Archives for: 2006


A strange looking bird

Permalink 06:40:39, Categories: Waterfowl  

This bird was recently photographed at some distance by Adrian Drummond-Hill in Dahrain SA on the 16-11-06 - we have had to enlarge it somewhat, hence the reduction in quality however it has not helped us identify the species -From a variety of respondants it has now been positively identified as a Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

have no idea

mail to:



Bishop - Weaver or what

Permalink 09:08:53, Categories: Passerines  

Photographed by Adrian Drummond-Hill at Badaan Farm on the 9th November
He has been told its a Yellow Crowned Bishop - I just don't know myself would love some comments from anybody familiar with African species

let me know what you think



Gull confusion

Permalink 10:42:59 am, Categories: Waders, gulls  
Here's another gull that's been causing some confusion. Over to you?.

See also 'Out and About with AJ' © Adrian Drummond-Hill



Exhausted Warbler

Permalink 07:59:20, Categories: Waders  

I received the following email and photograph from an old friend Ian Best this morning


This bird landed on Paul Kennerley's boat about midday yesterday and remained completely helpless and apparently tame ! Catherine handed it over to me - I kept it overnight and today - as texted - it seemed to make an amazing recovery - so was obviously exhausted !! Sorry pictures so bad - she was livening up fast by now !! Hopefully they are good enough to identify ? Have now released it into the garden as you suggested and it is now perched happily in one of the trees.


I have tentatively put it down as a Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus but as we all know ID from photographs has its own problems so I could be wrong - would welcome any comments -
But a nice story anyhow



Permalink 07:25:53 am, Categories: Waders  
Adrian Drummond-Hill photograhed this gull recently. He is a resident of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia - just across the causeway from Bahrain. I have tentatively identified it as heuglini. The original images plus many more of his great photos can be found by viewing the folder o&b-with_AJ - TAB is above and at top of right column

Norman Vanswelm has viewed the images and replied with the following
juv/1st winter L.barabensis or as DNA has it L.fuscus barabensis or L.heuglini barabensis. Confused? So you should be. Anyway keep taking the gulls Adrian. It's worth it.

From the resident Gull guru on the Bird forum site where Adrian stores his images we have recieved the following message
Hi all!

Adrians gull is a fresh juvenile (in standing bird looks as there are some second generation greyish scapulars on top at the end of the lesser coverts) and not a Palla´s Gull, which looks like this:
and not a LBBG (Baltic Gull) due to structure and bill size, compare with these:
and not a Yellow-legged Gull due to underwing pattern and no visible moult in wing coverts (pitty though that we don´t get to see the upperparts and tail pattern more clearly! So, Caspian (eastern), barabensis or heuglini are the choices we have to deal with here I think, which makes it a bit tricky. Identification of these three is a challenge, western Caspian, usually with slenderer bill and smalish looking eye and at this time of year usually with more second generation coverts (we can´t see the upperparts), but some eastern apparently show fully unmoulted juvenile wing to the end of the year. However the palish underwing and axillaries certainly point to Caspian (mainly western type) but some heuglini and barabensis similar.
Heuglin´s Gull is a late moulter, and therefore at this time of year in fresh juvenile plumage, with at most some 1st winter scapulars, although variation has to be considered, and juvenile barabensis (Steppe Gull) together with heuglini (Heuglin´s Gull) is in my oppinion the two main suggestions to this gull. Heuglin´s Gull usually has a rather slender bill (some males rather bigger billed, as the subject gull). The upperwing is similar to LBBG (Baltic), but notice the slightly paler inner primaries, more in line with heuglini compared to Baltic -

Supposed barabensis Oman January:
A juv/first winter putative Heuglin´s Gull from Denmark last year:
The bottom line (although I dare say my gutt feeling say´s heuglini or possible barabensis) Adrian is that there will be no possitive ID on your gull, as you gotten used to by now with large white-headed gull from your area!

The above said is a suggestion, since ID on these are very difficult, sometimes/often impossible due to lack of knowledge.

A real thrill to see your fine images, and of this gull!





Permalink 08:24:03, Categories: Passerines  

First winter/female Ortolan Buntings Emberiza hortulana or something else?

