Birdwatch, May 2019

Spring-time report from Steve Jones of Dol.

Black-Winged Stilt Black-Winged Stilt Photo: Steve Jones

For the latter part of April and early May I was in the UK so undoubtedly I missed some accurate dating of arrivals and potential sightings. That said on arriving back it was clear that Turtle Dove had returned as had the Red Backed Shrike. With the Red Backed Shrike I am little disappointed in the returning numbers, particularly near Dol. Last year I knew of three nests and certainly two nests had fledged young, one of which was in my garden. I assumed they would have returned but no evidence of that. I have seen two or three pairs around Dol but nowhere close by that I am aware. The bird box I made a few years ago was occupied with Great Tits, they laid ten eggs that had just hatched before I went to the UK, as I reported in April. I was afraid I would miss them, but when I came back there were five birds that had reached fledging stage, and they left the box on 11th May.

Inside the nesting box. Photo: Steve Jones

On Sunday May 12th the heavens opened, a neighbour recorded 110mm of rain. Clearly this made up for the lack of Winter rainfall. On May 13th I had never seen the pond so high and indeed with continuing poor weather throughout the rest of the month the water levels have remained so high apart from Grey Heron and passing Swallows, Swifts and Martins, nothing else has been there. This may prove interesting later in the season when birds pass by returning to their winter destinations.

Flooding! Photo: Steve Jones

 In addition to the pond being full it also flooded nearby fields and this has proved to a great source of species for many days. On the 13th I had never seen so many Swallows and Sand Martins, I would suggest up to about 200 birds constantly flying over picking up insects lying on or over the water. Amongst them were Yellow Wagtail and occasional Linnet. 

Waders needed! May 14th 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

May 15th brought in two Terns which were new to me and obviously a new sighting for the island. I am afraid I don’t have have decent pictures in flight which enabled me to identify the birds initially – these were White Winged Black Terns.

White-Winged Black Tern. Photo: Steve Jones

As the fields were so flooded I had to wade out 200-300 metres and at times water just below the tops of my wellingtons – the things we do for a record!!

Wetland, 14th May 2019. Photo: Steve Jones

These had gone by May 17th only to be replaced by four Black Winged Stilts. Not a species new to me but a new species for me to record on the Island, although there had been a sighting in Soline/Vrboska as I recall in 2016.

Black-Winged Stilt. Photo: Steve Jones

Also on May 17th a returning Black Headed Bunting, this is always one of the last birds to arrive. I am still not 100% sure that they breed here although I seem to see at least one every year, sometime I might only see it one time though. This year I have been fortunate that it was singing quite near the airfield and didn’t seem to mind me too much.

Black-Headed Bunting. Photo: Steve Jones
In addition to the Black winged Stilts which stayed for about four days were a few small waders. I identified four as Little Stints but there was another which was new to me and I had to ask help with the ID of this but three colleagues all came back with Curlew Sandpiper. As you can see not the greatest picture to work from. Although the flood waters still remain quite high the birds seem to have moved on except for three Little Egrets and Two Grey Heron.
Curlew Sandpiper. Photo: Steve Jones

May 21st brought in another species for the year which was the Squacco Heron, once again it found the water but probably not enough food to keep it going for very long. It stayed for around four days and whilst it wouldn’t tolerate me wading in the water too close to it, I managed to get a few pictures.

Squacco Heron. Photo: Steve Jones

May 24th brought another new species for the year. Not great pictures, but enough to identify the Red Footed Falcon.

Red-Footed Falcon. Photo: Steve Jones

Well as you can see quite a busy month, you can clearly see the results of the heavy rainfall. The last few days I have spent some time trying to track down a Cuckoo. In my patch I am hearing at least two males calling and probably three. In recent days I have heard a female on a couple of occasions. I am still at a loss as to what the host bird would be; Nightingale, Sardinian Warbler, Sub-Alpine Warbler or Corn Bunting perhaps?? I really have no idea but Sub-Alpine is definitely the most common of those species. It won’t be long before the Cuckoo depart but as to finding a potential host bird feeding a young Cuckoo is incredibly difficult. For those of you who don’t know Cuckoo, although I suspect most will know it’s call I have one very poor picture to leave you with taken on May 29th after 45 minutes of tracking it down.

Cuckoo. Photo: Steve Jones

My thanks to Jon Avon, Mike Southall and John Ball for ID on Curlew Sandpiper.

Already the calls on the ground in the day are starting to go quiet. However if people are interested in listening to the dawn chorus they seem ot be most active at about 04:40 hrs at the moment.

As always if anyone wants to forward sightings or even pictures I can be contacted through the web site or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© 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, May 2019

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Treasury review will help determine whether UK meets climate goals, and experts say radical change is required

    The UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak, must radically overhaul the Treasury’s response to the climate crisis, reforming the department’s longstanding hostility to green spending and resetting its priorities, experts said.

    The Treasury is poised to introduce its long-awaited review of the government’s net zero strategy, and its recommendations will help determine whether the UK meets stringent targets on greenhouse gas emissions in the next 15 years.

    Continue reading...

