This morning, alerted by a friend who is a keen birder, we abandoned our bed and customary two-tea lie-in and walked to the nearby park. Two of the entrances were still locked after they should have been open but the sight of someone walking a dog sent us round the corner to the third entrance. We walked through it and the shady bay tunnel that towers overhead to one of the big Cedars of Lebanon where, our friend had said, we would see bee-eaters.

And we did, though not well enough to photograph.

The Squeeze used Merlin on her phone to confirm that European bee-eaters were around and then we waited, looking up at the tree for something to move. I was distracted a couple of times by birds flying overhead, unfamiliar and unidentifiable. Then one of them landed and I was able to get a good look through the binoculars and confirm what Merlin had told us. Sitting on another bare branch, just above the prime suspect, were five other individuals, all with that wicked-looking beak and long tail. From time to time one or more would sail out, fly about a bit, and return. Perhaps they were feeding, but from my position I couldn't really see.

I trust that they were European bee-eaters, which breed here and overwinter in Africa, but against the blue of the sky it was very hard to be sure of their colouration. The light throat was definite, the rest impossible to decipher. I plan to charge up the proper camera and try to get a photograph tomorrow.

Being up and in the park that early is such a treat.

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