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

  • Activists spend seven days occupying BP rig in Cromarty Firth, leading to 14 arrests

    Greenpeace has ended its protest against BP drilling for oil in the North Sea by handing in “people’s climate injunctions” at the company’s headquarters.

    Greenpeace protesters spent nearly seven days occupying an oil rig rented by BP in the Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland last week, leading to the arrests of 14 activists, including three photographers hired by the pressure group.

    Continue reading...

  • Concern grow over ammonia particles from fertiliser and bioaerosol from intensive farms

    We think of the countryside as being a place of fresh air. Each weekend thousands of us leave our cities to hike or cycle in rural areas or simply to enjoy time in nature. Increasing attention is being given, however, to air pollution from farming. Ammonia from fertiliser and slurry mixes with air pollution from cities, traffic and industry to add to the particle pollution that plagues many parts of the world. It is estimated that halving ammonia from farming could avoid about 52,000 premature deaths from air pollution across Europe each year and 3,000 in the UK.

    Increasing attention is also being paid to bioaerosol from intensive farming. In animal houses these are tiny particles and dust from the animals themselves, their food, bedding and waste. They can also include fungi, bacteria and pollen. A recent review by Imperial College and Public Health England found evidence of respiratory problems in farm workers and raised concerns about exposure for people living close to intensive livestock farms, including some evidence of increased asthma in children. Bioaerosol concerns mean that composting facilities need to be at least 250 metres from UK homes and schools, but farms can be nearer and only require assessment if they are closer than 100 metres.

    Continue reading...

  • Event will take place on 22 September across 18 boroughs, with road closures and events

    Sadiq Khan has announced plans to implement London’s biggest car-free day to date, closing 12.3 miles (20km) of roads in the centre of the capital in September.

    Roads will be closed for the event around London Bridge, Tower Bridge and much of the City of London to help tackle the capital’s air pollution crisis, which kills thousands of people each year and leaves two million – including 400,000 children – living in areas with illegally dirty air.

    Continue reading...

  • MELTDOWN – a visualisation of climate change has opened at Natural History Museum of Vienna. Created by the climate crisis charity Project Pressure, the exhibition on vanishing glaciers uses art to inspire action and behavioural change. Unlike wildfires, flooding and other weather events, the retreat of the world’s glaciers can be attributed to global warming. To incite action, Project Pressure has created a carbon footprint calculator in collaboration with ClimateHero to learn how carbon-intense the users’ lifestyle is.

    Continue reading...

  • MPs launch assembly plan but environmental activists say its conclusions must be binding

    A citizens’ assembly on the climate emergency will take place this autumn to explore the fastest and fairest ways to end the UK’s carbon emissions.

    Six House of Commons select committees announced the assembly on Thursday. It is the second of the three demands made by the Extinction Rebellion protest group to be addressed.

    Continue reading...

  • There are only about 30 north Pacific right whales left after hunters nearly wiped out the slow-moving animals

    Marine biologists for the first time have recorded singing by one of the rarest whales on the planet, the north Pacific right whale.

    Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used moored acoustic recorders to capture repeated patterns of calls made by male north Pacific right whales.

    Continue reading...

  • Ice losses indicate ‘devastating’ future for region and 1 billion people who depend on it for water

    The melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century, with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the last four decades, scientists have revealed. The accelerating losses indicate a “devastating” future for the region, upon which a billion people depend for regular water.

    The scientists combined declassified US spy satellite images from the mid-1970s with modern satellite data to create the first detailed, four-decade record of ice along the 2,000km (1,200-mile) mountain chain.

    Continue reading...

  • Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic refuse to sign up to text that activists already viewed as too vague

    A trio of central European countries have blocked the European Union from inching closer to a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050.

    European leaders meeting in Brussels sparred over the EU’s role in tackling the unfolding climate emergency, which threatens to significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, poverty and destruction of wildlife around the world.

    Continue reading...

  • Mass migration back to UK waylaid by stormy conditions and lack of nesting places

    The number of swifts that returned to Britain from their wintering grounds in Africa this spring was the lowest since records began, with poor weather in the Mediterranean delaying their arrival by two weeks. Experts fear the recent wet weather will further hit their numbers. Swift numbers in Britain have fallen by more than 50% since 1995.

    More than 100 walks, talks and visits to urban areas to witness the swift’s aerial “screaming parties” will be held this week to raise awareness of the plight of this unique migratory bird.

    Continue reading...

  • Shell, BP and Centrica have talked of backing EU emissions target but withheld support

    The UK’s largest energy companies have withheld support for a legally binding target to reduce the EU’s emissions to net zero by 2050, even while publicly backing the plans.

    Royal Dutch Shell, BP and British Gas’s owner, Centrica, have all publicly thrown their weight behind more ambitious EU emissions cuts, but none supported the Brussels proposals for a tougher target in an official consultation.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds