25th June Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina Buhair
28th June 4 Swallows Hirundo rustica Badaan Farm
27th June 2 pairs Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida Badaan Farm
27th June many Rufous Bush Chat families Cercotrichas galactotes Badaan Farm
Hot and Humid (45c +/- 88%)
Saturday 24th June 2006, at BUHAIR in the old, currently unused Ministry of Agriculture farm north of the West Riffa rim rock (between Riffa and Isa Town) Brendan Kavanagh and myself were investigating potential ringing sites for the next migration season when we came across a FAMILY of Grey Herons; two adults, two second year birds and three juveniles.
Photo Juhani Kyyrö firstname.lastname@example.org One Adult one juvenile
The farm area has been abandoned for several years while a change over from using ground water to recycled wastewater is being implemented, a consequence of a fall in the level of the local aquifer and a rise in its salinity. The area being under/below the rim rock by some 15m, sits above a lower hard impermeable stratum that results in all the irrigation water being used in the town of Riffa immediately above that percolates through the rim rock resurfacing at the foot of the cliff. Many very expensive houses now fringe or cling precariously to the exposed rim rock (cliff).
The now natural flow of water percolating through from above is channelled into a series of rock cut ditches along the foot of the cliffs and is then channelled into a series of open ponds, and wetland areas to create what is now one of the best-mixed habitat sites remaining in Bahrain; even though it has been created as a consequence of human interference. Once additional water is once again available it will be returned to agricultural usage. However these plans will not affect much of the natural habitat as the site is immense and large areas are unsuitable for agricultural use.
In the wetland area where we found the Grey Herons we also observed 5 pairs of Night Herons with a total of 8 juveniles, 4 pairs of Western Reef Herons with 7 nearly fully-fledged chicks, and numerous families of Black-winged Stilts, Kentish Plover, Saunders’ Little Tern, Moorhen and Little Grebe. A pair of Sandwich Terns hawked insects around the extensive reed beds fringing the marshy areas. I intend to return soon with a scopes and cameras to fully observe and document this site.
Brendan and I had started our day at six at the sewage outfall at Ras Tubli THIS SITE JUST GETS BETTER AND BETTER – last year a few Western Reef and Night Heron and a single (Feral) Sacred Ibis breed here in the small but dense mangrove forest, along with Kentish Plover and Moorhen, this year numbers of Western Reef Herons has increased dramatically to at least 50 pairs most likely many more. We counted 110 young out on the exposed mud flats with around another thirty nest sites currently occupied in the tops of the Mangrove behind. Just out of interest the ratio of dark birds to white was 40/60 in favour of the white, however many of the white juveniles showed blotching or streaking with greys which was not seen in any of the white morph adults.
The highest inclusive count of all visible Reef Herons during our time at the site was 165 individual birds however many of the adults were seen flying in and out of the mangrove delivering food to their young often causing mad scrambles amongst the chicks who were not concerned as to the family ties of the returning adult.
Photo a small section of the colony
Now the work really begins to ensure a future for these sites.
Hawar 16 June 2006
During the last few weeks I have been surveying Kentish Plover along the western shoreline of the main island of Hawar. I am in the process of preparing a full report and will publish this soon.
With most migrant waders not yet having returned, the time frame for the survey represents the period of the year when the least number of shore birds are present. However even out of season and on a section of shoreline not renowned for its waders the following species were observed; - Oystercatcher; Lesser Sand Plover; Grey Plover; Whimbrel, Redshank; and Turnstone;
The following resident or summer migrant breeding species were also observed; - Socotra Cormorant; Western Reef Heron; Osprey; Sooty Falcon; Lesser Crested tern; White-cheeked Tern; Bridled Tern; Palm Dove; Desert Lark; Hoopoe Lark; Crested Lark; Common Minor; House Sparrow;
June 1 & 2 - The ferry to Hawar having broken down condemned me to a weekend on the Main Island, a great disappointment also for Mike Newey visiting from Saudi who had hoped to join me there. Calm early each day with a cooling breeze later, with temperatures around 40c, the weather was tolerable for this time of the year. Our problem however was not the weather but one of finding the birds; even our resident breeding species seemed in short supply. Over the two days only twenty or so species were noted, I can’t remember the last time it was this quiet, a complete contrast to the previous months and the main passage north. On Friday Mike and I were joined by Brendan and Juhani, we had intended to ring a few local lark species but were thwarted by a lack of available birds at the sites we had chosen to visit. We would have been better off chasing waders on the shore.
Species seen; Socotra Cormorant, Western Reef Heron, Flamingo, Kestrel, Kentish Plover, Little Stint, Grey Plover, Grey Francolin, Slender-bill Gull, Lesser Crested Tern, White-cheeked Tern, Rock Dove, Palm Dove, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet, Alexandrine Parakeet, Desert Lark, White–cheeked Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Rufous Bushchat, Graceful Warbler, Sparrow, and the weirdest bird of the day a white escape or strange looking sparrow.Photo by Juhani Kyyrö email@example.com http://www.virtual-bird.com,www.kyyro.com
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