March Bird Watch, 2016

Steve from Dol reports on the new sightings which herald the arrival of spring.

Scops owl Scops owl Rod Coysh

March, much like the UK, has proved the month of arrival and very little difference in dates as far as I can tell.

I missed two weeks' data  (8th – 22nd) as I visited UK, but friends in Dol kept me up to date.

Blackcap. Photo: Steve Jones

As February ended early March continued the same with the regular species feeding on and around my feeders. I noted on March 2nd there were 14 Chaffinches feeding on the ground. Also on March 2nd heard both Cirl Bunting and Serin singing on the road between Dol and Vrbanj, and as I continue to monitor they are singing regularly although they are sometimes difficult to see.

Cirl bunting. Photo: Steve Jones

Blackcaps are also singing regularly and are quite common. I do a lot of my bird watching/ID by call recognition, and whilst I am not very good in comparison to several people in the UK, I am familiar with a fair number of species. It also helps greatly when picking up something new, and I am expecting a lot of that here this Spring.

Serin. Photo: Steve Jones

On March 6th I had a Black Redstart actually touch down in the garden. I have been them seeing them reasonably regularly, but this is the first time one has actually been on the ground. Also on that day a Dunnock. Once again, they are common in the UK but rarely seen here.

As I spent the next two weeks in the UK very little to report although I did receive an email from a neighbour to say he had seen one solitary Swallow over Dol on or around 20th. However, while I suspect the odd bird may have arrived then, I think the real “new arrivals” have come in the last 10 days. These dates differ little from the UK, a friend emailed from UK to say his first Swallow was on 24th two days earlier than normal. While I was in the UK several migrants had been arriving.

On returning on March 22nd I heard a solitary Chiff Chaff calling in Dol and sadly only once. I can only guess that this was passing through, as I have not heard or seen one since. This is a bird which in the UK signifies the arrival of Spring, being one of the first birds to arrive and start singing.

An obvious thing on my return was the disappearance of the feeding birds. I am now just getting the odd Chaffinch or the odd Great Tit, everything else has clearly gone off to mate or has found a natural food source.

A neighbour reported to me that on March 24th he saw a Hoopoe/Pupavac and coincidentally I saw my first one of the year two days later.

Hoopoe. Photo: Frank Verhart

Also on March 26th I saw 100 or so Swallows, several Cirl Buntings and another recent arrival, the Wheatear. I also had a good view of a hunting Sparrowhawk trying to take one of the finches, this time unsuccessful.


Wheatear. Photo: Steve Jones

March 27th was the highlight of my month, seeing a Subalpine Warbler, a new species for me. This was highlighted by the call initially, not because I knew it, but because I didn’t, so immediately I was drawn to it. I managed another (poor) photograph and have had it confirmed by two friends so I am happy to confirm the sighting.

Subalpine Warbler. Photo: Steve Jones

I am also hearing periodically Greenfinch, which is slightly confusing, so it almost makes me question myself. This was one my most common garden birds on leaving the UK, and only on March 27th do I pick up the first call here on Hvar. Since that time I have heard and seen two or three more as confirmation. I would have had a dozen or so feeding regularly in my UK garden, as a comparison.

March 28th – a bird I have never seen but one instantly recognisable is the Scops Owl. The “Ćuk” call is unmistakable, and since the 28th I have been hearing one or two birds. I am not sure if the second is a female answering.

Scops owl.                   Photo: Rod Coysh 

Anyhow another month over and already - hot off the press - I heard the arrival of the Nightingale/Slavuj on April 2nd, also saw a Scarce Swallowtail on the same day, following the first Swallow on the wing on April 1st..

Until next month …………………………

© Steve Jones 2016

Media

Scops owl calling, (Lot Valley, France) Sussex Scrapbook
You are here: Home Nature Watch March Bird Watch, 2016

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Freedom-of-information data reveals threat of drought that would devastate wildlife, with government slow to act on water management

    A quarter of England’s rivers are at risk of running dry, with devastating consequences for wildlife, according to data obtained by WWF under freedom of information rules.

    Fish are most obviously affected when rivers slow to a trickle, particularly those that migrate upstream such as salmon, trout, eels and lampreys. But animals such as water voles are also harmed, as they are unable to escape predators by fleeing into rivers to reach underwater entrances to their burrows. Birds such as kingfishers, sandpipers and dippers also suffer, as the insects and small fish they feed on die out.

    Continue reading...

