Monday, 16 November 2009

M5, England, 23rd Oct. Welcome back to Great Britain

Notice the sign that is flashing 50, well i would have loved to have been able to have done 50.

French Motorway

France and Spain, 7th Sept - 22nd Oct

My plan was to drive my car from Rutland Water to the Strait of Gibralter via France following migrating Ospreys and other migrants. First stop was going to be l'Aiguillon-sur-Mer (photo above) on the French west coast to look for passage Ospreys, then Organbidexka in the western Pyrenees to watch more migrating Ospreys along with other birds before crossing into Spain and driving down to the Strait of Gibralter where i had arranged to help count raptors, storks, seabirds and passerines with Fundacion Migres. I then planned to finish off with a week in Extremadura before catching the Santander-Plymouth ferry. Click on pictures for bigger image.

The first French Osprey, 7th Sept

Within 5 minutes of arriving at l'Aiguillon-sur-Mer and 7hrs since going through the Channel Tunnel the first migrant Osprey of the journey was in the bag. It is eating a fish on a post right of center and just below the bridge.

More Ospreys

The Pointe de l'Aiguillon was superb for fishing Ospreys. 5-6 different adults were seen but no juveniles.

A flock of 1000 Black-tailed Godwits contained 10 colour ringed adults but more worryingly only 4 juveniles were present in the group. Other waders included a large flock of Knot(bottom 2 photos) with smaller numbers of Oyster's, Grey Plover and Whimbrel.

Colour ringed Black-tailed Godwits

Juvenile Honey Buzzard

The first Honey Buzzard of the trip, a juvenile powering south over the estuary. It's heading in exactly the same direction that i will be during the next 6 weeks.

Pointe de l'Aiguillon

The bushes and fences at the end of the point were alive with migrants. Spotted and Pied Flycatchers were lined up along the fences with Robins, Melodious Warblers and fresh juvenile Willow Warblers. Overhead small but constant groups of Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits headed south. This was all happening in hot settled conditions so i dread to think what this place would be like with the right fall weather - potentially incredible i think.

Pied Flycatcher

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Pointe de l'Aiguillon

Many migrants were moving through the dunes including Wheatears, Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtails and a Grasshopper Warbler. Cardinal Butterflies, a dull version of a Silver-washed Fritillary were common.

Ospreys, Juvenile Sandwich Tern learning to fish and a Caspian Tern.

Juvenile Osprey, Trois-Villes, 18.30hr, 9th Sept

A distant circling dot over the approaching village turned out to be a Juvenile Osprey. It seemed a little unsure and not surprising really considering the lumps of rock ahead of it. With night drawing close it had gone as far as it could today.

Organbidexka, Pyrenees, 10 - 11th Sept

A beautiful place to sit with a scope and watch migration. Many of the Ospreys, Marsh Harriers, Honey Buzzards and Black Storks knew exactly where to go and didn't waste anytime crossing the pass but some birds were less sure and it was fascinating to watch them decide.

2 adult male Ospreys heading south and a few Honey Buzzards trying to gain height

Ad Female Osprey going over the pass, 8am, 10th Sept

Click on lists to read

Osprey passing the shooting hides

This adult male Osprey passed some shooting hides where in a few weeks 1000's of migrating Scandinavian Wood pigeons will be slaughtered along with many other species.

Juv Marsh Harrier heading for the pass, 11th Sept