Archives for: 2011

2011-11-22

Kestrel

Permalink 08:55:32 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

We dropped into Ali farm on Monday evening and Abdulla spotted a kestrel on one of the sprinklers. He caught it within 30 minutes and we duely ringed her.


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A juvenile female kestrel.
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2011-11-16

Pipits are here for the winter

Permalink 08:40:07 am, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

With the passage migration virtually over we are now turning our attention towards winter visitors. This weekend we set up nets and tape lures for pipits both in the Chicken farm and Ali farm. It is early days and the birds are still not settled on specific roost sites but we did manage to catch over 20 birds including water pipit, tree pipit (which came to the call) and tawny pipit.


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Tree pipit which came to tree pipit call as suggested by Dave Andrews, a visiting ringer from UK.
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Note the ring on this Isabelline Wheatear!.

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2011-11-07

The lull before the storm

Permalink 08:01:19 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

The wind was slack on Friday afternoon so myself and Abdulla put up a few nets for swallows. In addition to 13 swallows we caught 4 water pipits, a prinia, a wheatear (in a trap), a pied wagtail and a wydah. We still haven't worked out the exact roosting location for the pipits but we are gradually homing in.


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Juvenile male wydah
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Juvenile pied wagtail. Probably from northern Russia!!
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Water Pipit
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Graceful Prinia.
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2011-10-30

Another Grey Shrike

Permalink 10:57:26 am, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

While ringing at the chicken farm on Friday, Abdulla caught another grey shrike. This one was really big and very grey in colour. Note the amount of white in the secondaries. This is a steppe grey shrike.
Photographs taken by Jem Babbington.


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Juvenile Southern/Steppe Grey Shrike
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Note the amount of white on the inner web of the secondaries.
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2011-10-23

An interesting retrap

Permalink 05:19:35 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

On Friday 16th last I was away and Abdulla and Jem put up a few nets in Ali Farm. The catch was slow but one retrap Isabelline Shrike proved interesting. When it was trapped Abdulla assumed I must have caught it earlier this year but on checking the records it was a bird first caught two years earlier in the same farm. This obviously meant it was not a juvenile but an adult and therefore a female. What is even more interesting is that it must be a regular winter visitor as the likelyhood of catching a bird twice on migration in the same farm is so remote as to be nigh impossible.
It's amazing how one bird can contribute so much to our lack of knowledge! Photographs taken by Jem.


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Adult Female Isabelline Shrike
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Adult Female note the barring on the chest and flanks.
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Adult Female, note the tail and rump pattern
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2011-10-09

Migrants still passing through

Permalink 10:52:15 am, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

On Friday afternoon Jem and I went down the Durrat al Bahrain site as the wind had died down. There were about a dozen birds about and our first net round yielded 6 birds, followed by three more on the second round. Thre species were caught including 5 Lesser Whitethroat (4 minula!), two Blackcaps and two Willow warblers. Three new species for Jem! The small number of birds makes it a perfect training site, allowing time to examine and discuss each bird in turn. Real quality ringing!Photographs take by Jem.


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Adult Male Blackcap
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Adult Female Blackcap
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2011-09-28

Pied Wagtail from Russia

Permalink 04:23:48 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

After ringing almost 9,400 birds in Bahrain since 2006, a passerine recovery has finally emerged. I always knew it would be a good one! A Pied Wagtail ringed in the Chicken Farm last November has been recovered in the Russian Federation! I wouldn't mind but we have only ringed a couple of Pied Wagtails. It took 180 days from ringing to recovery and the distance is measured in a straight line at 3,608 Km. The bird was found dead!


Permalink

More migrants

Permalink 07:31:34 am, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

I rang Abdulla yesterday afternoon and he was on his way to Durrat Al Bahrain site so I joined him. He already had the single net up when I got there and two bird bags hanging up with migrants inside. Once again the site delivered, this time 7 birds including 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Thrush Nightingale. These are the first autumn catches for Garden Warbler and Thrush Nightingale.


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Thrush Nightingale is probably more comon than Nightingale in Bahrain
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If you take a bird out of the net and ask 'What's this', it must be a garden Warbler!!
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This is the 2nd Chiffchaff this autumn. Still no Willows.
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And another Lesser Whitethroat!

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2011-09-25

New site still producing

Permalink 09:06:42 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

The ringing team went down to Durrat Al Bahrain site on Friday and once again a few nice birds were caught including another Orphean Warbler, a Spotted Flycatcher, an Isabelline Shrike and 2 Menetries Warblers.


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Both Menetries warblers were adult!
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Interesting white feathers on this juvenile Spotted Flycatcher
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Juvenile Isabelline Shrike. And nobody was hurt in the taking of this photograph!!
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2011-09-19

New site down south

Permalink 11:26:22 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

Abdulla discovered a new site with water and a few tamerisk trees down south near Ras Al Bar so we popped down this afternoon to see what was about. It is a small site with only a few birds at any one time but with no other trees or bushes within sight it is a real magnet for whatever is in the locality. Today we caught 6 birds, 2 orphean warblers, 1 juvenile barred warbler, 1 red-backed shrike, 1 lesser whitethroat and 1 olivaceous warbler. A nice variety for a couple of hours netting with just 1 18m net.