I have edited this post to include a response from Raffael Aye

Pictures 1 & 2 have now be identified as being of different birds - this was pointed out by Raffael we have checked the photo sequence and Raffael is correct. I have included his comments below as the most interesting comments recieved thus far.

Hi Howard,

very interesting pictures of Ortolan (or similar) Buntings you have there!

As to the identification: separation of Ortolan and Cretzschmar's, based on slight colour differences, is very hard on a computer screen. I don't dare to do that really. Grey-headed and Ortolan should be feasible.

For the first two photographs: are you sure they show the same bird? It looks like two different birds to me. Pic1 shows a conspicuous, almost white ear-spot and clearly set-off narrow streaks on the lower breast sides – both these characters are absent on Pic 2. Therefore I think they must be two different individuals. The differences might suggest that Pic1 is a 1st winter (stronger streaking, slightly used pale fringes on wing coverts) while Pic2 might be rather adult (buff rather than whitish fringes to Medium coverts, moreover very fresh; reduced streaking).


Both birds have the typical Emberiza-pattern on the tertials and coarse streaking on the mantle. They are therefore not likely to be Grey-headed Buntings, but rather Ortolan Bs. I am not completely sure for Pic 2, though. Do Grey-headed Bs with Emberiza pattern occur? Better views of its bill, its breast, its marginal coverts and its mantle (the scapulars look poorly marked and somewhat more rufous) would be interesting...

The slight yellowish tinge on the plumage especially on the head on Pic1 suggests they aren't Cretzschmar's either, but Ortolans. Anyway Cretzschmar's must be a rare bird in Bahrain, I guess.

Surprisingly, the bill looks all pale without a darker culmen on both photographs (at least on Pic2). On Pic 2 the culmen also looks very straight. Theoretically, this would be characteristic of Grey-headed Bunting. But despite the bill, I think they are Ortolan Bs (streaking, tertials, yellowish tinge).

Picture three and four (same Bird)
Having spoken of this typical Emberiza pattern on the tertials: where is it on Pics 3 and 4? It's missing! The tertials look very similar to what they would be on a Grey-headed Bunting. However, I have seen Ortolan Buntings in Europe on two occasions with such tertial pattern, the streaking on the mantle and (although hardly visible) on the upper breast are very coarse and the bill has got a dark and clearly convex culmen. I agree it is an Ortolan Bunting (although the tertial pattern is remarkable!).

Have other people commented? I'd be interested to know what other people think about these buntings...

best regards, and please continue posting such interesting photographs!



Permalink 11:10:08, Categories: Passerines  

Short-toed larks

Obviously different but hanging out together with other Larks would like to recieve any comments as to possible Ssp classification.

Short-Toed Lark
and this one
Short-Toed Lark

For comparative purposes I have placed here two pictures recieved from Norman Vanswelm taken at Dunkirk on the 21st September by Julien Boulanger



Tick the Pipit

Permalink 10:26:57, Categories: Passerines  

A rather interesting pipit besides the tick on the head, note the obvious loral and eye strip through the prominent eye-ring, the ill defined almost non existent supercillium, the pronounced pointed tooth to the dark centres on medium coverts. First winter Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis was my choice but it has been concluded that this is in fact a Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus

The bird was photographed by Juhani Kyyrö at my bequest



Warbler ID - ?

Permalink 07:51:46, Categories: Passerines  

This picture was taken by a friend and visitor to Bahrain several years ago - I for one am not certain as to its ID, I do have some ideas as usual but would appreciate comments from others email me on
Comments from the sender are as follows
Dementiev uses Iranian Warbler Phylloscopus neglectus
Williamson uses Plain Leaf-warbler
Svensson uses Plain Willow Warbler!
Myself I don't think its a Leaf Warbler more likely an Eastern Chiffchaff
warbler id??
The above as converted from Kodak to photoshop image with colour management on
Below converted with no colour management

no colour management



Permalink 12:02:45, Categories: Passerines  


Is it Male or Female - A Pied? O. pleschanka, Black-eared? O. hispanica, Finsch's? O. finschii - or something else like a hybrid/cross O. pleschanka / O. hispanica to view more photos click link Below
March 16th 2006 Obs Old Quarry behind Riffa Airbase Et All Bahrain


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