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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Cyprus 3 (Raptors)

 I think most birders and photographers if asked, would put raptors and owls at the top of their hit list.I for one just love watching these birds of prey in their natural environment.On first catching sight of the above raptor thermaling high up in the mountains,I thought Eagle,mainly due to its size.It turned out to be a Long Legged Buzzard,quite local to the area but not common.
 However there was no mistaking this bird of prey.It was one of a pair I spotted quite a distance away and slowly they edged nearer to allow identification.Bonnelli`s Eagle.They are also known to breed on Cyprus with good numbers reported every year fledging youngsters.
 Again an easy id on this one Peregrine falcon, which Nick spotted patrolling a large cliff face where there were lots and lots of pidgeons.Against a brilliant blue background just awesome.
 The area shown here is part of Anarita park looking out towards the coast,anything passing through can usually be picked up.In peak migration times all the main raptors are usually around.Merlin/Red Footed falcons/Kestrel/Eagles/Harriers/Buzzards/Hobby
 all have been seen here annually!
A slightly commoner raptor,Sparrowhawk.This one narrowly missed a Finch`s Wheatear which 10 secs earlier, had been sat on the very same rock.A lucky escape indeed.There were plenty of larks/pipits and Linnets around so she won`t be going hungry for too long!I`ll finish this account of the Anarita park area and next time I`ll concentrate on the coastal lowland areas were more interesting birds of prey were observed!thanks for dropping by and taking the time to view!!!!!!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cyprus (2)

 My next days birding in Cyprus was in the good company of Nick Moss, who had also been granted a few hrs leave from familly duties.Nick had visited the island previously and had a good knowledge of some sites not too far from Paphos.We headed inland to the hillsides and were instantly rewarded with great views of Finsch`s wheatear,this bird was similar to the endemic Cyprus Wheatear in appearance, but was overwintering here, having left its breeding grounds further to the  north .Nick assured me it was a real find and it afforded us both good close views.

 Short distance migrant probably bred in Turkey!!!!
 A Blue Rock Thrush was spotted sunning itself on a prominent rock.These birds are very fidgety and can be difficult to approach, but it hung around long enough for us to admire!!

 The white nape on the Finsch`s Wheatear extends right  down its back, thus distinguishing it from the local Cyprus Wheatear, which are very common in Summer.They meanwhile had all migrated South by the time we got there!

 A juvenile Masked Shrike put in an appearence atop a small bush,another common bird to Cyprus.The males are stunning in their summer plummage!
Nick spotted a Red Backed Shrike on the lookout for prey,but we didn`t see it catch anything.It was a bit late in the year to find any warblers as such, but we still had an enjoyable time looking for any that might have stayed behind.What we did encounter later though, was a few of the raptor species that were here.I`ll tell you about those in my next blog on Cyprus.Again many thanks for dropping by and hope you enjoyed the images!!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Cyprus Oct/Nov 2012

 Having recently returned from 9 days holiday in Paphos Cyprus with my familly,I`d like to share with you a few of the many images I took whilst out on my early morning jollies.I just love going to these different countries, not only  to experience the local culture and cuisine, but also to see the varied wildlife and fauna that is also on offer there!

Having done a little research prior to departing,my first place of call was the headland around the corner from Paphos Harbour.It was a usually reliable site for Greater Sand Plover, with up to 5 birds being present at this time of year. A 5.45 am start and mile and a half walk from the hotel found me scanning the the rocky coastline!  
A few of these chunky,long legged and thick billed plovers sometimes overwinter here after breeding in the semi deserts of Turkey and eastwards through central Asia.True to the book,bingo I found 5 individuals patroling the shoreline!
 They were approx 200 metres away when I first saw them, but with a careful approach I got within 30 metres which was sufficient for a few images.

 I was told later that it was a bit hit and miss finding the birds, as the coastline stretches a good few miles!

 As always when abroad, the weather is usually reliable and the early morning light adds favourably to the task of photography!

The Plover were spread out over about15 metres,I couldn`t quite manage a group shot!
I`ll post more images of the other species I stumbled across in forthcoming blogs,thanks for looking in...........

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Early morning stroll!

 An early morning walk around my local moor gave me an opportunity to photograph these Fieldfare.
 It was a lovely crisp day and a party of about 15 birds dropped in to feed on the insects that were hidden in the grass.
 Very skittish and difficult to approach, I was sat having a cup of coffee when they afforded me excellent views.I think they are the most handsome of the thrushes.Usually they are up in the trees feeding on the bright red berries of hawthorn and rowan, it was nice to see them at ground level!
A real bonus to the day was this pair of Little Owls who were making the most of the warm sunshine.I had only ever seen 1 bird at this particular site, on an old ruin of a barn,so I`m hopeful they will pair up for next season!