Spring Watch Malta 2013: Daily Update #4.Turtle Dove rescued, Purple Herons targeted and illegal Quail trapping

April 19, 2013 10:50 am

Wednesday 17th April

We have seen so many migrating Turtle Doves have been shot in the last days, that when a member of public brought in a Turtle Dove we immediately feared the worst. When it was found to be in apparently healthy condition everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The Turtle Dove been found on the roof of a house, disoriented and wearing the leather hood and tether of a hunting decoy- used to attract other birds to be shot. It had apparently broken free and flown blind until it crash-landed on the roof where it was found.
Four Purple Herons flying out to sea across Għadira Bay and turning south. Later in the morning just three were seen coming in from the sea in the south of the island.

This morning, a group of four Purple Herons flew low over Għadira Nature Reserve and then

–> headed out to sea across Għadira Bay, turning south. Half an hour later another team in the south of the island saw three Purple Herons coming in low off the sea and heard shots as they passed and headed on down the coast southwards. It could have been three different herons. It could be that only three of the four made it that far. Herons are frequently targeted by illegal hunters and are especially vulnerable, like birds of prey, thanks to their slow, soaring flight.

In the afternoon, one team spotted an active illegal Quail trapping site, with nets on the ground and cages containing live decoy birds. Police came and confiscated the nets and birds, but unfortunately the trappers responsible were not seen. The fight against illegal trapping goes on.


Yellow Wagtails perching on a dry twig. Flocks of wagtails on migration have been seen on most afternoons of the camp so far.
First Cuckoo seen flying since the injured Cuckoo recovered on Sunday. Yellow Wagtails, Golden Orioles, Woodchat Shrikes, Bee-eaters, Pied Flycatchers and a couple of Red-footed Falcons were the sightings highlights of the day. There were again large flocks of swallows, swifts and House Martins seen in the afternoon.

A local woman came and told team she had heard shots after 3pm. She hated hearing shots and had friends staying and was really annoyed and ashamed. She didn’t know that shooting after 3pm was illegal. What is illegal during the spring hunting derogation.