Wednesday, 8 February 2012

SMEWS on a winter day

This morning I had enough time to make a short visit at the Valle Cavanata nature reserve and see if I could get the Smews. The Averto canal was still ice-locked for most of its lenght, but some areas of free water held large numbers of Coots and Pochards. On the last, large bend of the canal a mixed group of Pochards, Mallards and Coots was tightly packed in a sheltered area. I had a quick look through the flock and...bang! Three beautiful SMEWS were with them - a purely white male, followed by two females. They showed well and close while calmly swimming around. Next to them was also a female SCAUP (see pic below). After about 10 minutes of watching, all three Smews suddendly took off and headed west. They probably moved in search of a morning meal in some nearby areas, after spending the night on the canal.
A female Goldeneye was also of interest in the area, but otherwise the situation was a bit poor. When the wind started to increase I decided to give up and headed back home.

Another bird worth of mentioning is the Fieldfare. There seemed to be a kind of small invasion today. Most amazingly I saw a flock of 25-30 FIELDFARES flying over Strada del Friuli near Kontovel (landed on a high tree in a garden). Later I had some more brief encounters with these birds from the car: a flock near Lisert-Monfalcone (5-10), several around Staranzano and another flock of 10 over Monte Radio (Trieste).
I see Fieldfares almost annualy in my patch, but it still remains a scarce and interesting bird around home. Hope to catch up a bigger flock in the next days!