Birdwatch: rounding up the summer of 2018

New bird sightings and interesting insects which showed up during the long hot summer of 2018.

Greenfinch Greenfinch Photo: Steve Jones

Since my last report at the end of May I am afraid not a great deal of news over the last four months. I continue to go out on a regular basis over my patch. Since May I have added a further five species to my yearly list taking the number of species I have seen to 90 now. This doesn’t mean that I am seeing all birds that pass through the island by any means. I had two neighbours very recently report of seeing a White Stork on wires outside my house. On both occasions I was elsewhere so I have not counted the sighting. There have been other birds I have glimpsed and birds of prey seen without positive ID.

Pygmy cormorant. Photo: Steve Jones

With water levels at the pond a lot higher than last year it continued to be a good source of birds passing through, regular Sandpipers, waders, Egrets. A new sighting for me on the island and caught by pure chance was a Pygmy Cormorant.

Red-backed shrikes, nest. Photo: Steve Jones

I was fortunate in Dol to have three nests of Red Backed Shrikes all within 50 metres of the house, one nest in a plum tree in the garden. So I managed a collection of family shrike pictures. In my May report there was a photograph of the female sitting on one nest. The adults wouldn’t feed the young whilst I was nearby but I have taken a series of shots for you to see in various stages. For reference there were four chicks in the nest.

Red-backed-shrikes. Photo: Steve Jones

This series of pictures was around mid june. I didn’t notice the day of departure but like a lot of species they start disappearing after the longest day. The Nightingale almost ceases its calling and departs soon after, a bird I have yet to capture in picture despite countless hours trying. Cuckoos were very similar in leaving. This year I did hear a female on several occasions – I am assuming they bred here but try as I might didn’t manage to find evidence of this, in fact I would like to know what the host bird might be.

I saw evidence of Corn Buntings, Sub Alpine warblers, Bee-eaters, Swifts, Swallows, House Martins breeding as well as Woodchat Shrike and Blackcaps - unless they have two broods here both were a lot later in the season, particularly Blackcaps.

In my own garden I grew some Sunflowers this year, my plan was to grow them in succession and harvest the seeds for winter feeding. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out like that, I bought a multi headed variety so the heads weren’t huge. That said as the seed-heads developed they brought in several Sparrows and Greenfinches, so no harvesting of seeds was possible. I have bought some different seeds for next year!

Dragonfly. Photo: Steve Jones

As we moved into July and August things were very quiet, the water in the pond almost evaporated to nothing. I did take a photo of a dragonfly emerging from the pond one morning which I thought would be interesting for you to see. While I know very little about dragonflies, they start their lives off in the water. When ready to change into a dragonfly the live crawls up a reed and the dragonfly emerges. You can see in the image the dragonfly has yet to colour up, and the exuvia (casing - an Emperor dragonfly). You can also see its wings shining and not straight. At this stage it has just emerged and needs to dry/air itself in the sun. It slowly colours up will be soon flying.

This bird pictured below is a Dunlin, it appeared just once in July. It was a nice surprise as it was in breeding plumage.

Dunlin, July 2018. Photo: Steve Jones

Below for comparison is the same species of bird taken at the airfield in March in its winter plumage.

Dunlin in winter plumage, March 2018. Photo: Steve Jones

There was very little showing through September, I picked up a Melodious warbler and Tawny Pipit but literally passing through. I was seeing Juvenile Woodchat shrike(s) up to 25th September. I am assuming there had to be more than one, but it could have been the same one in different locations. For me what was interesting about this is that the Red-Backed Shrikes had gone two months prior, and equally I wasn’t seeing any adult Woodchat Shrikes around for some time. Was this bird an isolated one that got left behind or will he naturally find his way to its wintering home like Cuckoo?

Woodchat shrike. Photo: Steve Jones

With three months to go until the end of the year are there going to be any surprises? – until next itme! ………………… I was swimming at Soline/Vrboska on 2nd October and did have 5 Common Cranes fly over.

© Steve Jones 2018

For more of Steve's nature pictures, see his personal pages: Bird Pictures on Hvar 2017Bird Pictures and Sightings on Hvar 2018, and Butterflies of Hvar

You are here: Home Nature Watch Birdwatch: rounding up the summer of 2018

Eco Environment News feeds

  • From wonky veg to distanced restaurants, Covid-19 has transformed the way we shop, cook and eat. Have we fixed our relationship with food for good?

