Friday, May 17, 2024

The Car that didn't like Hills



Perfect  Storm

 one of my previous Birding visitors contacted me and said he was flying into Alacant for a 4-day trip to go Birding Serra de Cazorla and would I like to join him. A freebie

 I said Yes of course 

The distance involved was immense, Google Maps said the travel time was 4:30 and us not knowing the mountainous terrain, just how much time it might add to the journey time, we headed off from GA at 6:45 on the southern route stopping off at Guadalentin Valley. Birding by 8.30,  all the species that were predicted were soon on the list.

Highlights, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, "point blank" twice they looped low around our heads and you've guessed it, the camera was inside the car what an opportunity missed "Oh shit" Hope this isn't gonna be a trend for the trip?

So off we set off from Guadalentin Valley, after first breakfast at around 12:30 travelling through Totana, Lorca, Basa, and onwards north to Serra de Cazorla, all was going well along the motorways. The hire car an MG which is normally associated with high performance, couldn't fart its way out of a paper bag. It was tediously slow making headway as we headed up the mountains of Serra de Cazorla,

Around and around we went, up and down on these little one-vehicle roads twisting and turning as we climbed over the top, "I was feeling a little travel sickness" only to go down to the bottom of a valley and start it all over again on the next mountain the MG car was running out of puff at the slightest incline, it's not a car to climb mountains.

 The highest peak is 1,847 meters, the highest we got to 1,475 meters Ben Nevis UK's highest peak is 1344. 527 meters. At one point I thought I was gonna have to do CPR on the car as it struggled up yet another mountain. My mate was losing patience with the car. The Sat Nav was having an epileptic fit showing the route to the hotel it was like spaghetti drawn across the screen sometimes pointing in the direction we just come from. You couldn't write this

Unbelievable 

I was starting to get bad vibes we'd been travelling most of the day. The hotel still looked miles away a Cote Rios, we eventually arrived at 5:45 at the hotel, a quaint rural hostel which was more than adequate for our needs, and more importantly, around the garden birds singing their heads off "Great I thought" We sat in the garden listening to Bonelli's Warbler. Golden Oriental, stunning Grey Wagtail, Black Cap, Song Thrush, Robin, Serin, Chaff Finch, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Hoopoe, Scops Owl and many more

We sat there with a few glasses of red wine till dusk listening to the chorus of song and looking forward to the following morning and going Birding.

Second day

Early start it was so good to hear so many amazing birding songs, but there was a problem the forest was so dense and bird songs carried such a long way away, also the canopy was so high it was neck-breaking to see anything, the most common song heard was Golden Oriole there must be thousands of Golden Oriole at  Serra de Cazorla,

At a river weir, which was very noisy, we saw Nuthatch, Wren, Serin, Blue tit, Coal Tit, Blackcap, Robin, herd / seen Golden Oriole, Treecreeper, Crossbill, Great spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, but hardly any opportunities for photography due to the low light levels in the forest.

Up on top of the world

High up at the viewing platform hoping for a lammergeier to drift by. We did get to see many Griffon Vultures and a pair of Bonelli's Eagle, and Booted Eagles. Raven, We put in some considerable time there on the viewing platform staring into the wide blue yonder and burning up in the 40° heat

Back at the hostel

And debating our days birding and writing the list of birds, it was disappointing and just how difficult it was to see the birds. We sat on the balcony looking up at a small patch of blue sky hoping for anything to pass by, and at that moment a lammergeier pass over it was brief, but enough. It doesn't take much to make us happy.

Lightning does strike twice

Some of you readers who visit my blog might remember my disastrous visit to Yecla and the flat tyre episode in February titled Mad Days Birding. Well as we were celebrating the flyover of the lammergeier with a glass of wine the hotel proprietor called to us from the garden below he was very anxious and articulate about something was wrong with the car, we rushed down the corridor and into the car park and found the offside door window completely shattered there was no attempt of breaking in it's just something that happens with laminated glass it spontaneously explodes due to a fault in the manufacturing process. Maybe something to do with the heat or altitude. I've heard about this before where laminated glass tables and glass doors explode for no reason, but never heard it on the automobile.

We reviewed the situation and decided that the following morning we had no alternative but to head back to Gran Alacant. We patched the offside window as best we could with cardboard and tape and made preparations to leave early the following morning taking the northern route back. It took us seven and a half hours to reach Gran Alacant it was a bit of a nightmare getting back as it was like driving through a wind tunnel with the offside window missing, not to mention the three-a-half hours of driving in circles of ups and downs and twists and turns to get back onto something that looked like a straight road.

Reflections

Serra de Cazorla is stunning and beautiful, offering the greatest dawn chorus in Spain. However, given our challenging experience, I wouldn't return

Make some news and have fun

Big thanks to John Robinson

Cheers Bryan

Photos to follow























Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Pallid Swift's returned

 There back

At least 5 pairs of Pallid Swift's this evening are accommodating the eves of my roof structure amazing to watch a dusk. I'm not up early enough to watch them go at first light, but I can hear the fledgling or female  moving around under the eaves.

 Also there a Common Kestrel which has roosted almost every night on one of the window structure, since the early Autumn of 2023 and today one the returning Love Bird which visits now and again few into my conservatory almost knocked itself out flying into the glass but eventually found his way out and was fine. I'm guessing my conservatory keeps re minded the bird of it's home. Common birds seen fly over my House

 Night Heron, Purple Heron, Red rump Swallow, on  house list

Cheers 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The price of eggs



I guess some of  you might have noticed the price of eggs have gone up 
but put it down to maybe the cost of living crisis but there's a more sinister reason

It's a longish read but inportant 

Please Persevere 

H5N1, an avian flu virus,




Here in Spain

H5N1 was first confirmed in Basque Country in Northern Spain From 2003 to 21 October 2022, a total of 868 human cases of infection with  H5N1, and 456 deaths have been reported globally from 21 countries.
Bird flu has killed tens of thousands of marine mammals, and infiltrated American livestock for the first time. Scientists are working quickly to assess how it is evolving 

And how much of a risk it poses to humans.


Since February 2022, more than 90 million farmed birds have been culled, In the US according to the agency's website.
Most recently, it has infected dairy cows in several US states and Infected at least one person in Texas who had close contact with the animals.



It's now crossed over to other mammals

In their three decades of working with elephant seals, Dr. Marcela Uhart had never seen anything like the scene on the beaches of Argentina’s Valdés Peninsula last October.

It was peak breeding season; the beach should have been teeming with harems of fertile females and enormous males battling one another for dominance. Instead, it was “just carcass upon carcass upon carcass,” recalled Dr Uhart, who directs the Latin American wildlife health program at the University of California, 

H5N1, one of the many viruses that cause bird flu, had already killed at least 24.000 South American sea lions along the continent’s coasts in less than a year. Now it had come for elephant seals.
Pups of all ages, from newborns to the fully weaned, lay dead or dying at the high-tide line. Sick pups lay listless, foam oozing from their mouths and nose

It is “an image from hell.”



In the weeks that followed, Dr. Uhart and colleagues— protected head to toe with gloves, gowns and masks, and periodically dousing themselves with bleach — carefully documented the devastation. Team members stood at the top of the nearby cliffs, assessing the toll with drones.

What they found was staggering: The virus had killed an estimated 17,400 seal pups more than 95 percent of the colony’s young animals.
The catastrophe was the latest in a bird flu epidemic that has whipped around the world since 2020, prompting authorities on multiple continents to kill poultry and other birds by the millions. In the United States alone, more than 90 million birds have been culled in a futile attempt to deter the virus.





