Saturday, 20 October 2012

Autumn is not over yet

Enjoyable autumn afternoon today of the Slovenian Karst. Kicking around on open grassland areas, meadowland and fields. Top bird was a STOCK DOVE that I picked out while it was feeding on some mowed fields along with +30 Starlings. It was quite nervous and wary and kept taking off all the time. It definitely flew away (somewhere far I presume) when a dog walker passed by. When flying around it gave good views. Never seen one on the Karst before. I think they are quite rare away from their wintering (and breeding grounds).
Later I was greeted by a really massive juvenile Goshawk that was followed by something like 30 angry Hoodies. It dropped down into a patch of trees, never to be seen again.
Also good to see again a GREAT GREY SHRIKE that showed well for the whole afternoon; usually sitting on hawthorn bushes (Crataegus monogyna) or Sorbus aria - pic above.
In general there was a huge amount of birds around. Literally every field had a flock of Meadow Pipits (+60), lots of different finches and Starlings. Chaffinches and Linnets were the most numerous, followed by some really large numbers of Greenfinches (+400), Siskins (usually in flocks of about 30, flying overhead), Goldfinches and +20 Yellowhammers. Mistle and Song Thrushes were also commonly seen feeding on the grassy fields with a total of about +40 and +30 respectively. Also quite large numbers of White Wagtails and Black Redstarts, with several flocks of Skylarks feeding on the ground and some Woodlarks calling overhead. Late migrants included 1 Tree Pipit (heard) and 4 Northern Wheatears.
Woodpigeons were also on the move with at least 148 birds counted passing overhead in smaller flocks. They were all heading W, SW.
A successful hunting action was that of a male Sparrowhawk that managed to catch an unfortunate Meadow Pipit.
Other more or less usual/resident birds included: 4 Common Buzzards, 1 Kestrel, 1 Marsh and 1 Coal Tit, 3 Chiffchaffs, 4 Ravens, Long-tailed Tit and a calling Black Woodpecker at dusk.
                          Pics below: Wheatear, Mistle Thrush, Black Redstart and Yellowhammer
Yesterday, half an hour at Škocjanski zatok produced a nice male BLUETHROAT hopping on the mud along with a Sedge Warbler. It still had a large amount of blue on the throat. Showed well and close for quite some time. Several other Sedgies and a Reed Warbler were still around. No sign of the Great Grey Shrike here, but instead a flock of 75 Woodpigeons flying south was of note. Also all other commoner late-autumn migrants passing overhead (incl. Brambling). A singing Crested Lark was also good to hear after some time.

Local patch: I forgot to say that I had again the CRESTED TIT in my garden a couple of days ago. Not bad.

I think that's all for now...