Thursday, November 29

A Taste of Mexico

Been here on holiday at the Gran Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort

Mexico, just 3 days it been great so far. Birding as you'd expect magic.

just going to up one or two photos for now

Yucatan Jay

The Yucatan Jay is a black and blue Cyanocorax species native to deciduous forests of the Yucatan peninsula and nearby areas of Belize and Guatemala. The birds have three distinct plumages which include the blue and black of the adult, a first year plumage which appears like the adult with the exception of white tipped tail feathers, and a white and blue-grey juvenal plumage. While the plumage appears adult in the second year, the color of the eye ring and internal bill color can be used to age birds until the fourth year.

Yucatan jays are cooperative breeders, with younger birds helping the breeding pair to raise the chicks. The jay lays 4-6 pinkish-buff eggs in a poorly constructed platform nest close to canopy height near the forest edge. They are omnivores, adapting their diet to take advantage of seasonally available plant and animal material as it changes in abundance.

This species has a large range and a large, increasing population. It does not appear to be under threat from the rapid and intense development of the coastal Yucatan to the "Riviera Maya."

Have a great day

Cheers Bryan

Tuesday, November 27

Birding the Costa Blanca round up

 Birding the Costa Blanca round up

It been a tough few weeks birding with bad weather and prolonged heavy rain and to top it off  not so many birds and not many photographic opportunity's, don't get me wrong we've seen some very good birds. But the grey overcast light and distance to the birds hasn't helped.  
A  recent trip to Gabo de Gata was a bit of a wash out see my earlier post for that review.

My birding mate from Cornwall Bob Hibbett arrived and stayed with me for 6 days. Bob and I  go back  a long way to our Isles of Scilly days.Great to see him. Even though he told me that the had see about 7 Trumpeter Finch at Gabo de Gate around the lighthouse in the same place we had been looking a few days earlier. We dipped the Trumpets.

San Felipe and Palm farm road Santa Agueda, Santa Pola Salinas..
Nothing of any note just the usual  suspects

 Red nobbed Coot, Marbled Teal, Blue Throat, Widgeon, Water Pipit, over 25  Marsh  Harrier,  Booted Eagle, a few Great white Egret.  On the outer pools of San Felip, didn't have a single bird ?  It was completely void of birds? No sign of Great spotted Eagle.

2 trips to Yecla 1st trip produced 2 Golden Eagle, male Hen Harrier, Great Bustard lots of Calandra Lark and Thekla's Lark.  The second trip  to Yecla the hunters were out.  So wasn't a good time to be birding, but they did helped flush 100 plus Pin tailed Sandgrouse which gave a nice fly past and also 9 Great Bustards.

1000s of Calandra Larks in the stone fields and in the amongst the same flock were Rock Sparrows and Sky larks.

And surrounding area produced a Golden Eagle this was one of the bird's of the day and although it was little distant for photos, it was still a great bird to see, about 30+ Black bellied Sandgrouse got flush by a Buzzard and with prolonged views we all managed to get on them before they disappeared from view  1000s of Calandra Laks were present. Hardly any Waders anywhere, 
Was completely absent of birds even the heavy rains has not made an impact on the pools and lakes and many are still dried up. We persevered with our search and eventually found the Great Bustards maybe around 30+ birds the surprise of the day was 6 Geese sp which we didn't get enough to ID them as dropped over a hill.
Pego Marsh.
The weather forecast wasn't good for any where in Spain for the next few days but on the El Tiempo the online weather channel, it suggested that it would only be 0.8ml of rain at Pago? So that's where we headed. I'd forgotten just how far Pago was from Gran Alacant is, even using the toll motorway (€10.70 )  it took 2 hours + to get there. I'd not been there for a year or so as it was flooded and impassable on my last visit. This time with Bobs 4 wheel drive a Land Rover Discovery it shouldn't  present no problem's ?

There was some light misty rain as went through the mountains and then the heavens open as we approached Pago and it didn't stop all day. At times it was almost biblical ! I think we could of launched an Arch. Most of the tracks were underwater with deep pot holes. As we were already there we decided to carry on despite the lashing down of rain.

