Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31st March - THE day for birding?

It seems that through the years this day, strange as it may be, has got the reputation to always produce something rare or a good amount of birds. Even to the extent that some maltese birders can recount a good number of lifers they got on this date.

Altough a bit sceptical, especially as not having had much luck on this day as yet, I made sure I got out birding, the destination being Cirkewwa.

On arriving the first of over 200 Tree pipits were spotted flying over, heading North. Even better quite a few small flocks of Garganeys were crossing through the channel, the pale wings flashing in the morning sun. Common Swifts were also migrating this rather windy morning and with them a Pallid Swift which together with a Short-toed lark were yearers.

One or two Kestrels hovering over the surrounding garigue, a Hoopoe flew by and Blue rock Thrushes, Malta's national bird were singing.

With 8 Garganeys a flock of 49 waders flew quickly through the channel, a bit too quickly for immeadiate identification. But from a few rapid shots: Bar-tailed Godwits. A very rare species and the first I've seen in Malta. The 31st was coming up to its reputation!

As the wind increased the small garganey passage ceased, but small flocks of Sandwhich terns appeared flying above the horizon. Then a long time with nothing and just when i was getting bored the cherry on the cake. A dark bird with white belly flying swiftly over the waves puzzled me at first not resembling any bird families I had seen, but suddenly it went up for me that it must be a skua! It was an adult Pomarine and my first identified skua :)

The evening wasn't bad either with around 16 Marsh harriers spotted from Mosta, and even better a male Pallid harrier flying over, being my sixth this spring.


  1. A nice selection of birds today.Have you managed to see the 3 rares , Purple gan, and the two lark spieces. My highlight today was a willow warb and a swallow ! good birding Kevin

  2. Got the gallinule and the bar-tailed, both great birds! Will try for the other lark tomorrow :)