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#8 SWExpedition Diary

What an encounter!

Saturday 18th February 2023

Axel had a bad headache before going to sleep, hence why he overslept in the morning. Ario woke up at a decent time and went to get some pictures.

Same species as yesterday, plus Purple Swamphen, White Storks flying in groups of an average of 50 individuals, a Kingfisher, Black-Winged Stilts plus all the ones we saw the evening before.

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

We love hearing the frenetic, whistly call of the Kingfisher.

Recorded by Axel with Reynolds Microphone Atype8 and Zoom F8.

We are so proud of ourselves as we managed to fix the handbrake, easier than expected. Thank you Zio Sandro for the over-WhatsApp tips.

Oh, Axel's headache passed fine, maybe too much coffee is not so great..


The encounter!

Sunday 19th February 2023

Axel overslept today as he had headphones on all night listening to his microphone 50m away in a reedbed, which wasn't that worth it in the end. It was just after 9 am when Axel removed the headphones, with Ario asking frantically “why weren’t you answering, there were 5 Ospreys flying and hunting just in front of our vehicles!” Damn headphones, for once...

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

Ospreys are another main species followed by the Migratory Birds For People initiative, and it’s one such cool migratory bird. The longest journey is from Scotland all the way down to Senegal, where most Ospreys winter. When nesting they can be found around Europe. These birds of prey have incredible fishing skills. They are the size of a Harrier roughly, but the head and shape are like no other raptor.

Axel was quite sad to have missed them, and Ario wasn’t happy with the pictures, the light wasn’t there yet and they were quite far.

While setting up the Coleman Dual Fuel to brew some coffee, Axel turns to see one Osprey fishing in the lake, YES! We spent the next 30 minutes looking at it fishing. It took it 7 attempts before fishing something, which we thought was odd, but some further research highlighted that diving success depends on location and other weather factors, but it’s not exactly clear why.

Anyhow, it was such a great encounter, they could be a group migrating north of the East Atlantic Flyway, more on the flyways on our SWMigration page.

The rest of the day wasn’t as exciting, we had to do some clothes washing and had lunch at a local restaurant, our weekly treat. Jamon, Flambinique, Somadillo and an illegally large dessert. One thing we can say, most of the food was deep-fried, which makes it tricky to digest 🙂

We had also almost run out of water so we had to fill our tanks up.

We have one 40L tank each inside the car by Frontrunner, and another 30L of tanks on the roof racks, may be a bit overkill for Europe but we’re getting used to using less and less water. More on our Africa-ready water filtration system soon.

Today was editing day, and Axel finally managed to work in my portable studio in the back of the truck, it’s so nice to have a deskspace wherever we go, more on this also soon.


Moving on to the next location.

Monday 20th February 2023

We've spent the night at the same location, and Axel obviously decided to wake up earlier to see if he can spot the Ospreys, and yes they were still there in all their majestic beauty.

Again the same five as yesterday, fascinating we've been here three days and they only showed up yesterday and today. They may have just arrived from their wintering grounds in West Africa! They spent the whole morning fixing back and forth, it was just fantastic to see them. They didn't make any call, we could only hear the splashing they make when hitting the water to try and catch some fish. What a wonderful start to the week.

We've been looking at Tarifa, as it's an incredible migration hotspot to visit, now only a mere 2 hours drive from us. There is a bird migration centre which we feel we must visit. We packed up everything at lunchtime and left. First stop Los Canos, we promised Dom, a friend and mechanic from Finlandya Custom, our sponsor mechanic, to stop there and get a beer, but unfortunately, everything is closed now. After a bit of sandy off-road, we reached a quiet spot where to camp for the night and do some editing on the laptops, it's so nice to have batteries charged for once.

Tomorrow morning we'll drive another hour and go to visit the centre straight away, we just can't wait!

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