Thursday, 24 April 2014

With clear skies, low winds and mild temperatures, it was a glorious day on the island, although was rather lacking in any significant numbers of common migrants. A male Common Redstart was seen amongst the gorse on the south end first thing; the Turtle Dove remained mobile, residing for the most part near Ty Pellaf; 22 Wheatears and five White Wagtails were scattered about the coast, although a large percentage of the former were breeding birds. Hirundine passage was persistent throughout the day, with tallies over an hour period midday comprising 46 Swallows, eight Sand Martins and four House Martins. A handful of finches moving through amounted to one Greenfinch, two Siskins, 10 Goldfinches and three Lesser Redpolls.

It has now been a week since this fantastic Turtle Dove arrived on the island. In the last few days, it has been favouring the fields around Ty Pellaf. If you haven't been watching Chris Packam's video entries on the hunting that is currently going on in Malta (and the rest of the Mediterranean-see here), then please watch the latest video from last night HERE. At the end of this video, a Turtle Dove is shown having been shot on the side of the head. You can do your bit by either donating to Birdlife Malta, or contacting your local MEP: please follow the links on Chris Packcam's website
There have been more and more butterflies appearing on the island in recent days and weeks- Green-veined Whites (pictured above (C) Mark Carter) are by far the commonest, although Peacocks, Red Admirals and Small Tortoise Shells have all put in an apperances
This is the pupal case, or chrysalis, of a Green-veined White. On the right hand image, you can just about make out where the antenna, three pairs of legs, and forewings were positioned. You can view the full life cycle of a Green-veined White here

Some of the more common migrants which have been all over the island in recent days:
The odd breeding pair of Barn Swallow continues to arrive on the island- this particular pair have taken up residence around the Boathouse. There are now two pairs around the farmyard at Ty Pellaf, although current breeding numbers are relatively low 
There has been a large reduction in the number of Greenland-race Wheatears around the island in the last few days- most of the birds today were breeding birds 

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