Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A swarm of bee-eaters

Many times in the past weeks we have heard the unmistakeable "woorple-woorple" call of European bee-eaters (guépiers de europe, merops apiaster) here at la Forge. Morning and evening, numbers of these busy birds have taken to flying up and down the banks of the Aigronne. Last year we saw them further downstream towards the village, feeding over a field of lucerne. This year a lucerne crop is flowering just upstream of us, and we think they are roosting in trees just beside the weir that diverts water from the Aigronne into our millstream. In one photo, Tim counted 94 bee-eaters, and that wasn't the entire flock! Bee-eaters nest communally in holes in sandy cliffs (e.g. river banks). Presumably they nested somewhere not too far away, but as to where, we have no idea.
Birds on a wire [Bezuard in the background]
And off the wire

Last night [5th Sept] they came in to roost and there was a great sunset light to show off their spectacular colours.
They gave a ten minute show before retiring into the Poplars. At 7:30am they were still there discussing when to get up... after all, on a coldish morning there is no point in flying around after nothing! Wait until the big insects get going...

Caught it! [both me and the bee-eater!]

They fly fast... but don't leave vapour trails.

The bill is often raised like this... as if they sight along it?

They can be seen in an 'arrow' flight shape quite often... as here!


GaynorB said...

What fantastic colours. Well done to capture them so well.

Jean said...

Fab photos !!

Pollygarter said...

They really are living jewels, aren't they?