Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Disappointment and Surprises in one day

Alpine Accentor at Minerve

Awoke to cloudless skies and no wind.  After an hour at Olonzac market I made my way to Minerve still determined to see a Wallcreeper on my local patch.  I stopped by the graveyard and setting off along the base of the cliff I almost stepped on 2 Alpine Accentors.  They are extremely tame birds and I enjoyed watching and photographing them for some time.

Alpine Accentor at Minerve

I moved on and noted a couple of Crag Martins before checking out the wooded area by the river in the Brian Gorge.  There were still plenty of Song Thrushes about and close to the river dozens of Chiffchaffs were feeding frenetically.  Heading back the Alpine Accentors had disappeared and I headed up to the top car park to search the higher part of the Gorge.  A single Raven called loudly as he flew up the valley and a lone Griffon Vulture drifted slowly to the north-east.  More Crag Martins appeared overhead but still no Wallcreepers.

Griffon Vulture  photographed in Spain

I moved on trying the highest end of the Gorge near the pumphouse.  A superb male Stonechat caught my attention but checking the massive cliffs still no sign of anything.  I explored a small path by the river and moved on further than ever before.  A Firecrest flitted nervously about and staring at another great buttress of rock I wondered if that is where our Golden Eagles have moved to nest.  Something to check later.

Male Stonechat

This evening with friends Susan & Tim Wallis we went to Villegly to try and repeat the superb Eagle Owl show I had enjoyed earlier.  Firstly it took me an hour to find the place.  Walking down to the correct spot I was amazed to see a Black Woodpecker fly over and ahead of us landing in a large plane tree.  We had superb views of this elusive bird in the top of a leafless tree.  Heading on we sadly saw no Eagle Owl this time but we did hear the male singing for some time before we left for home.

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