Birdwatch, March 2017

An active month for Steve Jones. An unexpected turtle appears, and interesting birds are coming and going on Hvar!

Turtle Turtle Photo: Steve Jones

Steve reports from Dol:

March has proved to be far more fruitful than I was expecting going on last year's notes. Migrants seem to be arriving earlier. There were also several “firsts” for the island, that I have seen. This does not mean they haven‘t visited before, just that it's the first time I've seen them. I am guessing that some of these were passing on through, as a couple I have only glimpsed briefly, but also, fortunately, I have managed to photograph them.

Blue rock thrush. Photo: Steve Jones

If you are on Hvar, you will have noticed the birds singing, particularly as we hit the end of March. Around my house as I worked outside I was hearing Great Tit, Blackcap, Cirl Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush. I have also seen Blackbirds carrying food, so they were clearly feeding their young.

On to my sightings for the month, early March proved as expected: the odd Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare and Starlings were still around. I thought I saw a Song Thrush but all too quickly I’m afraid, and I don’t like to add any bird to my list of sightings unless I am 100% certain. On 3rd March I had superb views of the Hen Harrier in flight but that was the last time I saw it.

On 9th March I saw a Sandpiper of some kind – this was a first for me, and after scanning through the books and getting confirmation from a couple of friends, I am pleased to say it was, as I thought, a Green Sandpiper. I was expecting it to move on quickly, as the indications are they breed far further north, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this sandpiper numerous times during the month, even as late as 30th March.

Green sandpiper. Photo: Steve Jones

Also on March 9th I saw a Turtle doing a bit of sun bathing. As with the Green Sandpiper it wouldn’t let me get too close before submerging, but I did manage to come up with a picture or two! I’m not 100% sure on the ID but as far as I can tell it is the “Yellow Bellied Slider”. My guess is this was a pet at some point that has been deposited in the pond.*(see footnote)

On the same day I managed a very brief glimpse of a Stonechat, but as I have not seen one since, I suspect this may have been passing through. On March 10th I saw a Sardinian Warbler, once again a puzzle. I’m not sure whether or not this was passing through, I have suspected they may over-winter on Hvar, albeit in very small numbers. On 11th March I saw my first Wheatear, no time for a photograph at the time, but I managed several shots towards the end of the month.

Hoopoe. Photo: Steve Jones

On 19th March I went to Humac early just to see if there was anything different calling that I am not hearing on my patch, but in fairness I was pretty disappointed. There were numerous Chaffinches singing, the odd Great Tit and a solitary Robin. So back down to the airfield vicinity and my first Corn Bunting of the year, also a Heron and two Grey Wagtails. Just as I was leaving at 09:30, I spotted my first Swallow of the year flying over the pond. The Green Sandpiper was still there, as well as the striped turtle / terrapin. (Some of the species I am picking up here are also being sighted in the UK now – such as Sand Martin, Cuckoo, Swallow).

20th March: Great Tits calling all over the place, but I haven't managed to take a decent photo of any. In the morning I thought I heard a Nightingale. It was only singing intermittently, which might be a sign that it had just arrived.

On 22nd March I thought I heard the Blue Rock Thrush. I didn’t see one at all last year, so I was not 100% sure but as the month progressed i heard it again, whether another or possibly the same one calling very near my house, especially on March 31st, when he was very obliging!

Also on 22nd March I saw a male Reed Bunting, not quite in full breeding plumage. Once again I suspect it was just passing through, as it was another first for me on the Island. I also heard a Greenfinch in Dol on the same day.

On 26th March I heard and saw a Sub Alpine Warbler, a bird which so far has escaped the camera. As they are territorial I picked up the call again on most mornings from the same location, and hopefully I will get a picture worth publishing some time.

Yellow wagtail. Photo: Steve Jones

27th March – without any doubt my best day bird watching since being here. I had seen all of the birds here before, but to get them all in one morning! I was very very pleased. My first Kestrel of the year, followed by Sub Alpine Warbler, Corn Bunting, Green Sandpiper, Serin, Yellow Wagtail and to cap it off as I was driving towards Stari Grad a Hoopoe right in front of the car.

Hoopoe. Photo: Steve Jones

On 30th March I saw an Alpine Swift. They were here last year, so they were not a new species for me, but nevertheless I was rather pleased to have seen it before a normal Swift.

If anyone is seeing anything else here please do let me know via the Eco Hvar contact email. I am particularly sticking to two areas only, so of course I don’t think for a second I am picking up everything on the island.

Finally, a selection of pictures taken in March: Greenfinch, Stonechat, Heron, Cirl Bunting (female), Reed Bunting and finally Wheatear.

March birds, selection. Photos: Steve Jones

FIRST SIGHTINGS IN MARCH BRING THE TOTAL FOR THE YEAR SO FAR TO 53

First sightings in March 2017

© Steve Jones, 2017

* Footnote from Eco Hvar. Turtles are native to Hvar, although they are rarely seen, so this one may have been wild rather than someone's pet!

