Croatia is not Spain

A couple of Short-toed Eagles, 2 Pallid Swifts, lots of Alpine Swifts, a Golden Oriole, several Bee-eaters and lots of Hooded Crows is about the balance of 10 days casual birding while on a family holiday on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, from Dubrovnik up to Paklenica National Park.

Fair’s fair – I wasn’t on a birding trip, and probably spent more time in the sea looking down on fish than in the countryside looking for birds. But compared to the birds I could have seen in northeast Spain, even casually, it seems a pretty poor tally. Maybe that goes to show that you have to go away to really appreciate what you have at home.

That seems to be particularly true about birds of prey. In Spain it’s relatively easy to see 10 or more raptor species in a single day. In the part of Croatia that we visited raptors were very thin on the ground. Likewise, last year I was birding in Morocco and the most common flying objects were not birds of prey but rather black plastic bags.

From now on then I’m going to try not to take raptors for granted – not even Griffon Vultures!

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