2012 started brilliantly with a trip to Norfolk and Suffolk (England) in January. Highlights of the trip included: SHORELARK (pic above by Paolo Grion), DARTFORD WARBLER, COUES'S ARCTIC REDPOLL, WESTERN SANDPIPER, ICELAND GULL and many more.
PALLAS'S WARBLER I went to twitch near Treviso (NE Italy) with a group of friends - one of this year's big highlights. The pic of the bird was taken by Igor Maiorano.
RED-BREASTED GOOSE within the big flock of White-fronts wintering around Isola della Cona (NE Italy). The same flock also held 4 LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE.
ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD that I found near Divača (SLO) in February. A bird that I'm particularly proud of.
GREEN-WINGED TEAL found by myself at Škocjanski zatok nature reserve (Slovenia) at the end of March. The first record for the reserve and the second ever for Slovenia.
Trip to Krakovski gozd (Slovenia) in April. Highlights included: COLLARED FLYCATCHER, MIDDLE SPOTTED WOODPECKER, WHITE-TAILED EAGLE, BLACK STORK.
My first self-caught CORNCRAKE during a ringing session for the species on Breginjski Stol (Slovenia) in June.
BLACK VULTURE I went to twitch in July at the Cornino lake nature reserve (NE Italy).
One of the LESSER KESTRELS I went to see on the island of Rab (Croatia) in July. This is a male - part of a 25-30 pairs strong colony.
RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at Caneo, by the river Isonzo's estuary (NE Italy). Almost annual here, but still a rarity.
The first BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER for Škocjanski zatok nature reserve (Slovenia). A bird I found in September.
YELKOUAN SHEARWATERS - part of a big invasion of seabirds in local patch waters (off Miramare) on the 27th of October. The same day I also saw my first ever CORY'S SHEARWATERS and 8 KITTIWAKES - all true rarities in the Gulf of Trieste. Surely the most memorable day of birding in my local patch...ever!
PALLAS'S GULL I went to see on the Medvedce reservoir (NE Slovenia) in November. The 5th for Slovenia.
A non-bird highlight - OTTER on the Cerknica lake (Slovenia) in December. Still one of the year's best wildlife sightings.
And last but not least - some other notable highlights of this year:
- HAZEL GROUSE - twitch in the Trnovo forest in Slovenia (October).
- BOOTED EAGLE - a light-morph bird wintering near Aquileia (NE Italy).
- BARRED WARBLERS - small population breeding on the Slovenian Karst (spring).
- FIELDFARE - invasion in the local patch's gardens (February).
- COLLARED FLYCATCHER - migrant male I found in a park in the town of Trieste (April).
- RED-RUMPED SWALLOW - good numbers seen this year, including a successfully breeding pair near Monfalcone (NE Italy).
- BLUETHROAT - good numbers seen on autumn migration, especially at Škocjanski zatok nature reserve (Slovenia).
- JACK SNIPE - a well-enjoyed bird, feeding in the freshwater marsh at Škocjanski zatok NR in April.
- STONE CURLEW, ORTOLAN BUNTING, LESSER GREY and WOODCHAT SHRIKE - all seen in a single day in May on the Magredi grasslands near Pordenone (NE Italy). In the same area in February I also enjoyed the local wintering PINE BUNTINGS.
- SMEW - scarce winter visitor seen both in January/February and December 2012 at Valle Cavanata nature reserve (NE Italy).
- SLAVONIAN GREBE - record numbers for me in a single day: 5 birds seen on the coast between Monfalcone and Grado (December).
A for a nice ending here's one of the NIGHTJARS aka GOATSUCKERS I most enjoyed this summer on the Karst:
Hopefully another great year is on the way... roll on tomorrow!