Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eagles and Storks pressing on

Stiff north-westerly today. Still a lot of cloud about but the birds got going after yesterday's enforced pause. A largish flock of White Storks came over the town at lunchtime. I managed to get these shots from my roof! I have a fairly flat roof outside my lab and I usually have the camera handy. The cloud made the birds appear silhoutted but it was a spectacle all the same. Flights of Storks crossing the Strait from Africa into Europe at this time of year brings back childhood memories. It's one of the great things about Gibraltar - you don't have to go far to see wildlife at its best!

Flight of storks moving away northwards over the rooftops of Gibraltar today

The storks made me go out at lunch to see if other birds were crossing. In a brief time I picked up two Short-toed Eagles and a few Black Kites. The eagles created a commotion among the breeding Yellow-legged Gulls which mobbed them as usual at this time of year. Not the best welcome to Europe after a tiring sea crossing! We'll be seeing much more of this as these eagles reach their peak migration at the end of the month.

Short-toed Eagle over Gibraltar today

Steady passage of hirundines all day. Mainly Swallows and House Martins with a smattering of Red-rumps, Crags and my first Sand Martins.


  1. Hi, Enjoying the blog very much .Just back today in U.K. after a visit to Donana . Incredible amounts of water lying ,and more adding to it all day.We saw 80 Pallid Swifts flying N.+ many 100's of hirundines.Birds much harder to find than in prev.visits.Mile after mile of bird free flooded fields.

  2. Clive, your bird photography is sensational. Can you give us an idea of how you do it? Like, what camera do you use, what lens, and how do you get those closeups without blurring? I am sure there are photo books that would tell us this but we would rather hear it from you!


  3. Michael, I use a Nikon D3 digital camera. Lenses vary but I use two mainly for the birds: the old faithful is an 80-400mm Nikkor zoom that gives me great flexibility. It is always hand-held. Always hold your breath before taking the pic. Other pics, especially small birds, are with a longer lens (600mm) usually on tripod or rested. Too heavy for hand held. More importantly, know your birds. Study them and try and predict what they'll do. Take the eagle in this post: I went out because the weather was likely to bring something in at this time of year. I saw the bird coming in over the sea with binoculars and repositioned three times in the space of about 1 kilometre of coast (with car!)as it kept adjusting its own position. In the end it flew right over me on making land! Ah yes, also you need lots of luck!

  4. Thanks Alan! And for the info on Donana. I'll be there this weekend. And it's raining again...