July 2010

In July, 83 species were recorded in the area, among them two new, increasing the total number of bird species recorded to 208.

The warm summer season usually leads to the drying up of water reserves in the coastal Mediterranean wetlands. This year was an exception, with the Sani wetlands remaining overflowing and several species of water birds being observed. There was a significant gathering of mallards, coots, shelducks and of rare species, such as pochard and the globally threatened ferruginous duck.

The presence of all eight species of heron that have been recorded in our country, (except bittern) was very impressive. The most populous of these were the little egrets, with at least 128 of them being observed feeding in the overflowed parts of the wetlands. We were particularly glad to observe young purple herons, evidence of the successful reproduction of those that nested in the reedbeds of the wetlands earlier in the year. The observation of a cattle heron, a kind of heron which has been spreading from the western to eastern Mediterranean in the last decade, was also considered important.

Even though it is quite early, several species of water birds were observed beginning their autumn migration. The bigger flocks consisted of little stilts, black-winged stilts and wood sandpipes, the first two of these in large flocks of more than 100 birds. The presence of greenshank, redshank, spotted redshank, black-tailed godwit, common sandpiper, curlew sandpiper and snipe was further proof of the striking diversity of water birds in the Sani wetlands in July. Among the migratory species that were observed, we should point out the presence of a flock of 36 glossy ibis and 3 spoonbills.

A total of six species of diurnal raptors were observed. A peregrine was spotted hunting little birds near the reedbeds, while hobbies were seen hunting swallows along the water surface.

The variety of passerine birds was also great. Most of these, such as the nightingale, Spanish sparrow, black headed bunting, fan-tailed warbler had reproduced close to the Sani wetlands. Finally, we observed the first gathering of migratory species, such as the yellow wagtail.

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