Thursday, February 4, 2016

Birding Home And Away

After arriving back from holiday late on Sunday it’s been hard to find the time or even the motivation to go birding. But om Wednesday morning I dug my hat, gloves and birding jacket out of the car boot in the sure knowledge that the feel of a Lancashire winter at 5⁰ is in stark contrast to two weeks of Lanzarote’s wall-to-wall sunshine and 23⁰. 

Wednesday was my turn on the Oakenclough rota. It was time to top the feeders and check the numbers of birds feeding there in case the weather should relent and allow a ringing session - a week from now looks a possibility after yet another stormy weekend ahead! 

Andy topped up last Saturday and reported decent numbers of Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Coal Tits, concentrated as usual in the least windy spots. Three feeders were barely touched, another three close to empty. So it was a minimal top-up in the more exposed feeders and a heftier dollop of nyger in the others. There was nothing in the way of extra species apart from at least two Mistle Thrushes in full voice. 


Mistle Thrush

That was the extent of my birding, so for this post I’m including a few pictures from the Lanzarote of late January. 

Lanzarote had enjoyed the driest, warmest November, December and January on record with virtually nil rainfall and endless sunny days. This historic and glorious weather continued during our two week stay with barely a cloud to be seen. We took many coastal walks in the immediate area venturing out in the hire car on just three or four days. 

Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

The dryness of the landscape can be seen in the picture above but few walkers ventured from obvious paths to look for birds like Berthelot’s Pipit, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Trumpeter Finch, Desert Grey Shrike or Linnet. A number of Berthelot’s were feeding young but judging by the large numbers of larks around in groups and even small flocks, their breeding season was more advanced. The larks hugged the ground so much in their cryptic brown plumage that it was almost impossible to get close before one exploded into the sky and took many more along. On one walk 40 or more Lesser Short- toed Larks took to the air upon spotting my approach.

Berthelot's Pipit

Lesser Short-toed Lark

Lesser Short-toed Lark

Berthelot's Pipit

Desert Grey Shrike- Lanius elegans koenigi

Trumpeter Finch

From the coastal paths could be seen Sandwich Tern, Kestrel, Yellow-legged Gull, Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper.

 Common Sandpiper

On a couple of days and very close to the hotel we found a party of three Hoopoes. In parts of the Mediterranean I’m used to Hoopoes being very approachable but this trio proved hard to close. 



Fortunately the dry and dust of the coastal paths would often lead to a watering hole or two for thirsty travellers like ourselves. 

 Puerto Calero, Lanzarote

There’s more home or away birding soon on Another Bird Blog. Don’t miss it.

Linking today with Anni's Blog and  Eileen's Saturday.


Christian Perrin said...

Aww man, looks like I really missed an opportunity for unique birding when I was in Spain... hoopoes, shrikes, then a cold drink at a bar! I like your style :)

You're very dedicated heading out into the cold to top up the feeders too, good to see! Living in a country where it's the summer that's more brutal than the winter, I forget how lethal that time of year could be for some birds.

David Gascoigne said...

Get over this contrast in the weather already, you big baby! You are a British Bulldog after all!

Wally Jones said...

Welcome home!

Good show on getting out to top the feeders despite less than ideal conditions. The weather will break soon for you, I'm certain! It's hard to believe, but spring just isn't that far off. We're already seeing woodpeckers and cardinals scouting nesting spots in the back yard.

Your travel brochure photos are spectacular! I'm always amazed at what diversity can be found in such dry locations.

We were happy to note that you learned from your encounters with skittish birds that it would be best to lay in wait for them at a local watering hole. We patiently await your processing of the images from that sensible hide.

Stay as warm and dry as possible. Relief is on the way.

Stuart Price said...

Nice shrike pic there Phil..............

Joyful said...

Beautiful bird photos. I can understand your not wanting to go out birding in coolish weather after just having had a nice holiday in warmer climes. But you did! Thanks for sharing. Happy weekend.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I am hoping for some good weather days to get out and do some birding. I love your pretty Goldfinch and Mistle Thrush. Your vacations photos are lovely, I can almost feel the warm air. The Pipit, Lark, Shrike are all awesome birds but my favorite is the Hoopoes. I would love to see them in person someday. Great post and photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!


Oh know the finch is one of my taunt me with their beauty!!!

And the sea scenes....beautiful.

As are the entire array of birds today, Phil.

June Caedmon said...

Wonderful captures, Phil! It seems most larks have "exploding into the sky" in common, lol. It's been a challenge to capture the meadowlarks that visit here every winter, but I managed, finally, to get a few last week. Always enjoy visiting here. Have a wonder-filled week!

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent macros of beautiful birds ~

seems like you 'weren't really back from vacation) missing the warmer weather I bet ~ Springs coming ~ New England just got 1st major snowfall with more to come possibly ~ Gotta love Mother Nature's surprises.

Happy Weekend to you, ^_^

Breathtaking said...

Hello again, and welcome back. Your images of all the birds are wonderful, especially the beautiful shots of both the finches It's amazing that you saw the larks and pipits which were so well camouflaged against the dry earth.I also appreciate your hoopoe shots.I once saw three juvenile Hoopoes perched on our TV aerial, but unlike you I hadn't got my camera with me.I think about that missed opportunity many a time!!:)

sandyland said...

I learn so much here

Anni said...

Phil, thanks for adding this post link to I'd Rather B Birdin' this week....
Y'know I love your posts a great deal, and your wonderful birding photos and expertise.

I'm wondering what Calero means in Spanish...that's a new one for me. A port of some kind I will have to look it up.

Anni said...

Calero="lime"....I always said Limon. Hmmmmm

Marie C said...

Oh how COLD where you are! But Lanzarote looks lovely. The brown birds are definitely blending in with the dry ground. Really nice shots.

bettyl-NZ said...

What a wonderful variety of beauties! I have to say I was enthralled when I saw some wild European goldfinches in the paddock here in New Zealand!

Photo Cache said...

Nice selection of birds you captured.

Worth a Thousand Words

mick said...

Your local weather of 5 degrees must have been quite a shock from the holiday temps on Lanzarote. The Goldfinch is always very beautiful and the sea views on Lanzarote especially beautiful. I am sure the locals out there are hoping for some good rain soon.

Russell Jenkins said...

That's a pretty nice collection of birds, Phil. The colours in your landscapes are quite nice too. I forget what "colour" is this time of the year in Niigata.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

All the birds from your trip have the colors of the desert. Not surprisingly I guess. Wonderful to be able to bird on your vacation, it looks like such a great change from home , in winter especially.

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