South Africa (ZA)   The bliss of no Shooters  -  Categories: Photographs  -  @ 06:43:29 pm

Week 17 - 29 April 2011, SAANR and Jahra Pools Reserve

This is a belated post my last weekend out in April where I opted to avoid sites where there may be shooting (not burying my head in the sand), but rather to enjoy spring migration the way it should be enjoyed. Images by Mike Pope

I left home very early and explored some sabkha in Sulaibikhat hoping for Stone Curlew, but no luck. I arrived at the Tuhla pond very early and was rewarded with a roosting Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagle

as well as a Spotted Eagle

Spotted Eagle

a single European Bee-eater had also roosted overnight

European Bee-eater

sitting quietly at the pan does produce birds as they slowly get used to your presence, a Black-crowned Night Heron was a surprise

Black-crowned Night Heron

on the pool itself, a single Squacco Heron was patiently hunting

Squacco Heron

together with Wood Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

and Marsh Sandpiper

Marsh Sandpiper

a male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush came down for a drink

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush

an alarm call in the bush on the center island finally alerted me to two Basra Reed Warblers, great to have them back again!

Basra Reed Warbler

Basra Reed Warbler

Basra Reed Warbler

I explored the habitat away from the pool finding Common Nightingale resting in the shade of a tree

Common Nightingale

a female Common Redstart (there are a lot of these birds around at the moment)

Common Redstart

a Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

and a Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

on the way to the Wadi Pan, I found a Desert Monitor which are a lot less common than Spiny-tailed Lizard. This one trying all flattened out trying to remain unseen and then making a get away across the desert - probably feeling a little vulnerable

Desert Monitor

Desert Monitor

no sign of the Bimaculated Lark seen earlier in the week, despite an intensive search. But I did get the 13th record of Black Stork on the far side of the wadi pan (too distant for a photograph across the heat haze). In the pan, there was Ruff


a few Curlew Sandpipers

Curlew Sandpiper

and some Little Stints coming into breeding plumage

Little Stint

around the edges of the pan, I found a Lesser Short-toed Lark singing its heart out

Lesser Short-toed Lark

as well as two Short-toed Larks

Short-toed Lark

I headed to the small pool on the ridge of the reserve, getting my first Red-backed Shrike of this spring

Red-backed Shrike

On the ridge, I opened all the windows, put the cammo net in front of my camera and sat quietly for an hour enjoying the silence and birds as they came in to drink. Northern Wheatear was first up

Northern Wheatear

followed by a Common Redstart

Common Redstart

Red-throated Pipit

Red-throated Pipit

a couple of Yellow Wagtails, one thunbergi

Yellow Wagtail

another entertaining Barred Warbler - this one eating the yellow flowers off the stems

Barred Warbler

Barred Warbler

a single Ortolan Bunting

Ortolan Bunting

and finally two Pale Rockfinches

Pale Rockfinch

after an hour I drove to the nearby Jahra Pools Reserve, where water levels were still healthy and enjoyed by a variety of waders although all still outnumbered by the huge numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes doing their spinning numbers

Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

I had Little Ringed Plover

Little Ringed Plover

almost side-by-side with a Ringed Plover for comparison

Ringed Plover

a drive around the perimeter of the reserve, produced Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

A singing Graceful Prinia which I havent seen for some time

Graceful Prinia

More Red-backed Shrike in breeding regalia. Isnt it amazing that when the first is seen, others of the same species arrive en mass!

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

And a cracking male Winchat


By now the heat had increased and it was time to head home. Fortunately, the gate was locked as the guards had gone to Friday prayer, so I headed back to the large Phalarope flock and immediately found a group of 3 Common Redshank in breeding plumage that werent there earlier

Common Redshank

Common Redshank

Further careful scanning produced a single Broad-billed Sandpiper in amongst the Little Stints

Broad-billed Sandpiper

And a distant Temminck’s Stint - so all in all a very productive spring morning

Temminck’s Stint


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