Sunday, 7 April 2013

Gales, Saharan murk and a few new migrants

Well after overnight SSE gales and the continuing poor visibility our expectations for today were pretty low, indeed it seemed unlikely that there would be any new birds as Cape Tenaro would be hard to find ! This largely proved to be the case and most migrants produced their lowest counts since we arrived. Despite the conditions however some birds had made it in overnight, on a walk out to the lighthouse there were 4 Red-throated Pipits, 8 Short-toed Larks, an all too brief view of a female Montagu's / Pallid Harrier (being given grief by one of the local Peregrines), a tired and clearly newly arrived Hoopoe and a new Nightjar.

Red-throated Pipit on 'pipit plateau'

Inland birds were indeed hard to find even in the more sheltered areas however there were 6 Redstart and 8 Whinchat both up on yesterday so possibly newly arrived. For the second time in 4 days there was a noticeable increase in Northern Wheatear during the course of the day with only 3 seen before lunch and a further 17 seen during the afternoon mostly on roads that had been driven in the morning. Does this reflect a normal pattern of Northern Wheatear arrivals in this part of the Med?

A large and presumably freshly arrived 'ball' of 150+ Spanish Sparrows zoomed through 'windy gap' at Paliros, heading south in a panic so we suspect they had just had a close encounter with a raptor.

Away from the headland there was further evidence of new arrivals with a substantial gathering of Swallows in a sheltered valley between Kiparissos and Alika including one bird that was so exhausted it was picked up off the road but flew off again in a few minutes. At Gerolimenas there was also a steady stream of northbound Swallows flying across the bay and others feeding low around the village. Meanwhile on the plateau above there were 2 Marsh Harrier, a male Montagu's Harrier and distant views of another Montagu's / Pallid Harrier.

Weather - SSE gale overnight, abating SSW force 5 by 09.00, from mid-afternoon the wind strengthened WNW 6-7. Visibility poor in morning, improving after 14.30 but then overcast by 18.00 and rain from 20.00.

The tired Hoopoe on 'pipit plateau'


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