Rescuing Skimmers

Epaulet Skimmer

Seeing lots of dragonflies right now. September seems to be the moment: my best dragonfly shot was taken this time last year when magnificent Epaulet Skimmer that paused on a wall for me. I’m surprised because I have only ever spotted exuvia – the somewhat creepy empty body-shell of the nymph form – in late spring. Must be missing some.

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Migration – the big birds

at the Straits…from NeverMindtheFinnsticks

September. Millions of birds migrate from Europe to Africa. Most of them go through Spain. Of those that go through Spain most go through Malaga to cross around the Straits of Gibraltar, keeping the hazards of flight over the open sea to a minimum. That includes the birds of prey, from the giant Lammergeier, through Griffon and Black Vultures and migratory Eagles, to Black and Red Kites, and many more. Twice a year they gather in great numbers. No wonder birders also flock to the rock, to Tarifa, and everywhere between, to see what they can. As you might guess, Tarifa is on my bucket list.

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Summer Strolling

Summer walkers

Now that it is getting cooler I’m wondering why I missed out on walking. It may seem like midsummer madness but you can hike right through July and August. You can’t just head out the door and up the nearest peak at midday – not without serious risk of sun-stroke anyway, but if you could you would miss most of the wildlife, which tends to adapt, using dawn and dusk more and midday less. Walkers adapt too.

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The Beach Scene

July and August and half the world heads to the beach. Even I hop over now and again, and not, really, to go wilding – too many people, cars, noise and too much heat. Still, there is life on the beach, and not just in the sea or on the jetties.

Female Sparrow – House or Spanish – in Torre del Mar

Sitting with a ice-cold beer in a beach side chiringuito you are greeted by the commonest of birds. You know it is a sparrow but is it a House Sparrow or a Spanish Sparrow? These two species are closely related and confusingly both present in the Med. Wikipedia states “Its taxonomy is greatly complicated by the “biological mix-up” but “In most of the Mediterranean, one or both of the two species occurs, with only a limited degree of hybridisation”. Very comforting. How to tell them apart? Well the male HS has a grey crown, while the male Spanish has a chestnet crown. But the females are effectively indistinguishable. So we have to stick to “Sparrow” and give them a few crumbs of bread.

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The Eagles are Here!

Malaga is home to hosts of Eagles. When the great migrations occur in Spring and Autumn flocks of birders congregate in Gibraltar, competing for vantage points to see something extraordinary – raptors of all kinds flying in great numbers over the rock.

Now, I have to admit I have not, by any means seen all the Eagles there are here – no Imperial Eagle has, alas, tipped its wings in my direction. But those I do see are regular visitors, and impressive enough in their own right. Here is a quick summary

Booted Eagle mobbed by Common Kestrel, by Pete George, found on the IBC (Internet Bird Collection)

The Booted Eagle, a small-medium member of the family is a common sight here and in the light phase the clear white Y of body and upper wings with black outer feathers on the rim of the wings makes it unmistakable on a good view. As for the mobbing I witnessed the same phenomenon – described in Battle in the Skies

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