April Bird Watch, 2016

Steve Jones from Dol continues his study of the island's birds. Anyone who is seeing or hearing anything of interest in the bird world is invited to contact him at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wheatear Wheatear Photo: Steve Jones

April 8th 2016: As no doubt most have heard, the Nightingale is singing most of the time now.

I saw another new bird for me - Corn Bunting, once again picked up by its call, as one I wasn't familiar with. It has been in for a couple of weeks but I hadn't been close enough to see it.

Corn Bunting. Photo Steve Jones

Went up to Sv Nikola earlier in the week to see what was about, and very disappointing on the bird front. A solitary Kestrel, a Wheatear and a couple of Chaffinches singing but not seen.

Sveti Nikola, the island's highest point. Photo: Vivian Grisogono
10th April 2016: Just got back from a 90 minute wander ............... heard two Cuckoos - so another arrival - and one Hoopoe calling, although saw neither.
Cuckoo, April 28th 2016. Photo: Steve Jones

Also to be added is Linnet - I thought I had been seeing/hearing them for a while, but needed more confirmation, and I managed to get my telescope on one this morning.

14th April 2016: I have been going to appointments in Jelsa all week. I was a little bit early today and went for a stroll - thought I heard Bee-Eaters, wasn't 100% but am pretty confident so you want to keep your eyes peeled. Heard a Cuckoo in Dol yesterday .... still not seen a Swift which is a surprise to me, I suspect they might be making appearances in the UK anytime now.

15th April 2016:  Just came back from Jelsa and had a definite sighting of Bee-Eaters so my hearing was good yesterday.

Bee-eaters. Photo: Steve Jones

Eco Hvar comment: I also saw the bee-eaters in a little flock above one of Jelsa's back roads a couple of days ago. They seem to have arrived right on cue, to judge by past years. Many are having to find new homes, as a large nesting place just opposite the Bagi petrol station on the main road was dug up a couple of years ago, exposing their warren of nesting holes as pitiful relics of the past.

Bee-eaters nesting holes exposed to predators and the elements, April 2015. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Bee-eaters' nesting holes ruthlessly exposed to predators and the elements, April 2015. Photo: Vivian Grisogono 

21st April 2016: As I barely visit a town for any period of time I am still not hearing/seeing any Swifts. Are they in in Jelsa now? I was in Split yesterday and they are everywhere, I thought I heard one in Stari Grad this morning, maybe they are just arriving. Interesting, as they would only be arriving just about now in UK, For some reason I assumed things would be earlier here.

Eco Hvar comment: Yes, the swifts have arrived in Jelsa, and just today they were extremely busy renovating their nesting places under the eaves of the buildings on the main square. A diligent and co-operative crowd!

Swifts preparing their nests on Jelsa's square, 21st April 2016. Photo Vivian Grisogono

22nd April 2016. Picked up the Nightjar "churring" last night so another recent arrival.

23rd April 2016. Another long awaited  .................. Vuga/Golden Oriole I hear calling this morning and it certainly wasn't yesterday.

Sunday 24th April.2016: Went out for 90 mins or so early this morning, wondering if the low cloud, mist and rain would have any influence on things. It was very quiet, even the singing had gone quiet apart from the dawn chorus - who can blame them?

Keep hearing Cuckoo, but long distances away and not lucky enough to have seen one here. I still wonder what their host bird would be if they breed.

Anyway, as I was driving along the airport road I chanced upon a Woodchat Shrike, all over in a few seconds. I had seen one here on Hvar a couple of years ago on holiday albeit elsewhere on the island.

Woodchat shrike (c.2013). Photo: Steve Jones

Also saw a good number of Swifts in Stari Grad - so interestingly it wouldn’t be much different to UK arrivals.

Eco Hvar: Saturday and Sunday, 23rd and 24th April 2016 have been very rainy, with some thunder and a lot of low-lying clouds. The birds seem to lie low during the heaviest rains, and then emerge in full song as soon as calm is restored. It's quite a contrast to the previous period of hot sunny weather, but welcome refreshment for gardens and fields - also for dust-covered cars.

Rain clouds hanging heavy over Pitve Church. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

© 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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Nightingale singing, Paul Hindess
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