Posts Tagged ‘Bee-Eater’

A family holiday spent at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, Monastir, Tunisia. It was our fifth visit to the area so I already knew where to go birding. Managed to do some birding every day, but mainly in the morning, usually around 6-15am as it became very warm around 9-30am. The area around this hotel is dominated by very large salt lagoons and lots of breeding birds, including Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little, Common and Gull billed Tern’s and good numbers of Collared Pratincole. Waders in the shape of Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. Lots of Greater Flamingo directly behind the Monastir Airport, along with Spoonbill and Stone Curlew in small numbers. At the local dump near Sahline, up to 180 White Storks were present but the spectacle of uncountable numbers of Yellow legged Gull will stay with me for a long while! In the hotel area’s Hoopoe, Serin, Crested Lark, Bee-Eater, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow were seen in varying numbers. Around the salt lagoons various bushes and mixed habitat held up to 8 Great Grey Shrikes of the algeriencis form that allow close attention to photograph! Also in those area’ s are small numbers of Zitting Cisticola(Fan Tailed Warbler), Greenfinch, Linnet, Short Toed Lark and the abundant Rock/ Feral Dove. Smaller numbers of Collared, Laughing and Turtle Doves also.Large flocks of Spotless Starling are great to watch as they dig for food on the ground and squabble just like “our” one’s. There are lots of Swift and with a bit of luck a few Pallid Swift can be found as they chase their prey close to the ground. Small numbers of House and Sand Martins were seen, but not many Barn Swallow’s (think there is a sad decline this year in their numbers) On the journey from Enfidha Airport to our hotel a single Carrion Crow was seen flying around a small village, a bit unusual that? A single Barbary Partridge was seen one early morning in the scrub around the salt lagoons and in the evening a single Hobby was out hunting and then a flock of 5 Shelduck flew past. A few Kestrel’s and Sparrowhawk’s were seen again in small numbers. Our our return home and near the airport at Enfidha a Booted Eagle was seen hunting and great end to a very localised birding / family holiday.


A juvenile Bee-eater had been found during the week at Seaburn, County Durham just north of Sunderland. Then, on Saturday evening a probable Lesser Kestrel was allegedly seen in the area,so,we decided to go to the north-east!We met at Steve B’s house (sorry Bob) and all three of us set of on a freezing,cold morning at 6-30am with myself at the helm. Quite a bit of fog around the York area, then as we got onto the really nice A19 the day became rather nice and sunny.We reached the Marsden area,an area we just recently dipped the PG Tips and had a walk around the sea cliffs the area were the Kestrel had been last seen, only a few observers were present, so,when the news that the Bee-eater was showing the place almost emptied.There was also a lot of speculation as to the Lesser Kestrel’s viability? Well, we met that rough lot from York at the Bee-eater who told us that it was showing well and would sit on the tree in front of us in “a few minutes”. After 20 minutes we only had two fly pasts!

We spread out and eventually the bird settled down and gave great views sat on aerials,in trees and telephone wires.No news of the Kestrel, but a Yellow Browed Warbler in Whitburn had us heading in the wrong direction,but chance to pay homage to Trow Quarry (of unseen Eastern Crowned Warbler) fame,still hurts that one! No sign of a Yellow Browed Warbler,but, chance to seek out a quiet corner,okay Bob!! We went through Sunderland and enjoyed great views of “The Stadium of Light”, a very impressive building. The Little Bunting at Houghton-le-Spring had been re-found but again as we reached the area the mist had descended and we didn’t even attempt to find it. Last call was the site of the last Bee-eater breeding area at Bishop Middleham, because on one of the pools a Long Tailed Duck was reported on Saturday. The mist was down again, but, it did clear and we managed to check out a couple of the pools without any success, lots of Snipe, Gadwall and a huge herd of Reindeer kept us entertained until we headed for home at 2-30pm, reaching Rochdale by 5:00pm. It was the first Bee-eater I had seen for 10 years in this country and was well worth the effort, but, we all wished the Lesser Kestrel had been there!

Dave O.