Poor Francine has a cold. The cold is having a less than comfortable effect by making her ears react badly to changes of altitude. We took a trip around a few of our lesser known (to us) mountain roads today and, whilst the going up wasn’t so bad, descending back into the valley proved uncomfortable. Having discovered some attractive scenery, we’ll try it again once health is restored.
The other thing we’ll try when Francine is again fighting fit is set the alarm to get up before dawn and head for the coast. Our valley faces more or less east and a few sunrises have certainly been worthy of attention. Today’s was a case in point. Though we only witnessed it from our balcony and snapped it without any tripod or filter paraphernalia, this shot may give you a reasonable feel for some of the sights that have greeted us whilst supping a coffee. This is almost straight out of the camera with very little post-processing, save for a slight darkening of the brightest areas just above the horizon. A reverse grad filter might be useful here. 😉
At lunchtime we’ve been sitting on our balcony watching Martins zooming about in front of the houses. Martins? Wait a minute, don’t House Martins (Delichon urbica), one our familiar summer visitors in the UK, sensibly bugger off back to Africa in the winter? They don’t get stuck in the Iberian peninsular, do they? Consult the book.
There are several birds in the Martin family. Our most familiar is, indeed, the House Martin but I’ve also seen some Sand Martins (Riparia riparia) in the UK. Our modest swarm of Martins here was far too fast for me to stand a chance of snagging any on pixels, quite apart from being to the south with the sun behind them, but we did manage once or twice to catch a distinctive feature: a dark underside to their tails and vent area. These are certainly Crag Martins (Ptynoprogne upestris) and, lo, according to the book they are resident in Spain all year.
A new species to us and great to see but a damn shame I couldn’t get a picture. 😉