Sunday, 15 April 2012

Weekend in the Marsh

I spent this weekend almost entirely at Isola della Cona NR. Yesterday afternoon I was co-leading a small trip of novice birders, while today I had a meeting of the local bird organization. The weather was quite miserable with a strong northeasterly yesterday and rain today. But all in all we saw some good birds. Highlight species included: 1 White-fronted Goose (a bird that didn't migrate north), all common dabbling ducks (incl. Garganeys), 1 adult Night Heron (perching in a willow), 2 Purple Herons, 1 Spoonbill (ad), 3 Marsh Harriers, 1 stunning HOBBY hunting in the marsh (actually one yesterday and one today; my first this year), 1 singing Water Rail, 2 beautiful male Little Crakes (seen well), 1 Spotted Crake (only heard calling), 1 Oystercatcher (flying over the Quarantia canal with a mussel in the beak!), Black-winged Stilt, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, about 150 DUNLINS (inland), 1 Little Stint (the first for the season), Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, lots of Spotted Redshanks, Greenshank, at least 4 MARSH SANDPIPERS (freshwater marsh - the firsts this year), 3 Black-tailed Godwits, about 10 Curlews (freshwater marsh), 4 Whimbrels (in flight, calling), Snipe, 150 Ruffs, 1 SCOPS OWL (singing by day in the wet woodland!), Common Swift, 30 Sand Martins, good numbers of Swallows and House Martins, 2 Nightingales (singing), tons of Blackcaps, 1 adult male Common Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Sedge Warblers (usually singing), 3 Great Reed Warblers (1 singing, 2 seen), 2 Willow Warblers and several Penduline Tits.
Pics above: Marsh Sandpiper and a breeding plumaged Spotted Redshank