Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Gale + migrants

This afternoon, just before a rainstorm arrived on the moors of the Doberdob area (GO), I recorded: one male Marsh Harrier, at least 10 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, 70-80 migrating Alpine Swifts, the first Sand Martin for the year, Swallows, House Martins and a Sardinian Warbler singing.

In the town of Trieste the first Common Swifts and in the local patch an increasing number of Swallows.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Warblers score!

Yesterday:
A quick visit to the cliffs of the Rilke path - Duino/Devin (TS) produced the three typical species for the area: a stunning male BLUE ROCK THRUSH was perching on a low bush, while a Sardinian Warbler was singing somewhere in the mediterranean scrub. Almost at the same time also a male Peregrine flew overhead.

The biggest scores of the day were at Lisert (GO); in the bushes on the reedbed margin there was a superb male SUBALPINE WARBLER (quite early record! anyway the year's first), along with a *WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER* (nice record!) and a MOUSTACHED WARBLER singing from the reedbed (and seen briefly a few times). All around there were lots of Chiffchaffs and some Penduline Tits were heard.
In the marsh also: Pintail (2), Garganey, Black-winged Stilt (about 20), Greenshank, Redshank (1), Ruff. In the sky some Swallows and passing by Water Pipits.

Two very bad and documentative pics of the Subalpine Warbler:



Later in the afternoon at the Pietrarossa lake/Prelosno jezero (GO) a Song Thrush was singing while a Grey Heron passed overhead on migration.

Local patch: The Swallows are beginning to show up here too. Usually a few individuals flying quite high in the sky.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Hen Harrier and Raven

This afternoon from mount Grisa - Kontovel (TS): a female Kestrel, about 20 Alpine Swifts, one House Martin, two Swallows, the local Raven (see pic), 6 Serins and a Crested Tit. But the highlight was a nice female HEN HARRIER migrating along the coastline of Barcola (TS) and heading eastwards (overflying the town of Trieste) - see the shot below.

Hen Harrier:


Raven:


Friday, 26 March 2010

Harriers movement goes on

Local patch: today at lunchtime a Marsh Harrier was soaring low above the houses and then it headed eastwards. I'm still waiting a greater influx of the species as in the prevoius years. Some minutes later I spotted in the sky a Grey Heron flying northwards.
From the near woodland Green Woodpeckers were constantly "yaffling", while a Cirl Bunting was singing somewhere behind my home. Today also one of the few Chiffchaffs seen/heard this year in the patch.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Raptors and new arrivals


Raven (by DomenS)

Local patch:
a Raven above the pine wood.
In the afternoon on Mount Stena/Glinščica valley (Basovizza/Bazovica - TS) of interest: Rock Bunting, Raven, male and female Peregrine, Buzzard, Stonechat (1 female), Mistle Thrush (singing), Woodlark (1), Cirl Bunting, Hawfinch and Crested Tit.
On Monte Grisa - Kontovel (TS) the situation was a bit livelier with some new spring arrivals too:
Marsh Harrier (1 male flew past), Raven (1), Siskin (heard), Alpine Swift (13), SWALLOW (1 flew past), Garganey (o a flock of 85 on the sea), Kestrel (1 m and 1 f at same time), Grey Wagtail (1 singing), Common Swift (1 among Alpine Swifts - this year's first!) and a single House Martin (the first for the year!).

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ducks show!



Local patch: this afternoon there was quite a great movement of ducks on the sea. Instead of the usual small flock of Wigeons, today the sea was almost covered in ducks. Most of it were probably Wigeons/Garganeys, but I could spot also at least 20 PINTAILS (1st record for the species here!!). They formed some long and tight flock-lines; then at dusk they started to fly eastwards, after a few circles above the sea. Heading (as usual) in the same direction, also huge numbers of Black-headed Gulls, flying quite high in the sky in sparse flock formations ("wave-formation"). Large numbers of the latter species also swimming on the sea.
Other interesting birds included: a SERIN flying past an giving its call, one Raven high above the pine wood, some Song Thrushes calling after dusk and the usual "garden Buzzard" soaring low above gardens (see pic)
I've also seen this year's first Small Whites today.

