Corsica and Sardinia, 12th to 19th April 2008

This page details the species of birds and other wildlife seen during this trip.

Highlights are shown in brown and the [number in square brackets] at the end of the species name is the number of individuals seen or heard during the trip.

 

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna [2]

Corsica: 2 at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

 

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos [2]

Corsica: 2 at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

 

Barbary Partridge Alectoris barbara [8]

Sardinia: One flushed from just below the car park at Capo Caccia early on 13th, 1 heard calling near Rena Majore on 18th and 6 seen beside the road in the area round Capo Caccia early on 19th (3 by me, 3 more seen by Vitty). Just one record shot managed through the windscreen in poor light.

Barbary Partridge, Capo Caccia, 19-Apr-08  

Barbary Partridge, Capo Caccia, 19th April

 

Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa [3]

Corsica: 1 heard Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano on 16th and 2 at Bonifacio on 18th.

 

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis [1]

Corsica: 1 heard at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th.

 

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus [15]

Corsica: At least 15 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th/17th.

 

Scopoli's Shearwater Calonectris (diomedea) diomedea [100+]

This Mediterranean form of Cory's Shearwater is regarded as a good candidate for treating as a separate species from the Atlantic form borealis which may sometimes be seen off UK coasts.

Sardinia/Corsica: Birds were streaming past Capo Caccia (Sardinia) on 13th, with at least 50 in just a few minutes. Birds were seen on both ferry trips between Santa Teresa (Sardinia) and Bonifacio (Corsica). On the first leg (13th) only about 6 were identified in poor conditions but on the return leg (18th) we passed through a raft of about 45.

Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08 Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08
Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08 Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08
Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08 Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08
Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08 Scopoli's Shearwater, south of Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08

Scopoli's Shearwaters, from ferry from Corsica to Sardinia, 18th April

 

Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan [30]

Formerly lumped together with Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus to make one species, Mediterranean Shearwater. Balearic is the form which disperses into the Atlantic and gets seen in the UK but Yelkouan is commoner in the Mediterranean east of the Balearic Islands.

Sardinina/Corsica: Seen from both ferry trips with about 10 on 13th and at least 20 on 18th.

Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13-Apr-08 Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13-Apr-08
Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13-Apr-08 Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13-Apr-08
Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13-Apr-08 Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13-Apr-08

Yelkouan Shearwaters, from ferry from Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 13th April

 

Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08 Yelkouan Shearwater, Santa Teresa to Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08

Yelkouan Shearwaters, from ferry from Bonifacio to Santa Teresa, 18th April

 

 

(Great) Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo [2]

Sardinia: 2 around the harbour at Santa Teresa on 13th. Presumably race sinensis.

 

Mediterranean Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmarestii [23]

Sardinia: Seen at several locations with up to 10 from the ferry at Santa Teresa on 13th/18th. The Mediterranean form desmarestii has been suggested as a possible split from the Shags that occur in northern Europe.

Corsica: Just 1 seen, at Bonifacio on 18th.

 

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis [22]

Sardinia: 4 between Capo Caccia and Porto Torres on 13th.

Corsica: About 18 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th.

 

Little Egret Egretta garzetta [10]

Sardinia: 1 at Porto Torres on 18th.

Corsica: Seen at Etang de Tanchiccia and at Etang d'Urbino with 8 at the latter site on 17th.

 

Great White Egret Egretta/Ardea alba [5]

Corsica: 2 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th, up to 3 Etang d'Urbino on 16th/17th.

Great White Egret, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15-Apr-08 Great White Egret, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15-Apr-08
Great White Egret, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15-Apr-08  

Great White Egret, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15th April

 

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea [2]

Corsica: 1 between Ajaccio and Sargone on 15th and 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th.

 

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia [1]

Corsica: 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

 

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus [1]

Corsica: 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th and 17th.

Greater Flamingo, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08 Greater Flamingo, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08

Greater Flamingo, Etang d'Urbino, 17th April

 

Black Kite Milvus migrans [1]

Sardinia: 1 near Santa Teresa on 18th was surprisingly the only one seen all trip.

 

Red Kite Milvus milvus [19]

Corsica: Common with at least 19 seen. Fairly widespread but not usually in the high mountains (although one well above the treeline between Col de Vergio and Calacuccia on 16th.

Red Kite, Evisa - Sagone, 15-Apr-08 Red Kite, Evisa - Sagone, 15-Apr-08

Red Kite, between Evisa and Sagone, 15th April

 

Red Kite, Levie - Sainte-Lucie, 17-Apr-08  

Red Kite, between Levie and Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, 17th April

 

Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus [1]

Corsica: 1 grappling with a Golden Eagle between Calacuccia and Castirla on 16th. The enormous size can be seen when compared to the Golden Eagle - and then compare Golden Eagle to the Buzzard in the photos under Golden Eagle!

Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08 Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08
Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08 Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08
Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08 Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08

Lammergeier with Golden Eagle, between Calacuccia and Castirla, 16th April

 

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus [8]

Sardinia: 4 individuals seen along the route between Capo Caccia and Santa Teresa on 13th and 18th.

Corsica: 2 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th and 2 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th and 17th.

Marsh Harrier, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08 Marsh Harrier, near Portobello, 18-Apr-08

Marsh Harriers, Capo Caccia, 13th April (left) and near Portobello, 18th April (right)

 

Marsh Harrier, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15-Apr-08 Marsh Harrier, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15-Apr-08

Marsh Harrier, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15th April

 

Marsh Harrier, northern Sardinia, 13-Apr-08 Marsh Harrier, northern Sardinia, 13-Apr-08

Marsh Harrier, northern Sardinia, 13th April

 

Buzzard Buteo buteo [14]

Corsica: The race arrigonii is restricted to Corsica and Sardinia - it was fairly common with at least 14 seen.

 

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos [2]

Corsica: 2 between Calacuccia and Castirla on 16th. The first one was grappling with a Lammergeier while a few moments later a second bird appeared grappling with a Buzzard! Both were immatures but of differing ages.

Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08 Golden Eagle, Calacuccia - Castirla, 16-Apr-08

Golden Eagle (with Buzzard), between Calacuccia and Castirla, 16th April (photos of the other bird appear above under Lammergeier)

 

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus [8+]

Sardinia: First bird seen with 1 at the airport on 12th. Several more on 13th and 18th.

Corsica: 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th and 1 in the southern mountains on 17th were the only sightings.

 

Hobby Falco subbuteo [1]

Corsica: 1 between Sagone and Ajaccio on 15th.

 

Peregrine Falco peregrinus [9]

Sardinia: Seen on each of three visits to Capo Caccia with 4 on 18th.

Corsica: 1 near Sagone on 15th then in better weather on 16th, 4 seen: 1 between Col de Vergio and Calacuccia, 2 in Restonica Valley and 1 at Etang d'Urbino.

Peregrine, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08 Peregrine, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08
Peregrine, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08 Peregrine, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08

Peregrine, Capo Caccia, 13th April

 

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus [2]

Corsica: 1 heard at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th and 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th.

 

Coot Fulica atra [many]

Corsica: 3 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th and lots at Etang d'Urbino on 16th/17th.

 

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus [8]

Corsica: Up to 8 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th/17th.

 

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius [5]

Corsica: A flock of 5 in flight over Etang d'Urbino on 16th.

 

Greenshank Tringa nebularia [20]

Corsica: 1 heard at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th, 1 Etang d'Urbino on 16th with 19 there on 17th.

 

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos [1]

Corsica: 1 Etang de Diane (near Aleria) on 16th.

 

Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii [12]

Sardinia: At least 3 at Porto Torres on 13th and 10 there (one first-summer, the rest adults) on 18th.

Corsica: 2 adults in the bay at Sagone on 15th.

Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08 Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08
Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08 Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08
Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08 Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08
Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08 Audouin's Gull, Porto Torres, 18-Apr-08

Audouin's Gulls, Porto Torres, 18th April

 

Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis [many]

Sardinia: Very common everywhere.

Corsica: Common at coastal locations, especially at Etang d'Urbino. Inland much scarcer with just 1 at the base of Asco Valley on 14th.

Yellow-legged Gull, Santa Teresa, 18-Apr-08 Yellow-legged Gull, Santa Teresa, 18-Apr-08
Yellow-legged Gull, Santa Teresa, 18-Apr-08 Yellow-legged Gull, Santa Teresa, 18-Apr-08

Yellow-legged Gulls, Santa Teresa, 18th April

 

Common Tern Sterna hirundo [2]

Sardinia: 2 at Porto Torres on 18th.

 

Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon Columba livia [many]

Unfortunately I didn't realise until I returned home that the "Feral Pigeons" I was seeing in Corsica and Sardinia, or at least the cliff-nesting ones, were in fact genuinenly wild Rock Doves. Had I realised this I would have paid more attention to them!

Sardinia: Common at Capo Caccia where birds were presumably wild Rock Doves; also seen at other coastal locations.

Corsica: Commonly seen but not properly noted so unsure if any were at coastal locations or if they were all feral birds in towns.

Rock Dove, Portobello, 18-Apr-08 Rock Dove, Portobello, 18-Apr-08

Rock Doves, near Portobello, 18th April

 

Woodpigeon Columba palumbus [1]

Corsica: 1 near Levie (at Pignata) on 18th - looked strangely exotic here!

 

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto [many]

Sardinia and Corsica: Common in just about every town and village.

 

Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur [7]

Sardinia: 2 at Sargosa on 18th.

Corsica: 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th with 4 there next day; 1 heard calling at Bonifacio on 18th.

 

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus [6]

Corsica: 1 seen and another 3 heard between Col de Vergio and Corte between 14th and 16th; 2 heard at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

 

Scops Owl Otus scops [3]

Corsica: At least 3 heard calling from the hotel at Evisa on 13th and 15th.

 

(Common) Swift Apus apus [several]

Sardinia: None specifically identified but a small number of Swifts (either Common Swift or Pallid Swift) were seen on 13th and 18th.

Corsica: Several at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th; also several unidentified Swifts (this species or Pallid) at a number of locations/dates.

 

Pallid Swift Apus pallidus [2+]

Corsica: At least 2-3 were identified from among the Swifts at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th. Other unidentified Swifts seen at a number of locations may have involved this species.

Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08 Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08
Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08 Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08
Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08 Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08
Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08 Swift sp., near Porto Pollo, 15-Apr-08

Swifts, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15th April. I think that both Common and Pallid Swifts are represented here, but would value others' opinions - if you think you can identify any of these, please let me know! Both species were present at this site.

 

Alpine Swift Apus melba [150+]

Sardinia: At least 100 at Capo Caccia on 13th with smaller numbers there on 18th/19th.

Corsica: At least 50 south of Porto on 15th and 1 at Bonifacio on 18th.

Alpine Swift, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08 Alpine Swift, S of Porto, 15-Apr-08

Alpine Swifts, Capo Caccia, 13th April (left) and south of Porto, 15th April (right)

 

(European) Bee-eater Merops apiaster [>80]

Sardinia: Always a favourite for me, about 50 near Portobello on 18th.

Corsica: Several heard near Etang d'Urbino on 17th, about 18 at Aleria on 17th and 13 over Bonifacio on 18th.

Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08 Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08
Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08 Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08
Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08 Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08
Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08 Bee-eater, Portobello, 18-Apr-08

Bee-eaters, near Portobello, 18th April

 

Wryneck Jynx torquilla [3]

Corsica: 1 heard calling from the hotel balcony at Evisa on 14th and 15th; 1 at Col de Vergio (beside the monument) and 1 flushed from beside the road just east of here on 16th.

 

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major [12]

Corsica: The race parroti is restricted to Corsica. Widespread in montane inland regions, plus 1 at Etang d'Urbino. Some were heard drumming.

 

Woodlark Lullula arborea [7]

Corsica: 1 between Evisa and Sagone on 15th, 2 Col de Vergio and another east of there on 16th and 3 near Etang d'Urbino on 17th. Birds from Corsica are thought to belong to the race pallida, but variation is clinal and birds here are intermediate in appearance between pallida and nominate arborea.

 

Skylark Alauda arvensis [1]

Corsica: 1 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th. The race cantarella occurs on the Mediterranean islands.

 

Sand Martin Riparia riparia [6]

Sardinia: 1 somewhere between Capo Caccia and Santa Teresa on 13th (location not noted)

Corsica: At least 5 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th.

 

Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris [42]

Sardinia: 2 near Portobello on 18th.

Corsica: Common in suitable habitat between Porto and Aleria, though none seen in the southern mountains. Counts included 12 between Porto and Evisa on 15th and 10 in Restonica Valley on 16th.

Crag Martin, Restonica, 16-Apr-08 Crag Martin, Restonica, 16-Apr-08

Crag Martin, Restonica Valley, 16th April

 

(Barn) Swallow Hirundo rustica [40+]

Sardinia: Several seen at several locations on 13th.

Corsica: At least 20 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th and a few elsewhere on other dates.

 

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica [1]

Corsica: At least 1 with a mixed flock of hirundines and swifts at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th.

 

House Martin Delichon urbica [20+]

Corsica: A few at Evisa on 14th, a few between Sagone and Ajaccio on 15th and several at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th.

 

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris [3]

Corsica: 3 together at Bonifacio on 18th.

Tawny Pipit, Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08  

Tawny Pipit, Bonifacio, 18th April

 

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta [27]

Corsica: 1 at Col de Vergio on 14th with 2 there on 16th; at least 25 at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

Water Pipit, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08 Water Pipit, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08
Water Pipit, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08 Water Pipit, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08
Water Pipit, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08 Water Pipit, Etang d'Urbino, 17-Apr-08

Water Pipits, Etang d'Urbino, 17th April

 

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava [56]

Sardinia: 3-4 singles in flight at Capo Caccia and a flightly flock of about 50 between there and Porto Torres on 13th. Sadly it was impossible to get a good look at any of these to ascertain if they were they belonged to the local form or other migrant forms. Local birds are supposed to be intergrades between Spanish iberiae and Ashy-headed cinereocapilla, and presumably therefore similar to the 'Camargue' wagtails.

Corsica: 3 at Etang d'Urbino were only seen in flight and not subspecifically identified.

 

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea [4]

Corsica: 2 at Castirla on 14th, 1 heard east of Col de Vergio on 16th and 1 at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano on 17th.

 

White Wagtail Motacilla alba [1]

Corsica: 1 flew over Evisa on 15th.

 

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes [many]

Sardinia and Corsica: Common in most areas with birds seen at high altitude on Col de Vergio and the top of Restonica Valley. The race koenigi is restricted to Corsica and Sardinia.

 

Robin Erithacus rubecula [5+]

Sardinia: 2 at Capo Caccia on 13th.

Corsica: 1 in Restonica Valley on 14th, 1 between Evisa and Sagone on 15th and 1 at Levie (Pignata) on 17th. Others may have been heard but not recorded.

 

Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos [1]

Corsica: 1 heard singing at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

 

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros [1]

Sardinia: A female-type seen between Porto Torres and Santa Teresa on 13th.

 

(Common) Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus [1]

Corsica: A migrant male at Bonifacio on 18th.

 

Stonechat Saxicola torquata/rubicola [13]

Sardinia: 1 between Porto Torres and Santa Teresa on 13th with 4 along the return leg on 18th.

Corsica: Widespread with at least 8 across most areas.

 

(Northern) Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe [3]

Corsica: 1 between Corte and Castirla on 14th, 2 at Etang d'Urbino on 16th.

 

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius [7]

Sardinia: 6 at Capo Caccia on 13th (1 again on 19th).

Corsica: 1 between Col de Vergio and Calacuccia on 16th.

Blue Rock Thrush, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08 Blue Rock Thrush, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08

Blue Rock Thrush, Capo Caccia, 13th April

 

Blackbird Turdus merula [many]

Sardinia: A few seen on 13th and 18th.

Corsica: Common in all areas.

Blackbird, Evisa, 14-Apr-08  

Blackbird, Evisa, 14th April

 

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos [1]

Sardinia: 1 seen briefly on Capo Caccia on 13th (this species is a winter visitor to Corsica and Sardinia).

 

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus [6]

Corsica: Pairs seen at Restonca Valley on 14th, between Col de Vergio and Calacuccia on 16th and at Levie (Pignata) on 18th. The race deichleri is restricted to Corsica, Sardinia and north-west Africa.

 

Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti [10]

Sardinia: 1 heard singing between Porto Torres and Santa Teresa on 13th.

Corsica: 4 heard singing along the west side between Bonifacio and Sagone on 13th/15th and up to 5 singing at Etang d'Urbino on 16th/17th.

 

Fan-tailed Warbler (Zitting Cisticola) Cisticola juncidis [8]

Sardinia: 4 heard between Capo Caccia and Santa Teresa on 13th and 18th.

Corsica: 2 heard between Bonifacio and Ajaccio on 13th and 2 heard at Etang d'Urbino on 17th.

 

Marmora's Warbler Sylvia sarda [2]

Sardinia: Having failed to find any at Bonifacio earlier in the day, 2 were seen near Rena Majore on 18th. The form that occurs here is now regarded as a different species from the form balearica that occurs in the Balearics (Balearic Warbler).

Marmora's Warbler, near Rena Majore, 18-Apr-08 Marmora's Warbler, near Rena Majore, 18-Apr-08
Marmora's Warbler, near Rena Majore, 18-Apr-08 Marmora's Warbler, near Rena Majore, 18-Apr-08

Marmora's Warbler, near Rena Majore, 18th April

 

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler Sylvia (cantillans) moltonii [9]

Sardinia: A pair heard singing and calling between Porto Torres and Santa Teresa on 13th.

Corsica: At least 2 south of Ajaccio on 15th, 2 at Aleria on 17th and 3 heard singing between Solenzara and Levie on 17th.

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, S of Ajaccio, 15-Apr-08 Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, S of Ajaccio, 15-Apr-08

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, south of Ajaccio, 15th April

 

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, Aleria, 17-Apr-08 Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, Aleria, 17-Apr-08
Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, Aleria, 17-Apr-08  

Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler, Aleria, 17th April

 

Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala [70+]

Sardinia: Common everywhere.

Corsica: Common everywhere, though less suitable habitat in some of the montane areas. Particularly numerous around Bonifacio where about 20 seen/heard on 18th.

Sardinian Warbler, Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08  

Sardinian Warbler, Bonifacio, 18th April

 

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla [25+]

Corsica: Common in most areas; counts included 6 north of Filitosa on 15th. Birds on Corsica belong to the race paulucii (also in Italy and Tunisia).

 

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita [1]

Sardinia: 1 heard singing near Capo Caccia on 19th.

 

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus [2]

Corsica: Silent birds seen north of Sargone on 15th and at Levie (Pignata) on 18th.

 

Goldcrest Regulus regulus [3]

Corsica: 1 heard singing at Forêt d'Aitone on 14th and another seen there on 15th; 1 heard singing at Levie (Pignata) on 17th.

 

Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla [3]

Sardinia: 1 near Capo Caccia on 13th.

Corsica: 1 at Sagone on 13th and 1 heard at Filitosa on 15th.

 

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca [1]

Corsica: A superb adult male seen all too briefly at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano on 17th.

 

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudata [6+]

Corsica: 2 at Forêt d'Aitone on 15th, several heard at Etang d'Urbino on 17th and heard at Levie (Pignata) on 18th. Birds here belong to the race irbii (also in southern Iberia), part of the alpinus group (potential split).

 

Coal Tit Periparus ater [many]

Corsica: Common in the central, mountainous areas. Birds here belong to the race sardus (also in Sardinia).

Coal Tit, Solenzara to Levie, 17-Apr-08 Coal Tit, Solenzara to Levie, 17-Apr-08

Coal Tit (race sardux), between Solenzara and Levie, 17th April

 

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus [many]

Sardinia: A few seen/heard on 18th.

Corsica: Common and widespread. The race ogliastrae is recognised for Corsica and Sardinia (also southern Iberia), although there may be two cryptic (appearing identical) species occupying different habitats in Corsica.

Blue Tit, Evisa, 14-Apr-08  

Blue Tit (race ogliastrae), Evisa, 14th April

 

Great Tit Parus major [many]

Sardinia: A small number on 13th.

Corsica: Common and widespread, though probably less so than Blue Tit. The race corsus occurs here (also in Sardinia and southern Iberia).

Great Tit, Levie, 18-Apr-08  

Great Tit (race corsus), near Levie (Pignata), 18th April

 

Corsican Nuthatch Sitta whiteheadi [2]

Corsica: The main target of this holiday proved elusive and although a fair bit of time was spent in areas where they occur they were only found on one occasion: 2 seen and heard calling and singing at Forêt d'Aitone on 15th. Excepting possible new species created by future taxonomic splits, this iis the only species of bird that is truly endemic to Corsica.

Corsican Nuthatch, Foret d'Aitone, 15-Apr-08 Nuthatch Trail, Foret d'Aitone, 15-Apr-08
Corsican Nuthatch, Foret d'Aitone, 15-Apr-08 Corsican Nuthatch, Foret d'Aitone, 15-Apr-08

Corsican Nuthatch, Forêt d'Aitone, 15th April

 

Corsican Treecreeper Certhia familiaris corsa [5]

Corsica: 2 (plus a dead bird) at Forêt d'Aitone on 14th, 1 in Restonica Valley on 14th and another 2 at Forêt d'Aitone on 15th. The endemic form in Corsica (corsa) is possibly a candidate for upgrading to full specific status.

Corsican Treecreeper, east of Col de Vergio, 15-Apr-08 Corsican Treecreeper, Foret d'Aitone, 15-Apr-08

Corsican Treecreepers, east of Col de Vergio (right) and Forêt d'Aitone (left), 15th April. They're easier to photograph when they're dead! Neither of these photos show the length of the bill well - one is angled towards the camera and the other is covered in mud (which I would have moved off if I'd realised at the time).

 

Balearic Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator badius [2]

Corsica: 1 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th and 1 at Aleria on 17th.

Balearic Woodchat Shrike, Aleria, 17-Apr-08 Balearic Woodchat Shrike, Aleria, 17-Apr-08

Balearic Woodchat Shrike (race badius), Aleria, 17th April

 

Jay Garrulus glandarius [many]

Sardinia: A few on 18th. The race ichnusae is endemic to Sardinia.

Corsica: Common and widespread. The race corsicanus is endemic to Corsica.

Jay, Filitosa, 15-Apr-08 Jay, Filitosa, 15-Apr-08

Jay (race corsicanus), Filitosa, 15th April

 

Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus [8+]

Corsica: 8 in Restonica Valley on 14th, with 4 there on 16th. Also about 12 very distant corvids between Col de Vergio and Calacuccia on 16th were probably this species.

 

Jackdaw Corvus monedula [c.20]

Sardinia: A few between Porto Torres and Portobello on 13th and 18th.

 

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix [many]

Sardinia: Very common.

Corsica: Common and widespread, more numerous in lowland areas than in the mountains.

The taxonomic allocation of these birds is unclear with some references including Corsican birds as part of nominate cornix and Sardinian birds as belonging to the race sharpii (Italy and much of SE Europe) while other references refer to a race sardonius (or sardonicus - one presumably a typo?) certainly for birds from Sardinia and possibly also Corsica. What is clear is that variation is clinal, and birds here were significantly paler (the grey parts whiter) than on Scottish birds.

Hooded Crow, Corsica, 13-Apr-08 Hooded Crow, Corsica, 13-Apr-08

Hooded Crows, western Corsica, 13th April

 

Raven Corvus corax [27+]

Sardinia: 2 at Capo Caccia on 13th.

Corsica: Common in mountainous regions; also 1 at Bonifacio on 18th.

Raven, S of Porto, 15-Apr-08 Raven, S of Porto, 15-Apr-08

Raven, south of Porto, 15th April

 

(Common) Starling Sturnus vulgaris [1]

Sardinia: In Corsica and Sardinia, as in Iberia, the local Starling is Spotless Starling, with Common Starlings a winter visitor only. Hence this wasn't a species I expected to see, but 1 was with Spotless Starlings near Portobello on 18th.

Starling, Portobello, 18-Apr-08  

Common Starling, Portobello, 18th April

 

Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor [c.150]

Sardinia: A few (less than 20) on 13th and a flock of about 50 near Portobello on 18th.

Corsica: A few small flocks (less than 10) seen in several scattered locations, with rather more in the area around Aleria and Etang d'Urbino.

Spotless Starling, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08
Spotless Starling, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08  

Spotless Starlings, Etang d'Urbino, 16th April

 

Italian Sparrow Passer (domesticus) x italiae [many]

Sardinia: Common.

Corsica: Common around human habitation in all areas, especially numerous around Aleria and Etang d'Urbino.

Italian Sparrows are often treated as a race of House Sparrow but appear to be a stabilised hybrid between House Sparrow and Spanish Sparrow (and therefore probably better treated as a distinct species).

Italian Sparrow, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08 Italian Sparrow, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08
Italian Sparrow, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08 Italian Sparrow, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08
Italian Sparrow, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08 Italian Sparrow, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08

Italian Sparrows, Etang d'Urbino, 16th April

 

Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis [1?]

Corsica: In Corsica Spanish Sparrows are supposed to be found only in small numbers around Bonifacio. However a bird seen briefly among Italian Sparrows at Aleria showed very strong dark streaking down the flanks, a feature of Spanish Sparrow. I am not aware of significant variability in Italian Sparrow plumage (at least not to the extent of having conspicuous black streaking down the flanks), but I would have required better views/photos to confirm that this bird was indeed a pure Spanish Sparrow.

Spanish Sparrow, Aleria, 16-Apr-08  

Apparent Spanish Sparrow, Aleria, 16th April

 

Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia [1]

Corsica: 1 was among a small flock of Italian Sparrows between Castirla and Corte on 16th.

 

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs [many]

Sardinia: A few around Capo Caccia on 13th and 18th. The race sarda is endemic to Sardinia.

Corsica: Common and widespread. The race tyrrhenica is endemic to Corsica.

Chaffinch, Capo Caccia, 13-Apr-08 Chaffinch, Evisa, 16-Apr-08

Chaffinch (race sarda), Capo Caccia, 13th April (left) and Chaffinch (race tyrrhenica), Evisa, 16th April (right)

 

Serin Serinus serinus [45+]

Sardinia: Common, about a dozen seen or heard.

Corsica: Common and widespread.

Serin, Evisa, 15-Apr-08 Serin, Evisa, 15-Apr-08

Serin, Evisa, 15th April

 

Serin, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08 Serin, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08

Serin, Etang d'Urbino, 16th April

 

Corsican Finch Serinus corsicana [70+]

Corsica: This near-endemic has recently been split from the Citril Finch that occurs in mainland Europe, but just misses out on endemic status as it also occurs in northern Sardinia. Second to the Nuthatch this was a priority target, and proved easy to find. Sightings included 1 at Evisa and a flock of about 20 east of Col de Vergio on 14th, about 30 just north of Sagone and 2 between Porto and Evisa on 15th, 2 at Col de Vergio and 2 between Calacuccia and Castirla on 16th, 4 between Solenzara and Levie, 6 at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano and 1 at Levie (Pignata) on 17th and 3+ at Levie (Pignata) on 18th.

Corsican Finch, N of Sagone, 15-Apr-08 Corsican Finch, Levie, 18-Apr-08

Corsican Finch, north of Sagone, 15th April (left) and near Levie, 18th April (right)

 

Corsican Finch, Coll de Vergio, 14-Apr-08 Corsican Finch, Coll de Vergio, 14-Apr-08

Corsican Finch, east of Col de Vergio, 18th April

 

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris [30+]

Sardinia: Common, at least near Capo Caccia, on 13th.

Corsica: Small numbers seen at several scattered locations. The race madaraszi is restricted to Corsica and Sardinia.

 

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis [many]

Sardinia: Probably the commonest finch.

Corsica: Common, but scarcer than Chaffinch in montane areas. The race tchusii is restricted to Corsica, Sardinia, Elba and Sicily.

Goldfinch, N of Sagone, 15-Apr-08 Goldfinch, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08

Goldfinches (race tchusii), north of Sagone, 15th April (left) and Etang d'Urbino, 16th April (right)

 

Linnet Carduelis cannabina [12]

Sardinia: 2 at Capo Caccia on 13th and 18th.

Corsica: 2 at Aleria on 16th and 6 at Bonifacio on 18th. The race mediterranea occurs here and across much of the Mediterranean

Linnet, Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08 Linnet, Aleria, 17-Apr-08

Linnets (race mediterranea), Bonifacio, 18th April (left) and Aleria, 17th April (right)

 

Corsican Crossbill Loxia curvirostra corsicana [21]

Corsica: 4 (including 2 juveniles) at Evisa, 12 at Forêt d'Aitone and 2 heard in Restonica Valley on 14th, at least 3 at Forêt d'Aitone on 15th. The form corsicana, endemic to Corsica, may well be a distinct species.

Corsican Crossbill, Evisa, 14-Apr-08 Corsican Crossbill, Evisa, 14-Apr-08

Corsican Crossbills (adult and juvenile), Evisa, 14th April

 

Corsican Crossbill, Evisa, 14-Apr-08 Corsican Crossbill, Foret d'Aitone, 14-Apr-08

Corsican Crossbills, Evisa (left) and Forêt d'Aitone (right), 14th April

 

Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus [18]

Corsica: 8 in the Asco Valley on 14th, 2 at Col de Vergio and 2 between there and Calacuccia on 16th, 2 at Etang d'Urbino and 2 at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano on 17th and 2 at Levie (Pignata) on 18th. Birds from Corsica and Sardinia are sometimes attributed to the race nigrostriata but not all authorities recognise this as a valid subspecies.

Cirl Bunting, Col de Vergio, 16-Apr-08 Cirl Bunting, Col de Vergio, 16-Apr-08

Cirl Bunting, Col de Vergio, 16th April

 

Cirl Bunting, Col de Vergio, 16-Apr-08  

Cirl Bunting, Asco Valley, 14th April

 

Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra [many]

Sardinia: Common.

Corsica: Common in suitable habitat, which is mainly away from the high mountains. Birds from Corsica and other west Mediterranean islands (but not Sardinia apparently) are sometimes treated as belonging to the race parroti, but variation is slight and not all authorities recognise this distinction.

Corn Bunting, Etang d'Urbino, 16-Apr-08  

Corn Bunting, Etang d'Urbino, 16th April

 

Other wildlife

Wild Boar Sus scrofa. Domestic pigs are allowed to roam like wild boar in Corsica and can be found well away from human habitation, however an adult with a stripey piglet at Capo Caccia (Sardinia) was possibly a genuinely wild Wild Boar.

Wild Boar, Capo Caccia, 19-Apr-08 Boar, Foret d'Aitone, 14-Apr-08

Wild Boar, Capo Caccia, 19th April (left) and domesticated "Wild Boar", Foret d'Aitone, 14th April (right)

Bat sp. Surprisingly, the only non-domestic mammal seen in Corsica was an unidentified Bat at Evisa.

Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard Podarcis tiliguerta. 1 between Castirla and Corte on 16th and 2 between Solenzara and Levie on 17th (both Corsica).

Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard, Solenzara to Levie, 17-Apr-08 Tyrrhenian Wall Lizard, Solenzara to Levie, 17-Apr-08

Tyrrhenian Wall Lizards, between Solenzara and Levie, 17th April - thanks to Duncan for identifying these for me

Turtle sp. 1 at Etang de Tanchiccia (Corsica) on 15th.

Lesser Emperor Anax parthenope. A couple of dragonflies seen briefly in flight had prominent blue bands at the base of the abdomen and so were probably this species, although Vagrant Emperor Anax ephippiger can't be ruled out.

Small White Pieris rapae. 1 at Etang de Tanchiccia (Corsica) on 15th. A small number of other unidentified white butterflies were also seen in addition.

Orange-tip Anthocaris cardamines. 2 south of Ajaccio on 15th and 6 at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano on 17th (both Corsica).

Clouded Yellow Colias crocea. 1 at Filitosa (Corsica) on 15th.

Cleopatra Gonepteryx cleopatra. 1 probable between Solenzara and Levie (Corsica) on 17th but views were not adequate to completely rule out Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni.

Green-underside Blue Glaucopsyche alexis. This is the nearest match I can find to a blue butterfly photographed at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano (Corsica) on 17th. The under hindwing pattern does not match the illustration for this species in Chinery's Collins New Generation guide, but nor does it match any other species there. Please let me know if you can provide clarification or confirmation.

Update - thanks to John for confirming the ID as Green-underside Blue.

Green-underside Blue, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, 17-Apr-08 Green-underside Blue, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, 17-Apr-08

Green-underside Blue, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, 17th April

Brown Argus Aricia agestis. 2 at Etang de Tanchiccia (Corsica) on 15th.

Brown Argus, Etang de Tanchiccia, 15-Apr-08  

Brown Argus, at Etang de Tanchiccia, 15th April

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus. In addition to the tentative Green-underside Blue detailed above, at least 3 blue butterflies were seen, 1 at Etang de Tanchiccia on 15th and 2 at the Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano on 17th (both Corsica). These were only seen in flight and were not positively identified, but were probably this common species.

Comma Polygonia c-album. 1 at Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano (Corsica) on 17th.

Comma, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, 17-Apr-08  

Comma, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano, 17th April

Wall Brown Lasiommata megera. 1 at Etang de Tanchiccia (Corsica) on 15th.

Moth sp. 2 unidentified moths seen and photographed - if you can identify them for me please let me know!

Update: Treble Bar or Lesser Treble Bar has been suggested for the right hand one - I can see why, though to be honest it doesn't match my expectation for those species with its reticulated pattern, poorly-defined cross bars and dotted border - but maybe they look diffferent here? What do you think?

Moth, Evisa, 13-Apr-08 Moth, near Rena Majore, 18-Apr-08

Moth spp., Evisa (Corsica), 13th April (left) and near Rena Majore (Sardinia), 18th April (right)

Beetle sp. This beetle was huge - probably a couple of inches long. No idea of the species but its short elytra suggests one of the Rove Beetles. Reminds me a bit of Devil's Coach-horse, but I don't think it's quite right for that species.

Update - thanks to Nuytsia and John for offering IDs for this beetle: it's apparently one of the Blister Beetles, one suggestion being an Oil Beetle, Meloe proscarabaeus.

Black Oil Beetle, Bonifacio, 18-Apr-08  

probable Black Oil Beetle, Bonifacio, 18th April

Wildflowers. Various wildflowers were seen, but I've no idea what most of them were. The northern mountains (Evisa, Corte, etc.) didn't seem particularly good for wildflowers but when we went to the southern Mountains (Levie, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano etc.) there were some good displays. Please let me know if you can identify any of these.

Crocus, Restonica, 16-Apr-08 flower, Sainte Lucie, 17-Apr-08

Croci, Restonica Valley (Corsica), 16th April (left) and unidentified flower, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano (Corsica), 17th April (right)

 

flowers, Solenzara to Levie, 17-Apr-08 Green-winged Orchid, Levie to Sainte Lucie, 17-Apr-08

probable Anenome appennina, between Solenzara and Levie (left) and Green-winged Orchid (probably ssp. longicornu), between Levie and Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano (right), both 17th April (Corsica) - many thanks to Paul Redshaw for the IDs

 

Navelwort, Filitosa, 15-Apr-08 wildflowers, Sardinia, 13-Apr-08

Navelwort, Filitosa (Corsica), 15th April (left) and unidentified wildflowers (Hottentot-Fig family, I guess), northern Sardinia, 13th April (right) - thanks to Paul Redshaw for the Navelwort ID

 

Pink Butterfly Orchid, Sainte Lucie, 17-Apr-08 Pink Butterfly Orchid, Sainte Lucie, 17-Apr-08

Pink Butterfly Orchid Orchis pappillionacea, Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano (Corsica), 17th April (thanks to Nuytsia and Paul Redshaw for the ID)

 

Green-winged Orchid, Corte to Aleria, 16-Apr-08 Tassel Hyacinth, Filitosa, 15-Apr-08

Green-winged Orchid (probably ssp. longicornu), between Corte and Aleria (Corsica), 16th April (left) and Tassel Hyacinth, Filitosa (Corsica), 15th April (right) - thanks to Paul Redshaw for the orchid ID