  • Writer Elizabeth-Jane Burnett brings together 400 voices for optimistic riposte to events of past year

    Some described chance encounters with birds and animals beginning to chirrup and scurry as the days lengthened and warmed; others focused on feelings of relief, hope and lingering melancholy after a long and challenging winter.

    The observations, thoughts and sentiments of members of the public who were invited to contribute to a crowdsourced poem celebrating the coming of spring 2021 have been weaved together into a new poem by the nature writer Elizabeth-Jane Burnett.

    Continue reading...

  • Wolsingham, County Durham:Pearly buds have opened, smothering blackthorn twigs in a froth of blossom. Spring’s brief intermission is over

    In The Generation Game, a popular 1970s TV show, winning contestants watched desirable prizes pass by on a conveyor belt, but afterwards only took home those they could remember in 45 seconds. Recalling the pageant of spring flora – a prize for getting through a long winter – sometimes feels like a similar challenge, especially since the floral conveyor belt accelerates as temperatures rise and days lengthen.

    The earliest flowers soon fade from memory. When I walked this footpath two weeks ago, yellow star of Bethlehem that bloomed in March was already hidden under an aniseed-scented canopy of sweet cicely foliage. Lesser celandines and violets were reaching their peak, toothwort and butterbur had just shouldered aside last autumn’s decayed leaves, and drifts of wood anemones and ramsons were about to grace the woodland.

    Continue reading...

  • Researchers say loss of diversity in Sweden’s Atlantic salmon population could compromise ability of fish to adapt to climate change

    Fish farming may have been devised as a remedy to reinvigorate dwindling fish stocks but this human solution has spawned another problem: lower genetic diversity.

    Now, a study shows that the genetic makeup of Atlantic salmon populations from a century ago compared with the current stock across 13 Swedish rivers is more genetically similar than distinct, which researchers say could compromise the ability of the fish to adapt to climate change.

    Continue reading...

  • Researchers in Canada find that population did not make the 6,000km roundtrip in 2018-2019

    As the ice melts at pace in the Arctic, the mining and shipping industry has carved itself an opportunity out of the crisis. Meanwhile, the marine ecosystem is left to coping with the heat, noise, pollution and the cascade of other changes that come with the upheaval of the environment.

    Now researchers have found a whale species that typically migrates away from solid sea ice each autumn and returns every summer to feast on tiny crustaceans did not make the 6,000km (3,700-mile) roundtrip in 2018-2019.

    Continue reading...

  • It will be dealt with by salt of the earth scientists and farmers - the sort of Australians people like you only ever have to think about when you fire them

    Continue reading...

  • President will unveil new emissions reduction target while much will hinge upon cooperation between China and US

    Joe Biden’s desire to re-establish US leadership on the climate crisis will face a severe test this week at a summit the president hopes will rebuild American credibility and kickstart a spluttering international effort to stave off the effects of global heating.

    Biden has invited 40 world leaders to a two-day virtual gathering starting on Earth Day, Thursday, as the opening salvo in negotiations leading to crunch United Nations talks in Scotland later this year. Scientists say the world is severely lagging in tackling the climate crisis and its heatwaves, storms and floods, with planet-heating emissions set to roar back following a dip due to coronavirus shutdowns.

    Continue reading...

  • Bad decisions are harming the UK’s green credentials. Boris Johnson must get beyond targets if he wants be taken seriously

    The starting gun has been fired. With a pledge to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, Boris Johnson’s government has begun the bidding process that will set the scene for the Cop26 climate talks. As Mr Johnson knows, November’s meeting in Glasgow is a chance for the host country and its leaders to shine. And so his government has taken the cue and announced a toughening of existing targets – in line with UK law and following advice from its advisers on the Committee on Climate Change – ahead of a virtual climate summit of 40 world leaders to be hosted by Joe Biden.

    In the coming days, countries including the US and Japan are expected to present their nationally determined contributions, or NDCs, as plans to cut emissions over the next decade are known. The world will soon know a good deal more about our prospects of avoiding catastrophic warming of over 1.5C. But distracting as the geopolitical scenario may be, in particular the extraordinary transformation of American climate policy since Donald Trump’s defeat, this is not the time to ease the pressure on Mr Johnson. Instead, it must be drastically ramped up.

    Continue reading...

  • Global economies forecast to pour stimulus money into fossil fuels as part of Covid recovery

    Carbon dioxide emissions are forecast to jump this year by the second biggest annual rise in history, as global economies pour stimulus cash into fossil fuels in the recovery from the Covid-19 recession.

    The leap will be second only to the massive rebound 10 years ago after the financial crisis, and will put climate hopes out of reach unless governments act quickly, the International Energy Agency has warned.

    Continue reading...

  • Carbon dioxide to be cut by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, the prime minister is to say later this week

    The UK is to toughen its targets on greenhouse gas emissions for the next 15 years, the first major developed economy to do so, the Guardian understands.

    Following recommendations of the government’s statutory climate advisors, carbon dioxide is to be cut by 78% by 2035 compared with 1990 levels, the prime minister will say later this week – an increase from the current target of a 68% reduction by 2030.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds