Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sunday birding with Goshawk and ducks

Lisert wetland held: 2 Marsh Harriers, 6 Pochards in the inner pond, 2 Greylag Geese, 1 Water Rail, Jackdaws heard, Reed Bunting, Curlew, 2 Shelducks, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers doing a sort of "courtship dance" (neck stretching and "vibring"), 2 Great Crested and 1 Black-necked Grebe and a nice flock of +20 Cirl Buntings.
The fields around Bosco San Marco, near Aquileia (GO) yielded: 50-60 Lapwings, 20-25 Jackdaws, 4 Buzzards, +30 Skylark in flock, big flocks of Woodpigeons, 1 Sparrowhawk and Tree Sparrows.
Later at Isola della Cona 3 Tundra Bean Geese were still present within a small flock of White-fronts (150 cca.). No signs of the Lesser White-fronted, which was probably with the other part of the flock. In the freshwater marsh also: 1 m Tufted Duck (+ 3 in the canal), 5 Curlews, Lapwings, 1 RUDDY SHELDUCK of unknown origins, 31 Common Snipes, 14 Pochards, the local pair of Marsh Harriers, 1 f Goldeneye, 20-30 Pintails (mostly males), lots of Shovelers and nice numbers of Gadwalls too; few Wigeons and "tons" of Teals. The highlight was perhaps a flying by GOSHAWK...that didn't seem too much interested in wildfowl. Of note were also two PIKES in the small pond near the main hide and a Red Fox looking for food around the edges of the marsh.
Photos above (from top to bottom): Shoveler (2x), Pochards and Shovelers, sleeping Gadwalls, Tundra Bean Geese.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Common Crane(s) at Škocjanski zatok

Škocjanski zatok: clear and sunny day with a bit of eastern wind resulted in the perfect day for vis migging. The highlight was a flock of 20 COMMON CRANES circling over the freshwater marsh (from 11.00 am), but apparently not landing. They continued to fly around (sometimes far) for the whole morning, until one dropped down into the marsh and landed on the grass. The lone bird was visible from the second screening and was actually very close, so the views were absolutely cracking (30 meters cca). Never seen a Crane so well before! It was constantly feeding on the grassy island amongst a flock of Lapwings (the usual one - about 20). Unfortunately the only thing I could use to photograph was my phone (see above).
Other birds of interest in the area: 1-2 Common Gull, 1 Snipe, Reed Bunting, 1 Greenshank, 4 Tufted Ducks in the freshwater, several Wigeons, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 nice male Pintail (in the freshwater marsh).

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Lapwings on the move

Škocjanski zatok: weekly bird monitoring today was a fight against the elements. There was a quite strong and cold wind...however I managed to count all the present species. In the last days there has been an increase of waders. Of note was a flock of 23 Lapwings (present since yesterday), 16 Pochards and a Grey Plover. Yesterday also the local GREEN SANDPIPER was seen. But here are the numbers:
101 Little Grebe
18 Great Crested Grebe
4 Cormorant
10 Pygmy Cormorant
2 Little Egret
3 Great Egret
25 Grey Heron
8 Mute Swan
33 Wigeon
39 Mallard
9 Shoveler
181 Teal
16 Pochard
2 Buzzard
3 Moorhen
399 Coot
1 Grey Plover
23 Lapwing
7 Curlew
1 Common Sandpiper
21 Greenshank
9 Snipe
76 Black-headed Gull
3 Common Gull
20 Yellow-legged Gull
2 Skylark
3 Water Pipit
6 White Wagtail
1 Robin
2 Cetti's Warbler
2 Chiffchaff
+20 Magpie
+5 Hooded Crow
4 Greenfinch
1 Goldfinch

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Today in the patch

Local patch: today of interest 2 Goldcrests, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Blue Tits at the birdfeeder and on the fatball (see above), 1 nice male Black Redstart (see pics above), 5 Greenfinches and 4 Great Crested Grebes on the sea (in group). A Goldcrest was present also yesterday, with a calling Cirl Bunting.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

LWFG, White Stork & Spoonbills

Fantastic warm and sunny day spent on the wetlands of the coast. The highlight at Isola della Cona was the adult *LESSER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE*, I finally managed to found after several outings in the last weeks. The bird was swimming in the freshwater marsh, within the medium-sized flock of White-fronted Geese (700-900). Fortunately this one was quite easy to find as it was showing well the head markings. Not that much white on the forehead in fact, but the yellow eye-ring was prominent. Among the White-fronts also some Greylags and 4 Tundra Bean Geese. No signs of the Red-breasted Goose though. A large part of the main flock has probably already migrated north.
Also the ducks were present in nice numbers and included a nice variety of species: mainly Teals and Shovelers, but also several Gadwalls, +10 Pintails, 7 male Pochards, 1 female Goldeneye and some Wigeons & 4 Tufted Ducks on the Quarantia canal. Other birds in the area were: +200 Lapwings on the mudflats, 3 Marsh Harriers, 1 female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (calling from atop a poplar), 1 Water Rail seen well and several other singing. Also a nice Cetti's Warbler showed quite well - out of cover.
Later at about 13.45 I was surprised to spot a WHITE STORK soaring above the fields of Terranova (GO). Then I realised it must have been the odd overwintering individual, reported at Fossalon.
On the Averto canal (Fossalon area): +30 Tufted Ducks, +200 Pochards, 1 Snipe and 1 Black-necked Grebe in nice breeding plumage.
Valle Cavanata area held: Curlew, cca. 270 Lapwing, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Sandwich Terns (out on the sea), 1 Greenshank and 10 nice SPOONBILLS, feeding in the shallows.
At dusk the White Stork landed for a few minutes in the freshwater marsh of Isola della Cona and then took off, heading north.
The terrible and blurred image above shows the Lesser White-fronted Goose (note the tiny bill and extensive white on the other characters are visible here)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Geese movement & Sardinian Warblers

Doberdob lake NR this morning: the water level was very low, so ducks and waterbirds were not seen in great numbers. The highlight were cca. 70 White-fronted Geese on migration, high above the lake, heading east (9.20 am). Then: 2 singing Woodlarks, several nice Rock Buntings, some Greylag Geese (heard), 1 Sparrowhawk, Meadow Pipit, 1 singing Water Rail, Teals (heard), +3 Buzzards, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 female Kestrel, a flock of 16 Siskin on the poplar-trees. No signs of the overwintering Great Grey Shrike on the heathland...
Later I checked the Rilke path NR - Duino/Devin: +15 Common Eiders of which 2 were quite close to the coast (above), Great Crested Grebe, some Black-necked Grebes, +4 Black-throated Divers, some BRIMSTONES and RED ADMIRALS, 1 Crested Tit, 3 Sardinian Warblers (calling and singing males; 2 seen well), 1 black morph Red Squirrel in the pines. At 11.07 am a flock of 36 GREYLAG GEESE flew overhead, going north-westwards.
Quite disappointing was the fact that I didn't see any Peregrine in the area.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Geese flock with RED-BREASTED beauty

A large flock of Greater White-fronted Geese (last two pics above) was present today on the fields of Terranova (GO). I estimated about 1600-1700 birds, but there could have been more. Within the flock, I also found the adult RED-BREASTED GOOSE (1st, 2nd, 3rd pics above) and the "usual" 3 TUNDRA BEAN GEESE (above: 4th and 5th pic). Very few a single Bar-headed Goose. In the surrounding fields a Crested Lark was singing and a male Marsh Harrier flew by.
Later I checked Lido di Staranzano (GO) and found a raft of at least 30 VELVET SCOTERS out on the sea (both males and females). Other seabirds included: lots of Goldeneyes, +45 Great Crested Grebes, many Black-necked Grebes, 4-5 Black-throated Divers and several Red-breasted Mergansers. On the mudflats some Curlews and a single Grey Plover.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


The beachwood near Bazovica (TS) this afternoon yielded a nice "poker" of woodpeckers. The pair of Black Woodpeckers showed well, while singing and doing their courtship rituals. A single GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER (male) was also in the area, but I soon lost it (it probably entered one of the roost-holes). Usual Great Spotted Woodpeckers were doing quite a bit of noise, with the more shy Green Woodpecker (male) flying around. At the end finally came also a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. In the area also 2 Siskins that stopped for a while on the trees (1 m singing) and some Crossbills around.
Just before dusk a nice male EAGLE OWL showed very well, while singing in its rocky habitat, out of the town of Trieste (see pics above). That was from about 17.05 onwards. It still continued to sing when I left at 17.35 pm. Great!
Pics above: the first two showing the singing Eagle Owl; the last two showing the Grey-headed Woodpecker and "a piece of" singing Black Woodpecker.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Signs of spring...with first Hawfinch in a while

Local patch: days are getting longer and warmer. It's been sunny for more than a week by now. Yesterday a HAWFINCH was perching on the top of a high plane-tree (first record of the species after a quite long period of absence). Today in the morning a Cirl Bunting was singing somewhere behind the house (in the nearer backyard). Usual Blue Tit on the fatball - present daily. Other sightings from the past few days include: 1 male Black Redstart (fantastic colouring!), 1 single Long-tailed Tit, some Robins still singing (mainly at dusk or by night), 1 Buzzard, 2 Ravens over Strada del Friuli, 1 Blackcap heard singing. I also had the pleasure to see the first butterflies (!): 1-2 Red Admirals and 1 male BRIMSTONE!
Also the first Snowdrops and some Primeroses begun to bloom.
Note: the photo above was taken few years ago - the trees are not yet in bloom!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Quick update

Škocjanski zatok: usual sightings including 9 Pochard (7 m and 2 f) in the freshwater marsh, along with 1m and 1f Tufted Duck. Also Penduline Tits heard, Reed Bunting and 1 Great Egret in the freswater marsh.

Local patch: yesterday a singing SHORT-TOED TREECREEPER was of note in the gardens. Also a singing Coal Tit, 1 Buzzard, Blue Tit on the fatball, 1 nice male Black Redstart + female, 1 female Cirl Bunting perching on a low tree.

Friday, 4 February 2011

BEARDED TITS and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

Škocjanski zatok: the highlight today were 4 BEARDED TITS, firstly heard and then seen flying high above the reedbed, heading NE. It seems to be the first record for this winter... In the area also: 2 Water Rails (seen in the reeds) + 1 singing, 1-2 Penduline Tit (heard), Reed Bunting, 1 Cetti's Warbler seen well (it was actually ringed!), 1 f Stonechat, 1 Buzzard.

A visit to the "woodpecker's hot-spot" (a patch of beech-wood on the Karst) produced only a pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, doing their territorial antics - the male excavating a nest hole; also heard drumming and singing. No trace of other woodpecker's species apart from 2 Great Spotted (drumming), lots of Marsh Tits (singing), Crested Tit, Hawfinch and some Crossbills feeding on the pine-cones (one nice male singing on a beech). A very welcome sight was an Admiral, gliding and sunbathing in the wood.
By the way, in the morning I even saw a Red Squirrel crossing the road. Actually, spring is already here!
Above are the pics of the two Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers (female top, male bottom).

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Hedgehog surprise!

Local patch: in the evening I found this EASTERN EUROPEAN HEDGEHOG (E. concolor) roving around on a local road. It seemed quite hungry as it ate all the bacon I put out for him. In fact it's a quite rare sighting as we are still in winter... Anyway I asked further details and explanation to some experts.

Garden birds with HAWFINCH special

Spent the morning in a hide in the garden of a friend (on the Karst). Mainly watching the bird activity on the "feeding station" - both birdfeeder (with sunflower seeds) and fatballs. The highlight were of course 3-5 HAWFINCHES showing pretty well (see the pics). Other species seen: 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2-3 Dunnocks, Robin, Blackbird, 1 male Blackcap on the ivy, +15 Great Tits, several Blue Tits, 1 Jay drinking from the garden pond, 1 Raven flew overhead, Starling, House Sparrow (small numbers), few Chaffinches, +50 very nice BRAMBLINGS feeding on the lawn and on the birdfeeder, 10-15 Greenfinches and 2 Cirl Buntings.
The pics above show a Hawfinch feeding with Brambling, Greenfinch, Great Tits; the last two show a Greenfinch. In the pic below a nice mix of Greenfinches, Hawfinch, Bramblings, House Sparrow and Great Tit: