Airport arrivals are actually quite joyful places to be – as soon as family, friends and partners arrive it’s a happy occasion.
I was really happy to see my old friend Simon of Wader World – we go back a long way and some of my most informative birding years were spent getting up to all manner of birding based capers together.
You’d think we would ask how each other were or ask how you’ve been upon meeting right?…..the actual first thing Simon said was “you have the same bins as me!”
It wasn’t long before we picked up where we left off and with a few drinks we had a long and enjoyable catch up.
Next day we had a mission and we were on it! (Although a little blurry!) First we hit the freshly wetted fields at La Janda encountering great views of fly-by Collared Pratincoles, Black Kites and a young Black-winged Kite.
We logged several species both here and at other sites including a smart adult female Montagu’s Harrier having a ruck with a Short-toed Eagle.
This time of year we couldn’t help ourselves and indulged in a bit of Swift appreciation as we watched motoring White-rumped Swift with joy and added our fourth Apus species to the trip list.
The next days we explored the area of the Alcornacales cork oak forest and farmlands which offered some great opportunities to get close to both adult and juvenile Black-eared Wheatear, Spotted Flycatchers, Western Bonelli’s Warblers and Bonelli’s Eagles.
We also took our chance to visit the Guzman Fort in Tarifa where the antics of recently fledged Lesser Kestrels can be watched at point blank range with young birds still being fed by the parents and juveniles perching literally right next to us, we greatly enjoyed this special little falcons first flights.
The real searching was for Rüppell’s Vulture throughout the valleys and crags of the Straits. This is no easy task but we know they are about. We had some really special up close views of Griffon Vulture throughout the week and we both agreed that seeing them is beyond tireless. In fact so tireless when I looked at my watch it was 10.30 in the evening as we obsessively observed roosting and nesting Griffon Vultures.
The real highlight however was a dead goat that was bringing in the Vultures and this provided us with some truly special moments, with this magical and at times wrongly maligned species hissing and squabbling over the remains as the clean up squad was in full hoover mode!
Did we see a Rüppell’s ???? …….well …can you spot it?
There’s something for everyone with the Inglorious Bustards and we know you will have fun whether you want to go easy and raptor watch from the pool or go full throttle birding, scrambling up rocks looking at Vultures – we pride ourselves on having the best team for whatever you need and however you want or need to do it.