Friday, 30 April 2010

Toad-watch


Yesterday evening:
Visit to the ponds of Bosco Villa Giulia (in the town of Trieste) and Banne/Bani (TS) to look for amphibians and reptiles. These are the results: EUROPEAN GREEN TOAD (many males at Villa Giulia, some singing), Yellow-bellied Toad (lots at Villa Giulia, almost all singing), Common Newt, Crested Newt (at least 10, both sexes, at the Banne's pond), Grass Snake (2 juvs at the Banne's pond). Also Water Boatmen and many tadpoles.
European Green Toad:




Yellow-bellied Toad:


Grass Snake:

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Woodchat Shrike twitch

Late in the morning I jumped in the car and ran to Campo Carri, near Banne (TS), where a female Woodchat Shrike was reported, few hours before. When I arrived I instantly started to scan the open grassland. And there it was: my first ever *WOODCHAT SHRIKE*, sitting on a low pine-tree, basking in the hot spring sun. It was quite difficult to approach, so the photos are bad-quality ones. Anyway I watched it flying from a perch to another and catching insects for a while, then it disappeared. In the area of interest also: Tawny Pipit (1), Northern Wheatear (1 m and 1 f), Short-toed Eagle (1 soaring and hovering high above the Karst-somewhere near Orlek-SLO), Linnet and this year's first RED-BACKED SHRIKE (a nice male).
Woodchat Shrike (by DomenS):




Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Butterflies


In the Kontovel area (TS) - hedges, vineyards, woodland; a single Hoopoe singing, a Golden Oriole calling, a Scops Owl (singing by day!) plus some butterflies: Comma, Brimstone, Scarce Swallowtail, Orange Tip, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood. Also yesterday at Campo Carri, more or less the same species.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Spring migration: passerines

This afternoon, the open grassland near Bani/Banne - TS (aka "Campo Carri") yielded different migrants (including some year's firsts): Kestrel (1), Sparrowhawk (1 with prey), Cuckoo (1), Woodlark, TAWNY PIPIT (at least 4 - quite confident), Nightingale (1 seen well in low bushes), Northern Wheatear (about 8 different, only 1 male), Whinchat (at least 10 -all together, only few males), Subalpine Warbler (1 probable singing), WOOD WARBLER (1 giving its call, rarely singing), PIED FLYCATCHER (1 stunning male in bushes), Golden Oriole (1 calling), Linnet, Hawfinch, Cirl Bunting.

Short migrant's photostream (by DomenS):
Tawny Pipit

Northern Wheatear



Whinchat




Nightingale

Sunday, 25 April 2010

In deep spring

Yesterday I had the pleasure to lead a small birding group in the Isola della Cona nature reserve (GO). There were quite a lot of people around, visiting the reserve, because of an event (not sure which one). Anyway we managed to see some interesting species, as well as the usual ones: Garganey, Pochard (3 m in the inner marsh), RED-CRESTED POCHARD (1 f sitting on a grassy island), Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover (at least 5), Wood Sandpiper (the most numerous species - almost everywhere!), Spotted Redshank (1 in almost black plumage), Greenshank, Ruff (20-25), Cuckoo (1 heard), Swift+Swallow+House Martin, Yellow Wagtail (1), Nightingale, COMMON REDSTART (1 nice male flycatching from fenceposts - year's 1st!), GREAT REED WARBLER (some heard singing in the surrounding reedbeds) and the first GOLDEN ORIOLE for the season (1 singing).

Perhaps the most interesting sighting of the day was a mammal: while driving in the evening near Gabrovec (TS), a BEECH MARTEN crossed the road and climbed on a fence at the roadside.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Wheatear surprise + Pannonian spring



Northern Wheatear

Local patch: today at about 19.50 pm, I spotted this year's first Northern Wheatear, perching on a rooftop in front of my house. The bird was an adult spring-plumaged female; often catching flies in the air and returning to the same spot.

In the past two days I visited the "pannonian-styled" countryside of Prekmurje (in the far north-eastern Slovenia), when I got this year's first White Storks (already busy at their nests). Of interesting in the area also: Crested Lark, Lapwing, Stonechat, Sand Martin, Grey Wagtail, Rook (1 in the Štajerska region) and some Crossbills... plus tons of Buzzards and Kestrels of course!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Sedge Warbler: 125th species for the patch

Local patch: a short birding check this afternoon produced my first ever SEDGE WARBLER for the patch. The bird was almost always concealed in the thick vegetation of a bush and it seldom came out of cover. Anyway its presence was given by the calls and occasional quiet song. In the same bush also a male and a female Blackcap.
A Tree Sparrow was perching on a walnut-tree, Greenfinch in territorial singing, one Swallow, Serin, Common Swift and the usual Cirl Bunting singing.
At 19.50 pm a flock of 30 Curlews passed overhead, very high, heading east.

Owl-ish night


Tawny Owl (by DomenS)

Yesterday: Trnovski gozd (Slovenia) - exciting evening:
Here's the list of the most interesting encountered species (including that on the way to the forest-from Trieste): Ural Owl (1 seen in flight and perching, during daylight), TENGMALM'S OWL (1 singing spontaneously at dusk), Tawny Owl (one showing well on the Slovenian Karst-see pics), Wryneck (2 near Manče-Vipava), Skylark, Dunnock, Nightingale (Manče), Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Brambling (some males in breeding plumage), Siskin, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Hawfinch, Crossbill.
Mammals in the forest and on the way back home included: Roe Deer (several-8?), Red Fox (2), European Hare (3), Eastern Hedgehog (1 in Trieste).

Super Tawny Owl (by DomenS):





Same pics also here
Tawny Owl video (by DomenS):

Friday, 16 April 2010

1st Monty for the patch!

Local patch: today at 13.53 pm I just returned from school, when I've noticed a raptor flying northwards above the patch. As I watched through the bins I immediately realised it was a nice female MONTAGU'S HARRIER. Very slim appearence, characteristic flight... a few soars with a Buzzard, then it disappeared over the treetops of the pine wood. This represents the first record for the species in my local patch.
The usual Nightingale is singing regularly every day, while nice flocks of Common Swifts are gathering in the skies.
This morning I found a Garden Carpet on the house's wall and seen this year's first Scarce Swallowtail.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Wrynecks, Hoopoes and Subalpine Warbler

Today I spent an interesting sunny afternoon on the Karst countryside. Near Repnič (TS), a small field surrounded by woods and vineyards was full of birds. Feeding on the ground there were: at least two WRYNECKS (showing very well in the open), White Wagtails, a Mistle Thrush and two Hawfinches. In the surroundings also: Serin, Cirl Bunting (1 singing), Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Common Swift, Black Woodpecker (1 heard calling), Swallow, Green Woodpecker, Starling, Marsh Tit, HOOPOE (1 heard singing quite far), Cuckoo (1 heard), Woodlark (passed overhead), Song Thrush and a stunning male SUBALPINE WARBLER singing in the blossoming hedges (calling at times).

Near Prosek/Prosecco (TS) two HOOPOES in flight, seen from the car.

Here are some shots:
Wryneck:






Subalpine Warbler:

Monday, 12 April 2010

Snowfalls in April?


Yesterday with some friends I headed to the Trnovo forest (Trnovski gozd - Slovenia), for a bit of owl and woodpeckers watching. Despite the very changable weather - sunny and windy with regular snowfalls every 20 minutes (!!) - we managed to contact some of the target species.
Before arriving to the area, we stopped a few times on the way, to watch three different SHORT-TOED EAGLES gliding in the sky: one being in Italy near Fernetti (TS), and the others two in Slovenia; in the Vipava valley and on the Trnovo forest's margin.
In the Vipava valley we also heard singing Corn Buntings and Skylarks.
But let's go to the forest's species: Buzzard (2), URAL OWL (at least 2 singing males - 1 seen well at daylight whilst hunting), Dunnock (singing), Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, RING OUZEL (about 5 - mostly females, feeding on a woodland clearing - migrants), Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Crested Tit, Brambling, Siskin, Bullfinch (singing males), Crossbill.
Also two Roe Deers and many mammal's footprints on the snow.

The Ural Owl:

Here some shots of the landscape and plants:






Friday, 9 April 2010

Nightingale and Scops Owl

Local patch: two first-of-the-year today - in the late afternoon I heard a NIGHTINGALE singing at the same spot as every year (in the eastern part of the patch), while in the evening a SCOPS OWL was singing too, somewhere quite far.
Now I'm only missing the first warblers and Golden Orioles...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Karstwatching


Slovenian Karst exploring produced few interesting birds, but very nice places and landscapes. Birds included: Cuckoo (3), Hawfinch, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Kestrel (1), Woodlark, Black Woodpecker (at least 2, in 2 different locations), Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Buzzard (tons!), Swallow, Tree Sparrow, Serin, WRYNECK (2 singing near Pliskovica - 1 seen), Woodpigeon (singing), Willow Warbler (2 singing near Pliskovica), Corn Bunting (1 singing).
Other wildlife (including that in the pond of Pliskovica): Brimstone, Common Newt, Edible Frog?, Damselfly sp. , Water Boatman (1), Great Diving Beetle (2), Peacock Butterfly (1), Nettle-tree Butterfly (1), Roe Deer.

From Monte Grisa - Kontovel (TS): Alpine Swift, Swallow and one female Marsh Harrier on migration, heading north.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Green Woodpecker



Local patch: at lunchtime a female Green Woodpecker was feeding on an old stony wall - probably on ants - in the nearby vineyard. After a while it flew away and landed on the horse chestnut-tree, giving some nice views (pics above).