Saturday, 27 March 2010

Crossness Alpine Swift… and other recent photos

Apologies to anyone who’s devoted enough to have noticed the lack of recent updates here… I blame work, though you could also blame my laziness!

Anyway, here are some photos illustrating my recent travels, in reverse order. This morning, as I was about to get in the car heading for some Mandarin photo-opps, a timely message from John A alerted me to an Alpine Swift at Crossness. 30 Gatso-dodging minutes later, the bird was in the bag, and showing very well – nice one Kev!

alpine_swift1 alpine_swift3alpine_swift2

Rainham held a smart male Ring Ouzel, but alas, the Suffolk Pallid Swift headed off high after the rain cleared, and we dipped.

Last weekend included trips to Dungeness and Rainham, resulting in these shots…

bl-h gull coot tree_sparrow

… and the weekend before, we went to Dorset on a Bufflehead-ticking mission. Success, but no photos of the bird (or the five Goshawk in the New Forest). You’ll have to make do with this shabby shot of Chesil Beach and Weymouth Harbour. Rubbish view.


The lack of updates may well continue, but with a better excuse for a while – Suzanne and I are off to Malawi on Easter Sunday. The field guide arrived in the post during the week… talk about whetting my appetite!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Morocco: Full Trip Report (and Drivers’ Guide!)

Howard’s been busy over the last few days writing up a full report on our trip to Morocco, and it’s now available on the ELBF website. Click the courser to open it – though be aware that it’s about 4MB in size (blame the many photos), so might take a moment or two to download!


In addition, while we were killing time in Marrakech airport and celebrating 1500 Moroccan miles without hitting anything, we worked up an “I-Spy Book of Moroccan Highways and Byways”. Click the donkeys (common road hazards) to open it, and enjoy!


Morocco: more warblers

A few shots of some more Moroccan specialities – we enjoyed cracking views of African Desert and Scrub Warblers in the south east of the country. Desert Warblers were relatively easily found in two areas: north of the track to Auberge Yasmina, about half way between the main road and the hotel; and in the few strips of sparse vegetation between the Hotel Kasbah Said and the Auberge Derkaoua, south east of Erfoud. Both sites held at least two or three singing males.

desert_warbler desert_warbler2

Scrub Warblers were found 48km west of Er Rachidia, in prickly bushes along the wadi south of the road. (Another site nearby is at 43km west of Er Rachidia, though this involves a lengthy walk north from the road). These birds were full of charisma, spending much time on or near the ground with cocked tail sometimes held almost vertical. Compared to the illustrations in the Collins guide, they had surprisingly pronounced black eyestripes – more like the guide shows the Middle Eastern races.

scrub_warbler1 scrub_warbler2 

And although these break the trend from warblers, here are a couple of other stunning birds photographed in the same habitat – Desert Wheatears and Moussier’s Redstarts were frequently seen.

desert_wheatear moussiers