Thursday, 30 September 2010

Red Deer galore!

Yesterday's afternoon/evening was spent "deer-watching" in the Cansiglio forest (on the FVG-Veneto border - north-east Italy). The main attraction were the bellowing RED DEERS (at least some hundreds in the whole evening). Some grazing in the wooded areas, but mainly coming out of cover in the late afternoon/evening. In one small valley at least 7-8 belling stags at one time (see the pics & video above). Another video here.
In the area we also spotted: at first a nice male FALLOW DEER (with quite nice antlers) sitting on the grass some 20 meters from us and then a whole group of females and youngsters (about 10).
At dusk also a Red Fox appeared out of the forest.
The birds in the area included: an unexpected Great Egret (in upland area-1100 m above sea level!) 4-5 Honey Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk (hunting in the semi-darkness), 1 Tawny Owl (heard), a big flock of House Martins, Dunnock, Wren, Whinchat, Mistle Thrush, varoius tits, Bullfinch, Crossbill.

Local patch:
yesterday I also heard the first Siskins flying overhead, with the usual Coal Tits present in the gardens and a new species of moth for the area: a Scarce Silver-lines.

Monday, 27 September 2010

"American day"

Today I joined a friend of mine, Paul Tout, who was leading two Americans on a bird trip. We managed to see plenty of species, despite the occasional rain showers. The visited areas were in the province of Gorizia (mainly), including: Isola della Cona, Doberdob lake, Alture di Polazzo, Lisert, Valle Cavanata, Alberoni-Punta Barene and Lido di Staranzano (Marina Julia).
The highlights of the day were: Pochard, Red-breasted Merganser (2 f close to coast at Marina Julia), some Black-necked Grebes (the first for the season), a nice RED-NECKED GREBE (in breding plumage), Western Reef Heron (the long staying bird still present at Punta Barene), two Short-toed Eagles (above the Doberdob lake), 2 Goshawks, about 5 Hobbies, 1 Peregrine (with a just-caught Pigeon!), Spotted Redshanks, Greenshanks and Curlews in reat numbers, 3 Med Gulls, some Tree Pipits, 2-3 female Redstarts, some Wheatears, Stonechat, Mistle Thrush, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, plenty of Chiffchaffs, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Jackdaws at Monfalcone and some Cirl Buntings.
Also some False Graylings at Alture di Polazzo.
Above, some of today's birds: Western Reef Heron and a juv. Goshawk

Sunday, 26 September 2010

2nd Black Woodpecker for the patch

Local patch: the highlight this morning was a Black Woodpecker heard calling from the nearby wood ("mourning", monosyllabic calls) at 12.15 am. In the area also: 1-2 Coal Tit, Nuthatch (1 calling), Serin, Cirl Bunting (calling), Great Spotted Woodpecker (feeding on a walnut tree). Also the first Robins have started to appear in the gardens, some already singing.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Mudflat waders & grounded migrants

After a rainy morning I decided to head to the wetland areas of our coast, to check for stopping migrants. Firstly at Liset (GO): 4 Curlews, 2 Pochards, 1 Water Rail, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 female Redstarts (above), some Chiffchaffs, 1 Whinchat, 9 Wheatears, 7 Wigeons, 1 Gadwall, Common Sandpiper, 1 juv. Hobby, 1 juv Great Crested Grebe, 2 Common Eiders.
Despite the low tide, I went to check the mudflats on the beach near Grado (GO) - "Banco Mula di Muggia". Some waders: +40 Grey Plovers (some still in summer plumage), 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 36 Dunlins (breeding plumaged too), 6 Kentish Plovers (one being ringed), 6 Greenshanks and 2 Sandwich Terns.
Valle Cavanata (GO) yielded only 4 Pochards and several Pygmy Cormorants.

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Ural Owl strikes back!

Birding concentrated in the Trnovo forest area (Slovenia), but with some stops on the way... So the area around Planina, near Postojna produced: 3 Stonechats, some Skylarks, quite large flocks of Yellowhammers (feeding on corn-plants), 1 Grey Wagtail, lots of White Wagtails, 1 Redstart (female) 2 Whinchats and some Marsh Tits.
From the car, I could spot several Crag Martins, flying above the town of Idrija.
Trnovski gozd (forest area): the highlight was a "usual" URAL OWL perching on some low trees, just on the edge of a woodland clearing. It showed very well for about a minute, then it flew away in the forest. Later it was relocated several times, as it was hunting on the forest margins. Time: about 18.30 in the afternoon, so the light was still good!
Other species in the area: several Treecreepers, Song Thrush, Siskin, loads of Crested Tits, Marsh Tit, 3 Black Woodpeckers (two seen well), 1 Grey-headed Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Crossbill (few than the other times), Coal Tit, Wren+Dunnock+Robin, Goldcrest, 1 f Pied Flycatcher, 1 female Redstart, Mistle Thrush.
Photos above (from top to bottom): a record-shot of the Ural Owl, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, a view on the forest.

