Tuesday 4 March 2014

Crane migration

Flock of Common Cranes Grus grus - by Neža Gregorič
On Sunday I guided a small group of friends around the coastal wetlands. It was a grim and cloudy day and the feel was quite winterish. In the morning I had a look in my patch, on the sea near Miramare, where 2 Common Gulls were the highlight. With the others we then checked the sea at Duino/Devin and got the usual flock of Eiders, with the smart males performing display. A look at the wind-swept sea in the bay of Panzano, near Monfalcone revealed the 3 wintering Long-tailed Ducks (still present), 2 Slavonian Grebes, 1 Red-necked Grebe and commoner species. Interesting to note that most Black-necked Grebes are now in breeding plumage, whereas the Slavonians are still in the winter one. So now they are very easy to pick out and tell apart. Valle Cavanata NR held a mix of the commoner dabbling and diving ducks, including Tufted Duck, Pochard, 3 male Scaups and a few Goldeneyes. Also around were 8 Spoonbills, a few Spotted Redshanks, 150 Lapwings, 1 Marsh and 1 Hen Harrier. The beach of Banco Mula di Muggia near Grado at low tide was covered with Dunlins and Grey Plovers, as well as a flock of 29 Bar-tailed Godwits. The highlight (and surprise) of the day came in the afternoon at Isola della Cona NR, where a flock of 128 COMMON CRANES appeared in the sky low above the marsh, before heading south-west. At the moment there is a good passage of Cranes, as mid-sized flocks are reported from all over the region, including some migrating above Trieste.
Yesterday instead short stroll on the Karst with 1 territorial Black Woodpecker, a mix of common woodland birds (everything into song now) and a beautiful singing male Cirl Bunting.
At the time of writing there's a Black-necked Grebe in breeding plumage on the sea - seen from my bedroom's window of course.