Tuesday 6 September 2011

DOTTEREL at last!!

A perfect day, for a perfect bird! I spent today's afternoon looking for Dotterels on the hillsides of the mount Vremščica in nearby Slovenia, with my friend Igor Maiorano. After almost 2 hours of walking the grassy slopes and having just heard a weak call of a probable bird, our effort was rewarded. At 17.45 two EURASIAN DOTTERELS flew over our heads, calling (it was the call we heard before!) and landed on a nearby hill top. So we went to check. The birds remained there for the whole time. The moments that followed cannot be described with simple words, but let's say that excitment was of course the prevailing feeling. We had the two birds feeding on the stony path down to 5 metres in front of us! From the plumage features I can say they were juv/1st winter birds...or something like that (see pics above). Very tame; they approached us even more when we sat down on the ground and waited. Simply gorgeous, especially with the perfect orange light of the sun setting! They showed very well on the path (and in the nearby low vegetation) until 19.00-19.30 when we left the site.
The search in the early afternoon was not too boring, as we had some other birds for good company too: 2 Kestrels, lots of Whinchats and Northern Wheatears, Skylark (being the commonest bird), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 imm Marsh Harrier (hunting over the hills), Raven, Buzzard, 1 Honey Buzzard, 1 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling in the nearby wood, 1 Willow Warbler and a nice immature GOLDEN EAGLE being mobbed by a Common Buzzard (an interesting sightings here).

And here a photo by Igor Maiorano with 300 mm lenses: