Monday, March 14, 2011

Highlights this weekend

Friday started off with a walk at a garigue area good for wheaters, hoopoes and other spring migrants which have started arriving. Four Northern Wheaters, a yeartick, including two beautiful males were replenishing thier reserves before continuing their journey. Black redstarts and Stonechats also migrating through, higher numbers than the wintering birds were seen. A Flock of 11 Slylarks flew up infront of us only to settle further off, and a Kestrel was hunting over the ridge. Breeding birds like Blue Rock Thrushes, Corn Buntings and Spectacled Warblers were in full song. The best was however a lifer and a great bird, an Isabelline wheatear! Clearly different from the Northern wheatear female, with no contrat between back and wings, broader black tail band and dark allula. A grey heron headed up the coast while we waited for the bus.

Saturday was not that productive with only a flock of 8 Grey herons of note from a seawatch, but saw the first Hoopoe and two Green Sanpipers at Simar NR.

Sunday was better altought the cloud cover and showers made us hope for good numbers of herons which were not to be. But cannot grumble when you get good views of a Short-eared owl entering from the sea just on arrival. Also the first Alpine Swifts, Tree pipits and a Lesser Black-backed gull of the year. At Ghadira Nature reserve a small gathering of waders, all year ticks bringing my list up to 78. A Common Redshank, two Ruff, a Woodsandpiper, 3 Little-ringed Plover, and two Little Stint. A female Shoveler was feeding on the shoreline, as well as a Common Teal. Two Coots, two Little Grebe and a Kingfisher remain from the wintering birds. A male Marsh harrier flew low over the ridge before I left.

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