Some nice photos

12 03 2015

“This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.”

Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan

It’s been a busy winter. It’s not that I’ve not had the time to post something on the blog, the problem is that there has been so much stuff going on that I’ve not been able to sum it up. It’s quite easy actually: Borolo’s sheawater things in the Canary Islands and twitching in Catalonia.

The project with the shearwaters is going well and the first two birds have been successfully tagged, both reporting data about their unknown foraging range. Since all the information about this is already in the project’ blog post, I’ll focus on some other experiences. First of all, while trying to mistnet shearwaters, we caught several Grant’s storm-petrels. This species is not formally described yet and… oh wait, Stephen already spoke about that too!

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Should I write about the twitching then? Much ink has been already spilled about the Brown shrike at Ebro Delta, the Isabelline shrike at Marjal d’Almenara, the Pygmy cormorant and the Ring-necked duck at exactly the same locality in Aiguamolls de l’Empordà and the local megas (almost first twitchable ever) Rock pipit and Purple sandpiper (both at Ebro Delta and surrounding areas).

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So, what’s left? 3 months without posting and you end up showing some lichen photos to add some freshness. Here they go, Lepraria sp. and Xanthoria sp.:

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Canarias 109

Both photos were taken at Fuerteventura. The Eastern Islands are bright like I had never seen them before, both full of flowers that create a stunning carpet. Keeping in mind most of these plants are endemic, the ecological benefits of this year’s rain are invaluable. The photo shows the currently violet surroundings of El Golfo village, due to the flowered Echium lancerottense.

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Echium lancerottense B

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Fuerteventura shows a similar aspect, but what always impresses me the most are the sharp colors of the spurges Euphorbia canariensis. While Stephen was chasing some stonechats, I was taking photos of the scene.

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So this has ended up being a crappy post with no information and just some nice photos. Trust me, it’s not been that bad…

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The change

11 03 2012

Nice day at the ponds. A bit of seawatching at Punta del Hidalgo to take off: an adult Audouin’s gull (rare in the Canaries), about 100 Cory’s seharwaters and 1 gannet. Plenty of turnstones feeding in the rocks together with some common sandpipers and 3 whimbrels. I still miss a Barolo’s…

Later in the afternoon, during the typical tour-of-the-ponds at Tejina, I felt maybe the most noticeable change since I’m there, of course due to migration.

In the first pond, sleapy herons and egrets started to congregate around, while night herons were waking up. I had not seen catle egrets yet, and the roost was plenty of them. Where do they pass the day? The only surprise here apart from the catle egrets was a purple heron that flew over, in that case closer to us. It landed around another pond, but it was not here when we went there. Instead of the heron, there were my firsts little ringed plovers of the year. In the last pond, the 3 wintering spoonbills, one of them ringed in Germany, a greenshank and 3 coots. The last day there was only one.

 

Encouraged by that new arrivals, we went to Valle Molina. The pond is almost dry and looks good for waders. There was a dunlin, a ringed plover (both my first), 3 little ringed plovers and the typical flock of grey herons. It’s nice to see all that birds from the car…





Another day at Los Rodeos

8 03 2012

Nice to see the short-eared owls again! There was still at least one in the typical area. The only surprise was to see a long-eared owl instead of the short-eared one expected when I spotted an owl sat on a post. The canariensis race is extremely dark. Note dark facial disk and grey scapulars and wing feathers. No sign of brown anywhere.

It seemed too early for them… They should take care about the local kestrels!

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Moreover, a lonely white wagtail showing some black feathers in the mantle and also a dark rump. Maybe not enough…

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Also close views of the Barbary partridges.

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I hope I would report a spotted crake in my next post…





Plenty of birds in an open area

4 03 2012

Going out the night before did not stop me to go for a walk (of course late in the morning…) around La Vega Lagunera, an open area consisting in a mixture of crops and low bushes. Firstly, I saw 2 migrating black kites, one of them fighting with a local common buzzard, and then I enjoyed both spectacled warblers and Berthelot’s pipits, most of them singing and doing display flights.

It was interesting to see a Sardinian warbler feeding on Opuntia and the always impressive Tenerife blue tits already paired and defending territory. I also flushed a meadow pipit and a song thrush that must be migrants.

Let’s wait for the true spring.






A dry rainforest

4 03 2012

This seems to be a strange year in the Canary Islands. Local people misses the rain and so does the rainforest. This habitat was maybe the main reason when I chase the Canaries as a place to live, but, even it is still on of the most stunning landscapes I’ve ever seen, the laurisilva forest is drier than ever. Woodcocks would not be succeed in breeding if the rain doesn’t come but in the other hand, pigeons are easier to be found than in usual years. They congregate around water points such as the wet slope near Pedro Álvarez village.

The first contact with the laurisilva was nice but not enough. We saw around 10 Bolle’s pigeon and plenty of the typical birds: Tenerife firecrest, Chaffinch (the western islands form), Robin, Blackbird… But the pigeons were so elusive and we could only get poor views. Fortunately, I have 5 months to enjoy tat endemic beauties.





Two seawatching points

28 02 2012

Everytime I’ve been living in the same place for more than a month, I’ve needed a place to seawatch. When I choose the Canary Islands, I thought this would not be a problem, since this is an island and the sea is everywhere. However, not all the capes or breakwaters are the same. 

Looking at the shape of Tenerife island and bearing in mind birds are going northwards in this season, the southern coast must be better than the northern one, but the Kittiwakes I saw the first day at Punta del Hidalgo made me think that maybe birds are passing all around. I was not convinced at all, so I went to Playa de las Teresitas on saturday and did an hour of seawatching that produced what follows:

  • Gannet: 28
  • Cory’s shearwater: 12
  • Manx shearwater: 2
  • Leach’s storm petrel: 1
  • Sandwich tern: 2
  • Bar-tailed godwit: 23 (in one flock)

In comparison, one hour at Punta del Hidalgo on yesterday morning:

  • Cory’s shearwater: 79
  • Manx shearwater: 1

So it seems Punta del Hidalgo is a good place for birds breeding here, but not to see spring  migration. Having checked that, I still don’t know which of them would be better for a Barolo’s shearwater…





Spring migration takes off

26 02 2012

It seemed it would be just another unsuccessful day checking Tejina ponds, looking for a duck coming from the other side of the pond. In the first one, there was a greenshank, the typical coot, some common sandpipers and a little egret. Looking carefully at the chiffchaffs, I found a single common chiffchaff disguised between the hundreds of canariensis. Till now, everything was the expected for a typical winter day in that area, but then a flock of 6 purple heron flew over, clearly in a migratory way. They attempted to land in a nearby reedbed but either the place was too small or there were too many people walking their dogs. Later on, a common snipe flushed from the grass. It’s a scarce bird here, so maybe I should be happier than I actually was.

In the remaining pond, the only Night herons of the island were cutely sleeping. There were at least 7 of them, but only 2 adults were noted.








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