There has been no stopping H5N1. Avian flu viruses tend to be picky about their hosts, typically sticking to one kind of wild bird. But this one has rapidly infiltrated an astonishingly wide array of birds and animals from squirrels and skunks to bottlenose dolphins, polar bears and, most recently, dairy cows.
“In my flu career, we have not seen a virus that expands its host range quite like this,” said Troy Sutton, a virologist who studies avian and human influenza viruses at Penn State University.



The migration route from north to south
A a simplified version and how the virus has travel down the America's.


Dec. 2021 The H5N1 bird flu virus is detected on the farm in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and in a sick wild gull nearby. Hundreds of birds on the farm died, and the rest were culled. It is the first detection of the virus in North America.

Migrating shorebirds may have carried the virus from Europe to Newfoundland through Iceland or Greenland. Or seabirds that congregate in the North Atlantic Ocean might have carried the virus ashore when they returned to Newfoundland to breed.
Jan. 2022 The virus was first detected in the United States, in wild birds in
North and South Carolina Summer 2022 Hundreds of harbour and grey seals die along the coast of Maine and along the St Lawrence estuary in Quebec. The seals may have been infected by living near or eating sick and dead birds.



Fall 2022 After months of moving west across the United States and Canada, the virus spreads south into Mexico and Columbia most likely by migrating birds carrying it down the Pacific Flyway.

Nov. 2022 The virus reaches Peru, causes a Mass die off of pelicans along the coast, and begins to spread to other birds and marine mammals. Confirmed samples are shown as dots.
Early 2023 Thousands of sea lions die in Peru and Chile, the earliest known mass sea lion deaths from the virus. The virus continues spreading down the Chilean coast towards Cape Horn.

Late 2023 The virus rounds Cape Horn and moves north into Argentina and Uruguay, killing sea lions and seals and eventually reaching southern Brazil.

The blow to sea mammals, and dairy and poultry industries, is worrying enough. But a bigger concern, experts said, is what these developments portend: 



The virus is adapting to mammals, edging closer to spreading among people.
A highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 was identified in 1996 in domestic waterfowl in China. The next year, 18 people in Hong Kong became infected with the virus, and six died.
 The virus then went silent, but it resurfaced in Hong Kong in 2003. Since then, it has caused dozens of outbreaks in poultry and affected more than 800 people who were in close contact with the birds.
All the while, it continued to evolve.




The version of H5N1 currently racing across the world emerged in Europe in 2020 and spread quickly to Africa and Asia. It killed scores of farmed birds, but unlike its predecessors, it also spread widely among wild birds and into many other animals.
Most infections of mammals were probably “dead-end” cases: a fox, perhaps, that ate an infected bird and died without passing on the virus. However, a few larger outbreaks suggested that H5N1 was capable of more.



The first clue came in the summer of 2022, when the virus killed hundreds of seals in New England and Quebec A few months later, it infiltrated a mink farm in Spain
In the mink, at least, the most likely explanation was that H5N1 had adapted to spread among the animals. The scale of the outbreaks in sea mammals in South America underscored that probability.

“Even intuitively, I would think that mammal-to-mammal transmission is very likely,” said Malik Peiris, a virologist and expert in bird flu at the University of Hong Kong.
After it was first detected in South America, in birds in Colombia in October 2022, the virus swept down the Pacific coast to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of the continent, and up the Atlantic coast.



Along the way, it killed hundreds of thousands of seabirds, and tens of thousands of sea lions, in Peru Chile Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil The sea lions behaved erratically, experiencing convulsions and paralysis; pregnant females miscarried the fetuses
“What happened when the virus moved to South America we had never seen before,” Dr. Uhart said.

Exactly how and when the virus jumped to marine mammals is unclear, but the sea lions most likely came into close contact with infected birds or contaminated droppings. (Although fish make up the bulk of sea lions’ diet, they do sometimes eat birds.)
At some point, it’s likely the virus evolved to spread directly among the marine mammals: In Argentina, the sea lion deaths did not coincide with the mass mortality of wild birds.




“This could suggest that the infection source was not the infected birds,” said Dr. Pablo Plaza, a wildlife veterinarian at the National University of Comahue and the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Argentina.



