Birds, January 2017

Published in Nature Watch

Steve Jones has had a great start to the year!

Goldfinch Goldfinch Photo: Steve Jones

Steve's report for January 2017:

I was expecting to see quite a few species at the end of last year, especially brambling and fieldfare, but they didn't appear. Finally in mid-January I saw a Brambling! I don’t think I had been missing them up to then, I think they arrived recently, perhaps with the cold spell. January 2017 was much colder than the same time last year. I had thought I had seen a Brambling on 15th January, but was waiting to confirm. So I was delighted to confirm several Bramblings on 19th January, a couple pictured here among a host of Chaffinches. Also by chance there's a Serin (with yellow breast) in there too.

Brambling circled in blue, chaffinch in red. Photo: Steve Jones

I think it fair to say I have never seen so many Chaffinches as here, huge flocks everywhere, always feeding, Blackbirds are also feeding on berries in great numbers. Because of the way people tend their ground there are great plots of land left unattended throughout the winter and it is a great source of food for these birds. On the 10th January on the airport road to Stari Grad it was particularly cold, and all along the road there were birds - by far the majority Chaffinches and Blackbirds. I would think that there were several hundred in number. They were all descending on any indentations in the road where ice had formed, presumably to take in the liquid where possible. It was quite a sight. Often amongst the flocks one could spot the odd Goldfinch or Serin. In the photograph above you can make a comparison between the Chaffinch and the Brambling. During the month it was impossible to count the number of Chaffinches, but, by contrast, what has been interesting is that I have only seen the Brambling on two occasions.

Female blackbrid. Photo: Steve Jones

13 1 2017: I was asked to do a survey of seabirds on the following day, although identifying seabirds isn't my greatest strength. Hopefully there would be nothing too complicated, and there might even be surprises. I had seen some Black Headed Gulls in Jelsa the previous week, which was unexpected.

Black-headed gull. Photo: Steve Jones
Black-headed gull. Photo: Steve Jones

On 14th January it was another particularly cold morning bordering on snow, in fact there was a white ground covering in Prapatna and a slight covering at Grebišće. So I did the “Seabird count” for another Croatian organisation as requested, but it didn’t provide me with much.

Yellow-legged gulls, Jelsa June 2012. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

There were the usual Yellow-Legged Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls and three Cormorants. Had the weather been what would be described as a normal winter's day, I don’t think it would have changed my count.

Cormorant. Photo: Steve Jones

22nd January brought a new sighting for me here down at the airfield. I was first attracted by the call. At last, a Fieldfare! This is another of the winter thrushes, about the size of a blackbrid. Initially it was difficult to get a photograph, as they are off at the slightest movement. On the 22nd I counted in the region of 20 birds but over the rest of the month I saw them several times, An early trip to the airfield on January 23rd produced more sightings of Fieldfares, as well as my first Heron of the year. There were good numbers of Goldfinches, with about 60 - 70 in a single flock, and more Chaffinches. That brought my tally of sightings up to 23 species, slightly up on the numbers in January 2016.

Fieldfare. Photo: Steve Jones

On January 31st I saw between 50-60 Fieldfares on the airfield. There was also a new species for me on Hvar. I had caught fleeting glimpses of this bird while driving, but that's not good enough for certain identification. It was a bird of prey, about the same size as a buzzard. Buzzards circling above us are a fairly common sight on Hvar, but this one moved differently, gliding quite low over the fields. In birdwatching, the odds are that a few sightings will allow for clear identification sooner or later, and so it proved. The Hen Harrier was my highlight for January 2017.

Hen Harrier. Photo: Steve Jones

In total I saw 26 species during the month. Birdwatching on Hvar has brought out several differences in comparison to the UK. For instance, a friend in England keeps track of birds which touch down in his garden, and counted 25 species during January, whereas in my garden on Hvar the total would be about six..In my garden in Devon I would see about 12 species within an hour.

© Steve Jones 2017

Eco Hvar footnote.

At the end of January, the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) organizesd its Big Garden Birdwatch, an exercise in bird observation which has taken place every year since 1979. Due to the cold weather in northern countries, they were expecting an influx of waxwings, beautiful colourful birds which only visit the UK every few years. The annual Birdwatch scheme produces interesting details about bird numbers and movements. Numbers of house sparrows, for instance, have declined by about 58% since the annual count began. The aim of the scheme is to make people aware of the birds and wildlife around them, whether in cities or countries,  and to promote conservation. It has been extremely successful, with mass participation. Much work is being done in the field of nature studies and conservation in Croatia. A participation scheme involving the nation's schoolchildren would be of great benefit in helping future generations to understamnd and care for the world around them.

More in this category: « SOS: Bats Gone Missing!
You are here: Home

Eco Environment News feeds

  • New study reveals negative impact of climate change, human activity, acidification and deoxygenation on ocean and its creatures

    The deep ocean and the creatures that live there are facing a desperate future due to food shortages and changing temperatures, according to research exploring the impact of climate change and human activity on the world’s seas.

