Thursday, 29 September 2011

Autumn on the reserve

Škocjanski zatok NR: spent another day on the reserve, bird-monitoring in the morning and hanging around in the afternoon. Despite the intense migratory season, the situation was a bit quiet. However some truly autumnal birds were present like lots of Robins, Song Thrushes ect. Great to see the lagoon turning red in this season, due to the blossoming halophytes (above photo). In the late afternoon I was very pleased to witness to a huge Starling frenzy on the grazing marsh. Birds literally everywhere on the ground, making the grass black! Sometimes they all took off and performed some aerial numbers, before dropping again into the marsh. We estimated something between 5000-10.000 birds. That's possibly the biggest number of Starlings I've ever seen all at once!
Let's go to the species present today: 8 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Pygmy Cormorants, 9 Great Egrets. 1 juv WHITE STORK (usual bird still present in the area), 1 Buzzard, 14 Wigeon, 44 Shoveler, 307 Teals, 1 Gadwall (male-first of the autumn), 1 Garganey (female or eclipse male? - see pic), 4 Water Rails (2 giving exceptional views!), 224 Coots (up we go!), 6 Dunlins (juvs and winter plumaged adults in the lagoon), 3 Curlews, 4 Common Sandpipers, 23 Greenshanks, 1 Green Sandpiper (heard), 13 Snipes, Tree Pipit on passage, 6 Yellow Wagtails on the grazing marsh (see pic), 11 Robins, 1 Whinchat, 3 Song Thrushes (see pic), 1 Fan-tailed Warbler, 2 Reed Warblers, 10 Blackcaps, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, several Penduline Tits (heard, one seen) and 4 JACKDAWS flying overhead.
Song Thrush:

Yellow Wagtail:

Water Rail: