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A Report from

Sardinia, 13th - 27th September,

John & Sue Roberts

As expected September was not the best month to see a wide variety of birds in Sardinia. We stopped 5 nights on the Costa Smeralda (Gallura Province in the north-east of the island) ("NE"), 5 nights at  Su Gologone in the hills above Nuoro in the east-central part of the island ("EC") and 4 nights just west of Alghero in the north-west ("NW"). Only this third area receives any mention at all in the 1994 edition of "Where to watch birds in Italy"

We did however find a number of sites in these mainly holiday areas which will be of some interest to birders.


In the NE near to the Cannigone area :-

A.     South of Cannigone there is a road to Baia Sardinia that is not marked on the Michelin 1/350000 map although it is well used and not new. To the south of this road  and easily viewable is a small lake which held a variety of waterbirds and Marsh Harrier

B.      A few kilometres north of Cannigone, near a caravan site at Isoledda between the road and the beach is a lagoon which produced Common Sandpiper and Dunlin.

C.     A few kilometres north of B at Golfa della Saline is a lagoon protected for wildlife, which produced a variety of common species including Common Sandpiper

South of Olbia is a fair sized lagoon called Stagno di San Teodoro. We first got access to the north here along a rough access road from the village of La Fraili marked "Della Pescharia" The employee of the fish farm at the end of the track, was happy to let us bird watch on the farm premises. However we later found that the best birds including Greater Flamingo could be seen from the road off the S131 to San Teodoro itself.

We did visit the Oristano marshes but found that all the northern saline lakes near Putzu Idu were non-existant in late summer. We didn't find any birds til we got to the south end of Stagno di Cabras. The best viewing here was along the track west of the bridge between this lake and the lagoon on the seaward side of the road from Cabras to San Salvatore (but beware the several decoy ducks floating on the lake here!) The lake can also be reached NW of Cabras on the Riola Sardo road (if you can find the right road out of Cabras!)

In the NW:-

A   Lake Baratz, a few miles north of Alghero airport is Sardinia's only fresh water lake. It is a protected area (esp for turtles) and was very good for birds.

B   The salines between the road and the sea just south of Stintino (on the NW tip of the island) are well worth a visit. Besides Kentish Plovers and a handful of other waders, we found Audouin's Gull there.

C   West of Alghero and just before Fertilia there is a large lagoon. At the west end this can be viewed from the road bridge north of the coast road but there is good access via a track from the coast road immediately before the petrol station by the Fertilia traffic lights. It wasn't until we flew out that we realised that this lagoon is much bigger than appeared and can probably be accessed at other points.

Systematic List

Little Grebe   Quite numerous on some lakes, esp Lake Baratz (several 100)

Great Crested Grebe    not widespread but good numbers on Stegno di Casaraccio at Stintino; Lago del Coghinas in NE & Stagno di S Teodoro

Cormorant    Small numbers at most coastal locations and on some lakes.

 Shag     just one seen - on ferry crossing to La Maddalena in NE

Grey Heron     Quite common around fresh and sea water

Great White Egret    a couple at lake south of Cannigone, also at Stagno di S. Teodoro

Cattle Egret     At lake south of Cannigone and a dozen on lagoon at Fertilia

Little Egret    Common near water.

Greater Flamingo   23 at Stagno di S.Teodoro Just one at Stagno di Cabras

Mallard      fairly common

Teal   4 at Lake Baratz on our second visit (26th)

Shoveller   20+ at Lake Baratz

Wigeon      A few at Stagno di Cabras

Pochard      10+ at Lake Baratz

Red-crested Pochard  small numbers at Lake Baratz and Stagno di Cabras

Ferruginous Duck     a dozen or so at Lake Baratz

Griffon Vulture     4 seen at Capo Marargiu (note-the easiest place to observe from is from the main road opposite an establishment called "Il Griffone" a couple of km north of Bosa)

Osprey      At least 6 at Lago di Cabras on 20/9 and another at Fertilia lagoon on 24 & 27/9

Red Kite     just one from the Macomber - Pozzomaggiore road on 23/9

Marsh Harrier    Seen at several wetland sites

Sparrowhawk      just two together over hotel at Su Gologone EC)

Buzzard        fairly common

Kestrel     Common in all areas we visited. Several sightings most days.

