Friday, 27 March 2015

Harriers and Subalpine Warblers

Yesterday (Friday 27th) saw a really good arrival as well as a decent raptor passage. Strong east or south-east winds had been blowing across the eastern Mediterranean and had left a covering of Saharan dust on vehicles overnight, generally a promising sign for a migrant arrival.

Small birds were present from early on and there was a really good variety present, the dominant species was Subalpine Warbler with 93. There were also 19 Hoopoe, 8 Wryneck, 30 Short-toed Lark, 2 Eastern Bonelli's Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 22 Blackcap, 6 Sedge Warbler, 4 Great Reed Warbler, 8 Robin, 22 Nightingale, 6 Black Redstart, 9 Common Redstart, 3 Isabelline Wheatear, 34 Northern Wheatear, 17 Song Thrush, 230 flava Wagtail, 7 Tawny Pipit and 11 Tree Pipit. Finally 2 Purple Heron were flushed from a garden at Koureli.

Northern Wheatear at Cape Tenaro

Raptors had clearly also arrived overnight and started to move as the weather improved, with perched birds seen taking to the wing from the ridge south-west of Kokinoghia. The most abundant species was Marsh Harrier with 44 heading north however there were also 3 very smart adult Pallid Harriers, a Eurasian Sparrowhawk and 9 Kestrel.

Following the gale there was also a strong movement of shearwaters, presumably heading back east having been displaced westwards By the do bad weather. A 15 minute sample count revealed 72 Scopoli's and 39 Yelkouan Shearwaters heading east.

Weather: calm to start and overcast, rain showers early morning then gradually clearing, wind freshening to South-westerly force 5 to 6 later.


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