Monday, 28 December 2009

Pine Buntings and some other delights

After last years' dip, today I finally managed to see a fantastic new siberian species: the *PINE BUNTING* at Magredi del Meduna (Pordenone). There were two stunning males, along with at least one female, within large flocks of Yellowhammers (80x approx.) and Reed Buntings (120x ap.). Once also seen feeding on the ground, otherwise on high bushes or in the treetops. Other buntings included ap. 6x Rock Buntings and 10x Cirl Buntings. In the same habitat a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showed up (apparently the first record for the area), some Linnets, 10x Fieldfares, some Siskins, Bramblings and a juv. male Hen Harrier.

Male Pine Bunting (by DomenS)

Then a quick stop at Santa Maria di Sclaunicco (UD), produced the usual roosting Long-eared Owls (at least 18x birds on the pine tree), with one bird taking off and flying to the open fields.
LEOs (by DomenS)

At last on the Aussa-Corno estuary (San Giorgio di Nogaro - UD) there was a nice LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (ssp. graellsii) among Yellow-legged and Common Gulls plus a Med Gull. At least 8x Marsh Harriers with one male Hen Harrier and a flying flock of 13x BEARDED REEDLINGS.

Lesser Black-backed Gull (by DomenS)

Nice day!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

The Fen Tiger and the Smew

This afternoon I went to Isola della Cona (GO), to se if I could get the two Lesser White-fronted Geese, that were present from yesterday. I wasn't lucky with the geese (they came to the inner marshes after dusk), but instead I had some other good birds. A BITTERN was flying above the marsh, then it landed in the reedbed, giving a nice view. A female SMEW was present too in the inner mere, along with two female Goldeneyes and a female Tufted Duck. The usual Goshawk showed well for a second and a flock of approx. 15 Little Stints flew past. As I said, at dusk came all the Greater White-fronted Geese (700x) with the Greylags.

Smew (above and below)

Goldeneye (below)

26th Dec 2009: Cerkniško jezero - Slovenia

On the Cerknica lake, this time the highlights were: four Greylag Geese, four Shelduck, a female Hen Harrier, a male GOSHAWK hunting a Common Gull (unsuccessfully), a female MERLIN in low flight, COMMON CRANES (14 feeding on the ground plus a flock of 85 flying above the lake), approx. 100 Common Gulls (all together), some Great Grey Shrikes, Bullfinch, Crossbill and a flying flock of 200 Bramblings (in a woodland clearing).

Here are some pics (by DomenS):

Common Cranes (above and below)

Hen Harrier (below)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Cirl Buntings

Local patch: Today 4 Cirl Buntings were feeding on the ground in the garden. Among 3 females also a stunning male. They are using always the same low bushes as a perch and today they landed also on the Southern Nettle-tree (see pic below). The usual everyday Dunnock is showing well and some Blackbirds have already started to sing.

On the sea also 2 Great Crested Grebes and one BLACK-THROATED DIVER (the first of the season for the patch).

Cirl Buntings (above and below) by DomenS

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Dunnock and a female Blackcap

All pics by DomenS

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Local patch strikes back!

Female Chaffinch (by DomenS)

Local patch: Also today was a quite good one for garden birds. The higlights were: a female *BRAMBLING* within a flock of Chaffinches (about 20x), some WOODLARKS flying above the pacth and calling (for the whole morning), a MISTLE THRUSH flying high towards the woodland to the north (first record for the species here!) and a Coal Tit. Then other nice species were: CIRL BUNTING (in flocks around gardens-mainly females), Dunnock, Black Redstart, a male Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, some Starlings singing, imm. Blackbirds, a Wren, male and female Blackcap (feeding on berries), Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blue Tits...

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Finally the snow!

Local patch: today was finally snowing, for the first time in the season. A quite strong wind was blowing from north-east. Due to the low temperatures (-3 to 1 degrees) some birds came to the feeders: Great Tits feeding on sunflower seeds and on fatballs, House Sparrows in flocks at the bird table and on fatballs, a single Robin feeding on the snow, some Blackbirds around. Plus a Sparrowhawk patrolling the gardens in flight.
Here are some photos taken by me:



Great Tit

House Sparrow

Friday, 18 December 2009


Local patch: todays' almost windless early afternoon yielded a male GOSHAWK coming in fast flight from east. Soaring for a while above the patch, then plunging to the ground in a small wooded area. This is the second record for the species in the patch (see here).

Two pics below (by DomenS):

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Winter in its (almost) complete strenght

Local patch: These last days were quite cold ones. The temperatures were low (-2 to max. 4 degrees), thanks also to the freezy north-easterly wind. So the bird activity was quite low in the local patch. However there was a Chaffinch's increase in various gardens (flocks of about 30-40x birds) along with the even more common BLACK REDSTARTS feeding on Virginia creepers (especially some more males around). Great and Blue Tits regularly coming to feed on bird tables and fatballs, along with House Sparrows and Collared Doves. But I'm still waiting a stronger influx of finches and winter birds to the feeders. Let's hope for the next (and even colder) days!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Hume's Leaf Warbler twitch!

Today I catched the train with some friends and headed to Venice to tick a national rarity: a **HUME'S LEAF WARBLER**. After a search in the wooded area of Lido di Venezia, we finally (at about 12.00 am) found the tiny warbler which was present there for the last week. We could locate the bird only by its call, because it was often in thick cover on pine trees and ivies. However it was very active, feeding in frenetic actions with nice hovers around twigs, so we could see it quite well. Visiting always the same area (coming to the same trees and bushes). If I don't go wrong it must be the 8th record for Italy. Unfortunately I could not take any photos of the bird.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Seawatching & local patching

This morning on the sea at Miramare (TS) 5x VELVET SCOTERS flew past (flying on the sea), heading south-east, towards Trieste (at 9.45am). On the sea also:
Black-throated Diver (at least 4x)
Black Necked Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Med Gull (1x w plumage)
Sandwich Tern (1x)

In the wooded park area, the usual local species:
GS Woodpecker
Black Redstart
Goldcrest (2X)
FIRECREST (at least 2x)
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Short-toed Treecreeper
Siskin (some heard)

Some photos (by DomenS):



Blue Tit

GS Woodpecker

Local Patch: this morning at 8.10 am a very probable MERLIN flew past briefly, whilst hunting a small passerine.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Ravens return

Local Patch: This afternoon four RAVENS were circling together above the pine woods' treeline. Some Black Redstarts have started to visit the Virginia creeper that produces some juicy berries. A Dunnock calling, while a female Sparrowhawk was patrolling the gardens in low flight. High above the patch a soaring Common Buzzard.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Again on the west coast

This morning a visit to Pineta Rivalunga-Punta Barene (Alberoni GO) and Isola della Cona (GO) produced:
Black-throated Diver
RED-NECKED GREBE (at least 4x)
Reef Heron (the local one)
Greater White-fronted Goose (181x in flock)
TUNDRA BEAN GOOSE (2x always together in flock of geese)
Red-breasted Merganser
Marsh Harrier
Hen Harrier (at least 1x m and 1x f)
Water Pipit
Stonechat (1x m)
Firecrest (1x)
Reed Bunting

Some pics below dy DomenS:

Red-breasted Merganser (male)

Red-breasted Merganser (female)


Also a Red Squirrel (1x red morph at Pineta Rivalunga):

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Super Wren

Local Patch: two Ravens were flying above the pine wood in the early afternoon, also two Buzzards, Dunnock and a superb Wren (showing quite well whilst feeding on some low bushes in the garden).

Wren (by DomenS):