Saturday, 30 October 2010

Golden Eagle and...fog!

A quite cloudy and foggy day, spent in Istria (Croatia), roving around the mount Učka and its surroundings. Not so many interesting birds though: Sparrowhawk, GOLDEN EAGLE (1 adult perching on cliffs and pine trees-first pic above), 1 Peregrine, 1 male Black Woodpecker, Skylarks on passage, Woodlark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit (some on the top of mount Učka), Black Redstart (literally loads!), Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit, Great Grey Shrike (1 near Sočerga in Slovenia), Raven, 2 Hawfinches, BRAMBLING on passage, Siskin, Serin, Bullfinch (1 nice female posing-see pic above), Linnet, a flock of Crossbills on passage, 1 Corn Bunting (singing on the Podgorski Kras in Slovenia), Yellowhammer - large flocks on fields, Cirl Bunting.

Friday, 29 October 2010

"Mussel Duck" at Škocjanksi zatok

Škocjanski zatok (KP): this morning a juv female GREATER SCAUP was present in the saltwater lagoon, feeding with the other ducks. It could be the first record for the reserve... In the area also: 3 Pygmy Cormorants, 1 Water Rail, 5 Dunlins, 1 Greenshank, Curlew, 1 Snipe, Skylarks on passage, Crested Lark, loads of Water Pipits, Brambling (heard, passing overhead), Linnet, Goldfinch, Greensfinch, Reed Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer, Cirl Bunting.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Laverocks on passage

Local patch: some SKYLARKS passed overhead this morning, giving their characteristic call. The same did yesterday a Meadow Pipit. Today also large flocks of STARLINGS (about 400-500 in total) in frenetic flight actions and gathering on kaki trees to feed. Really impressive numbers for the area! Plus local autumn stuff like Black Redstart (females mostly, but yesterday I had a nice male too), Cirl Bunting (2-3 on a spruce), Dunnock, Grey Wagtail (in flight), 2-3 Blackcaps feeding on kaki fruits. Yesterday a Cormorant was flying high above the coast, heading north towards Monte Grisa.
The pics above show part of the large flock

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Marsh Harrier in the wind

Local patch: this morning at 11.35 am a MARSH HARRIER was battling against the strong wind, high above the coast. With some powerful wingbeats it then headed north-east. In the garden about 5-6 Great Tits are now regularly taking seeds from the RSPB feeder and today even a Blue Tit joined them. On the ground just below the feeder also a female Chaffinch and a Dunnock looking for food. Usual Black Redstart on the roofs, 1-2 Blackcaps feeding on kaki trees, a Coal Tit and a flock of approx. 10 Long-tailed Tits.
Here some pics from the birdfeeder life (Great Tits):

Sunday, 24 October 2010

First geese from the north

Just to record the first White-fronted Geese at Isola della Cona that arrived few weeks ago. Today I had 5 of them within a large flock of Greylags. In the area few other birds: 1 Water Rail, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Green Sandpiper, +50 Lapwings and some ducks.

Local patch: in the last few days the Great Tits have started to take sunflower seeds from the RSPB birdfeeder in the garden. Yesterday also a Grey Heron was flying along the coast towards Miramare (at 16.25 pm) and a Grey Wagtail flew overhead. Regular birds in the garden by now include: Dunnock, Blackcap, Black Redstart, Coal Tit and of course tons of Robins!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Great Grey Shrike in the red

Today I spent the afternoon wandering the heathland and the wetland area of the Doberdob's lake (GO). On the red-coloured heathland a stunning GREAT GREY SHRIKE was checking the surroundings from a high perch (see the 2nd pic above). In the area also: 4 Buzzards, 1 Kestrel, Reed Bunting, 2-3 Ravens, Song Thrush, a Water Rail singing, 2 Black Woodpeckers (1 entering a presumed nest-hole/roost), Siskin, 1 f Stonechat, 1 calling Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Crested, Marsh and Coal Tits, Goldcrest.
Last two pics: the stunning autumn-coloured heathland.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

It's finch-time!

Škocjanski zatok (KP): Greenshank, Water Pipit (at least 10-15), Stonechat, Linnet, Wigeon (some in the inner marsh), 6-7 Pygmy Cormorants, 1 Snipe, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch (feeding on thistles-see pics above), almost constant overhead passage of Skylarks, 1 Sparrowhawk, BRAMBLING (some heard-passing overhead), Curlew, Siskin, TEMMINCK'S STINT (1 in the inner marsh-feeding on the mud with Water Pipits!), Dunlin (1 juv. in the inner marsh), Kingfisher, 1 Common Sandpiper.
Pics above: Goldfinches on thistle; last photo: the view on the lagoon at Škocjanski zatok, with the urbanised areas in the background.

Local patch: early this morning a GOLDCREST was present on the pine trees (the first for the season), along with the usual Coal Tits; plus Dunnock and Cirl Bunting heard.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

It's getting colder...

Local patch: some Dunnocks have started to appear in the gardens; mainly located by the calls, some also showing...but for now they are still a bit shy. Also the usual 1-2 Coal Tits, 1-2 female Black Redstarts, a small flock of Long-tailed Tits (yesterday) and few Serins on passage.

On Monday at Škocjanski zatok the usual stuff including flocks of Reed Buntings, 3-4 Stonechats, some passage Skylarks and two Grass Snakes.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bits of autumn migration

This afternoon on the Karst there was still a bit of movement, especially on some just-mowned grassland near Zgonik (TS). Birds feeding there included: +15 Black Redstarts (only 3 nice males), 1 first w. Grey Wagtail, 2 male Stonechats, 1 imm. male Common Redstart and 2-3 Meadow Pipits. In the surroundings also 3 Sparrowhawks, some Hawfinches and a small flock of Cirl Buntings.


