Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Truly Unforgetable!

Moderate to strong Northwest winds...why go up to Buskett I thought. I was going to Qawra instead but changed my mind in the last minute. Now I'm extremely happy I made that decision!
I wasn't expecting anything really but a few Marsh harriers started appearing quite quickly. They continued coming in small flocks in against the wind some continuing some circling low preparing to roost. Between around 2 pm to 4 pm over 50 Marsh harriers were seen, together with 6 Honey Buzzard, a Black Kite, Montagu's harrier and an Osprey. Already content having had no expectations at all. But that was because I wasn't aware what was flapping closer to Malta. Suddenly I saw them a small cloud of large circling birds. At first glance I called out, "look herons", it quickly changed to "WHITE STORKS" though! We were stunned! All 29 of them! We didn't enjoy them for long before phone calls were made in rapid succession and record shots taken. They were followed till they became specs in the horizon and were gone as quickly as they had come. Altough the adrenaline is still flowing and I'm overjoyed that I was one of 3 that witnessed probably the largest flock of storks recorded in Malta, have mixed feelings because of those regular birders which lost the flock just because they couldn't today....
When the commotion was over we noticed from the photos that they were infact 28 White and 1 Black Stork amongst them! We hadn't even noticed with the excitemnet!
Just to make the day even better in the late evening two large flocks of Grey and Purple herons migrated in large V formations ( 92, c50 Grey herons, 3, c20 Purple Herons). The most I have ever seen in a day. A few more Marsh harriers and Honey buzzards as well as 4 Hobbies, 3 Alpine Swifts and 120 Bee-eaters. A Crossbill was another great bonus to a day I wan't forget quickly!

A few of the Marsh harriers

Male Marsh harrier

28 White and a Black Stork! (click for a larger image)

Photo taken by Ray Galea

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