Friday, June 24, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

21st May - 7th June

Great Bustards

Great trip to the UK and Extremedura, Spain during the last couple of weeks. Extemedura between 23rd-26th May with Sacha found us in amazing bird-filled steppe landscapes, staying at Martin and Claudia Kelsey's homestay, and scoring Little and Great Bustards, Calandra Lark and both Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse with in the first 45 minutes of our first morning's birding. We also had great views of Spanish Imperial Eagle, all three Vultures, plus White-rumped Swift and Lesser Kestrel.

 Crested Lark



 Spanish Spage

White-rumped Swift

Euro Griffons

A long-list of southern European birds provided a supporting cast including Crag Martin, Euro Bee-eater, Sardinian and Subalpine Warblers and lots of Hoopoes.  One particular highlight was a "black thermal" - which held five Black Storks, one Black Vulture and two Black Kites!

 Black Kite

 Black Storks

Black Vulture

 Azure-winged Magpies

 Lesser Kestrel

Lil' Owl

Euro Roller

Zitting Cisticola

 sub-adult male Monty's

dark phase female Monty's

 pale phase Booted Eagle

male Woodchat



Blue Rock-thrush

My time in the UK has focused on East Anglia, with typical summertime birding around Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. The undoubted highlight was an early morning Otter at Cley (seen in the channel that runs from North Hide to East Bank). With birding highlights including Bittern, a pair of breeding plumaged Med Gulls, hearing several of Nightingales (and seeing one), Bearded Tits a couple of times (Cley and Lakenheath), Hobby at a variety of sites and nice views of a pair of Grasshopper Warblers.  Perhaps the most striking thing I noticed, as somebody who moved away from the UK eight years ago, is the notable spread of Cetti's Warblers (which I heard at most sites where I went birding on this trip - Cley, Titchwell, Lakenheath, Fen Drayton, Cliffe).

Med Gull, Cliffe

 Grass Snake, Cliffe

Fox cubs in early morning sunshine, Kelling

Sedge Warbler, Kelling

Barn Swallow, Cley

Oyck and sea poppies, Salthouse

the closest I'll get to a Norfolk W-c Spage

 Marsh Harrier at the RSPB's wonderful Lakenheath Fen