Sunday, 5 February 2012

Freezy Sunday on the coast

Local patch: the day started well with a gorgeous male Cirl Bunting calling on the bush just 4 meters away from my window. Fine! I then had a stroll down the coast of my local patch with a friend. At Miramare and Grignano we had more or less the same birds as yesterday. Including the fantastic breeding-plumaged Red-necked Grebes. The Lesser Black-backed Gull showed better too (third pic above), resting on the beach. Even the Red-breasted Mergansers got a bit closer, so we could take some better pics (first two pics above). A Black-throated Diver was also of interest on the sea (last pic above). Lots of other Black-necked and Great Crested Grebes as usual. Instead, it was a bit odd to find just 5 Common Gulls in total today - compared to the eighties or so of yesterday.

Later we ventured further out along the coast towards Monfalcone. The small bays of Duino/Devin and Villaggio del Pescatore held: both common species of grebes, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 3 Lapwings flying NE over Duino (!!), 3 Shovelers, several Pintails, 1 Sardinian Warbler calling, 1 Cirl Bunting, and 22 Curlews on the Timavo's estuary.
On the fields of Terranova we quickly checked a flock of about 300-400 White-fronted Geese and found the 4 Tundra Bean Geese.
The Averto canal in the Valle Cavanata NR held a big compact flock of Coots and 80 Pochards, ice-locked in a small stretch of water. Unfortunately we couldn't find the drake Smew that was reported yesterday in the area.
Coots and Pochards on the Averto:

Later on the frozen Quarantia canal, close to Isola della Cona we spotted a female Hen Harrier quartering around. A female Merlin was perhaps the best find of the day, seen hunting low over a field near Alberoni. It also landed on mound of earth, but I couldn't find it in the scope to have closer views.
The beach area of Lido di Staranzano was almost completely frozen over and the sea was very rough as well. Usual common wader species were present in the area like Curlews, Grey Plovers, Dunlins ect.
Frozen mudflats & sea at Lido di Staranzano: