Malta Trip – Day 6 – 9/vii/14

Today was my first (and only) birding excursion, (though I was constantly on the look out). I first visited Ghadira Nature Reserve, which I quickly discovered is closed for the summer months. I managed to find a viewpoint over the reserve – a road just to the south – and pick out most of the birds on the lagoon at distance. First up were 3 Little Egret and a Greater Flamingo. On an island were a group of 6 Black-Winged Stilt and 2 or 3 Little-Ringed Plover were present too.

Black-Winged Stilt 0004 Ced

A very distant Wood Sandpiper was eventually identified with confidence, as was a resting Greenshank on the Island and a feeding male Ruff. A few Moorhen were around, and notable as they are a scarce breeding species on Malta. Around the fringes of the reserve were several Sardinian Warblers and Fan-Tailed Warblers were evident in low numbers also. A Reed Warbler was heard but not seen and this is another species which is a rare breeder on Malta.

Next was a walk up the hill and along Marfa Ridge. Spanish Sparrow and Sardinian Warbler were abundant here (including many young birds), but unfortunately no Spectacled Warblers were seen.

Sardinian Warbler 0007 Ced

Several more Fan-Tailed Warblers were seen, including one which showed very well.

Fan-Tailed Warbler 0039 Ced

Nearer to the end of the ridge, a number of Swifts were flying around, and with them was a possible Pallid Swift, but it was not seen well enough to be confidently identified. As compensation though, an Alpine Swift whizzed low overhead giving great views, before heading of north-west.

Alpine Swift 0001 Ced

A male Blue Rock Thrush showed very well on the cliffs, resting in the shaded areas, and occasionally flying, showing some apparent wing moult. Here is a poor record shot of a great bird:

Blue Rock Thrush 0004 Ced

A very enjoyable days birding!

Malta 0028

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