Local patch: in the evening a young Eastern Hedgehog (about few months old) was roving around the houses and gardens.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

It's time for the Eagle Owl (again)

Some sightings from today's mixed birding: on mount Grisa (Kontovel - TS) 2 Common Redstarts (m & f), large passage of Swallows and House Martins, some flying-by Crossbills, at least 4 Willow Warblers, 1 f Pied Flycatcher, some Alpine Swifts and this cute Red Squirrel (pic above). In the Glinščica valley (TS) large gatherings of House Martins, all over the valley.

At dusk (about 19.20) the local EAGLE OWL was present on the steep rocky slope just out of the town of Trieste. It showed very well (still in good light), perching and singing from atop several different rocks. Seen also in flight as it regularly changed perches. In the area also a passing-by Sparrowhawk.

Local patch: Tree Pipits on migration and the usual (daily) Coal Tit.

Between 00.45 and 00.50 am several animals crossing the road on the Karst, including a Red Fox, 2 Roe Deers and an Western Hedgehog.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Crossbills & Willow Warbler

Local patch: some Crossbills (heard) have been flying over the patch (probably in flocks) for the whole morning. At 12.18 am a Raven was circling high above my house, giving its typical adult call. Meanwhile a single juv. Willow Warbler was present for few seconds on a spruce in front of my terrace. Also in the area the by now regular Coal Tits and some passing-by Swallows.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


By the way sighting: this afternoon a HOBBY was hunting near Terranova (GO) with a female Sparrowhawk. In the evening at the Duino cliffs -Rilke path- (TS) another HOBBY was seen flying in the dark and hunting in the moonlit, above the sea. Stunning view!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Recent updates for the patch

Local patch: the Coal Tits are seen (and heard) on a regular everyday basis now. Also 2 or more individuals together. Other birds in the previous days included a Nuthatch calling somewhere quite near in a garden and a large group (tight flock) of Shags on the sea (100 approx). On the 15th a Scops Owl was still singing in the evening. Goldfinches and Green Woodpeckers are also seen/heard daily.

Today with the heavy rain-storm and wind came a large flock of House Martins (150-200) that remained in the skies above the patch. Also two winter-plumaged Sandwich Terns were fishing on the sea, quite close to coast.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Passerine migrants & Black Stork on passage

Morning spent at "Campo Carri" - the big grassland area near Bani/Banne (TS). The bushes were literally alive with migrants, which included: 3 Willow Warblers, at least 5 Pied Flycatchers, 2 Redstarts (1 f and 1 first winter male-moulting), 2 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears, one juv. Common Whitethroat, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Garden Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, one nice WRYNECK, several Blackcaps, one Black Redstart. An almost constant passage overhead: Tree Pipits, flocks of Siskins and Crossbills (flocks of about 20 birds). Other birds in the area included: Robin (interesting to see so many individuals), Coal Tit, 2 Firecrests, some Woodlarks, 1 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling, 1 Red-backed Shrike, 1 Black Woodpecker, 1 Skylark, a Buzzard and one hunting Sparrowhawk.
Photos above (from top to bottom): Wheatear (2), Pied Flycatcher (2), Spotted Flycatcher (3), Spotted Flycatcher & Redstart (1), Redstart (2).

Then at mid-morning a quick visit to the cliffs of M.Grisa - Kontovel (TS) resulted in the "mega" of the day: at 11.34 am a stunning BLACK STORK arrived in flight from below and rised up in a deep soar. It circled for a while and then headed eastwards (on the Karst plateau) overflying my head just few meteres above me (see the pics below).
Also here some passing-by Crossbills, a Rock Bunting, three Red Squirrels and two Roe Deers.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Upland migrants

This morning I went to check the grassy slopes of the mount Vremščica in Slovenia for Dotterels. Unfortunately no signs of the birds. Instead I had the usual "upland" species and some migrants: Skylark, 1 Black Woodpecker calling, 5 Whinchats, 1 Black Redstart, Mistle Thrush, Tree Pipit, about 15 Wheatears, overflying Crossbills, Linnet, Raven, 1 Red-backed Shrike, 1 Lesser Whitethroat.
Before heading home, a quick visit to monte Grisa - Kontovel (TS) resulted in another load of migrants (almost all at the same time, together): 4 Pied Flycatchers, 3-4 Willow Warblers, 1 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Garden Warbler.
Pictures above - from top to bottom: a view on the heather of the Vremščica, Whinchat, Kestrel, Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Garden Warbler in the patch

Local patch: finally this morning I managed to find this year's first Garden Warbler for the patch! The bird was feeding on the same bushes as every year with elder-berries. In the area also some more Blackcaps (m and f), some Blue Tits and a nice Coal Tit (feeding on conifer trees). The Coal Tit was seen also some days ago in the patch... last year I had barely one or two records for the whole winter. Let's hope for a good season this year!
On Friday there was a good passage of Tree Pipits and a nice mixed flock of House Martins and Swallows (some hundreads) was feeding in the air above the patch.


Yesterday I took part in a bird race, organized all over Italy. The target was to find the greatest number of birds within the borders of the Gorizia province (Italy). Our team (me and two others) started at 04.00 am in the morning and ended at about 20.00 pm in the evening. We managed to see 113 species (the complete chek-list at the end). The visited places (in more or less chronologic order) were: Alberoni, Fossalon, Doberdob lake NR, Lisert, Isola della Cona NR, Valle Cavanata NR, Valle Artalina, Gradisca d'Isonzo, Gorizia-river Isonzo, Medea/Borgnano, Carso Goriziano (Karst) + Cava di Sagrado + Alture di Polazzo.
The highlight of the day was a pair of LITTLE CRAKES in the morning at Lisert. The two birds were showing well at the reedbed marging, feeding together. Other interesting birds of the day were: Goosander (at least 10 f/eclipse m, on the river Isonzo), an OSPREY (at Lisert, perching on a pole), three Short-toed Eagles (above Lisert), several Hobbies, two Peregrines on the Karst, several Little Owls (at Fossalon) and the nice migrats including: a male Redstart, Wheatears, Whinchats, several Garden Warblers, 2-3 Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Wood Warblers, some Spotted Flycatchers and many Pied Flycatchers.
The two Little Crakes (male-the first one):


Short-toed Eagles:

The complete bird check-list of the day:
Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Bar-headed Goose
Red-breasted Merganser
Little Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Pygmy Cormorant
Night Heron
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Western Reef Egret
Great Egret
Grey Heron
Short-toed Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Honey Buzzard
Water Rail
Little Crake
Little Ringed Plover
Grey Plover
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Spotted Redshank
Black-headed Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Sandwich Tern
Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
Tawny Owl
Little Owl
Alpine Swift
Black Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Sand Martin
Barn Swallow
House Martin
Tawny Pipit
Tree Pipit
White Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Black Redstart
Garden Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat
Sardinian Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Cetti's Warbler
Reed Warbler
Willow Warbler
Wood Warbler
Spotted Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Marsh Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Short-toed Treecreeper
Red-backed Shrike
Hooded Crow
House Sparrow
Tree Sparrow
Cirl Bunting
Rock Bunting

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Willow Warblers & Honey Buzzard

Local patch: today at 12.25 am a Honey Buzzard arrived in flight from north, soared for a while above the patch and then headed south-east. Later at 12.45 at least 3-4 WILLOW WARBLERS were present along with a Chiffchaff on the spruce trees (all together), often fly-catching (see the pics above). At distance a Nuthatch was calling, while in the past days several Tree Pipits flew over the patch, along with some White Wagtails. Also the Jays are becoming increasingly common, visting the gardens. Yesterday just before a rain-storm, a probable Marsh/Hen Harrier was flying far on the sea in the mist...heading south.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Wader-party with Red Knot & Red-necked Phalarope

This afternoon at Isola della Cona (GO) the RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was still present, remaining always in the same area of the wetland. The other most interesting bird was a juvenile RED KNOT in the inner marsh that flew away after a short time.
Nice numbers of waders around including:
17 Little Ringed Plovers
7 Ringed Plovers
1-2 Temminck's Stints
7 Little Stints
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Spotted Redshank


2-3 Ruffs
Plus the usual menu including (Pygmy Cormorant, Purple Heron...), a nice Water Rail, a surpising male Common Pochard (in the inner marsh), few (the last) Bee-eaters, tons of White Wagtails with several Yellow Wagtails (both cinereocapilla and flava ssp.) and two Northern Wheatears (male and female).
A Red Fox made its appearence in the marsh among the wildfowl...looking for a meal.
Red Knot:

Red-necked Phalarope:

Ringed Plover:

Little Ringed Plover:

Red Fox...and mixed wildfowl:

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Trnovski gozd: more vultures than owls...

Some views of the areas (above)

Day spent in the Trnovo forest and the nearby mount Kucelj. Surprising lack of owls and general forest species. Instead the open habitats of the Kucelj yielded some more interesting birds: GRIFFON VULTURE (6 above the peak, heading south, following the mountain edge), Honey Buzzard (2), Sparrowhawk (2), Goshawk (1 probable), Kestrel, Tree Pipit (probably on migration), Northern Wheatear (2 f and 1 autumn male on the rocks), Pied Flycatcher (1 f), Rock Bunting.
Birds within the forest (common species):
-Honey Buzzard (1 quite confiding juv. perching on some low branches in the beech wood)
-Robin (moulting juvs.)
-Song Thrush
-Mistle Thrush
-Coal Tit
-Willow Tit
-Marsh Tit
-Crested Tit
-NUTCRACKER (1-2 heard)

Also: 2 black-morph Red Squirrels and 1 f Roe Deer.