Adult male Orphean warbler

1st year Orphean warbler for comparison

Both birds together

1st year Barred warbler

1st year red-backed shrike

1st year Olivaceous warbler

1st year Lesser Whitethroat

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2011-09-05

Orphean Warbler

Permalink 11:01:32 pm, Categories: additional photos  

Abdulla discovered a new site with water and a few tamerisk trees down south near Ras Al Bar so we popped down for a look today and put up one 12 Meter net. We only got 4 birds but an Orphean Warbler was the star. The last birds ringed were in March 2008 in Badaan Farm so this is a special record. A new ringing species for Abdulla also!The four birds were 1 Orphean warbler, 1 Olivaceous warbler and 2 Whitethroat.



1st year Orphean warbler

1st year bird with primaries and secondaries in good condition

1st year Whitethroat

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2011-06-28

Basra Reed-warbler 1st for Bahrain - Accepted

Permalink 04:29:38 pm, Categories: additional photos  

Bird confirmed as Basra Reed Warbler has been accepted by Records committee

On 20th of May last, myself (Brenden) and Abdulla put up a selection of nets in Ali Agricultural Farm to see what might be passing through. Towards dark I picked an unusual reed-type warbler out of the bottom shelf of one of the nets. Immediately I saw it I knew it was unusual, a bit too big for reed warbler and too small for great reed. I stuck it in a bag and finished the net-round. We processed the other birds and then I gave the bag to Abdulla, saying nothing. He immediately knew we had something different also. We decided to put an A ring on it due to the small size of the tarsus. Having gone through Svenson ID and looked at the Collins bird guide to the birds of Europe and the middle east we concluded that the bird was a Basra Reed Warbler. The blue/grey colour of the legs was particularly striking. There was no streaking on the breast or flanks. Unfortunately darkness had decended and the photographs were very poor. I managed to salvage 2 which give some indication of the wing and head details. Detail measurements and wing formula are below..



In the hand

Poor lateral view

Wing 79, Tail 58, Tarsus 24.9
Bill skull 24.5, Bill depth at nares 3.4
weight 14.5, Fat 0, muscle 1
Wing Point 3, 1st secondary to tip of wing 19
Emmargination 3, 2nd primary notch 8/9
1st Primary more than 2mm shorter than primary coverts

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2011-05-29

Breeding Turtle Doves

Permalink 12:26:24 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

Abdulla and I took our first trip of the year to the valley with the breeding turtle doves. We counted 14 nests and ringed 7 chicks. Most nests still have eggs as we are at the beginning of the season. They breed right into July at this site. Below are shots of the habitat and the ringing operation.



Abdulla ringing the chicks

Turtle dove chick

Turtle dove nesting habitat

Two turtle doves waiting to be ringed

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2011-05-17

Migration nearing an end

Permalink 09:53:25 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

With the migration drawing to a close we are now concentrating on ringing breeding birds. While things were quieter than ever before this year, we did manage to get out a few times nontheless. First up is a nice Golden Oriole trapped at Ali farm. We also managed to confirm breeding of Clamorous Reed Warbler with two females displaying brood patches. And a nice nest of four eggs of Black-winged Stilt. Both the latter were from the reedbed at East Alba.



Golden Oriole Male

In the hand

Oriole tail pattern

Oriole underwing

Two Clamorous Reed Warblers

Clamorous Reed Warbler brood patch

Nest of Black-winged Stilt at Alba Marsh
nest black-winged stilt

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2011-04-08

back to birding

Permalink 20:20:48, Categories: additional photos  

After the chaos of the last few weeks calm and reason has finally returned hopefully for ever. I did sneak out a few times to observe but photography was restricted but Brendan and I have managed a bit of ringing in some of our quieter spots with good results.

Shrikes of the Isabelline complex Feb 26th
isabellinus
isabelline shrike

isabelline shrike

isabelline shrike

isabelline shrike

phoenicuroides
phoenicuroides

phoenicuroides
phoenicuroides

phoenicuroides

phoenicuroides

Black-eared Wheatear
Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

Black-eared Wheatear

2011-03-05

Traps are working

Permalink 05:14:25 pm, Categories: additional photos  

It was too windy for nets over the weekend so we concentrated on traps. Plenty of wheatears, three isabelline wheatears, a stonechat and a woodchat srike.



Woodchat Shrike

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Black-eared Wheatear

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2011-02-17

Waiting for migrants

Permalink 10:29:09 am, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

Ringing is always slow in January and February but last weekend saw the first migrants is numbers. Hundreds of barn and red-rumped swallows, a few house martins and sand martins. We caught 23 birds on Tuesday (Prophet Mohammed's birthday) including 4 pallid swifts, three barn swallows, one red-rumped swallow, a chiffchaff, a pied wheatear, a rock thrush, several water pipits and isabelline and desert wheatears.
Hoopoes were present in many places and over 100 ducks were at the race course lake (mallard, teal, shoveller, wigeon, pochard, pintail and black-necked grebes were counted).



Shoveler male

skylark

another skylark

Turnstone photographed by Rebecca

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