Birding at the end of 2018

Published in Nature Watch

Steve jones' last report for 2018, rounding up a year whose final months ended with noticeably few new sightings.  

Chaffinch: reduced numbers present in 2018. Chaffinch: reduced numbers present in 2018. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The last quarter of the year has been very disappointing in terms of individual species and flocks of over wintering birds. In November it was very very quiet. Not even odd birds passing through.
I can only presume it's due to the mild weather. I did have a skylark on the airfield two Sundays ago. Quickly put up and gone on hearing a shotgun some distance away. On November 18th I saw my first small flock of Goldfinch, over a month later than last year.

Last year I was feeding the birds in my garden from October and was seeing numerous Great Tit, Blue Tit and Chaffinch. The food was going in 48 hours. This year sadly I have seen one Great Tit (5th December) and One Blue Tit, a few Chaffinch and food taking a month to be eaten. Most recently have been getting up to 10 House sparrows, these don’t feed from the feeders so I have put more food on the two bird tables and also scattering some seed on the ground. Me stacked up with bird food and nothing to speak of. Last year massive numbers. By contrast, a UK neighbour and friend (who is an official bird ringer) caught and ringed 57 birds in his garden the other weekend.

Great White Egret. Photo: Steve Jones

It is possible with relatively mild temperatures the birds have stayed where they are. Perhaps a prolonged cold spell will bring some in.

Around the fields periodically I am seeing a few large finch flocks but nothing like last year. Goldfinch are here but in very small numbers. I am out almost every day around the airfield, not at any set time and on countless occasions I have noted to myself “nothing to report”.

That said I have added a few more species to the list for 2018 …………………… the solitary Skylark and some Meadow Pipits, some of this was no doubt to the heavy rains in December, the pond although not full by any means has a lot more water than this time last year.

Teal. Photo: Steve Jones

I was fortunate to get this photograph of a Teal on 23rd December. Have seen it on three further occasions but it won’t tolerate me getting within 50 metres. Also on the 23rd December for the briefest of moments I managed a new species for me and also the island: a Great White Egret.

Anyway, it takes the yearly total to 94 which is pretty much the same as the last two years albeit the make-up of species is slightly different. Happy New Year to you all.

© 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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