Showing posts from April, 2010

Meeting the challenge

Sometimes people ask me to guide for a full week, which is great because it means that we can visit the full range of habitats at hand, revisit special sites and if we miss a species at one place, there will also be an opportunity of going to other places where I know the species occurs. Other people book me for a day, which usually means a short visit to the plains followed by Monfragüe National Park for raptors. Usually we find everything that we want, sometimes because of weather or simply the unpredictability of wild birds, we fail on one or two species...that's birding. I have just completed two day's guiding for Steve and Rochelle who came with some very specific requests: Black-winged Kite, Great Bustard, Collared Pratincole, Pin-tailed and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Roller, Golden Oriole and Eagle Owl. That was my challenge for last Sunday and yesterday (Tuesday)...on Monday they did their own thing. Day One: Sandgrouse can be tricky so first thing

Battling bustards

The last few days we have been helping as much as we can those guests who have been stranded by the unprecedented air travel closure, so I have had barely time to sit down to write up the blog. But I do want to share with you the fascinating and extraordinary sighting that a guest, Ralph Tiller and I had recently. We had stopped to look at a pair of Little Owls and as I scanned the area, I picked-up what I initially took to be a displaying male Great Bustard nearby. In the 'scope, it was clear that actually "it" was two males, face to face, a few centimetres apart, staring at each other. This face-off continued to the point when they started to fight. It was an aggressive bout, with one bird clasping the other's head with its bill. They tousled and pushed, one forcing the other towards a fence, then close to the ground. Feathers started to fly. Meanwhile, two or three females nonchalantly strode past. Eventually the fight finished with the males separating and heading