Lockdown Birding Part 2

Blackbird Day 3 (Martin Kelsey)

We are now on Day 4 of the lockdown in Spain and I am on my third day of systematic birding from the balcony. The weather has been rather cold and very windy, but with sunshine, so our solar panels have been busy and thus we can hopefully keep our energy bills down during this period! Three things have struck me about this birding experience so far.

My fixed routine of three watches a day (plus incidental observations I make whilst doing other things) is helping greatly to keep my spirits up and programmes the day wonderfully. It also gives me the chance to watch and enjoy common species that are inexcusably undervalued. Yesterday's Blackbird quietly singing in the bare acacia tree in our garden touched me not just for the simple beauty of its song, but also its plumage - the fine yellow ring of bare skin orbiting the eye, the vivid but gentle orangeness of the bill. And I am logging the bird activity in the garden in a way I have not done before: several species are carrying nest material at the moment, whilst our Barn Swallows are incubating.
Short-toed Eagle Day 3 (Martin Kelsey)

So far during the lockdown I have recorded 38 species of bird, including 6 species of bird of prey. These have included Short-toed Eagles, hunting as a pair above the hill and a migratory flock of 23 Black Kites which livened up the midday watch on Day 2, as they battled into a fierce headwind from the north. They appeared over the southern horizon and stoically kept their northerly track, a a dispersed group, silent and brooding.
Black Kite Day 2 (Martin Kelsey)


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