Gifts of spring in Parco di S. Giuliano

The Parco di San Giuliano is the largest of Mestre city parks and probably the best spot of the area for birding, being a green oasis, surrounded by urban centers, that faces directly into the Venice lagoon. Often uncommon migrant birds decide to stop here, attracted by reedbeds, ponds and meadows.

After a couple of weeks of forced inactivity, I had the first touch of migration 2 days ago when, visiting the southern side of Venice lagoon, I spotted the first Swallow and Garganeys, but also 5 White Storks (Ciconia ciconia) and a total of about 130 Cranes (Grus grus) in 3 different flocks.

 

On Saturday the weather was rather awful, with cloudy sky, humidity and some haze and drizzle. I decided to have anyway a walk and to spend the morning along the trails of Parco di S. Giuliano, looking for birds.

On a maple I observed 1 Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)…

Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)
Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

…while 6 beautiful Penduline Tits (Remiz pendulinus) were feeding on willow buds.

Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)
Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)
Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)
Penduline Tit (Remiz pendulinus)

Near the water of little ponds there were also a lot of Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita) chasing the flies.

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)
Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

In the reedbeds I heard the subsong of an Acrocephalus warbler: after some minutes of search, I spotted a wonderful Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon), an uncommon visitor of the end of winter, extinct almost everywhere as breeder in north eastern Italy!

Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
Moustached Warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)

Around in the meadows I had also 15 Meadow Pipits, 5 Linnets and 1-2 quick Redpolls that flew over, but more tame were 2 superb Garganeys (Anas querquedula) in a pond.

Garganeys (Anas querquedula)
Garganeys (Anas querquedula)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)
Garganey (Anas querquedula)

The happy end of the morning, rich in photo subjects even if definitely not with the best light of ever, was the observation, by now on the way back, of an unexpected Red Kite (Milvus milvus) flying over the road, a very rare winter presence in Veneto!

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

Luca Boscain

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