Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Geese update & Sečovlje salina's Ringtail

Škocjanski zatok: the geese are increasing in numbers with 5-8 White-fronted Geese seen today. There could be more, as I saw some flying overhead above the marsh. The LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE is still present, this time in good company of its bigger relatives. In the area of interesting also 2 female Goldeneye, 1 female Hen Harrier, Water Rail, 1 Green Sandpiper, about 5-10 Curlews, some overflying Skylarks and 1 female Stonechat.
A quick, not really birding visit to the Sečovlje saltplans (salina) produced another ringtail Hen Harrier.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Lesser Black-backed Gull







Afternoon "gulling" at Miramare (TS) produced a nice LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. The bird was not very shy and even approached some people that were throwing bread (see the first pics above). It probably belongs to the graellsii/intermedius subspecies. In the area also 2 Common Gulls (last pic above), 3 Red-breasted Mergansers (2 m and 1 f - far at sea), 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Black-throated Diver and a very far RED-NECKED GREBE.

Brambling

Local patch: there's still snow on the ground. This morning a female BRAMBLING landed on a small tree in the garden, along with some Chaffinches. 2 Dunnocks calling - one seen well. On the sea a Black-necked Grebe.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Birds in the snow







Local patch: after a heavy snowfall during the night, today the gardens were completely covered with a white veil. The snow forced some birds to move from the Karst plateau to the coast, so birding was quite productive this morning. The highlights were some small flocks of WOODLARKS (about 20) flying around the patch, about 5 MISTLE THRUSHES flying around, some Meadow Pipits heard flying overhead. Plus also the local birds like: the usual confiding Buzzard (perching on the trees in the garden!), Cirl Bunting, Chaffinch (flocks feeding on the lawn-see pic above), Great Tits taking seeds from the RSPB birdfeeder, 1 female Sparrowhawk hunting, a male Blackcap feeding with berries, Coal Tit, Robin (looking for food on the lawn) and a Cormorant flying above the coast.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Hungry Buzzard

Local patch: it's getting even colder in the last days, with the temperatures always around freezing (or some degrees below zero). Today I watched a Buzzard perching on an electricity pole just above a local road... it was looking for a meal in the nearby orchards. Just few meters away from the pole there were some feral hens and cocks roving around. It then flew off, but I could relocate it some minutes later on a far away tree.
On the sea a solitary Great Crested Grebe - I think is the first for the season in patch. Meanwhile in the gardens some nice flocks of Chaffinches were looking for food.

Škocjanski zatok update: yesterday the only birds I could locate were the juv. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE and 3 Grey Herons. The freshwater marsh was almost completely frozen and devoid of birds!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Firecrest in the garden

Local patch: the highlight today was a female FIRECREST, feeding on a spruce-tree in mid afternoon. This is one of the few records of the species this year (for the patch). In previous years it used to be more common in autumn and winter. In the area also the usual garden birds, including Great Tits taking seeds from the RSPB feeder (sometimes also a single Blue Tit), 2-3 Chaffinches on the lawn, 1 Dunnock heard, 1m and 1f Blackcap feeding on small berries from a bush and a Sandwich Tern on the sea (flew past).

Sunday, 12 December 2010

ALPINE ACCENTORS, Treecreeper, Fieldfares and EAGLE OWL





Morning visit to the mount Stena (TS) produced two nice ALPINE ACCENTORS on the steep, rocky and grassy slopes (also giving the characteristic calls) - giving good views; Goldcrests, various tits (Coal, Crested...), 1 EURASIAN TREECREEPER (rare winter species on the Karst - one of the few records!), small flock of Crossbills.
With two friends I then headed to Divača's airfield in the nearby Slovenia and tried to catch up with a Rough-legged Buzzard (reported yesterday). No sign of the raptor, but instead we got 1 Great Grey Shrike, a flock of 18 FIELDFARES, some Crossbills, a Raven and 2 Common Buzzards.

At dusk just after the sunset, a stop to the heathland near Bazovica (TS) produced a nice adult Eagle Owl - seen flying and consequently heard singing (somewhere on a pine tree).
Pics above - first two: Alpine Accentor; last two: Fieldfares

Saturday, 11 December 2010

My first "Ringtail" of the season



Isola della Cona this morning produced: 5-6 White-fronted Geese, 1 female Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, 2-3 Red-breasted Mergansers, at least 7 Black-throated Divers, Black-necked Grebe, Marsh Harrier, 1 stunning male HEN HARRIER over the marsh, a hundred Lapwings, 2-3 Spotted Redshanks, Curlew, 4 Snipes, 1 Firecrest, some Penduline Tits heard, Brambling - only heard several times.

An afternoon stop at Miramare resulted in 2 Black-throated Divers on the sea, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 RED-NECKED GREBE (above), 1 Cormorant, 1 Common Gull among the numerous Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls.
The Hen Harrier pictured above is from last winter.

Friday, 10 December 2010

First frost at Škocjanski zatok with Siberian Chiffchaff




Škocjanski zatok: LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE still present in the freshwater marsh (pics above), 2 female Goldeneye, hunting Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Water Rail, 1 Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, 2 Snipes (flushed), 1 Fan-tailed Warbler, 2 or more Penduline Tits heard in the extensive reedbed, Reed Bunting. Plus also a nice SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF in the hedges - probably tristis ssp. - cold grey/whitish colours, different weak call and overall different facial expression; easy comparison with a nearby Chiffchaff.

Lazzaretto-Muggia (TS) - on the sea:
6 Black-throated Divers, 1 RED-NECKED GREBE, several Black-necked Grebes, at least 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Curlew, 1 HERRING GULL (among the other gulls), 1 Sandwich Tern.

At my friend's home (in the garden) I photographed this Moorish Gecko:

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Cormorants in the fog

Local patch: this morning at 11.45 am 10 Cormorants flew past, low above the coast (in "v" formation), heading north. In the past days, of interest in the area, also some Hawfinches on passage.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Crosbills in the rain


Local patch: at 14.52 pm a flock of 8 CROSSBILLS flew over the patch, under a pouring rain and fog.

Rain and fog

Škocjanski zatok: still present the juv. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE this morning (in front of the second hide). Also 110 Teal, 1 female Goldeneye, 20 Dunlin, 1 Spotted Redshank, 16 Greenshank, usual Sparrowhawk, 13 Curlew, Pygmy Cormorant, Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Linnet.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Divers, grebes and ducks




Latest news from today's birding:

On the sea at Miramare (TS) 5 Black-throated Divers were present.

Lisert (GO) produced: 4-5 Red-brested Mergansers (see pics above), 2 Black-necked Grebes, at least 5 Black-throated Divers, small mixed parties of Reed Buntings and other finches, 2 Meadow Pipits flying overhead, 1 female Marsh Harrier, and at least 16 ALPINE CHAMOISES on the mount Grmada (TS) (seen from Lisert), basking in the midday sun.

At Doberdob's lake NR: some Ravens, 1 Black Woodpecker calling, 1 nice Great Grey Shrike on the heathland, Brambling, Hawfinch. On the lake itself (high water!) at least 30 Greylag Geese, Teals, Mallards, Coot, about 15 Tufted Ducks (both sexes) and a male Pochard.

Rilke path - Duino cliffs (TS): 68 Common Eiders at sea, 9 Black-throated Divers, 1 male Red-brested Merganser, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe and a nice male PEREGRINE perching on a rock and giving nice views. In the pine wood usual Coal Tits and Goldcrests.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Lesser White-fronted still there

Škocjanksi zatok: still present this afternoon at dusk (16.42) the LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE; grazing in a new area of grassland, quite far.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE and GOLDEN PLOVER











Škocjanski zatok: the juv. *LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE* was still present today in the freshwater marsh, showing well (see the photos above) . A video is available here.
Another interesting sighting today, was a EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER within a flock of 13 Lapwings and Curlews. It's quite a rare bird for the area (pics above); another video here. Also many Greenshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 female Goldeneye, a male Stonechat and some Meadow Pipits.

Monday, 29 November 2010

LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE

Škocjanski zatok (KP): as I arrived in the nature reserve I was promptly alerted that a juv. *LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE* was present in the freshwater marsh. It was there since Friday (26th), but was firstly thought to be a Greater White-fronted Goose. Today it was re-seen well and consequently re-identified as a Lesser White-fronted by the local reserve wardens (and me).
I quickly spotted it as it was showing quite well, grazing on a grassy "island" in the marsh.

Identifiable as a juvenile Lesser Wf by the prominent yellow eye-ring, no white on forehead (just a small hint around the bill), no black markings on the belly, tiny bill and overall small appearence and long wing-tip (wing projection) extending far beyond the tail (unlike Greater White-fronted).
Unfortunately I didn't have any camera with me so I couldn't take any pics. The only one are those taken with my phone (the wardens took some documentative shots). Tomorrow I'll try to relocated the bird and photograph it well.

