Sunday, 3 February 2013

Long-eared Owl roost

Today I went to see the Long-eared Owls roosting in the pine woodland of Bosco San Marco, near Aquileia. The area was surprisingly quiet, compared with the other years (a Booted Eagle was wintering here last year). The fields and rough grasslands and also the lagoon were literally empty. Not even the local wintering Stock Doves or Great Grey Shrikes were seen. The highlight here were indeed 4 roosting LONG-EARED OWLS on a pine tree (where there are usually only 2 birds). In the small woodland there are probably more individuals roosting, but the thick pine canopies make it very difficult to search for them. The four birds I saw were sleepy but had erected tufts. Only one bird changed position and looked down at me as well. But nothing more.
In the morning I also checked the wader roost on the beach of Grado, which held: +500 Dunlins, lots of Grey Plovers, +13 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Oystercatchers, +10 Greenshanks, 1 Sandwich Tern, a few Med Gulls and 1-2 adult Herring Gulls.
Other birds seen during the day between Grado and Isola della Cona NR, included: 1 Green Sandpiper (Fossalon), 2 Hen Harriers, a few Marsh Harriers, +200 Pochards, 20 Tufted Ducks, Goldeneye (+20 on the Averto canal), 3 Scaups (1m and 2f on the Averto canal), Red-breasted Merganser, +1000 White-fronted Geese (no rarities), +200 Lapwings & 1 Ruff (wintering bird at Isola della Cona), all common ducks, Snipe, Water Rail, Shelduck, Cetti's Warbler, and at least 40 Pygmy Cormorants at Isola della Cona.
The last sighting of the day was made at Isola della Cona at dusk and involved a nice big Goshawk flying into the freshwater marsh and scaring off all the Teals.