Sunday 6 September 2015

Dotterel's return

Old images of Dotterel Charadrius morinellus on mt. Vremščica, 6th September 2011.
Today, after four long years, magic repeated on mount Vremščica, where I encountered the second DOTTEREL Charadrius morinellus of my life. Incredibly, the date coincides precisely with my first encounter, on the same mountain! This time however, I only saw it flying past; maybe an even rarer sight, as I witnessed to active visible migration. I heard the bird's flight call, before I got to see it. It was flying quite high and arrived from the north; then made a wide circle above Vremščica's grassy plateau and headed west, towards the Adriatic sea. I lost it in the distance, after a few minutes of enjoyable observation. I could notice the overall sandy colouring and a darker belly, so perhaps it was an adult.
Since 2011, I regularly pay a few autumn visits to the site, especially around the magic day - 6th September. Once again it proved an excellent idea.
The day was perfect for visible migration - a slight, but constant north-easterly wind, cool temperatures and strong sunshine. A Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus and a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus flying south were the most notable birds after the Dotterel. Quite a lot of Common Buzzards Buteo buteo around and one Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus. But not many other migrants, except for a Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus, a fly-by Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava and some Swallows Hirundo rustica & House Martins Delichon urbicum.
Some late-summer/autumn flowers were nice to see too and rounded up an excellent sunny morning. Otherwise it was well worth for the panoramas alone.
Landscape view: from west (left) to north (right).
Gentianella austriaca
View from Vremščica's plateau northwards: rocky ridge of Nanos and Trnovski gozd in the front; snow-covered Julian Alps with mt. Triglav in the far back.
View over the Karst (both Slovenian and Italian), to the Adriatic sea (Gulf of Trieste) and the Grado-Marano lagoon. The visibility was so good that even Venice and the Euganei hills above Verona were visible in the distance.