The Safari was up at the crack of dawn on our holidays, in good time to see the sun come up most days
The area we wandered around was a field, recently with cattle, adjacent to the hotel for about an hour or so before breakfast. There are a number of criss-crossing tracks various used by our self, fishermen driving to the rocks, German joggers and locals going to work. Our room is circled, just to the south of the field. A dry stone wall separated the open field from the coastal scrub belonging to the hotel where the sea-watching platforms were situated.
That early in the morning the light often wasn't good for photography and we got caught on the hop with the camera still set for afternoon sunshine on a couple of occasions, most notably when a Bar Tailed Godwit flew over us one morning...fancy flying 2 1/2 hours to find one of these when we've not seen one at Patch 2 yet this year - bonkers!
And on another day an Osprey was the first bird we saw .
Other early morning migrants seen only once included a Common Sandpiper, a Wheatear
a Grey Plover, which was heard the following day at the beach on the other side of the peninsula, a Peregrine Falcon that stooped at the Feral Pigeons on the mediaeval tower and a loose flock of about 40 Marsh Harriers, there may have been one or two other species in there too; for some reason we just stood and gawped at this spectacle without even thinking about raising the camera!
This time of day was when the birds were most active and the Sardinian Warblers fractionally less skulky than later in the day but still nigh on impossible to get a pic of.
The field held a large flock of very twitchy LinnetsCirl Buntings
which had had a good breeding season judging by the huge number of juveniles around.
Also present daily were a couple of Blackbirds and a pair of Stonechats which were incredibly flighty not letting us approach any closer than about 25 - 30 yards. We saw a Fan Tailed Warbler (aka Zitting Cisticola - we remember when that was going to be the big new thing down South along with Serin but it never happened - - or hasn't happened yet!) on no more than three mornings.
|Highly processed from near darkness!|
On two days we saw a flit or two of what was probably either a Dartford Warbler or a Marmora's Warbler but glimpses were too brief, the light too bad and the scrub too dense to have any chance of a certain ID.
In 'town' and around the hotel there was a flock of sparrows which again were very flightly and it wasn't until almost the very end of our stay we got a confirmatory photo that they were in fact Spanish Sparrows.Spotless Starlings proved evasive to the end!
Of course being surrounded by the sea and with a small marina and fishing harbour there were Yellow Legged Gulls around although not as many as we might have expected.
Sadly there were no Audouin's Gulls around although perhaps we should have spent more time looking at the larger port of Palau when we were there sight-seeing.
Out to sea we regularly saw numbers of Scopoli's Shearwaters; inevitably the biggest numbers and one day a flock of at least 200 on the days we didn't take the scope! The morning of the large flock there were huge splashes breaking the sea surface and although we saw nothing were probably being made by big Bluefin Tuna rather than dolphins. That was the day we were most likely to have seen Yelkouan Shearwaters too but without the scope the action was too far away to have been able to pick one out, we didn't see anything like one on any other day.
Both Cormorant and Shag were present on the rocks and one afternoon we were able to watch one chasing a shoal of fish under water while we were snorkeling, unfortunately it was a bit too far away in stirred up murky water to warrant using the underwater video-cam. We got some other fishy footage in calmer conditions we'll post on a later date.
After breakfast it was time for sight-seeing, snorkeling or hitting the pool/beach depending on the wind followed by cold beers and hot pizzas. Then later in the afternoon there was time for a bit of hunting down some invertebrates which we'll show you tomorrow.
Today it was back to earth with a bump. We had a walk down Chat Alley just as the rain started and an hour and two miles later we got back wetter than when we'd got out of the shower before setting off! And all for just three Wheatears, a Meadow Pipit and a Grey Wagtail!
Where to next? Tales of wonderous insects and other endothermic beasties from far flung lands.
In the meantime let us know how wet you can get in your outback.