Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Waders on the menu

I started the morning with the high tide at Banco Mula di Muggia, the sandy beach of Grado. The numerous Grey Plovers (about 150) were both in winter and summer plumage, with intermediate "colourings" too. 6 Kentish Plovers were taking a run on the sand in front of the flock. The main interest was provided by 2 BAR-TAILED GODWITS with quite long bills (suggesting females). Dunlins were also quite common as usual with numbers of about 200 birds; the majority already in winter plumage, but also several with black bellies and some juveniles too. Among the numerous Black-headed Gulls on the beach were 12 Mediterranean Gulls (winter plumage, 2nd winter and juveniles).
Mixed flock of Grey Plovers, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (3rd upper bird from left) and Dunlins:

Bar-tailed Godwit within the Grey Plover flock:

A fisherman flushed the whole flock several times... (on the far left side a Bar-tailed Godwit is visible):

Some views on part of the flock:

Grey Plovers:

Later I checked Valle Cavanata that held: 5-6 Spotted Redshanks, 11 Common Redshanks (mainly juveniles), some Greenshanks, lots of Pygmy Cormorants and other common stuff. No sign of the juvenile Flamingo.
Also on the river Isonzo's estuary there was wader movement, though quite far. I could only recognize a flock of 400-500 Dunlins and several small flocks of Grey Plovers. On the "poles" along the estuary a total of 52 Sandwich Terns was of interest. In the nearby reedbed areas and fields also: 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, 2-3 singing Water Rails, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Whinchats (on wires) and 2 Norther Wheatears (flushed).
Isola della Cona NR held fewer species than expected: 5 Snipes, 3 Ruffs, 1 female Garganey, 1 lonely Wood Sandpiper, +16 Mediterranean Gulls (within a large flock of Black-headeds), 1 Greenshank, 1 Willow Warbler (calling), 1 nice female COMMON REDSTART (the first for the autumn season), 2 Nightingales (calling in the hedges, one seen mobbing the Redstart), 1 Robin, 3 female Pintail, about 30 Lapwings, 2 Spotted Redshanks, 5 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, 1 Spoonbill, 2 Little Stints, 4 Curlews and several Yellow Wagtails.
To end the trip, in the early afternoon I headed to Gorizia on the upper Isonzo river. Fortunately I soon got onto my target birds: 6 female GOOSANDERS, which were actually today's highlight along with the waders. They were resting on bigger stones in the middle of the river; sometimes taking a swim and stretching a bit the wings (see pic). In the area also the local Grey Wagtails.
Four female Goosanders are visible here: