Thursday, 26 February 2009

Birding Tours: Croatia

This is the first in a series of posts focused on birding tours in Eastern Europe. From 24-28 April 2010 the UK company Birdfinders are running a new tour to Croatia. Based in Dalmatia a key species will be Rock Partridge. There'll also be Alpine Chough, Alpine Swift, Scops Owl, Rufous-tailed and Blue Rock Thrushes, Western Rock Nuthatch, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Black-eared Wheatear amongst others. Link to the the online brochure page:

Monday, 23 February 2009

Destinations: Dirhami - Estonia

The beach and harbour at Dirhami (Dirhami neem) is particularly good in times of pasage (March to May and August to October). Good numbers of divers, gebes, geese, ducks and terns pass this way and passerine rarities are possible. In poor weatherdDucks such as Long-tailed, Scaup and Common and Velvet Scoters often reside in the small, sheltered port. Pipits and Wagtails often land on the beach and the pinewoods can be checked for other songbirds. Dirhami lies on Estonia's west coast in Laane County about an hour north of Haapsalu.   

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Special Birds: Bearded Tit

Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus (aka Bearded Reedling) is a common bird of lowland wetlands with extensive reedbeds throughout Eastern Europe. It is not a true "tit" species but rather a member of the babbler family. It is a resident and essentially sedentary bird which gathers in family parties and then in flocks from the end of summer through winter. It is often first located when it's "pinging" call, which perhaps recalls a tense elastic band being plucked, is heard.    

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Destinations: Trebonsko - Czech Republic

The Trebonsko area, much of it a Biosphere Reserve arond the town of Trebon in South Bohemia, is a mosaic of wetlands and woodlands. There are man-made, but old, fishponds of all shapes and sizes, rivers, canals, mixed forests, peat-bogs and farmland. Key breeding birds include White-tailed Eagle, Red and Black Kites,  Black-necked Grebe, Goldeneye, Green Sandpiper, Black and White Storks, Black Tern, 7 species of woodpecker,Eagle, Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owls, Collared Flycatcher, Bluethroat and Penduline Tit. On passage flocks of wildfowl and waders move through. This is a relatively easy and pleasant area to explore being mostly flat and crossed by roads, marked trails and bike-routes. Trebon is around 140 km south of Prague.   

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Special Birds: Long-legged Buzzard

In Europe Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus is very much a bird of the Balkans. It is a fairly common breeder in lowland areas in Romania and Bulgaria. The furthest north and west it breeds is in eastern Hungary. In late summer some birds disperse and wander and can then be seen in non-breeding areas. There is great variation in Long-legged Buzzard plumages and often an overlap in colour with Common Buzzards, but most birds in the region are rufous morphs with pale unbarred tails. Photo by Gabor Kovacs, Hortobagy, Hungary.