Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Day Out and New Friends

Bonelli's Eagle habitat.

My friend Jonathan came over this morning with Eric Dempsey and his girl friend Hazell from Ireland and we set off to look for Bonelli's Eagles.  I had seen two healthy chicks in May and we went to see if we could see the family.  Sadly we did not and the birds may have left the area.  We did see 3 Crag Martins, a Red-rumped Swallow and 5 Griffon Vultures.

Griffon Vulture
We stopped off for a chat and drink with Jaquie, Stuart and Marnie Gregory and then moved on to Minerve.  By now it was very hot and birds hard to find.  Rock Sparrows wheezed on the rooftops and the local Swallows were panting on overhead perches.

Barn Swallow panting
A thunderstorm saw us seek shelter in a bar and beers and ice cream reinstated our energy for more. We found Black Redstart, Swifts galore, a few Alpine Swifts, Crag Martins and a dozen Red-rumped Swallows.  A Short-toed Eagle passed by and we eventually found a Blue Rock Thrush. We moved on to look for Roller but a heavy rain shower meant we missed out.  We did see some Bee-eaters, a Black Kite and a juvenile Montagu's Harrier before returning for a quick supper.

Red-rumped Swallow
Then at 8pm we drove off and liaised with French ornithologist Yvon and he directed us to a quarry near Mailhac where we had the most marvellous views of a male Eagle Owl which flew in land above us called once and went off to hunt.  Later we heard a concealed chick calling and a Nightjar flew over our heads.  The owl was a lifer for Eric and Hazell and it always great to share such a moment with new friends.

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