The garden Buzzard (only for documentation):


The sunset

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Common Gulls on the sea

Local patch: today at lunchtime I checked the sea and discovered a flock of 104 *Common Gulls* among many other Black-headed Gulls (almost all with black hood). I never confirmed the species in the area before, although I always knew they were present on the sea during migration. So I can say that this is the first time I can identify them well.
Yesterday also a flock of a hundred Wigeons on the sea (in the late afternoon) and in the last days the usual Nuthatch singing.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Marsh Harrier and woodpeckers


The first primrose of the year!

Local patch: this early afternoon a female MARSH HARRIER was soaring above the patch and then headed east. In the same "air-area" also two Buzzard. In the morning four Tree Sparrows flew overhead and yesterday in the afternoon a flock of 52 Wigeons was present on the sea.

Then late in the afternoon I headed to the Karst to "Picus-land" (broadleaved wood) where: a pair of Nuthatches was building the inside of their nest (see the shots below), a male Black Woodpecker was calling and showing quite well and a nice Tawny Owl just leaved its hollow tree-trunk roost. Also some Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Hawfinches singing, some Coal Tits, a few Goldfinches and a female Green Woodpecker.

Around Bazovica/Basovizza (TS) also two singing Yellowhammers, some Woodlarks and one Mistle Thrush singing.

The male Black Woodpecker:





Nuthatch building the nest:


Monday, 15 March 2010

New spring arrivals

Yesterday (14-3-2010):
In the morning I went to the Slovenian Karst and birded a bit between Sežana-Štorje and Štanjel + Komen. The most interesting sightings were: Hawfinch (lots! - singing and helding territories), Woodlark (singing), Tree Sparrow, Mistle an Song Thrush, Raven, Water Pipit (1), Yellowhammer, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (1 singing in an orchard), Cirl Bunting (3 singing), Black Woodpecker (1 calling and drumming) and a nice GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER (singing in an oak wood on the roadside!).

In the afternoon I joined some other friends and together we checked the lower wetlands. Valle Cavanata (GO) produced: Spotted Redshank, Pochard (18), Tufted Duck (a few), Greater Scaup (11 of both sexes), Goldeneye, FERRUGINOUS DUCK (4) and some Garganeys.

Scaups, Pochards and GC Grebe

Instead at Isola della Cona we had: all the common ducks + Garganey, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Western Reef Heron (the usual bird), Spoonbill (1), Marsh and Hen Harrier, GOSHAWK (1 juv. perching and hunting in the inner marsh), Water Rail (1 seen), BLACK-WINGED STILT (1 - this year's first), Little Ringed Plover (1), Ringed Plover, Redshank (many), Spotted Redshank, MARSH SANDPIPER (1!), Black-tailed Godwit (20 approx), RUFF (20 approx), SWALLOW (about 5 - this year's firsts!), Stonechat (1 m) and some very confident Penduline Tits.

Goshawk perching on the ground

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Song Thrushes in the garden and Alpine Swift



One of the two Ravens (by DomenS)

Local patch: today in the patch I recorded a few times a Song Thrush (or two?) feeding on a lawn in a vineyard. I suppose they use that area for feeding regularly these days. It was giving some nice views (quite uncommon for a migrating Song Thrush here!). Always in the same place some Black Redstarts feeding around the vineyards (especially some nice gibraltarensis forms).
In the afternoon I quickly visited Monte Grisa (Kontovel-TS) and discovered a few nice things: an Alpine Swift (probably the one from last week) flying around frenetically, two Ravens, a Rock Bunting and on the sea (in the middle of the gulf) about a hundred ducks in flock; probably Gadwalls or Wigeons. They were too far for an accurate ID.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Moustached Warbler tick

This morning I visited the Škocjanski zatok (KP) nature reserve in the nearby Slovenia, just some kilometers away from the Slovenian/Italian border. The highlight of the day was my first ever MOUSTACHED WARBLER singing in a reedbed. I managed to see it well a few times, when it was low in the reeds. Instead the marshland yielded: common ducks in general + Garganey (2), Pochard (4), one female RED-CRESTED POCHARD, Ferruginous Duck (at least 15), Tufted Duck (4), Pygmy Cormorant (2), Water Rail (1 showing well), Little Ringed Plover (1), Lapwing (100), Greenshank, Curlew, Snipe, Common Gull. Passerines included: 10 Skylarks, few Crested Larks singing, loads of Song Thrushes, Cetti's Warbler (seen very well), Hawfinch, Yellowhammer (1 m) and some Penduline Tits. At the birdfeeder there's a nice movement of finches and others: Dunnock, Robin, Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Tree and a few wintering Spanish Sparrows.

