Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Migration before the rain and Peregrine Airshow

The weather today was terrible - force 6-7 south east wind and frequent rain, however we got some good birds especially in the morning at Ghadira Nature Reserve. There was quite a lot of migration before the worst of the rain which provided a hectic an exciting hour. A total of 60 Grey herons (largest flock of 32) 1 Purple Heron, 25 Little Egret (2 injured), 1 Night Heron were the herons seen. Raptors were represented by around 40 Marsh harrier, 3 Honey Buzzard, 7 Lesser kestrel, 5 Common kestrel, a Hobby and the best of all the very scarce Hen Harrier (male). Some so called hunter shot at it and it seemed as if it got injured but continued flying. Just as exciting was a Whiskered tern also scarce and a lifer. It entertained us with its successful fishing in front of the hide. The most interesting wader present was a Spotted Redshank while 1 Wood sandpiper, 1 Common sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, 8 Little stint weren't bad either. Moreover two Kingfishers were also fun to watch as well as a Black-eared Wheatear.

At Buskett there was no migration except for 10 Honey buzzards, otherwise around 5 Marsh harrier, 10 Hobby, 8 Lesser kestrel, 3 Common Kestrel were staying in the area. The treat of the afternoon were two juvenile Peregrine falcons mobbing aggressively all other raptors. As too often hunting ruined it all: after dusk a shot was heard from underneath the tree where one of the Peregrines had roosted. Will it be there tomorrow? On a more positive note we managed to flush 4 quails (one of my favourite parts of birding - flushing quails and grouse). Finally we saw 7 Night heron, 8 Turtle dove, a Golden oriole, 120 Yellow wagtail, 3 Tree pipits, 60 Barn Swallow and 5 House martin.