South Africa (ZA)   Spring is in the air  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 08:07:43 am

Week 10, 08 March 2008 - Sabah al Salem, Jahra East and SAANR

Whilst Pekka enjoys a birding holiday in Goa, Brian Foster and I were out to check on the progress of the Spring migration and were pleasantly surprised. The north west winds have persisted over the past few weeks but this does not appear to have hindered the returning birds, who rely on wind assistance, that much. Images by Mike Pope

We noted that Sabah al Salem had some surface water, but this was only frequented by a small group of Black winged Stilts

Black winged Stilts

Next stop was Jahra East where some good birds have been seen the past few weeks. I saw Moustached Warbler and Spotted Crake and we heard Cetti's Warbler, but were not able to photograph them. I did however get onto this Pied Kingfisher who has been at JEO for the past week or so. Sadly the shooters were also there and I saw one individuals shoot up to 20 Wagtails!

Pied Kingfisher

A single Grey Wagtail was present

Grey Wagtail

The returning Yellow Wagtails now outnumber the White Wagtails that are leaving. This bird appears to have survived being shot, with just one leg

Yellow Wagtail

Hoopoes have been seen in various localities within Kuwait, this one has a backdrop of a spent shotgun cartridge


A few Stonechats slowly coming into breeding plumage were seen along the reedbeds


We then headed to SAANR and drove the long way through the reserve to Tuhla. On route we saw this magnificent Steppe Eagle, presumably a 2nd calendar year bird

Steppe Eagle

The Voluntary Work Center had a photographic outing to Tuhla, but surprisingly the birds were really accommodating with the number of photographers walking around. In the pool, I photographed this Redshank


Together with a lone Black winged Stilt

Black winged Stilt

And a Squacco Heron

Squacco Heron

A few Yellow Wagtails were seen around the edges of the pool, which now has much higher banks than last year

Yellow Wagtail

Wheatears were well represented and we had Pied, Northern, Isabelline, Desert and Black cheeked in the surrounds. This Pied is almost in full breeding plumage

Pied Wheatear

An inquisitive male Northern Wheatear

Northern Wheatear

A single Tree Pipit was foraging in the shade

Tree Pipit

A Isabelline Shrike in full breeding plumage - very striking. Dani Gelbert, an Israeli birder suggests that this is a Turkestan Shrike Lanius (isabellinus) phoenicuroides. Very rare in Israel, in contrast to the much more common Daurian shrike.

Isabelline Shrike

This Woodchat Shrike made a quick appearance

Woodchat Shrike

There were numerous Stonechats in the surrounding scrub, including this female bird


Common Redstart ssp samamisicus, is really a striking bird


The Blue cheeked Bee eaters made an appearance as the day started to warm up

Blue cheeked Bee eater


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