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
After last weekends disaster when rain and gales stopped play it was good to get out and chase birds around the many puddles that last weeks storm left - nothing exceptional except four Bimaculated larks at Hamalah but good birding never the less. Saturday was restricted by road closures for the Triathalon so I concentrated on Busaiteen shorelines but with a low tide not the best time for photography but good numbers of wintering species seen.
Spotted Munia originally an escape now seen across the Island
Grey Hypocolius from Jasra - arriving early over a hundred not so confiding birds were seen
Bimaculated Lark four seen on farmland in Hamalah no chance for closeups unfortunately
Osprey at an inland site
These last weekends I covered a variety of habitats looking for any new species that is passing - I found little change in the shorebirds and gardens populations other than Skylarks Water and Meow Pipit that have now arrived in numbers but the Jebel Al Dakhan did produce a few surprises. Reported first in the week I was fortunate enough to get some images on the Jebel of the Short Toed Snake Eagle that had been seen south of Riffa. Had it not moved from its high rocky perch to another location I doubt that I would have noticed it.
The other surprise was with the Whitecrowned Black Wheatears the two seen on the Jebel over the last three weeks turned into three with another specimen turning up on the western flank. However I still have not been able to find a single Mourning Wheatear but there are also good numbers of Desert, Isabelline and Red-tailed wheatears to be found.
From the Gardens
Red-tailed Wheatear this one from Buhair valley
The ever present Crested Lark
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