Some of today's pics from Škocjanski zatok (by DomenS):

Ferruginous Ducks



Female Red-crested Pochard


Goldfinch


Blue Tit



Dunnock


Local patch: in the early morning a Buzzard was perching on a low tree in the garden, while at lunchtime I heard the first Serin of the year and a Song Thrush. At dusk a stunning male Cirl Bunting was singing from atop the nettle-tree, just in fron of my house!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Fieldfares!

Local patch: today at lunchtime I had a nice surprise in the patch. While birding from my terrace I spotted 4 FIELDFARES, flying to the east, just above the gardens. They went just straight to the pine wood. This is the first record of this species here. In the surrounding gardens there were also two superb SONG THRUSHES, perching together on low trees and flying around. And this represents the first record of the species in this year (but they are regular on migration). Of interest also a Cirl Bunting singing, a Nuthatch doing the same from some far trees, Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming, Green Wood "yaffling" from the nearby wood ect. Today I also discovered a local pair of Collared Doves building their nest (or already breeding) in a low and very thick pine tree. A Common Buzzard soaring the skies as usual + a nice male gibraltarensis Black Redstart.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ferruginous day


Ferruginous Duck (by DomenS)

Despite the strong north-easterly wind (and the low temperatures), today I could do a bit of birding in the usual coastal wetlands. In the last weeks there has been a nice "invasion" of Ferruginous Ducks in our marshland areas, so today I managed to see some.
Late morning at Valle Cavanata: Grey Plover, Redshank (2), Greenshank, Dunlin, Goldeneye, FERRUGINOUS DUCK (2 males and 2 females), GARGANEY (at least 6 - this year's firsts!) + other common ducks, Marsh Harrier, Spotted Redshank (1), Song Thrush (1 flew past).
In the afternoon at Isola della Cona: usual ducks including 20 Pintails + Garganey (4), Pochard (1), Tufted Duck (10 - mostly males), FERRUGINOUS DUCK (2 males), one SPOONBILL (the first of the year!), Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Goshawk (1 second plumage male), Little Ringed Plover (at least 3), Redshank (2), Spotted Redshank (1), 4 Black-tailed Godwits among Curlews and many gulls - including a Common Gull.

Some Ferruginous Ducks (the first is the one from Isola della Cona)




Garganey


Spoonbill

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The first Alpine Swift!


Today after a nice afternoon, exploring the Karst plateau, I headed to the cliffs of Monte Grisa - Kontovel (TS) where I found my first ALPINE SWIFT of the year! The bird came in fast flight from north-west, flew past the cliffs and disappeared to the east (at 5.47 pm). That was the only sight of the bird in the whole afternoon...so probably it was just on migration. Anyway I think it's a quite early record for the species. Certainly it's my earliest sight of this species in the season.

Always from the same place, I spotted 8 migrating Mute Swans, flying above the Gulf of Trieste and heading east. In the nearby pine wood, the usual Crested Tits were giving its calls.

From the road between Zgonik and Repnič (TS) I also heard some singing Woodlarks.

Despite the cold weather...the spring blow isn't stopping!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Ducks and swans on the menu


Mute Swans on the sea

Local patch: also this afternoon there was a nice migratory movement around the patch. On the sea I counted at least 353 Black-headed Gulls, gathered in flocks along the shore. After dusk, they all took off and flew to the east. The same did a flock of 11 MUTE SWANS (swimming on the sea), joined by other 13 (flying). Some very far away ducks (probably Wigeons) were migrating eastward at 5.32 pm. Instead just after the sunset (in darkness) I heard some Wigeons passing overhead.

Also two Tree Sparrows seen today, an "urban" Buzzard, Nuthatches singing from the nearby wood and a few Blackcaps.

Ok. More or less the same species as yesterday...no matter!

Monday, 1 March 2010

March migration

Local patch: in the late afternoon a flock of 9 MUTE SWANS flew past on migration, heading east. Almost the same did a flock of about 84 Wigeons, at 5.75 pm, that was present on the sea since 5.28 pm.
On the sea also the usual Great Crested Grebes on evening roost and a few Black-necked Grebes. Large flocks of gulls (both Yellow-legged and Black-headed) are gathering too on the sea.

At dusk one of the first Bats sp. appeared over the patch.