miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2020

Osprey, Day 39

Osprey KL9 was observed fishing at the Dos Pinos reservoir this morning, Oct 28. 

The bird circled high over the water for  about 7 minutes, carefully searching for suitable fish, before it eventually dived in to make a successful catch at the first attempt. Practice makes perfect.

It then flew off to a nearby telephone post to devour its prey. 

Anyone interested in the plight of the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) on the Canary Islands, and the conservation challenges posed here, might like to check the Youtube link below. The talk is a summary of a Canary Island Government project co-financed by the European Union. It is in Spanish, but contains plenty of graphic material and photographs.

https://youtu.be/g0v1F4BE1Fc

sábado, 17 de octubre de 2020

Osprey, DAY 28

The juvenile Osprey marked KL9, first detected on Sep 20, has now been on the island of  La Palma for 4 weeks. During this time, I have been regularly checking its movements and have also received regular updates from a local family who observe the Dos Pinos reservoir from their terrace (thanks Íñigo!).

The regional delegation of SEO/Birdlife on Tenerife, and La Palma's environmental authorities have been informed of the bird's presence. It appears there has been at least one previous case of an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) overwintering on Gran Canaria, rather than continuing its migration to Senegal and Gambia. So, perhaps KL9 will be here for a while!

I found KL9 (whose sex is unknown) resting on a utility pole near the Dos Pinos reservoir this morning, Oct 17.

Osprey KL9 (Pandion haliaetus)

The above photograph was taken from a distance, and I was careful not to disturb the bird by trying to get a better shot. Instead, I headed for the reservoir to await arrival of the young Osprey. The bird soon appeared as expected, beginning its activity with an exploratory flight over the water.


Without attempting to fish it then spent a few minutes resting on the bank of the reservoir. I had my tripod set up this time, hoping to improve on my previous photographs. The Osprey took flight again, and after briefly surveying the water, dived towards its prey:

The following shots were all taken with a 400mm lens and a fairly high ISO 400, to get a fast shutter speed. The pictures are all heavily cropped, but are probably at the limit of what my gear can achieve, given the distance from the subject (c 200m).





Osprey KL9 making off with its catch

It took the bird less than 2 minutes to catch its first meal of the day, after only one dive...a 100% success rate.



sábado, 3 de octubre de 2020

Osprey KL9, DAY 14

The ringed Osprey KL9 was at the Dos Pinos reservoir this morning, where I watched it fishing. The bird dived towards prey on three occasions, with complete immersion the second two attempts. The last of the three attempts brought success in the form of a sizeable catch, the whole process having taken just over two minutes. Thus, a 1-out-of-3 success rate after a couple of minutes of strenuous activity...not bad for an inexperienced, first-time migrant!

So, contrary to my earlier comments (see previous posts), to the effect that the reservoir basically functions as a safe refuge for birds, it is now clear that the site is also providing the juvenile Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) with an abundant, easy-to-catch food supply. 

The following action photos are all heavily cropped, but are certainly an improvement on my previous ones. 







Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) landing with catch

The fish themselves (Tilapia sp.) got there as a result of an unsuccessful fish-farming project. It is not clear whether they were deliberately introduced into this particular reservoir, or were accidentally transferred from other ponds involved in the aquacultural experiment.

viernes, 2 de octubre de 2020

Citrine Wagtail, part 2

The 1w Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola) was still present at the saltpans in Fuencaliente this morning, Oct 2. The bird was making short runs to snatch insects off the ground, and springing to catch flying ones.


Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)


I particularly like the impression of movement in the middle image above, which was shot at 1/400s  ISO 400  f5.6.


miércoles, 30 de septiembre de 2020

Citrine Wagtail at the saltpans

A visit to the saltpans in Fuencaliente this morning (Sep 30) yielded the first-winter Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola) featured in the present post.


Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

The bird was foraging for insects along the rocky embankments, on the access track, and in the salt-production pools. This is my third record of citreola on La Palma: the first was in Sep 2013 at an irrigation pond in Las Martelas (Los Llanos de Aridane), and the second at the saltpans (Fuencaliente) in Sep 2015.




Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla citreola)

The above images show most of the key fieldmarks: all-dark bill, broad white wing bars, all-round pale cheek surround, and tinges of yellow below eye, etc.

This sighting will be submitted to the Spanish Rarities Committee in due course.



lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2020

Osprey KL9, DAY 9

KL9 was still at the Dos Pinos reservoir this afternoon. Between about 14:35 and 14:45 the bird made a prolonged effort to catch fish, repeatedly wheeling over the water, and plunging in on five occasions. The fifth time it was lucky, flying off with a moderately large Tilapia in its talons.

I expected KL9 to land on the edge of the reservoir to devour his catch, but instead he flew off west and dined atop a utility pole.

KL9's daily meal had taken ten minutes of strenuous flight, and five dives into the reservoir, with a 20% success rate. 

My photos were unfortunately disappointing:


Migratory Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) with its takeaway meal


domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2020

Osprey KL9, DAY 8

KL9 was located in the same area this morning, and again at the reservoir itself this afternoon, where the bird was seen dining on another fish.

The ringer has confirmed that KL9 was ringed as a nestling on July 9 this year at a site about 25km north of Inverness (Scotland).