Monday 3 September 2018

Loggerhead Turtle & Eleonora's Falcon

And now back to the sea! In the past few weeks there have been several sightings of one (or two) Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta in the Adriatic sea under the cliffs of Duino/Devin (geographically speaking in Italy, but historically/culturally also a Slovene territory, some 3 km away from Slovenia's western border). The experts say these turtles are a regular presence in the Northern Adriatic sea and there are some 20-30 observations a year in the Gulf of Trieste. Most of the sightings are made from boats, but a few also occur from land. Yesterday we payed a visit to the Duino cliffs and after almost two hours of waiting and scanning the sea, we were rewarded by a short sighting of our first Loggerhead Turtle, swimming right under the cliffs! 
Today we made a second, shorter visit, but didn't see any turtles. Instead we were lucky enough to be at the right place, when a beautiful Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae flew past the cliffs! The nearest breeding colonies of this rare Mediterranean raptor are on remote Croatian islands in the south Adriatic. However, every year a few vagrant birds are reported in northeast Italy, while Slovenia also has a handful of records. Interestingly the Duino cliffs hosted several observations in the past, especially at the end of August and in the beginning of September. This is certainly the prime time to observe an Eleonora's Falcon in our areas. The limestone cliffs provided also the usual mix of Mediterranean birds like Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius, Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala, Alpine Swift Apus melba and Mediterranean Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis ssp. desmarestii.