Thursday, 1 March 2012

Early spring

Škocjanski zatok NR: today I was quite glad to see my first LITTLE RINGED PLOVERS of the season. Two of them were feeding on the grazing marsh with 14 Lapwings and several Ruffs (17 in total around the reserve). The plovers represent the first spring record of the species for the reserve as well. However, to prove that it's still winter, 432 White-fronted Geese were counted in the freshwater marsh. But no sign of Greylags this time.
The situation was otherwise quiet: 18 Little Grebes, 2 Great Crested Grebes, Pygmy Cormorant, 2 Shelducks, 29 Wigeons, 36 Shovelers, 216 Teals, 9 Pochards, 7 Tufted Ducks, 572 Coots, 9 Curlews (in the lagoon), 4 Black-tailed Godwits (probably the same birds from last week), 7 Greenshanks, 6 Snipes, just 14 remaining Common Gulls, 1 first-winter Caspian Gull (in the lagoon), 3 Skylarks, 1 Crested Lark (singing), 1 Fieldfare (feeding on the grazing marsh), 13 Penduline Tits, 1 Jackdaw, 2 Hawfinches, 11 Reed Buntings - males moulting to the breeding plumage (see pics above).
Also of note were the first butterflies in the form of Red Admiral and Small White.

Local patch: in the last few days there was quite a lot of movement on the sea - mostly migrating ducks (at dusk) that I couldn't identify for sure. Most probably Wigeons.
I'm now seeing these flocks on a daily basis from home. Up to 15 Great Crested Grebes and a few Black-necked Grebes are now gathering there too. On Monday 3 Mute Swans flew past (quite far over the sea) heading west. High in the sky, large flocks of migrating Black-headed Gulls are visible every day. The general direction of these birds is NW/W to E/SE.
In these last days I was also hearing a few Marsh Tits calling from the nearby gardens.