Saturday, September 19, 2009

A lucky Osprey and much more...

Woke up at 5.45 and set off to Qawra, the best point for seawatching at this time of the year. It started well with a winter plumage Turnstone flying close to shore. There was not much migration though and I didn't get the Audouin's gull I had hoped for! Two Grey and three Purple herons weren't a bad compensation. After quite some time with only Yellow-legged gulls, a wave of migrants: 3 Wheatear, 1 Redstart, 1 Willow warbler and a Hoopoe, provided some action.

In the afternoon we went up to Buskett for some raptor watching. Unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side so no large numbers. A small migration of Lesser Kestrels was going on which was fun (33 in all). When a Black kite was spotted in the distance we thought it had a dangling leg but it turned out to be the tail of a rat it was feeding on! A total of four of the latter raptor was seen as well as 15 Honey Buzzard, 35 Marsh harrier, 3 Hobby and 4 Common Kestrel. Later on in the afternoon it got exciting when an Osprey flew low over the area for a place to rest. This often spells disaster but fortunately it escaped being seriously injured although it was shot at 5 times and landed on a pole. We didn't expect it to live long being very exposed, but it did and made of to roost at dusk! One lucky Osprey and some lucky birders to witness it! Further there was a good migration of Barn Swallows (700) and good numbers of Yellow Wagtails (250). The first Starling was recorded - winter is on the way! Before leaving the watch point a flock of 23 Grey Herons flew past. The day ended well with three Nightjars down in the valley and two Little Bitterns heard calling.