Showing posts from October, 2012

Herons and egrets in Extremadura

This is shaping up to be a good autumn as far as the weather is concerned here in Extremadura, with plenty of rain so far this month. The landscape is looking magnificently green. The gorgeous little bulb, Narcissus serotinus is in flower on the plains, putting forward a wonderful, if ephemeral, show. At last the Common Cranes are arriving too, rather later than usual this year. Four days ago I visit the crane reserve at Moheda Alta, where there were 77 (yes, I counted them all) Common Cranes feeding on the rice stubble fields, and just a few hours later that number had increased to over 300 as parties arrived through the morning. During the week I picked up my copy of the study published by the Spanish Ornithological Society  (Garrido, J. R., Molina, B. & Del Morel, J. C. (Eds) 2012. Las garzas en España, población reproductora e invernante en 2010-2011 y método de censo. SEO/BirdLife. Madrid) on the census of breeding and wintering herons and egrets that took place in 201

All change for autumn

I had been away for over six weeks, indeed the longest absence from my beloved Extremadura for eight years. When I left summer was still upon us, with the landscape looking tired, dry and withered. The Red-rumped Swallows nesting by the kitchen door had their second brood of chicks noisily chattering away within their beautifully built nest. Coming back earlier this week, the first thing that struck me was how the landscape had become an emerald green. This is how we always hope it should look like by mid-October and is testimony to the autumn rains. For us, in many ways, autumn feels like a second spring, a changing of the guard as far as the birds are concerned, but also a transformation of the colour of the fields and plains. The Red-rumped Swallows had left just a few days before I returned, but as soon as I arrived home, I heard Robins calling. They are winter visitors to our garden and their ticking notes and winter song will be with us now right through to spring. I headed