Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A Waldridge Naturalist in Corfu - the first two days.

I'm back at last. I've been to Corfu for 10 days and even though I came back last week, time seems to have flown by and I've done nothing with this blog. Since I came came back I've been doing a fair bit of birding and botany outside my square. I've done  a few bashes inside it and some moth trapping in the garden but I've haven't  wrote anything up yet together bd I've got quite a few things I need to check regarding their identity.
So what I thought I'd do is over the next few days as I catch up,  is to show what I was up to in Corfu. It's mainly a bird report, buy you never know somebody out there may have been before or find it interesting. So here goes - the firs two days of -
A Waldridge Naturalist in Corfu - the first two days.

5th May
Arrived at Corfu airport mid afternoon after a trouble-free flight.  No time to look at the airport lagoon as we were soon off heading north west to Sidari where we would be staying for the next 10 days.

House Sparrow (1)
Barn Swallow (1)

As we drove though Corfu Town,  quite a few hirundines and swifts were wheeling about including 3 Red-rumped Swallows, two of which were over the canal on the east side of town.

Corfu Town -
Feral Pigeon (5)
Alpine Swift (6)
Common Swift  (16)
House Martin (3)
Red-rumped Swallow (3)
Hooded Crow (3)

We headed off to Sidari and for the next hour and a half drove past  mile after mile of Olive trees (Olea europaea) interspersed with apparently 4 million Mediterranean Cypress trees (Cupressus sempervirens). More hirundines, Feral Pigeons and House Sparrows on route together with the first Yellow-legged Gulls and a single finch and bunting on wires

Corfu Town - Sidari
Yellow-legged Gull  (2)
Feral Pigeon (2)
Alpine Swift (6)
House Martin (5)
Barn Swallow (15)
Serin (1) a male on sitting on telegraph wires
House Sparrow (1)
Corn Bunting (1) on telegraph wires

Arrived at the Stamma apartments at 16:30hrs. The balcony had a view of lawned area and the pool with a wooded hillside to the right in the distance. The front porch however looked much more promising as just across was a dusty track (the path into town) and behind that some scrub and overgrown gardens. Behind, more mature gardens including two small clumps of poplars and some tall cypress trees. We quickly settled in and I was birding from the porch or on the track several times until dusk. There was a surprising amount of bird song and the odd birds were moving north overhead, obviously on migration. European Glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca) aka to most as Fireflies,  put on a great show in the evening, flashing away well into the night.

 Common Kestrel (2) both male and female seen overhead several times and appeared to be hunting. I suspect local birds.
Yellow-legged Gull  (19) mainly soaring around on thermals
European Scop's Owl - one heard calling from gardens to the end of the dusty track at 21:30 hrs.
Collared Dove (6) singing and displaying all around the area.
Turtle Dove (2) flew north overhead
Blue-headed Wagtail - a male landed in front of me on the dirt track. Definitely M. f. flava. 
House Martin (1) a single flying around the apartments 
Sand Martin (25) headed north in one flock
Red-rumped Swallow (8) nesting in the hotel buildings and regularly   resting on the overhead wires.

Barn Swallow (16) Some probably nesting nearby but difficult to tell and the majority may well be passage birds.
Golden Oriole (2) birds singing and calling from both poplar clumps opposite. Tried but failed to see either bird.
Blackbird (1) heard singing in gardens
Whinchat (1) a female seen feeding from telegraph wires as we had our evening meal
Great Tit (1) heard in scrub, not seen
Fan-tailed Warbler (1) flew over scrub, 'zipping' as it went.
Cetti's Warbler (2) heard, blasting out their song every five minutes or so. One in the boundary hedge of the hotel. The other, in the scrub opposite I briefly saw.
Serin (1) a male on sitting on telegraph wires
Greenfinch (3) 
Goldfinch (3) flew over / on wires
House Sparrow (24) very common, nesting in the surroundings and feeding in the gardens 
Black-headed Bunting (1) a male, flew onto the wires with  a group of House Sparrows

Magpie (5) two almost permanently outside the apartment

6th May
Spent first thing and late afternoon checking around the apartment. After breakfast we walked into town and then beyond to Canal de Amour and back again. Most of the birds seen again at Sidari with a few extra ones on the move but nothing of note at the latter.

 Common Buzzard (2) 1 flew over apartments and another soaring over the wooded hill nearby

 Honey Buzzard (1) A single bird north over the apartment
Common Kestrel (1) Presumably the female of yesterday's pair over the apartment 
Red-footed Falcon (1) a female or immature north
Yellow-legged Gull (40)
Common Swift (4) 
Collared Dove (6) 
Turtle Dove (2) another two north
Blue-headed Wagtail (8) a group of 8 perched up on wires then all took off  together
House Martin (32) a couple of pairs found nesting but many heading north
Sand Martin (29) headed north
Red-rumped Swallow (15)
Barn Swallow (9)
Golden Oriole (4) Made the day. 4 birds, all males constantly chasing each  other between the poplars, singing and calling. Watched for 40 minutes. One bird took up residence in the nearest clump and at least 2 remained in the other one. 
Spotted Flycatcher (2) feeding from wires and bushes in the overgrown gardens
Stonechat (1) a male on wires in one of the gardens
Whinchat (2) Yesterdays female still present, and a male in the scrub.
Great Tit (2) heard in scrub, again not seen
Cetti's Warbler (3) heard. Yesterday's two birds and a third a bit further up  the track. Again a brief view of one. 
Sardinian Warbler (2) - a singing male in the scrub opposite and a male seen well down the track
Icterine Warbler (2) in the scrub seen well looked spot on for Icterine 
Greenfinch (3) 1 singing from wires
Goldfinch (2) flew over / on wires
House Sparrow (24) 
Hooded Crow (3)  Three singles flew over
Magpie (4)

Canal de Amour
Yellow-legged Gull (1)
Alpine Swift (1)
House Martin (10)
Red-rumped Swallow (6)
Barn Swallow (8)
Greenfinch (1)
House Sparrow (10)

Amongst the common european plants we also get back home, the scrub had a fair selection of  the Mediterranean flora such as Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum) .

 A larger and darker 'Tufted Vetch' was very common.This is Purple Tufted Vetch (Vicia benghalensis).

A few common 'British' butterflies were seen , but more a little later. Thats all for today

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