I am really struggling to find anything to post about, of late. My life is in limbo as the care of my father takes president over all other matters and is a situation about which there is no room for debate. So more old pictures, I'm afraid, but this time I promise no fish.
Since Bev and I met, we have travelled widely, mostly around the Mediterranean, enjoying some fabulous holidays as we seek the joint criteria of sunshine, for Bev, and somewhere to wander, for me. Menorca, Mallorca, Southern France, Corfu, Halkadiki, Icmeler and Keffalonia have delivered just these dual requirements, in copious amounts, over the past sixteen years and I have accrued many fond memories during these excursions. Although birding has always been the mainstay of my attentions whilst abroad; there are birds and butterflies which, should they appear, are considered "mega" in the UK yet are resident in these climes and I do my best to "learn" a species whenever the opportunity arises. However, I am not so tunnel visioned as to avoid the multitude of other fauna groups that also inhabit these holiday destinations - I'm like a spoilt kid in a sweet-shop!
|A butterfly which is an occasional visitor to our shores - on mainland Greece it is a very common and widespread|
creature, so I make the most of it!
There are a few relatively regular immigrant species, e.g. Crested Lark and one resident (Cirl Bunting) that are not on my UK list purely because I have seen them on numerous occasions in my past and, therefore, never had the inclination to "twitch" them over here. My choice, because they're my lists!
|Kentish Plover. I much prefer the chance to spend quality time, in close proximity to these smart little waders, than|
peering at a distant pale blob on the tide line at Pegwell Bay, or similar.
|One, of three, resident species which doesn't appear on my UK list - I've seen hundreds abroad.|
|Not on the UK list, at present, although a breeding record was removed in a previous list cleansing exercise, they are easily seen at theS'Albufera Natural Park on Mallorca.|
With climate change being a well documented phenomenon, the chances of one these turning up in the future is very possible. Only by learning the species, in a habitat that allows multiple, & prolonged, observation, will anyone become well enough acquainted with the id to confidently get a sighting accepted by "the great & the good!" Otherwise it's a Sedge Warbler with a sore throat?
One of the bonuses of these sunny climes is the wonderful light; great for photography if you have half an idea how to use the settings on the camera? The beauty of digital is that it doesn't cost anything, other than time and effort, to record multiple images, Select the best and delete the dross - easy. Unsurprisingly, I've deleted huge numbers of images over the years it's those which remain that provide the memories and research material when such occasion arises. These holiday encounters can provide a massive confidence boost when confronted with an odd, lost, waif during an autumnal stroll around the coastal fringe of East Kent. The real beauty of this situation is that you haven't had to tick a dowdy, looking, juvvy for your "life list" - you've already seen the real deal. How many listers added Masked Shrike to their life lists with that drab/ dreary Scottish bird? My first sighting was an adult pair, discovered on a dusty hillside in mainland Greece, bloody brilliant! To my way of thinking (thus a very individual perspective) those birds I see have no comprehension of international, let alone county, borders, so why should I? The over-riding driver, in all these encounters, is to enjoy natural history at whatever level of involvement.
|This is what a Masked Shrike is supposed to look like - Greece 2008|
Why would I want to drive miles to twitch a lost individual when these birds are so readily available in the holiday destinations of any popular UK travel agent? The longest flight will be four and a half hours! Just to demonstrate that it's not all birds - my final offering is of a dragonfly - enjoy?
|Trithemis festiva (Indigo Dropwing)|