A Travellerspoint blog

June 11-14: more lifers!

Villereal, France

sunny 98 °F

JUNE 11-14 — still very behind in posting due to a crazy performance/music preparation schedule.

With the vocal program, Classic Lyric Arts, in full swing, I was birding a bit less yet of course still having some sightings. Unfortunately, manual focus also was accidentally jammed into place so it took a few days before I could properly troubleshoot a solution, so my photos will momentarily be even crappier for the time being. Here is a far-off EURASIAN MAGPIE in flight. This is also the only bird on my list for China as I remember seeing one at the Capital Airport on a layover in 2014, interestingly enough.
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Despite my “busted” camera, I was able to net a lifer in the form of a very vocal CETTI’S WARBLER! Warblers here (technically a different taxonomic family) are, for the most part, drabber than New World Warblers.
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A few RED KITES circled above:
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And I found my life bird SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER, a wonderful species of deciduous trees here in southwestern Europe that greatly resembles America’s native Brown Creeper. Manual focus was acting up being 180mm of zoom so hence the horrible photo.
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EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE:
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And a EURASIAN HOOPOE had fledged! Amazing! What an ungainly creature.
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I realized one of its siblings was still in the nest above, mustering up the courage to fledge:
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And courage it needed due to an archnemesis, the farm cat Minette (French for pussy cat), roaming around the property. If it were up to me, Minette would stay inside, but alas she spent her days hunting fledgling Hoopoes — I’m not sure if any ended up surviving…
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The point is keep your cats inside no matter how cute they are! Domesticated cats do not belong in the wild.
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The next day we all had a lovely excursion to the nearby medieval town Ici-Jacque which featured a market.
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Dessert after lunch was so incredibly delicious once again. A fruit tart with a scoop of raspberry ice cream!
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Beautiful view of a storm that brought hail to nearby locations apparently:
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The dinner of short ribs on June 13 did not disappoint.
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And the European Toad was back!
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Thankfully, a few days later I figured out the Camera issue and all was back to normal. GREY HERON, Europe’s Great Blue Heron look-alike:
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I spished up this MELODIOUS WARBLER from the shrubbery! Wonderful! Note the eyeline and rather large orange bill.
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Another absolutely fantastic lifer right in the neighborhood was this BLACK-WINGED KITE! Such a cool, smartly-plumaged raptor.
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They look great in flight, too:
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Flyover CATTLE EGRETS — note the yellow bills.
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Horses!
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COMMON WOODPIGEON:
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A distant EURASIAN JAY:
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EURASIAN KESTREL:
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A great trip so far!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 1138 Species
3 life birds: Short-toed Treecreeper, Cetti’s Warbler, Black-winged Kite

Posted by skwclar 13:02 Archived in France

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It looks like that poor hoopoe has slobbered all over. What a great trip you’re having!

by Poo

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