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

 

You are here: Home Nature Watch Birdwatch, March 2017

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Products withdrawn because of serious contamination are on the rise, report finds

    The number of meat and poultry products recalled in the US for potentially life-threatening health hazards has nearly doubled since 2013, according to a report by a consumer watchdog group.

    The US Department of Agriculture logged 97 meat recalls for serious health hazards in 2018, ranging from 12 million pounds of raw beef that made close to 250 people ill withsalmonella to the withdrawal of 174,000 pounds of chicken wraps for possible contamination with listeria.

    Continue reading...

  • Alaskans have been enjoying free, organic meat for the past 50 years. Should other places stop turning their noses up?

    My mother texts me four photos of a dead moose the week I leave Alaska. It is freshly hit. The pebbled pink brains fanning across the pavement have not yet grayed in the brisk autumn air. The animal will not go to waste. For the past 50 years, Alaska has been the only state where virtually every piece of large roadkill is eaten.

    Every year, between 600 and 800 moose are killed in Alaska by cars, leaving up to 250,000lb of organic, free-range meat on the road. State troopers who respond to these collisions keep a list of charities and families who have agreed to drive to the scene of an accident at any time, in any weather, to haul away and butcher the body.

    Continue reading...

  • As Hitachi and Toshiba abandon plans for new British nuclear reactors, Damian Carrington assesses the merits of the technology

    All sources of electricity face the same trilemma in the 21st century: carbon emissions, continuity of supply and cost. The UK government has placed a big bet on nuclear power, but reactors meet only two of the three challenges. Nuclear power is low carbon and a secure source of electricity – but it is hugely expensive.

    In the era of climate change, generating power without belching out carbon emissions is vital. While building nuclear plants and fuelling them requires concrete, transport and so on, the overall emissions are similar to windand solar power. All produce far less carbon than coal or gas-powered stations.

    Continue reading...

  • A complete overhaul of what we eat may be the only way to meet the needs of a planet in crisis. So what’s on – and off – the menu?

    The world faces many challenges over the coming decades, but one of the most significant will be how to feed its expanding global population. By 2050, there will be about 10 billion of us, and how to feed us all, healthily and from sustainable food sources, is something that is already being looked at. The Norway-based thinktank Eat and the British journal the Lancet have teamed up to commission an in-depth, worldwide study, which launches at 35 different locations around the world today, into what it would take to solve this problem – and the ambition is huge.

    The commissioners lay out important caveats. Their solution is contingent on global efforts to stabilise population growth, the achievement of the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement on climate change and stemming worldwide changes in land use, among other things. But they are clear that it depends on far more than just these basic requirements. The initial report presents a flexible daily diet for all food groups based on the best health science, which also limits the impact of food production on the planet.

    Continue reading...

  • Paris agreement for the sea recommended as rates of plastic pollution to skyrocket

    A new global agreement to protect the seas should be a priority for the government to stop our seas becoming a “sewer”, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

    Plastic pollution is set to treble in the next decade, the environmental audit committee warned, while overfishing is denuding vital marine habitats of fish, and climate change is causing harmful warming of the oceans as well as deoxygenation and acidification.

    Continue reading...

  • Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished

    “We knew that something was amiss in the first couple days,” said Brad Lister. “We were driving into the forest and at the same time both Andres and I said: ‘Where are all the birds?’ There was nothing.”

    His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Rising temperatures can be charted back to the late 1950s, and the last five years were the five hottest on record

    Last year was the hottest ever measured, continuing an upward trend that is a direct result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

    The key to the measurements is the oceans. Oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat that results from greenhouse gases, so if you want to measure global warming you really have to measure ocean warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Campaigners say it will cut pollution, but opponents claim it will hit poor people hardest

    “I’m just really glad the ULEZ is coming. Children’s lungs can’t wait,” says Jemima Hartshorn, a Brixton resident who helped set up campaign group Mums For Lungs.

    Continue reading...

  • The continent’s largest land mammal plays crucial role in spiritual lives of the tribes

    On 5,000 hectares of unploughed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary – they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North America’s Indigenous people.

    The bison – or as Native Americans call them, buffalo – are not just “sustenance,” according to Leroy Little Bear, a professor at the University of Lethbridge and a leader in the bison restoration efforts with the Blood Tribe. The continent’s largest land mammal plays a major role in the spiritual and cultural lives of numerous Native American tribes, an “integrated relationship,” he said.

    Continue reading...

  • Prospects for species look dire as federal science body finds that only one of the country’s 16 populations is believed to be stable

    Half of Canada’s chinook salmon are endangered, with nearly all other populations in precarious decline, according to a new report, confirming fears that prospects for the species remain dire.

    The reportby the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada concluded that eight of the country’s 16 populations are considered endangered, four are threatened, one is of special concern and the health of two remain unknown.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds