Sometimes I stare at the sky for hours on end; seems like a completely mad thing to do but amongst other things I'm a 'birder', and at this time of the year some, in fact most of our feathered friends are on the move in one way or another, and 'birders' like me like to keep our heads up!
I say 'birder' to distinguish myself from the other 2 types of so called birdwatchers – now I'm not being dismissive here, each to their own and all that but it grates a little when a common response I get upon mentioning that I'm a birdwatcher is 'oh a twitcher eh?' Time for some definitions!
Twitchers – Interested in birds - yes, but only in terms of ticking them off. A bone fide 'twitcher' would think nothing of upping sticks and travelling the length and breadth of the country just to see and then 'tick off' the latest rarity to flutter into their country.
Part time enthusiasts – Bird table in the garden and binoculars from the conservatory with the occasional trip out the their local RSPB reserve of a Sunday.
Birders – Totally in to birds. Slightly mad breed, fascinated by what birds are occurring on their patch and why.
All good folk and birds need the attention of as many fanatics, however mad, as possible in order to thrive and thus continue to thrill us.
OK, OK, enough already…. back to the skies! The past couple of weeks I've been fairly sedentary in and around La Macherie, the weather has been fine and the skies full of birds moving South, mainly swallows ans house martins but also several birds of prey including Red Kite, Booted & Short Toes Eagle and Honey Buzzard - any like minded birders will doubtless find the first of my weekly bird reports quite interesting! For those with more of a passing interest here are a few recent 'upward' shots'
Ok from the top - Honey Buzzard, to be honest I don't remember much about this bird, just realised it was a buzzard that didn't look quite right and started clicking! It was only later when I was editing my pics that I thought WOWSER - that's a definite Honey Buzzard!
Middle 2 - Pretty sure these are Hen Harriers, they were messing about and my guess it that they're immatures dispersing from a nest site somewhere.
Bottom left - Ah! Confusion time - was convinced at the time this was a migrating Booted Eagle but the carpal patches give it away - its a pale phase Common Buzzard!
Bottom right - so lucky on this one ... thats a Black Stork and one of a pair that I just happened to be flying South as I was looking up. Fair distance up like, as are most of these travellers - hence the need to crop these pics, however a good birding lesson in always keeping an eye on the skies!