Showing posts from June, 2013

Busy herons in the peak of summer

Purple Heron (Raymond de Smet) We are now in the heart of summer...the longest day has past as has our village fiesta and the schoolchildren are on holiday. The sky is cloudless and the temperature is in the high 30s in the afternoon and will not be dropping below 20 at night. It is also the end of our main period for business, with visiting birdwatchers now very thin on the ground. We have had birders staying with us from the start of the year, right through until yesterday. When asked (frequently) when is the best time to come to watch birds in Extremadura, my answer is anytime from November through to late May - it depends what you want to see. This year we have had quite a few valient souls coming here in June as well. Normally considered a quiet time of the year for birds, this June bucked the trend somewhat with some exciting finds ( see my blog of 15 June ) and helped by the longer and cooler spring this year, we have enjoyed some superb birding. Over the last few days with

The value of the path well-trodden

One of the pleasures of the field work involved over the three years surveying for the winter birds' atlas in Extremadura was that it took me, on foot, well off the beaten track, into areas that I had not explored before:  remote valleys and mountain tops, woodlands and farmland. But however exciting venturing into new terrain is, there is an undoubted pleasure too in getting to know particular areas so well, that they become, in birding parlance, one's local patch. Having a local patch is how most birdwatchers start and many will continue to visit a favourite haunt month-in, month-out throughout the year, for many years. Such is most of my birding in fact here in Extremadura. When I am taking out visitors, showing them our local birds, most of the routes I use will include places that I regularly visit throughout the year, whether I am working as a guide, or simply out for a few hours of birding on my own. The value of these well-trodden paths is the intimate knowledge th