 To be honest there where lots of birds there, Osprey, Common Crane, 9 White Stork, hundreds of Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret's, really good numbers of Reed Bunting, Blue Throat, Water Pipit,  a few common Waders. My bird of the day was a fully winged Mute Swan which was happy feeding away in the torrential rain.

 At around 4 o'clock we had had enough and headed for home. I would definitely go back to Pago looks like it has potential to turn up something good.  Although I would wait a while for the water levels of drop. 
I've not included every species seen just the ones worthy of a mention.  Photos to follow in few weeks as I'm on holiday in Mexico  birding, relaxing, enjoying food and wine, blog to follow of my travels
Have fun
Cheers Bryan Thomas
 Bird Photographer

Tuesday, November 13

Birding Cuba

Just about to upload my latest part of my portfolio Birds of the Republic Cuba great place for Birds see my Travel link below.

Cuban Tody

Coming next birds of New Zealand is a major work in progress

And after that birds of Australia, Gambia, Israel, Morocco, The Western Pacific. And so more to come.

Monday, November 5

Robins for the pot

Italy: Robins for the pot

Police seize more than 1000 plucked birds (19.10.2018)

Mmmm yum yum 1000 Robins ready for the pot

The Italian forest police (Carabinieri) have unveiled a bird trapper in possession of over 1,000 (mostly) robins in Brescia, Northern Italy. CABS members initiated the case after finding and reporting a site with illegal nets. Police caught the trapper red-handed and a search warrant was subsequently conducted at the trappers’ home address, where the grisly discovery was made. These protected birds are coveted delicacies and were intended for sale in restaurants, where they are served behind closed doors to personally known guests. In Italy, the trapping and selling of songbirds has been banned for a long time now, with the black-market restaurants facing especially high penalties. But because the birds are not on any menu, restaurant owners are rarely caught. This conviction marks poacher no.30 of the current CABS Bird Protection Camp in Brescia

Fancy a plate of robins for your Christmas dinner a few roast potatoes a glass of wine or two a little jus. 

There's some very sick people around.

Please see links on the right side of this blog for
CABS Bird Protection web site.
There some lots of bad thing happening to Birds,
Please take time to look at this web site.

Friday, November 2

3 day recce to Gabo de Gata

A 3 day recce to Gabo de Gata with Trevor, John, and Michelle The weather forecast was not good for our planned trip, and with dip in temperatures and with a very strong gale force winds, driving cold rain, made birding difficult, just holding your binoculars "still" was a major feat, using a scope was almost impossible for most of the time. but undeterred we soldiered on. 

We birded from first light till the sun went down, I feel a little disappointed, even though Trevor's trip list ended up a health 121 only 71 for the Gabo de Gata trip.

Birds on list include Golden Eagle, Short toed Eagle, Black kite, lots of waders Great white Egret, male Hen Harrier, Spoonbills, but i did expect to get a few photographs and I didn't. I took only1 bird photo in 3 days not much reward for lots of effort, nothing really showed well and everything was distant and flighty in the gusty wind. 

We didn't expect to see any new species, and we had a good look around for the elusive Trumpeter Finch and Dupont Lark but no luck in finding them. Stunning scenery, sea scapes, desert and vista's. A place I'd go back to, but next time in the spring, you could, just do a two night stay over, this would be plenty of time to see all the birds.

Although we didn't get our target birds on this trip, we'll have to leave that for another time.

But with the Birding banter and buzz of a new Birding recce it was still a very enjoyable trip and well worth it, and despite no photos of any notable species.

Despite the bad weather, It was great fun and also frustrating, we had lots of good laughs, about how bad we were doing regarding the birds, the bad weather, and how the gods were against us. I did ask the question about what was our combined birding experience, it turned out staggering 140 year's of birding which is amazing. And on the last afternoon the sun came out and I managed a few scenic photographs.

A few grogs of ale at the end of the birding day was a fitting end to our recce at 

Gabo de Gata 
For a more detailed information on Gabo de Gata with

Site directions and GPS and so much more info
see link below

John and Trevor 
Happy days

Cheers Bryan