South Africa (ZA)   Passerines and Seabirds  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 11:10:40 am

Week 48 - 26 November 2010, Green Island and Sharq

I decided to give Green Island another try for Thrushes on passage and then check the seabirds at Sharq. Images by Mike Pope

I could see Hypocolius flying in walking to the entrance, but avoided the temptation to photograph them this time. A White-chested Kingfisher flying in from the sea has been present at this location for the past few visits

White-chested Kingfisher

A pale morph Indian Reef Heron looking very elegant in the early morning light

Indian Reef Heron

I was surprised to see a small flock of 5 Mallards fly in from the sea


The Ruppells Weaver in non-breeding plumage is still at this site and is now guardian over at least 4 nests - no sign of the female though

Ruppells Weaver

A Red-vented Bulbul was cooperative in the coolness of the morning

Red-vented Bulbul

Red-vented Bulbul

The numbers of Gulls and Terns at Sharq have increased over the past week as the weather has cooled down. Sandwich Terns were hunting and diving at the harbour entrance

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern

Both Black-headed Gull and

Black-headed Gull

and Slender-billed Gulls were present

Slender-billed Gull

There were many large white-headed Gulls present in various stages of moult and ages, but I will let those who know more than me advise on the identity of these. My thanks to Yoav for providing his opinion on the identify of the Gulls below. This Gull is clearly a heuglini - huge, massive, large bill, dark grey upperparts, much black on wingtip (all the way to P1) and note that P7 to P10 are unmoulted


A fishing boat dumped part of its catch on the way out and a feeding frenzy ensued - this gull was successful. This and the next Gull have ended their moults, rather pale upperparts, black to P4 - possibly barabensis.


Coming in to pluck some free food from the sea


This Gull caught quartering above the small baitfish floating on the surface. It has almost finished moulting (P10 almost fully grown), much black on wingtip, black band on bill - looks like a good candidate for armenicus. This is typical armenicus moult for this time of year. A Caspian is much paler above and with much more white and less black on wingtip.


This Gull was a little too late, but identity is unknown. It has dark on underwing secondaries which is a good sign for heuglini but this moult is too advanced for heuglini. I have no knowledge about taimyrensis moult though, which may be a consideration


Another Armenian Gull



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