Foz do Almargem. Agarve. 19 February 2019

Anew. #70

 Coastal lagoon, now still after torrential rain. Damp ground the inevitable aftermath, walked by Cattle Egret harvesting the emerging abundance.

 Fringe lined by mighty stone pine. Every canopy resounding to the silvery trill of lemon-yellow Serin.

 Arrow-like, low level flight of Azure-winged Magpie. Powering through the open channels between the upright mass strands of ever-present phragmites.

 Amongst its common namesake, Red-crested Pochard stand out. Welcome winter resident with its firey-orange crown and coral-red bill. Unmistakable.

 The quick explosive rattling call of Cetti's Wabler, and then silence. Repeated further away and then silence. Then further away still.

 Dumpy Little Grebe, already in breeding chestnut splendour. All plunge diving and return cork bobbing; you ever delightful, ever present, fluffy little dabchick...

Castro Marim. Algarve. 12 February 2019.

Return. #69

 Repair and rebuild, another summer chamber under warm blue skies. Communal nesting with safety in numbers.

 Mud gatherer from nearby salt pans. Long abandoned by man and reused by niche benefactors of obsolescence.

 Long on the wing from far winter quarters. Pre-ordained journey, deep in the passing. Driven by instinct and dependent on fate.

 Splatter the wall, a sign of occupation and effort. Held in distain by the proud, but in wonder by the enquiring.

 Race around the square above indifference. Flashed of deep blue and white scythe through the ever present aerial banquet.

 A crescendo of noise in the form of 'prrit-prrit', getting louder and louder as the colony builds. Days are growing longer but time is short.

 Maximise success before the cycle completes and your time here has gone, little Andorinha-dos-beirais... 

Parque Nacional de Doñana. Andalucía. 5 February 2019

Tour. #68

 White Stork glide majestically from nest to undulating scrub. Systematically working the ground, feeding on pest and benifactor alike.

 Flitting around, Azure-winged Magpie scavenge and hunt throughout the heat. A flock of squablers and thieves.

 High above the scene, Spanish Imperial Eagle rise on sun warmed thermals; spectacle to dot in a few spiraling seconds. Ever alert with an eye for a kill.

 Along the reed fringes a male Hen Harrier patrols the area causing panic and consternation. The scene repeated over and over again.

 Walking Hoopoe hunt insects around mediterranean dwarf shrub and arid bare earth. A blinding flash of deadly colour.

 Atop an umbrella pine, a lone Iberian Great Grey Shrike sits motionless, waiting to ambush. Hooked dagger and sharp claws ready to pounce.

 Spoonbill scythe through the water. Bill slightly ajar, ready to snap shut in contact with its aquatic prize.

 A relentless cycle of predator and prey devoid of mercy or compassion. Brutal uncompromising nature in the raw....

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