Thursday, 8 March 2012

March arrivals at last!

Škocjanski zatok NR: this morning I found two typical March migrants on the reserve.
As I started the circular walk, I immediately heard an Acrocephalus song from the reedbed. Two MOUSTACHED WARBLERS were singing at the same time! One of the two gave excellent views from the exposed reeds of a water-filled ditch (by the main path). The best I could do with the camera are the two shots above: one completely blurred and the other perfectly focused, but from behind... damn! However I enjoyed the showy bird, while the other continued to sing (and call) from the depth of the main reedbed. As usual in March, the song of the two warblers was not complete - lacking the characteristic whistle.
The second special bird is the duck that heralds the arrival of spring: the GARGANEY. Today I had my first bird of the season and it was a nice drake (see last pic above). It was present in the freshwater marsh with plenty of other wildfowl and it seemed to be alone. A few minutes after the finding, it just disappeared out of view and I couldn't relocate it again.
Other birds included: 58 White-fronted Geese (plus some others on nearby fields - the numbers are decreasing), 3 Greylag Geese, 1 Shelduck, 27 Wigeons, 40 Shovelers, 172 Teals, 16 Pochards, 6 Tufted Ducks, 1 female Sparrowhawk, 450 Coots (still in good numbers, but more scattered around), 3 Little Ringed Plovers (on the grazing marsh), 7 Lapwings, 30 Ruffs (in different flocks), 7 Curlews, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Common Redshank (resting in the lagoon), 16 Greenshanks, 5 Snipes, 6 Common Gulls, 1 Skylark, 10 Water Pipits, 7 Meadow Pipits, 7 Chiffchaffs (two singing), 14 Penduline Tits, 6 Jackdaws, 1 Hawfinch and lots of Reed Buntings.
Black-tailed Godwit:

Water Pipit (with White-fronts in the background):