In some South American countries, apart from a few carcasses that were buried, the rest have remained on the beaches, rotting and scavenging upon.
“How do you even scale up to remove 17,000 dead bodies out in the middle of nowhere, places where you can’t even bring down machinery, and humongous cliffs?” Dr. Uhart said.
The virus has now been found in Antarctica and the consequences for the Penguin and Albatross are immense not to mention the climate change that's affecting Antarctica
And my friends in the isles of scilly are experiencing the same.


                                  


Cheers Bryan 

                

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Canon 7d a Review in 2024



Every once in a while a camera will come along that transcends the normally inevitable barrier of aging. Those cameras, being either film or digital, are relatively far and few between. Yet most of these immortal-like cameras are easily identifiable. One only needs to seek out the loyal and dedicated following they have amongst photographers. One such camera I believe deserves this honour is the Canon EOS 7D. I admire its design just as much as the rest of the loyal dedicated lot out there.



Intro

I hope that this article gives it the proper homage and respect the EOS 7D well deserves.

I've included in this review some photographs taken with the Canon EOS 7d Mk 1
I've owned a few 7d over the years from new in 2009 and second hand and recently again for £145.00.

I've not been impressed with the "new" Canon of late, particularly in the direction they are going with design and production. If you ask me, the prime moment of the company has long come and gone. In its wake lies some of the company's best offerings. With this article, I'm attempting to highlight the good-ol-days just a bit, and perhaps remind Canon themselves of the greatness they once possessed.


European Roller

So first, a little reminiscing: Oh my how the camera market has changed since 2009 when the 7D was announced.

Camera makers back then had been struggling with relatively immature technology, having no choice but to implement it into new camera designs while simultaneously trying to feed an unprecedented hungry (and equally demanding) digital photography market. When Canon introduced the EOS 7D, it was a shining moment for "prosumers" Seems a camera maker had finally answered the siren song of the needy (and often dissatisfied) enthusiast and pro photographer market with a modern performance-based camera body.


Kingfisher
The 7D thus was an instant hit.



Of course, the EOS 7D wasn't the first time Canon had a hit, but it did come at a time when the world was evermore in need (and almost desperate for) a fully developed well-rounded crop sensor (aps-c) camera. Canon's EOS 7D in my mind was the culmination of many of the newest technologies and camera-making experiences, of which both had finally matured to the point where performance was no longer unpredictable or incomplete for most photographers' needs.

In essence, the timing of its design was spot on.

Everything about the 7D design attempted to address and simultaneously satisfy all of the demands and fusses of prior designs in the category.

Cattle Egret

So at the time, it was a leading-edge design in nearly every way, bested only by the top-tier, highly expensive, pro-level DSLRs from Nikon and Canon alike. Nobody at the time had made a more well-rounded and capable APS-C sensor DSLR than the 7D.

And so it sold, in HUGE numbers.

Review

Compared to its peers, well sure, some models could match and even exceed some specific performance aspects or price points of the 7D, but none of them were as good of a well-rounded performer. This selling point alone is really what made the EOS 7D truly special at the time. A real jack of all trades that blew away the competition.

Firecrest

Moreover, there's the fact that the EOS 7D is still considered a highly well-rounded and competently performing stills camera today. Even pitted against cameras that have a decade and a half of advancement and development ahead of them, remarkably it continues to hold up well as a high-performance stills-shooting camera body. More on that point coming up.


Pallid Swift

It's just a solid beast that is both competent and pleasurable to use for nearly any photography task. If you want a jack-of-all-trades camera, the 7D should be on your shortlist.


This of course is as long as you intend to use the 7D as a stills photography tool, if so, there should be little left to desire as far as necessities go. If you must have modern conveniences, well then perhaps the 7D would not be a good choice for you. There's no wifi included, no touch-sensitive and/or swivel screen options at all, no built-in GPS (optional only), and lastly no fancy dual-pixel autofocus or even extensive video either.


