It’s been quite a long time since we’ve posted here and we are reviving the blog with some insight into natural summer goodies one might encounter around the Maltese islands. Although most of Malta is quite barren at this time of year, especially considering the lack of rain we have had, there is still some hope for us nature lovers. One could turn to the sea, a very attractive place to be in during the hot summer months, where one may easily observe the thriving marine life present near our shores.
Falko, Birdlife Malta’s youth group, in collaboration with Sharklab Malta, organised a snorkelling event on Saturday 13th August with a visit to Golden Bay. Sharklab Malta were very helpful in giving us a few tips on how to snorkel, including the use and maintenance of equipment, as well as leading us on a snorkelling session in the bay afterwards. I hadn’t previously snorkelled at Golden Bay, and was awed by the teeming marine life within. Habitat consisted of mostly sand in the centre of the bay, and a rockier and, more bountiful in terms of fish species, to the side of the bay.
Fish species seen included a Common Stingray buried in the sandy area, Cleaver and Rainbow Wrasse, Saddled and Two-bandied bream and Blue Damselfish amongst others. If you’re interested in snorkelling in the bay, it is recommended to keep to the swimmers zone and to heed the colour of the flags put up in case of rough sea. Snorkelling with friends is also safer and more fun!
For people who are keen on birds out there, keep a look out at the sky when out and about! Although quite early, a good amount and variety of birds are currently migrating over Malta. Wader species are being seen quite regularly in nature reserves and Salina for example. A good number may also be seen on sea shores. Personally, I have been around our shore in various locations around Malta, both in the north and the south of the island. Species seen included an Oystercatcher, Kentish Plover, Snipe, several species of sandpipers, Little Stints and Dunlins. Flocks of herons and egrets are also on the increase Night Herons and Little Egrets repeatedly seen. Scarcer gulls such as Audouin’s and Slender-billed Gulls were observed by the sea, together with a Sandwich Tern fishing off our shores.
At dusk and nightfall one might also hear and see bats flapping erratically as they chase insects. The smaller bat species are probably pipistrelles; although one might encounter larger species such as the Maghrebian and Long-eared bats. If you’re in a place with relatively low light-pollution and a clear sky you might also see shooting stars if you look hard and long enough.
So for all nature lovers out there, invest some time in order to these summer goodies. If you have seen or photographed some interesting species, being marine, avian or otherwise, do communicate them to us, if you’d like them shared on our blog. We’d also love to receive your comments about encounters with nature you’ve had this summer!
By Daniel Bonnici, Falko Leader