Bee-eaters arrival and Orchids in bloom

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the end of the week we decided to make a small walk in the westernmost part of Small Carpathians Mts. In the massif of Devínska Kobyla man can find remnants of cenozoic sea with xerothermic sandy habitats. The sand walls of Sandberg, lying only few tens of metres from bank of Morava River, provide a perfect breeding site for the colony of European Bee-eaters (Merops apiaster).

We were awaiting the arrival of Bee-eaters almost for two weeks. As we made last few steps to have a good view over the sand walls we heard their characteristic voice. We were very happy that this most colorful Slovak bird species has arrived to its usual breeding site. We wrote this date to our diaries as it was one of the latest spring arrivals in last years. We have counted 14 birds, but few more will probably come or were hidden.

Just less than a kilometer further we have visited the old limestone quarry. This is very special part of Devínska Kobyla as it is home for several kinds of orchids. We have found 3 orchid species – Green-winged Orchid (Orchis morio) in purple and white variety, Burnt Orchid (Orchis ustulata) and Military Orchid (Orchis militaris). It is a pleasant feeling to see this flowers in bloom.

We have walked back alongside the Morava River, observing White Storks, Grey Herons and also Common Cuckoo in flight over the floodplain forest. This short walk has revealed the natural beauties of Bratislava once more.

List of observed bird species:
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 2
White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) 4
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) 2
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) 2
Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) 1
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) 2
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) 2
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia f. domestica)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) 1
Bee-eater (Merops apiaster) 14
Jackdaw (Corvus monedula) 3
Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix) 2
Great Tit (Parus major)
Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) H
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) H
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) H
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) H
Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) H
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Blackbird (Turdus merula)
Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)
Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) H
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) H
Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) H

number of observed individuals is mentioned only if we were able to count them, or make an estimation; “H” means that we heard it

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