Friday, 17 March 2017

Spring waterbird movements

This handsome Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia (slo. kaspijska čigra) was repeatedly observed in the past days at the reserve's lagoon together with Common Gulls Larus canus (slo. sivi galeb) and Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus (slo. rečni galeb). The species is a regular migrant to the Delta, on the way to its breeding grounds in the Baltic.
Garganey Anas querquedula (slo. reglja) - numbers of this typical spring duck have greatly increased in the last days. The species is now the commonest duck at the reserve, seen in almost every lake and pond (up to 100 ind.). Its rattling calls are a quintessential sound of springtime in the marshes!
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (slo. kostanjevka). Flocks are gathering all over the reserve, especially in freshwater pools with extensive reedbeds. In the first photo a male (note white eye) together with two female Gadwalls Anas strepera (slo. konopnica).
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina (slo. tatarska žvižgavka) - a pair swimming in a pool with two Gadwalls Anas strepera (slo. konopnica).
Two Ruddy Shelducks Tadorna ferruginea (slo. rjasta kozarka) sharing the airspace with a White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (slo. belorepec). These rare shelducks breed in small numbers in the saline steppes to the south of our reserve. This was the first sighting we had (hence the bad image) but hopefully we'll catch up with them later in the season on their breeding sites.
Wildfowl mix: Wigeon Anas penelope (slo. žvižgavka), Gadwall Anas strepera (slo. konopnica) and Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (slo. kostanjevka).
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena (slo. rjavovrati ponirek) in almost complete breeding plumage. The species nests on floating vegetation on the inner lakes of the Danube delta.
Shelducks Tadorna tadorna (slo. duplinska kozarka) are quite numerous at the reserve with single flocks reaching 50 or more birds.
The first Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (slo. žličarka) of the year was seen on migration over the reserve, heading north.
An artistic photo of a Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus (slo. kodrasti pelikan) descending in one of the reserve's lakes.
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus (Larus) minutus (slo. mali galeb). On two occasions we witnessed a steady passage of about 10-15 birds, flying low over the reserve. More will continue to migrate through in the coming months.
White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (slo. belorepec). One or two adults and a few immatures are regularly seen over the freshwater pools - adults always look glorious in full sunshine.
A quite brief, but very thrilling encounter with an Otter Lutra lutra (slo. vidra).
Golden Jackals Canis aureus (slo. zlati šakal) are frequently very obliging and easily photographed from the car.
This Black Woodpecker Dryocopus martius (slo. črna žolna) is regularly observed chiseling an old poplar tree in front of a photo-hide. See VIDEO (watch HD).
Submerged willows Salix sp.
Marsh Frog Pelophylax ridibundus (slo. debeloglavka).
Polypores on a rotting tree in a willow riverine forest by the Danube.
Tussilago farfara - for the moment (and unfortunately for us) these are the only flowers to be seen around. To be honest, we pretty much miss this.
We frequently see Grey-headed Woodpeckers Picus canus (slo. pivka) such as this, feeding on the ground on their favoured grassy banks by willow-bordered canals.
Water beetles from the Dytiscidae family such as this (probably genus Agabus) are common in freshwater ponds.
A young male Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus (slo. skobec) after a failed attack towards a flock of tits and finches.
Flowering willows Salix sp. are now adorning the banks of canals, reservoirs and marshes.
Feeding the ducks! All our wildfowl photos so far were taken in the field and not from photo-hides. We are still working hard to bring ducks closer to the hides, so they can be easily photograhed.
A lone Letea horse "grazes" in the flooded steppe at the reserve's southern edge.