Golden Oriole

It's not bare bones by modern standards, but it is certainly not leading-edge tech either. No, Canon's 7D is considered a dedicated photographer tool, and from that perspective, it is a supreme bargain for what you get for your money. 

Golden Eagle

For example, it has plenty of resolution (18mp) for most photographers, the speed and auto-focus tenacity for the most demanding photographers (8 frames per second, a good buffer, and a surprisingly capable auto-focus system), weather sealing and a bombproof full magnesium build, excellent shutter life expectancy (150K cycles), an excellent optical viewfinder with 100% accuracy, awesome battery life, it's reasonably customizable, and has a comprehensive feature set that can provide a lifetime of service without ever really feeling dated.

Ortolan Bunting

Keep in mind too, that this all comes from a camera that was introduced in 2009

My Time With The 7d

When I first started using it, I had a hard time believing a camera body could be so capable and yet so complete as a design. Both its specifications/capability and the performance of using the camera were unlike anything I had used to that point. The feeling of having new creative capabilities and photographic options at my finger

At £1,699.00 it was much more expensive than its competitors. But the camera market didn't care as a whole, since the 7D was worth the extra cost for anyone wanting next-level performance they couldn't find anywhere else. 

Alpine Accentor 

Admittedly, it was more camera than I needed then, I think the 7D is still one of Canon's better cameras they have ever made for still shooters, despite all of the advances in technology that have either come in successive and/or higher-end models, and that includes, of course, its full-frame lineup.


Bee- Eater

Every time I pick up the 7D, I still get near that same feeling I did many years ago. I am always left thinking what a rock solid, do-it, fun-to-use, well-rounded, high-performance stills camera this is! Even with the shortcomings it has compared to a full-frame camera system, it doesn't leave you wanting much. But trust me, it does have a few relatively minor shortcomings. 

Concluding

For a stills shooter, there are very few cameras that offer this much capability and performance in one robust body. Never mind the insanely low prices you can get them for these days or the vast range of affordable lenses available for the mount- both are unrivalled by any mirrorless system. 

Northern Wheatear 

There are however a few modern features that weren't included with the 7D that I miss sometimes, and at other times not at all. Wifi, touch screen, dual pixel AF,  and multi-exposure modes were omitted, all of which I wouldn't mind having in the 7D at times. Only half of those were addressed in the successor 7D Mark II, but even with that, I still prefer the original 7D for most tasks most of the time.

Canon's 7D is a simpler camera than its successor and it does not lag too far behind in most circumstances. The 7D Mark II is a great all-rounder, and generally more competent as an action camera or video camera than the 7D, yet this comes at two to three times the expense on the used market. Therefore, since I rarely use video, and the 7D is already a very capable action camera,  I end up using my 7D most of the time.  The simplicity and familiarity of it always keep me coming back.

Egyptian Vulture

Compared to full-frame systems, the 7D has both advantages and disadvantages, but neither is to any extremes. In good light, the 7D is nearly every bit as good as a full-frame DSLR, at least for most work. In some ways, it's better, too. In lower light, considerations have to be made though. Faster lenses mean lower ISOs can be chosen, or, f stops should be backed off.


Rufus tailed scrub Robin

Pros and cons.

 But so long as you have a lens that can shoot at wider/more open aperture values, the 7D can hang with just about anything in the full frame category, a little better than you might think. So that point should weigh into your lens selections for lower light work. 


Juvenile bee-eater

Now the 7D certainly isn't a 1DX (that camera is legend), but for someone on a budget, you can do a great many things with the 7D. And you can do them with professional quality results that you will never regret having used it for. 

European Roller

And all that for a hundred fifty quid + I paid on eBay £145.00 in mint condition low shutter count, with battery grip plus 2 Canon batteries and 2 CF cards. I'm all ears for an argument against it. 

Stay focused.


Friday, April 19, 2024

Trumpeter Finch



 A few weeks ago

 Visiting birder Dale Kelly and I went to Montnegra and Maigmo Mountain, we searched for Trumpeter Finch at Montnegra and dipped out big time, it was blowing a gale and a very cold wind. But today was a completely different story and 3 weeks later.

Arriving about 9 o'clock we had an excellent show of Red Rumped Swallows, whizzing around our head for a little while.  Blue Rock Thrush almost immediately and pair Black Wheatear showed off,  heard and seen on the wires European Bee-eater. Red-legged Partridges scurried around.

The Jewel in the Crown

Trumpeter Finch

  One of the most sought-after Finch in Spain has returned to Montnegra. We only gave it an hour or so which included the first breakfast and a wedge of lemon drizzle. We watched from a distance at first, and after confirming they were back we moved a little closer to get a photograph, of these stunning rare and elusive little Finch with that big red bill, in pristine breeding plumage these little Finch are simply spectacular.


Trumpeter Finch

So what's different this time

I've photographed these birds extensively over the years and their leg rings, but now they are traffic lights colour-coded on their right legs. see the photos, I'm sure there are returning birds from the previous breeding seasons. At some point, I'll try and get a photo of a ring number from the silver ring.  It might answer some questions about where they go after breading.


Trumpeter Finch


Other birds seen at least 3 Woodchat Shrike, Rock Sparrow, Chough, Dartford Warbler, Rock Bunting, Nightingale, and Serin. Southern Grey Shrike, Mistle Thrush, Jay.


Woodchat Shrike Bird 1



Woodchat Shrike Bird 2

Maigmo  Mountain at the very top

Was shrouded with dark clouds creating its weather system, it was cold, blowing a gale and only 16 degrees compared to lower slopes a comfortable 22 degrees.


Wood Lark

We stopped at sites on the way up,  which would produce a few opportunities to see birds, they didn't  disappoint Crossbills, Wood Lark, all of the Tit family, and Lesser Short-toed Tree Creepers were everywhere, Swallow-tailed Butterfly were in good number today


Lesser Short-toed Tree Creeper


To be honest we didn't do justice to Maigmo Mountain just up and down as I had to get back. So I'll be heading back there soon.


Lesser Short-toed Tree Creeper

I've not mentioned every bird seen.

Have fun and a great day

Woodchat Shrike Bird 3

Cheers Bryan 

 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Maigmo, Montnegra, San Felipe, Santa pola Salinas, Clot de Galvany

 

Part 2

Target birds

Woodlark, firecrest, Crested Tit, Trumpeter Finch? Rock Bunting.

 and anything else we bump into

8.00 o'clock  start and Birding Maigmo Mountain by nine, amazingly lightning does Strike twice at the first stop and Woodlark singing its Head off on the wires above good opportunity for photography 


Woodlark

Dale was in his element and the camera was busy, next stop up the hill, another Woodlark point blank amazing.

We put some effort into the lesser short-toed Treecreeper a difficult mouse-like creeper bird  which is often seen but a nightmare to photograph  but we cracked it in the end

All the Tits were seen and one of the target birds Crested Tit was done, also seen Crossbill, Serin, Firecrest, Rock Bunting,

Sod's law at the top of both peaks workmen were busy chopping down trees so a bit of a letdown and very noisy with a chainsaw in action

So we buggered off

Heard only Wren, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, opportunity missed golden eagle heard and just a glimpse through the trees.

Montnegra 

So we crossed the valley to Tibi and onwards to Montnegra, I was not expecting much.  No sign of the Dartford Warblers that were present 2 weeks ago, 

Trumpeter Finch was a no show, and Griffon Vultures were seen, but distant. I predicted Black-eared Wheatear for today but it wasn't to be

We cut our losses and head off to

San Felipe 

Lots of Gloss Ibis. Slender-billed Gull, Black-winged stilt, Red Knobbed Coot, Booted Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Iberian Southern Grey Shrike, Yellow Wagtail, flocks of linnets and Goldfinch, Swallow, Pallid Swift, House Martin, Snipe, Avocets, Green Sandpipers, Purple Swamp Hen. Greater Flamingos. Nothing mega but a great views of the resident birds

Black-winged stilt

Dale Camera was busy with lots of new birds.


Red Crested Pochard,

 Clot de Galvany

I was hoping that the 4 Ferruginous Ducks would still be there alas they've gone, just the resident ducks etc were there,  White-headed Duck, Gadwall, Red Crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Marble Duck, Teal, Shoveler. A juvenile Audouin's Gull drop and a nice show Yellow-legged Gull.


Gadwall

So a full-on few days Birding with Dale Kelly thank you Dale, and thanks to Mary CBBC for putting me in touch with Dale I mentioned that I'd reset Dale's camera because of the focus issue on day 1 unknown to Dale it also set the recording quality to fine jpeg  which is not the end of the world but RAW is better 


Yellow-legged Gull

It was quite an eventful birding adventure with Dale Kelly! From Woodlarks to Bustards and an array of other bird species, we covered a lot of ground. Despite some missed opportunities, made for a rewarding experience. Plus, spotting Mouflons and an Iberian Red Squirrel added an extra dimension to our wildlife observations.

Mouflon

Have fun go Birding make some new

Cheers Bryan 


Friday, March 22, 2024

Bonete and Great Bustards


Part 1

A few days Birding with Dale Kelly on his tick list was to see and photograph Great Busted and Little Bustard and anything else that we could bump into 

No pressure then?

Arrived at Bonete at about 9.15 and the first stop 6 Great Bustard, "that was easy I said" Dale had an issue with his camera and wouldn't focus so I reset his camera and took the battery out, and the camera started focusing and we were off more on that later.


Great Bustards

Dale was busy taking photographs of the Great Bustards, In the air plenty of Calandra lark singing, Woodchat Shrike on the wires, and good numbers of Rock Sparrows, Hoopoe.

Rock Sparrows

Hoopoe

On route to

Corral Rubio

All the seasonal lakes are completely dried out and have been ploughed for planting, I've no idea what's going to grow as the drought continues in Spain. Back at Gran Alacant, we've not had any significant rainfall for over 12 months.

Another 10 Great Bustard, Lapwing, Marsh Harrier, Glossy Ibis, Green Sandpipers, Corn Bunting, Swallow, to be honest, the lack of rain is having a major influence on the birds in the area,  the evaporation of Patrola lake is gathering pace, see the photograph.

Patrola lake

In the past, I've seen thousands of Greater Flamingos on this lake and today hardly any birds, a few Yellow-legged Gulls, Shell Duck, Black-headed Gull nothing much else just a smelly evaporating mass of water.


Lapwing

We left Petrola and headed across the plains to Higuriella and on to the Estación for little Bustard, lots of Hoopoe around today and good opportunities to photograph Thekla lark,

Thekla lark

Dale found the little Bustard while driving, and an emergency stop followed, which caused I little chaos as Dale exited the car rapidly while it was still moving and I photographed the little Bustard from a driverless moving vehicle.
Little Bustard

Anyway no harm was done and Little Bustard was under the belt, and as we were almost back at our starting point Bonete.  I suggested we should visit Yecla and give it a go, I pre-warned him that I was there 3 weeks before and it was incredibly poor

Yecla

Thekla lark

And so the afternoon was taken up covering the tracks of Yecla there were a few stand-out moments, and we worked hard for those moments,  plenty of Thekla lark, Crested Lark, Calandra Lark, Lesser Kestrels, could be 5 pairs, at the Barn, Stone Curlew, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Chough, Swallow, Pallid Swift.

Calandra Lark
This bird has a deformed bill at first I thought it was carrying food

 I've not mentioned every bird seen

Calandra Lark

And that was our long day out with a few mega moments 


Pin-tailed Sandgrouse

And what will our next Birding Adventure bring 

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse

See part 2

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan