Birdwatching at Għadira Nature Reserve

Last Sunday was the day of 40 birds in Lithuania, which means, according to traditional wisdom, that 40 species return from the South by that day. Some say that due to climate change the list of species changes, but their number remains roughly the same. I trust one of my favourite Lithuanian photographers, Marius Čepulis, for the species count. Meanwhile, I am trying to keep track of bird presence in Malta.

Birds in Malta do not get all the protection they deserve, bird-watching in spring is exciting in Malta, as various species pass by on the way to continental Europe, and, thanks to dedicated volunteers who monitor protected birds against hunting offenses, many survive the journey.

Robin is a common and brave bird. Click on the images to enlarge them

Having heard of two rare visitors gracing the islands, we went to Għadira nature reserve to see them. It’s one of the locations recommended for birdwatching.

The visitor area is very small, because the point of the whole set-up is to be comfortable for birds. But there are two convenient bird-watching platforms, and dedicated staff can tell you a lot about the different birds in Malta.

In principle we came to see this dude – a spoonbill.

The large bird had a companion – a grey heron. They were mostly seen hanging out near each other.

The wetland and brackish water ecosystem attracts these birds, which eat various insects and search for a local brackish water fish. The employee at the reserve that day said that even a kingfisher was spotted in the area.

I was so focused on the large visitors that I forgot the name of this small bird, which was so helpfully posing for photos. I think it’s a greenish warbler.

Here’s a helpful list of birds in Malta. Happy birdwatching!

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