Portugal – Merops apiaster, our very own Bee-eater

Gallery

I had never seen these before my field experience in Portugal and then again in the south of Spain, but apparently they arrive in many southern countries of our little continent during the Spring and stay here to breed, leaving in Autumn. They have very odd “nests”: instead of the classic grass/mud/other material cup shaped home most birds make, they prefer digging long tunnels in the soft soil on river banks, ending them with a chamber and laying their eggs there. Quite cool, if you think about it. I had a blast when I first saw them and couldn’t not take photos every time I heard their gurgling overhead: a typical noise, easy to recognise once you hear it the first time!

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You can see the “nests” in the background

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stealing a shot!

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I love this one

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one of my first photos of these colourful birds

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they always tend to perch on the same branches while they’re feeding

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zipping up and down, looking for yummy insects

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