Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another update

Spotted Crake - Ghadira

Little Egrets Little Crake
Wood sandpiper

Common Snipe below the hide at Ghadira today...

Yesterday week that is last Saturday, started off with an unsuccesful seawatch but a walk around the Red tower and Foresta 2000 produced around 15 Northern Wheatears, a Whinchat and the third Black-eared wheatear so far this spring. Even a larger compensation was three Cuckoos, one being the quite scarce rufous form. A Turtle Dove flew overhead and we flushed a Hoopoe. Finally 5 Tawny pipits were feeding on the garigue.

At Ghadira some wader acvitiy of note...with 27 Ruff which were nice as well as 5 Black-winged stilt, a pair seen copulating but how much this indicates breeding is dubious, plus Little Stint (4), Snipe (1), Common sandpiper(1), Wood sandpiper (5) and first Curlew sandpiper of the year still not moulted in its more splendid summer plumage. Also yearticks were a Greenshank and a Common redstart.

Was nearly home when got a call about something at Simar reserve, but thanks to noisy maltese buses couldn't catch what it was. A few nervous seconds afterwards received a message instead...a Glossy ibis. No need to panic but still not a bird to be missed so it was off the bus and back the way I had come. Not visible when I arrived but flew up at one point circled once around before it settled down again behind some reeds...well at least I had seen it! A Squacco heron and Spotted Crake was good too.

In the evening visited one of the local valleys, yet another Cuckoo (4 in a day) on the way. Highlight tough was Great Snipe! Flushed from grass tussocks on the edge of a dam, white tail corners evident as it flew up, low croaking call, and white pattern on wings. Great bird and first time I saw it in Malta even better being self found :). A female Little Crake and Red-rumped swallow added to the list of good birds.

Spent the next day at Simar, where the Glossy ibis had stayed and gave good views but I had forgot the memory card in the laptop at home so no photos! Very stupid and frustrating! Five Little Grebes showed up, 2 chicks and one juvenile, as well as yet another Spotted Crake, 3 Ruff, 3 Little Egret, a Snipe and two Wood sandpiper. Flushed two Hoopoes off the path and a Night heron settled infront of the hide...Was shown my first Cetti's warbler nest with nice red eggs!

A male Montagu's harrier in the evening, 10 Marsh harrier, 12 Bee-eater and saw the Great Snipe again. Yet another Spotted Crake and a Woodcaht shrike and Hoopoe made it another fairly good day!

Monday was the last day we saw the Great Snipe, hope it migrated and did not succumb to illegal hunting! Nothing much else about until Friday. A shift from the calm stable weather saw a small influx of birds of prey. Best being Montagu's harriers... saw up to 18 but others counted 35!

Quite a few Lesser Kestrels and Marsh harriers too, with the first Honey buzzard being great, an adult male! Moreover first Golden oriole and Pied Flycathcer. Flock of 13 Bee-eater and three more Red-rumped swallow.

Lifer just as I was waiting to enter Ghadira nature reserve saturday morning, Gull-billed tern flew over and circled around in the bay before it came back and landed inside. Collared flycathcer male brought my yearlist up to 122. While 4 Grey herons and 7 more flying over, 6 Little egret, 13 Marsh harriers, a few Lesser Kestrels and a Spotted crake were also good. Waders were a Dunlin, 9 Black-winged stilt, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Green sandpiper, 2 Ruff, breeding Little-ringed Plovers, and 5 Wood sandpipers of note. Woodchat shrike, 2 Wheatear , 4 Short-toed lark and 3 Tawny Pipits on the garigue area behind the reserve.

In the evening, Hobby, a Wood Sandpiper, 25 Bee-eater, 2 Woodcaht shrike and 6 Golden orioles were good. Three calling Great reed warblers, a Redstart, Whitethroat, 0ver 300 Swallows, a few Sand and House Martins and two Red-rumped swallows.

Today back to clear weather and a lack of birds unfortunately but wind will shift again during the week so hopefully will be good, fingers crossed!

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