Peregrine Falcon       one seen in valley above Su Gologone (EC) and another at Capo Caccia(NW)

Hobby      watched one hawking for a long period over Lake Baratz on 25/9

Barbary Partridge      Just one seen as it ran across road in front of our car between Oliena and Olgoroso in EC on 21/9

Coot     common - large numbers present at several sites

Moorhen     common - small numbers present at several sites

Curlew       just one seen at Stagno di Casaraccio at Stintino on 26/9

Ringed Plover     a couple at the Salines at Stintino on 26/9

Kentish Plover    10+ at  Salines at Stintino on 26/9

Grey Plover     one at Salines at Stintino on 26/9

Dunlin     two at Salines at Stintino on 26/9

Green Sandpiper    one  at Stagno di Baratz on 20/9

Common Sandpiper   seen at several locations

Redshank  3 or 4  at Stagno di Cabras on 20/9

Greenshank       one at Stagno di S Teodoro

Yellow -legged Herring Gull     common,

Audouin's Gull     Just one on 26/9 at the Stintino Salines

Black-headed Gull       a few at several locations

Woodpigeon      only one or two seen in EC & NW

Rock Dove              flock of 20-30 at Su Gologone spring

Collared Dove       widespread & common

Turtle Dove      only one seen at lagoon south of Cannigone

Little Owl  just one at Lake Baratz

European Bee-eater   10+ birds over cliffs near Su Gologone on 19/9

Great Spotted Woodpecker     common - seen or heard most days

Kingfisher   not seen at all til 24/9 at Bosa but then several seen at Fertilia lagoon

Common Swift  several seen on 14/9 only near Arzachena (NE)

Skylark    one on 14/9 near Arzachena

Calandra Lark  a couple off Macomber-Pozzomagiore road on 23/9

Crag Martin       a few at Lago del Coghinas on 16/9

House Martin        several near Arzachena (NE) on 14/9

Barn Swallow    a few at Cannigone on 14/9

Red-rumped Swallow   several near Arzachena on 14/9 and at Lago del Coghinas on16/9

White Wagtail   just one on beach at Porto Curvo on 15/9

Grey Wagtail    only seen at spring at Su Gologone

Wren     seen in ground of our hotel in NE on 18/9

Stonechat      very common in all areas

Robin        on;y seen in grounds of hotel and at spring at Su Gologone

Blackbird      one or two seen most days but not common

Cetti's Warbler   very common in wide variety of habitat.

Reed Warbler    one probable at Fertilia lagoon on 27/9

Blackcap    family party in grounds of hotel at Su Gologone daily and couple seen in mountains nearby, otherwise not common

Sardinian Warbler    very common in all areas

Spectacled Warbler   2 along Macomber-Pozzomagiore road on 23/9

Melodious Warbler        one at Lago del Coghina on 16/9

Wood Warbler       one at spring at Su Gologone on 19/9

Spotted Flycatcher     one seen on farmland near Arzachena on 14/9

Firecrest     crests were common but often difficult to see. Those we got decent views of were all Firecrests

Great Tit      quite common in all areas

Blue Tit        quite common in all areas but fewer than Great Tit

Coal Tit        fairly common in suitable habitat

Woodchat Shrike    just one at Stagno di Teodoro on 23/9

Jay       very common but slightly less so in NW

Jackdaw    fairly common in towns/villages

Hooded  Crow   extremely common in all areas

Raven      very common in all areas

Spotless Starling        fairly common

House (Italian) Sparrow    very common

Spanish Sparrow  a few which appeared more "Spanish" than "Italian" in NW

Citril Finch    fairly common

Chaffinch     several sightings but not common

Greenfinch    one or two seen or heard in NE but not common

Goldfinch       small numbers at a few locations and a larger flock at a tip between Stintino and Porto Torres

Linnet    small numbers seen at various locations.

Cirl Bunting        fairly common

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