Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Colour-ringed Vulture & Spoonbill - Fuerte #11

Finding colour-ringed birds is always fascinating, especially when you're a long way from home and least expecting it - just the case when we came across not one but two fine beasts bearing plastic bling on Fuerteventura.

I photographed the first - this handsome adult Egyptian Vulture - over a ridge in the lava fields in the central east of the island, and after receiving details from the Spanish programme responsible, discovered that it was ringed within a few miles of there on 24th June 2008, and had apparently been awol since then. The birds here are of the distinct subspecies Neophron percnopterus majorensis (which requires elevation to species level according to some authorities), a small and declining population confined to the Eastern Canaries.

We found the second, this immature Spoonbill, at Salinas Del Carmen, a picturesque spot on the coast just south of the airport, on the last day of the trip - the only one we saw, and a nice surprise. Even more of a surprise was its back story: ringed in the nest at Vår Holm, Nibe, NordJylland, in the far north of Denmark on 15th May, it was 3677km SW of its Northern European birthplace.

(As always, click on images to enlarge).