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mvecht`s lesser year


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Following last years Eye Surgery on my right Eye I can only spend limited time in front of a PC. In other aspects of life this is not much of a hindrance to me and I can use my other Eye for photography.

My wife has also kindly offered her help in terms of editing and posting pictures here. The downside is that I am not going to give as many likes as the rest of you deserve!

The equipment used this year is the Canon R7 and the Tamron 150-600mm G2 unless otherwise mentioned.

We have just returned from a 16 day trip to Spain. I had been told that Northern Spain is good for Wallcreepers and we were then going to combine that with enjoying some restaurants in San Sebastian.

The trip got expanded and we included Extremadura and then hopefully see some migration near Gibraltar. More about that later.

To enhance the chance of seeing Wallcreeper I had hired Steve West www.birdinginspain.com to guide us for two days.

First stop was Riglos in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. Riglos has several vertical cliffs app 300m high. After a few minutes Steve sighted a Wallcreeper but it was almost 200m up! Steve was hopeful that it would descent but it stayed up there. After maybe 10 minutes I spotted a second bird that was "0nly" 150m up but after a minute or so it decided to come almost all the way down. After a little bit of climbing a steep hill I was almost at eye-level with the bird. Being on the shadow side of the cliff, light was limited so I had to use high ISO.

Sorry for the overload of pictures:rolleyes:




















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@mvechtsorry to hear about you eye problems. Thank you to your wife for helping us see such great photos.

The Wallcreeper is a stunning bird and you captured it really well

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@TonyQThank you for the kind words.

Just round the corner we had #2 Egyptian Vulture 




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Peter Connan

What a great start to a big year!


Thanks to you and your wife. Hope the eye recovers well!

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Being a left-eye photographer helps in times like yours. I wish your right eye a quick and full recovery!

The Wallcreeper deserves more than one photo.

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Zim Girl

Great start with the Wallcreeper, @mvecht.

I am also waving the flag for left eye photography, as I do not have any vision in my right.  I hope yours recovers as best it can.

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@Peter Connan@xelas@Zim GirlTank you for the kind words

Griffon Vultures are doing really well in Spain and were seen in large numbers at all sites.

#3 Griffon Vulture. Pictures from Alquezar and La Janda












One of the main targets for the trip was Bearded Vulture.

Unfortunately we only saw this immature bird  at Santa Cilia


#4 Bearded Vulture



A bird that has been eluding me for years is Blue Rock Thrush.

I finally heard my first one two years ago in Italy.

This year I had 3 sightings but always very brief and not showing the nicest part:rolleyes:

#5 Blue Rock Thrush



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Glad to see you back Michael. All the best for your eye condition, I really hope it will improve soon. Way to go to start with one of Europe's top birds - great sighting and photos. Blue Rock Thrush is a nemesis bird of mine as well. Never managed to get a decent photo.

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If I got a photo like that second one of the Griffon in flight with TWO eyes I would be delighted.

Sorry to hear of your problems and hope it all progresses well for you.

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@michael-ibkI was very pleased to see the Wallcreeper. Your photos have made me want to see them for years!

@Galana  With 300+ pictures of the vultures, I had expected more two-eyed shots. This is actually the only one I could find.



We had some nice sightings of Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon but too far away for pictures.

One of the targets was 

#6 female Cirl Bunting. A lifer for me



Two in one.

#7 Common Raven

#8 Alpine Swift.



The following day we went birding around Lleida.

The first target was

#9 Eagle Owl. A very good sighting but it was not possible to get close enough for a decent photo.7R4A4817_EagleOwl.JPG.b63ca90b37702f3a51238b85f049685d.JPG


Another site produced at least 6 Iberian Green Woodpeckers although none of them wanted their photo taken.

We did however see

#10 Penduline Tit



and some well hidden

#11 Black-crowned Nightheron


Another site produced Thekla`s Lark and Golden Eagle. Again no photos.

All in all some very productive days with Steve. I can highly recommend him as a guide.



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We then moved on to San Sebastian to enjoy hte many excellent restaurants.

In the city the most common birds were.

#12 Yellow-legge Gull








#13 House Sparrow



Close to the airport there is an excellent park with both fresh- and Seawater areas

#14 Little Egret



#15 Little Grebe



#16 Greylag Goose



Time was running short and we had to move on to the airport.

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Welcome back Michael; a great start and a steady recovery from your eye problems! 

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Some really great birds in this first batch Michael!


I am fairly sure the one-eyedness @Galanawas referring to was the photographer and not the bird.

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@Peter ConnanThank you Peter for pointing me in the right direction on the comment from @Galana 

I was actually a little disappointed with my shots for not getting a two-eyed Griffon so it was easy for me to misinterpret the post!

Some backyard birding today gave me

#17 Western Marsh Harrier




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A lovely bird to have in your back yard (I assume you mean in the figurative sense of "somewhere nearby" rather than in your actual back yard, but still...) and really well captured in flight.

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@JimSBackyard is a little hard for me to define as we live (in a rented house) on a 3500 Acre Estate:rolleyes:

The bird was seen less than 100m from the house.

In Spain we moved to Trujillo which is a lovely town in the Extremadura region. Trujillo was home to several of the main Conquistadors.

Trujillo is home to a large colony of Lesser Kestrels that inhabit the local Bull Ring.

#18 Lesser Kestrel





#19 White Stork


The town has a few pairs of White Stork and they are abundant in the area.




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Just North of Trujillo is Monfrague National Park.

This is the stronghold in Spain for

#20 Cinereous Vulture





and #21 Black Stork7R4A5456_SortStork.JPG.a21ebd8ed4de3d35245a3e6ee0acbb60.JPG


#22 Eurasian Wren



and #237R4A5447_Wren.JPG.4b5cbda138055a9c444e378349a72bef.JPG


#23 A very Backlit Rock Bunting


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What a great collection of birds to start your year Michael.


I hope you have a speedy recovery.

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