Croatia- day 6 11/5/2017 Pag Revisited

Worth the wait. Rock Partridge at last! 🙌. Velo Malo, Pag
A small change to the owls last night as the Scops were joined by a pair of Tawny Owls. The Nightjars were still chirring away like a Vespa scooter in overdrive.
The camp, at dawn, was alive with the usual suspects of Hoopoe, Serin, Turtle Dove and Kestrel feeding young at a nest outside of my apartment.
Todays route is to Nin pans then Pag, Velo Blato, Pag pans. Velo Malo, Velo Blato and, lastly, Nin pans.

 Route, May 11th
Site A & G, Nin salt pans
The pans at Nin held the usual Stilts, Yellow-legged Gulls and Little Terns. A pair of displaying Common Redshank has given locals hopes of them breeding. A very rare event locally.

After a brief visit to Nin I then headed to Pag. I stopped at lay-by just before Miskovci. There were Crested Lark here as well as Raven, Hobby and my only Common Tern of the trip.
Eurasian Hobby, Miskovci
Site C - 1st part of road to Velo Blato
A good selection of waders on the wet fields at "C". Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint & Ruff plus Squacco Heron & Egrets. It was the only place I saw Lapwing holding territory.
Site D - Velo Blato, East Shore
Velo Blato had several great birds but they were tough as the mud was dry well into the reed margins.
The lake had a few Pygmy Cormorants plus Black-necked and Great Crested Grebe. Other locally common birds were present such as Woodchat Shrike and Tawny Pipit. Stone Curlew and Rock Partridge could be heard in nearby fields. From the hide I could see 12 Glossy Ibis lazing in the sun and an unexpected Water Rail along the reed edge. Montagu's and Marsh Harriers were quartering the reeds and nearby fields.
I was surprised by the sudden, very noisy, appearance of a pair of Purple Herons that looked as though they had been scared from their nest by some predator. It must have been a good size because I wouldn't want to face that lance the herons call a bill.

Purple Herons. Very unhappy.
Squacco Heron
There were a few strange bugs knocking around such as various Crickets, including Mole Cricket and a weird beetle that goes by the name of Dorcadion arenarium.
Dorcadion arenarium

Site E - Pag salt pans
The salt pans at Pag were very disappointing with no birds present but the visit was saved by a Mediterranean Cat Snake crossing the road and an unexpected Griffon Vulture drifting over a distant ridge.
 Site F - Velo Malo
As I approached Velo Malo I could see several Montagu's Harriers over the reeds, including some fancy Sky Dancing. There were at least 9 pairs, plus a few singles. I watched them for a short while then headed off to Velo Blato for "round 2". I had only gone a few hundred yards when something made me turn my head. Luckily there was no other traffic because I almost crashed as I laid eyes on a very smart Rock Partridge sitting unconcerned on the roadside wall. I never expected to get this close.

Montagu's Harrier, male, Velo Malo

Rock Partridge, Velo Malo
My grin was so big it took me ages to fit back into the car!
Site G -  Velo Blato West shore
Buses right? always arrive in 2's? So do Rock Partridges. It was the first bird I saw on arrival back at Velo Blato.
Rock Partridge -  honest.
I drove along the West shore but there were few birds, probably due to a car full of anglers. There was a huge Yellow-legged Gull colony and just further on a white shape in the reeds made me stop. It was a Black-crowned Night Heron, the only one this trip. It showed very well and even a Whinchat sitting on it's foot didn't bother it. A pair of Tawny Pipits also showed well but there was no sign of the Calandra Lark I had hoped for.
Yellow-legged Gulls

Adult Night Heron, Velo Blato

Male Whinchat, Velo Blato

Tawny Pipit
Time marches on. That was almost it for the 11th. A quick stop at Nin produced a Honey Buzzard and a Goshawk soaring overhead. A local birder then took me to a nearby derelict farm and showed me a pair of European Rollers nest building. They were awesome.
Final sighting today was a moth on the wall of my apartment which turned out to be Portland Wave.
Portland Wave, Zaton Camp
Till next time...