Cold spell brings rare wildfowl to Malta

To: "david camilleri" <>, "birding aus" <>
Subject: Cold spell brings rare wildfowl to Malta
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 21:47:23 +1100
I actually read to the bottom of this sad note on Malta.
My comment :
What? did someone forget to shoot the Snow Buntings (finches)!

Friday, January 4, 2002
< Cold spell brings rare wildfowl >

by Natalino Fenech

The cold spell in December brought a large number of waterfowl to Maltese shores, including some very rare wildfowl.Three red breasted geese, a species of geese that has never been seen in the Maltese islands before, were shot on December 20. Two were shot in Gozo and one in Mellieha bay. The ones in Gozo were taken at Marsalforn and Ghasri valleys. Red breasted geese breed in the Arctic circle and Russia.
One of the red breasted geese shot in Gozo was in fact observed with other larger geese before it was shot. A bean goose and two white fronted geese were also shot from Malta shortly afterwards on the same day. Small flocks of geese of up to 40 birds were seen that day. (What, and not shot!?)
A smew, was seen at the Ghadira reserve on the same day.
The smew is a very rare visitor, last recorded in 1910, when three were shot at Ghajn Tuffieha. Other individual birds were shot in 1864.
"A number of swans" (real helpful, what number, was it: 0, half, 3, 27, 109, or maybe 247600?) were also seen. A flock of 13 birds was seen. Unfortunately, although protected by law, several of the swans were shot both from land as well as from seacraft.
Apart from wildfowl, another rarity was the occurrence of a small number of snow finches. The only record of snow finch dates back to October 1970, when a single bird was trapped in Gozo.
This article may also be viewed at


david camilleri
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU