Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Holiday to Kos


My usual Lesbos destination was fully booked this year as Thomas Cook cancelled all the April flights due to the thought of a migrant problem that does not exist. So I thought we might try Kos, it has a couple of wet areas so the internet told me so it could be nearly as good. However, it wasn't, nowhere near, I had a car for four days but there was a dearth of small birds. Not one wheatear, tern, etc., I learnt from the two regular birders there were special places to go that could have produced a wheatear or two, they commented they had never known such a poor year.

We stayed at Tingaki right next to the 'salt lake', a huge shallow lagoon which held c100 flamingoes, 5 curlew sandpipers, 2 greenshank, 1 common and green sandpiper, c.150 ruff, c.15 little stints, 2 ringed plovers, 2 LRPs, c.30 stilts, 3 Kentish plovers, reed warblers, cetti's, 1 tawny pipit, ruddy ducks, 2 little bitterns, 5 squacco herons plus hirundines, 2 cuckoos and most mornings bee-eaters were flying over, lots of crested larks, hooded crows, lesser kestrels. Spur-winged plovers were easy to see with at least four around the lake, bred in past years I was told.

Rollers are quite common near the airport as there are some sandy valleys that they like, I saw four altogether. A couple Eleonora's falcons, 2 long-legged buzzards and the kestrels were the only birds of prey I saw. What was common all across the island were jackdaws, everywhere, up in the mountains, all over plus odd to see several magpies here as well. My list amounted to only 51!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Wheatear Week

25th April

A few highlights from Seasalter today were; 8 whimbrel, 6 wheatears in the sheep field opposite the Sportsman, 2 Med gulls overhead, c.50 swallows, 54 turnstones roosting on the beach beyond the white post, another three wheatears by the huts again (might they breed), 6 mipits, 4 skylarks, 1 house martin and the lone rook seems to have made its return. 

 Is that a growth on the side of its bill



At Seasalter there were 9 wheatears in the sheep field opposite the Sportsman  plus three on the beach and one on the field along Seasalter Lane.  I went up onto Wraik Hill and looked down on the levels counting 140 corvids, didn't give much hope to the breeding lapwings and redshank ( I didn't actually notice any either), also 7 greylags and 4 Canada geese. I was pleased to hear a nightingale in the Wraik Hill car park plus 2 lesser whitethroats in full song and a buzzard  high up.  No yellowhammers along Pye Alley  but several whitethroats plus lessers and chaffinches.  Also two heavily armed helicopters flew over.  Returning, there was another nightingale singing half way down Foxes Cross hill.

 Goldfinches on the plots

30th April

A strong SE wind kept most things under cover plus all the wheatears bar one had cleared out, even the ones on the beach. I changed the plan and went to Oare finding Murray back on station plus a spoonbill was there to greet him along with a squadron of 28 knot, some in breeding plumage and a greenshank was flying about.