    If I thought food waste was complicated before Covid-19 emerged, now it blows my mind. I started to research a version of this article in January – those carefree days when people worried about supermarkets overstocking, not the disappearance of pasta and flour. Even then, the picture was hazy, but it was much clearer than it is now.

    Until lockdown, most of us were accustomed to any-time, any-place food shopping. Remember when you could eat in all sorts of places? Food was available everywhere, for those with means – and we ate everywhere, too: leaning against a wall with a box of slow-cooked pork from a street-food market; sharing popcorn at the cinema or chips at the pub. They say you’re never more than 6ft from a rat in Britain’s towns and cities, but we were also never much farther from a snack. Then, in an instant, it was gone.

    Continue reading...

  • Study finds British Columbia birds’ dropped-end note of call has spread across country

    If you consider Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep to be the ultimate catchy tune, think again: the white-throated sparrows of British Columbia have devised a new song that has gone viral across Canada.

    For years, the small songbird’s traditional descending whistle featured a three-note ending. But researchers have tracked how a unique two-note-ending version of the male bird’s call has rapidly spread 3,000km (1,864 miles) eastwards from western Canada to central Ontario during this century.

    Continue reading...

  • Theo and Gloria Ferguson have created a garden specially designed to attract hummingbirds – and hundreds visit daily

    At the foot of Theo and Gloria Ferguson’s property stands a giant silk cotton tree. Reminiscent of those enchanted species in children’s fables, this ancient sentinel’s huge varicose limbs yawn upwards and outwards, towards a canopy of leaves that scratch the sky. Eight adults linking arms would struggle to encircle its vast girth, proof of the aeons it has stood guarding the edge of Trinidad’s Maracas valley.

    Continue reading...

  • Restoration work and wet winter have led to an explosion of colour and an increase in birds

    A well known piece of the British landscape that had become depleted of flora and fauna because of years of intensive farming is alive with wildflowers, butterflies and birds this summer.

    Since the National Trust acquired fields on top of the white cliffs of Dover two and half years ago after a £1m national appeal championed by Dame Vera Lynn, it has worked to restore the area to rich grassland.

    Continue reading...

  • The American environment and energy commentator’s piece in the Australian has found praise in conservative media

    Few things engage a particular subset of conservative media more than an environmentalist having an apparent change of heart and dumping all over the “climate scare”.

    Earlier this week, the Australian newspaper ran an opinion piecethat fitted this narrative so perfectly that room was found on its front page.

    Continue reading...

  • Company convicted of trying to export used nappies and other contaminated materials illegally

    One of the UK’s biggest waste firms has lost a case in the court of appeal to overturn a criminal conviction for exporting dirty waste to China.

    The Environment Agency, which brought a successful criminal prosecution a year ago against Biffa Waste Services Ltd, which was convicted of trying to send used nappies and other contaminated materials illegally to China, welcomed Friday’s ruling and said exports of this kind of illegal waste “blighted the lives and environment of people overseas”.

    Continue reading...

  • The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a hatching crocodile and Mexican grey wolf cubs

    Continue reading...

  • Scottish court rules that environmental group defied court order banning the protest

    Greenpeace has been fined £80,000 after a Scottish court found it guilty of the “wilful defiance” of a court order banning it from occupying a North Sea oil rig.

    Lady Wolffe, sitting in the court of session in Edinburgh, said Greenpeace UK had deliberately broken an interdict, or injunction, against occupying a platform owned by the US contractor Transocean in June 2019.

    Continue reading...

  • Frequency of heatwaves and cumulative intensity has risen through the decades, research finds

    Heatwaves have increased in both length and frequency in nearly every part of the world since the 1950s, according to what is described as the first study to look at the issue at a regional level.

    The study found the escalation in heatwaves varied around the planet, with the Amazon, north-eastern Brazil, west Asia (including parts of the subcontinent and central Asia) and the Mediterranean all experiencing more rapid change than, for example, southern Australia and north Asia. The only inhabited region where there was not a trend was in the central United States.

    Continue reading...

  • Tees Valley mayor hails rental scheme as ‘clean energy, socially distant mode of transport’

    Residents of Middlesbrough in north-east England will be the first in the UK to legally ride electric scooters on the open road when the law changes on Saturday, as the government struggles to prevent a recovery from coronavirus based on cars.

    Though e-scooters have been whizzing illegally around many UK cities for the past few years, the pandemic has prompted the government to speed up plans to pilot public rental schemes.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

Feed not found.