ECO HVAR: AIMS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE CHARITY

Environment

Eco Hvar's aims for environmental protection, and related articles.

Read more...

maria lidija

Health

Eco Hvar's ideas for encouraging positive health, plus related articles

Read more...

Animals

Eco Hvar's aims for protecting animals and improving animal welfare, plus related articles

Read more...

Birdwatch, February 2017

Steve Jones' bird sightings in February 2017. Happily, gaps are being filled!

Great Tit: more in evidence a year ago. Great Tit: more in evidence a year ago. Photo: Ian Kirk

I have been really pleased with my February sightings as birds I would have expected to see over the Winter have appeared, and I hadn’t seen them last year, the cold spell no doubt responsible. Admittedly I went out pretty much every day in February this year, whereas looking at my notes from last year it was seemingly every two to three days. The days have been a bit warmer and the birds were beginning to take on a bit more colour, with some starting to sing as the breeding season approached.

My garden Chaffinches which come to the feeder were quite active now, but apart from Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Blackcap and occasional Black Redstart there wasn’t much else. Last year I was seeing good numbers of Blue Tits and Great Tits. This year I have been hearing the Great Tit, but the Blue Tit and the Wren have been very scarce. The Blackbirds which were so prominent in January had largely moved on in the early part of February.

On February 1st a male Hen Harrier flew right in front of me whilst I was driving into Stari Grad. I saw it a few times in January, but only twice in February, the second time almost at the end of the month on February 27th.

Redwing with a Fieldfare, February 2017. Photo: Steve Jones

February 2nd brings another first – Redwing, not a very good picture but it shows the difference in size between the Fieldfare and the Redwing.

February 4th: feeding on the Vrbanj airfield there were in excess of 100 Fieldfares and Mistle Thrushes.

Then on February 7th I saw my first Pheasant, although I had been hearing them before this.

Cirl bunting, February 2017. Photo: Steve Jones

February 9th: I was out for just an hour in the morning, and concluded that the Fieldfares had moved on. It's interesting what a difference a couple of days can make. Blackcaps were very active. I tried to get a decent picture of them, but they were too flighty. I was hoping to show how the male and female have different coloured "caps", but alas that was not to be at the moment. I heard my first Cirl Bunting of the year singing (22nd in 2016), staking its territory. This bird is an all year round resident and very pretty as you can see from the picture.

There were also two very bedraggled looking Starlings. At first I thought I was mistaken, not having seen them here before, and to make matters worse the battery had run out on my camera. But once I got my binoculars on them it was clear as to what they were.

Starlings lined up. Photo: Steve Jones

On the evening of the 10th I heard my first Eagle Owl of the year, quite close to my house in Dol.

11th February brought me two new species for the year, the Rock Dove and, for the first time on the island, the Wigeon. Keeping an eye on bird movements in migration, I noted that some of the Cuckoos had started moving from their African wintering grounds. Hopefully heading our way! They should arrive in the United Kingdom by about the third week of April.

Wigeon, February 2017. Photo: Steve Jones

February 14th brings me another first for the island – Lapwing. Initially I saw 4 birds on the Vrbanj airfield,  but later in the month I saw them again: 2 on the 17th, 10 on the 20th and 1 on the 22nd.

Lapwing, February 2017. Photo: Steve Jones

February 22nd brings another two species to add to the year list. A solitary Raven which flew off in the Brač direction before I could get the camera out to photograph it. I didn’t see any last year, but heard one with a friend who also recognised it. Then there was a Pied Wagtail, rather late, as it was a bird I had been expecting to see in January.

Chaffinch visiting the Cafe Splendid in Jelsa. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

By far the most common bird on the island during February was the Chaffinch. Far too many for me to count but it seemed to me as the month was coming towards the end that several flocks had flown onwards to their breeding grounds. Many were feeding at my bird tables - I counted 14 at a time towards the end of the month, and they were starting to sing more noticeably. There were also large numbers of hooded crows. Buzzards were still in evidence, but not in such great numbers as in January and early February.

Almond blossom 'confetti', February 2017. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Well, February left us with blossom beginning to show on trees, more Red Admirals and Brimstone butterflies on the wing. There were birds starting to sing as they set up their territories. While more birds will be leaving us in this early spring phase, we should start to see the arrival of the summer migrants in March.

Almond blossom with bee. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

SUMMARY OF BIRDS SEEN DURING FEBRUARY 2017

© Steve Jones 2017

Lead photo of Great Tit by Ian Kirk from Broadstone, Dorset, UK (Great Tit  Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

You are here: Home Nature Watch Birdwatch, February 2017

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Farmers must be incentivised to tackle decline in biodiversity, says environment secretary at launch of parliamentary soil body

    The UK is 30 to 40 years away from “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility” in parts of the country, the environment secretary Michael Gove has warned.

    “We have encouraged a type of farming which has damaged the earth,” Gove told the parliamentary launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA). “Countries can withstand coups d’état, wars and conflict, even leaving the EU, but no country can withstand the loss of its soil and fertility.

    Continue reading...

  • Glyphosate is found in 60% of UK bread and environmentalists welcome a ban but industry warn of uproar among farmers if herbicide is phased out

    A pivotal EU vote this week could revoke the licence for the most widely used herbicide in human history, with fateful consequences for global agriculture and its regulation.

    Glyphosate is a weedkiller so pervasive that its residues were recently found in 45% of Europe’s topsoil – and in the urine of three quarters of Germans tested, at five times the legal limit for drinking water.

    Continue reading...

  • Photographer Tim Flach’s latest book Endangered, with text by zoologist Jonathan Baillie, offers a powerful visual record of threatened animals and ecosystems facing the harshest of challenges

    Tim Flach sees his Hasselblad H4D-60 camera as a means to its end: capturing the character and emotions of an animal. Until now his interest has been in the way humans shape animals, but in his new book, Endangered, he poses the question of what these animals, and their potential disappearance, mean to us.

    Twenty months of shooting and six months of assembling has resulted in a collection of more than 180 pictures. “In some cases we put up a black background in a zoo or a natural reserve, in others it meant being underwater with hippos or great white sharks.”

    Continue reading...

  • The 33 islands of Kiribati, a remote and low-lying nation in the Pacific Ocean, are under threat from climate change. But the islanders have not given up hope

    Kiribati is one of the most isolated countries in the world. As you fly in to the main island of South Tarawa, located less than 100 kms from the equator, a precariously thin strip of sand and green materialises out of the ocean.

    On one side, a narrow reef offers some protection to the inhabitants and their land – at low tide, at least. On the other side, a shallow lagoon reaches kilometres out to sea. The 33 islands of Kiribati – pronounced “Kiribass” – are extremely shallow; the highest point is just two metres above sea level. Looking out of the aeroplane window, there is no depth to the scene – sea dissolves seamlessly into sky, a paint palette of every blue

    Continue reading...

  • Vice-president Rosario Murillo calls global pact ‘the only instrument we have’ to address climate change as number of outsiders shrinks to two

    Nicaragua is set to join the Paris climate agreement, according to an official statement and comments from the vice-president, Rosario Murillo, on Monday, in a move that leaves the United States and Syria as the only countries outside the global pact.

    Nicaragua has already presented the relevant documents at the United Nations, Murillo, who is also first lady, said on local radio on Monday.

    Continue reading...

  • Plastic pollution, overfishing, global warming and increased acidification from burning fossil fuels means oceans are increasingly hostile to marine life

    If the outlook for marine life was already looking bleak – torrents of plastic that can suffocate and starve fish, overfishing, diverse forms of human pollution that create dead zones, the effects of global warming which is bleaching coral reefs and threatening coldwater species – another threat is quietly adding to the toxic soup.

    Ocean acidification is progressing rapidly around the world, new research has found, and its combination with the other threats to marine life is proving deadly. Many organisms that could withstand a certain amount of acidification are at risk of losing this adaptive ability owing to pollution from plastics, and the extra stress from global warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Exclusive: Freedom of information request reveals ‘disgraceful’ amount of taxpayers’ money used to battle ClientEarth over illegally poor air pollution plans

    The government spent £370,000 of taxpayers’ money unsuccessfully fighting court claims that its plans to tackle air pollution were illegally poor, a freedom of information request has revealed.

    The money was spent battling two actions brought by environmental lawyers ClientEarth and included more than £90,000 in costs paid to the group after it won on both occasions. Critics said the government’s expenditure was “disgraceful” and should have been spent on cutting pollution.

    Continue reading...

  • The idea that we will surrender our prized motors can look far-fetched. But as cities clamp down on vehicle use, technology is putting a utopian vision in reach

    If ours is an age in which no end of institutions and conventions are being disrupted, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most basic features of everyday life seems under serious threat. If you are fortunate enough to live in a house with a drive, look outside and you will probably see it: that four-wheeled metal box, which may well be equipped with every technological innovation imaginable, but now shows distinct signs of obsolescence.

    Related:The car has a chokehold on Britain. It’s time to free ourselves | George Monbiot

    Continue reading...

  • Scientists were expected to report that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish in New England’s largest estuary

    The Environmental Protection Agency kept three scientists from speaking at a Rhode Island event about a report that deals in part with climate change.

    The scientists were expected to discuss in Providence on Monday a report on the health of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary. The EPA did not explain exactly why the scientists were told not to.

    Continue reading...

  • British Beekeepers Association survey reveals worrying drop in honey yield, with 62% of beekeepers saying neonicotinoids are to blame

    Beekeepers have raised concerns over the future of honeybees as an annual survey showed a “steady decline” in the honey crop.

    The survey by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) revealed beekeepers in England produced an average of 11.8kg (26 lb) of honey per hive this year, down 1kg on last year.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds