Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

January 30, 2018

Rooftop in the casbah

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 4:59 pm

Marrakech Birding

This morning I took the camera up to the roof of my hostel. It is in the middle of the souk in Marrakech, but still there are a couple of trees around. I was lucky to get at least one new bird.

House Bunting
House Bunting (Emberiza sahari)

These were quite common up on the roof and they invaded the left-over crumbs after breakfast.

Common Bulbul
Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus barbatus)

This is the nominate race sub-species found in Morocco.

White Stork
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

In the afternoon I went to the Badi Palace to photograph the storks which hang around there. It turns out I have seen these storks before. Ah yes, at Aswan, in Egypt.

White Stork  in flight
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) in flight.

Marrakech Bird List

House Bunting (Emberiza sahari)
House Sparrows
Common Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Common Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus barbatus)
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)

January 29, 2018

Marrakech – Morocco

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 5:15 pm

In the Souk.

I flew from Barcelona this morning at 6:30am. I had to get up at 3:40 in the morning to get my flight. I was not impressed. The airport bus was packed. I had to stand up the whole way. The security at Barcelona airport were nasty. But the overall experience was very efficient.

Sunlight in the Souk
Sunlight in the Souk.

This afternoon I took a walk through the souk, just checking everything out. I did not get hassled at all. I think I must have perfected my 1000 yard stare in India. The sun came out and was streaming through the roof after a cold and miserable morning.

Selling gaudy baubles.
Selling gaudy baubles.

I have no idea what this shop was selling. I asked and it is all Berber wedding jewellery. It was very shiny. I was drawn to it like a Bowerbird.

Golden Lights
Golden Lights

This stall was selling golden light ornaments. More shiny stuff.

Herbs and spices
Herbs and spices

There were quite a few shops in a row selling spices and herbs etc.

fishing for coke
Fishing for coke.

This game was very popular. Five dirhams for ten minutes. You have to get the ring around the neck of the cordial bottle. The ring is at the end of a fishing pole. Fascinating. I was mesmerised by it.

January 28, 2018

Barcelona Birding and Surfing

Filed under: Birds,Surfing — Tags: — admin @ 4:06 pm

Llobregat Delta Again.

I hired a bike from the hostel this morning and that saved the legs a few kilometers walking. There was not much around. No birds, that is. Plenty of people out for their Sunday walk, run, bike. Too much lycra! My eyes!

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Common Chiffchaff
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

This may be a Cetti’s Warbler but I am very doubtful. I will have to get some expert assistance on this identification. Edit: it is a flaming Chiffchaff, doh! Boy do I feel like a fool. 🙂

Wizz Air
Big Old Jet Airliner

The Llobregat Delta is right next to Barcelona Airport.

a little snail
A little snail

No birds so I photographed this little snail.

Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Not sure what all the white on the belly means. Maybe a young one?

Surfing at Barcelona
Going left.

I went all the way to the beach after the wetlands. I was quite surprised to see about twenty guys surfing. It was bigger than I would have expected. Not the best but certainly ridable.

Surfing the Mediterranean Sea
Going Right.

Barcelona Bird List

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Grey Heron
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Mallard
Brown-headed Gull
European Serin (Serinus serinus)
Common Coot
White Wagtail
Eurasian Magpie
Chaffinch
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

January 27, 2018

Barcelona Birding Day One

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 7:01 pm

Llobregat Delta.

I am in Barcelona, Spain for a few days. This morning I went to the Llobregat Delta, which is near my hostel near the airport. I was not expecting much because it was very cold and overcast. But luckily I found some new birds. The wetlands are open from around nine to five and the information center is very helpful. They even have coffee!

Water Pipit
Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)

The best time to visit the delta is around autumn and spring when the migrations are happening.

Common Waxbill
Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)

The Common Waxbill is also known as the St Helena waxbill, spanish is Pico de Coral. They were introduced here from North Africa.

Monk parakeet
Monk parakeet (Myiopsitta Monachus)

The Monk Parakeet, aka Quaker Parrot, was introduced here from Argentina.

Common Kestrel
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

I took a lot of photos of this Common Kestrel hovering over a field next to the wetlands.