It seems to be one of the few records for Slovenia (4th probably) and the first for the Škocjanski zatok nature reserve.

In the freshwater wetland also some waders: 17 Greenshanks, 8 Dunlins, 1 Spotted Redshank, 15 Curlews.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Winter waders, gulls and grebes



Some sightings from today's birding at Valle Cavanata NR and Banco Mula di Muggia (Grado-GO): about +200 Pintails, nice numbers of Wigeon on the sea (some thousands), 300 Pochards, several Tufted Ducks, 1-2 Goldeneyes, 1 Black-throated Diver, Black-necked Grebe, 2 Red-necked Grebes (in the Averto canal), Pygmy Cormorant, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail, 1 RINGED PLOVER, several Kentish Plovers (on the beach), Grey Plover, several hundreds Dunlin at the roost, 1 Redshank, 1 BAR-TAILED GODWIT among Dunlins, Curlew, 2 Common Gulls, 3 Med Gulls, Sandwich Tern and 2 Ravens that flew overhead near Staranzano (quite rare bird for the area).
The pics above: last year's Bar-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Snowy day with WALLCREEPER




This morning on the cliffs of the mount Stena (TS) a nice WALLCREEPER was hopping up and down, looking for insects and flying from rock to rock (see the video above). The heathland area was covered in snow (as it was the whole Karst plateau), but some birds were still around: Coal and Crested Tits, Linnet, Goldcrest, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Buzzard, few Meadow Pipits, 7 Woodlarks and overhead Bramblings & Crossbills.
Here's last year's Wallcreeper post (with some decent images)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Black Redstarts in search of shelter




Local patch: And finally the snow came even to the coast; unfortunately only mixed with rain, so it didn't accumulate on the ground. The Karst though has a soft "white mantle", so it's possible that some birds will drop down to the coast in search of food. Meanwhile 3 Black Redstarts (1 male + 2 females) were seeking shelter from the heavy rain (and occasional snow) beneath the eaves of the houses. Usually sitting on the window shutters (see pics).

Thursday, 25 November 2010

"The telegraph-pole eagle"

Local patch: this afternoon a Buzzard was perching on a telephone-pole, overlooking a local road. It was promptly mobbed by a massive crowd of corvids (Crows and Magpies), but didn't seem too much annoyed. After some minutes it changed perch, landing on a small tree in a private garden, just few steps away from a house. It definitely flew off after a while, heading towards the shore.
Otherwise there's not much movement in the patch; just the usual garden birds including daily Coal Tits, Dunnock (1-2 showing well the last days), Black Redstarts, parties of Cirl Buntings. A Sparrowhawk is regularly patrolling the area, giving some nice acrobatic hunts at times.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Crossbills on the Karst




This afternoon on the mount Grisa near Kontovel (TS) I watched a flock of 13 CROSSBILLS landing on a pine-tree and feeding on the cone seeds. They flew away after about 10 minutes of feeding frenzy and constant "chipping". In the area also a party of +8 Long-tailed Tits, containing at least 3 very white-headed individuals (caudatus-style), a Meadow Pipit flying past, some Siskins and a Sparrowhawk.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The "Bull of the Mire" finally ...and some other delights





Latest sightings from today's birding on the Adriatic coast:
Valle Cavanata (GO): 15-20 Pintails, 150-200 Pochards (both males and females), 1 female FERRUGINOUS DUCK (among Pochards), 2 Tufted Ducks, 1-2 Goldeneyes at sea, Red-breasted Merganser, 1 RED-THROATED DIVER on the sea, several Black-necked Grebes, Pygmy Cormorant, 1 Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Lapwing, 20-25 Dunlins in flock on the rocks by the sea, 1 REDSHANK on the muddy beach, Greenshank, about a hundred Curlews on the rocks by the sea, several Sandwich Terns, Reed Bunting.
At Lisert (GO) of interest a stunning BITTERN showing very well at the reedbed margin - first of the year (see pics above), Black-necked Grebes, 1 female Red-breasted Merganser and an Alpine Chamois seen from Lisert on the mount Grmada (TS).
From the Rilke path (Duino - TS) a nice male PEREGRINE flying past, 2 Black-throated Divers on the sea, along with a Red-necked Grebe and at least 59-60 Common Eiders in front of Duino.
female Ferruginous Duck:

Redshank:

Curlew:

And here a pic of a Ural Owl, found in the town of Gorizia few days ago. It probably hit a building (mobbed by crows) and was rescued by some people. Now it's under the care of some vets and will be released as soon as it will be in the conditions to fly again: