Saturday, June 25, 2011

Balearic Spring Day 8 - A Golden Ending

Our final day on Mallorca. We had booked an evening flight to give us as much time as possible on this wonderful Mediterranean island and decided it would be a fitting end to finish the trip where we had started and bring the trip to full circle. The marsh at S'Albufera had been kind in showing its wealth of avifauna during the proceeding days and had generated some indelible memories. It would also provide a relaxing day as we had many hours stretched out before us with the journey home. As we took the long path into the marsh for the last time, we were unaware of the very special moments that awaited us at the end of the day.

I decided to start the session with trying to improve on my efforts with Cetti's Warbler. Despite my best efforts, I didn't progress very far with this tricky species with only a couple of photos for considerable effort.


I returned to one of the hides and settled in for a couple of hours of photographing whatever birds would happen to wander into close range. Greenshank and Spotted Redshank waded around constantly in front of the hide and only occasionally distracted occasionally by a passing Marsh Harrier in buoyant flight on the far side of the lagoon.
I went for a wander to go and find some more Red-Crested Pochard to photograph and to add some images to those taken previously.
Whilst waiting for the ducks to drift in to range a Cormorant surfaced directly in front of me and quickly dispatched a Common Carp in a couple of swift moves that ended in the fish being swallowed whole.


I finished off the afternoon photogaphing some Little Egrets that looked very ornate with their long, ruffled breeding plumes as they strutted around in front of the hide.

We moved to the final location of the trip. To one side of the hide was a large field with grass kept low by an abundant rabbit population. On a previous visit we had seen a few Stone Curlew superbly camouflaged and moitionless on the far side of the field. These were some of several of these birds seen through the course of the week. They are so incredibly shy and it seems if you look sideways at one from a distance of about 1km and it will start making its exit.

As I watched a Spoonbill slowly working its way around the lake, I kept checking the field. Time was rapidly approaching the time we would have to make tracks to the airport. A movement caught my eye, the Stone Curlew were on the move. The birds that had been only seen at long range or heard calling in the night were now steadily approaching the hide. There were five birds in total which would walk then pause and then walk some more. They just came closer and closer until we were getting frame filling photographs in the late sun.
A brief display to another bird
A bird I never thought I would get to photograph was there before me, and I can't think of a a more golden ending to the week. As quickly as the birds has appeared they drifted away once more to the far side of the field. Meanwhile the Spoonbill had made its way across the lagoon as was now feeding directly in front of the other hide. I made a quick dash around and managed to catch the bird before it carried on its circuit of the lake. This was to be the last bird I photographed in Mallorca.
A small fish disappears between the 'spoons'.


Overall it had been a very enjoyable week in great company, with wonderful weather and beautiful birds. I am sure this will not be my last visit to the island of Mallorca. Please drop over to Steve Rounds Blog where you can see some more images from the trip.

Now I have to start on the backlog of UK images that have built up since the trip. The Mallorca trip took much longer to post here than I would have liked so thanks for bearing with it. I am hoping to increase the frequency of blog posts in the coming weeks to bring everything back up to date. There are plenty of memorable images of birds waiting in the 'wings' and I hope you will follow me on my spring search for birds in the western oak woods, on upland moors and across expanses of crop farmland.

11 comments:

Ziggy and Mojo said...

A wonderful ending to your trip, enjoyed this journey :)

Matt Latham said...

Great images as always Rich but those Stone Curlews are a bit special. It looks like it really was a great trip.

texwisgirl said...

such gorgeous images! the spoonbill and cormorant fish catches are wonderful!

Steve Round. said...

Seems a long time ago now. I think that first Cetti's shot made all those hours of stalking them worthwhile. Stone Curlews were the stars though. Thanks for the link and here's to next year.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

If you were to offer to pay me to choose which of this series would be my favorite, I would not know which to choose. These are all just exceptional images of each species presented. What a wonderful thing to be able to see so many creatures in the same area~

Chip "Rocket Man" Allen said...

Absolutely stunning images Richard!How I envy your trip. Thanks so much for sharing.

Mike at Sea said...

Some fantastic shots of the Stone Curlews. Looks like you had a great week.

Diane - Daily Walks said...

Your work just blows me away.

SKIZO said...

Excellente
Work
Tank you for sharing

Rich Steel said...

Thanks for the comments. I hope you all enjoyed the journey around the wonderful island of Mallorca.

Cheers

Rich

Mick Sway said...

Brilliant images.
Thanks for sharing.
Mick

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