January Bird Watch, 2016

Published in Nature Watch

Steve from Dol completes his report for the month of January 2016.

Grey wagtail in Stari Grad Grey wagtail in Stari Grad Steve Jones

Garden birds:

Without doubt the best thing I have done to encourage birds in the garden has been to erect a bird table made from odd scraps of wood. It was probably erected towards the end of September last year with nothing at all making a move on the table for quite some time. However once discovered and also probably that natural food sources had diminished for some species it has provided a constant feeding station with January being particular active.

I have four feeders placed nearby just feeding on general bird seed and these need to be refilled every two days at the moment.

bird great tit jan16

I have been a little disappointed with the number of species Blue Tits, Great Tits and Robin feed throughout the day. Chaffinch feed off the ground and the Blackcaps continue to feed on a nearby pomegranate tree (šipak). However, that said, while the number of species is low, the numbers of birds coming in are fantastic and not uncommon now to peak at 20 or so birds feeding or queuing to feed at one time.

Other birds that have been seen from my garden in January are Robin, Chaffinch – these are feeding regularly but are ground feeders so I just scatter some seed on the ground and the spillage from the other feeders is if enough to bring a few in.

I have seen one Dunnock on 10th January possibly also sighted on 4th but couldn’t be sure, was pleased with the confirmation. On 22nd January my first Wren of the year here.

The Blackcaps continue to source their feed on the remainder of the pomegranates left on a neighbours’ tree but a little too far to get a decent photograph. I did manage to photograph one female recently. For most people it would have been difficult picking it out, but in fact for non-birders it's an easy one to tell as the male has a clear “Blackcap” the female has a “Browncap”.

bluetit jan16

One thing I have picked up on in recent days most noticeably since the 24th of January the bird song has increased from the usual contact calls. It has got noticeably louder, possibly of the warmer temperatures but also as establishing territory. Several Great Tits have been calling from 29th on. I’ve also heard one Blackcap calling on the same day.

I did have a flock of Goldfinch fly over but that was picked up by the call and not sight.

Other Birding notes out and about:

Once again partly through lack of time and possibly not finding the right areas I’ve made some general notes while driving around. I periodically drive to the pond by the airport and although promises so much being a water source, I am surprised by pretty much just the solitary Heron. Did see a Sparrowhawk early one morning which quickly flew off on my arrival.

I am not making specific notes on Buzzard and Hooded Crow as you are seeing these scattered along the roadside in a variety of places and between Dol and Stari Grad it would be not uncommon to see three Buzzards perched in a variety of locations on each trip. Sadly always too quick to fly off when faced with the camera.

I did hear early mornings on 12th & 13th January the Sova Ušara ( Eagle Owl ) once again too far away to pinpoint accurately.

On 18th January  - one of the very cold Bura afternoons - I went for a walk from Dol towards Vrbanj for about an hour and as expected saw very little. In no particular order I saw Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Hooded Crow, Robin and one Sparrowhawk - or possibly two, as they were at completely different locations.

On January 21st there were and often are two Grey Wagtails by the stream opposite Volat in Stari Grad. Often associated with water I have also seen these in Jelsa. Not very good pictures but you can easily make the comparison between the two species………….. and of course as the name suggests the characteristically “wag – tail”.

grey wagtail jan
Grey wagtail in Stari Grad. Photo Steve Jones

As I came in on the 1630 ferry from Split on 23rd January there were a collection of about 20 or so Pied Wagtails on the walls heading towards the car park in the direction of the ticket office.

Pied wagtail. Photo Steve Jones

I am periodically hearing Serin with the odd one in flocks of Chaffinch but haven’t had binoculars with me for confirmation.

…………… and now on to February …………………..

© Steve Jones 2016

For more of Steve's beautiful nature pictures, see his personal pages: Bird Pictures on Hvar 2017, and Butterflies of Hvar

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