Black Redstart - female
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)

This is the female, the male was hanging around near the vegetable plots.

European Robin
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I just found out that this is the original Robin Redbreast.

European Serin
European Serin (Serinus serinus)

Greater Flamingo
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Barcelona Birds List

Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta)
Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild),
Monk parakeet (Myiopsitta Monachus)
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Black Redstart
Common Starling
Eurasian Magpie
House Sparrow
Little Egret
Common Moorhen
European Robin
Blue Tit
Great Tit
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Feral Pigeon
European serin (Serinus serinus)
Greater Flamingo
Mallard
Common Shelduck
Great Cormorant

January 24, 2018

Hatay Muze

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 2:57 pm

Antakya Archeological Museum.

Raining again this morning. I got the word to go to the Archeological Museum. I walked down the road and caught the number 15 bus. The bus driver made me sit next to him and yapped to me all the way and let me off right in front. The cost to get in in 15 Turkish Lira, about $5.

Zeus in Basalt
Zeus in Basalt.

They had lots of old statues and stuff.

mosaic
Mosaic of a lady.

I was amazed at the quality of the expression on this lady’s face. There is a lot of depth in this picture.

mosaic work close up
Detail of mosaic work

And here is a close-up of the mosaic work. You can see that the stone chips are quite large. The artistic skill of the workers is very amazing to get such a rendering of this face with such coarse “brush strokes”.

chain mail
Chain Mail

Some chain mail, I think from the Saracen period.

Mushroom Head.
Mushroom Head.

This is a statue of Suppiluliuma, some dude from the Persian period I think. He had all writing on his back.

Skeleton in grave.
Skeleton in grave.

I think this skeleton was from about 3000 B.C.

pointy head
Head binding results.

Thousands of years ago, they used to bind heads to make them elongated because they thought it was cool. People are still doing stupid things because they think it’s cool.

A stellae
A stellae

I think this stellae is from the Persian period. the sun emblem above the head is pretty much Persian.

January 23, 2018

Alanya to Antakya

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 6:01 pm

South-East Turkey.

From Fethiye, I headed to Alanya for a couple of days. The sun was out so I went for a walk along the water-front.

Alanya Beach
The Beach at Alanya

Above the harbour at Alanya there is the remains of the old castle and its walls which snake down the hill.

Alanya Castle
Alanya Castle

from Alanya I headed East to Limonlu, about fifty kilometers from Mersin. It is a small village with a small boutique hotel right near the beach.

Miniscule surf.
Miniscule surf.

The waves were really small but surfable if you were desperate. I did see a decent point break further down the coast while I was going past in the bus.

Turkish Surfers Paradise.
Turkish Surfers Paradise.

They have built all these hideous apartment blocks right on the beach. Mainly empty now that it is winter but I bet it gets crowded in summer. Ugh. All that flabby Euro flesh. “Shudder”.

Antakya's flooding river
Antakya and the flooding river

It has been raining for days and this morning I caught the bus from Adana to Antakya. The countryside is quite different in this part of Turkey. A lot more cultivation and industry.

Antakya Bazaar
The Markets at Antakya

I found the markets so I went for a wander. They go for ages.

Baking pizzas in Antakya Bazaar
Baking pizzas

These dudes were baking bread and turkish pizzas in this wood-fired oven. The fire came out really nice and red.

January 22, 2018

South-west Turkey Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:13 pm

Limonlu, Mersin.

A few days ago I was at Limonlu, between Alanya and Antakya on the south coast of Turkey. It was raining for days and then the sun came out for a couple of days so I went out to the beach to get some photos.

Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

I am pretty sure this is a Mediterranean Gull. I have not seen one before so it was hard to identify it. Even now I am not one hundred percent. They were in a flock on the beach with Black-headed Gulls, Yellow-legged Gulls and a random tern.

Mediterranean Gull - in flight
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) in flight

A semi-reasonable shot of one in flight.

Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)

There were a couple of these in the mix. I have seen these before in the UAE.

