Sunday, 5 May 2013

Still Keeping it Local

Female Pied Flycatcher

We started a gorgeous day by doing more work in the garden.  I checked out the birds and could find three Pied Flycatchers a male and 2 females.  I also noted a female Common Redstart which was the only other passing migrant.  The breeding birds of the area are also very active now.  Numerous Serins are in the area as are singing Corn and Cirl Buntings.  Nightingales provide a perfect musical backdrop and a male Orphean Warbler now sings daily from our neighbour's garden.  Great Tits are busy too and we have a pair of Blue Tits nesting somewhere which is a first as they normally only visit us in the winter.

Wild Tulip

We decided to go out after lunch as Beryl was keen to see some of the wild flowers before they went over.  First we headed for Fauzan where a super male Montagu's Harrier was hunting the vineyards. We stopped near the top of the Cesse Gorge to look at an array of Pyrenean Snakesheads and Wild Tulips of the race australis.  We also admired a handsome Violet Carpenter Bee basking on a telegraph pole exactly where it had been a week ago when the Honeyguiders passed this way.

Violet Carpenter Bee
We moved on then heading towards the back of Minerve.  We paused to check that the Peregrine was on her nest and she was.  Further on we encountered a female Montagu's Harrier over the garrigue.

Female Montagu's Harrier
Our next destination was the meadows near Bois Bas.  Here there is an impressive display of hundreds of Green-winged Orchids.  It is an impressive sight.  We were also pleased to see a male Red-backed Shrike back in its breeding area.

Orchid meadow at Bois Bas

Green-winged Orchid
Before returning home we decided to check out the local vineyards again.  We found the Bee-eaters again and about four pairs seemed interested in a sandy roadside bank which could turn out to be a nesting site.

Moving on we found a Turtle Dove and the first female Red-backed Shrike of the Spring. 

Barn Swallow
There are still hundreds of hirundines passing north with almost feverish intent.  This Barn Swallow looked a trifle tired as it rested in a vineyard.

Giant Peacock Moth
As I was writing this there was a familiar banging on our lounge window shutter and going outside I found a Giant Peacock Moth ( 3 inch wingspan) flying under our front light and occasionally colliding with the shutter.  This is an annual event at this time of the year,  As I shut the door a Tawny Owl called in the distance.

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