Monday, 26 September 2011

Another great morning in the PATCH!

Local patch: this morning I had one of the most enjoyable hours of birding from home. As usual in these last weeks, I was "in position" on the terrace from about 11.20 am to 12.35 am. The total score was far higher that expected. One of the first birds was a calling Tree Pipit (passing overhead). The usual Garden Warbler was also present on the figs with 3 Blackcaps; a Robin and a Nuthatch were calling nearby. After a quick scan, I spotted a big flock of 150-200 Swallows far over Mount Grisa, mixed with some Alpine Swifts and House Martins. Occasionally the whole flock came closer and some Swallows flew over the gardens too. The first "good one" of the day was a juvenile MARSH HARRIER on migration. I spotted it over the karstic ridge; it then glided down towards the sea, heading SW. Nice! It's been long ago from the last Marsh Harrier here! Additional entertainment was given by a female Sparrowhawk that landed on a garden shed and showed well for 10 minutes - see pics below). Meanwhile I was hearing a WILLOW WARBLER calling somewhere in the garden. If don't go wrong, this should be a year-tick for the area!
But the best came in the end, when at 12.35 am, a splendid SHORT-TOED EAGLE materialised in the sky over the patch (it descended from Monte Grisa actually) and stayed in the area for some minutes. It then headed NE, following the ridge. Great!
From the above pictures I presume it's an adult bird, as it lacks some flight feathers. Overall the plumage seems quite worn and messy too.

Not too bad for an hour of "balcony-birding". Local patch scores once again!
Now...what's next??

Here are some shots of the female Sparrowhawk - the top garden predator: