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.
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.
Several more Fan-Tailed Warblers were seen, including one which showed very well.
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.
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:
A very enjoyable days birding!