Sunday, 18 November 2012

Winter goodies on the coast

Today I had a really good time along the coast, discovering some freshly arrived "winter gems". In the morning we had a walk with the local bird group at Lisert where we managed to see quite an astonishing number and diversity of grebes and divers. Best bird of the day was a handsome SLAVONIAN GREBE fishing on the sea, just metres away from the concrete bank we were standing on (pics above). Thus I had my best views ever of this northern species. Needles to say it was a season's first.
The sea was literally stuffed with divers: +30 Black-throated Divers (incl. 17 together and one breeding plumaged bird!) and +10 Red-throated Divers (pics below). Two Red-necked Grebes were also present, along with just a few Great Cresteds and about 30 Black-necked Grebes all concentrated in the bay of Panzano. In a nearby marina we picked out the first COMMON GULL of the season among a group Black-headed Gulls.
Other birds in the Lisert area included: 20 Curlews, 2 Common Eiders, Water Pipit, 6 Pintails & Shovelers, 15 Skylarks, 1 Greenshank, 1 Peregrine (soaring high above Monfalcone), 5 Common Sandpipers, several Sandwich Terns out on the sea, 2 Goldcrests, Reed Buntings & Penduline Tits in the reedbed, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Short-toed Treecreeper, both Rock and Cirl Bunting, 15 Jackdaws, 1 Stonechat, 1 Snipe and a few commoner things.
In the afternoon we went to Isola della Cona and had some additional highlights in the form of: 1 male MERLIN hunting on the saltmarsh (first of the season), 2 ringtail Hen Harriers, 1 Red-necked Grebe (Quarantia canal), 2 Tufted Ducks, about 15 Goldcrests, 6 Dunlins, 1 Marsh Harrier and other commoner marshland stuff.
Also glad to see the returning White-fronted Geese - at least 60 seen today in the freshwater marsh. But others will follow...