    The deep ocean plays a critical role in sustaining our fishing and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as well as being home to a huge array of creatures. But the new study reveals that food supplies at the seafloor in the deepest regions of the ocean could fall by up to 55% by 2100, starving the animals and microbes that exist there, while changes in temperature, pH and oxygen levels are also predicted to take their toll on fragile ecosystems.

    Continue reading...

  • Environmentalists hail ‘landmark moment’ as world’s biggest soft drinks company agrees to set up pilot scheme in Scotland

    Coca-Cola has announced it supports testing a deposit return service for drinks cans and bottles, in a major coup for environment and anti-waste campaigners.

    Executives told an event in Edinburgh on Tuesday evening they agreed with campaigners who were pressing the Scottish government to set up a bottle-return pilot scheme to cut waste and pollution and boost recycling.

    Continue reading...

  • Donald Trump is a deal maker, and there’s a great deal to be made on climate change

    A month into his presidency, Donald Trump already has a minus-8 job approval rating (43% approve, 51% disapprove). Congress has a minus-50 approval rating, and the Republican Party has a minus-14 favorability rating. All are facing widespread protests, marches, and public resistance. Hundreds of concerned constituents have been showing up to town hall events held by Republican Congressmen, like this one with Tom McClintock (R-CA):

    This is the scene out Rep. Tom McClintock's town hall. We just made it inside after pleading with Roseville police. pic.twitter.com/13UaXMvWph

    Continue reading...

  • Exclusive: Leaked documents indicate that the European Union is now preparing a full ban of raw ivory

    The EU is set to ban raw ivory exports from 1 July as it struggles to deal with what was almost certainly another record year of ivory seizures across the continent in 2016.

    Europe sells more raw and carved ivory to the world than anywhere else, feeding a seemingly insatiable appetite for elephant tusks in China and east Asia.

    Continue reading...

  • A sacred Tibetan lake, a crack in the Antarctic ice shelf and deforestation in Cambodia are among images captured by Nasa and the ESA this month

    Yamzho Yumco (Sacred Swan) Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is highly crenellated with many bays and inlets. The lake is home to the Samding monastery which is headed by a female reincarnation, Samding Dorje Phagmo. The image covers an area of 49.8km by 60km. Aster images map and monitor the changing surface of our planet, such as glacial advances and retreats; potentially active volcanoes; crop stress; cloud morphology and physical properties; wetlands evaluation; thermal pollution monitoring; coral reef degradation; surface temperature mapping of soils and geology; and measuring surface heat balance.

    Continue reading...

  • A complex range of factors is shaping how and why cities adopt renewable energy, from costs to the need for stable power supplies

    As renewable energy projects are rolled out in cities around the world, we spoke to companies and organisations working in the sector to find out what’s happening and what to expect. Here’s what they said.

    Continue reading...

  • Funding response follows UN warnings that 40% of South Sudan’s population are in urgent need, with people already dying from hunger

    New and existing funds provided by the EU and the UK government will be made available to South Sudan following the declaration of famine in the country.

    The UN has warned that about 40% of South Sudan’s population are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and that people are already dying from hunger caused by famine in parts of the country.

    Continue reading...

  • Wenlock EdgeIn anonymous hedges and woods, snowdrops have become a kind of spontaneous festival all over the country

    Snowdrops and mild weather – is this spring? Something disturbed a crow in the darkness. The bird flew from trees behind the abbey ruins, skirting copse and hedge down the lane to the edge of town with its going-to-work traffic and lights switching on under rooftops. The crow called out before first light, before even the robins stirred, intent on raising the alarm by itself. Caw, caw, caw.

    All right, crow, I’m awake. Now what? Snowdrops. Along the route, as the crow flies, the snowdrops are in full bloom, drifting along verges, tucked into corners of hedge banks, materialising from the mossy remains of walls in the wood. They are the footprints of old Welsh goddesses, the spilt milk no one cries over. They are something, at last, to cheer about. Every year they pop up from nowhere, grey-green leaf blades and little white lantern flowers glowing in gloom.

    Continue reading...

  • Between 2007 and 2015, Export-Import Bank provided 48 insurance policies to Connell Company to work with mining companies in seven African countries

    An obscure US government agency has provided $315m in taxpayer-supported financing over the past decade to a company that has supplied equipment to African mines accused of slave labor, human rights violations and environmental destruction.

    Between 2007 and 2015, the US Export-Import Bank provided 48 insurance policies to the New Jersey-headquartered Connell Company to pursue deals with at least 17 mining companies in seven sub-Saharan countries. These included a $20,000 policy to supply equipment to the Bisha copper mine in Eritrea, which is being investigated by a Canadian court amid accusations of slavery, according to an investigation of the bank by the Guardian and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project.

    Continue reading...

  • Australian scientists seek to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles affect global temperatures

    Australian scientists are studying air pollution and cloud formation in Antarctica in an effort to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures.

    It’s the first comprehensive study of the composition and concentration of aerosols in the Antarctic sea ice area, a region that influences cloud formation and weather patterns for much of the southern hemisphere.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds