Monday, 30 May 2011

ROSE-COLOURED STARLING (!!) and COLLARED PRATINCOLE tick






I couldn't resist to the temptation of a Collared Pratincole, present at Isola delle Cona for a few days, so today early in the morning I went to look for it. After previous dips of this species (at the same place) this time I was quite optimistic, as the bird was seen yesterday and seemed quite "settled" and calm. I firstly searched for it from the first obs... but the bird wasn't there. As I approached the first screening on the path (towards the second hide) I noticed a nice flock of young Starlings flying around. So I thought "Oh nice! This is the good period for a Rosy...let's have a look"...and within few minutes, when the flock took off from the ground, a superb adult *ROSE-COLOURED STARLING* appeared among the Common Starlings!! I then saw the bird several times in flight (always within the flock), but later all the birds dispersed into smaller flocks. Later I re-spotted it, perched on the top of a far-away tree (see pics below). Despite the great distance I could appreciate the different shape (compared to a Common Starling) and the rosy colouring on the back - just visible in the photos below.
I then finally arrived in the main hide overlooking the other piece of freshwater marsh. And one of the first birds I saw there was indeed the COLLARED PRATINCOLE, perched on the ground by the water! It remained there for the whole time I was in the hide and gave great views. Usually seen running around like a plover and sometimes flying and hawking insects. On few occasions it landed on a scrape of earth just in front of the hide (see the first two pics above). Magnificent... two lifers in a day! I can't remember when was the last time I did that score!
Other birds in the area included: Great and Eurasian Reed Warbler, Bee-eaters at the colony, Black-winged Stilt with chicks, 1 Common Redshank, 30 Lapwings, 5 Spoonbills (3 ringed-from Italy), 1 Sacred Ibis, 2 Night Herons, 2-3 Melodious Warblers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, Purple Heron, 1 Squacco Heron, 1 Whiskered Tern, 2 Garganeys, 2 Marsh Harriers, 1 male Red-backed Shrike (in the freshwater marsh), 1 Little Stint and the 1st Curlew Sandpiper for me this year (with no trace of breeding plumage!). Also 2 Red Foxes of which one hunting a goose in the freshwater marsh.
With a bit of imagination you can see a Rose-coloured Starling in the pics below (note especially the rosy back):