Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cattle Egret

Another Carmargue favourite. This bird in full breeding plumage at a nest site seems to have a bit of a problem with the neighbours.

Canon Powershot SX50 HS

Pretty Flamingo

Here are some portraits of this emblematic bird of the Carmargue taken during a short visit to the region.


Some feeding:

A bit of preening:



And in the air:

Some even wearing jewellery:

Canon Powershot SX50 HS

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Little Gull, Dog in an Doublet

One of two 'good' birds in the Peterborough area today. Unfortunately the Sandwich Tern was taking a break from Ferry Meadows when I called in there but this smart Little Gull showed very well at the Dog in a Doublet sluice on the Nene.

Canon Powershot SX50

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Captain Beaky

May have posted about this bird before. It has now survived for much longer than you might expect. I don't have exactly when we first saw it but I have another photo from May last year when it was also in this adult female plumage. I suspect without easy access to food in a garden such a bird wouldn't last long.

Blackbird Turdus merula with deformed/damaged bill

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Morocco Wildlife

Back in Morocco for more of a sight-seeing expedition. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Aït Benhaddou, the dunes of the Erg Chebbi, the Todra Gorge and the Falls of Ouzoud were on the itinerary.

First was the ksars of Aït Benhaddou. The Hoopoe showed opposite the hotel at dawn but disappeared before I could get any closer for a decent shot. House Buntings were frequent on the trip and the Galerida larks provided the usual identification headaches. Lesser Kestrels around the top of the site were perhaps a bit of surprise so early in the year.

Hoopoe Upupa epops

House Bunting Emberiza sahari

Crested Lark Galerida cristata

Heading south of Ouarzazate this eagle was my first Moroccan tick of the trip.

Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata

After a fairly uneventful drive along the southern desert road we reached the Auberge Yasmina at the Erg Chebbi where Desert Sparrow failed to show for us but the camel ride and night in the dunes was magnificent.

The moths were encountered fairly frequently at dawn and dusk. The birds were mainly the familiar desert species and were in rather smaller numbers than on previous trips. The desert hyacinth is a spectacular parasitic plant, a type of broomrape.

Striped Hawk-moth Hyles livornica

Bar-tailed Desert Lark Ammomanes cinctura

Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes

Desert Grey Shrike Lanius elegans

Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis

Laughing Dove Spilopelia senegalensis

Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus, female

Chafer Beetle

Ant sp.

The tracks of the many Dung Beetles

Desert Hyacinth Cistanche tubulosa

Apple Of Sodom Calotropis procera

Next we headed for the mountains and the dramatic Todra Gorge.

Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura

House Bunting Emberiza sahari

And finally we crossed the High Atlas via a tortuous minor road to reach the Falls of Ouzoud with its troupe of Barbary Macaques.

Barbary Macaques Macaca sylvanus

African Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs africana