Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Weekend's birding

1 of many flocks of cranes that passed over the islands , PHOTO BY ADIN VELLA

Drive slowly please

Saturday morning we went to Ghajn Zejtuna, an urbanised valley which is the only area were you can see good numbers of Collared doves in Malta. Not only it being the first breeding site but hunters have had little chance to shoot the birds so the population has expanded. We spotted around 60 of them flying around, males performing display flights and the background cooing of course.

We continued to Ghadira Nature Reserve a bit too late to see a Lapwing and Golden plover which had flown over. However it was great to see 5 Gadwalls including two males, in the bay, this species being rather scarce in Malta with only a handful of records each winter. Inside the reserve there was much the usual stuff...Shelduck, Black-necked grebe and Grey Heron. Just before leaving a wader landed on one of the islands, in the scope it proved to be a Golden plover. Finally I could enjoy good views of this beautiful bird after quiet some time and tick of another yearer.

Next day, black rain clouds covered the island and for sunny Malta it was chilly. After a night out i didn't feel like birding but a call drom another birder about a heavy passage of Common Cranes got me scanning from my roof. Unfortunatley most of the flocks passed to the south of Malta where they gave good views and a total of around 870. I had to be content with a flock of 80 in the distance. Luckily I at least got enjoyable views of an adult and juvenile the next day from Dwejra the following day as well as two more in the distance. This made even better by a flock of 7 Siskins flying by.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well this is biriding I suppose...

Black-headed gulls at Xemxija Bay's not always exciting! Ghadira reserve was rather empty, the only birds of interest at first glance being two Shelduck, a Grey heron that seems to be over wintering here, 3 Black-necked grebes busy fishing and a Little grebe. Two hours more of birding produced little else, although I was quite happy with my first views of Reed bunting this year and not bad ones at that. What's more two Kingfishers showed up, not a bird you complain about seeing as well as hearing a Greenfinch and a Chaffinch. But that was about it.