Friday, 23 March 2012

Spring morning on the cliffs

Local patch: spring has arrived to the cliffs as well! This morning the atmosphere was very pleasant on Monte Grisa with lots of wildlife around. The first BLUE ROCK THRUSH of the year was signalising its presence with a gently song. After a quick scan I found it perched on its usual rock. The bird made a few flights around to catch some insects (including a big bumblebee!). It continued to sing for almost the whole morning, with regular intervals.
At 10.36 am a male Marsh Harrier appeared in the sky, migrating eastwards, just to be followed by a beautiful male HEN HARRIER heading north! I got great views of the latter when it slowly rose from sea level to the karstic ridge, continuing its way over the plateau. A cracking bird!
A Jackdaw flying south was also a bit of a surprise - I've actually never seen one in the area.
The ALPINE SWIFTS were also back to their breeding territory, with up to 3 birds seen (one landed on a cliff-wall). Yesterday I spotted at least 5 birds from home.
A Sardinian Warbler was also of note - calling just beneath the Blue Rock Thrush's perch.
At 12.00 a nice PEREGRINE arrived from NW in steady flight along the cliffs and passed by heading towards Trieste. As there are no nesting Peregrines on Monte Grisa, it's always a pleasure to see this bird in the area. I have no idea where it came from, but it was interesting to hear it calling loudly when it was approached by some crows.
Other birds around included: 1 singing Mistle Thrush, 3 Hawfinches, Serin (constant passage), Blackaps singing, Common Gull (gatherings on the sea, sometimes rising up in thermals), Rock Bunting, Crested and Marsh Tits (in the pines), 1 female Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards, 1 Raven (also perched on a pine) and 2 singing Chiffchaffs.
Basking on the limestone rocks was also a colorful Dalmatian Algyroides and several butterflies were on the wings as well: predominantly Wall Brown, 1 Orange Tip, several Scarce Swallowtails and some Red Admirals.
Pics above (top to bottom): Blue Rock Thrush on its private perch, Peregrine & the cliffs, Euphorbia wulfenii (a characteristic plant of our rocky coast).