Birdwatch, April 2019

Well, as we approached the end of another month, the birds kept arriving.

Little Egret, 15th April 2019. Little Egret, 15th April 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

When I was typing this on the 26th April I was at 67 species for the year. This time last year I note it was 78 species. I believe this was due to the low levels of water at the pond during February and March, as I reported previously. The heavy rain we had in April put some water back and indeed a few waders were to be seen, but nothing like the levels of 2018. On April 2nd I went down to the pond in the afternoon, and saw my first Greenshank of the year. It made me think how much I might be missing as the birds pass through. I had already visited the pond at 06:40, so it was just by chance I went again in the afternoon. Perhaps I ought to stay for a whole day!

Greenshank at the pond. Photo: Steve Jones

Corn Buntings were singing regularly as was the Sub-Alpine Warbler and occasional Sardinian Warbler. I was hearing up to three Cuckoos for some time, but their calling was not consistent and at the time of writing I hadn't heard them for  a few days. Great Tits built a nest in my garden which was pretty well complete by April 2nd. I set up a webcam on a nearby tree so that I could see the parents going in and out, but I was careful not to intrude, I didn't want to jinx anything! 

Hoopoe, 21st April 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

I have been seeing far more Hoopoes this year than in any previous year, one morning I saw five, three at the same time, and two at a different location, so I know for certain there were five separate birds. On 10th April I had a new experience on Hvar: a peacock suddenly crossed my path! I had been told by a hunter during the winter that there was a peacock about in a certain place over a few days, but when I went to see, there was no sign of it. And then, as I was heading out towards the pond on the morning of the 10th, there it was in front of me. I managed a quick picture, but it had hopped over a wall and disappeared as I tried to get a better one.

Peacock, 10th April 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

In Jelsa on April 17th I saw two House Martins on a nest  near the main car park. They didn't look like young birds, maybe they were just making use of an old nest.

House Martins on nest. Photo: Steve Jones

I had been worried about the Great Tit nest, as the parents were not visiting it. However, on April 16th the mother was sitting on her eggs again in the morning. I was thinking the cats might have had her as I had seen two different cats camped on top of the bird box. Anyhow all was looking well. By April 17th my Great Tit was definitely back on the eggs, and I was pleased to see that if I got too close to the box she hissed at me.

Yellow Wagtail, 17th April 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

Generally during the month I didn't see great numbers of any single species, apart from Swallows, but generally the birds were trickling through. However, on several occasions in April I saw up to 30 Yellow Wagtails (I included a photo of one in the March report). There are a lot of variations within this species, and I believe I have seen three different species here.

Yellow Wagtail, 17th April 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

By April 17th recent rains had put some water back into the pond, and I saw up to four waders. I was particularly fortunate this month to have had a very obliging Little Egret at the pond. Often any sight of movement or even my car is enough to put some species up to flight, particularly the small waders. In the photo you can clearly see the yellow feet which are used as a lure to attract fish.

Little Egret, 20th April 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

Without any doubt the highlight for me was a Wryneck. I had never seen one before although was aware of them. I was out on my bike approaching Vrboska from Jelsa and I heard a call I was not familiar with. It was on the opposite side so I was hoping I could get there before it flew off. Sadly I was looking into the sun but I managed to take a very poor photograph which was not really good enough to identify by. It flew off after a couple of minutes. On getting back home I described the call to a friend in the UK who immediately suggested Wryneck. I went back on two more occasions with no success. That said, when I was at Maestral in Stari Grad on the morning of April 25th, I heard the call again, so I dropped everything and just managed to get a departing shot - a poor photograph, but just enough to identify. It was a shame it didn't stay around longer, but at least I got a glimpse of it.

Wryneck. Photo: John Ball
I was told that the Scops Owl was making its presence felt all day every day in Pitve this month, as well as after dark, which seems slightly unusual. I have heard it calling during the day on occasion, and a couple of years ago managed to capture some daytime photographs.
Scops Owl in daylight. Photo: Steve Jones

On April 26th, I was out very early in the morning. Apart from the non-stop Nightingale, the first bird I heard in Dol was the Golden Oriole, which must have arrived in the night, as I had not heard one up to then. Also, very pleasingly, after three unrewarding  trips to Jelsa during the week, at last I witnessed the arrival of the Bee-Eaters. They were quite active, but I did manage to picture one as it landed.

Bee-eater, April 26th 2019. Photo: Steve Jones
By April 26th all ten Great Tits had hatched in their nesting box and were very busy feeding. I opened the box for a quick look, and there they were, two days old, with their mouths open. They will have fledged by the time I return from my travels, so I won’t actually know how many get away. What has proved interesting is that the nest box works ( I was always worried about local cats, particularly when I have seen two different ones sat on the top of the box with the mother inside. This might also prove interesting when they are both feeding young.) Also that it doesn’t have to be high, mine is only about 1m 60cm off the ground.
 
April's bird sightings, compared with last year:
 
© Steve Jones 2019.
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, April 2019

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Drop in emissions was a blip, say scientists, and a green recovery is vital to halt global heating

    The draconian coronavirus lockdowns across the world have led to sharp drops in carbon emissions, but this will have “negligible” impact on the climate crisis, with global heating cut by just 0.01C by 2030, a study has found.

    But the analysis also shows that putting the huge sums of post-Covid-19 government funding into a green recovery and shunning fossil fuels will give the world a good chance of keeping the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C. The scientists said we are now at a “make or break” moment in keeping under the limit – as compared with pre-industrial levels – agreed by the world’s governments to avoid the worst effects of global heating.

    Continue reading...

  • District councils want to protect beauty spots during coming warm and sunny weekend

    District councils in England are urging people going to parks and green spaces to dispose of their rubbish safely and responsibly, ahead of an expected surge in visits during this weekend’s mini-heatwave.

    The District Councils’ Network – which represents 187 district councils in England, which are responsible for maintaining parks and beauty spots – is calling on the public to use bins but to take their rubbish home if they are full. It is also asking dog walkers to make sure they clean up their pets’ mess.

    Continue reading...

  • Linkenholt, Hampshire, North Wessex Downs:The Sgt Pepper military yellow of St John’s wort rocks against the stiff purple mohicans of knapweed

    I am in the garden, gently nodding along to the strains of Joy Division – specifically She’s Lost Control, being played for the fourth time that morning by my 18-year-old son. It is not until the synth snare veers off that I realise I’ve been bopping along to the stridulating chirps of an indie punk grasshopper. It is time to go out.

    Between Sheepless Hill and Combe Wood, there is an insect mosh pit down in the chalk scrub. These areas of low scrub on the high chalk are quite distinct from the open down and woodland edge, and are more often mown out of existence. On this south-facing slope, taller wildflowers mingle with bramble and dewberry briars, the latter’s fruits ripening independently in blue, black, purple and red. The sparse, clouded drupes may look like inferior blackberries, but their taste is more reliably sweet. The scrub ends in a frothy, petticoat surf of fragrant hedge bedstraw at the fence. Inside, it’s a riot: a collision of colour clash and buzzy feedback, swaying in the hot breeze.

    Continue reading...

  • Researchers say moderate reductions in CO2 emissions could halve their likelihood

    Extreme droughts are likely to become much more frequent across central Europe, and if global greenhouse gas emissions rise strongly they could happen seven times more often, new research has shown.

    The area of crops likely to be affected by drought is also set to increase, and under sharply rising CO2 levels would nearly double in central Europe in the second half of this century, to more than 40m hectares (154,440 sq miles) of farmland.

    Continue reading...

  • Fibreglass fuelled a boating boom. But now dumped and ageing craft are breaking up, releasing toxins and microplastics across the world

    Where do old boats go to die? The cynical answer is they are put on eBay for a few pennies in the hope they become some other ignorant dreamer’s problem.

    As a marine biologist, I am increasingly aware that the casual disposal of boats made out of fibreglass is harming our coastal marine life. The problem of end-of-life boat management and disposal has gone global, and some island nations are even worried about their already overstretched landfill.

    Continue reading...

  • Overheated polemics won’t solve this emergency – and the apocalypse is a needlessly high bar for action

    Protesters march in the streets in an “extinction rebellion” against the climate crisis, with some (but not all) of their leaders claiming that climate tipping points could kill billions in the coming decades. Others dismiss the importance or reality of the crisis, while new books loudly proclaim “apocalypse never” and “false alarm”.

    The popular discourse around the climate emergency all too often highlights fringe voices that predict the end of the world or suggest that there is little to worry about. But as the climatologist Steven Schneider presciently remarked a decade ago, when it comes to the climate “the end of the world” and “good for us” are probably the two least likely outcomes.

    Continue reading...

  • A vast fishing armada off Ecuador’s biodiverse Pacific islands has stirred alarm over ‘indiscriminate’ fishing practices

    Jonathan Green had been tracking a whale shark named Hope across the eastern Pacific for 280 days when the satellite transmissions from a GPS tag on her dorsal fin abruptly stopped.

    It was not unusual for the GPS signal to go silent, even for weeks at a time, said Green, a scientist who has been studying the world’s largest fish for three decades in the unique marine ecosystem around the Galápagos Islands.

    Continue reading...

  • Family of reestablished colony legally sanctioned to remain in east Devon habitat

    The first beavers to live wild in England for centuries are to be allowed to remain in their new home on the River Otter in east Devon after a five-year reintroduction trial.

    The government gave permission on Thursday for the reestablished colony to remain in the area, the first wild breeding of beavers in 400 years and the first legally sanctioned reintroduction of an extinct native mammal to England.

    Continue reading...

  • Rats and bats that host pandemic pathogens like Covid-19 increase in damaged ecosystems, analysis shows

    The human destruction of natural ecosystems increases the numbers of rats, bats and other animals that harbour diseases that can lead to pandemics such as Covid-19, a comprehensive analysis has found.

    The research assessed nearly 7,000 animal communities on six continents and found that the conversion of wild places into farmland or settlements often wipes out larger species. It found that the damage benefits smaller, more adaptable creatures that also carry the most pathogens that can pass to humans.

    Continue reading...

  • Langstone, Hampshire: Garden tigers and hummingbird hawkmoths are spectacular, but there are gems among the smaller species too

    There are significantly more species of day-flying moths in the UK than there are butterflies – over twice as many large “macro moths”, plus a number of smaller, harder to identify “micro” species – but they are often overlooked in favour of their more familiar cousins.

    It’s impossible to ignore the hummingbird hawkmoth darting back and forward between my buddleia bushes in the company of another summer visitor, a silver Y. As it hovers with an audible hum, supping nectar through its inch-long curved proboscis, I can see why this spectacular migrant is easily mistaken for its namesake. Though unrelated, both creatures have evolved similar traits – a perfect example of convergent evolution.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

Feed not found.