Sunday, 23 October 2011

Winter birds on the coast

With nowhere else to go today I decided to try again the coastal wetlands. Several newly arrived winter species were just reported in the past few days (after the strong and cold northeasterlies).
I started at the Doberdob lake NR with the vain hope of finding a wintering Great Grey Shrike. The lake in itself was nice and full of water and held some wildfowl: 11 Tufted Ducks (first of the season), 1 male Ferruginous Duck, several Teals and lots of Mallards. In the surroundings also: 1 Black Woodpecker, several Goldcrests, 1 Firecrest, 6 Stonechats, 1 singing Woodlark, Linnet, 1 Water Pipit, Hawfinch, Song Thrush and Raven.
I then moved to the muddy coast of Staranzano (GO) and walked to Punta Barene, checking the sea. The area held: lots of Curlews, 30-40 Greenshanks, Grey Plover (common), 200 Dunlins, 26 Black-necked Grebes, several Great Crested Grebes, Wigeon, 1 Med Gull, 1 male Stonechat, Gadwall, 4 RED-NECKED GREBES (on the sea), 2 Marsh Harriers, 1 Red-throated Diver (in the company of the grebes), 1 BLACK-THROATED DIVER (fishing on the Quarantia canal), 15 Meadow Pipits, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 singing Water Rail, several Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs and another nice Firecrest.
At about midday I was on the beach of Grado (Banco Mula di Muggia), but the tide was quite low, so all the waders were scattered around. Grey Plovers were the commonest, along with Curlews, Greenshanks and Dunlins (some were still in breeding plumage!). 4 Kentish Plovers added interest and 11 Sandwich Terns were also fishing around. Out on the sea another BLACK-THROATED DIVER and several Black-necked Grebes. 1 Snipe flew overhead towards the sea.
Flock of Dunlins:

Later Valle Cavanata NR yielded: large numbers of Pygmy Cormorants (about 100 or more), 1 juv Flamingo (still present in the lagoon), common wildfowl + 15 Pintails, Lapwing, Water Rail, Greenshank, Curlew, Grey Plover, Water Pipit ect. On the Averto canal 2 BLACK-THROATED DIVERS were showing extremely well and close (see pics). One of the two had some little signs of the breeding plumage on the neck-side. On the canal also lots of Great Crested Grebes and 86 Pochards (strangely not a single Tufted Duck there).
One of the two very showy Black-throated Divers (both in the top pic of the post):

On the way back I stopped at Isola della Cona NR for the afternoon. The first winter geese were already around with up to 62 WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (second pic at the top of the post) and 4 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE. The latter seen only in flight as they were leaving the freshwater marsh. The Whitefronts were in the company of 3 odd Barnacle Geese of unknown origins (I didn't see any coloured ring on the legs). Also here an awful lot of Pygmy Cormorants: I counted 51 birds just in one flock, but there could have been more. Other birds of interest included: about 121 Lapwings, all common dabbling ducks, 3 Pintails, 1 Snipe, some Meadow Pipits, 1 Buzzard, 1 Curlew, 1 Sparrowhawk, 8 Spotted Redshanks a female Marsh Harrier and some Cattle Egrets.
The three odd Barnacles:

An average winter day on the coast!