Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More Spring Migrants

So here goes birding these last three days...

18 Northern wheatears, two Black-eared and four Whinchat were the highlight on Monday at Xaghra l-Hamra. Nothing much else tough.

Comino yesterday was better. Started off with a juvenile Cormorant on a small rocky islet. A few Whinchats and a Black-eared wheatear on walking to the ringing station found on the island. More passerines included Redstart, Nightingale, Garden, Subalpine, Wood, Willow warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Pied Flycatcher and two Linnets.
Pair of Black-eared wheatear caught together.

3 Woodchat shrikes seen including this one.

Around 6 Hoopoes about, one we were lucky to catch..the first I've seen in the hand.

A world of sad contrasts...this Hoopoe was found injured and very weak unable to fly due to gunshot wounds in the wing...the island is a bird sanctuary and no hunting is allowed so presumably the bird was shot at as it was leaving the coast of Malta or Gozo and continued struggling till it reached land...

A few birds of prey showed up during the afternoon, best being a Peregrine Falcon but also a hunting Pallid harrier, four Marsh harriers, a Montagu's Harrier, a Black kite and two Lesser Kestrels.

Other birds of interest were two Cuckoos, one unfortunately evading the nets by a nick, a stunning Golden oriole male, over 60 Bee-eaters, a Wryneck and 5 Turtle Doves.

More Turtle Doves today seen from Ghadira being welcomed by volleys of shots each time. Seeing them barely having reach land and shot down by hunters on the cliff was sick and frustrating. On a positive note two Marsh sandpipers spending a short while in the reserve were a nice addition to my yearlist especially being a species I hadn't seen in two years.

A Shelduck and 3 White wagtails were a bit late and unusual at this time of year. Most of the waders present till the weekend have left altough 6 Black-wined stilts were still there, as well as Little Stints and Wood Sandpiper.

An adult Purple Heron only made a brief stop at the reserve before it continued northwards and a flock of around 12 Night herons were seen shortly before they passed behind the ridge.

On the garigue area behind the reserve, we were in for two good birds. A male hunting Red-footed falcon the first this spring and only the second male of this great bird I've seen.
Then the second Rock thrush this spring also a superb's a record shot...

Quite a few Whinchats about too an estimate of at least 25, as well as yet another Black-eared Wheatear, three Whitethroats and two Woodchat shrikes. Finally some good birds this evening too, best of which being 20 Marsh harriers, a Cuckoo, a single Turtle Dove, a Golden Oriole, some hirundines including a Red-rumped Swallow, two Great Reed warblers and a Sedge.

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