Tuesday 30 July 2013
Wednesday 24 July 2013
Friday 19 July 2013
|Everything is Allium-covered at the moment|
Local patch: this morning I went to look for Common Sandpiper (a patch year-tick) at Miramare and found 5 birds on the rocks by the sea, just under the castle's wall. The species is a passage migrant in the patch area and July is usually the best month to see one. The last Common Sandpiper I saw here was back in 2006 (or something)... quite a long time ago, but actually I rarely visit the area in summer. Three Common Terns were also around as well as plenty of Shags as usual.
Yesterday evening also a singing Nightjar was heard, along with a Golden Oriole.
On Wednesday evening I counted Shags at the roost on Debeli rtič (Slovenia/Italy border) and scored a total of 482 birds. Also 24 Mediterranean Gulls in all different plumages were around, along with 11 Common Terns, a Little Egret and 4 Common Sandpipers.
|Adult Med Gull|
Tuesday 16 July 2013
Also some interesting plants were around. Here's a couple of pics (can't resist...the botany side's too strong):
|Today's highlight (yes, it's a grass): Chrysopogon gryllus|
Monday 15 July 2013
I also took some time to photograph and identify some of the halophytes present in the brackish lagoon. All very rare species in Slovenia, which are confined to the few saltmarshes found along the coast.
Tuesday 9 July 2013
|Little Ringed Plover|
|Ashy-headed Yellow Wagtail (cinereocapilla)|
Several Little Bitterns were also nice to see - 3 different birds actually (2 f and 1 m) flying low above the reeds. The reedbeds have grown simply too tall to try and see the birds perched in full view. They usually drop down into thick cover, never to be seen again.
The first migrant waders were also obvious and the most unexpected was a summer-plumaged Dunlin in the lagoon. There were also good numbers of Common Redshank (18 birds, mostly juvs. - fledged in the lagoon), Greenshank (21), Common Sandpiper (8), Green Sandpiper (2), Little Ringed Plover (28 - mostly juvs.), Black-winged Stilt (50) and a single Curlew.
Other locally breeding birds such as the above Yellow Wagtail were also around.
Saturday 6 July 2013
Breeding Lesser Grey Shrikes are now almost extinct in Slovenia. Perhaps the last remaining pair is the one in the Vipava valley. Yesterday I spent some time at the location and witnessed some amazing parental behaviour. There were 4 fledged and fully flying LESSER GREY SHRIKES around, along with the two adults bringing a constant food supply. The male was frequently seen flycatching (also dragonflies) or hunting other insects on the ground, while the juveniles were waiting up on the poplar trees.
|Adult with a dragonfly in the beak|
|Adult (right) with a juvenile (left)|
|A happy family: all 4 juveniles + an adult together|
Nearby was also a pair of Red-backed Shrikes and the male sat just a few metres away from the male Lesser Grey. From a front view, the only thing you could see were whitish underparts and a black mask in both species. The distinguishing feature was of course the extensive black on the forehead showed by Lesser Grey and the different bill structure (bulkier in LGS). A nice scene for comparison of both species. Note the differences below:
|Lesser Grey Shrike|
Later in the morning I also had a look at the extensive upland grasslands of mount Nanos, which produced the hoped-for GOLDEN EAGLE - an adult soaring not too high above my head. If I don't go wrong, the last Golden Eagle I saw was here in the same place, back in 2010. I'm quite glad I saw one after a long time. Other raptors included a Griffon Vulture heading W, 1 Hobby (hunting), 1 Goshawk and 5 Buzzards. A few breeding passerines were also around: Chiffchaff, Common and Lesser Whitethroat, 2 pairs of Stonechat, Skylark and at least 4 singing Rock Buntings.
Wednesday 3 July 2013
After a few hours of birding the lake we amassed a good number of interesting species of which the highlight was with no doubt COMMON ROSEFINCH. At least 3 singing males were heard in different scrubby areas on wet meadows. One male bird in particular put on good show and allowed the best views while perched on low bushes (pics above) and a female was also close nearby (pictured in the last photo on the right).
During the afternoon we had a good selection of birds including: a SHORT-TOED EAGLE (soaring with a snake in the talons), Common Quail (2 singing males), Marsh Warbler (3), Great and Little Egret, Great Reed Warbler, White Stork (another local nest), Whinchat (quite common), Yellowhammer (5), Red-backed Shrike, Common Whitethroat (3), Yellow Wagtail (nesting behavoiur), Great Crested Grebes (families of ads+juvs), Honey Buzzard (4), Teal (about 30), Shelduck (1, I think this is a quite interesting record for the area), Marsh Harrier (1 f), Sedge Warbler (4), Golden Oriole (2), Tree Pipit (1), Hobby (1 hunting), Fieldfare (5, nesting birds in the area). A flock of about 30 or so Black-headed Gulls on the lake also contained an adult Mediterranean Gull which was fine.
Other interesting birds came shortly after the sunset in the form of the first singing CORNCRAKES. At the end of the evening we recorded at least 8 singing males around the lake. Not a very high number for the area, but of course the season is a bit late, so they tend not to be so territorial at the moment.
Shortly after also two GRASSHOPPER WARBLERS began to sing - which came as a bit of a surprise... a pleasant surprise!
We then headed for some "night safari" along the roads around the lake and encountered a few mammal species as well: Roe and Red Deer, Fox (2) and a Beech Marten.
Our last night stop on the lake's shores produced yet another two goodies. In a chorus of Marsh Frogs we managed to pick out the calls of both Porzanas breeding in the area: first a LITTLE CRAKE and then also a SPOTTED CRAKE. After a while both birds were heard singing together, so direct comparison was possible.
What a better way to round up the day?
|View over part of the lake (with Mt. Slivnica in the background)|