Category: additional photos


Migration is early this year

Permalink 09:32:23 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

This time last year we were waiting patiently for the migration to begin. This year on the other hand the first trickle of birds started in February. At the moment we have wheatears a plenty with northern, Isabelline and some desert wheatears passing through. Our winter visitors are still here though and the Alba Marsh has been netting some interesting retraps including a female clamorous reedwarbler with a well developed broodpatch. One of the more interesting retraps last weekend was a white spotted bluethroat which was first ringed in early January. If we had caught the bird for the first time last week we would have assumed it was an early migrant but considering it was ringed in early January we now know it was a winter visitor to Bahrain. The current belief is that these are passage migrants and very rare in the gulf but our ringing has turned that on its head. Regular ringing at Alba Marsh is revealing some interesting data.
Other notable birds ringed included a black redstart. Photographs are thanks to Howard and Jem.


Male Bluethroat (cyanecula race)

Yellow wagtail (feldegg race)

Black redstart


Northern wheatear



First migrants arriving

Permalink 09:21:14 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

The first trickle of migration has just begun to appear with the drop in the winds. Shrikes, hoopoes and pipits are showing and the first migrant chiffchaffs are calling. We trapped two shrikes at Alifarm on Saturday.


Woodchat shrike

Southern Grey shrike



Buff-bellied Pipit

Permalink 02:55:51 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

When myself and Jem were ringing at Alba Marsh on Friday last we caught an unusual pipit. It looked superficially like a meadow pipit but since it was caught over water we decided to put an A2 (hard metal) ring on it as we do with water pipits. Jem photographed it after he finished processing it. Neither of us paid much attention to the bird at the time. On returning to Saudi and further examining the photographs Jem emailed me some of the photographs for an opinion. I compared the morphological measurements with the meadow (45 birds) and Tree pipit (8 birds) data from Bahrain. It was clearly too big for meadow and only fitted tree pipit in some measurements. It left us in some doubt or further confused. Jem then looked at alternatives and took out the Pipits and Wagtails Guide. In addition he put the photographs up on a website to see what other birders thought. Buff-bellied Pipit came out of the ether!! Pipit experts and web photographs plus the morphological data all point to this species. If it is accepted it will be a first record for Bahrain and a new species for the ringing programme.
These are some photographs of the bird in question.







Another interesting retrap

Permalink 08:54:23 pm, Categories: Bahrain Banding Project, additional photos  

Myself and Abdulla went ringing the weekend before last at the chicken farm. There were good numbers of water pipits and we got 20 birds at dusk. Two were ringed and when I read the ring on the first bird it turned out to have been ringed by Abdulla last month when I was on holidays. We expected the second bird to have a similar story and when we read the second ring it ended in 19 and the first bird ended in 18. However I read the whole number and there was another digit out of place. The ring was from a different string. The first bird was ring number 2609918 and the second bird was 2609819. It was from my string and was ringed two years earlier on 13th November 2009!! Needless to say we both read it 3 or 4 times. Another small piece in a big puzzle. The bird had returned to the same farm and was caught roosting only 200 meters from where it was first caught two winters earlier. We wondered where it was in the interim, where did it breed, where was it born?? There is so much to learn about the birds in the gulf. With so little research in any of the gulf states it is difficult to put the pieces together. Every bit helps.

This is a photograph of the bird in question.




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.

A juvenile female kestrel.


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