Birdwatch, March 2017

Published in Nature Watch

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

  • Exclusive: major supplier to brands including KFC and Nando’s used offshore companies allowing them to reduce UK tax payments, investigation suggests

    The global megacompanies supplying some of Britain’s most popular meat brands, including KFC, Nando’s chicken and Sainsbury’s organic range, appear to have been using offshore companies that allow them to avoid paying millions of pounds in tax in the UK.

    An investigation by the Guardian and Lighthouse Reports has found that two companies – Anglo Beef Processors UK and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (owned by Brazilian beef giant JBS) – appear to have reduced their tax bill by structuring their companies and loans in a way that allows them to take advantage of different tax systems, in what one expert has described as “aggressive tax avoidance”.

    Continue reading...

  • Nature protection rules in proposed investment zones would in effect be suspended

    There was little room for doubt about the reaction to the prime minister’s plans to scrap environmental regulations this weekend. “Make no mistake, we are angry. This government has today launched an attack on nature,” tweeted the RSPB, its most forceful political intervention in recent memory.

    Liz Truss’s proposals to create investment zones, where green rules on nature protection would in effect be suspended, represented a step too far for some of Britain’s biggest environment charities. “As of today, from Cornwall to Cumbria, Norfolk to Nottingham, wildlife is facing one of the greatest threats it’s faced in decades,” the RSPB went on.

    Continue reading...

  • Prominent members of farmers’ union express dismay after comments by Minette Batters

    Farmers are threatening to quit the National Farmers’ Union after its leader said she supported the UK government’s apparent move to scrap post-Brexit nature subsidies.

    This weekend, the Observer revealed that the government was poised to abandon the “Brexit bonus”, which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature, in what wildlife groups have described as an “all-out attack” on the environment.

    Continue reading...

  • Stars of film about 500-mile trek to Scotland for Cop26 hit the road again for Bristol premiere

    There will be no red carpet, no designer outfits and definitely no limousines. In fact, the stars of the film have shunned any sort of mechanical transport and instead walked 135 miles from London to Bristol for the premiere, and are asking their audience to accompany them by foot on their last leg before the screening.

    The film, which is being premiered on the harbourside in Bristol on Tuesday evening, is Of Walking on Thin Ice (Camino to Cop26), which tells the story of a group of climate pilgrims who hiked 500 miles from the south of England to Scotland for last year’s climate conference in Glasgow.

    For more details and tickets visit the Encounters film festival website.

    Continue reading...

  • Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire:It feels like sitting in a crypt – I am surrounded by the skeletons of dried perennials

    I try not to make excuses so I’m just going to tell the truth: everything in my garden is dead. The drought was fierce and I was sick, distracted. I couldn’t bear to look at it but I’m trying to look now.

    It feels like sitting in a crypt. I’ve pulled up a damp chair and I am surrounded by skeletons, the limbs of my perennials dried, bent and snapped. The hydrangea’s flowers have turned to ghostly brown lace too soon, drooping leaves turned almost black like prayer flags. There is copper, rust and blood; piles of viburnum leaves dropped early in fright. The penstemon looks as if it has been set alight then frozen, its orange flames still and hellish. When the rains finally came, too late, the parched snails came out of hiding and ate everything that was left. Talk about overkill.

    Continue reading...

  • Movement aims to make the mass damage and destruction of ecosystems a prosecutable, international crime against peace

    California winemaker Julia Jackson has long grasped the threats posed by the ongoing global climate change crisis, from more intense wildfires and hurricanes to rising sea levels. But for her, those ideas crossed over from the abstract to the tangible when her home was razed by the Kincade wildfire that devastated her native Sonoma county in 2019.

    “I lost everything – all my belongings,” Jackson said. “It shook me to my core.”

    Continue reading...

  • The deaths within days of 11 sturgeon, a species unchanged for thousands of years, have puzzled scientists

    When the first spindly, armour-clad carcass was spotted in the fast-flowing Nechako River in early September, Nikolaus Gantner and two colleagues scrambled out on a jet boat, braving strong currents to investigate the grim discovery.

    Days later, the remains of 10 others were spotted floating along a 100km stretch of the river in western Canada.

    Continue reading...

  • Defra accused of ‘all-out attack’ on environment by wildlife groups

    The government is to scrap the “Brexit bonus” which would have paid farmers and landowners to enhance nature, in what wildlife groups are calling an “all-out attack” on the environment, the Observer can reveal.

    Instead, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) sources disclosed, they are considering paying landowners a yearly set sum for each acre of land they own, which would be similar to the much-maligned EU basic payments scheme of the common agricultural policy.

    Continue reading...

  • Super Typhoon Noru tore its way out of the northern Philippines on Monday, leaving casualties, floods and power outages. Government work and classes at schools have been suspended in the capital and beyond

    Continue reading...

  • David Malpass apologises after saying he ‘doesn’t know’ if he accepts climate science

    David Malpass, president of the World Bank, faces an uncertain future this week, after the White House joined a chorus of influential figures in condemning his apparent climate denialism.

    Malpass remains in post for now but under severe pressure, despite issuing an apology and trying to explain his refusal last week to publicly acknowledge the human role in the climate crisis.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds