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March 2008. Lithuania and the Arctic, birding contrasts.
Written by Jos   

Common Toad

What with rain and wind, boggy grounds, a day of heavy snow and a car getting stuck no less than twice, it was a wonder I got to see any birds during early March! But see birds I did, a nighttime Long-eared Owl, a flock of seven White-tailed Eagles, a city centre Black Woodpecker and the first flutters of migrants inward bound. As mid-month approached, and sunnier days settled, migration took a turn for the better, good numbers of Cranes, an inland Common Eider and the first Woodlark, plus butterflies and amphibians. Later on, the White Storks also returning to my house, and the first Lesser Spotted Eagles.

For the month's end though, I exchanged the approaching spring in Lithuania for the sub-zero and snow of Arctic Finland and Norway, excellent birds and stunning scenery. King Eiders, Pine Grosbeaks, Steller's Jays, just a few of the goodies, but the stunning highlight was an amazing Wolverine!

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 January 2009 )
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February 2008. French twitching, early spring in Lithuania
Written by Jos   

Long-tailed TitWith a mad twitch across the continent to see a Wallcreeper in France, a trip also notching up Shore Larks and Snow Buntings, and then an excellent month at my Labanoras feeders, culminating in a mega Pygmy Owl, the birding highlights of the month rather compensated for the weather - the latter a wholly drab affair with very little snow and temperatures rarely much below freezing! Mid-month estimates at the four feeding sites suggested a total of almost 1000 birds present on a daily basis, the bulk being very large numbers of Great Tits and Blue Tits, but alongside these, a male Grey-headed Woodpecker, four Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and an appearance of northern Long-tailed Tits. Black Woodpeckers and a Great Grey Shrike also put in regular appearances. Away from the feeders, also saw several White-tailed Eagles and a couple of Rough-legged Buzzards at Baltoji Voke, plus a very impressive 50 Steller's Eiders at Palanga and flocks of Whooper Swans at Rusne numbering 1280.

Last Updated ( Monday, 26 January 2009 )
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Uganda, part one.
Written by Jos   

Mostly in the relative luxury of a rugged landrover, the first part of this trip took me through 2850 km of potholes, ravines that passed for roads and occasional dustbowls to enjoy some of the best landscapes and birding opportunites that Africa can throw at you. CrocodileBeginning with a couple of days in Entebbe and the Mbamba wetlands, the route first took us northwards to Murchinson Falls, a locality of spectacular birding to the stunning backdrop of the mighty River Nile plunging through a narrow gorge as it empties into a bird-rich delta. With an abundance of mammals and birds, and chimpanzee-filled forests to the south, four days were spent here, before enduring the diabolical road southward to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The drive was well-rewarded, the southern Ishasha sector in particular is amongst the most beautiful localities in Africa I have yet to visit and, camping on the Congolese border, full of birds and mammals. From Queen Elizabeth, it was up into the highlands and to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, home to the Mountain Gorillas and a potential 350 species of birds. Spending four days in the Buhoma sector of Bwindi, but skipping Ruhizha, it was then a hike back westward towards Kampala, but with a stop over at Lake Mburo, an excellent locality with a range of species, both mammal and bird, not easily found elsewhere in Uganda.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 01 March 2008 )
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