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March 2007. Baltic Spring, butterflies and ice...
Written by Jos   

White-tailed Eagle

February was cold, March wasn't! The difference, in fact, was little short of spectaular - in the space of just five days, the temperature rose a massive 40 degrees from the low of minus 32 at the end of February to a very respectable plus eight in the first days of March. And that set the scene for the whole month, very mild throughout and lots of migrants - no spectacular rares, but new species almost every day. Cranes, Bitterns, White Storks, Black Storks, they all returned during the month, along with incoming passerines, oodles of waterfowl and, as well as White-tailed Eagles, a few Rough-legged Buzzards and Hen Harriers. Plus, just to end the month, days and days of sun, temperatures rising and plenty of butterflies!

Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 March 2007 )
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Part Two: Western Sahara, plus coast revisited.
Written by Jos   

Moussier's Redstart, femaleRarely visited and little known, this arid portion of the world does not feature on the itinerary of many birders. The reasons are not difficult to understand - as well as the simmering military conflict and the almost total lack of birding information, there is also the issue of distances ...they are vast, everywhere is very far from everywhere else!  

For the adventurous birder though, the attraction is clear -  Dakhla in particular, and the southern deserts in general, offer the possibility of birds more typical of the Afrotropics. Royal Tern is near guaranteed and Black-crowned Finchlark have been recorded, reasons enough to see me travelling the 1400 km south to the Tropic of Cancer, about as far south as you can go without actually entering Mauritania.
 

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 May 2007 )
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February 2007. A mega bevy of peckers!
Written by Jos   

Male at the feederPlunging temperatures, snow and bucketloads of birds at the feeders, all the classic ingredients of a fantastic winter month in Lithuania. Temperatures hit minus 20 early in the month and a chilling minus 32 later on - a surefire way to get bird numbers up! A mid-month census across the four feeding sites suggested almost 1250 birds present, but for sheer wow, little could beat the stunning male White-backed Woodpecker present throughout. Alongside this star, some of the month's other highlights included Grey-headed Woodpeckers increasing to four, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers doing likewise and the northern Long-tailed Tits reaching nine. Black Woodpeckers and a Goshawk also put in appearances and, no less impressive, Tree Sparrows finally decided the feeders in the new garden were worthy places to dine, even dragging in a House Sparrow on one occasion. Away from the feeders, I did very little birding elsewhere in the country - most of it is frozen and birdless - but I couldn't go without a short mention of the Steller's Eiders in Palanga, Smews in Klaipeda and White-tailed Eagles in Kaunas, all the result of a short trip westward.

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 22 February 2009 )
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