25.5-2.6.2019 : Late spring review

Košice Patch Birding

Rači Potok, Košice, Slovakia, 1.6.2019

I was on a visit to Scotland at the start of May and, as is customary, got sick as a dog shortly after coming back to Slovakia. Either I am allergic to my home country or those tough Scots germs are just too much for me these days. Unfortunately, it meant that I missed two of the most crucial weeks of birding on the patch, the weeks where I have seen interesting visitors like last year’s river warbler or 2017’s grasshopper warbler.

But when I headed for the patch last weekend, I was still hopeful that I would see something and I was not disappointed. The patch was heavy and overgrown after the continuous rain of recent weeks and it was difficult to see anything through the thick foliage, but above the little dam I could hear a quail singing with that popping sound it has. At least two were…

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8-9.6.2019:Hot stuff

Košice Patch Birding


The weeks of rain have cleared to a scorching heat; temperatures upwards of 30. I’ve been hit with a ton of work, so the two visits I managed to the patch last week were rushed with little to report and few photos to share.

No sign of any red-backed shrikes since the half dozen or so I saw last week. Also no sign of spotted flycatchers, which is odd because I am seeing a reasonable number of them in the city.

The highlight of the weekend was a great view of a female cuckoo on Saturday morning. It was calling from a perch on the big dead tree for some time. This is the first time I have seen the female this year.

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I also saw the penduline tits carrying food to their nest, so still looking good for them. No quails this week.

Lots of starlings now, including many…

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23-30.6.2019: The Kids Are Alright

Košice Patch Birding

Penduline Tit, Košice, Slovakia, 30.6.2019

The longer I stay in Slovakia, the more I seem to love hot weather; or maybe I’m just getting older, like some Miami retiree. And this week has certainly given me something to enjoy; consistently high temperatures with the occasional thunderstorm to keep the birds and animals hydrated.

But in terms of birds, what a week! Two really big things since the last post, both of them involving juveniles (hence this post’s particularly dumb title). The first is my first ever encounter with juvenile wrynecks.

Košice, Slovakia, 29.6.2019

I was hanging around this part of the patch, by the path leading up to the meadow when I heard two chirping calls I hadn’t heard before. A rather concerned wryneck shot out of the tree onto the fence letting me identify the first call and giving me a fairly good idea of what the second call might be.

Wryneck, Košice, Slovakia, 29.6.2019

The two little guys stayed…

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Hats off to Panama

San on the Lam

Saturday 12 December-Sunday 13 December 2009. Panama.

We’d been considering Panama as a birding destination for some time. It certainly had some nice, if pricy, lodges (like the Canopy Tower, in the Canal Zone), but it still wasn’t as well-known as perhaps Costa Rica was. It did have at least one very famous birding site, the Pipeline Road-a trail penetrating deep into the rainforest, which was originally built for a planned oil pipeline by American soldiers during World War II. It was a genuine concern that the Canal might be bombed and that oil supplies could be endangered. Now, it allows easy access into the dense rainforest of the Soberania National Park and a chance to become acquainted with some deep forest birding. It all sounded great, so when we found an all-inclusive package holiday, based right next to the Pipeline Road, and at prices much less than the Canopy…

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Slothful Encounter

San on the Lam

Monday 14 December 2009. Panama.

We had had a good first day, staying on the hotel site, but this morning we thought we’d venture off site. the hotel offered a morning 3 hour-long visit to the Pipeline Road, with a guide, for $35 US per person. We thought we’d take advantage of that to spy out the lie of the land for a visit of our own. We, and a small group of other hotel residents, were outside the hotel entrance at 6 am, ready to board one of those strange little transport buses for the ride to the site.

Hotel entrance, waiting for the off!

The Pipeline Road is really not far at all, just across the small village of Gamboa. It is in the Soberania National Park, and within the same area is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, a visitor centre that we made a note of for a…

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Life on the Nile

San on the Lam

Tuesday 08 October 2002-Thursday 10 October 2002. Egypt.

A fun part of our first visit to Egypt, back in 2002, was a four night cruise down the Nile on one of those posh cruiseboats. In fact, it was only a two day cruise, with one night spent at Aswan and two nights at Luxor, with the day in between being spent exploring the West Bank at Luxor (for the story of that big day, see https://sanonthelam.wordpress.com/2018/06/03/valley-of-the-kings/ and https://sanonthelam.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/djeser-djeseru/). We had arrived in Luxor from London Heathrow on the evening before, and had part of a morning to explore (Mark and I did sneak a peak at Luxor temple, which was just down the Corniche from our hotel) before we were off again, flying further up the Nile to Aswan.

Here we had a day touring the Low and High Dams, the Granite Quarry with the Unfinished Obelisk, and Philae Temple…

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Panama City Birding

San on the Lam

Tuesday 15 December 2009. Panama.

Panama was a new country to us, and we didn’t want to spend every day on the hotel site. We’d arranged a couple of days out with a birdguiding company, Birding Panama, and today was to be the first outing. A nice young local couple, Jose and Mia, with excellent English (putting our minimal Spanish to shame), superb birding skills and good company were to be our guides for the day and we were very glad to have arranged a trip to Panama City with them. We were picked up at 6 am from the hotel foyer, clutching our box breakfasts (which were free, but sometimes a bit difficult to get hold off as the receptionists didn’t quite understand what we were asking for!) and whisked off to the big city and our first stop, Metropolitan Park.

Located on a hill to the north of…

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