hour, it was starting to get hot.
But No show? "time to move on" but not before first breakfast.

Some good birds were seen making our way along the bendy track.

After the Village of Montnegre, there was a good size colony of Bee-eaters
 luckily we managed some nice photos.


Juvenile Bee-eater

At the Lone Tree, we had decided to do a u-turn and go back the way we came and give the Trumpeters one more go. Second Breakfast was in order.

There was a Helicopter buzzing around,  I put my bins up to take a look at it, and I nearly choked on my cheese sandwich, as
an Alpine Swift came into view.


Alpine Swift

Alpine Swift
I didn't believe it at first.  I even doubted myself?  Sandwich in my mouth I took a second look, I think there's Alpine Swift up there " I said"  munching the last bit of my swift cheese sandwich.  It wasn't easy to point the bird out with no reference point in the blue sky, but luckily we all got on the bird, not one but two birds. Later on some closer fly past's.

Happy Days. The 

Returning down the track to the Trumpeter site.  A single Trumpet flew in and perched up, at the very same moment a Short-toed Eagle appeared, very close maybe only 50 meter away and low in the air,  John called it, " where'd that come from I said" everybody out.

Short-toed Eagle

  Amazing views and so close, right over our heads, And with everybody out the car watching the Eagle.

Short-toed Eagle

 The Trumpet Finch flushed, but it did return later on.

What a great day
To be honest
We've never managed to be at Montnegre before dawn but it just goes to show you that's there's so much more to this
 amazingly beautiful Valley that you can imagine

After the sunsets, the Nightshift move's in
Now it's got me thinking?  I bet there's Eagle Owl and Barn Owl even a Scope Owl in the valley maybe it's time for some Night Hawking
Watch this space!

Go Birding make some news
Have fun 

For a more complete review of our Morning's Birding
See JE excellent blog
Click link below

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