Thursday, September 22, 2011

Little Egret shooting video

Check out the video of the Little Egret shooting at Delimara on the first day of raptor camp here

Since then I have also witnessed a Marsh Harrier and a Night Heron being shot down, unfortunately the circumstances didnt make any sort of prosecution possible. More later, maybe.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Raptor Camp- day 7

Just a short update here, check my page on the Birdlife Malta for much more photos.

2 Pallid Harries have been the best birds for me so far, this juvenile flew past us the other afternoon and an adult male was part of a great display of migrant raptors over Buskett, photos from that afternoon are on the page linkd above.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Raptor Camp day 2 onwards

My plan to update the blog daily has failed already!! Birdlife Malta have given me the opportunity to do some media work for them and this includes creating a page on their website with plenty of photographs, basically to be updated whenever I see something worth seeing. Here is that page.

For updates of all the latest news, check the main updates page of the website here.

I'll bring more news when I can, it's all a little bit mental busy here. I was up for 25 hours yesterday/today including a shift watching over 2 roosting Black Storks from 8.30pm to 5am last night. The birds apparently left safely to Africa this morning. Main bird sightings for me have been my lifer Eleonora's Falcon, a Booted Eagle, nearly 1000 Bee-eaters in an afternoon and a spectacualr flock of 140 Grey Herons (and 1 Great White Egret)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Raptor Camp Day 1

Picture the scene; a quiet clifftop overlooking a tranquil bay, a handful of pleasure boats rocking gently from the onshore breeze that is taking a welcome edge off the afternoons heat. A few Swallows pass twittering overhead as they migrate south and a Sardinian Warbler chatters from the scrub behind. Suddenly the peace is shattered as two gunshots ring out and everyone is reminded that this is Malta. Turning to the direction of the shots, we see a Little Egret tumbling from the sky into the azure waters, foundering for a while, then agonisingly slowly hauling itself onto the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. Welcome to Raptor Camp!
We call the ALE, the police branch responsible for wildlife crime, who manage to communicate with a local group in a boat who are attempting to rescue the bird from the rocks. It flaps feebly out to sea but soon drops again into the water in the middle of the bay, where, clearly exhausted it allows itself to be plucked to the relative safety of the boat. They pull alongside at a basic jetty for fishing vessels where we take it off their hands, grateful that most Maltese are an infinitely better bunch than the hunters who tar the name of these islands. On inspection, the bird is found to have several wounds to its body, wings and legs. It is whisked away to the vet, but its chances of survival appear slim. We continue our watch and hold our breaths as two juvenile Night Herons approach the same bay after a journey over the sea from Sicily. To our relief, they appear to sense that all is not well at the site, and turn sharply before heading purposefully South, next stop: Africa.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back on the Levels, back in the game

The lack of bloggage this summer has been a sad reflection of my birding effort lately, I won't whinge about it though, cos its my own bloody fault. I did manage another a few days birding on the Somerset Levels at the end of August. This was typically brilliant for this fantastic area and produced the following goodies:

Great White Egret, The resident colour ringed bird from the Loire-Atlantique

Spotted Crake at the back of the drained lagoon, far too distant for a photo, use your imagination!

Osprey on Noah's Lake, possibly the annually returning bird.

The highlight of the week. A Pectoral Sandpiper that flew in to the drained lagoon early one morning, a much appreciated self-found tick for minimal effort

I'm currently back in Bournemouth and soon to start my 3rd and final year of uni, but laziness and hangovers have prevented any birding.

Shit gets real later this week however as I return to Malta to join Birdlife Malta for 2 weeks of their annual raptor camp. After witnessing for myself some of the horrors inflicted on migrating birds back in the spring I knew I had to go back and do what I could to help. This time i'll be taking my laptop and will be writing a daily blog describing the events, the work of the Birdlife Malta staff and volunteers, birds, birding and life on camp, primarily with the goal of persuading other people to join future camps. Hopefully i'll be able to get some nicer photos of birds than the 'images' shown in this blog post.