What a treat. A pair of booted eagles, listed as rare, have adopted the hillside opposite the house as part of their territory this summer. We have seen a booted previously, but never a pair, and never on consecutive days.
D spotted them first, two dark shadows scouting low across the tree tops opposite. Tracing the shadows upwards with the binoculars [we have numerous pairs scattered around the terrace for just this sort of occasion: because when you spot a bird you need the binos NOW] we focussed on the unmistakeable markings of the pale form bird: a cream underbody, dark wing tips and dark trailing edges. Distinguishable from a short-toed eagle, also rare, also seen here reasonably regularly, which has a completely cream underbody with distinctive dark bars in dots and lines.
The booteds were calling to each other, ‘kli-kli-kli’, landing first on a large rock then moving to perch on a dead tree on the horizon. Too far away to photograph unfortunately. We waited for a dive, but they didn’t spot anything to eat: small mammals, reptiles, birds are on the menu. It was our breakfast time, just the time of day when snakes are cold and exposed on the ground as they soak up the warmth of the early sun. Then suddenly they were mobbed by a smaller bird, they retreated then themselves became the mobbers as a griffon vulture circled their
territory and they attacked.
As they live for up to 15 years let’s hope they take up residency. We actually refer to them as ‘bootcut eagles’. This is a reference to bootcut jeans, thanks to a friend who visited us here a few years ago. He e-mailed us on his return home to the hills of Ojén, excited, because he’d used the bird book we gave him to identify a ‘bootcut eagle’. The name stuck. 5 to remember
un gusto – a treat
la pareja – the pair
raro/a, poco común – rare/endangered [species]
adoptivo/a – adopted
antes – previously