Iberian filming

July 13th

Well, it’s been a very strange start to the morning, all cloudy! It’s been like that during the mornings, very peculiar for this time of the year, still I don’t think the flora will be complaining. I went off to get some stock footage of the Northern side of the mountains and to my utter delight and surprise I heard the bee-eaters! They were a few lining up along the electricity pylon as usual, but their numbers seem somewhat reduced compared to the previous two years. I remember during 2012 when they had dug out their nests from the side bank behind the log cabin. Perfect loose rocky/sandy loam soil for them to lay their eggs. Unfortunately the blooming goat farmer has built up an allotment for his vegetables and fruits, and in doing so frightened the colony off from returning. Really upset about that, now that I actually have the capabilities of filming them! Oh well, guess I will have to rely on stalking techniques towards the colonies up on the pylons for now. Didn’t work very well today though, they didn’t fancy a strange two-legged pale girl with a three-legged tripod coming up underneath them. Still managed to see them de-sting a bee though, really want to get it on camera though. SO tricky now that they are so high up. I do actually have some stock footage I took with my old Canon 1000D hooked up to my laptop with some encoded programme that would allow it to directly transcribe moving 720p images onto the computer desktop. Brilliant bit of software, thank you to whoever put that up! I will get the link up for any 1000D users out there. They’re quite easily spooked are the “abejarucus,” but when you get up close to them, you can really appreciate what a stunning bird it is. A small, copper brown cap, a striking black band across its face along its beady amber eye, making it look like a masked jet fighter. Its breast is often a cream/yellow colour but I’ve seen variations with a melon pink shade which are quite gorgeous. Their backs are splashed with tropical turquoise; the whole effect making them truly exotic-looking and a real treat for any keen birder. Their beaks are straight and moderately thick for its notorious wack to de-sting the bees and wasps it catches. Of course its diet is not only restricted to Bombus terrstialis, but will also feed on dragonflies and beetles. Their speed and agility in the air is what also makes them incredibly difficult to film, nevertheless it is remarkable to see them zipping around and diving at 180 degree angles in order to target such small prey. They indeed resemble multi-coloured jet fighter pilots. I remember hearing the sound of their torpedo shaped bodies speeding past me once when I sat quietly for them to fly over. Gosh, I had my Coolpix Nikon camera back then, a poor x3 optical zoom didn’t justify what I saw, but hey, that’s where all my passion for photography started! Here was the image I took with it that, at the time, I was very proud to have captured given my limited technology.

 

Got some nice mountain shots at least, not amazing footage of the birds, but still have time. I reckon I should get some tomorrow in Malaga when I go to the dentist at around 5pm. Got to get my fillings done if you must know, never had a problem with my teeth in my life, and I don’t eat sweets and very little chocolate or sugary things (apart from fruit), so was more than a little surprised! But I guess its bets to prevent it from getting worse in the future. It’s only very small, at the surface. Maybe some shots of the old buildings and streets, perhaps some street performers. Not wildlife but anything has to be interesting! I hope I can find it. Then Wednesday I’m off to Marbella to do water/cliff diving with Emma, Alana and Caroline, which is really exciting! Caroline has an underwater camera so that should be quite fun! Will let you know how that goes. Then I think Thursday I should be going to the caves at Nerja, so getting busy now. It’s getting quite warm here now, was 35 in Madrid today, can’t complain though! Better than the cold ANY day, I’m definitely more a tropical bug.” Speaking of bugs, I was eaten alive last night by mosquitoes at a friend’s house, I think I look like I have chicken pox!

 

Ps: Meant to mention last week, saw a Monarch butterfly at the Paloma Park in Benalmadena, such a bizarre sighting! It must have escaped form the local an yet still rather distant “mariposario” which houses over 4000 butterflies from around the world. Must say though, these amazing insects are trans generational and can travel u to 40,000km during their annual migrations to Mexico!

 

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