2008-11-30

Autumn 08

Permalink 10:27:51 am, Categories: How to get to site  

Birds have been sited at Saar Roost near the BDF wadi and at Jasra at various times during the day - No large roost for this season has yet been found. Largest flock so far seen was over fifty birds

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2008-02-16

still around

Permalink 06:12:25 pm, Categories: How to get to site  

The Saar Site produced 8 Hypocolius last night and the BDF wadi 14 in trees near the main highway flyover intersection. Jasra has gone quiet with only the odd one or 2 being seen there on a regular basis.Budaiya Argriculture Gardens had over 20 on two days this last week -- all in all I think the birds are well scattered across the island and could be observed almost anywhere at the moment.

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2008-02-07

Disappearing act

Permalink 06:30:23 am, Categories: How to get to site  

The Hypocolius have largely done a disappearing act around Jasra a check on this site yielded only a single bird this week. A small flock was seen in Budaiya (NE Bahrain) near the Ministry of Agriculture Gardens on Monday by a friend so the birds are still around but following the food. Any visitors to Bahrain will therefore have to check all the sites we list to find them.

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2008-01-15

Jasra update

Permalink 03:08:07 pm, Categories: Latest Obs recieved  

I had some free time today so I went to Jasra at around 9.30am - I first visited the garden where we had previously seen the Hypocolius, I could hear a large number but none were visible so I followed their calls and found about 50 of them, 100m down the road in the garden trees opposite the entrance to Al Jasra House, the birth place of the late Emir Sh. Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa (Sign posted). The birds were moving across the gardens and roads drinking from the rain puddles mixed in with Bulbuls, Mynahs and sparrows.

It had at least stopped raining but the light was not brilliant however given the behaviour of the birds and their proximity to the road I just parked-up, sat in the car and snapped away. I can't wait to get a day when the sun shines, the rain puddle I will maintain myself if necessary. I have chosen these pictures to illustrate various aspects of the species particularly moult sex and behaviour. Since we shall be writing a paper on this subject I shall not be elaborating on these themes here.

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

Grey Hypocolius

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2008-01-13

Jasra village - daytime Hypocolius site

Permalink 09:34:50 am, Categories: How to get to site  

Grey Hypocolius have always been historically difficult to find during the day so with the demise of the Saar roost the finding of a day time flocking area in Jasra with easy access has to be regarded a real bonus. The birds follow the fruit during the day so this difficulty is not a surprise to us resident birders as we have seen the northern agricultural areas stripped of their native fruiting trees to be replaced with villas and housing compounds. (these photos will be replaced once the sun comes back and it stops raining)
Grey Hypocolius
Bahrain has over fifty different types of Date Palm tree, the date being one of the birds favourite fruits, not many palm species however bear fruit in the winter and those that do are not so popular with farmers these days as this fruit is often only suitable for feeding to animals. Palm trees can be either male or female but only the female tree produces fruit. Since a palm that is grown from seed generally tend to be male, farmers propagate female trees from existing female trees by encouraging sucklings to grow from the base of a mature tree. Since nobody wants non-edible dates the number of species being cloned has declined which means that within new developments only summer edible fruiting species are likely to be found. Other native fruiting trees are also in decline as they are not popular in the house gardens that have been built over old agricultural areas; they are very slow growing, tend to have a large spreading thorn covered heads plus they cause a mess when the fruit drops.

It is probably a combination of loss of fruiting trees and increased development more than anything else in the northern corner of Bahrain that has caused the decline of Hypocolius attracted to using the Old Saar Roost. The area no longer supports a large day time feeding population.

Around Jasra however, agricultural holdings are intact, remain more traditional and are complemented by several large private estates that have a large number of native fruiting trees. In other agricultural areas such as Hamalah, Janabiyah and Zallaq similar areas also still exist and each could well contain their own population of wintering Hypocolius. Behind the now destroyed Janabiyah marsh I found in the 90’s a similar day time flocking area but since Janabiyah marsh was cleared, where these birds now flock to during the day has proved impossible to locate. The locating of this new site in Jasra village has to be regarded therefore as fortuitous.

To find the Jasra site drive along the Saudi causeway road take the last Bahrain exit, at the top of the rank turn left over the bridge and turn immediately right to Jasra village at the traffic lights. Drive through the village past the Mosque on the left and the Craft Center on the right at the second small roundabout turn left the garden in question is right on the corner on the right. It currently has a white board fence about it. Access into the garden is not really necessary as the birds can be seen moving around in the trees right next to the road. They can also often be seen right along side the road in the gardens of the houses in the village in fact the place is currently a Hypocolius heaven. The Birds are currently present from just after sunrise till around 3.30pm
Google Earth Image (http://earth.google.com)
Jasra

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