Sunday 18 November 2012

Winter goodies on the coast

Today I had a really good time along the coast, discovering some freshly arrived "winter gems". In the morning we had a walk with the local bird group at Lisert where we managed to see quite an astonishing number and diversity of grebes and divers. Best bird of the day was a handsome SLAVONIAN GREBE fishing on the sea, just metres away from the concrete bank we were standing on (pics above). Thus I had my best views ever of this northern species. Needles to say it was a season's first.
The sea was literally stuffed with divers: +30 Black-throated Divers (incl. 17 together and one breeding plumaged bird!) and +10 Red-throated Divers (pics below). Two Red-necked Grebes were also present, along with just a few Great Cresteds and about 30 Black-necked Grebes all concentrated in the bay of Panzano. In a nearby marina we picked out the first COMMON GULL of the season among a group Black-headed Gulls.
Other birds in the Lisert area included: 20 Curlews, 2 Common Eiders, Water Pipit, 6 Pintails & Shovelers, 15 Skylarks, 1 Greenshank, 1 Peregrine (soaring high above Monfalcone), 5 Common Sandpipers, several Sandwich Terns out on the sea, 2 Goldcrests, Reed Buntings & Penduline Tits in the reedbed, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Short-toed Treecreeper, both Rock and Cirl Bunting, 15 Jackdaws, 1 Stonechat, 1 Snipe and a few commoner things.
In the afternoon we went to Isola della Cona and had some additional highlights in the form of: 1 male MERLIN hunting on the saltmarsh (first of the season), 2 ringtail Hen Harriers, 1 Red-necked Grebe (Quarantia canal), 2 Tufted Ducks, about 15 Goldcrests, 6 Dunlins, 1 Marsh Harrier and other commoner marshland stuff.
Also glad to see the returning White-fronted Geese - at least 60 seen today in the freshwater marsh. But others will follow...

Sunday 11 November 2012

PALLAS'S GULL - Medvedce reservoir (NE Slovenia)

Just back after a successful twitch of the above PALLAS'S GULL (aka Great Black-headed Gull). I went to see it this morning, on the other part of the country; to be precise on Zadrževalnik Medvedce (Medvedce reservoir, NE Slovenia). The first-winter bird was discovered yesterday and fortunately it stayed around long enough for me to see it. I spotted it at 9.40 am, minutes after I arrived. I had some good views of it, also in flight, until 10.30 am when it took off and headed directly north with a Yellow-legged Gull (see last two pics). Not seen again after that.
If I don't get wrong this should be the 5th record for Slovenia...or something. The area held the usual mix of waterfowl, but the other most interesting birds were 1 male HEN HARRIER quartering the fields (first for the season for me), 2 Great Grey Shrikes and a nice flock of 45 ROOKS feeding on the ground.
Waders included something like 30 Lapwings and 2 Dunlins. Also 34 Greylag Geese and quite a lot of Penduline Tits feeding on the Typhas.

Friday 9 November 2012

Stock Dove... again

I spent some time at the airfield of Divača this afternoon, checking the always potentially good fields and grasslands.
A pleasant surprise was a STOCK DOVE sitting on a wire of the high-voltage line. It gave pretty good views in the warm autumn sunshine (see pics above). In my opinion still an interesting bird - the second I see on the Karst in a short period of time.
Two handsome Great Grey Shrikes were also present in the area; as always, sitting on the bushes right by the airfield. Needles to say, they were flushed every time a propeller took off. After a long flight, one of the shrikes landed on some low pines right next to a female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. So I had both birds in the same scope's view! Later another two (clearly different) Lesser Spots called from the nearby woodland.
The area was otherwise pretty silent and calm. The only other birds of note included 5 Rock Buntings (feeding on the path), +30 Mistle Thrushes (always common on the airfield), 3 Ravens, 1 Black Woodpecker, 1 Crested and 1 Coal Tit, flock of 10 Woodlarks, a couple of Meadow Pipits on the ground, some Siskins going overhead and a female Black Redstart.
I also tried some nearby cliffs for the potential Wallcreeper, but with no success. Maybe it's still too early...