Thursday, 18 September 2008
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
One aspect that was rather limiting, as far as birding is concerned, was the warning that one should not stray from roads and made-up paths because of residual land-mines. Our local guide reckoned that there were still in excess of 5 million land-mines in Bosnia.
On arrival in Budapest I had a free afternoon and asked a local colleague if he had any recommendations for a nice countrified place for me to go and find some birds. He told me of a lake at the end of a tram line where he had seen many "big birds". In the event, this turned out to be little more than an elongated duck pond with water that stank, but which was lined with fishermen who seemed to be taking their catches home for tea. Other than some (dubious) Mallards, I saw only Tree Sparrows ! However, the insect life proved to be relatively interesting - a trend that continued throughout the tour. There were, however, a few treats in store birdwise during the tour.
These are the insects from Saturday 30th August:-
Beetles on wild hop plant
A visit to the railway of a coal mine (entirely worked by steam engines) at Bukinje, Bosnia, on 1st September resulted in several insects, a lizard, and a Black Redstart (not successfully photographed) being seen.
Cricket at Bukinje
Probable Green Lizard (juvenile) at Bukinje
Large Skipper at Banovici
Black Redstart at Banovici
The next morning (2nd September), after an early breakfast, I had a stroll round the undeveloped land round our hotel. This was not without some concerns for safety. However, I did see Whinchat and Stonechat (shown below) both of which were wrongly positioned for the sun - but I was not going to leave the path to try and go round them !!!
Later in the day, I stopped to photograph a Hooded Crow (below) which was on a railway platform (huge numbers of Hooded Crow seen during the trip).
We overnighted in Zenica at a hotel next to the river, owned by the local steelworks. I took an early breakfast so that I could have a walk by the river. The river was full of junk, but a 'local' stopped me to tell me how, now that the river was clean, there were "so much birds". I must say that I was surprised to find several Little Grebe, and even a Kingfisher (as well as numerous Mallards), so I supect that the water was relatively clean.
After breakfast, we went to the Zenica steel works for a visit (they still use steam engines). Here I saw several Whinchats from the bus. As we left the bus, a Kestrel flew off the tall building beside the bus and headed out of sight, but on a decending path. I found this in the top of a low tree and took the safety shots before working my way round the other side of a building to take some closer shots from the other side which were with better light.
Whinchat at Kakanj
The following day (4th September) I photographed this Common Buzzard in Rajlovac railway goods yard.
Marsh Tit at Vrelo Bosna (near Sarajevo)
The following day (5th September) we took our train to Ploce in Croatia (on the coast) for a short visit. No interesting birds were seen, but I did photograph a grasshopper and a dragonfly.
The return to Bosnia, and then to Zagreb (Croatia), with a run to Budapest from Zagreb on 7th September did not yield anything very exciting. In summary, I do not recommend going to Bosnia for 'independent' birding.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
A further hour or so revealed nothing of interest near the water, so I decided to have a look down the 'closed' lane which runs off Laundry Lane near the bridge (this is where I found the Firecrests). This Wheatear was there, and very obliging.
A quarter of an hour later, I was out with my camera again as a female Southern Hawker was laying eggs in the moss beside the waterfall.