Birding at Home, Forever Now

Fabulous few hours today, culminating with a potter round the two tone patch in the VW with Elsie. A very blustery yet bright Levantine afternoon.

No sign of our rare “ruby-face” a wintering Red-throated Pipit (whom we discovered only yesterday), nevertheless we were treated to a feast of sumptuous winter bird sightings. And there were some sharp adrenaline-racers in the dish !

The joy started earlier in the day, at bed-chai: a Great Spotted Cuckoo gobbling little hairy caterpillars, on the wild flower anti-lawn just below our bedroom window. Only five feet and a pane of flimsy glass between us. This emboldened bird (one of four who are foraging around the cattle farm just now) got the working half-day off to a most uplifting start.

As we headed out in the car in the late afternoon, opening the first green donkey gate, a gun metal grey male Goshawk ripping through my ‘seeded’ Corn Bunting flock foretold a “fine break”.

Sure enough ‘it’ broke, ‘we’ broke well :

a tawny-bellied, bird-of-the year, Bonelli’s Eagle showing a neat white trailing edge to the secondaries of her broad wings, struggled in the gale over the Drover’s Road, just in front of us, as we headed for the stubbles of our nearest rice field

an adult Iberian Imperial Eagle overhead, at an undisclosable location

five (one adult male) long-awaited Little Bustards (ditto as regards location).

In lesser ways the supporting cast comprised some notables,

especially around the Celemin Bridge, the drained rice fields, the drained rice fields that sustain (i.e. are feeding) in spite of this relentless and gusty Levante gale

a Great Egret, 40 Glossy Ibis, 80 Black-winged Stilt, 120 Cranes, 40 Little Ringed Plover, 19 Green Sandpiper, c30 Lapwing, c80 Common Snipe, 5 Barn Swallow, 25 Crag Martin, 30 White Wagtail and 4 Water Pipit.

Also, at home in the morning:

thirty five impatient House Sparrows were jostling on the rough paving slabs under the washing line. They assemble here for the greatest feast of yellow mijo-millet for many miles around, every day at dawn (currently 0810)

and our handsome wee male, “Smutty Redtail” (Phoenicurus ochruros), a visual delight of flirty bobbing life, dressed in a super smart outfit of black that sets-off the red, body wrapped in soft grey, the whole being spangled by those crisp white wing panels. He was feeding close around the house, as he does within the walls, all morning.

So, today was ‘winter birding’ at its best. Two pottering people, who remain open-minded and always questioning. Trundling along a rutted ancient track. Adrift almost among the sweeping snowy flurries of asphodel and narcissi who cloak the rolling clay covered mounds at east La Janda. Nature on our doorstep among the forbidding fields of the fighting bulls.

On bird-filled days like this I just love Andalucia.

The treat of space. An open-ness here in Europe, remote yet familiar.

It is living history, opaquely recollected, energies that can still inspire. A charge that sets the heart abuzz.

Never mind that these are tattered shreds of loveliness now. If you are old enough you can sense them slipping astern.

Unrequited, like love messages in flotsam bottles, prematurely misplaced or sadly lost. it feels sometimes like its all going.

Nature, by most others it seems, Unwanted. Simply traded and otherwise abused. Life itself, the holy is now obsolete. Real value has been exchanged for convoluted garbage.

The numinous is rendered, sequenced into profit, to sustain the superficial and the soulless. Feeding the drivelling tapeworm of our time.

We see it, dark futures looming. Globally unwrithing. Stop. the time is now.

For our part, you can see its simple, we turn back to life. Every day.

And as I tap this out at night in bed, the electricity cuts again. So much for cyborgs Davos. Is it just a joke, you are?

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