Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Geese update & Sečovlje salina's Ringtail

Škocjanski zatok: the geese are increasing in numbers with 5-8 White-fronted Geese seen today. There could be more, as I saw some flying overhead above the marsh. The LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE is still present, this time in good company of its bigger relatives. In the area of interesting also 2 female Goldeneye, 1 female Hen Harrier, Water Rail, 1 Green Sandpiper, about 5-10 Curlews, some overflying Skylarks and 1 female Stonechat.
A quick, not really birding visit to the Sečovlje saltplans (salina) produced another ringtail Hen Harrier.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Afternoon "gulling" at Miramare (TS) produced a nice LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. The bird was not very shy and even approached some people that were throwing bread (see the first pics above). It probably belongs to the graellsii/intermedius subspecies. In the area also 2 Common Gulls (last pic above), 3 Red-breasted Mergansers (2 m and 1 f - far at sea), 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Black-throated Diver and a very far RED-NECKED GREBE.


Local patch: there's still snow on the ground. This morning a female BRAMBLING landed on a small tree in the garden, along with some Chaffinches. 2 Dunnocks calling - one seen well. On the sea a Black-necked Grebe.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Birds in the snow

Local patch: after a heavy snowfall during the night, today the gardens were completely covered with a white veil. The snow forced some birds to move from the Karst plateau to the coast, so birding was quite productive this morning. The highlights were some small flocks of WOODLARKS (about 20) flying around the patch, about 5 MISTLE THRUSHES flying around, some Meadow Pipits heard flying overhead. Plus also the local birds like: the usual confiding Buzzard (perching on the trees in the garden!), Cirl Bunting, Chaffinch (flocks feeding on the lawn-see pic above), Great Tits taking seeds from the RSPB birdfeeder, 1 female Sparrowhawk hunting, a male Blackcap feeding with berries, Coal Tit, Robin (looking for food on the lawn) and a Cormorant flying above the coast.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Hungry Buzzard

Local patch: it's getting even colder in the last days, with the temperatures always around freezing (or some degrees below zero). Today I watched a Buzzard perching on an electricity pole just above a local road... it was looking for a meal in the nearby orchards. Just few meters away from the pole there were some feral hens and cocks roving around. It then flew off, but I could relocate it some minutes later on a far away tree.
On the sea a solitary Great Crested Grebe - I think is the first for the season in patch. Meanwhile in the gardens some nice flocks of Chaffinches were looking for food.

Škocjanski zatok update: yesterday the only birds I could locate were the juv. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE and 3 Grey Herons. The freshwater marsh was almost completely frozen and devoid of birds!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Firecrest in the garden

Local patch: the highlight today was a female FIRECREST, feeding on a spruce-tree in mid afternoon. This is one of the few records of the species this year (for the patch). In previous years it used to be more common in autumn and winter. In the area also the usual garden birds, including Great Tits taking seeds from the RSPB feeder (sometimes also a single Blue Tit), 2-3 Chaffinches on the lawn, 1 Dunnock heard, 1m and 1f Blackcap feeding on small berries from a bush and a Sandwich Tern on the sea (flew past).

Sunday, 12 December 2010

ALPINE ACCENTORS, Treecreeper, Fieldfares and EAGLE OWL

Morning visit to the mount Stena (TS) produced two nice ALPINE ACCENTORS on the steep, rocky and grassy slopes (also giving the characteristic calls) - giving good views; Goldcrests, various tits (Coal, Crested...), 1 EURASIAN TREECREEPER (rare winter species on the Karst - one of the few records!), small flock of Crossbills.
With two friends I then headed to Divača's airfield in the nearby Slovenia and tried to catch up with a Rough-legged Buzzard (reported yesterday). No sign of the raptor, but instead we got 1 Great Grey Shrike, a flock of 18 FIELDFARES, some Crossbills, a Raven and 2 Common Buzzards.

