Posts Tagged ‘Shelduck’


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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My first trip over to the Emerald Isle. I am staying less than 2 miles away from the WWT Castle Espie – Co. Down. The reserve is on the banks of Strangford Lough, an area of international importance and great beauty, with its eelgrass beds and wide variety of wildfowl and waders including shelduck, shoveler, redshank, godwit and plover. I am at the gates as the reserve opens. A quick check of the tidetable indicates I have just missed the peak time, and it is on it’s way out. A quick dash to the hide that looks towards the estuary. Looking out towards the monument. Farsends of Shelduck are wading along the mud flats. Espie is noted for it’s numbers of Shelduck as well as the Pale bellied Brent Geese. These geese are from Canada, and are different to the Dark bellied version we see back on the mainland.

Brent Goose

Looking further, and I see Eider ducks, Bar Tailed Godwits, and a wide selection of common waders. Here you can also see another version of the Corvid family, that I don’t normally see. Hooded Crow. I watch as one ‘Hoodie’ is picking up mussle shells, hovering high above the rocks than dropping it, in hope it lands on the rocks and breaks. this reminds me of seeing Lammergier’s doing the same tactics with bones – on tele off course. In the car park, there are some tall conifers. A scan revieled a single Brambling. A nice stay at the reserve. I was a bit unlucky with the tide. On the laggons I got a couple of Scaups, a species I missed last year.