Saturday, 27 April 2013

Magic southerly

Today was quite cloudy and a stiff breeze from the south provided a good opportunity to look for some newly arrived migrants. In the afternoon I headed to the grassland of Campo Carri on the Karst - my first visit this season. In the open areas the most obvious were Whinchats (+10) and Wheatears (+6) sitting on the low pines, together with 2 singing Rock Buntings and my first Tawny Pipit of the year. Some additional year's firsts came quickly later when a beautiful male GOLDEN ORIOLE flew over the open grassland and a HOBBY was spotted perching on a high-voltage wire. The latter remained perched there for about half an hour, before flying off and starting to hunt (see above). A singing Cuckoo and one or two Wood Warblers were in the nearby woodland, along with Chiffchaff, Nightingale, 1 Common Whitethroat, Mistle Thrush and other commoner species. Several Tree Pipits were also around on the open grassland area and one was even singing. In the air a notable movement of Common Swifts (+100 birds), Swallows (30) and a few House Martins.
The south wind proved to be quite good for raptor movement as 3 MONTAGU'S HARRIERS (2 males and 1 female) migrated northwards, one after the other. A female Marsh Harrier and 2 Kestrels, plus a (local) Goshawk were also moving above the grassland.

 Hobby (same as above)

 Wheatear

Whinchat

Tawny Pipit

 Rock Bunting

Local patch: migration today was visible also from home as the gardens held at least 3 Whinchats (2 m, 1 f) and a male Common Whitethroat, plus some Swallows flying past. A Tree Sparrow represented a patch year-tick. A quite scarce bird here.
The other day I also had a fly-by Yellow Wagtail above the coast, which was the 3rd record for the patch.   
Nightingale and Scops Owl are now heard on a daily basis.