A Morning Session With The Bee Eaters (and few others)

Yesterday whilst on a Community Walk as part of the local Village’s Celebration Day I noticed a colony of Bee Eaters all sitting on a dead tree on the river bank at the other side of the village to the Quinta. The weather forecast promised a clear sunrise so I packed the camera, tripod, chair and pop-up hide last night and set my alarm for 6:15am.

The idea was to get to the river bank and erect my pop-up hide before the Bee Eaters awoke. I was awake before the alarm and after a quick Coffee I headed down to the river bank by just after 6:30am. It was already light, but the sun was still below the horizon, the only birds I could hear were the Nightingales. I set up the hide and waited patiently.

First up a small flock of Common Waxbills arrived with 2 of them sitting on the dead tree, unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get a clean background and this would take a fair bit of Photoshop work to remove.

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Common Waxbill - Bico-de-lacre-comum - Estrilda astrild

Then the noises started, the Bee Eaters were coming. This colony is quite large and they were everywhere……except the dead tree! At one point, there was a pair on top of the hide with repeated knocks which I assume was one hitting the sting off a bee.

Whilst I waited, a White Stork landed on the other side of the river and was looking for Frogs for breakfast.

White Stork - Cegonha Branca - Ciconia ciconia

Finally, a male came to land right on top of the tree with what looks like a very large fly. The light was now perfect and I took a few shots.

European Bee Eater - Abelharuco - Merops apiaster

European Bee Eater - Abelharuco - Merops apiaster

This location and colony seems to be much easier to photograph than the colony we see at the Quinta, also the location seems to have a large variety of bird life all sharing the same area, I will return.

To make a fantastic morning even more perfect, when I returned, Wally had his morning walk. Whilst down at the river I heard a high pitched bird call, turned around to see a flash of blue as 2, yes TWO Kingfishers flew past! I don´t know if one of them is Princessa and I’ll never know, but hopefully it is a breeding pair. I will be building a new perch for them soon!

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