We spent a few days travelling around SW Sardinia - mostly history and archaeology, but obviously some birding was involved! I'd thoroughly recommend the capital, Cagliari for a long weekend. Not only has it some fine attractions, but there's some stupendous birding within the city limits - so much so that we're going to have to go again to finish the Stagni di Molentargius Regional Park. The highlight is probably the tens of thousands of Flamingoes in the stagni and salinas around the city - you can see them from the plane when you come into the airport.
We started pretty early in the morning, but made a navigation error and walked for a long way beside the salt pans, not the lagoon. Because of this we only looked into the nearest two hides/blinds on the long road beside the lagoon - both of which looked onto heronries. The one nearest the entrance had a colony of Black-crowned Night Herons, as well as Cattle and Little Egrets, the second contained the latter two species.
Other species: Yellow-legged Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Hooded Crow, Spotted Flycatcher, Zitting Cisticola, Swift, Swallow, Shoveller and of course, thousands of Flamingoes.
Officially, we only spent a morning birding part of the Stagni but picked up a few species elsewhere in the city (House Sparrow, Swift, Monk Parakeet, Hooded Crow, Sparrowhawk, Blackbird and Song Thrush).
Next we travelled north west to the Oristano area.
This was slightly disappointing from a birding point of view. The Stagno di Cabras and the smaller associated ones were pretty devoid of birdlife (apart from Little Egrets and more Cisticolas). However the S'Ena Arrubia was much more productive.
We walked the road along the north side (parking where it turns off the main road between Oristano and Arborea).
The small stagni to the north of the road was particularly productive. Possibly the highlight was seeing four heron species within 50 metres of each other, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Squacco Heron and Little Egret. Flamingoes and Cisticolas were again plentiful. The other species were: Avocet; Black-winged Stilt; Wood Sandpiper; Ruff; Gull-billed Tern; Yellow-legged Gull; Slender-billed Gull; Gadwall; Shelduck; Buzzard; Kestrel; Common Coot; Hooded Crow; Greenfinch; Northern Wheatear and the absolutely ubiquitous Spotted Flycatchers (look, I'm not going to mention these again, they were everywhere).
We spent the last part of the holiday at the beach resort of Porto Pinto. More stagni... Once again, the Flamingoes are the star attraction.
There were also dozens of Common Sandpipers, flushing continually. Other species were Greenfinch, Spanish Sparrow, Northern Wheatear, Stonechat, Black-winged Stilt, Cormorant, Great Egret, Shoveller, Mediterranean Gull, Zitting Cisticola, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and of course, Sardinian Warbler (first decent sighting, although we'd heard them and glimpsed them all over the place).
One of the many sandpipers.
Sardinian Warbler (f)
Other highlights from travelling around included all the butterflies and other insects, being caught in a flock of Bee-eaters (too fast to film though) and meeting a very friendly Kestrel.
In easy reach and not too expensive (just avoid July and August) Sardinia is a great place to visit. Fantastic scenery, fabulous archaeology and some good wildlife without too much effort. Did I mention there are many, many thousands of Flamingoes there? Downsides, it can be very hot in the middle of the day, even in September. There are also a lot of mosquitoes, DEET is your friend!
"Let loose the Kraken!"
Really interesting post Stuart and wonderful series of species and photos. Certainly looks a great place to visit with such bird variety on offer not to mention archaeology; I remember you are a marine archaeologist of Mary Rose fame ! so must have been a fascinating area for you. Love the flamingos doing the Sardinian version of the Can-can lol
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
In reply to HAZY:
Can't beat dancing flamingoes! The archaeology is quite special. :-)
In reply to Stuart Vine:
A very interesting trip report, Stuart. Sardinia is somewhere I've never visited but it looks and sounds fascinating. I'll bet the food was good too.
Good shots of the birds especially the dancing Flamingos and I really like the Night Heron reflected in the water. Cracking shots of the Purple Emperor, Plain Tiger (I had to look it up) and the Swallowtail.
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In reply to TeeJay:
You saw some lovely stuff, including all those Heron species, butterflies and the Flamingos (can't say I've ever heard of a Cisticola, Zitting or otherwise!)
In reply to Nigel O:
Great thread Stuart, you make the island sound very appealing. The weather along with the flamingos would be enough to get me over there if I was able to leave these dogs sometime:-) Lovely birds and gorgeous pics of the butterflies.
Lot to learn
In reply to gaynorsl:
Nigel, the Zitting Cisticola used to be known as the "Fan-tailed Warbler"! They're common all over the Med region - here's a photo from Menorca of why the old name was used...
Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, the food is good, although a little vegetable light. I really ought to put names on the insects! Blame my natural idleness...
Really nice to see different breeds of birds Stuart. You certainly looked to have had a good holiday. As others have said, the Flamingos look stunning, dancing over the water!
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