At dusk just after the sunset, a stop to the heathland near Bazovica (TS) produced a nice adult Eagle Owl - seen flying and consequently heard singing (somewhere on a pine tree).
Pics above - first two: Alpine Accentor; last two: Fieldfares

Saturday, 11 December 2010

My first "Ringtail" of the season

Isola della Cona this morning produced: 5-6 White-fronted Geese, 1 female Pintail, 2 Goldeneye, 2-3 Red-breasted Mergansers, at least 7 Black-throated Divers, Black-necked Grebe, Marsh Harrier, 1 stunning male HEN HARRIER over the marsh, a hundred Lapwings, 2-3 Spotted Redshanks, Curlew, 4 Snipes, 1 Firecrest, some Penduline Tits heard, Brambling - only heard several times.

An afternoon stop at Miramare resulted in 2 Black-throated Divers on the sea, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 RED-NECKED GREBE (above), 1 Cormorant, 1 Common Gull among the numerous Black-headed and Yellow-legged Gulls.
The Hen Harrier pictured above is from last winter.

Friday, 10 December 2010

First frost at Škocjanski zatok with Siberian Chiffchaff

Škocjanski zatok: LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE still present in the freshwater marsh (pics above), 2 female Goldeneye, hunting Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Water Rail, 1 Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, 2 Snipes (flushed), 1 Fan-tailed Warbler, 2 or more Penduline Tits heard in the extensive reedbed, Reed Bunting. Plus also a nice SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF in the hedges - probably tristis ssp. - cold grey/whitish colours, different weak call and overall different facial expression; easy comparison with a nearby Chiffchaff.

Lazzaretto-Muggia (TS) - on the sea:
6 Black-throated Divers, 1 RED-NECKED GREBE, several Black-necked Grebes, at least 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Curlew, 1 HERRING GULL (among the other gulls), 1 Sandwich Tern.

At my friend's home (in the garden) I photographed this Moorish Gecko:

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Cormorants in the fog

Local patch: this morning at 11.45 am 10 Cormorants flew past, low above the coast (in "v" formation), heading north. In the past days, of interest in the area, also some Hawfinches on passage.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Crosbills in the rain

Local patch: at 14.52 pm a flock of 8 CROSSBILLS flew over the patch, under a pouring rain and fog.

Rain and fog

Škocjanski zatok: still present the juv. LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE this morning (in front of the second hide). Also 110 Teal, 1 female Goldeneye, 20 Dunlin, 1 Spotted Redshank, 16 Greenshank, usual Sparrowhawk, 13 Curlew, Pygmy Cormorant, Stonechat, Reed Bunting, Linnet.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Divers, grebes and ducks

Latest news from today's birding:

On the sea at Miramare (TS) 5 Black-throated Divers were present.

Lisert (GO) produced: 4-5 Red-brested Mergansers (see pics above), 2 Black-necked Grebes, at least 5 Black-throated Divers, small mixed parties of Reed Buntings and other finches, 2 Meadow Pipits flying overhead, 1 female Marsh Harrier, and at least 16 ALPINE CHAMOISES on the mount Grmada (TS) (seen from Lisert), basking in the midday sun.

At Doberdob's lake NR: some Ravens, 1 Black Woodpecker calling, 1 nice Great Grey Shrike on the heathland, Brambling, Hawfinch. On the lake itself (high water!) at least 30 Greylag Geese, Teals, Mallards, Coot, about 15 Tufted Ducks (both sexes) and a male Pochard.

Rilke path - Duino cliffs (TS): 68 Common Eiders at sea, 9 Black-throated Divers, 1 male Red-brested Merganser, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe and a nice male PEREGRINE perching on a rock and giving nice views. In the pine wood usual Coal Tits and Goldcrests.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Lesser White-fronted still there

Škocjanksi zatok: still present this afternoon at dusk (16.42) the LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE; grazing in a new area of grassland, quite far.