Sunday, March 27, 2011

A good passage

Birding close to home during the week produced a handful of Green Sandpipers at two different valleys , a Snipe, a few Marsh harriers, a Black kite and good views of a Hoopoe. The real good birding was this weekend though. Was still walking up the slope from where we seawatch in spring when another birder called out alerting me of a 200-250 flock of migrating Garganeys. More followed with small flocks gathering throughout the morning to around about a total of 700, but not passing through, flying around and setting on the water instead. Then we witnessed one of the larger flocks seen in Malta by those present some who've been seawatching for more than thirty years! At least 2000 strong ...all Garganeys as far as we could see, flew high above the sea and was gone in less than five minutes. Quite impressive! Two small flocks of Ferruginous ducks (12 and 5) and 15 Pintails but that was much it and migrations stopped for the morning. Went to Ghadira where I added Dunlin and Willow warbler to the yearlist. Other birds were a Little Grebe, a Ferruginous duck, 12 Little-ringed plover, 3 Common Sanpipers, a Snipe and a Water Pipit of interest. Little-ringed plovers were in full courtship behaviour and one was even seen incubating. The water pipit is the same that overwintered now nearly in full summer plumage. This morning was also good with around 1000 Garganeys. None migrated tough but still fine to see the large rafts on the calm sea, pity visibilty was not the best. Two flocks of Black-winged stilts passing through (12, 10) much completed the picture apart from a few passerines; a Tawny pipit, a few Tree pipits, 2 Subalpine warblers, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff.

Only part of the 2000+ flock of Garganeys seen yesterday, showing c720 birds. The whoile flock was impossilbe to include in one photo and very difficult to estimate as it was seen quite shortly. Photo by R GALEA

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