Sandwich Tern - maybe
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)

This one was difficult to identify. It is close to a Sandwich Tern but I am not sure about the range. Edit: Id confirmed by Louis Driver. thank you.

European Stonechat - male
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

After the beach I headed up the hill to a ruined castle and saw a few European Stonechats and White-spectacled Bulbuls.

Limonlu bird list

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis)
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)

January 14, 2018

Even Higher on Olympus

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:33 pm

Olimpos Birding – Day 2.

Out again today in Olimpos. I started a bit later this morning. It rained a bit yesterday afternoon and last night so I was a bit sluggish starting off.

Blue Tit
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

I got a bit of a shock when I saw these in the computer. I thought they were Great Tit. First time for me. Terrible photos but, #recordshot only. This photo I had to paint in sharpness and clarity because it was so out of focus.

Blue Tit
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

I did another photo of the Blue Tit but this one is at a bad angle. At least it is a little more in focus than the other one.

White-spectacled Bulbul
White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)

This White-spectacled Bulbul was hooking into a pomegranate in the orchard of my hostel. I just walked down the back and there it was. Last seen in the UAE.

Black Redstart - male
Black Redstart (Pnoenicurus ochruros)

I just worked out what yesterday’s “Eastern Nightingale” was. It was a female Black Redstart. Same ruddy rump. Same bobbing motion.

European Stonechat - male
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

And last but not least, a European Stonechat.

Olimpos bird list

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
White-spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)
Eurasian Jay
Great Tit (Parus major)
Common Chaffinch
Black Redstart (Pnoenicurus ochruros)
European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
European Robin

January 13, 2018

High on Olympus

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:06 pm

Olimpos, South Turkey.

After a five hour bus journey yesterday, I was ready for the sack, which I hit after a hearty meal of meatballs and salad. As well as soup. I was ready to go at 9am but the sun was not up yet. It was still behind this massive mountain. But I still set off.

Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

This is a new bird for me, found in the pine forest half way down the mountain.

Cetti's Warbler
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

I am pretty sure it is a warbler but not totally sure if it is a Cetti’s Warbler. I need expert input.

Eastern Nightingale
Black Redstart (Pnoenicurus ochruros) female

I am not even sure about the taxonomy of this one. Edit: At first I thought it might be an Eastern Nightingale but I am more inclined towards Common Nightingale juvenile. But to me it looks more like an Indian Robin or Brown Rockchat, which is impossible. So I am pretty much stumped. Edit 2: Back to Eastern, doh! Edit 3: female Black Redstart. double doh!!

Sardinian Warbler
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)

I am pretty sure this is a Sardinian Warbler. This is the second time I have seen one of these.

Great Tit
Great Tit (Parus major)

There are heaps of these Great Tit around. It is raining now and they are still flitting around the trees near my hostel. For your information the sun did not come over the mountain until 10:30am! That brought a few more birds out.

Olimpos bird list

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)
Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)
Black Redstart (Pnoenicurus ochruros)
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephala)
Great Tit (Parus major)
White Wagtail
Eurasian Jay
Common Chaffinch
Mistle Thrush (turdus viscivorus)
Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopus syriacus)
European Robin

January 11, 2018

Fethiye Birding 3

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:02 pm

Challish Plaji – Phase Two.

Second day at Challish Plaji. Early morning this time. I climbed back through the hole in the fence. This time there were no fishermen. I had it all to myself.

Sardinian Warbler
Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephela)

I got a lot of out of focus shots of this male Sardinian Warbler, but I got lucky with just a few. whew!

European Robin
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Another new bird on the reeds. But I am not totally sure about the ID of this one. I know what. I will look it up on the internet. doh! Yep. Back again. The internet confirmed my prelimary Identification. It is a European Robin.

Eurasian Collared Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)

This dove was being very patriotic. Peace, man.

Grey Plover
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

There was only one of these around. Lucky I saw one.

Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax carbo)

Crested Lark
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)

Fethiye bird list

Sardinian Warbler (Sylvia melanocephela)
European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Great Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax carbo)
Black-headed Gull 1st winter
White Wagtail
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Common Redshank
European Stonechat
Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Common Chaffinch
House Sparrow

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