Friday 3 January 2014

Cinclus fever

On the 1st of January I was early in the field in Slovenia, seeing my first birds of the year. One of them was the above DIPPER on the Unica river near Planina, which entertained me for quite some time in the morning. The water current was pretty wild (with an awful lot of water in the river), but despite that, the Dipper kept diving and swimming with a certain ease. I didn't imagine it could perch on the submerged rocks in the middle of the riverbed, where the current was the strongest... but it did. Amazing.
Next on plan was a visit of the Cerknica lake (Cerkniško jezero). The large water bodies held just a small portion of the usual wildfowl present in the area. Among a consistent flock of Coots I only managed to spot some 20 Goldeneyes, +25 Wigeons, 1 Gadwall and 2 Pochards. However the major highlight on the lake were 2 adult WHITE-TAILED EAGLES perched for most of the morning on some low poles in the lake's centre. Both birds were seen flying off from time to time. One of the two even took a bath in the lake and then went to perch back on the pole to dry the feathers in Cormorant-like fashion. Never seen anything like that.
Other birds of note around the lake included a Redwing (in a small flock of Mistle Thrushes), a pair of Grey-headed Woodpeckers (both on the same tree), 1 Great Grey Shrike, 3 female Hen Harriers, several Fieldfares, a flock of 14 Common Gulls and several commoner species like Yellowhammer, Brambling, Black Woodpecker, Hawfinch, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Coal, Marsh, Crested & Willow Tit, Goldcrest and so on.
All in all an excellent start of the year in the field, even better than last year's.