Birdwatch, August - September 2017

Well summer is over, birding-wise, and during the last three months, hopefully, birds have bred successfully on the island. I have certainly seen evidence of this, particularly recently, with good numbers of House Sparrows all around. Also frequently during the summer months I have seen birds carrying food to nests.

Two Storks holidaying in Jelsa, September 2017. Two Storks holidaying in Jelsa, September 2017. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

We are keeping an eye out for bats, as they have been noticeably fewer over the past few years. Happily, there have been more around this year. On August 9th, at dinner with nearby neighbours, I was pleased to see quite a few bats of different species swooping under the lights of their swimming pool. There was a Nightjar too.

Adult and juvenile Golden Orioles, September 2017. Photo: Steve Jones

With some difficulty and not terribly good images but I managed to photograph an adult and juvenile Golden Oriole which nested nearby in Dol – last heard in very early September, in Dol and also in Vrboska.

Mid-September and I have seen a few birds of prey passing through, several Harriers, Honey Buzzard (a bird watching friend visiting picked up on that – I’m not so sure I would have picked it out ). We also saw a Short-Toed Eagle on two different occasions at two different locations. Was it the same bird?? Perhaps.

After the much needed rain I visited the pond on Stari Grad plain every day to see if this would bring anything new in but still very quiet. I was seeing Whinchats and still Red Backed Shrike, an occasional Cirl Bunting calling whilst picking grapes on 14th September. Also on two different days a Sparrowhawk looking to feed but sadly on both days it was unsuccessful while I was there.

Hoopoe, looking pale, September 2017, Photo: Steve Jones

On September 13th down at the Vrbanj airfield I saw the first birds actually feeding on the ground, the recent rain had clearly softened the ground, providing some food, I counted 16 Hooded Crows, probably in the region of 200 House Sparrows in various flocks, a Hoopoe – you can clearly see from the picture how pale it looks in comparison to the arrival earlier in the year.

There were also a few Wheatear and seven Tawny Pipits, once again passing through. I wasn't totally sure of the identification, but three people I asked for help all confirmed.

On the same day whilst watching from my garden I saw several Blackcaps both adult and newly fledged birds feeding on the figs. Also several Spotted Flycatchers. Then, another first for me on the island, no doubt just passing through as there's been no sign of it since – a Wood Warbler. For ages I had been trying to photograph a male Blackcap and female, to show the difference between them for anyone who wants to identify them. In mid-September they were constantly feeding on the figs, albeit really difficult to catch on camera. But I was fortunate on the afternoon of September 15th. The picture clearly identifies a male and two females, female Blackcaps having the “brown cap”. Couldn’t be any better than that to make a comparison.

Male and two female Blackcaps, September 2017. Photo: Steve Jones

On September 18th two storks came to earth in Jelsa. Immediate steps were taken by bird-loving friends of Eco Hvar to ensure that they would be given appropriate food and kept as safe as possible. They settled into a comfortable routine over the next few days. The rain which came down on September 20th provided a good source of insects, which they devoured with gusto. They also clearly enjoyed the fresh fish meals which were being provided at intervals during the day. Storks are generally gentle birds, and intelligent. They quickly realized that shopping bags could be bringing them their mobile meals, so they were prone to advancing on any innocent shoppers who were trying toload their bags into cars parked nearby. The only worry was whether they would get too used to this luxury lifestyle to resume their long journey to Africa. However, this is not the first time storks have appeared in jelsa at this time of year, and they have always moved on after a while, so we shall see.

One of Jelsa's visiting Storks, 22nd September 2017. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

By September 21st most other migrating birds had headed off. I saw a single Swallow the day before. Out on my bike on the morning of the 21st, I saw Yellow Wagtails and Tawny Pipits frequenting the airfield getting ready to move on, while there was nothing at the pond again.

© Steve Jones, 2017

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, August - September 2017

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Millions of people rely on the 1,450-mile waterway as increasing periods of drought and rising temperatures reduce flow of river

    The flow of the Colorado River is dwindling due to the impacts of global heating, risking “severe water shortages” for the millions of people who rely upon one of America’s most storied waterways, researchers have found.

    Increasing periods of drought and rising temperatures have been shrinking the flow of the Colorado in recent years and scientists have now developed a model to better understand how the climate crisis is fundamentally changing the 1,450-mile waterway.

    Continue reading...

