Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More birding...end of March beginning of April

Male Black-eared wheatear
Record shot of a great lifer, Rock Thrush!

A trickle of migration this last week, managed to reach the goal of 100 yearticks by end of march exactly and currently at 108...

On Monday (29/03) saw the first Black-eared wheatear (a black throated melanoleuca male), Wood Warbler and Whitethroat as well as a 3 Little Egrets, handfull of Marsh harriers, 4 Lesser Kestrels, a Hoopoe and a Wryneck.

Tuesday went to Majjistral National park, a large area of garigue and good wathcpoint for migration, where we spotted 2 Black Storks! My first sighting of these great birds in spring. Also 13 Little egret resting on the rocks, a Black Kite, 3 Marsh harrier, a feeding flock of 15 Short-toed lark and to top it up a Pallid harrier male.

31st March saw us seawatching with Curlews being the highlight. Two flocks of 14 and 10 the larger flock giving good views. A flock of 8 Wood sandpipers passed by as did a single Shelduck. A small passage of Sandwhich terns, 10 in all much completed the list.

First Bee-eaters heard on the 2nd of April and on the 3rd was at Simar. A drake Ferruginous duck was nice as was a a Night heron 2 juvenile Little grebes and their parents, a Snipe and a pair of coots. Not much else tough. Passerines only represented by a few Swallows, a Subalpine warbler, a few Blackcaps, a Great reed and a Sedge warbler. Two Pallid harriers, a male and a female made me complete the day with a smile.

Ferruginous Duck

Little Grebe adult with two juveniles

Saw the first Purple heron the next day coming up the one of the valleys close to home before dusk. A Hobby was another yeartick too as were two Whinchats and two Bee-eaters. Other birds were two Grey herons, two Marsh harriers one with an injured wing, a Kestrel, a Wood sandpiper flew overhead calling while a Wryneck flew into the reeds on our approach as well as 4 Wheatears feeding in a field and a singing Willow and Sedge warbler.

Purple heron at dusk
Very windy yeaterday and Buskett did not produce much except a late Song thrush and the first Cuckoo this year. Checking out a nearby garigue area produced the unexpected. A stunning male Rock Thrush! The lifer was followed by yet another year tick, a Woodchat shrike as well as two Northern Wheatears.

Today was back at Xaghara l-Hamra, had too high expectations with the north east wind which did not quite pay off. Well first Turtle Dove and another Cuckoo so cannot grumble. 11 Wheatears in all as well as a beautiful Black-eared male. Quite a few Tawny Pipits, a Whitethroat and singing Corn Buntings. Better than all that was a Weasel running along a rubble wall stopping to look at us and sprinting across the road. Only third time I had seen this scarce and only carnivorous mammal in Malta and definetly the best time.

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