Tuesday, 15 May 2012
BEE-EATER - a new bird for the patch!
Local patch: I was back on cliffs this afternoon mainly to collect some wildflowers for university, but also for birds. The open grasslands a bit everywhere on the Karst are now full of flowering False Dittany aka Burning-bush (Dictamnus albus). They are very nice as they give a bit of pink colouring to the grass... but beware of their highly inflammable essential oils!
One of the first birds I glimpsed over the ridge was a female Honey Buzzard mobbed by several Hoodies. After a bit of soaring it flew away to the east. Alpine Swifts were seen in surprisingly small numbers. Later I discovered that big part of the flock was circling very high up in the sky.
A male Blue Rock Thrush and nearby a Rock Bunting were delivering their songs from the top of the cliffs.
The real highlight today was quite unexpected: 3 beautiful BEE-EATERS materialised in the sky just over my head, calling loudly as they migrated SE. Not only these are my firsts this year, but they are also a new species for the patch! After years of waiting finally they found a place on my list as well. So far I have 149 species on the local patch list. The above painting is by Szabolcs Kokay.
After the Bee-eaters I enjoyed a stunning Golden Oriole performing an aerial display: a male was chasing away a Hooded Crow just above the broadleaved woodland. I witnessed this kind of behaviour (with speedy flight, twists and turns) a few times, when a male oriole tried to drive away a Sparrowhawk.
Other birds in the area included a singing Cuckoo, 1 Nightingale, 1 female Sparrowhawk and small family parties of fledged Long-tailed and Marsh Tits.
Overall a pleasant May afternoon!
View on the cliffs and Trieste in the background: