The Houbara Bustard chick hatched last month at Al Areen Wildlife continues to thrive.
The significance of the successful rearing of the Houbara chick at Al Areen, the first captive breeding record for the species in Bahrain has to be viewed against the fact that the world populations for this species has dropped as much as 40% since 2005; while a further reduction of up to 50% of the current size is expected by 2006-07. Thus the subspecies macqueenii could be facing extinction within the next 15 - 25 years. (Source http://www.ameinfo.com/62663.html)
Fairly easy in the summer by the checking the number of black primaries - at Dumistan lake both species can currently be found - Little are extremely agressive towards Saunders's not only over nesting Islands but also when hawking for fish along the lake margins.
Saunders's Little Tern Sterna saundersi
Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Yesterday we only glimpsed one of the 6 Orioles seen the day before, but the roller was still around, hanging out with a male cuckoo which was constantly mobbed by everything else. Moving through: Upchers, Reed, Marsh?, and Barred Warbler were noted along with some Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, the odd Whitethroat and Yellow Wagtail(Ssp beema some times called Sykes's Wagtail). Swifts Swallows and Martins both Sand and House were very also obvious in the early light of morning but soon moved on.
Hay making at Baadan - the seasonal tasks here are a little in front of Europe
A day out with AJ at Badaan, dull but a hot sweaty one following on from yesterdays sandstorms, the light was terrible and although we did see a lot it never really presented itself for a decent photograph. The hightlight of the morning were thr 5 or 6 Orioles that we failed to get a single shot of.
The annual migration continues but is definitely slowing down. Birds observed moving through this week include Nightingales, Reed, Marsh and Garden Warblers plus a solitary Willow, Spotted Flycatchers, Red-backed, Isabelline and Great Grey Shrike,Rollers, Orioles, Beeeaters, swallows, Martins and Swifts. On the shore many of the late waders are now in full breeding plummage and include Greater and lesser Sandplover, Little Stint, Dunlin, Curlew, Wood and Green Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwits. Oyster Catchers are unusually numerous on the shore, as are Turnstones and Grey Plovers. Honey Buzzards are also on the move along with a few Kestrels but in the gardens it is the hieght of our breeding season with most local birds both breeding migrants and residents busy either building or tending nests. On the shore and around inland waters Little and Saunder's Terns have already chicks as do the little Grebes and Western Reef Herons. White Cheeked and Lesser Crested Terns are in residence and about to begin so despite the every increasing temperature there is still plenty of species to see. One thing about Bahrain is its size - it is small so we can get round all our habitats in a day - desert, gardens, farms, scrub, mangrove, shore and brackish water which makes for some interesting birding.
April 7-26 Photos right hand column
On Monday I got a phone call from Essa Farraj the head of the Bird Section at Al Areen Wildlife Park to say that he had successfully hatched a Houbara Bustard chick, a first for the park, had two other eggs in incubators with another hen sitting out possible on eggs in the parks enclosed aviary. Today I was able to visit the park and see the chick myself which thankfully is putting on weight and seems to be thriving.
The park does not undertake any artificial breeding methods so Essa has had to wait eight years for birds in his captive flock to conceive and lay naturally. He was understandably very proud of his achievement so I wish him good luck with the rearing of the chick and the rest of the eggs now in his charge.
To get the pictures I had to stick my camera through a small hole in the rearing tray lid and click the shutter in anticipation
Whilst touring the various aviaries at Al Areen Wildlife Park with Essa Farraj, the Head of the Bird Section, Essa pointed out in one of the aviaries a pair of nesting Cattle Egrets, they were housed in with the White Storks who themselves were busy nest building, incidentally almost on top of the egret nest which held to my surprise two well developed chicks. However what surprised me more was that on the outside of the aviary another pair of Cattle Egrets, migrant visitors to the park had also built a nest and raised three chicks themselves. The presence of the captive birds doing what comes naturally had obviously encouraged them to breed. One has to wonder on the tolerance of the storks in accepting the egrets into their lofty domain. I had to go around the back of the large aviary to photograph all the nesting birds as the nests are situated in the corner furthest from the road and the gaze of the bus touring visitors.
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