The last few weeks we have expienced extended periods of high winds and bad visibilty due to dust. Add to this a shortage of new migrant species passing, birding in generally has been low key. A few Pied Wheatear where noted this weekend along with a lot more Chiffchaffs indicating that this situation should change soon. I spent a considerable ammount of time looking for a ringed Flamingo on Tubli Bay after Abdulla Kabi our local ringer spotted one at the sewage outfall at Tubli. Needless to say by the time I got there it had diasappeared amongst the thousand currently resident.
Desert Warbler one of my favourite species wintering species this one was found at Buhair
Isabelline Shrike just one of many
Great Grey Shrike
Clamourous Reed Warbler
Western Reef Heron
This weeks rain did produce some good puddles in unusual places, such pools generally bring out of cover species that otherwise are difficult to photograph. Unfortunately this year the rains were early and before the main migration has started so the results thus far have been limited. Bluethroat were one species that after weeks of chasing however were easy to find out in the open. The long weekends (a consequence of the sad passing of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia) coincided with the high morning tides, occuring close to sunrise each day this brought onto shore large flocks of roosting waders - always an easy way to get a good feel for the number of birds and species around at any given moment.
One mystery however were these Greater Sand Plover - unusal to say the least to find them in late January in such an advance state of breeding moult
From the gardens
Not the best photo but an orange spot
Sunrise on the shore
Greater Sand Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Many Lesser Sandplover with some Dunlin Little Stind mixed in
Around the shore
Western Reef Heron - dark
Western Reef Heron - light
Kingfisher from the lagoon in front of Arad Fort
After last weeks cold snap the weekend weather although foggy at the start on both Friday and Saturday was much much seasonal - warm with a fresh breeze. With a low morning tide I spent the weekend in checking on our winter visitors having been away for Christmas and New Year in and around my favourite gardens and the wet spots in the south.
Buhair provided some interesting observations but given the size of the site it proved as always difficult to get close to many species seen. I was surprised by the number of Warblers noted - Chiffchaff Great Reed most likely Clamouraous Desert Warblers plus several unidentified species were seen. Serveral Snipe, Green Sand Piper and Citrine Wagtails along with at least two Marsh Harriers made the visit interesting. On the ponds as expected huge numbers of Black-winged Stilt, Blackheaded Gulls, Egrets and Herons with Moorhen, Little Grebe and a solitary Coot but no marsh or little tern seen hunting. The Rocky areas produced few Wheatears, a couple of Isabelline and a single Desert where the only ones observed.
In the desert areas under the eastern rim rock at the various green spots used for waste water disposal large numbers of small waders where seen but nothing exceptional.
The Gardens at Buri Hamalah and along the nothern fringe produced no surprises and remained generally quiet however it is always nice to see close up many of our wintering species. I failed to get a single picture of the many Bluethroats or meadow pipits seen. The Number of Corn bunting has dramatically increased since before Christmas as has the number of Skylarks including Small or Oriental.
Green Sand Piper
Great White Egret
Fancy Pigeon - one of many now to be seen around the desert
many bushes and shrubs now in bloosom
From the gardens
Not enjoying the cold weather and lack of birds
On both Friday and Saturday heavy fog blanketed most of my favorite birding sites. At the Jasra roost each morning for the Hypocolius I could hear the assembled flock but only managed to glimpse a few departing shadows. By the time the fog lifted around 7 all but a few had departed. The heavy dew did however provide an opportunity to see some species normally skulking in the undergrowth including some of our odd ball escapes.
Corn Bunting - over thrirty at Hamalah
Skylark one of hundreds
Bimaculated Lark - five at Hamalah, one at Buri
Great Grey Shrike
A female of something
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