Local patch: lively morning with a Whinchat (on the top of a cypress), 1 Black Redstart, 2-3 Dunnocks (heard only), at least 2 Coal Tits (feeding on conifers), 1 SONG THRUSH (heard), Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, 3 Buzzards, 1 f Blackcap, 4 WOODPIGEONS (on migration), a Water Pipit (heard) and a nice male Green Woodpecker showing well on the top of a cherry-tree. Also the Starlings are now regularly visiting the gardens in some bigger flocks, often feeding on kaki-trees (see pics above).
Photos above: Coal Tit and Starlings (last three shots).

Friday, 15 October 2010

The birdfeeder is up!

Local patch: after a busy week, today I finally managed to put up the RSPB tube-birdfeeder in a neighbour's garden. I hope to get at least Chaffinches, Coal, Great and Blue Tits and possibly other finches... Anyway today's most interesting sightings for the patch were: Water Pipit (heard on passage), Coal Tit, 1 female Black Redstart and 3 Woodpigeons (on migration, flying southwards).

Škocjanski zatok (KP) - in the last few days: +4 Stonechat, Serin, Pygmy Cormorant, Crested Lark, Tree Pipit (1 on passage), flocks of Reed Buntings, Water Rail, 2 Sedge Warblers (in the reedbed-showing well), Greenshank plus tons of Chiffchaffs.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Vis migging - with autumn delights

Local patch: the highlight of the day was a BRAMBLING that landed on a spruce and gave its typical call. Other intresting birds today included a Cormorant flying on the sea, constant passage of SISKINS, some Coal Tits, several Serins on passage, some SONG THRUSHES (flying overhead), 2 Buzzards, 1 f Black Redstart, 1 Grey Heron (flying above the coast, heading north), 2 low-flying Ravens above Barcola, some passing-by Grey Wagtails and lots of Starlings, forming medium-sized flocks.
Above: Brambling pic - 2008

Friday, 8 October 2010

Autumn passage

Local patch: early in the morning I heard a flock of Siskins flying overhead in small numbers. In fact for the whole morning in Koper (SLO) I've been hearing passing migrants like Siskins, Tree Pipits and Water Pipits.
Yesterday in the garden also a nice European Mantis.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Little Crake's photostream!

Škocjanski zatok: I finally managed to take some better shots of the two LITTLE CRAKES, present since last week in the local reedbed (see pics above).
The last three shots show: a European Tree Toad and a Grass Snake.
In the area also: Zitting Cisticola, 2 Whinchats, Crested Lark, 1 Water Rail, some overflying Meadow Pipits, a juv. Dunlin, a single Ruff among the Greenshanks, a juv. Purple Heron and a Wheatear.
Every enening (at approx. 18.30 pm) a nice flock of about 300-500 European Starlings flies into the reedbeds to roost; just before landing they perform their usual aerial spectacle.
Little Crake's video here

Monday, 4 October 2010

Little Crakes update

Škocjanski zatok (KP): still present two LITTLE CRAKES in the reedbed/canal areas (both juveniles - quite approachable). Plus: Water Pipit, 2 Whinchat, 1 Greenshank, 4 Pygmy Cormorants, Water Rail, 1 Wheatear, 1 Grass Snake.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Bird race in Slovenia: "Ptičariada"

Another bird-race...this time in Slovenia (organised by DOPPS-Birdlife International). The area covered was the Vipava valley (Vipavska dolina), part of the Trnovo forest (Trnovski gozd), Komenski kras and the surroundings of Nova Gorica. Total species recordered by our team: 71; time: 00.00 am to 14.00 pm.
The most notable records: 3 Pochards, 1 Tufted Duck, 1 Griffon Vulture (above Komen), 1 Tawny Owl singing near Col (Trnovski gozd), Black Woodpecker, Skylark, Crested Lark and Woodlark, Tree Pipit (on passage), 1 Water Pipit (in flight), Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart (some females + 1 male), Stonechat, FIELDFARE (a small flock in the Trnovski gozd) , 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 f Pied Flycatcher, Treecreeper, Nutcracker (in the Trnovski gozd), Crossbill, Cirl Bunting, Rock Bunting. Mammals included (apart from the Badger at Bukovica, early in the morning): Red Squirrel, 1 Roe Deer, Hare and some RED DEERS heard belling in the Trnovo forest.
Photo above: Fieldfare, taken on the Karst, last winter.

Badgers in the night

And finally came the day of my first Badger encounter! This morning at 02.40 am, while driving on the Slovenian Karst (near Branik), I was very pleased to see a *BADGER* crossing the road and running into some vineyards. Later (at about 03.39 am) another one crossed the road at Bukovica (near Renče, Vogrsko).

Friday, 1 October 2010

Little Crake close up!

Škocjanski zatok (KP): late morning in the wetland on the outskirts of Koper (Slovenia) produced a close encounter with a LITTLE CRAKE. I initially spotted the juv. bird at distance, as it was feeding out of the reedbed in the open. Then it carefully approached (always in a feeding frenzy) until I had it just few meters away from my feet. "Obviously" I hadn't the camera with me, so I took some pics with the phone... (see above - the pictures of the picture). Anyway I had some pretty great views of the species!
In the wetland area also: a Sparrowhawk, Greenshank (heard), 1-2 Crested Larks, 1 Tree Pipit (flying overhead), 2-3- Whinchats, 1 Zitting Cisticola (showing well), and some Cetti's Warblers.