Birdwatch October 2018

Published in Nature Watch

Yet again our birdwatcher Steve Jones reports lower numbers of species sighted than might be expected.

Group of Starlings Group of Starlings Photo: Steve Jones

Once again October has been quiet in the numbers of birds about and new species passing through.

I was swimming most mornings at Soline/Vrboska and, as reported last month, on October 2nd I saw five common cranes passing over. For two weeks there was a regular Kingfisher visiting at Soline, and during the early part of October I was seeing regular Swallows and Swifts, seeing my last Swift on October 10th.

At the beginning of the month the Blackcaps were most prominent by sound and if you were lucky enough you might see one before it went into the undergrowth.

Female Blackcap. Photo: Steve Jones

Here are examples of female (brown cap, pictured above) and the male (pictured below).

Male Blackcap. Photo: Steve Jones

There was also the odd Wheatear, sometimes on the airfield but this was taken in Dol near the Sv Ana church.

Wheatear. Photo: Steve Jones

As we approached mid October you probably noticed that Robins were starting to sing and they took over as being the most prominent bird. At much the same time we had several Stonechats arrive. As I see them in most Winter months I think that the odd one or two overwinter here although the bulk would move on.

Stonechat. Photo: Steve Jones

In mid-October you also see more activity from birds of prey. I was seeing regular Sparrowhawk and Buzzards, and I managed a poor shot of a Kestrel near the airfield on the October 13th.

Kestrel. Photo: Steve Jones

On October 23rd I saw three Lapwings, I often see them in the Spring but this was the first time I have seen them in October. On the same day saw my first returning Black Redstart and since then several are appearing all over now. Many will over winter here and leave in around March or April next year. These are pretty nondescript in the Winter and they don’t start colouring up until the Spring, try as I might I have yet to capture one on camera in breeding plumage. In the picture you can just make out the orange tail feathers. They will be often seen on buildings or walls, characteristically bobbing.

Lapwing. Photo: Steve Jones

I was also beginning to see bigger flocks of finches. Mainly Chaffinch with a few Serin amongst them. What was interesting (although it may have been a bit early) was that I didn't see one Goldfinch this Autumn. I kept expecting to get more sightings of birds round and about, with the fine weather conditions, but there was next to nothing. 

Starlings flock. Photo: Steve Jones

The most interesting thing for me this month was the arrival of Starlings. It is a common and fantastic sight in the UK when they come into roost in the evening in huge numbers. In mid-month I saw one Starling which I would not be surprised by, then 30+ a few days later. These numbers have been slowly building and I did a rough count of about 150 on October 31st. What makes this really interesting for me is that I have not picked up on these birds coming back through in the Autumn in previous years. It would be nice to find out where they are roosting at dusk ……………….. more work required in November!!

Starlings in trees. Photo: Steve Jones

© 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

 

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