Thursday, 6 January 2011

Tonn has left the reserve!

Having had little success over the past 4 days in seeing any of the Spotted Eagles at El Hondo, other than the bird referred to as "Not Tonn"; we decided to try a new area today, 16km (by road) East of El Hondo.

This area which is a transition between agricultural and salt marsh habitats, proved very successful. Crested, Sky and Lesser Short-toed Lark were all present in good numbers, as were Reed and Corn Bunting. Marsh Harrier were abundant with a minimum of 15 birds seen in the air together; whilst watching this spectacular sight we noticed that 4 of the Marsh Harriers had started mobbing something that was sat on the floor, to our surprise this transpired to be Tonn - The Estonian satellite tagged Spotted Eagle.

Having been moved on by the Marsh Harrier we followed Tonn deeper into the agricultural land and to our amazement noticed that he was also being followed by the adult Greater Spotted Eagle! Having got to a point were the Eagles were directly overhead we stopped and witnessed some very interesting behaviour. The birds were engaging in certain aspects of a display flight, including parallel flying and mirrored movements. This would suggest that the adult bird is in fact female and that Tonn has possibly drawn her away from the reserve in order to reduce competition from the other 3 year bird "Not Tonn"? Please see below pictures and very shaky video of Tonn sat on the floor, click the pictures to enlarge them.

Greater Spotted Eagle - Tonn

Greater Spotted Eagle - Tonn

Greater Spotted Eagle - Adult, presumed female

Video of Greater Spotted Eagle - Tonn

We also managed to find a few small lakes or pools which held good numbers of waders. All the usual suspects were present such as, Avocet (6), Black-winged Stilt (9), Dunlin (30+), Little Stint (10+), Redshank (6), Greenshank (2), Snipe (numerous) and Kentish Plover (2); the presence of a single Marsh Sandpiper and 2 Temmincks Stint certainly added even more excitement to a fantastic days birding.

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