Monday, 23 February 2009

Wishful thinking for the spring

A few more pictures from last week. These are all species that are on the British list.

The village of Alcala de Los Gazules is a spectacular place to watch Lesser Kestrels, and around the church, in the square at the top of the village they can be very spectacular. Above a male is doing a sort of swoosh dive past a female, I guess it's a form of showing off. The only Lesser Kestrel I've heard of around here date back to the 19th century, one found injured at Buckland in 1877, and now in Dover Museum, and a male found dead in Dover in 1889. A nice alive one this spring would be a great find.

We do get Ospreys every year, but of course they are heading north in spring and south in the autumn. We saw a couple in Spain, these could have been migrants heading our way, or possibly local breeders as they have started breeding near Alcala.

The status of Red-crested Pochards in Kent is not to clear. They are such a common duck in collections that the provenance of any bird appearing wild is questionable with out proof it is a genuine vagrant. Of course people can tick what they like but it is good to see a proper wild flock. like these at the Peurto Real Lagunas.

Audouin's Gulls are about as rare as it gets in the UK. The first record was of one at Dungeness in 2003. They are among the more handsome of the gulls, and are now quite common in southern Spain.
There have been less than 20 records of Spanish Sparrows in the UK and as far as I know none from the South East of England. There can be a bit of a question mark, especially in winter when the plumage isn't so striking, as to whether any there are any House Sparrow genes in the bird. I think that this one looks OK, but it isn't so boldly marked as ones I've seen in Extramedura in May. This could be because the full summer plumage is yet to show.

This Hoopoe was very close, but spent its time grubbing around under the bushes. It seemed to be good at extracting worms from the soft sandy soil. There have been a few in the St Margaret's area since I've been here, the last near the Radar Station at Langdon Bay a couple of years ago. There are stunning looking birds and can be quite comical to watch.

1 comment:

Alcalabirder said...

Some great photos again, Tony. I'm glad to see that you got a good shot of the Hoopoe after all. As for the Spanish Sprog, I think it's a fairly 'bog standard' male in fresh winter plumage. Compare with transformation that male Brambling or Reed Buntings undergo! In fact I could see little 'wrong' with most of the Spanish Sparrows we saw,