Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Spring birds...and flowers

Škocjanski zatok NR: this morning I finally managed to see the GLOSSY IBIS that was present in the area since a few weeks, but eluded me all the time. The fact is that the new reeds are now sprouting out the greenery and the freshwater marsh is becoming increasingly covered with high vegetation. The ibis was hidden in a kind of small canal in some high green reeds and grass. Just occasionally it ventured out of cover on the grassy bank. Below there's a pic taken at large distance and with the bird partly hidden.
Otherwise the situation was pretty calm today. Probably beacuse of the good sunny weather and stiff wind from the south, lots of migrants are moving north. Highlights included: 3 Garganeys, 1 Coot's fledged young (the first this year!), 12 Black-winged Stilts, 5 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Ruffs, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Common Redshanks in the lagoon (still there...), 16 Greenshanks, 4 Wood and 1 Green Sandpiper, 18 Common Terns (on the nests), about 70 Common Swifts, 1 Alpine Swift, 100 Sand Martins, +200 Swallows (pic above), 100 House Martins, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Yellow Wagtails, 1 imm. male Northern Wheatear (Koper railway station), 5 Nightingales, 1 Blackcap (!), 6 singing Great Reed Warblers (one showed well - 3rd & 4th pic above), 2 Sedge Warblers and 2 male Common Whitethroats in the hedges. The Teals have almost completely disappeared (I saw just one today) and they probably took the Green-winged with them.
Glossy Ibis:

In the early afternoon I took a stroll on the Slovenian Karst, looking for some wildflowers. On the dry grasslands near Divača there were lots of Green-winged orchids (Orchis morio), Daffodils (Narcissus poeticus) and several other plants - see pics below. Birds seen included 3 Kestrels, 5 Buzzards, a pair of Stonechats, Raven, singing Skylarks, 1 Hobby, 2 Common Whitethroats (holding territories), Woodlark and Mistle Thrush. Butterfly-wise a Souther Festoon was the highlight. Also lots of Common Swifts and Swallows.
Pulsatilla montana:

Orchis morio:

Ornithogalum umbellatum:

Narcissus poeticus: