Now the spring migration is nearly over, there are many interesting bird species to look out for in the PO. Some of our especially colourful and exotic summer visitors tend to be heard more often than seen – but what a joy when you do finally spot them!

 

Can you identify these summer visitors? (For answers, scroll to the bottom)

A

(Credit Dixi)
  • This is a male. Females and immature birds are much less colourful – more greenish-yellow and easily confused with Green woodpeckers, which are similar in size.
  • Common but shy. Because they like to sit in treetops, usually the only fleeting glimpse you get is when they fly across a road or path.
  • Musical, liquid call.

B

(Credit Elgollimoh)
  • Similar size to starlings, these nest in colonies in holes in sandy banks
  • They also hunt insects in flocks, often flying too high for those colours to show
  • They love to perch in dead trees, and their mellifluous call carries a long way

C

(Credit J.M. Garg)
  • Significantly bigger than a buzzard, this eagle is common in the PO
  • If seen perched, the head looks big, owl-like, with bright yellow eyes
  • There are dark and light forms. At a distance, many appear totally white underneath
  • Their favourite food is snake

D

(Credit: A. Nikolai)
  • A bit bigger than a Green woodpecker
  • They raise their crest when making their distinctive – monotonous – call
  • Also distinctive is the black and white patterning on the wings in flight
  • Often seen probing for insects with that long beak – on the ground in gardens and vineyards
  • Some now over-winter in the PO

E

(Credit: C. Svane)
  • Big (jay-sized), those bright colours are most noticeable in flight
  • Nest in trees, walls or buildings
  • They often perch on wires or telephone poles
  • Quite social
  • Their call is hard and crow-like

F

(Credit: A. Ronning)
  • This woodpecker isn’t much bigger than a sparrow
  • Very hard to spot – it’s so well camouflaged on tree trunks as it hunts for ants
  • Its call is un-musical and very loud

 

 

 

ANSWERS

A   Golden Oriole (Loriot d’Europe)

B   Bee-eater (Guêpier d’Europe)

C   Short-toed eagle (Circaète Jean-le-Blanc)

D   Hoopoe (Huppe fasciée)

E   Roller (Rollier d’Europe)

F   Wryneck (Torcol familier)

Lesley McLaren

www.mediterraneanpyrenees.com

Twitter: @66Warblers

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