Let's start from the morning. First of all I checked the Lisert wetland near Monfalcone and immediately the reedbed held a calling SPOTTED CRAKE and 2 singing MOUSTACHED WARBLERS. Both birds were just heard, so no views this time. Anyway it was great to hear that early warbling from the reedbed once again!
Minutes later a flying flock in the distance revealed 21 COMMON CRANES migrating east. Excellent! Spring was in the air with singing Chiffchaffs from every bush and the local pair of Marsh Harriers performing some amazing aerial displays. Other birds here included: Water Rail, 2 Song Thrushes, Penduline Tit, 13 Common Buzzard (thermal), 4 Stonechats (first migrant birds), Skylark, 2 Pochard (inner pond), 5 Lapwings, 1 Gadwall.
Marsh Harrier - male
Reedbed area in the Lisert wetland
Can you see them?
Valle Cavanata NR held a few waders in the form of Ruff (16), Lapwing, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, plus 6 Spoonbills. I checked the Averto canal just briefly and saw still a few Goldeneyes and Pochards.
The afternoon was spent at Isola della Cona NR, where I was joined by a couple of friends. Almost immediately a fly-by SWALLOW appeared in the sky - the first of the year! Later in the afternoon we had about 7 other birds making a quick appearance over the marsh. What a joy to se them back!
The reserve actually held the biggest number of year-firsts; mostly waders. These included: 3 Black-winged Stilts, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 10 Black-tailed Godwits and 3 Wood Sandpipers. To add a bit of spring essence there were also 2 GARGANEYS (m & f), a nice flock of about 150 Ruffs and an astonishing 1000 Lapwings (988 counted by myself). The waders were quite nervous at the beginning, because of a Peregrine soaring overhead, which later caused a great panic in the marsh.
A pair of Garganeys
Lapwings in the air
To round up the day we waited for dusk in the reserve's main hide and were rewarded with a flock of 15 COMMON CRANES landing on the mudflats to rest (below). A single Crane was also seen flying east, earlier in the afternoon.
A day stuffed with birds!