Saturday, April 16, 2011

Parc de Verghello, Col de Morello + Lake Urbino

Had a look around the area we were staying first up. A small flock of Corsican Finches were feeding right outside the villa. However they proved very difficult to approach being very flighty.

Also in the field a couple of Woodlarks

A bit later a male Corsican Finch was flying around from tree to tree singing. Also doing the odd song flight

Local island race Blue Tit, a take on the paler more washed out continental bird

A flock of Crag Martins were flying around the river just south of where we were staying but proved very difficult to photograph in flight

Off to the Verghello valley today. A stunning place. Had to drive up a very narrow and winding road with some serious sheer drops but it was worth it.

Drove up to as far as the road would take us. First bird was a Goshawk

Next bird a Red Kite but unfortunately that was it in the raptor department

A couple of Crossbills went over then we heard the distinctive song of the Corsican Nuthatch, a bit like a speeded up Whimbrel which we tracked down to this bird

It seemed to have a penchant for hanging upside down, sometimes motionless

As we were driving back down we noticed a Juvenile Corsican Crossbill Loxia curvirostra corsicana lurking in the pines. Had to settle for a couple of terrible record shots taken thorough the car windscreen before it was lost in the woods, seemingly following a Chaffinch flock around. Corsican Crossbill is apparently duller and greyer in the female and slightly darker scarlet red in the male with a larger bill than Common Crossbill as well as being a distinct vocal type. Although currently lumped within the curvirostra 'group' it apparently has more in common with the more sedentary pytyopsittacus and scotica with very similar feeding habits, and probably deserves species status

Local Goldcrest, another island race bird. Regulus r. interni Doesnt get a mention in BWP so difference presumably slight. Apparently the song is slightly different

Firecrests heard much more regularly and seem to have a healthy population here

Next stop Col de Morello were there were more Citril Finches a couple of Dartford Warblers and some fleeting glimpses of Marmora's. Much more impressive were the Alpine Swifts swooping about overhead.

Carried on toward the coast just stopping if anything was seen. This was one of a number of Common Buzzards, Buteo buteo arrigonii. According to BWP slightly smaller than nominate and only weakly differentiated with upperparts slightly more brown and underparts more streaked and less densely marked or barred. These birds also have less individual variation

Just got one shot of this Crag Martin very briefly coming down to pick up some mud

This Red Kite was having a good look at us

As we approached Lake Urbino we had our second Red-footed Falcon of the trip, another adult male but it was soon off over the hill before we had a chance to stop the car.
Didnt realise there were Greater Flamingo's here

2 very serious looking Yellow-legged Gulls

One of a flock of 17 Wood Sands feeding in a field

Back at the Villa Scops Owl singing again at dusk