Apr 302012

Last year we were remarking about how early the seasons are starting, particularly with early springs, now there seems to be an abrupt halt to this trend. In any case the whole world is seeing huge changes in climate and many unnatural and prolonged weather patterns, with intense flooding in Australia, violent hurricanes across the Caribbean, Mexico and the US, unseasonably high spring temperatures in the UK, tornadoes in the Midwestern US and drought in many European countries.

Singing Nightingale out in the open

Wren belting out it’s incredible song

A very striking male Marsh Harrier is still hanging around Barbate Marismas. I haven’t seen any female but looking at his plumage he looks as if he’d be a fine suitor for any female. The birds are certainly singing but what’s happening? Well, more thoughts on this below…

Swallowtail Butterfly are slow to come through this season and like many birds aren’t moving away

A Booted Eagle on the coast at Guadalmesi. We’ve seen a lot of birds cross then just hang around the area of The Strait and not really in a hurry to get on with travelling further to their breeding grounds. Similarly slow passage of a lot of warblers will mean late birds in the UK and other European countries. Birds too have a fascinating ability to read weather and certainly know when to stay put. Their biological clocks are ticking and many birds time breeding with that of other living creatures. Insects, small mammals and passerines make up the diet of breeding raptors like this Booted Eagle and the Montagu’s Harrier.

Booted Eagle in flight. You can just make out one of his ‘landing lights’ or white shoulder patches

Booted Eagle lighter form from above

Short-toed Eagle

Slender-billed Gull (Larus genei)

Slender-billed Gull have to be one of the most lovely looking Gulls we have along with the Audouin’s Gull. This particular bird has lost his left leg and seems to be managing fine without it. You can see that lovely pink hue as it comes into adult breeding plumage. The pink colour may be attributed to diet as with flamingos, their diet contains a high percentage of tiny shrimps that breed in the saline waters of the salt-pans.

Black-winged Stilts

Black-winged Stilts – Butterfly effect!

Breeding plumage of a male Little Ringed Plover

A Pied Avocet dances across the water

Gull-billed Terns show a slower flight with deeper beats. They have a big head and neck and the bill is chunky and points straight ahead. The Whiskered Tern is a dainty flier, more bouncy and faster beats with it’s silhouette showing a more angular bill and smaller head

Zitting Cisticola (Spitting pepsicola)

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Stephen Daly

Stephen Daly

Stephen Daly, has been birding since he was eight years old in his native Scotland. After living in Germany and France he established Andalucian Guides the successful birding and wildlife tour company on The Strait of Gibraltar in Spain and has been living here since 2001. Photographing birds in flight is one passion and his photos can be found in many books, magazines and journals. Studying bird behaviour and bird migration are two other positive aspects of being based on one of the busiest migration routes on Earth.

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