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#6 SWExpedition Diary

Raptors at some abandoned buildings and White Stork bonanza.

Thursday 16th February 2023

Waking up in this abandoned paradise was such a treat. Axel woke up bang on at 7.30 am, ready to see what is going to happen. The Barn Owls called for a bit longer with the Little Owls. but soon stopped to let the Lesser Kestrels call together with Spotless Starlings.

Click on the video above to see where we are.

The Spotless Starlings are incredible synthesisers, they sound like they came out of an 80s modular synth.

There were at least 20+ lesser Kestrels (Falco Naumanni) flying. They move as a colony, sometimes leaving the nest boxes attached to the houses for 30 mins, to then come back, flying onto each other and making all sorts of squeaky calls.

Important note, Lesser Kestrels stay in colonies and migrate to/from Senegal, West Africa and eat mostly big insects. The Common Kestrel, which is almost identical, is solitary, residential and hunting. You can often see it hovering on the side of the roads looking for small rodents.

So exciting we've found them, they must have arrived in a matter of weeks or even days. Another migratory species we wanted to find on our expedition, and here they are!

Taken by Ario, Sony A7iii with Sony 200-600mm

Recorded by Axel, Reynolds Microphones AType 8 with Zoom F8

Midday we visited Dehesa de Abajo, a great location as mentioned around online also for birding with some water left.

Click on the video above to see where we are.

They should call it ‘White Stork Land”. There were so many we got bored of counting these incredible birds, and now it’s the right time to see them creating pairs and mating. The mating act is so quick you can barely notice it, but you can hear them greeting each other every time they join the nest.

Taken by Ario, Sony A7iii with Sony 200-600mm

Our ears can't usually pick up the wing-beat noise they make, so Axel used his Wildtronics parabolic reflector to get close to their sound, so soothing.

Recorded by Axel, Wildtronics parabolic reflector with Zoom F6

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