Earlier this year, David was part of a small group who headed to capture images of the birds of the Spanish plains with Pui Hang & myself, we spent a weekend photograph the various species that are to be found in the area.
Ordinarily, we had expected some of the species to have diminished numbers as they would have started to migrate following their successful breeding earlier in the season, however the season had been wet, many of the earlier clutches had sadly failed & so large numbers of birds remained & were trying for a second clutch – this certainly applied to the hoopoes, the bee-eaters & more.
The hoopoe were especially active in the morning with the male bringing back grubs for the female to feed to their chicks.
At the carrion hide, the black kites glided lazily across the spanish plains allowing for some stunning birds in flight images.
David managed to capture some great take-off & landing shots of the hoopoe.
The colourful bee-eaters were also very popular & extremely obliging by posing on perches just long enough to allow for some shots.
Whilst the black kites look great in the skies, I thought they were absolutely magnificent perched against a backdrop of wildflowers.
Black vultures with their wings open, squabbling over a perch.
There was also plenty of action going on with the bee-eaters. These stunning little birds build their nests on the ground so the wet weather had been catastrophic for them. Now with summer in full swing, they were making up for lost time & trying for a second clutch.
Our Birds of the Spanish Plains tour is a great trip if you like bird photography due to the sheer number of different species available. Our location offers opportunities for great portraits such as this vulture perched on a tree stump just below a fellow scavenger.
A raven in wildflowers.
This southern grey shrike was captured beautifully just as it brought up a pellet.
A stork coming in to land….
… to join it’s partner looking for food on the plains rather than by the lake.
As the female hoopoe remained near the nest, the male flew off to look for more grub.
The female didn’t have to wait long for the male to come back. With both their crowns open, the male passed his bounty to his partner so she could go & feed the chicks.
The carrion hide was extremely active with raptors, corvids & scavengers. The raven watching the departing vulture seemed perfectly at ease amongst the other vultures.
Wings outstretched, a black vulture comes in to land.
A group of black vultures (known as a committee) resting in a tree.
Bee-eaters passing food between each other whilst sat on a perch.
Vulture talons – traditionally talons are used to catch & hold prey & even occasionally kill prey. However, the talons of a vulture are different. Since they are scavengers they do not catch or kill their prey so their talons are only slightly curved with bare toes & tarsi to make it easier for them to clean after feeding in carcasses.
Vulture standing head & shoulders above the rest of the group.
Ravens looking to land in a sea of vultures.
A bee-eater making a juicy moth offering to its mate.
Vultures may not be the prettiest of birds but they are still a great subject to photograph whether you are looking for a portrait shot or a dramatic action image as evidenced by David here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH THE BIRDS OF THE SPANISH PLAINS?
If you would like to join the group to photograph the amazing birds of the Spanish plains, which will again be led by Dan Trim in 2017, then you can book the 2017 Birds of Calera Photography Holiday – we’ve only got 1 place remaining available.
We include all transport from Madrid Airport to the area in which the hides are located, transport to the hides themselves, accommodation on a full board basis, usage of the hides for 7 days & plenty of laughter. You should be presented with opportunities for photographing Bee-Eater, Black Vulture, Black-Winged Kite, Common Kestrel, Great Bustard, Griffon Vulture, Hoopoe, Imperial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Little Bustard, Little Owl & more besides!