Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring in the air

A blustery Saturday morning saw us huddled on the cliff edge at Cirkewwa scanning the channel. The minutes seemed to tick very slowly by with nothing much about...a few Cory's Shearwaters gliding the waves, four Mediterranean gulls, a Sandwhich tern but that was much about it. Got a short view just in time before it was lost from sight of the highlight, a Pomarine skua far out in the channel. Finally with the wind getting even stronger we gave up and went home.

Sunday was more succesful no seawatching but off to Simar Nature reserve. Not much at first apart from the usual birds and singing Moustached Warbler but during the afternoon we got some good birds. Managed to localise two Firecrest in the olive grove with help of playback. A yearer for me and a lifer for my sister...been quite a bogey bird for her so she was happy! From the hide we got a fleeting glimpse of the Bluethroat as it flew from the bank to cover but it soon hopped back giving good views..too far for photos tough. Two Swifts had joined the small flock of House Martins and two Swallows. At this time of year I always looking forward to the first Marsh harrier and there it was hunting over the reserve panicking the birds, two Snipes taking to flight.

Back home in the evening went half an hour up on the roof from where I have rather good view over Mdina, Mtarfa, Dwejra and Burmarrad area. A few Yellow-legged gulls passing over land to their roosting site on the west coast. Then the highlight of the day, a small flock of large birds in the distance heading North...9 Common Cranes!

Woke up to a glorious Monday morning, holidays thanks to Carnival :), and decided to take a walk in a nearby valley. The dams were full, having had good rainfall this winter. And the valley was full of life too, White wagtails in summer plumage, loads of Chiffchaffs many singing, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Black redstarts, Blackcaps and the first two Yellow wagtails all feeding close to the watercourse. Flushed a Moorhen from the side of a dam and a Common Snipe too. Even better was a Moustached warbler feeding for quite some time on a reedy bank, but got a bit too excited when shortly afterwards I got in doubt about what turned out to be only a Sedge warbler. Looked pale and at first impression the crown stripe looked much more obvious than in realy was. Playing mp3 afterwards with a much more experienced birder it was clear it was a Sedge and not Aquatic...that what comes from overexcitement!
Today was bit in contrast to the title with only 4 degrees when I woke up and a strong North east wind blowing but spring migration was at least evident. Apart from quite a few hirundines and Common Swifts, a total of 17 Lesser Kestrels passed us at Cirkewwa in singles and small groups throughout the morning. What's more a total of 6 flocks of Grey Herons migrating against the wind, the largest being of 28 birds. The first Garganeys of the year, 2 flying through the channel setting hopes for further flocks but it wasn't to be. 3 Marsh harriers and a Linnet ended the list of migrating birds with a Blue Rock Thrush singing from the cliff edge.

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