Friday 7 September 2012

BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER at Škocjanski zatok

Škocjanski zatok NR: several good finds today on the reserve and an exceptional migration movement. The absolute highlight of the day was the above BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER - a true rarity in Slovenia, with just a few records. I had the pleasure to find this nice little peep on the far southern corner of the brackish lagoon, while finishing my weekly bird census. The bird was in the company of two Dunlins and several Common Sandpipers in what can be called the worst part of the reserve. The lagoon ends with some rough vegetation before joining the railway line (and station) of Koper and several shopping centers. Needles to say, the brackish marsh here is littered with rubbish. Well, for the birds it seems a good place though, as it usually holds some cool waders - last year the reserve's first Bar-tailed Godwit was stationing in this very spot for some days!
After dipping the Broad-billed Sandpiper at Isola della Cona, it was really good to find one for myself in Slovenia!
As I said before, the day was otherwise full of interesting birds. For example another in-the-same-place-as-last-year coincidence happened. A GRASSHOPPER WARBLER was in the hedges along the main path! (see this post) The bird remained in view for several seconds allowing to see quite well the streaked undertail coverts.
And shortly after the third goodie: BLUETHROAT! A worn bird with literally no remaining blue on the breast showed briefly on the same bush as the Locustella. It made a few calls before plunging back into cover. By the way, yesterday I also managed to see one pretty well on the other side of the reserve.
And here are the other sightings from today's count, with some numbers: 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 imm Night Heron, 5 Wigeons, 25 Shovelers, 56 Teals, 1 female Garganey, 91 Coots, 1 singing Water Rail, 1 Black-winged Stilt, 2 Ringed Plovers (juveniles; in the lagoon), 1 summer-plumage Grey Plover (lagoon), 2 Dunlins (adults moulting to winter plumage), 1 Ruff, 6 Curlews, 7 Common Sandpipers, 32 Greenshanks, 2 Wood and 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 2 Kingfishers, 3 Wrynecks (all three seen well in the hedges), 4 Sand Martins (flying past), 18 House Martins plus a single Swallow, 8 Tree Pipits, 13 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Nightingales, 6 Whinchats, 1 male Wheatear, 2 Sedge Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Garden Warblers, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Jackdaws (flying overhead) and the autumn's first 2 Reed Buntings.

Yesterday I went to look for Dotterels on the mount Vremščica - on exactly the same day as last year - see this post. This time I wasn't successful though. Bird activity was quiet but two showy NUTCRACKERS enlightened the situation. A juvenile Marsh Harrier, a Wheatear and some Meadow Pipits were otherwise the most notable birds. In the pine woodland also usual Coal and Crested Tits plus a gang of Goldcrests.

Who knows if I'll manage to see a Dotterel this year? For now I got a nice consolation!