Birds Day 2013 at Danube

Monday, April 1, 2013, Birds Day

We organized another birdwatching walk to the area of Hrušovská zdrž water reservoir on Danube River. This time it was made as a reminder to a special day – Birds Day. It was established in 1900 by Oto Herman, a significant Slovak naturalist. Our main target were various waterbird species and spring migrants that use this area as breeding site or migration stop-over. We hoped to spot few of the first Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica). Despite very cold and delayed spring we had pleasant sunny weather, few degrees over zero. Our walk started with nice observation of juvenile White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) that flew over our heads. First birds on the water surface of Danube could be seen only through the spotting scopes. We found pair of Garganeys (Anas querquedula), several Tufted Ducks (Aythya fuligula) and last wintering Goldeneyes (Bucephala clangula). During the walk to the other birdwatching spot we observed flyover of male Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus). On the following stop we had nice view on pair of Red-crested Pochards (Netta rufina) which crests were glowing in the sun. We were lucky to spot first Barn Swallows as they were flying low over the water and were catching insects. In addition there was a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus). Later we were checking tree trunks in shallow parts of the river. We observed three different species of Wagtails – White Wagtail (Motacilla alba), Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava), Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) and one Stonechat (Saxicola torquata) as well. More Barn Swallows were active in catching insects. Two Common Sandpipers (Actitis hypoleucos) were walking on the tree trunks, sometimes they were hidden behind them so we could only wait to spot them again. Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita) were singing in the trees along the bank and some of them were only few metres away. We checked one site for Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) presence but we were unsuccessful. Instead of it we found Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) perching on the tree. It was an unusual observation for this time of year as these Shrikes should be already on their breeding sites in northern regions of Slovakia. Aside of ornithological observations we found pair of European Oil Beetles (Meloe sp.), blooming Two-leaf Squills (Scila bifolia), shed snake skin and Jew’s ear fungus (Auricularia auricula-judae). We are experiencing one of the coldest springs in last decades, many arrivals of migratory birds are delayed. In spite of this fact we had an opportunity to spot several signs of coming spring and looking forward to our upcoming events.

List of observed bird species:

Mute Swan   (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall   (Anas strepera)
Mallard   (Anas platyrhynchos)
Garganey   (Anas querquedula)
Red-crested Pochard   (Netta rufina)
Pochard   (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck   (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye   (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe   (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe   (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron   (Ardea cinerea)
Great Egret   (Egretta alba)
Great Cormorant   (Phalacrocorax carbo)
White-tailed Eagle   (Haliaeetus albicilla)
Marsh Harrier   (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Buzzard   (Buteo buteo)
Coot   (Fulica atra)
Common Sandpiper   (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull   (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
large Gull   (Larus cachinnans/michahellis)
Feral Pigeon   (Columba livia f. domestica)
Wood Pigeon   (Columba palumbus)
Collared Dove   (Streptopelia decaocto)
Great Spotted Woodpecker   (Dendrocopos major)
Great Grey Shrike   (Lanius excubitor)
Hooded Crow   (Corvus cornix)
Great Tit   (Parus major)
Blue Tit   (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow   (Hirundo rustica)
Chiffchaff   (Phylloscopus collybita)
Wren   (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Nuthatch   (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling   (Sturnus vulgaris)
Blackbird   (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush   (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush   (Turdus viscivorus)
Robin   (Erithacus rubecula)
Black Redstart   (Phoenicurus ochruros)
European Stonechat   (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow   (Passer domesticus)
Yellow Wagtail   (Motacilla flava)
Grey Wagtail   (Motacilla cinerea)
White Wagtail   (Motacilla alba)
Chaffinch   (Fringilla coelebs)
Greenfinch   (Carduelis chloris)
Yellowhammer   (Emberiza citrinella)
Reed Bunting   (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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