Posts Tagged ‘Pallid Swift’


A family holiday spent at the Sahara Beach Hotel in Skanes, Monastir, Tunisia. It was our fifth visit to the area so I already knew where to go birding. Managed to do some birding every day, but mainly in the morning, usually around 6-15am as it became very warm around 9-30am. The area around this hotel is dominated by very large salt lagoons and lots of breeding birds, including Yellow legged Gull, Slender billed Gull, Little, Common and Gull billed Tern’s and good numbers of Collared Pratincole. Waders in the shape of Black winged Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed and Kentish Plover. Lots of Greater Flamingo directly behind the Monastir Airport, along with Spoonbill and Stone Curlew in small numbers. At the local dump near Sahline, up to 180 White Storks were present but the spectacle of uncountable numbers of Yellow legged Gull will stay with me for a long while! In the hotel area’s Hoopoe, Serin, Crested Lark, Bee-Eater, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Spanish Sparrow were seen in varying numbers. Around the salt lagoons various bushes and mixed habitat held up to 8 Great Grey Shrikes of the algeriencis form that allow close attention to photograph! Also in those area’ s are small numbers of Zitting Cisticola(Fan Tailed Warbler), Greenfinch, Linnet, Short Toed Lark and the abundant Rock/ Feral Dove. Smaller numbers of Collared, Laughing and Turtle Doves also.Large flocks of Spotless Starling are great to watch as they dig for food on the ground and squabble just like “our” one’s. There are lots of Swift and with a bit of luck a few Pallid Swift can be found as they chase their prey close to the ground. Small numbers of House and Sand Martins were seen, but not many Barn Swallow’s (think there is a sad decline this year in their numbers) On the journey from Enfidha Airport to our hotel a single Carrion Crow was seen flying around a small village, a bit unusual that? A single Barbary Partridge was seen one early morning in the scrub around the salt lagoons and in the evening a single Hobby was out hunting and then a flock of 5 Shelduck flew past. A few Kestrel’s and Sparrowhawk’s were seen again in small numbers. Our our return home and near the airport at Enfidha a Booted Eagle was seen hunting and great end to a very localised birding / family holiday.

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The town of Hartlepool has got a good reputation for attracting rare birds, White-throated Robin & Western Orphean Warbler of recent times. So, when 3 rare birds were seen on Saturday we got a trip up there organised. We left Newhey at 6am with Steve K at the wheel with myself and Steve & Chris B making up the team. At 8am we reached the famous headland and birders were watching something. We quickly joined the 20+ and watched a Western Bonelli’s Warbler as it fed in amongst the autumnal trees in front of Borough Hall. Then a look up towards St Hilda’s church and great views of the Pallid Swift that had been in the area a couple of day’s were had as it left it’s roost on the church. What a start to the day! After a meeting with a group of Greater Manchester birders who had also made the trip, we met other people who told us about the Dusky Warbler near the Jewish Cemetery. Upon arrival at the cemetery area a single birder told us the news that the warbler was showing fairly well and was easily located by its Stonechat like calls. After a bit of searching, pretty good sightings of the bird were had, then as lots more birders arrived it promptly disappeared ! We had been lucky with this bird, our quick move had paid off and it was a lifer for 2 of our team as was the Pallid Swift. Now back to the St Hilda’s area for second’s of the warbler and the swift and they did not let us down and Steve B got some pics. Not much doing on the sea and after an RBA check it was found that the Siberian Stonechat was still present at Scalby Nab just north of Scarborough. Another lifer for one of the team, so, after a nice drive past Scaling Dam and over the moors we reached Scalby. A climb up and into a valley led by Maurice Jones from Fylde followed and the Siberian Stonechat was soon found. The bird performed really well down to 5 yards at times and photographic for those with camera’s, mine was buried in the car boot! We spent about half an hour with the Siberian Stonechat whilst it entertained us with it’s aerial sorties, cracking little bird! Our next call was Filey Dams N.R. were about 3 Sparrowhawks were being constantly harassed by the local corvids for about 5 minutes, good entertainment. A fellow birder then pointed out a Yellow-Browed Warbler to us, this bird performed also very well and close too! Time was pushing on and we had had an excellent day so we headed for home, but a problem around Stamford Bridge (no not the football ground) with a few long tail backs slowed our progress home. We reached Newhey by 5-30pm and all really enjoyed a great day’s birding.
Dave O.