Lockdown Birding Part 4

A Barn Swallow from the balcony (Martin Kelsey)

With the lockdown in Spain now confirmed to continue until 11th April (at least), the view from the balcony and periods spent in the garden become increasingly precious. This is my lifeline to spring. Favourite haunts, which I have shared with so many guests over the years, will flourish perfectly well without my visits. The Great Bustards will be lekking, Eagle Owl chicks hatching, Bumblebee Orchids flowering and Provence Hairstreaks nectaring totally oblivious of our absence. My markers, my solace, this spring will be everything that lives around our home.

I am struck by how confiding those birds which live closest to us really are. Birds seem to stop what they are doing and look at me, as I stand still on the balcony, The male Barn Swallow on the wire, with its gloriously long tail streamers, the Wren that pauses on the railing before setting off again to shatter the peace with its song, the House Sparrow that interrupts a good preen to observe me. These nearest neighbours are becoming valued companions.

House Sparrow (Martin Kelsey

More distantly, I can see a pair of displaying Common Buzzards, with laboured floppy wings, taking a bird to a chosen point in the sky from which to swoop down in a perfect arc. Booted Eagles started to appear half way through the week and I now see one on most of my balcony watches.

Booted Eagle (Martin Kelsey)

The weather has been rather unsettled, with fresh northerly winds and some heavy showers: dramatic skies. As it improves, there should an arrival of more spring migrants. So far I have seen 46 species since lockdown started, and I am anxiously awaiting some new additions in the next few days.

View from the balcony this afternoon (Martin Kelsey)


Linda Ketchum said…
So glad you're doing this, Martin. I'm attempting something similar from my ático in Cáceres, only in a far less disciplined way. I especially appreciate the photos of raptors, the bane of my life. They will help me improve identification. The biggest surprise so far was seeing a red-legged partridge perched on the ridge of Santo Domingo in the neighbouring street.
HilaryMS said…
So sorry that this has come at the busiest time of your year, but good that you are taking a positive attitude and it has introduced me to your blog, which I will look forward to. We have just managed to get home by the skin of our teeth from Trinidad and Tobago, borders crashing closed as we travelled home. No birdwatching for us other than around the house as we are voluntarily self isolating for a couple of weeks. Love to Claudia and Bottas x
Pat Hayes said…
If only the birding was as dramatic here in the centre of England. My patch is a small village 3 miles northwest of Stratford upon Avon. My view is over a small field of rough pasture.
Jackdaws are busing themselves finding just the right blades of grass to line their refurbished nests in all the chimneys without cowls. Male House Sparrows stand sentinel over the broken slates in next doors roof. Blackbirds are in full skirmish mode. At least 4 males are vying for territories between our gardens. Buzzards are displaying over the village several nest sites exist in the extensive woodlands that surround the village.
Robins, Blue, Great, Cole and Long-Tits compete at the feeders with both Gold and Greenfinches, the former menacing the Tits with Open beaks.
Bumble Bees, Honey Bees, and Brimstone Butterflies reinforce the message that spring has sprung. Distant Chiff Chaff can be heard our earliest migrant warblers.
A Sparrowhawk visits the feeders at least once a day, his success rate would be guessed at as below 10%. He has stayed at the feeders allowing for some fairish photos which have to be taken through leaded windows.
We must count ourselves fortunate, not only have we been blessed with a love for nature but that even in these trying times we can pass the time fruitfully.
I can only despair at all those people restricted to a high rise flat in the middle of a city.
Thank you for sharing your different lockdown experiences in these comments. Much appreciated! Take care everyone.

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