Sunday, 23 October 2016


Week two saw us in Montenegro staying just outside Budva in Becici, So would the bird sightings improve...... not a lot! We did quickly add Common Buzzard to our list, seen patrolling the mountain ridge visable from our hotel room.
Not a great photo, but it was a fair distance away. There seemed to be many more Hooded Crows here than up in Croatia,
Grey Wagtails were pretty common too:
But otherwise out and about not much else was seen, although going out for a walk we did find a Coal Tit and a female Blackcap, neither of which allowed me to photograph them.

On a visit to the old town of Kotor we again came across Grey Wagtail and 3 Common Kingfishers together which was great, but none of them would perch for a photo, this was the best I could get:

Our final day in Montenegro was an exdcursion to Lake Skadar bordering Albania, this included a couple of hours out on a boat on the lake, always a good thing, we were looking forward to this, with high hopes of adding Dalmatian Pelican to our life list.

Things got off to a great start as we chugged along a river before heading out onto the lake,
A Marsh Harrier (unless anyone tells me differently, not a great shot as it was in the sun and silhouettted)
 Greay Heron,
 Yellow Legged Gull,
 Great Crested Grebe, there were hundreds of these on the lake, never seen so many,
 Black-headed Gull,
 and our first ever Pygmy Cormorant,
 plus some very smart Great Egret.
But no sign of Dalmatian Pelicans! So just have to have a close up of a Pygmy Cormorant instead.
So eventually the boat made its way back, then many miles away I could see what looked like Storks circling over a hillside, on closer inspection they turned out to be Pelicans, miles away but it is our first ever glimpse:
We went for a stroll after the boat trip and found some Common Kingfisher, but they wouldn't stop for a closeup! We did find these which was very nice:

 This water snake scooted by us at speed and quickly disappeared into a crevice in the rocks

So that was Montenegro.... from a wildlife viewpoint!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Croatia & Bosnia

We have just come back from a two non-birding holiday to Croatia and Montenegro. Of course we always hope that while we are out and about we will see something interesting, on that score we were to be disappointed with week one, the Croatian leg of our trip.

We saw very little, although Yellow Legged Gulls were in abundance,
and a White Wagtail was seen regularly from our hotel balcony.
We did see plenty of House Sparrows, Hooded Crow, the odd Robin and Jay, a Collared Dove or two, plus of course Great and Blue Tits. A highlight was a couple of Common Kingfishers at our local harbour (Mlini, near Dubrovnik) and also at nearby Cavtat. Oh and a Sparrowhawk at Mlini too. No photo's of these I'm afraid as we were in tourist mode at the time, with the wrong lens on the camera for birds.

One of our boat trips out did produce this:
on the same trip to the Elafiti Islands we did come across another couple of birders in a park on the island of Lopud and they told us we had just missed a Firecrest, that would have been a lifer for us, we hung around for a while, though we thought we might have seen it, whatever we saw was too flighty to identify, so there's one that got away!

We did venture into Bosnia and Herzegovina to visit Medjugorje and Mostar where Grey Wagtail, Lesser Black Backed Gull and Mallard extended our bird list. As we headed back to Croatia we stopped at Pocitelj to look at the castle and came across another Sparrowhawk and a Jay.

Our last day out on the Croatian leg of our journey was in Dubrovnik, the day started OK and we took the water taxi from Mlini to Dubrovnik, big mistake! The weather turned very windy and as you may guess the water taxi is quite a small boat, and half way there the sea became a tad rough! So much so the skipper asked us all to move to the port side of the boat to balance out against the waves that were hitting us on that side. We elected to come back by local bus!

The weather in Dubrovnik became increasingly worse and we did the tour of the city walls mostly in torrential rain, although I'm pretty sure with the prevailing winds and weather that meant I think we saw a Cory's Shearwater come out of the gloom do a couple of circuits off shore then disappear again. This would have been a lifer but Tina only caught the briefest glimpse and I couldn't be sure. It wasn't a gull that's for sure.

So that sums up Croatia for birding on this trip, disappointing but it wasn't that kind of holiday.
I'll just add a few more Yellow Legged Gull photos from a feeding frenzy after out skipper chucked the left overs from lunch overboard: