Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last of Spring

One of two Squacco Herons present at Simar Nature reserve, frequently seen hunting on the edge of the water. Also two Little Bitterns (male and female) present only seen twice flying over the water into cover. Coots bred again this year at this site, with 6 chicks initially, I only saw three as the others had perished. They bred for the first time in Malta in 2008. Even better was the first breeding attempt of Black-winged Stilts at Ghadira Nature reserve, with a nest of four eggs on one of the small islands of the wetland.
Apart from Temminck's stint (below) and a few Little Stints, Ringed Plovers, Curlew Sandpipers, Greenshanks, Ruff and Little Ringed Plovers with chicks, a male Kentish plover spent last weekend at the reserve. Last time I had seen the species was one of the first times I visited the place back in 2005. Therefore I was obviously happy with the sighting!

Rollers! Three of them together in the limits of Mosta and another great species this May! What is more found a female Rock thrush at our local patch, third one this spring, Quite a few more Turlte Doves and Bee-eaters too, as well as two Cuckoos and two Red-footed falcons today.

The best and one of the main birding highlights this Spring were White Storks! We got a call about an enormous flock, and yes for Malta it was enormous!, circling over central Malta. Being in a valley we had little chance of seeing them, so we sprinted all the way to the end of the valley, anxiety making the longest run I've ever done to see a bird seem even longer! But on higher ground we spotted them, a cloud of soaring White Storks, something few of us ever immagined we would see in Malta. The largest so far was the flock seen last September of 28 birds. This was 204!!! We watched them the whole evening and when they flew towards the south of Malta where they roosted, passed quite close.

Of course in a country like Malta it was only to expected that a number of the birds would fall victims to poaching. We witnessed one majestic bird fall out fo the sky to a permanent roost in Malta while the flock flew over tal-Virtu area. A few others were seen shot that same evening and with first daylight the next morning. A clear evidence of the illegal shooting were the birds thatt remained to the following afternoon with gunshot wounds and dangling legs...