  • Brazil’s JBS says it can’t trace the origins of all stock, as concern grows over deforestation linked to beef industry

    The world’s biggest meat company has frequently been accusedof links to deforestation. Now JBS is facing growing pressure from Brazilian politicians and environmentalists to address the information gaps and transparency failings in its supply chain.

    Critics say these deficiencies mean JBS is unable to ensure it does not buy cattle from farms involved in illegal deforestation over a decade after promising to do so.

    Continue reading...

  • Ministers were planning to ban environmentally harmful practice of burning old heather

    Owners of large grouse moors threatened to take legal action against government ministers who had started developing plans to ban repeated heather burning, Whitehall documents have disclosed.

    The landowners issued the threat after ministers started working on producing a law to ban them from carrying out the environmentally damaging practice on their moorland estates. The old heather is burned to expose new shoots – a source of food for grouse, whose numbers are boosted. The estates then charge people who want to shoot grouse.

    Continue reading...

  • Experts call for solutions to be enforced immediately to halt global population collapses

    The “fates of humans and insects are intertwined”, scientists have said, with the huge declines reported in some places only the “tip of the iceberg”.

    The warning has been issued by 25 experts from around the world, who acknowledge that little is known about most of the estimated 5.5 million insect species. However, enough was understood to warrant immediate action, they said, because waiting for better data would risk irreversible damage.

    Continue reading...

  • Climate scientist who pioneered the global work of the IPCC as its chair and tackled the ‘climategate’ hacking scandal

    To stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis – already being felt in the form of extreme weather, fires and floods – we have only about a decade to cause greenhouse gas emissions to peak and then fall rapidly. That we know this is largely thanks to one global organisation, a loose collection of hundreds of academics around the world that has amassed our knowledge of the climate for more than 30 years.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, convened in 1988 by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization, is made up of the world’s leading experts on climate science, who draw on thousands of academic papers to prepare comprehensive assessment reports about every five to seven years. Those reports are the gold standard, representing the summation of our knowledge of how the climate system works, and how we are affecting it.

    Continue reading...

  • If ocean temperatures don’t drop in the next two weeks, heat stress could tip reef over into another widespread event

    The Great Barrier Reef could be heading for a third major coral bleaching outbreak in the space of five years if high ocean temperatures in the region do not drop in the next two weeks, scientists and conservationists have warned.

    Heat stress is already building across the world’s biggest reef system, with reports of patchy bleaching already occurring. But a major widespread event is not currently taking place.

    Continue reading...

  • Scientists’ call follows national assessment that finds gum trees in Western Australia wheat belt suffering worst rate of decline

    An iconic Western Australian eucalypt, known for the size of flowers, is among almost 150 eucalpyt species scientists have recommended be listed as threatened under national environment laws.

    The eucalyptus macrocarpa, commonly known as mottlecah, has the largest flowers of all eucalypt species. The bright red flowers can measure up to 10cm in diameter.

    Continue reading...

  • Peter Funch’s latest photo-book, The Imperfect Atlas, explores human impact on the environment by using a technique invented at the height of the industrial revolution – RGB tri-colour separations

    Continue reading...

  • Use of harmful chemicals is higher in poorer nations, according to data analysed by Unearthed

    The world’s biggest pesticide companies make billions of dollars a year from chemicals found by independent authorities to pose high hazards to human health or the environment, according to an analysis by campaigners.

    The research also found a higher proportion of these highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) in the companies’ sales in poorer nations than in rich ones. In India, 59% of sales were of HHPs in contrast to just 11% in the UK, according to the analysis.

    Continue reading...

  • A series of storms have lashed Britain in the past two weeks resulting in widespread floods that have left residents and businesses devastated. But as the climate heats up and towns expand into floodplains, is this the new normal? Also today: Richard Partington on the government’s plans for Britain’s new immigration rules

    Thousands of homes and businesses across Britain have been hit by flooding after a series of major storms hit the country in the past two weeks. Six people are thought to have died in the flooding and evacuations from residential areas have continued all week.

    Despite the destruction and loss of life, Boris Johnson has refused to convene a Cobra emergency response meeting or travel to any of the affected areas. Anger has been growing in some areas over a lack of warning or sufficient protective measures. George Eustice, the new environment secretary, said: “We’ll never be able to protect every single household just because of the nature of climate change and the fact that these weather events are becoming more extreme.”

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds