Short courses on bird calls – April 2015

Saturday – Sunday, April 11 – 12, 2015

It has become a tradition, that every year in spring, we organize short walking courses on recognizing various bird calls in Zelezna studnicka leisure zone in Bratislava’s forested area. We did so this year as well, this time with a co-operation with Raptor Protection of Slovakia organization. Weather was second to none and thanks to that, mostly Saturday attracted an abundant number of nature loving people out of their homes. The beginning of our walk started at our traditional starting point which still is a former fast food area at Kacin junction (near Rotunda), where we had as well our information stall. Recently, this area is undergoing a reconstruction; so many people were surprised not to see even temporary fast foods around.

We did not do our April bird call walks in typical two-hour lengths, but (due to an astonishing number of registered facebook friends) we decided to start as early as 8 AM and since 10 AM begin to do our walks every hour. To manage so many eager bird loving eyes and ears, our bird call specialist Jan Dobsovic asked Raptor Protection of Slovakia’s expert, Mr. Roman Slobodnik on Saturday, and Nature Protection of Slovakia’s Andrej Kovarik on Sunday to help us cope with this task. Thanks to their immense help, the number of participants in each group was ideal. During those two days of walks, gentlemen guided almost 240 people and managed to observe 34 different bird species, which was a very nice number taking into account how relatively small the covered area was.

Thanks to a beautiful weather, songbirds were trying their best. Walk participants had an opportunity to learn how to distinguish calls of various species of tits, chaffinch, robin, but also a call of thrush and many others. All people were happy to see one of Slovakia’s tiniest birds – firecrest – that we managed to attract to a very close distance. We were lucky to see four species of woodpeckers, one of which, the middle spotted woodpecker, managed to be seen by many of our groups. On Sunday, our last walk was enlightened by the presence of mighty black stork, which paid us an uncommon visit.

We managed to discover several nests in various degree of completion. Feathered friends were not disturbed by our presence and were eagerly building homes for their young ones. Right next to our information stall, we had a very often used telescope aimed at chaffinch’s nest, so that people could see chaffinch at work. Nesting hole at the top of nearby electric pole provided a perfect nesting place for the great tit family, some tree holes became homes to Eurasian nuthatch and the Middle spotted woodpecker.

We would love to thank everyone who spent some time of that weekend with us and hope to see some, if not all, of you on our next Bird call walk, which will again be at Zelezna studnicka during the weekend of May 23 – 24, 2015.

List of observed bird species:

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Black Stork (Ciconia nigra)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor / Picoides minor)
Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius / Picoides medius)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major / Picoides major)
Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)
Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus)
Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Raven (Corvus corax)
Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris / Parus palustris)
Willow Tit (Poecile montanus / Parus montanus)
Coal Tit (Periparus ater / Parus ater)
Great Tit (Parus major)
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus / Parus caeruleus)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus)
Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)
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)
Dunnock (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)
Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

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