Home arrow 2010 Diary arrow May 2010. Frogs, Snakes and Big Cats.
May 2010. Frogs, Snakes and Big Cats. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jos   



Spring migration in full swing, hundreds of Ruff and Wood Sandpipers moving through, Thrush NightingalesRed-backed Shrikes and Golden Orioles freshly arrived, plus a few cracking highlights -  a Pallid Harrier north of Vilnius, two Citrine Wagtails on territory,and an amazing flock of over 1800 White-winged Black Terns. Also, a good time on my land - Goldeneyes breeding as usual, a Hoopoe in song and Wrynecks checking out various nestboxes.




1-2 May. Influx of Migrants.

Not a bad start to the month, a big Elk trotting across the road.

And the day got better - plenty of early butterflies, plus quite an influx of birds at Baltoji Voke, newly-arrived songsters including Thrush Nightingales, Whitethroats and Whinchats, and an impressive rise in aquatic migrants. On Papis, Black Terns now numbered about 70 birds, Little Gulls steady at 40, but the day's most impressive change was at the fish pools. With water levels just perfect, it's rich pickings for the waders - in their multi-coloured finery, an almighty 725 Ruff strutting their stuff, a very good number indeed. And amongst them, jostling for position, 165 Wood Sandpipers, 43 Spotted Redshanks, 18 Greenshanks, a dozen or so Black-tailed Godwits and, all in lesser numbers, Common Redshanks, Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers, Little Ringed Plovers and Lapwings. A very nice sight it was, especially when complemented by 20 Cranes standing majestically above the teeming masses.


Pool Frog



At midday, I decided a search for frogs would be good - failed somewhat, merely notching up a single species, the rather numerous Pool Frog. However, late afternoon, as the day descended into rain, my frog hunt turned up trumps - not an amphibian, but a splendid male Citrine Wagtail in pristine plumage, a right stunner. Citrine Wagtails established themselves as breeders at Baltoji Voke a few years back, the population rising to five pairs, before then promptly dying out again, the last breeding pair three years ago.


Elsewhere, one Hoopoe eating some big bug, Penduline Tits making a nest, seven Great White Egrets ...and rain clouds that brought ever heavier downpours!


Next day, the weather didn't play ball. A female Pallid Harrier started the day off on a high, flying across the road some 50 km north of Vilnius, but no sooner than had I got to Labanoras and the rain started! A quick run around the wood revealed good numbers of Pied Flycatchers already investigating nestboxes, a brief play with the mammal traps produced three more Bank Voles, the lure of peanut butter too strong for them, but otherwise, the only thing of note were the comings and goings of Grey Herons, seemingly their had hatched.


3 May. Turn of the Terns.

Glorious sunny morning, Lake Papis bathed in tranquil light. Across the lake, flashes of black and white, a shimmer of birds hawking the waters - marsh terns, dozens and dozens of them. A quick scan, a feast for the eyes - amongst 120 Black Terns, an arrival of White-winged Black Terns, at least 40 skimming the surface. Settled down to admire, a Whiskered Tern appeared close by, heaps of Little Gulls completing the setting.


Orange Tip




Pleasant days does May make, the adjacent pools still crammed with hundreds of Ruff and Wood Sandpipers, the hedgerows resounding to new songsters, Blackcaps the latest addition. Plenty of butterflies too - Orange Tips in good numbers, Map Butterflies increasing, plus the usual Brimstones, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells.




Back in Vilnius, the garden is doing well - a pair of Common Redstarts arrived, hopefully soon to take a remaining nestbox. Strong competition, boxes already nabbed by Pied Flycatchers, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Tree Sparrows and Starlings!


8 May. Tern-plosion!

A great day, I arrived on the local patch to a most impressive spectacle, a soup of marsh terns, literally hundreds hawking the waters from bank to bank. Quickly totalled the numbers, a superb 820 White-winged Black Terns, 45 Little Gulls and a similar number of Black Terns. Fantastic stuff, but all was eclipsed a few hours later when the skies opened and huge flocks of additional birds descended just prior to a rainstorm. The lake was now choc-a-bloc, with barely a patch of free water, an absolute minimum of 1850 White-winged Black Terns hawked, an influx of impressive magnitude. Watched the flickering birds, picked up a Whiskered Tern in their midst, then wandered off for goodies elsewhere.


Pool Frog




Migration now reaching its peak - Golden Oriole, Red-backed Shrike and Spotted Flycatchers all new in; Great Reed Warbler, Thrush Nightingale and Blackcap in good numbers; a flock of 11 Temminck's Stints the best of the waders. The massive flocks of over 800 male Ruff had largely moved on, but in their place, several hundred females now scurrying across the mudflats. A few Dunlin also arrived, plus too a single Whimbrel, none too common in these parts.

Best of the rest included my second Citrine Wagtail of the week, another male, and the greatest number of butterfies of the year to date - Orange Tips slightly down in number, Wood Whites and Green-veined Whites newly emerged and in fair abundance, with Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Map Butterflies all holding their own, slightly up on previous weeks. A frog hunt notched up much as the previous week - many Pool Frogs croaking away, also one Common Frog.






9 -10 May. Sunny Days.

More glorious days - at Labanoras, Black Kite, Goldeneye with ducklings, two Red-backed Shrikes, my first Common Swift of the year, Wrynecks at another nestbox, plus my first ever singing Hoopoe on my land. On top of all that, increasing numbers of Wood Whites, the first Holly Blue of the season and plenty of Map Butterflies and Peacocks, with a scatter of Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstones

At Baltoji Voke, two more Whiskered Terns, a continuing passage of White-winged Black Terns and a flurry of added extras - an Osprey, the first Hobby of the year, plus an Oystercatcher (unusual record for here) and more Red-backed Shrikes arriving.


Remainder of month.

All coming soon, Iberian Lynx and birds galore in Spain, more goodies in Lithuania and lizards and snakes added bootie.



Last Updated ( Saturday, 12 June 2010 )
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