Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011: Peregrine Falcons, Rock Bunting

     I took a long walk today along the bike path that follows the Miljacka River (600 m asl) to the Kojija Ćuprija (Goat Bridge) dating from the mid 16th Century. After crossing the bridge, the trail climbs the ridge on the opposite side continuing parallel to the river some 80-100 meters above it. I walked about 5 km before doubling back to the car. The trail passes underneath some rugged cliffs which I scanned, and sure enough a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) sailed out briefly from the cliff and returned to perch out of sight. A second bird was located with effort on a branch of a tree growing out from one of the rock faces.
     The birdlife along the trail was for the most part quite ordinary. Lower down, Nightingales (Luscinia megarhynchos) were singing every 200 meters or so; Blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) were also very numerous, not only down along the river but up along the trail (680 m asl). There were  a few Greater Whitethroats (Sylvia communis) and Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) as well. White-throated Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) and Gray Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) are usually reliable along the stretch of river from the bridge to Sarajevo, but I missed them today.
     One pleasant surprise was a male Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia) sitting atop a spruce tree near the base of a scree slope. I had previously seen this species only this winter at Mostarski Blato (near Mostar); it is new for me in Sarajevo Canton.

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