  • Mayor of London wants urgent meeting with new environment secretary to press for action on toxic air quality

    The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has requested an urgent meeting with the new environment secretary, Michael Gove, to urge him to get a grip on Britain’s “life and death” air pollution crisis.

    This week, Khan activated the capital’s emergency alert system after experts warned toxic air in the capital had reached dangerous levels. Large parts of southern England and Wales were also affected on Wednesday.

    Continue reading...

  • Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change

    It could have been the edge of the Sahara or even Death Valley, but it was the remains of a large orchard in the hills above the city of Murcia in southern Spain last year. The soil had broken down into fine white, lifeless sand, and a landscape of rock and dying orange and lemon trees stretched into the distance.

    A long drought, the second in a few years, had devastated the harvest after city authorities had restricted water supplies and farmers were protesting in the street. It was a foretaste of what may happen if temperatures in the Mediterranean basin continue to rise and desertification grows.

    Continue reading...

  • Bison, bluebells, bumble bees and beavers are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

    Continue reading...

  • Six new vehicles including Land Rover and Suzuki are adding to air pollution crisis, despite stricter rules coming in months

    The latest diesel car models are failing to meet pollution limits when on the road, just three months ahead of stricter new tests, independent tests have found. Results show that none of six new 2017 diesel cars met the EU standard for toxic nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution in real-world driving.

    The updated Equa Index, produced by the testing firm Emissions Analytics, shows that 86% of all diesel models put on to the British market since the 2015 Volkswagen emissions scandal failed to meet the official limit on the road, with 15% producing at least eight times more NOx emissions.

    Continue reading...

  • Nearly everyone other than science-denying Republican Party leaders understands the importance of a carbon pollution tax

    What do ExxonMobil, Stephen Hawking, the Nature Conservancy, and Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Treasury and Chief of Staff have in common? All have signed on as founding members to the Climate Leadership Council, which has met with the White House to propose a revenue-neutral carbon tax policy.

    The group started with impeccable conservative credentials, bringing on cabinet members from the last three Republican presidential administrations (Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and George W Bush): two former Secretaries of State, two former Secretaries of Treasury, and two former chairmen of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. It was founded by Ted Halstead, who explained the group’s proposed policy in a TED talk:

    Continue reading...

  • Although fracturing and surface melting on the Larsen C ice shelf might sound like indicators of climate change, these processes are natural

    Antarctica boasts a great many superlatives: it is the driest continent, the coldest, the remotest, the windiest and the highest on average. Right now, during midwinter, it is also the darkest. As a rift on the continent’s Larsen C ice shelf lengthens and gets closer to the ice front, we are anticipating the detachment of a large tabular iceberg within the next few weeks.

    This comes after observations of a waterfall on another ice shelf last summer, reports of extensive surface melting on several ice shelves and, in a report last week, indications of a widespread surface-melting event, which included rainfall as far as 82° south, during the 2015-16 El Niño. Are glaciologists shocked by any of this? Is Antarctica going to melt away? Is Larsen C about to collapse?

    Continue reading...

  • Damning report says nuclear project is bad for UK consumers and governments failed to assess alternative finance models

    Generations of British consumers have been locked into a “risky and expensive” project by the UK’s subsidy deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to a damning report by the spending watchdog.

    The National Audit Office said the contract sealed by ministers last September with EDF to construct the country’s first new atomic reactors in two decades would provide “uncertain strategic and economic benefits”.

    Continue reading...

  • A 20% shortfall in migrant workers relied on to pick fruit and vegetables is blamed on Brexit making the UK seem ‘xenophobic’

    Farms have been hit with a shortage of the migrant workers that Britain relies on to bring in the fruit and vegetable harvests, according to a series of new reports.

    There was a 17% shortfall in May, leaving some farms critically short of pickers, according to a new National Farmers Union (NFU) survey. The decline is blamed on Brexit, with the vote to depart the EU leaving the UK seen as “xenophobic” and “racist” by overseas workers, according to the director of a major agricultural recruitment company.

    Continue reading...

  • Deforestation in the Amazon is increasing amid cuts to protection, putting Norway’s financial aid in jeopardy, says minister

    Norway has issued a blunt threat to Brazil that if rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is not reversed, its billion-dollar financial assistance will fall to zero. The leaders of the two nations meet in Oslo on Friday.

    The oil-rich Scandinavian nation has provided $1.1bn to Brazil’s Amazon fund since 2008, tied to reductions in the rate of deforestation in the world’s greatest rainforest. The destruction of forests by timber and farming industries is a major contributor to the carbon emissions that drive climate change and Norway views protecting the Amazon as vital for the whole world.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds